Highlands [2 violins]
String Duet - Digital Sheet Music

Item Number: 21939080
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Violin Duet Violin - Level 2 - Digital Download

SKU: A0.596615

By John Winstead and Miguel Angel Cotignola. By Juan María Solare. 20th Century,Celtic,Instructional,Irish. 5 pages. Juan Maria Solare #6208589. Published by Juan Maria Solare (A0.596615).


for two violins

About the genesis of my work Highlands: There was a composition competition in Scotland (The Gordon Stewart Memorial Competition), they asked to write a short march for Scottish bagpipes. I said to myself: "I don't know anything about the bagpipes, this could be an opportunity to get to know the instrument better."

So I began to investigate and discovered that there is a huge literature, many works. Of course: all the works are impressively similar, because it is a relatively limited instrument (with forgiveness of the pipers). But this is an unimportant detail for our story. So, with a collection of bagpipe sheet music at hand, I began to investigate the possibilities of the instrument.

And I made a huge mistake: Bagpipe scores are written without accidentals, but they are actually in A major. Sharps are not written simply because there is NO alternative. They can't play anything else (at least the traditional bagpipes), so the sheet music ommits the superfluous sharps. In short: then I composed my melody for that contest in A minor ... which is impossible to play on bagpipes. The fact of having written the melody on board a train prevented me from listening to dozens of works for bagpipes as a reference (at that time - June 2015 - I did not have a mobile internet connection).

When I realized the mistake (in time) I rewrote that melody in major mode (well, Mixolydian ...), added some typical bagpipe ornamentation and retitled it: Ballone Castle (the name of the castle of the organizers of the contest, the Stewart Society).

"And now what do I do with the original melody, in minor mode?" Instead of throwing it away (which I never do) I titled it Highlands, and it is the work that you are about to hear, or whose score you are holding.

I didn't win that contest in Scotland. But I recorded Ballone Castle and posted it on Spotify: Ballone Castle (for bagpipes) - on Spotify (there is a version with drums and another without them).

As for Highlands, the saxophone version was recorded by my Chinese friend Yu Han for the album Images of Elsewhere (Images of Elsewhere (saxophone)). In this case, there are also two versions: solo saxophone and sax with electronic sounds. The electronic sounds here actually simulate the typical bagpipe pedal ("drone") note. A version of Highands for oboe Solo was recorded by John Winstead (Highlands (oboe solo))

Comparing both pieces (Highlands and Ballone Castle) it is verified how the simple change of mode (major / minor), in addition to the change of instrument, can work wonders for musical perception. They are two related but independent works, each with its own defined character - like two twins.

But the story continues. In October 2020 I began an intense dialogue with the violinist Miguel Ángel Cotignola, from Mendoza (Argentina). I suggested him to film Highlands. He suggestd me to write a second violin part. I did it. He filmed it on the shore of Lake Potrerillos, in Mendoza (Argentina). This video can be seen here: Highlands (for two violins)

Juan María Solare

This product was created by a member of ArrangeMe, Hal Leonard’s global self-publishing community of independent composers, arrangers, and songwriters. ArrangeMe allows for the publication of unique arrangements of both popular titles and original compositions from a wide variety of voices and backgrounds.

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