Join us for a community session featuring Scottish traditional music. Musicians from around the region gather at the Littlefield Celtic Center here in Mount Vernon, WA. The focus of these sessions is predominately Scottish music, although Irish and other trad types of tunes are played regularly. This session is "open," meaning that anyone is invited to play as long as they're willing to follow our basic guidelines explained below.
Virtual participation in the music session will be held concurrently via ZOOM. Please email Cayley@CelticArts.org to get on the session email list for reminders and to receive the ZOOM meeting link each month.
We routinely see these acoustic instruments at our music sessions:
Scottish Smallpipes (Reel/Borderpipes and Smallpipes) – primarily in key of A
Fiddles, viola, cello and bass
Guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, cittern
Flutes and whistles
The occasional Uilleann pipes, banjo, spoons, etc., make guest appearances
Human voice – some lovely Gaelic songs, and traditional Scottish folksongs appear
Here’s a sample video of session held before new facility was complete:
Littlefield Celtic Center Session Best Practices
Every music session has its own culture. To help you get a sense of our values as a music community, we offer these suggestions:
Listen to some tunes first, and join in on the ones you know.
This is not a “slow session” and tempos may vary.
Folks are encouraged to select tunes/sets of tunes others know, but not required.
We often pass the selection for the tunes, from one participant to the next around the circle. If you don’t have a tune, it’s certainly OK to pass. It’s great practice to lead a tune, starting by setting the tempo and calling it out “1, 2” etc. It’s also perfectly OK to ask someone else to lead the count off.
Some quieter instruments can be easily overpowered by instruments with more volume (pipes) – sometimes it’s OK to not play along and simply listen.
You’ll find the musicians who attend the Littlefield Celtic Center sessions to be fun, nice and approachable people–ask questions.
Please help us keep the beautiful Littlefield Celtic Center beautiful by helping get trash in its place, and putting away tables and chairs as needed and as you are able.
Please be aware of some of the quirks of playing tunes with Scottish bagpipes:
Modal A scale, 9 note range (C#, F# and G natural) (primarily – although “C” and “D” chanters are sometimes seen – they are the exception).
Playing of notes requires airflow, meaning the instrument must be “struck in” (air from bag needs to flow across reeds) before the start of any tune.
Tuning of pipe drones is challenging, and players REALLY appreciate other instruments not tuning (including other pipes) at the same time.
The pipers who regularly attend this session work hard at getting chanters pitched at A440, and having a nicely tuned set of drones.