Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Drummer's Hashpipe

I Made a Movie!

If you ever had a music lesson at school, chances are you'll have been introduced to this little ditty. Ever since Mike Oldfield rounded off the original Tubular Bells with an accelerando rendition, I've included it in every noodling guitar solo I've played - it's really easy to play fast, convincing everyone you're a pretty good guitarist when you're, erm, not. Everyone except those two other guys you happen to know, who actually are good guitarists. Hi Eddie! Neil!

This is a video of (free and open source) MuseScore playing back my arrangement of The Sailor's Hornpipe, captured by CamStudio, with a separate soundtrack added in Windows Live Movie Maker:

Notes are coloured in MuseScore to indicate whether or not they are within the useful range of the selected instruments. Note that almost all of the treble staff is red. These timpani are well out of their depth.

You can see and download the original score at MuseScore's new hosting service here (requires registration using a valid email address):

The Flash player on that site highlights the playing score one bar, rather than one note, at a time.

MuseScore lets you change the instruments associated with each musical staff or grand staff, which means you can work out any unusual harmonies using a clean default sound (such as "Piano"), before converting the result to something completely inappropriate like this. You can even substitute entire "Sound Fonts", containing whole orchestras of sounds, for the default one.

Update: what do you get if you duplicate the entire grand staff, then change the instrument in the copy from "Piano" to "Drumkit"? Just to be clear, each digit is assigned some effectively random instrument of mass percussion (and there are two pea whistles in the bag).

Answer: The Devil's Pot Pipe - another comic rearrangement of the 18th century hornpipe for tortured timpani, this time with added nursery percussion group, and an unhinged parrot:


  1. i'm gonna reluctantly admit that i don't get the title for this...

  2. ‎(1) The traditional dance is called The Sailor's Hornpipe;
    (2) Mike Oldfield's original Tubular Bells ended with it;
    (3) It's played on "kettular drums" (timpani);
    (4) Frank Zappa, a lifelong critic of drug use and users, says on "Little Green Rosetta"... "Good God, give the drummer some."
    (5) Now you know all I know!