For me, a lot of the joy I feel when playing music of the Scottish Baroque is down to its closeness with folk music. I grew up in rural Cumbria, not far from the Borders and a few miles from the edge of Northumberland, and I have always loved listening to the Northumbrian pipes and the folk music of the region. It is something I have long wanted to try my hand at too, so discovering the music of Bremner, McGibbon, Oswald and other Scottish baroque composers, has given me the chance to dip my toe in the style!
I started off by adding ornaments here and there, and of course, as a baroque musician, ornamenting and embellishing the score is part of the language we use, but I have been experimenting with using ornaments of a more Scottish flavour than the Classical style we are trained in – cuts and rolls, to name a few. A Scottish fiddler in the eighteenth century would have been expected to improvise these sorts of ornaments, so making them up on the spot in concerts in something I am pushing myself to do! Sometimes it can be a bit daunting, as I really don’t know what will happen next, but it is exciting (both for me and the audience!), spontaneous and much more authentic!