Ah Colin, as always you nailed this perfectly. I faced the attitude of Bob Nicol in my very early years in Scotland, and it was challenging to say the least. "This is the way I got it from old Johnny MacDonald"...and that was the discussion over.
There's a lot less of that on the bench these days, but one can still find this kind of wooly headed dogmatism in some corners. Not a healthy approach, and in fact somewhat dangerous to the art....stress art...of piobaireachd playing.
This is just the kind of review we need more of in piping journals: direct, insightful, not malicious, not sycophantic, fearless handling of sacred cows. Thanks for calling it the way you see it, Colin. There are so many Pibroch tutorials out on CD these days. I think the grocer down the street has one too.
I would like to thank Colin for this excellent review! Sometimes it is difficult understanding what a reviewer is really trying to say but not this time. I found the comments to be particularly valuable from an historical point of view and agree, to a point, it is worth having. I will not be purchasing it for the reasons Colin touched on at the very end of his fine article.
If I learned anything in this review it's that Colin is ridiculously educated about tunes (obviously) but it would be great for someone of his stature to maybe put together a cd or some kind of teaching aid of a few tunes with a couple styles of each tune.
Good review by Colin. It is true that Nicol often said "This is how i got it from John MacDonald" as if no other explanation was required ! These types of cds are useful in avoiding the 'straight out the book' syndrome we often get now but discussion of other styles too would be even more valuable.
Its very good indeed to get a straight, informed, and authoratative account of this work. I still find that out of respect for tutors on summer schools who are good enough to let us have recordings for the purpose of private study, I don't feel inclined to buy it.
Pipers: The golden rule when working with a reed is, "You can always take material off the cane, but you cannot put it back." So, remember, when removing the slightest amount of material, blow the reed again.