The Piobaireachd Society has announced the tunes that the world's best solo pipers will have to choose from for the top competitions at the Northern Meeting, Argyllshire Gathering and other events around the world. Believed to be a first, the organization has prescribed that an a-mach variation is to be played in several tunes set for the Silver Medal competitions.
"The set tunes are carefully chosen," said Jack Taylor, president of the Piobaireachd Society. "A group of two or three Music Committee members is selected for Senior, Gold and Silver lists. Each group began discussions last November. Draft lists are then circulated round the whole committee, 'tuning' is done, and the committee makes as final a decision as it can at its meeting at the Piobaireachd Society Conference in March. Sometimes there is further discussion after this.
"What we had in mind this year was to provide balanced lists for each level, reflecting the player group in each, and taking into account the audience experience, too."
Senior (submit four; play one)
"The Blue Ribbon," Piobaireachd Society Collection Book (PS) 5, Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor (K)
"Isabel Mackay," PS 6, K
"Lachlan MacNeill Campbell of Kintarbert's Fancy," PS 8, K
"Lady MacDonald's Lament," PS 8, K
"The Old Men of the Shells," PS 7, K
"In Praise of Morag," PS 1, K
"The Prince's Salute," PS 1, K
"Ronald MacDonald of Morar's Lament," PS 8, K
"The tunes in the Senior lists are perhaps 'lighter' than of late," Taylor continued, "but all strong tunes that need clear musical interpretation. By giving this list we hope that some who have perhaps shied away from this competition will be encouraged to play, that newcomers will have a relatively 'easy' ride, and that experienced players will have a year without too much learning to do, and without having to play very long tunes."
Gold Medal (submit four; play one)
"The Battle of Bealach nam Brog," PS 9
"Clanranald's Salute," PS 7, K
"MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart's Lament (No. 2)," PS 6, K
"The MacDonalds are Simple," PS 9
"Nameless (Hiharin odin, hiharin dro)" (Angus Mackay's MS), PS 5, K
"The Rout of Glenfruin," PS 8, K
"The Vaunting," PS 7, K
"The Young Laird of Dungallon's Salute," PS 10
"The Gold Medal list contains tunes that we hope players will want to have in their repertoire," Taylor said, "and which are musically and technically challenging. It will be interesting to see if any choose to play 'Glenfruin' or 'The Vaunting' from Donald MacDonald."
Silver Medal (submit four; play one)
"All the Old Men Paid Rent But Rory," PS 11
* "Duntroon's March," PS 14
* "Fair Honey,"* PS 9
* "Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks," PS 5, K
* "Lady Anapool's Lament," PS 9
* "Lord MacDonald's Lament," PS 13
"Melbank's Salute," PS 14
* "The Parading of the MacDonalds," PS 7, K
* Tunes marked with an asterisk require a crunluath a-mach variation to be played.
Jack Taylor commented: "The Silver Medal list is always difficult to get 'right.' This year the tunes there are less known, but all good tunes. This will give the enormous number of candidates the chance to explore repertoire which might not yet have come their way. There are tunes in there, for example, 'Fair Honey' and 'Grain in Hides,' that have several different styles and possible interpretations. After discussion at the judges seminar we decided to specify, for the purposes of this competition, a-machs in the Silver Medal only. It was felt that in the Senior and Gold competitions players should have discretion, but that Silver players would appreciate specification."
Taylor added that for the first time the Piobaireachd Society is formally requesting feedback on the set tunes from the Competing Pipers Association and adjudicators. "We have relied on informal feedback to date, and we will continue to welcome this, but we felt that it will be of help in planning future lists to have formal feedback too. We wait with interest!" he said.
What do you think? Make a comment! If you have news and information please share with pipes|drums. After all, we can't report what we don't know about.
pipes|drums is an independent nonprofit magazine. Proceeds from subscriptions and advertising are used for maintenance and development of the publication. If you enjoy pipes|drums, we hope that you subscribe
, and we also accept donations of any amount.