June 30, 2012

Donaldson’s Set Tunes Series continues on pipes|drums

The landmark Set Tunes Series by Dr. William Donaldson is poised to continue with regular and frequent installments on the 2012 list of piobaireachds prescribed by the Piobaireachd Society to pipers competing at the major solo competitions around the world, including the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting.


The new series is the eleventh for Donaldson and pipes|drums, each bringing the tunes and their various historical settings to any who are interested, free of charge. As with previous years, the 2012 series will include both a detailed analysis of each tune by Dr. Donaldson, as well as an MP3 sound file discussion of all the manuscript sources and older published settings for the tunes as a guide to interpretation.


William Donaldson was a pupil for nine years of Robert Nicol, half of the famous “Bobs of Balmoral” duo, who taught extensively during the 1960s and ’70s. Bob Brown and Bob Nicol were in turn taught by the legendary John MacDonald of Inverness.


Entitled “Piobaireachd on Two Sides of the Pond,” Donaldson’s newest series will comprise between 12 and 14 of the tunes set for this year’s Senior, Gold Medal and Silver Medal competitions. The first installment will be of “The Lament for Colin Roy MacKenzie,” which includes a rare setting of the tune by Pipe-Major Willie Gray.


The entire Set Tunes Series now comprises more than 130 tunes, each set by the Piobaireachd Society at some point since 2000.


Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, William Donaldson is now based for much of the year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of the seminal The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society, an extensive historical examination of the impact that the aristocracy of the 20th century had on a once-thriving Highland tradition of ceol mor development.




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