February 28, 2002

‘Entirely at the pleasure of the performer’ Series Concludes

With the publishing of “The Glen Is Mine,” Piper & Drummer Online has concluded Dr. William Donaldson’s second groundbreaking series on the set tunes.

The 2002 series has been heralded by pipers globally, appreciating the prodigious work that Dr. Donaldson committed to the series, which comprised 10 of the compositions set for this year’s major piobaireachd competitions. Other than last year’s series on the 2001 set tunes, Donaldson’s series is thought to be the only serious academic work on piobaireachd completed outside of the auspices of the Piobaireachd Society, which has controlled the music for the last 100 years.

His exhaustive research delved into manuscripts that are held mainly in the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow and Aberdeen University.

“This second series has illustrated a little more of the musical riches of the many printed and manuscript collections from Donald MacDonald in the early 19th century to Robert Meldrum a hundred years later, compiled ‘entirely for the pleasure of the performer,'” Dr. Donaldson said. “I have recently been asked what route aspiring piobaireachd players should choose. Pipers must make that choice for themselves; but they can do so appropriately only when they have access to the whole range of the sources. This series has been another small step in that direction.”

Without the Internet, sharing this material would be impossible without prohibitively expensive print publishing. Producing the installments in Adobe Acrobat format allows all pipers to share in this important research at no charge.

“Once again, we are thrilled to have been approached by Dr. Donaldson to publish this second landmark series,” said Andrew Berthoff, editor and Webmaster of Piper & Drummer Online. “We are pleased that the series in no small way contributes to the renewed sense of purpose and choice that we see today in piobaireachd playing and composition.”

Plans are already under way for a similar series on the 2003 set tunes.

The 10 installments of “‘Entirely at the pleasure of the performer’: a further exploration of piobaireachd” will continue to be available in the archive of the Features section of Piper & Drummer Online. Visitors can simply click the grey Features bar on the opening page.


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