January 31, 2000

Move On to Reduce Set Tune List

A debate on the set tune list for the senior competitions at the 2000 Argyllshire gathering and Northern Meeting has been brewing for several months, with the Competing Pipers Association and the Piobaireachd Society reportedly in active discussions.

In an unusual move, the Piobaireachd Society mandated that for the three set tune lists — the Clasp at Inverness and Open at Oban, the Gold Medals, and the Silver Medals — competitors are required to submit six tunes from the list of eight. Usually, with set lists, the requirement is only four tunes.

Furthering the concern, the Senior list comprises relatively obscure tunes, and demands that competitors play certain settings. The Piobaireachd Society has stated that a motivating reason for the move was to reduce the number of entrants, by making demand son competitors more severe.

Currently, there is considerable controversy with the Senior list, with pressure on the Piobaireachd Society to make the list more manageable. There is no word whether the Gold Medal and Silver Medal lists will be reduced also, but there is anticipation that they would follow if the Senior requirements are reduced.

With numerous competitors competing in both a Gold Medal and Senior event, and some North American pipers even having to prepare for all three, having as many as 18 tunes at the ready is seen as near impossible.

One piper competing in the Gold Medal events said, “Last year at Inverness there were mistakes and breakdowns galore throughout the Gold Medal. I can only imagine what the 2000 event will be like with an even greater demand being placed on competitors. The audience might be in for a real let-down in the standard.”

The point has also been made that the competitions are intended to be enjoyable for the competitors, as well as the audience, and that very, very few pipers actually make a living from their talent.


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