April 30, 2003

Piobaireachd Society Reduces Gold Medal Requirement for 2004

The Piobaireachd Society has announced the set tunes for the major competitions in 2004, and for the first time since 1999 the submission requirement for the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal events is only four tunes.

The previous requirement of six tunes has been met with – mainly tacit – consternation from some Gold Medal competitors, particularly because those who have won only one of the Gold Medals at the Argyllshire Gathering or Northern Meeting would thus be faced with keeping at least 10 tunes going if they were to compete also in the Senior or Clasp events, reserved for Gold Medallists.

The requirement for the Senior competitions was reduced to four tunes in 2000 after formal outcry from many of those competitors.

Senior Competitions

  • “In Praise of Morag” [Piobaireachd Society (PS) Book 1 & Kilberry (K)]
  • “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon” (PS Bk 2 & K)
  • “MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament” (PS Bk 10)
  • “Lady MacDonald’s Lament” (PS Bk 8 & K)
  • “Lament for the Children” (PS Bk 3 & K)
  • “Donald Gruamach’s March” (PS Bk 2 & K)

    Competitors will submit four tunes from the above list, one of which they will be required to play.

    Gold Medal Competitions

  • “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute” (PS Bk 5 & K)
  • “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon” (PS Bk 3 & K)
  • “Beloved Scotland” (PS Bk 6 & K)
  • “Mary’s Praise” (PS Bk 5 & K)
  • “The Battle of Bealach nam Brog” (PS Bk 9)
  • “His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie” (PS Bk 9)

    Competitors will submit four tunes from the above list, one of which they will be required to play.

    Silver Medal Competitions

  • “Catherine’s Lament” (PS Bk 5 & K)
  • “Lament for Donald of Laggan” (PS Bk 8 & K)
  • “MacLeod’s Controversy” (PS Bk 10)
  • “Melbank’s Salute” (PS Bk 14)
  • “The Little Spree” (PS Bk 7 & K)
  • “The Massacre of Glencoe” (PS Bk 6 & K)

    Competitors will submit four tunes from the above list, one of which they will be required to play.

    The Piobaireachd Society notes, “Competitors are not restricted to these settings and any other setting may be played. The Judges, however, may take into consideration the merits of such settings, their authenticity and authority for such settings. Competitors are advised to give advance notice that they intend to play any settings not contained in staff notation in the Society’s Collection. Altogether different tunes known by the same or similar names will not be accepted as alternative settings.”

    The organization goes on to say that the announcement “is without prejudice to any arrangements made by either the Argyllshire Gathering or Northern Meeting.”

    Colin MacLellan, President of the Competeing Pipers Association, commented, “Competing pipers will of course welcome the new set list, because there’s nothing wrong with allowing the best pipers to play the best tunes now and again. Perhaps the choice of four from six is a bit limiting, and so the audiences will hear many of the tunes a multiple number of times. Overall these lists will make for very exciting and entertaining competitions in 2004. In the Clasp and Gold Medal, the standard of the tunes are such that pipers cannot feel that they could be more challenged, because they don’t come any harder than pieces like ‘Lament for the Children,’ ‘Donald Gruamach’s March,’ and ‘Patrick Og.’ The CPA is delighted that the tune requirement is for four tunes.”

    “These lists read like a greatest hits of piobaireachd,” said one competitor. “And what a relief it will be to the many Gold Medal contestants who have had to keep six, 10 or even 12 tunes going over the last few years while trying to hold down a job and keep a family together. What’s more, most competitors will already know most of these tunes, so it’s as close to being a ‘free choice’ year as it can be, while still having a set tune list. It will be great for listeners, too.”


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