March 31, 2009

Updated: Piobaireachd Society announces 2010 Set Tunes

The Piobaireachd Society has produced what might be its most creative system yet for the 2010 major piobaireachd events at the Argyllshire Gathering, Northern Meeting and other events that take on the organization’s recommended tunes to be submitted.
While the Piobaireachd Society has for the first time in more than 20 years offered a “free” year for Gold Medal and Silver Medal competitors – where they can submit any tunes they wish. Competitors in the Gold Medal events will submit a list of any eight tunes of their own choice and play one. Silver Medal players will submit a list of any six piobaireachd and play one. 
It is in the Senior lists where the requirement is most different. Competitors in the Clasp at Inverness and Senior Piobaireachd at Oban will play two relatively short tunes, with prizes awarded for best overall performances of the pair of piobaireachds. Each competitor in the Clasp at Inverness, Senior Piobaireachd at Oban and other select events around the world will submit four pairs from the list.
Pair #1
“The Sister’s Lament” (Piobaireachd Society Book 4 and Kilberry)
“Nameless” (Angus Mackay’s MS) (PS 4, K)
Pair #2
“The Battle of Glenshiel” (PS 4)
“A Glase” (PS 11)
Pair #3
“Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament” (PS 4, K)
“Nameless” (Colin Campbell’s Canntaireachd MS) (PS 4, K)
Pair #4
“The Old Woman’s Lullaby” (PS 4, K)
“The Aged Warrior’s Sorrow” (PS 12)
Pair #5
“Lament for Red Hector of the Battles” (PS 4, K)
“The Middling Spree” (PS 11)
Pair #6
“The Park Piobaireachd No.1” (PS 4, K)
“The Pretty Dirk” (PS 11)
Pair #7
“Nameless Lament” (MacArthur MS) (PS 13)
“Lament for the Bishop of Argyll” (PS 15)
Pair #8
“Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod” (PS 4, K)
“Left Hand” (PS 14) 
The organization said that other settings are acceptable “provided that the judges are advised in advance and provided with the music for the alternative setting(s) submitted.” The Piobaireachd Society said that versions of tunes prescribed for the Senior events that have conventional taorluath and crunluath movements will not be accepted.
According to Piobaireachd Society Music Committee Secretary Alan Forbes, “The short tunes were set many years ago and there was a feeling that it would be good to hear them played once again by the top players. Setting them in pairs means that they present a greater challenge and also means that some of the very short tunes can be set as well. The pairs have been selected to be broadly equivalent in terms of length and technical and musical difficulty.”
When asked about logistical issues for competitors and judges, Forbes said, “The intention is [the tunes] will be played back-to-back with a short tuning time between and judged as a single performance by the same adjudicators. The actual tuning times are a matter for the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting, but we have discussed this with them and they will announce these along with any other arrangements in due course.”


  1. What a breath of fresh air this modern-day-in-touch-with-its-members Piobaireachd Society is. A fantastic website with surely more than we could have hoped for, a committee that actively shows that it listens to the members, and now these refreshing changes to the requirements for competition. I’m really looking forward to hearing the results of this invitation towards more freedom and maybe more room for the music itself to be heard. It’ll be a treat to hear some of these shorter pieces too, maybe not so often heard (some of them at least).

  2. I too think this is a refreshing change. How many times has a competitor wished he/she could re-play their competition tune right after leaving the boards? Having written that, I would not be surprised if the worst” played second tune is better than the “best” played first tune. Not sure if I like the cumulative result formula for the prize. Still the Piobaireachd Society gets a big thumbs up from me for trying something a little different! “



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