Published: March 31, 2015

Elite solo pipers already getting set for 2016

Boreraig_Cairn_smallThe Piobaireachd Society has prescribed its list of tunes for the major competitions in 2016 for the world’s best solo pipers, and they return to a familiar submit four, play one approach, which will follow a mainly “own choice” 2015.

Most of the tunes are familiar fare for accomplished pipers, with notable exception of two “modern” tunes set for the Senior competitions. “The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack” by John A. MacLellan and “A Son’s Salute to His Parents” by Donald MacLeod are for the first time set among ancient compositions.

In the Silver Medal, several tunes will be required to have their crunluath a mach variation played.

Senior (submit four, play one)
“The Bells of Perth” – Piobaireachd Society Book (PS) 2, Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor (K)
“The Earl of Ross’s March” – PS 10
“Lament for Hugh” – PS 13
“The MacDonalds’ Salute” – (corrected version) PS 11
“MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament” – PS 15, K
“The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack” – PS 20th Century Book
“A Son’s Salute to His Parents” – Donald MacLeod Book
“Scarce of Fishing” – PS 3, K

Gold Medal (submit four, play one)
“The Battle of Waternish” – PS 2, K
“The Gathering of Clan Chattan” – PS 2, K
“I got a Kiss of the King’s Hand” – PS 7, K
“Isabel Mackay” – PS 6, K
“Lament for MacSwan of Roaig” – PS 1, K
“Mary’s Praise” – PS 5, K
“My King Has Landed in Moidart” – PS 5, K
“The Stewarts’ White Banner” – PS 7

Silver Medal (submit four, play one)
“Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg” – PS 1
“Castle Menzies” – PS 8
“A Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach” – PS 5, K
“Hector MacLean’s Warning” (crunluath a mach required) PS 2
“I Am Proud to Play a Pipe” – PS 6, K
“The MacDonalds Are Simple” – (crunluath a mach required) PS 9
“The Piper’s Warning to His Master” – PS 12, K
“The Rout of the MacPhees” (crunluath a mach required) PS 4

The organization gave the usual cautions to comompetitors who want to deviate from the usual settings. Pipers wishing to delve in to alternative settings from almost every source known should check out William Donaldson’s Set Tunes Series, in which most of the tunes above are closely analyzed.

“There is always much deliberation goes into the selection of the set tune lists,” Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor told pipes|drums. “The process started some 18 months ago. Small groups of Music Committee members come up with draft lists, these are discussed by the full committee, then refined as necessary.

“I think the 2016 lists are a good mix, and a good test at the Senior, Gold and Silver levels. Of particular significance is the inclusion of ‘The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack’ by John MacLellan and ‘A Son’s Salute to His Parents’ by Donald MacLeod. These are now coming into the standard repertoire, and the music committee felt that they stand very favourably against the other classic older tunes in the list such as ‘Scarce of Fishing’ and ‘The Earl of Ross’s March.’ Colin MacLellan has kindly provided a definitive score of ‘The Phantom Piper’ and a recording of his father playing it, and these are posted on the Piobaireachd Society’s website.

“The gold medal players will surely enjoy getting familiar with the tunes on their list such as ‘Waternish,’ ‘MacSwan,’ ‘Mary’s Praise,’ ‘My King Has Landed’ and the like. They should make for an excellent competition.

“The standard in the Silver Medal is ever higher, and the shorter, attractive, but less usual tunes there should be a suitable challenge. We don’t hear the likes of ‘Dunyveg,’ ‘I’m Proud to Play a Pipe’ and ‘The Piper’s Warning’ often, so they will be a treat for the audience, the judges, and hopefully the players.”

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