July 05, 2022

Mòd ready to rock with new CPA grade-level format

Scotland’s annual Royal National Mòd – “Gaeldom’s premiere musical and cultural event” – will for the first time use the Competing Pipers Association’s grading for its solo piping competitions October 14-22 in Perth, Scotland.

The event, staged in a different location every year, previously took a more traditional approach to its piping contests, with essentially only general “Senior” and “Junior” classifications.

An Comunn Gàidhealach, the body that organizes the event, is also divesting the administration of entries to the Competing Pipers Association, and Scotland’s Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drumming will organize and manage the competitions on October 15th at Perth’s North Inch Community Campus.

In addition, the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust is entering the scene as a sponsor of the Junior events, including the awarding of prizes to winners.

Unlike the rest of the world, the UK has no uniform structure for solo piping competitions. Unless a competition strikes an agreement with the Competing Associations, many events are run the same way they were a century ago, occasionally with a local non-piping landowner judging. Non-UK and Ireland CPA members would compete in the “Professional” or “Open” grade with their home associations, and members have to be 18 or older. All others are considered “Juniors,” and would compete in those events where available.

Similarly, the CPA does not look after pipers not yet meeting their playing standard to merit C-Grade status, their lowest level, generally the equivalent of Grade 1 Amateur in North America.

The number of solo competitions in Scotland agreeing to adhere to CPA gradings and standards has incrementally increased over the last 20 years to the point that many members won’t participate unless an event is sanctioned by the group. The CPA recently announced the addition of a Bronze Medal piobaireachd competition to offset demand from members whose applications to the Silver Medal competitions at the Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering were declined.

“Gordon himself always supported and competed at our local Perthshire Mòd and the Royal National Mòd when he could so it was only fitting we showed our support.” – Chris Duncan, Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust

Recognizing that there are many pipers 18 and older who don’t meet the minimum CPA standard, or simply don’t want to move to Open or Professional with their home association, but who still want to compete in the UK, the National Piping Centre started the Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers (CLASP), offering various events throughout the year.

The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust is a charitable organization to honour the memory of the celebrated piper and composer. “The Trust is delighted to support the piping competitions at the Royal National Mòd being held in Perth this year,” said Chris Duncan, secretary of the Trust. “Gordon himself always supported and competed at our local Perthshire Mòd and the Royal National Mòd when he could so it was only fitting we showed our support. We see the aims of the Trust as very music aligned with that of An Comunn Gàidhealach. We want to promote the education of our young people by encouraging participation in and study of our traditional music and advance the arts and culture of Scotland by promoting the performance, study and innovative composition of all forms of traditional music, and in particular the music of the Highland bagpipe.”

Junior pipers can enter via the An Comunn Gàidhealach site and senior players of course enter via the Competing Pipers Association. Entry deadlines are July 15th for juniors and September 9th for seniors, with senior entries starting July 25th. Senior pipers have to be a member of the CPA with a CPA grading.

The Royal National Mòd was founded in 1891. “Mòd” is an ultra-efficient word in Gaelic for “a gathering of people.” The annual festival showcases Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage. For Gaelic singers, being a Mòd gold medallist is probably the art’s highest achievement.





Forgotten Password?