PiobSoc sets competitors free in 2015 (updated)

Published: March 27, 2014
(Page 1 of 1)

The 60-odd solo pipers toiling away at the 2014 piobaireachds set for the 2014 Gold and Silver medal competitions at the world’s major gatherings can look forward to doing their own thing in 2015, as Scotland’s Piobaireachd Society has decided to make it an “own-choice” year in those events.

Except for the winner or winners of the 2014 Highland Society of London Gold Medals at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, those in the Gold will have to submit eight piobaireachds of their own choice. Those in the Silver Medal events will have to put in six tunes.

Players who have earned a spot in the Clasp at Inverness and the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban need to submit four tunes from a list of well-established classics, including “The Lament for thw Children,” regarded by many as the greatest piece of ceol mor ever produced, yet rarely set for the major events.

Senior Competitions

  • “John Garve MacLeod of Raasay’s Lament”
  • “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon”
  • “Lament for the Children”
  • “Lament for the Duke of Hamilton”
  • “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
  • “MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament”
  • “Mrs. MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute”
  • “Patrick Og MacCrimmon’s Lament”

Submit four, play one.

Gold Medals
Submit eight tunes, play one

Silver Medal
Submit six tunes, play one

When asked about why now for an “own choice” year, Piobairecahd Society President Jack Taylor said, “The thinking was that there has not been ‘own choice’ for several years, and that everybody likes own choice from time to time. Our discussions with the Competing Pipers Association reflected that. There was no specific timing. It also allows a snapshot of what current repertoire is. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some more ‘modern’ tunes – for example, by Donald MacLeod or John MacLellan – submitted, but we will see.”

Taylor said that the list for the Senior events was chosen from the MacCrimmon-authored or associated tunes for the competitions in August at Skye.

The advantages of having a set list of tunes, Taylor added, are that “it stimulates players to take on new repertoire, gives some ‘shape’ to their learning, avoids a player having maybe six tunes that will last a career.” The disadvantages, he said, include “constraint, maybe stifles development and new thinking, can bring forward tunes that naturally would remain dormant due to being poor pieces of music, and preoccupying the piper at the expense of other desired and better repertoire.”

The usual cautions are given about “altogether different” settings from those in the Piobaireachd Society Collection and/or the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor not being accepted.

In a departure from the usual, the organization is asking that those submitting acceptable different settings of tunes provide a manuscript with their entries, so that the judges can study them in advance to be better prepared at the competition.

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