November 15, 2021

Pitlochry Games wants a tune for 170th birthday

The local Vale of Atholl Pipe Band at the 2019 Pitlochry Games.

The village of Pitlochry in Scotland’s Perthshire is known for its verdant scenery; its rich tradition of piping and drumming; the venerable Vale of Atholl pipe band organization; the nearby Glenfiddich Championships every October; and, in normal years, the terrific Pitlochry Highland Games staged every September as one of the final outdoor events of the competition season.

And to celebrate the Games’ 170th birthday in 2022, there’s a competition to come up with a new composition to mark the occasion and the games, with the winning composer receiving £500 for their effort.

The money is being put up by Ross McNaughton, the piping convener of the Pitlochry Games piping convener.

“The competition is extended to any musician around the world who can write a pipe tune,” McNaughton said in statement. “The pipe tune should be of at least 4 parts of any time signature and titled in a way which captures the spirit of our 170th celebration.”

He added that the “winning entry will capture the unique spirit of Pitlochry Highland Games and it is an opportunity to become part of our special story.”

We want this competition to go worldwide.

There’s no entry fee or limit on entries or the type of tune, provided it’s of at least four parts, and even the name of it is up to the composer, but that “it would be preferred if it reflected the ethos of the Pitlochry Highland Games.”

Ian G. Duncan, Ben Duncan, and Gary West are on board to judge the competition, and full rules can be found at the games website.

“We have lost the last two seasons due to COVID so we want the 2022 event to be bigger and better with wider appeal,” Games Chieftain Charles Butter said. “It will also be an important anniversary of the Pitlochry Highland Games and that, too, may prompt a new composer of pipe music to get to work. We want this competition to go worldwide, so we are offering a £500 prize.”

The Pitlochry Games might well be older. The first record of the event goes back to 1852, but the community may well have tossed cabers, carried large rocks, and had a few tunes before then.

In terms of existing compositions, the town is the namesake of the late Ian P. Duncan‘s two-part 9/8 march, “Going to Pitlochry,” that was popular in the 1970s and ’80s. The tune was the opener of a 78th Fraser Highlanders medley in 1984 and is featured on the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band’s 1975 album, Capitol Parade. The Scottish  accordionist Freeland Barbour also composed the march, “Pitlochry Highland Games.”

The 2022 Pitlochry Highland Games are scheduled for September 10th.



PPBSO composing contest extended four months
July 21, 2021





Forgotten Password?