The story of the late, “great” pianist Joyce Hatto being outed as a fraud did the rounds this week. Turns out that the marginally talented piano-player became a legend through her husband dubbing the performances of true greats onto records bearing her name.
Her husband claims that he did it out of love. Not quite Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, but it does tug at at least one heart-string, if not real piano strings (which are generally struck, not tugged).
As a ruse, I’ve mentioned to a few people over the years how easy it would be to create an apocryphal pipe band using recording techniques. One talented piper, a great side drummer, an excellent tenor/bass person and some good recording equipment is all you need to make the world’s best studio pipe band album.
You could try to fool everyone and create a legendary “one-time-only” shooting-star band. But who’s to say a pipe band recording couldn’t be legitimately done that way anyway? In fact, just about every studio pipe band recording made lists members of the band who never actually played a note on the album. It’s traditionally a bit of a ruse anyway.
It’s a challenge waiting to be taken up by three people: create the world’s greatest “pipe band” recording through layering and multi-tracking. If pipe band music is indeed marketable to a wider public, this could very well be the way to do it.