July 24, 2007


Anyone who has traveled by air to judge piobaireachd at a competition looks forward to the contest, but dreads one thing: lugging the hulking collections of music to the event. I swear I’m going to be charged for excess baggage one of these days.

My Piobaireachd Society Collection (all 15 books of it), is littered with personal notes on the tunes I’ve been through. I like to have those notes with me, and using someone else’s book wouldn’t serve the competitors as well.

Joking with some pipers at the excellent Antigonish Games this past weekend, with my 20-pound satchel of music crushing my shoulder, I suggested two things:

A small fortune could be gained by someone who converts the entire mess to pdf format, so that tunes and notes could be accessed from one’s PDA or mobile phone. That’s great as long as it doesn’t rain, which it did on the Saturday like naebody’s business. A wet gizmo is a dead gizmo.

Or, what about the Piobaireachd Society publishing a “Greatest Hits” collection? Ditch the dozens of crap tunes that have never been played, much less set, and just produce a version – in A4, please – that people might actually submit. If some crackpot puts in something like “The Two-Faced Englishman,” well, they should just come with the music in hand.

And while they’re at it, they can get rid of or consolidate all that canntaireachd and all those officious notes.

Build a better Collection and the world’s piobaireachd players and judges will flock to your door!




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