Dan Nevans, the well-known Scottish piper, will shortly publish a book that aims to introduce ceòl mòr to non-enthusiasts.
Dan, a piping teacher at the National Piping Centre, told Bagpipe.News the idea for the book, titled Piobaireachd is for Everyone, was to demystify the music and make it “palatable for all.”
“The book is manifestly not a guide on how to play the music,” he said. “It is intended to be an enjoyable, even humorous, entry into this wonderful music. I think most of us, particularly those raised in the world of pipe bands, have considered ourselves as outsiders with regard to this music but once we take those tentative first steps towards it we realise it’s wonderful music and it is, in fact, for all of us. We can all appreciate it. We can all play it. We all own it.
“Growing up in the pipe band world of the late 1990s/early 2000s, the general attitude of the pipers around me was that piobaireachd was boring and playing it was a waste of time. However, I realise now that the players I was surrounded with simply didn’t know what piobaireachd is. They had a vision of it but that vision was heavily coloured by a lack of musical understanding and contextual information. I hope my book provides this.
“Every tune we learn teaches us something new about the capacities of the instrument as well as a smorgasbord of social history, musical interpretation, and technical delivery. Not to mention the benefits we gain in the mechanical consistency of our playing and tonality of our instrument.
“The book looks at the social, cultural and musical development of this music in a friendly, less academic manner. I hope readers find it to be a fun and personable introduction to the music.”
Dan Nevans, pictured, was one of the inaugural members of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and holds an Honours Degree in Applied Music. He competes in the Competing Pipers’ Association’s B Grade and has previously played with Vale of Atholl, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia and Greater Glasgow Police pipe bands.
• Piobaireachd is for Everyone will be available this summer.
• Watch and listen to Dan play one of the pibroch canon’s finest pieces, Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay, below: