Tim Cummings’ 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022

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In the final ever edition of the Piping Today magazine published in May 2020, a wide range of people were asked to give their 2020 vision for piping going forward. They were all sent a list of questions and asked to choose one to answer in no more than 200 words.

The questions prompted a wide range of interesting and entertaining answers, and we will share them on bagpipe.news over the rest of this year. To give the writers a chance to update their thoughts, we have asked them to write us a short and snappy postcard from 2022, letting us know their thoughts and plans for this year now that piping is opening up again and life getting back to some normality.

Tim Cummings’ 2020 Vision

I’d really love to witness a greater focus on our music, including reconnecting it to singing, dancing, human emotion, and individual
expression; and thus less emphasis on perceived technical ‘perfection’, ‘cleverness’, and the ceaseless comparing ourselves to others (all of which I have often been guilty of myself).   

Tim’s postcard from 2022

An oversized, additional-postage postcard: Following two years of depressingly empty schedules, 2022 started off with many of us saying ‘Yes!’ to everything that came our way.  The predictable result, for me at least, was the other extreme: six months of being completely overwhelmed with commitments. 

As the dust only partially settles, I have occasionally paused to remember the multitude of joys stolen from us during the initial phases of the pandemic, including live music (especially in the company of other persons).  I’m more convinced than ever that we not only need to listen reverently to good music, but also to feel it in our bodies.  Enough with the compressed audio and the earbuds!  Our rib cages also need to vibrate; the entire body needs to respond through movement.  These are experiences best shared. 

The second realm of thought has involved a desperate craving for living with less distraction.  This is so profoundly difficult in our current time.  I agree with the assessment that distraction is a form of hell [per W.Berry’s ‘A letter (to Ed McClanahan)‘], and thus am trying ever harder to focus on anything — especially on music, most especially on music that nourishes, inspires, and moves both body & spirit.

Tim Cummings


Other articles published in this series so far:

•Bill Livingstone’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Keith Bowes Jnr’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Jim McGillivray’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Dr Peter McCalister’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Jack Taylor’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Donald MacPhee’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Bob Worrall’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022
•Iain MacInnes’s 2020 vision and a postcard from 2022


Tim Cummings plays, teaches, writes and publishes bagpipe musicHis Theory Top-Up series ran in Piping Today magazine for more than five years.

Theory Top-Up articles published on Bagpipe.News so far:

  1. Tunes in the key of D-Major
  2. Tunes in the key of A-Mixolydian
  3. Tunes in the key of A-Major
  4. Tunes based on a ‘gapped’ A scale
  5. Tunes based in A-pentatonic major
  6. Tunes in B-minor
  7. Double Tonic Tunes
  8. Tunes in the Dorian mode
  9. Tunes in G-Major
  10. Exotic tunes and tunes that change key
  11. Compressing tunes with low F-sharp notes
  12. Compressing tunes with high-B notes
  13. Theory Top-Up Harmonics: an introduction to the mysterious overtones in our music
  14. Theory Top-Up Harmonics Part 2: continuing the discussion on overtones