Features

Simon McKerrell: Why we should abolish the Set Tunes

Simon McKerrell: Why we should abolish the Set Tunes

In his far-reaching blog posted on this site last week, Stuart Letford questioned whether the Set Tunes should continue to be set solely by the Piobaireachd Society’s Music Committee. I suggest it is time to actually abolish the Set Tunes altogether. I have spoken on this topic before. Indeed, this […]

Stuart Letford: The new piping normal

Stuart Letford: The new piping normal

“We will not succeed in navigating the complex environment of the future by peering relentlessly into a rear view mirror. To do so, we would be out of our minds.” – Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds (Capstone, 2001). Like most of you, I have now spent eight weeks self-isolating. […]

Coire na Creiche in the Cuillin hills of Skye. This was where the last clan battle took place on Skye. It was fought between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Sleat in the summer of 1601.

Stories of the Tunes: The MacDonald’s Salute

The MacDonald’s Salute is one of three compositions relating to the reconciliation between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Sleat, following a protracted period of conflict between the two. The other tunes are MacLeod’s Controversy and The MacLeod’s Salute. The tunes are attributed to MacLeod’s piper, Donald Mòr […]

An artists impression of Findlater's winning of the Victoria Cross at the Heights of Dargai.

Stories of the Tunes: Cock of the North

Last week we kicked off an occasional series looking at the stories behind some of our well known tunes. The tune we looked at was Pibroch of Donald Dubh. Today we look at Cock of The North. In the late 1890s, when news came of Piper Findlater’s exploits at Dargai […]

Gill Cairns: Staying connected

Gill Cairns: Staying connected

On the last Saturday in February I played in the Archie Kenneth Quaich in Edinburgh, Scotland. Had I known this would be the last ‘traditional’ competition in Scotland for the foreseeable future I might have hugged my friends a little longer. I would certainly have tried to spend just a […]

King James I.

Stories of the tunes: Pibroch of Donald Dubh

Today we begin an occasional series looking at the stories behind some of our well known tunes. We kick off with Pibroch of Donald Dubh, an old tune that was originally a pibroch but which was developed subsequently into ceòl beag (there are excellent march, jig, reel, quickstep and hornpipe […]

Dan Nevans: the spirit of rock ‘n roll

Dan Nevans: the spirit of rock ‘n roll

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t start reading this blog yet. Go to Spotify and bang on this playlist here. No shuffling. Play as it is from end to end. At a volume that will get you an ASBO (that’s an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for those not familair with Scotland’s crime legislation). […]

Robert Nicol, left, and Robert Reid.

We should not overstate the differences in our playing styles

Differences in playing styles is the subject of this opinion piece taken from the December 2004 Piping Times. By Duncan Watson A number of years ago while discussing the various aspects of The Unjust Incarceration with the late Donald Morrison, he related what I found to be an interesting story. […]

The structure of piobaireachd, 1

The structure of piobaireachd, 1

By Captain John A MacLellan MBE Piobaireachd, or ceòl mòr as many pipers prefer to call it, can be classified under various headings, all of which have some effect on the production of the music. Some of these classifications are more important than others. Probably of least importance, is the […]

The structure of piobaireachd, 2

The structure of piobaireachd, 2

By Capt. John A. MacLellan MBE We have seen in the previous article on the structure of piobaireachd how the various classifications which are part of ceòl mòr influence its meaning. Pipers do not necessarily recognise the same elements in a piece of music. To some, a lament may appear […]