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The art and mystery of composition for the bagpipe: part 2

The art and mystery of composition for the bagpipe: part 2

by BILL LIVINGSTONE. Piping Today #101, 2020. My own experience of composing music started when I was in my teens, creating rock and roll songs in the simple three or four-chord form of the times. But still I was doing it, and they gathered some local popularity. Of course there […]

Teachers & Students: Blackley of Hillsdale

Teachers & Students: Blackley of Hillsdale

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey. June, 2022. The writer, Ami McKay, has a great string of words about life in a small town, and that is, “no matter what you do, someone always knew you would.” Cue the local curtain rustler’s chat with the TV reporter, “oh, they was ruthless […]

Michael Grey’s Notes: Bagpipe 999

Michael Grey’s Notes: Bagpipe 999

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey. Piping Today #75, 2015. There’s around 2.5 million apps currently available for Android system users and almost the same number for those with iPhones. You don’t need me to tell you that there’s an app for pretty much any need or task a person might […]

The art and mystery of composition for the bagpipe: part 1

The art and mystery of composition for the bagpipe: part 1

by BILL LIVINGSTONE. Piping Today #100, 2020. The ability to compose music, any music, for the bagpipe or otherwise is a peculiar talent and very difficult to describe or define. We know what the results of the effort are, but not much is known about the process itself. Everyone has […]

Michael Grey’s Notes: Piping in later life – no excuses

Michael Grey’s Notes: Piping in later life – no excuses

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey. Piping Today #74, 2015. My Dad always said that life moves forward at a pace in tandem with a person’s age.  So when you’re 10, life seems to move along at a grindingly slow 10mph. At 10 a kid feels like it’ll take forever for […]

Bill Livingstone: the music and the land

Bill Livingstone: the music and the land

LISTEN TO WHAT YOU SEE by Bill Livingstone Piping Today #99, 2019. “It is said that unless one can speak Gaelic, one can never understand or hope to play piobaireachd. I would not like to go as far as to say that, but before anyone could describe this ancient form […]

Michael Grey’s Notes: Dear Old Glasgow Town

Michael Grey’s Notes: Dear Old Glasgow Town

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey. Piping Today #71, 2014. You know you’re a seriously regular visitor to Glasgow when someone stops you on the street, asks for directions  and you can help – and with mostly reliable info. It’s the last Friday of the Commonwealth Games and thanks to years […]

Bill Livingstone: not the singer but the song

Bill Livingstone: not the singer but the song

PIOBAIREACHD TUITION by Bill Livingstone Piping Today #98, 2019. I once was judging a piobaireachd competition with the great John MacDougall and a piper performing before us had finished his tune. It had no errors, the pipe was fine, technique fine, but John turned to me and said: “Bill, I’m […]

Michael Grey’s Notes: Seven deadly sins

Michael Grey’s Notes: Seven deadly sins

GREY’S NOTES by Michael Grey. Piping Today #70, 2014. One of the people I teach, a young guy, about 17, is mad as hell about piping. He eats it up. Loves the tunes, loves to play. He’s crazy about piping — a lot like you maybe. I can tell you […]