Tag: Piobaireachd Society

Let’s cut out the vitriol and join together to effect improvement

Let’s cut out the vitriol and join together to effect improvement

In 2000, as the new millennium dawned, William Donaldson published his controversial The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society 1750-1950. It was a landmark publication and it remains a masterly – and controversial – work. It should be part of any piper’s library. In his book, Donaldson takes a swipe at […]

Famous pipers: John A. MacLellan

Simply put, Captain John A. MacLellan MBE (1921-1991) was one of the most important pipers of the 20th century. A military man, he joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders as a boy piper in 1936. In 1941, he was appointed Pipe Major of the 9th Battalion, Queen’s Own Highlanders: he […]

Willie Donaldson: What are we waiting for?

Willie Donaldson: What are we waiting for?

There has been a call in recent years for change in the long-standing arrangements in the big piobaireachd competitions; that the Piobaireachd Society should stop naming its own settings as the preferred ones, or stop setting the annual tunes at all, allowing the performers free choice in which tunes they […]

In full flow. The Clasp competition at the 2019  Northern Meeting.

Set Tunes blog feedback / Contest by tape

We have received some feedback regarding the blog post from Simon McKerrell, pictured right, that appeared here last week. All of the feedback we received came from competing pipers and a couple of judges. Most were supportive of Mr McKerrell’s suggestion that it is time to gradually abolish the Set […]

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. […]

The Simon Fraser letters 2

The Simon Fraser letters 2

From The International Piper of January 1981. Simon Fraser’s next contribution to the Oban Times is dated September 11, 1909 and describes the Secrets of Canntaireachd. He writes: I take up my pen to explain to the best of my ability the mysterious music called ‘Sheantaireachd,’ or pipe language, as […]

Dr. Angus MacDonald: 200 years … yet pipers still play parrot-fashion

Dr. Angus MacDonald: 200 years … yet pipers still play parrot-fashion

Dr. Angus MacDonald 2020 marks 200 years since Donald MacDonald produced his first volume of piobaireachd in staff notation. This is the oldest comprehensive written record of ceòl mòr by a piper. A pioneering work, he tackled the difficult problem of committing intricate piobaireachd embellishments to staff notation. He was […]