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New Recording from Donald MacPherson added to PP Archive/ RSPBA Update Prescribed Tunes

A treat for piobaireachd aficionados today with the posting on the PP Audio Archive of a performance of the Lament for Mary MacLeod by Donald MacPherson, writes the Editor. The recording was made by the BBC in 1977 during a recital Donald gave with P/M Angus MacDonald at the Eden Court Theatre, Inverness.

We are grateful to Donald McBride, one of Donald’s former students. for passing it on. Donald’s playing reflects all the touches of a master and, interestingly, he plays  a high A instead of the more common high G in the third line of the variation doublings. Listen to the tune here:
Read more about Donald here.

The PP Audio Archive is brought to you free of charge thanks to the support of our advertisers and your support for the Piping Press Shop.

Chris Terry playing outside the HQ of the Transvaal Scottish regiment in Johannesburg. Chris is ‘top of the pops’ on the PP Audio Archive

Reviewing the list of recordings it may be of interest to readers to find out which is the post popular. Well way out in front is South Africa’s piobaireachd expert Chris Terry whose performance of the Glen is Mine has had 1,149 listens. Well done Chris! Chris is one of the judges for this year’s Shasta Piping Society Piobaireachd Composing Competition.

Next we have Chris’s teacher John MacFadyen with Too Long in This Condition with 689 listens and following that is Alasdair Gillies’s recital with 664, then yours truly with MacDougall’s Gathering on 651. Next is Donald MacPherson with Lady MacDonald’s Lament on 624 and his recital with has the piobaireachd Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor has 610 listens.

More:
Robert Wallace, Company’s Lament, 598
Jimmy McIntosh, Lament for the Children, 581
Donald MacLeod, Jigs, 532
Andrew Pitkeathly, ceol beag, 515
John MacDougall, Former Winners’ MSR, 513
Donald MacPherson, MSR, 498
Angus MacColl, MSR, Oban, 483
Robert Reid, MSR, 481
Jimmy McIntosh, Earl of Seaforth, 466
RU Brown, MSR, 448
Govan Police PB (first ever recording of a pipe band), 416
John MacDonald of Inverness, Lament for the Children, 410
Gordon Walker, MSR/H&J, 372
Jori Chisholm’s winning Shasta tune from last year, 301

One shouldn’t read too much into these figures; some recordings have been posted for a much longer period than others. The success of ceol mor tracks does show the thirst for knowledge and information on how specific tunes may be timed. There is an extensive library of music on the Piobaireachd Society website which those who enjoy the PP Audio Archive recordings may also like to tap into.

If any reader has a tape or mp3 of music they think would be suitable for our archive please forward it to the usual email.



The RSPBA has updated its list of prescribed tunes for lower grade competitions for 2018. Among tunes added are: Thomson’s Dirk, John MacDonald’s Reel, Glen Caladh Castle (used to be a a Grade 3/ Grade 4 favourite) Hugh Kennedy, Barren Rocks of Aden, Weary Maid, Burning of the Piper’s Hut, the Maids of the Black Glen and Forest Lodge. The tunes contained in each category are now very extensive with something to suit all tastes. Check out the full lists here.  The Association website states:

Major Championships – Grade 4B and Novice Juvenile B
4 x 2 parted Marches from the RSPBA Prescribed Tune List
All tunes played must come from the RSPBA Prescribed Tune List

Major Championships – Grade 4A and Novice Juvenile A
4 Parts March (in 2/4 Time Signature), 4 Parts Strathspey and 4 Parts Reel
1 x 4 Parted 2/4 March or 2 x 2 parted 2/4 Marches
1 x 4 Parted Strathspey or 2 x 2 parted Strathspeys
1 x 4 Parted Reel or 2 x 2 Parted Reels
All tunes played must come from the RSPBA Prescribed Tune List

Minor Contests:
Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile remains as stipulated currently – being 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 Minutes Quick March Tempo.
Grade 4 and Novice Juvenile A MSR Contests; Championship playing requirement change will also be applied.

‘These tunes have been carefully chosen to reflect the relative experience and ability of pipers and drummers in that specific grade, presenting them with the opportunity to perform in contests, ‘on a level playing field’, as each piece is regarded as having equal ‘weighting’, and this should be borne in mind when making those choices for contest performances.’


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