PP Editor’s Blog 21/11/14

     
A lot happening since we last met and thanks for all the support and huge amount of site traffic. Check out the new comments on last week’s blog and on Highland dress. Janet Montague has also made a very fair comment about the way pipers/bands write and play 3/4s. Janet is quite correct when she says we write our music with what should be an anacrusis, within the bar. The problem is that this is now so well established within our tradition that there is no likelihood of it changing. The problem is not just as bad as she states however. In 3/4 playing some strongly pulsed beats will always fall on the ‘wrong’ foot. The way we write these tunes just now means the first pulse in the Green Hills is a C on the right foot, but this means that the next strong pulse, an E, does fall on the left. See samples below:

How we write itHow we write it

How it should be writtenhow janet writes itLet’s have your thoughts if you disagree or have any better suggestions.


The news that the Worlds is to stay in Glasgow will have been met with a sigh of relief at all the city-based shops, hotels, piping institutions and the Piping Live Festival. Can you imagine the devastating financial effect of a decamp to Belfast? Me neither. Letters of thanks to Washington Street definitely in order. As I said in my comment on Tuesday, the decision to stay here is the right one for an event which grows in stature every year.


To the Scots Guards junior solos tomorrow at Inchdrewer House in Edinburgh. Support the contest is you can. Results and pix here ASAP.


Inverness Piping Society has the following forthcoming recitals: Tonight (Nov 21) Roderick MacLeod with support from Archie Drennan; 2015: Feb 20th Niall Stewart,  27 March Douglas Murray and 17th April Glenn Brown. Click the link for more details.


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Iain Grant has put this great picture of the Corstorphine Pipe Band on the PP Facebook. Iain wonders who the be-medalled P/M far right is. Any answers?corstorphine pipe band for blog


Talking of Facebook a good list of comments for the Bratach 1974 pic I put on a few weeks ago. Here’s the pic again and the comments:bratach 1974 picFullSizeRender

4 thoughts on “PP Editor’s Blog 21/11/14”

  1. a few more thoughts……….

    ‘The problem is that this is now so well established within our tradition that there is no likelihood of it changing.’

    Many things have been well established within traditions Robert, but I’m sure you will agree it’s a good thing they changed! Just because a mistake is well established doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address it and put it right, especially for the sake of our young learners. The educational establishments should lead the way. This attitude of ‘we’ve done it that way so long we’re not changing now even if it’s wrong’, is sloppy.
    Come on piping world, hold out for what’s musically accurate and correct and set a better example!! Enough sloppiness and ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude about in the world!!

    ‘ In 3/4 playing some strongly pulsed beats will always fall on the ‘wrong’ foot.’

    Another interesting point. What pray tell is a ‘wrong’ foot? This has to do with army traditions has it not? And the way in which army pipers HAD to start off on a LEFT foot irrespective of what the music needed. Surely this is now antiquated as piping is no longer so much dominated by the Army. As you say, in anything written in 3/4, every first beat of the bar will be stepped out by alternate feet, unless someone can devise a way of going Left Right right, for the 1,2,3. This idea that one or other of the feet is ‘wrong’ causes a problem. It’s not wrong. The Right foot is every bit as right as the left. If you get me.

    You piping tutors tell pupils to sing the tunes, placing the emphasis on the first beat of the bars. What a mess that makes of My Dream Valley on the Road to Glendaruel, The Green Hills, and countless other great tunes in 3/4. For heavens sake get the Right foot forward on the first upbeats and get everything back to where it should be. And treat feet equally!!!!! For music’s sake.

  2. It always tickles me that no-one on any side of this debate ever seems to pick up that the drum corps always quietly slots into the correct place regardless of where the barlines are drawn. Nor have I ever heard anyone phrasing any of these tunes wrongly, which tells you something about the relevant value of music and oral tuition (no different from the classical tradition, I might add).

    Nonetheless, it is wrong and should be changed where possible. Though for the sake of massed bands, I think we’re stuck with the wrong foot….

  3. Janette and I discussed this some years ago at length as we were entering tunes for my pipetunes.ca website. At her urging I decided that for a few days I would play all my 3/4s with lead-in notes. Almost immediately the tunes began making more rhythmical sense than they ever had and all 3/4s on my site are now scored this way. And Calum, with due respect, if we say right off the top that “we’re stuck” with something, then we will be!

    1. I agree it’s the right thing to do. But as I said above, bands already play them correctly, because the drummers silently correct our error. So attempting to change to add a one beat lead in will cause chaos (I know, because I’ve tried it) and not actually make the music any better.

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