Comments on the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships

10628625_10152738969223566_1160096277356351937_nToday we have the first part of our review of the competitions at Glasgow Green held last Friday and Saturday. It was a momentous day for the pipe band world and the ramifications are still being  considered by enthusiasts. Piping Press has been inundated with thousands of readers from every corner of the globe and we thank everyone for their interest.

There is lots more on pipe bands in your favourite web magazine, including a list of all previous World Pipe Band Champions and many other features and historical articles. Just click on the relevant heading above and the drop down box will help you navigate.

Today’s critique is from the highly respected retired senior adjudicator Alistair Aitken OBE. As well as giving fulsome comments on the performances in the Novice Juvenile, Juvenile and Grade 1 Qualifier (read them here), Mr Aitken also makes the following general comments on the day: 

This was my second experience of sitting in the main stand at the World Championships facing the bands as they enter the arena.  From that position all the players can be seen from the starting line as they march into the competing circle and when they are in the circle.  The following thoughts struck me:

  • I would argue that the clarity of the ‘collective’ performances (i.e. the whole band), including obvious errors, can be heard better than they can at ground level where the adjudicators are standing.
  • Some of the adjudicators stood very close to the bands where arguably it is more difficult to hear the collective effect (either pipe corps, drum corps or whole band).
  • There was no consistency in where the adjudicators positioned themselves, so inevitably they would hear different sound projections.
  • Some drums projected through the pipes much more clearly than others, despite the fact that listening from behind they would sound crisp with good depth.  For that reason the Drumming and Ensemble adjudicators (positioned mainly at opposite ends of the band) must be hearing significantly different sounds and sound balances between pipes and drums (as well as different impressions of how the drumming influences the piping musically).
  • No adjudicator would hear the performances in the same way as the BBC, as there were nine microphones positioned round the bands, recording simultaneously.
  • Bass Sections (particularly tenor drummers) are now much more balanced in relation to the other instruments than they were a few years ago; and there are not so many variations in tenor drummer positioning.
  • Loudspeakers from competition rings outwith the main arena could be heard at times, which potentially could interfere with the performances in the main arena.
  • Stay tuned for more from the Worlds tomorrow.