PP Editor’s Blog: New Book/ RSPBA Fire/ Scottish Schools

A new book of piobaireachd music is to be launched at the Piobaireachd Society Conference at the end of this month.

‘Pipers Meeting’ (the title comes from one of the tunes) is taken from the Campbell Canntaireachd manuscript and many of the tunes have never been published in staff notation before. The book’s compilers are Patrick Molard and Dr Jack Taylor, friends and  students of the ‘Bobs of Balmoral’, RU Brown and RB Nicol.

In interpreting the vocables, the ‘hiharin, hindro’ of the manuscript, Patrick and Jack have applied the knowledge gained from these two masters to their own expertise gathered during a lifetime of piobaireachd study. The idea for the book followed a demonstration of some of the tunes by Patrick at the Piobaireachd Society Conference in 2012. The Society has made a substantial contribution towards the cost of publication.

Patrick and Jack pictured at a sunny St Malo whilst working on the book in 2012

A  review will appear in Piping Press in due course, but at first glance I can say this is a high quality product, well laid out, wire bound, A4 size, 45 tunes, 33 of them in staff notation for the first time. Canntaireachd is possibly a form of shorthand, a quick means of taking down a tune from someone’s playing. In the days before staff notation it was the only way pipe music could be recorded. Its weakness is that it does not convey any sense of time and it is here that the editing skill of pipers such as Jack and Patrick comes to the fore.

Moreover the source manuscript, possibly for speedier writing, misses out many of the ‘cadence’ E figures so typical of ceol mor. Jack and Patrick have added these judiciously to pleasing effect and, at a stroke, made many of these tunes eminently playable. Wisely, they have indicated where these cadence Es have been inserted.

I am sure this book will be seized on by the piobaireachd enthusiast. At the moment the Piping Press Shop is offering it at a pre-launch price of £13.50 a saving of a whopping £1.50 on the RRP!

It surprised everyone to wake last Friday to the news of the fire at the RSPBA’s HQ in Glasgow. Thankfully damage was limited and no one was hurt; the nerve centre of the world pipe band movement remains open for business. The fire started in an old storage heater in a corner of the building. It showed how urgent it is that the Association get all assistance with their refurbishment/ redevelopment plans. Considering the millions the Worlds generates for the Scottish economy, the politicians must not be slow in offering substantial financial support

I have now placed the short slideshow of the 2016 Uist & Barra contest pipers on the PP Video Archive. Pictures of Finlay Johnston, Faye Henderson, Alasdair Henderson, William Geddes, Gordon McCready, Angus MacColl, Stuart Liddell, Gordon Walker, Douglas Murray, Callum Beaumont. Watch it here.

Judging by the amount of traffic our stories on the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship generated I think last Sunday’s contest must be considered a major success. With 81 bands entered it could not be anything else really. However we have had a few comments about the new venue James Gillespie’s High School. In the interests of gauging what those who attended thought we are running a small poll. I know the organisers of the Championships follow Piping Press so what attendees think will come to their attention so let us have your views.