Bagpipe Tutor 3 – Piobaireachd by Robert Wallace has been a welcome addition to the teaching manuals for ceol mor, classical pipe music.
In 20 lessons the author takes the student through all the required technique for this music and on completion of the course the beginner has four tunes, the Wee Spree, Clan Campbell’s Gathering, the Boat Tune and Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament in his/her repertoire.
Each of the lessons is accompanied by an audio or video file which means the student is never left wondering if they are playing a particular passage or a specific movement incorrectly. The clear but concise approach taken by the author has made this book immediately attractive to the learner and has sold well since its introduction in early 2016 and has now been reprinted for the third time.
The author said: ‘I have used the same approach as my two earlier tutors: simple language shorn of ambiguity, and a progressive succession of lessons, each building on the other. This seems to have met with favour.
‘There is no great secret about playing piobaireachd; it is often shrouded in mystique but really it is very straightforward, at least in a technical sense, and certainly not as difficult to play as a competition 2/4 march. Subtlety and nuance does play a part once the piper becomes more experienced, but that should not be a barrier to anyone beginning their study.
‘I would encourage all pipers to have a go at learning ceol mor. It is particularly rewarding for older players whose fingers are perhaps not what they used to be. With a good, comfortable instrument many hours of pleasure await those who are prepared to take the plunge.’
• Robert Wallace is a renowned bagpipe educator. A double Gold Medallist and holder of the Clasp at the Northern Meeting, he is Vice President of the Piobaireachd Society. Check out his insightful critiques of piobaireachd playing elsewhere on Piping Press. Membership of the Piobaireachd Society is open to anyone with an interest in this music. For a modest annual fee members gain access to a wealth of recordings and source material. Click on the link above to join.