New Prescribed Tunes Added to RSPBA’s List for Grades 4A and 4B and Novice A & B

North Lanarkshire Schools, the current Novice B World Champions

The RSPBA Music Board has added a handful of new tunes to the lists of those available for Grade 4A, 4B and Novice A & B for the 2020 season. One tune Dora MacLeod has been added erroneously, it seems, to the two-parted strathspey lists.

The new tunes are three 2-part marches, three 2-part strathspeys and one 4-part strathspey.

The marches: ‘Coppermill’, ‘Corn Rigs are Bonny’ and the ‘White Cockade’.

The two part strathspeys: ‘Cowal Society’, ‘Strathconnon’ and the ‘Inverness Fiddler’.

The four part strathspey: ‘Dora MacLeod’



In the blurb on the RSPBA website the Board say: ‘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.

‘This is important in regard to the effectiveness of the performance. If the degree of difficulty in the tune, and drum-score, is set too high in respect of the band members experience and ability, the likely result may be ‘note’ and ‘timing’ errors by pipers and drummers, ‘cutting out’, uneven blowing, and difficulty in matching harmonic and drum accompaniment to the pieces being played.

Sri Dasmesh from Malaysia the current 4B World Champions

‘Through choosing, and practising, the most appropriate tunes, pipers and drummers should be able to focus on how the music is being performed, instead of thinking about how the technical elements are being handled. All of which has an impact on the ‘ensemble’ assessment, too. The old adage ‘A simple tune played well, is better than a difficult tune played not so well’, still has some relevance today.’

The requirements once more:

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.

Get full details from the RSPBA here.


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