Book Review: ‘Eat, Sleep, Pipe, Repeat’ by Kyle Warren/ Plus Two Other New Books

The title of Kyle Warren’s new publication of pipe music is certainly original – as is a lot of the music. Kyle (pictured) is well known, having played with Field Marshal Montgomery PB and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. He is also a talented composer of pipe music.

This compilation contains an interesting blend of original pieces alongside standards such as Lochanside and Farewell to Nigg, both re-arranged and reproduced as waltzes.

By P/M Barry Donaldson

Kyle includes 34 of his own compositions encompassing the full range of bagpipe music idioms. His work is original, imaginative and modern. The very first tune is a jig called Trouble at the Croft. It introduces the feeling and expectation of what the rest of his compositions are likely to deliver. Bouncing off the low G at the start of each part, the tune is pacy and delivers a driving rhythmic melody.

As you turn the pages you realise Kyle has placed all 11 jig compositions at the start of the book. Very clever! In my younger days when exploring new publications I immediately headed for the jig section at the back of the book where all the exciting stuff was to be found.

I doubt I was much different from others looking for fast dynamic tunes to play. I am guessing, but I believe Kyle’s understanding of this natural impulse has made him realise that anyone who cares to peruse this book will immediately be captivated by his jigs and his exciting style of composition.

It comes as no surprise to see that following the jigs are the hornpipes, five in total. All are constructed in the more modern rounded style with a good example being Monomania, a challenging piece which I feel should be played at a fast tempo.

This is a tune likely to be heard as an opener in band medleys – but it would need a good solid pipe corps to handle it. Thanks to its simple rhythmic structure, it would also appeal to our brothers and sisters in the percussion section.

Half a dozen reels come next, and up first, the Pheasant Plucker’s Son needs careful verbal articulation – rushed pronunciation could prove embarrassing. Overall the reels are a little demanding but it doesn’t take long to get your fingers around them and grasp Kyle’s style of phrasing.

He also includes four relatively simple two-parted strathspeys each with a distinctive phrase structure making them easy to deliver in the Highland dance pulse.

In another section, described as ‘dance’ tunes, are pieces all composed with an unusual 7/8 time signature. (There are notes at the beginning of the book as to how this time signature works.) All are two-parted, simple, pleasing melodies with a feel of the Breton dance tunes we are now familiar with.

Kyles’ rearrangements of other composers’ work serves to demonstrate his skill in altering the mood of certain pieces. This is not an uncommon practice within the modern pipe band medley and I see this section providing pipe majors with performance alternatives.

All in all an excellent publication of modern style bagpipe music with lots of originality.

The full list of tunes: Trouble at the Croft, Valerie Kelly’s Jig, Wee Eoin’s, Trending, A Shine on the Elbow, Hyacinth, Myroundaphobia, Anti-Social Distancing, The Soapbox Six, The Need for Tweed, The Last Plant Pot, Monomania, The Box Hill Bandit, The Grand Slam, Anna Mairi Wilson, Dr. Richard Parkes MBE, The Pheasant Plucker’s Son, Take Me to Braemar, Frozen Cold, Some Folk, Golden Brown – The 2nd Edition , Sampled, Eat Sleep Pipe Repeat, Vogue, The Glenferrie, Humour in the Rumour, Lily Thomson, Far Out, Frederick Cameron of Camberwell, Rós na hÉireann (Irish Rose), Myopic, The New Dawn, Robbie Buchanan, Donnchadh Rodaidh of Bàgh a Chaise, (Duncan Roddy of Cheesebay), Lochanside, Lochanside Waltz, Farewell to Nigg, Farewell to Nigg Waltz, Kirstie MacCallman’s Favourite, Kirstie MacCallman’s Favourite – Waltz, Bronni’s Blue Brozzi, Bronni’s Blue Brozzi Waltz, The Grinder, The Grinder Reel, Little Hands, Little Hands Jig, The High Drive, The High Drive Jig, X-treme, X-treme Jig.

  • Watch the book’s promo video and order it here.

Heather Hilton: ‘We are very excited to announce the release of our 20th anniversary bagpipe sheet music book of Modern Piping. The book goes on sale September 2, 2020.

‘Modern Piping was founded by piper and composer Lincoln Hilton who is the current Director of Pipes and Drums at Haileybury College in Australia. ‘Modern Piping’ is Lincoln’s initiative to create a platform for piping to push the boundaries of music while honouring tradition.

‘Volume 20 of original tunes are from piping composers Lincoln Hilton, Lorne MacDougall, R.S. MacDonald, Ross Ainslie and Xavier Boderiou. (Our full team of composers includes Alisdair McLaren, Dougie McCance, Alex Gandy, Bruce Gandy and Scott Wallace). Volume 20 is 54 pages and makes our collection one of the longest-running bagpipe sheet music books in history with over 1,000 pages of published music.’ Subscribe to Modern Piping books here.

Accordionist Gordon Shand has produced a new book of music suitable for the pipes, ‘Journey – The Piper’s Collection’:

The blurb: ‘In a time where musicians were unable to perform, many took to composing and recording in home studios. Many took it a step further and composed a whole collection of tunes. Gordon Shand is an example of this.  

‘Gordon is a well-known accordion player and composer in the Scottish dance band scene, having performed on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ programme on several occasions over the years.  However, his love for the Highland bagpipes has been the catalyst for this collection of original, and mostly unpublished, material. 

‘In the past, Gordon has always enjoyed integrating bagpipe music into his band as these tunes get a different reaction to the usual fiddle and accordion tunes.

‘With this collection of 44 compositions from marches to slow airs, reels and a hornpipe, a strathspey and some jigs, everything is here for a piper to pick up and play.  As Gordon mentions in the book, ‘Sir Jimmy Shand and Bobby MacLeod are fine examples of accordionists who have produced some great pipe tunes which are now deemed classics.’ 

‘With forewords from Pipe Major Stuart Liddell (Inveraray & District) and Martin Gillespie (Skerryvore), who both also play accordion, it supports the idea that compositions can be played by any melody instrument, regardless of the composer’s own ability on that instrument.’ Order here.

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