Editor’s Notebook: Tobermory Games/ Grampian Games/ Piper Carvings at Breuberg Castle/ New App for Learning by Ear

It looks like we will have the semblance of a piping season after all. Online contests are already beginning to sound so last year. Yesterday on a sunny isle of Mull, the local school band led the parade to the games park for a mini-gathering.

Local correspondent Calum MacLean reports: ‘The games started with the march to the field led by Tobermory High School Pipe Band.

‘Although this was not the full games but more of a Highland gathering, it was well attended with almost a full programme: stalls, heavies, track events and, most importantly, piping.

‘A junior competition was held on what was a very hot day. They could have run senior events as well but anyway, hopefully next year we will be back to normal.’ Results:

March: 1st Logie Johnstone 2nd Rory Reade 3rd Catriona Cameron 4th Cailean Maclean

S/R: 1st Logie Johnstone 2nd Rory Reade 3rd Rachel Gallagher

Jig: 1st Logie Johnstone 2nd Rachel Gallagher 3rd Rory Reade

U-13 March: 1st Catriona Cameron 2nd Joris Hutton 3rd Logan Gibson

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If Tobermory are leading the way back to normality, Grampian Games are not far behind. On August 14 they are holding an event on the field at Braemar. There will be light music contests for senior pipers.

Denise Forsyth, Secretary, reports: ‘Grampian Highland Games Association in partnership with Braemar Royal Highland Society are organising The Grampian Highland Games Gathering, which is a one-off event designed to encourage all of the competitors who throughout the pandemic have continued to train in their chosen disciplines despite no games being held. 

‘We realise that for this event to go ahead it will be dependent on the restrictions, but all being well The Gathering will be held on Saturday the 14th of August 2021 at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, Braemar.

‘The Senior Solo Piping competition will be light music only, comprising of a March and Strathspey and Reel.’

To the above we can add the games at the Argyllshire Gathering (Aug 26) which I’m told has a full entry, and also Lochaber Gathering (Aug 27) which is also over subscribed.

We’ll done to all concerned. Bands, are you listening? There’s still time to put on parades or displays or even a contest in August/September and drumming in October.

Trawling through the library archives the other day I came across these unused pictures from German piper Dirk-Boris Roedel a student at one of my schools in Germany eight years ago. Apologies for the delay Dirk-Boris.

Dirk-Boris wrote: ‘The pictures are both from the ceiling of the great hall of Breuberg Castle, south Germany, where each year the Summerschool of the Bagpipe Acssociation of Germany is held.

‘The great hall is not a seminar room for the summer school, and as most participants don’t take a guided tour through the museum part of the castle.

‘Most of them never saw these plastering/stucco pictures. The first is nice, but not unusual; it just shows a German piper. It is in that part of the ceiling that shows the happy sides of life.

‘The second picture is more interesting as it shows a strange pipe-creature, half man, half pipe. The neck of the creature transforms into a chanter and chanter stock, two drones come out of its right shoulder while it’s playing on the chanter.

‘Sculptures and paintings of pipers in German castles or churches are not too unusual, but I’ve never seen anything like this – it reminds me a bit of the creatures painted by Hieronymus Bosch in his paintings of hell.’ 

Mattie O´Boyle, director of a company called Reelear, says he has a developed an app which will help pipers learn by ear. He says it will also mean that ‘bagpipers of all levels can have infinite, call and response dictations based on their choices of musical variables – with the exact pitch frequencies that they need.’

‘We are finally free from equal temperament ear training! I hope our app helps to accelerate your readers’ bagpipe journey.

‘Please let me know if someone from your staff would like free access to the app to test it. I’d be happy to help with that.’

Is there any reader out there who would like to test and review this for Piping Press? If so please get in touch: editor@pipingpress.com.

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