Editor’s Notebook: Pipes Difficulty/ Muirheads Articles/ Paddy Moloney/ Jim Murdock/ John MacLellan Recital

In a recent poll covered in the national press the pipes came on top as the hardest instrument of all to play. The order given was 1 Bagpipes 2 Piccolo 3 French horn 4 Violin 5 Oboe 6 Flute 7 Cello 8 Accordion 9 Organ and 10 Drums. I’m not sure who conducted this survey or what the criteria were, but it seems spurious to me – no mention of…

Memories of Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band and the Great P/M Robert G Hardie – Part 2

As the competition season approached, practices became more frequent and intense.  The week before ‘The Worlds’ would involve several extra practices. I remember one night having just completed a gruelling MSR comprising a six part march, an eight part strathspey, and an eight part reel. Hardie made no comment but casually said, ‘We’ll try that again’!  By Gordon Ferguson Yes, these were solid practices and we were ‘match fit’ by…

Memories of Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band and the Great P/M Robert G Hardie

I have been asked by the Editor to reflect on my time playing with the Muirhead and Sons Pipe Band and in particular what it was like being led by the maestro that was P/M Robert G Hardie. Though I have lived in Queensland, Australia, for many years now, my time with the band when we won a civilian band record of five World Championship wins in a row 1965-69…

Donald Morrison Archive: How ‘Donald, Willie and His Dog’ Got Its Name

This article from Donald’s archive is from the Oban Times newspaper. No date is given but it is believed to be from the 1970s. A few weeks ago when reporting on the Northern Meeting competitions [writes their piping correspondent] I speculated on the name of Donald Morrison’s jig ‘Donald, Willie and His Dog’. The name fascinated me in the same way as Willie Ross’s tune ‘The Old Ruins’ did after…

Iconic Bagpipe Maker William Sinclair, Leith, is Back in Business

The world-renowned Sinclair Bagpipemaking business is now back up and running and fully operational. Ewan Sinclair, grandson of William Sinclair jnr. and son of Allistair, has teamed up with master craftsman Tim Gellaitry and the firm are once more manufacturing instruments of the highest quality. This week, myself and Brian Lamond went along to their workshop in Leith to test the first batch of chanters and drones. The standard was…