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Old 08-19-2010, 08:41 AM   #1
Ross Anderson
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Default Allan McDonald's thesis

Roderick Cannon and I have just scanned Allan MacDonald's own copy of his thesis on the relationship between pibroch and Gaelic song, and put it online at www.piob.info. We initially put a scan of this work online last June; that copy had some defective pages. The new version also contains a number of Allan's subsequent handwritten annotations. The direct URL is

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/musicfiles/manuscripts/allanmacdonald/

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Old 08-19-2010, 09:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Thanks ever so much!!!
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:02 AM   #3
Toronto Piper
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Thank you very much to all three of you far making this very important work available. Does Mr. MacDonald have any plans to have it published on a broader scale? Also, Do you guys have any plans to make the accompanying recordings available??
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:30 PM   #4
John Dally
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Thanks, Ross. Re: Toronto's question: there is a non-commercial recording of Allan's MacFadyen lecture in circulation. You might ask around for that.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:03 AM   #5
sonofsomerled
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Errr..... so does anyone want to comment on the thesis? Is he right?
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

I suspect there would be a fairly limited subset of people on here who have done sufficient research to justify their agreement or disagreement. I for one haven't, nor have even finished reading all the thesis, but it certainly seems to point to a way of understanding the music melodically which would make more "sense" to my ears than did at first.
Oddly, the more I listen, the fewer performances I hear that I have any complaint about. Maybe I'm being brainwashed... Or I'm getting better at choosing the 'right' pipers to listen to...
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Last edited by Blackadder; 08-23-2010 at 01:48 PM. Reason: clarification, hopefully
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:25 PM   #7
STEF C
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Tapadh leat !
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:54 PM   #8
John Dally
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

It's not really a question of agreeing with Allan or not. If you read his thesis the proof for connecting pibroch with Gaelic song is self evident. What you do with that knowledge then becomes somewhat controversial.

If you listen to his CD, Dastirum, you will hear a wide variety of interpretations, going from the competition worthy "Lament for the Young Laird of Dungallan" at one end of the spectrum to the liberated "The End of the Little Bridge" at the other end. Even D.J.S. Murray, who no one would call a radical revisionist, said that Allan discovered the music in "The Red Speckled Bull." He did for that tune what Andrew Wright did for "The Men Went to Drink."

Last edited by John Dally; 08-23-2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: typpppo
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofsomerled View Post
Errr..... so does anyone want to comment on the thesis? Is he right?
bearing in mind that this is a 15 year old work,

What AMcD is saying completely checks out with what we know of oral-to-instrumental-to-text transition in other cultures. He also points out, much to his credit, that the role of pipes in late feudal Gaelic society did not differ signifigantly from their usage in the rest of Europe: a concept of paramount importance, imo.

Being a firm believer in cultural cross-fertilization; I've always found it difficult to believe that Piob developed in some kind of Hebridean vacuum, totally devoid of external influences. (Remember, pro musicians have been a travelling lot since the craft was founded, n'est pas?)

So: are we stuck with an emasculated, puzzling genre of music that we perform (most often) only for each other, precisely like our teacher taught us,

Or: do we now have liscense to open a floodgate of improvisatory interpretation based on how modern Gaelic is spoken, according to the function of the performance?

Interesting question.

I certainly do not agree that public debate of any scholarly work should be limited to a few experts.

Last edited by Charlie Rutan; 08-23-2010 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STEF C View Post
Tapadh leat !
er, Klingon?
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