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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 11-26-2020, 01:07 PM   #1
Thomas58
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Default Piper in The Crown Season 4

Ok, so in The Crown Season 4 Margaret Thatcher and the Queen are being piped into the dining room. The piper is playing Atholl Highlanders at a ridiculously slow tempo (more like a funeral dirge) and sounds to me like he's added in some extra notes.

I can't understand why a piper would play a 6/8 March at that tempo. Wouldn't a slow air do better? (Hat tip to my daughter, a Highland dancer, who commented on the tune's tempo to me.)
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:31 PM   #2
uther
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

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Originally Posted by Thomas58 View Post
Ok, so in The Crown Season 4 Margaret Thatcher and the Queen are being piped into the dining room. The piper is playing Atholl Highlanders at a ridiculously slow tempo (more like a funeral dirge) and sounds to me like he's added in some extra notes.

I can't understand why a piper would play a 6/8 March at that tempo. Wouldn't a slow air do better? (Hat tip to my daughter, a Highland dancer, who commented on the tune's tempo to me.)
Maybe he played it at full speed and the director told him to slow it down?
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Old 11-26-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
Thomas58
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

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Maybe he played it at full speed and the director told him to slow it down?
Fair enough, but if I was told that I'd play something else, something more suitable for a slow tempo, like Rowan Tree.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:12 AM   #4
CalumII
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

Typically in such a production music will be cleared for copyright in advance. If it hasn't been cleared, you don't play it. The tune would have been agreed in advance with a producer - often with the piper's involvement, but sometimes without - and the director will probably have heard it on the day for the first time and turned round and said "I want it slower". And that's what he got.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

PS What's the episode and timestamp?
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

1) This program is meant for the viewing pleasure of the masses, the great unwashed, the piping unsophisticated. THEY don't know the difference, and enjoy it just the same.

2) The Queen wouldn't be marching into the dining room at a 6/8 military march tempo! For Pete's sake!

3) I'll bet you could pick any movie in which some skill is being portrayed, and the elite of that skill would probably find some fault in it. It's called artistic license, and those that would find fault with it just need to get over it!

4) I can play almost any tune at a slower tempo, and find enjoyment in it.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

I’ve found that film directors have very little little patience for representing various disciplines accurately ... particularly semi-obscure ones such as piping.

They are hyper-focused on manifesting their vision, and nothing else. Makes sense I suppose, “eye on the ball” and all that. The more I think of that, the more it explains things like this.

A personal example comes to mind. A rap musician for some reason had a sample of bagpipes on the opening of a track, and was looking to make a music video to it. Due to the piping sample, they thought it would be good to have “a legit bagpipe guy” filmed for the opening, and they hired me for it.

The sample is all of about 5 seconds long, and unfortunately is of a piper tuning his bass drone. However the director of the shoot was instructing me to do all kinds of playing pose and such which didnt remotely add up to whats being heard. I politely trying to communicate this, and it didnt take too
long for me to see that there was no desire for things to be sensible/realistic. So I grudgingly just went along and held my tongue. In the end, the filming of me seems to have ended up on the cutting room floor.

Ha, hey .. I got paid, and internally I’m quite relieved. But if nothing else, it was a real glimpse into what must happen quite often with various productions. The director’s vision needs to be precisely adhered to, that’s it.

On the flipside, I was also commissioned to provide piping for an exhibit at a local museum. About 90% of the time, the curators really, really wanted to be as accurate and as appropriate as possible ... to the extent where they actually purchased a Bb chanter for me to use, as the exhibit portrays a scene from the latter 1800s, so clearly modern bagpipe pitch would somewhat out-of-place.

The museum pushed back for a brief period when it came to tune selection ... the “committee approved” a selection of tunes that had been originally collected by the sound producer, and very few of them were even remotely appropriate ... Last of the Mohicans theme among them. Thankfully they eventually listened to reason, and I ended up playing several old gaelic airs. Piobaireachd would have been nice, but they weren’t very keen on that (surprise surprise!) In the end, I’m quite pleased with the final result with the exhibit. Those folks went above and beyond in trying the portray pipes in a serious and meaningful manner ..: shame that’s so rarely the case

Anyway ... it’s just the way it goes.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:13 PM   #8
Andrew Lenz
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

This reminds me of Lorne Cousin touring with Madonna with a kilt that was down below his knees . . . Lorne no doubt questioned the length of the kilt he was asked to perform in, but in the end, it was Madonna's "vision" that prevailed regardless of the "school girl" look that was the end result. Lorne held his tongue and collected his regular paycheck . . . and the thrill of performing in front of massive crowds that a piper would never draw on his own.

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Old 11-27-2020, 06:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

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Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
I’ve found that film directors have very little little patience for representing various disciplines accurately ... particularly semi-obscure ones such as piping.

I think this is a bit unfair to directors.


Visual media is an art, and like all art it has its codes. When you see a breakfast scene on TV, there's a jug of orange juice on the table. Who does that? No-one. It's a visual shorthand that lets us concentrate on narrative, without having to scan for contextual clues. It's an incredibly difficult thing to construct, and it's an awful lot of what directors get paid for: to make a story work without making the audience think about non-narrative issues.


And they have to do that for *everything*, in every scene, every performer, every action that occurs on camera. Something as simple as the speed with which you walk, salute, talk, can grate when it's on film and you have to edit together a finished product. The director only has one chance to get that right, because in half an hour you're due to shoot the next scene.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:27 AM   #10
el gaitero
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Default Re: Piper in The Crown Season 4

More often,...whatever the snippet of a tune is heard...has been dubbed in to fit a precise time slot in the production ....with luck not starting at the middle of a measure and possibly hearing at least a quasi recognizable melody well played ...; otherwise,...the few seconds of piper and piping/scene is usually irrelevant to the plot. Not really worth dwelling on methinks.
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