Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Piobaireachd
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Piobaireachd For all things related to Piobaireachd ...

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-16-2017, 11:16 AM   #21
Graineag
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 42
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Go to www.ceolsean.net and have a look at how the tune is notated in David Glen's "A Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd" published in 1876. In fact, look at how "birls" were written in general in Glen and every single collection and manuscript of pìobaireachd prior to him going back to Joseph MacDonald in 1760. You'll notice that they're not what we would call birls at all but rather double echo beats on low A. Speaking of which, you'll also notice that the double echo beats (or "crathanan", literally "shakes" in Gaelic) were also often notated differently--usually a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth note followed by a quarter note or maybe another eighth note depending on the tune. This produces a "DUM-da-dum" effect rather than the "DADUM-daaaa-dum" effect of modern, conventionally-played echo beats. (Excuse my non-standard canntaireachd.)

If you look at light music collections published before the 1870s, birls are often pretty scarce. It seems likely that the modern way of playing the birl probably originated in the late 19th century, first in light music and later migrating into pìobaireachd.

Hopefully without opening too big a can of worms, I think it can safely be said at this point that styles of pìobaireachd playing prior to the rise of the Piobaireachd Society were much more different and varied than what they were after. That's not to say the music was better, just different. If you want to delve further into this, William Donaldson's book "The Highland Bagpipe & Scottish Society" as well as the theses of Iain MacInnes and Allan MacDonald all contain some fascinating accounts about changes to pìobaireachd playing conventions in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as resistance of some players to these changes. (You can find these and a whole lot more interesting stuff on Ross Anderson's webpage, http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/music/.)

The bottom line is that if you're planning on playing tunes in competition, your safest bet is to play the conventional birl. In any other contexts, however, I say play the tune in the way that feels right to you.
Graineag is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 09-20-2017, 07:56 AM   #22
Pppiper
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 285
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graineag View Post
The bottom line is that if you're planning on playing tunes in competition, your safest bet is to play the conventional birl. In any other contexts, however, I say play the tune in the way that feels right to you.
This is all great, thank you. I'm interested in both (playing the tunes in general, and also in competition).

To be clear when you refer to the "conventional birl" .. are you referring to the same execution of a birl that would be played in light music? Or is there a "conventional birl" that's unique to piobaireachd in general?

Thanks agian,
~Nate
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:58 PM   #23
moderntraditional
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 125
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

There are no birls in pibroch. There are hiharins, which became birls under light music influence and dominance.

Find a teacher who is both familiar with the primary source material (visit the website in my signature) and who knows how to sing Nether Lorn or Gesto canntaireachd, so you can understand how hiharins rhythmically integrate into the melodic line. There are only a handful, but they are the keepers of the authentic tradition and will have a lot to teach you.

With respect to “conventional birls in competition” - you may play the hiharins any way you like, if you inform the judge by saying “I will be playing the hiharins in the X (birl; open; MacDonald; MacKay, etc) style”. Judges are starting to wake up to the fact that other styles are well documented and available (that wasn’t true through most of the last century).

Good luck.
__________________
J David Hester
Alt Pibroch Club
altpibroch.com
moderntraditional is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 07:30 AM   #24
Pppiper
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 285
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
There are no birls in pibroch. There are hiharins, which became birls under light music influence and dominance.

Find a teacher who is both familiar with the primary source material (visit the website in my signature) and who knows how to sing Nether Lorn or Gesto canntaireachd, so you can understand how hiharins rhythmically integrate into the melodic line. There are only a handful, but they are the keepers of the authentic tradition and will have a lot to teach you.

With respect to “conventional birls in competition” - you may play the hiharins any way you like, if you inform the judge by saying “I will be playing the hiharins in the X (birl; open; MacDonald; MacKay, etc) style”. Judges are starting to wake up to the fact that other styles are well documented and available (that wasn’t true through most of the last century).

Good luck.
Thanks for this info, extremely helpful.

And sorry for my error in the terminology, I'm still new at this genre (which I'm thinking is quite obvious).

Though, I'm a bit confused ... in my reading so far, it's seemed as if the hiharin is referred to as such when a "birl-like movement" is immediately preceded by a downward pattern of notes: like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbg6a6pWUTA

This is not precisely what I'm referring to. In regard to this query, a particular tune of interest is MacGregor's Salute.

I'm referring to this (first bar):
http://www.piobaireachd.co.uk/wp-con...gorssalute.pdf

Jim McGillivray's free recording:
http://pipetunes.ca/wp-content/uploa...cGillivray.mp3

What's more, For this tune, the Piobaireachd Society website states the following under a banner which says "Judges Note 2012:"

"The birl is likely to be heard either in the conventional way or ‘spread’ or with straight-finger taps to low G."

So is there a misunderstanding here, somewhere? I've also come across the term "double echo." Might that, possibly describe these "birl-like movements?"
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 07:46 AM   #25
Pppiper
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 285
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
(visit the website in my signature)
Interesting note on this tune, found on the site you'd directed me to:

"Because of it’s similarity to ‘Black Wedder White Tail’, this piece probably belongs to the nexus of tunes relating to the Battle of Glenfruin and its aftermath. Malcolm MacPherson taught that the opening motif should echo the words ‘Come on, Gregalach’, with the little finger sounding three even beats to the name ‘Gre-ga-lach’, and not a birl."

I daresay, this is a helpful, and possibly very applicable explanation for this "birl-condunrum" I've been dealing with, regarding this tune.

Thanks for your input.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 09-22-2017 at 07:55 AM.
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 08:35 AM   #26
Ron Teague
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 1,247
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

The movement you are asking about is a Piobaireachd weirdness. It is a sort of echo beat double tap sort of deal with doesn't exist as far as I know in any other tune. If it does it is rare

have a look at this
https://www.pipesdrums.com/wp-conten...E9FD8901AF.pdf
__________________
Ron Teague

The Cheesy Piobaireachd Player
Ron Teague is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 08:40 AM   #27
Pppiper
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 285
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Teague View Post
The movement you are asking about is a Piobaireachd weirdness. It is a sort of echo beat double tap sort of deal with doesn't exist as far as I know in any other tune. If it does it is rare

have a look at this
https://www.pipesdrums.com/wp-conten...E9FD8901AF.pdf
Thanks Ron. This is very enlightening.

Figures ... the first piobaireachd I fall in love with, and it has "weirdness."

Then again, I AM weird. No wonder.

Cheers,
~Nate
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 11:37 AM   #28
moderntraditional
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 125
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
Thanks for this info, extremely helpful

So is there a misunderstanding here, somewhere? I've also come across the term "double echo." Might that, possibly describe these "birl-like movements?"
You are having a problem with terminology because pipers have sloppy terminology. As a result of light music influence, they have played the hiharin as they do the birl, so they call it a birl.

The thing is, hiharins were not played as birls. They were played in a variety of rhythmic “double tap” styles.

Effectively, everywhere you see a “birl” in the secondary and printed sources, those are misrepresentations. They should be written similarly to what you see in your link, and played as described in the quotes you have cited for MacGregor.

It is the birls than are weird/strange/odd, not the MacGregor hiharins.

:-)

That “everybody” plays them as birls today doesn’t make them any less an oddity in the centuries-old tradition.

Exploring these ideas is the fun part of pibroch.
__________________
J David Hester
Alt Pibroch Club
altpibroch.com
moderntraditional is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 11:39 AM   #29
Pppiper
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 285
Default Re: Birls, Low-G gracenotes in Piobaireachd

Quote:
Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
Exploring these ideas is the fun part of pibroch.
Well said, and thank you for clarifying.

By the sounds of it, I have a lot of "fun" ahead of me.

Thanks again.

Cheers,
~Nate
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:31 PM.