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Old 09-21-2010, 06:51 AM   #61
Jan B.
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by Heatherbelle View Post
Personally, I like the fact that it changes with the times, and with the people who play it. Same with any music, it moves with the times, apart from situations where people try to play it on original instruments in exactly the style of the composer, which I find interesting as an academic exercise, and also am glad that happens so that those interested in this aspect, can have chances to hear it and see the old instruments as they would have been played. [/B].
Yes, but the problem is, the music at this time stands still (and that almost 100 years), it doesn't move anymore, because everyone is forced to play the PS-Settings (if he/she wants to win the competition). You can not play Allan MacDonald's-Style and expect to win because the judge want to hear what he knows and that is the PS-Setting.

If you hear an record of the Piobd.- Glenfidich-Championchip you cannot distinguish which player plays, it all sounds the same. There is no different style each of them develop. All in all it all sounds the same (maybe you can distinguish them by the charakteristic sound of theire instrument but not in the way they play the piobd.-tunes).

And if you put a tune between them in the way Allan MacDonald would interpretate it you would hear a strong musical difference even if you aren't a piper.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:02 AM   #62
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by Jan B. View Post

If you hear an record of the Piobd.- Glenfidich-Championchip you cannot distinguish which player plays, it all sounds the same. There is no different style each of them develop. All in all it all sounds the same (maybe you can distinguish them by the charakteristic sound of theire instrument but not in the way they play the piobd.-tunes).
This is something I don't find. The nine I heard in the competition in the summer came across to me as very different from each other. Each had their own interpretation of the piece they were playing, with their own personality stamped all over it. At least that's how I heard them. Very individual, all different, very musical, and very moving.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:45 AM   #63
bob864
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by sonofsomerled View Post
Good point Bob. But who here has used one the variations from the "authorized" PS note section in the "official" manuscripts in competition facing a judge who has only heard it one way? Or better yet, who has used a non - PS version in competition? .... [.... crickets churp.... anyone? ..... Bueller?]
Well, I'm just a beginner, but FWIW my first competition tune was a Donald MacLeod tune, so I don't think there is a PS version.

I learned a tune at a workshop from a well respected piper (who is also a judge). He taught from a PS score, but he didn't follow the notational values. So he used the same notes, but the rhythms, especially in the Urlar, had little, if any, relation to the nominal values. In other words, he taught a musical rendition, as he had learned it from some of the masters of the last century (he named them), despite of what someone put down in a book.

In Donaldson's larger book, he makes the case that at least part of the reason many people believe that piob can't be notated correctly is this very phenomenon. I.E., teachers teaching the tunes the way they want them *in spite of* notation to the contrary.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:16 PM   #64
Aon Piobaire
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by Jan B. View Post
Yes, but the problem is, the music at this time stands still (and that almost 100 years), it doesn't move anymore, because everyone is forced to play the PS-Settings (if he/she wants to win the competition). You can not play Allan MacDonald's-Style and expect to win because the judge want to hear what he knows and that is the PS-Setting.

If you hear an record of the Piobd.- Glenfidich-Championchip you cannot distinguish which player plays, it all sounds the same. There is no different style each of them develop. All in all it all sounds the same (maybe you can distinguish them by the charakteristic sound of theire instrument but not in the way they play the piobd.-tunes).

And if you put a tune between them in the way Allan MacDonald would interpretate it you would hear a strong musical difference even if you aren't a piper.
I agree personally for the most part with this.
With some posting how differently tunes were played/interpretted in some competition, that is because we are familiar with the genre and even slight variations make a remarkable "difference" to us but a non-piper doesn't hear it.

As far as Allan's Thesis, you want to hear what most here are talking about "difference"? Listen to the ceol mor on the cd, "Ceol Na Pioba" from the Edinburgh Fest with Allan, Barnaby and others. Now that is different and a difference anyone can hear, not just slight variations or a quickening hear and there.
You can really feel what the tunes are about without even knowing them or their titles. This cd led me into my love of piobaireachd. I have non-piping friends that request it and specific tunes when they come over. They ask for the "one tune that sings revenge", etc., etc...
Now...play one of those tunes that way in competition. Bye-bye. Better luck next year.

I have great respect for Allan's interpretations, but a greater respect for his research into the entire realm of Gaelic history & music. Even outside of Scots Gaelic, as he has in Ireland. Just pointing out that his research goes way beyond what he learned when he was 9, or where he grew up, or what he heard one time in church. He has spent his life researching the subject of his thesis. To add, he has won more competitions than most of us posting here in "conventional" competitions at that. I was told not to break the rules of anything until you thoroughly knew what they were and mastered them in the 1st place. Alot of us are disqualified here at the moment just based on that. No amount of "I've read this..." and "I've read that" changes that. You are still reading/quoting others' research and their particular opinions. You do not have the point-of-departure of a lifetime of research to base your opinions on...or requote for that matter.
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Last edited by Aon Piobaire; 09-21-2010 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:48 PM   #65
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by Aon Piobaire View Post
I agree personally for the most part with this.
With some posting how differently tunes were played/interpretted in some competition, that is because we are familiar with the genre and even slight variations make a remarkable "difference" to us but a non-piper doesn't hear it.

As far as Allan's Thesis, you want to hear what most here are talking about "difference"? Listen to the ceol mor on the cd, "Ceol Na Pioba" from the Edinburgh Fest with Allan, Barnaby and others. Now that is different and a difference anyone can hear, not just slight variations or a quickening hear and there.
You can really feel what the tunes are about without even knowing them or their titles. This cd led me into my love of piobaireachd. I have non-piping friends that request it and specific tunes when they come over. They ask for the "one tune that sings revenge", etc., etc...
Now...play one of those tunes that way in competition. Bye-bye. Better luck next year.

I have great respect for Allan's interpretations, but a greater respect for his research into the entire realm of Gaelic history & music. Even outside of Scots Gaelic, as he has in Ireland. Just pointing out that his research goes way beyond what he learned when he was 9, or where he grew up, or what he heard one time in church. He has spent his life researching the subject of his thesis. To add, he has won more competitions than most of us posting here in "conventional" competitions at that. I was told not to break the rules of anything until you thoroughly knew what they were and mastered them in the 1st place. Alot of us are disqualified here at the moment just based on that. No amount of "I've read this..." and "I've read that" changes that. You are still reading/quoting others' research and their particular opinions. You do not have the point-of-departure of a lifetime of research to base your opinions on...or requote for that matter.

Of course, Archibald Campbell spent much of his adult life studying piobaireachd too, so I would not necessarily agree with that longevity of study in itself guarantees the quality of the results. But since Allan, unlike Mr. Campbell, is undeniably a master player, his lifetime academic study is coupled with musical mastery, and is therefore so much more credible. The cd is here for those looking: http://www.amazon.com/Ceol-Pioba-Pio.../dp/B00004STL9
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Last edited by sonofsomerled; 09-21-2010 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #66
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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... The cd is here for those looking: http://www.amazon.com/Ceol-Pioba-Pio.../dp/B00004STL9
It's also available - less expensively - from Rampant Lion (http://www.rampantlion.com/rlhome.htm). That's the business you see at a lot of the highland games with boxes and boxes of all manner of Celtic music CDs you'd have a hard time finding elsewhere. And I swear the guy has his entire inventory memorized! (Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Rampant Lion other than that of a very satisfied - and appreciative - customer.)
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:59 PM   #67
Jim McGillivray
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

I have all the tracks from Allan's Dastirum CD available for download on the "Performance" component of my pipetunes.ca sheet music site. You'll find them here:

http://www.pipetunes.ca/browsePerformances.asp

I say this not just to promote the site. Allan has recorded most of the tunes in his Moidart Collection for me, and they are in the light music section along with the sheet music. What I would REALLY like Allan to do is to record some piobaireachds other than what is on the various CDs so we could subsequently score the tunes (Heatherbelle's job, at which she is very, very good) and then provide them on the site as well.

I think Allan would sincerely like to do this, as we have spoken about it several times and his intentions are good. However, life often gets in the way of our good intentions. Since he is obviously following this thread, perhaps some encouragement from participants here might prod him along a bit....
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:43 PM   #68
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

I've been meaning to buy Allan's CD for quite some time as Piobaireachd/Ceol Mor has always been rather, shall we say, boooooring; what little I heard on Pipeline from Allan was actually musical. Jim mentions time constraints which is something we all must deal with. Are there other recordings of Ceol Mor in addition to Dastirum that follow along the gaelic song tradition?
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:21 AM   #69
sonofsomerled
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by Jim McGillivray View Post

I think Allan would sincerely like to do this, as we have spoken about it several times and his intentions are good. However, life often gets in the way of our good intentions. Since he is obviously following this thread, perhaps some encouragement from participants here might prod him along a bit....

Prod! Prod! Prod!!

I downloaded the Ceol Na Pioba cd from iTunes last night (but I would suggest the actual cd to get the liner notes). I listened to the entire albumn and enjoyed it tremendously, particularly the treatment of the variations (and the connection to the ground). I didn't need the usual amount of self-discipline generally needed to listen to a piobaireachd albumn. It was a bit of a revelation. It sounded strangely authentic.

Several of the players used what sounded like a "singing" style like Allan. Are these players identified in some way (ie. "Iconoclasts," "piping Pre-Rafaelites?"). Does this constitute a musical movement of some kind within piobaireachd? It would be a real shame if these musical ideas don't have a chance to develop and get a firm foothold.

Prod!

Let's get a treatment of the basic repertoire - and some accurate scores - I have my Visa ready to go!
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:11 AM   #70
Aon Piobaire
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Default Re: Allan McDonald's thesis

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Originally Posted by sonofsomerled View Post
Prod! Prod! Prod!!

I downloaded the Ceol Na Pioba cd from iTunes last night (but I would suggest the actual cd to get the liner notes). I listened to the entire albumn and enjoyed it tremendously, particularly the treatment of the variations (and the connection to the ground). I didn't need the usual amount of self-discipline generally needed to listen to a piobaireachd albumn. It was a bit of a revelation. It sounded strangely authentic.

Several of the players used what sounded like a "singing" style like Allan. Are these players identified in some way (ie. "Iconoclasts," "piping Pre-Rafaelites?"). Does this constitute a musical movement of some kind within piobaireachd? It would be a real shame if these musical ideas don't have a chance to develop and get a firm foothold.

Prod!

Let's get a treatment of the basic repertoire - and some accurate scores - I have my Visa ready to go!
I second the motion.....more prodding...
We know how busy you are Allan, but being able to see the settings would be as insiteful as listening to the tunes for alot of us I bet.
Barnaby included some "samples" to follow along with, but a full score would be awesome.
I have my Visa card standing by as well.
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