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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 11-09-2018, 09:32 AM   #11
magsevenband
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

I've always admired players such as Betty Martin, age 76 and shown in this youtube link, who let the tune breathe, in her rendition of the wonderful 6/8 The Braemar Gathering...very Regimental style and inspiring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPTzLSVNpaQ
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:26 PM   #12
HighlandPark
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

Quote:
Originally Posted by magsevenband View Post
I've always admired players such as Betty Martin, age 76 and shown in this youtube link, who let the tune breathe, in her rendition of the wonderful 6/8 The Braemar Gathering...very Regimental style and inspiring.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPTzLSVNpaQ
Agreed. The controlled power of the expression draws you right in and holds you; that kilt is swinging...
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Old 11-09-2018, 01:50 PM   #13
Steve Law
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

On playing for highland dancing, as I frequently did at competion level in late 60ís/early 70ís, I learned early on that the best tempo for dance is whatever the dancers prefer....

The most proficient tended to prefer slower tempo as it gave them time to fly higher, while the tiny ones just starting out hadnít the mass or muscle power to elevate. If you play too slowly for the tinies they labour and it looks most awkward; conversely too fast for the seniors and they havenít time to demonstrate their skills.

When playing for dancing contests, whatever tempo one plays must be strictly maintained throughout all the boards in that class of course, so all get an even chance, but it was perfectly normal (then, at least) to play considerable speed difference between junior and senior classes.

A good illustration of how bad it can be can be seen on recent You Tube video of this yearís Berlin Tattoo a couple of weeks ago, where a line of dancers display in front of a massed band... itís so slow the dancers are really struggling. Maybe the massed band wasnít up to playing a decent tempo or maybe the conductor simply didnít understand the dancerís needs, but it makes for cringeworthy viewing, with all due respect to the performers (at least one of whom plays in my own band here).

With regard to piping tempo, I think itís definitely down to the convention of the day - for me (on the link above anyway) Willie Ross played way too fast and had no musicality and choked his embellishments, but equally the lady on electronics was very laboured (and used unusual fingering on high A, I thought?).

Iím hugely impressed by a number of current high-profile top flight performers, but detect noticeable timing variations as even the best of them flash their way through tunes like Masonís Apron, which detracts from otherwise spellbinding performances.

Up to a point, for me itís about feeling and expressing the tune above all else, and I guess we all have different views, and why not?

Just saying...
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:09 PM   #14
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

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Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
> That's not an uncommon point of view. The thing is - a good musician will make something sound good whatever the tempo, because they'll express it a way that fits that speed. So yes, modern competition MSR players have evolved a style of playing that is attractive on its own terms. But with no function other than the competition platform, what is it *for*?
Panache. Style. Swagger. Musicality.

We civilian pipers certainly aren't playing to organize foot drill. I'm not saying fast is bad, I'm just saying that slowing down has many great merits, to the point that at least one foreign idiom of piping (one of the most sophisticated, at that!) has made a virtue of it.
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:39 PM   #15
Kevin
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

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Originally Posted by Steve Law View Post
On playing for highland dancing, as I frequently did at competion level in late 60ís/early 70ís, I learned early on that the best tempo for dance is whatever the dancers prefer.... [SNIP]
I thought it was what the dancer's mother preferred!?
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:49 PM   #16
Steve Law
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

Ordinarily Iíd agree, but truly it was her daughter in her early 20ís and HER contemporaries who Ďtrainedí me in the finer points of playing for dancing, where the primary aim is to support the dancers rather than piping as the main show.

Both mother and daughter taught me dancing and I turned to the pipes when I couldnít master the figures of team dances and became the unofficial school piper... that role taught me a huge amount about the difference between being the main exhibit (piping to entertain while the dancers changed outfits) and simply providing the music to show the dancing at its best.

Great days for me and those lessons left me with an inbuilt metronome which can hold a tempo better than many pipers Iíve played with over the years.

Interesting discussion and itís good to hear opinions both ways
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

I'm sure the Jack Lees and Angus MacColls of the world could play an open grade march at a quicker tempo without losing anything on technical points. If we're really slowing down the tunes to make sure every doubling is just so, we should raise the bar and make sure every doubling is just so at a non-dolorous speed.
I wonder if it will hit piobaireachd? Imagine the new standard for Lament For The Harp Tree...at six hours and 19 minutes.
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:12 PM   #18
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Modern Brakes on Tempo

If form follows function, a March (if true to the idiom) would be played at a good typical marching tempo.

Here The Atholl And Breadalbane Gathering is played for marching at around 102 BPM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6MUXVu_Gi4

I can play along without much trouble though it's brisker than our band plays it.

I see that they play their 2/4s at around 102 but their 6/8s around 108.

I did Scottish Country Dancing for several years and their tempi for the Strathspey and Reel are burned into my muscle memory. The steps simply work best at the correct tempi.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 11-13-2018 at 09:18 PM.
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