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Old 07-28-2018, 06:26 AM   #51
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

The fun thing about natural language is how much it is not like mathematical language. “Contradictions in terms”, like “moderntraditional”, require people to contemplate alternatives that reconcile the terms.

Something non-ambiguous symbol systems cannot do.

One does and does not step into the same stream twice.

That statement is not inaccurate.

Natural language is so powerful precisely because it is so flexible.

Just like the term “Piobaireachd” and how it has come to subsume the phrase “Ceol Mor”. Today, these two very different expressions, with two different histories, have merged. An argument from etymology is interesting for its historical background. But I use language today. And today the terms are interchangeable.

So, now it’s a question of whether and to what extent it is valuable pulling them apart again. And there might be.

But I’m not sure if that distinction would catch on.

I think there is room and flexibility in the way “Piobaireachd” can be used today to identify it as a class of music that can be played on a variety of instruments.

But if it helps Heatherbelle rest assured that the kinds of thing she and Matthew Welch are doing are within the scope of what we are trying to achieve with the Modern Pibroch Library, then let them conceive of their music as “Ceol Mor”. Because, honestly, theirs is “great music.”

-J David Hester, PhD
Alt Pibroch Club
J David Hester
Alt Pibroch Club
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Old 07-28-2018, 11:51 AM   #52
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Originally Posted by K Sanger View Post
Heatherbell .......... modern traditional is a contradiction in terms, a bit like ‘dead and alive, which is impossible, rather than ‘dead or alive’ which is.


Ah, this may be where we differ Keith! Or maybe it's the glass of crystal clear mineral water I'm drinking as I type!

Now I think that 'dead and alive' is perfectly possible. Whereas I'm not so sure 'dead OR alive is', or rather, it may be to some, and may once have been to me too, but I'm not so fond of the one or the other these days!

So going on the basis of it being possible to be dead AND alive, a piece of music can therefore I think be both a bagpipe piece and not. So a bagpipe is not literally needed in order for it to be a bagpipe piece. When you hear my piece, which is causing me to ponder no end of questions, you will hear the bagpipe right through it, and if it works as it's intended, you'll also hear the monks of old, the history of music, the tears of anyone who has lost anyone through the eons of time, mothers soothing babies, fathers working and grieving, seabirds circling as they always have, spinning wheels turning, people singing their hearts out, people struggling to play bagpipe embellishments in a very slowed down fashion, much droning, and much pathos.

But I swear you will hear both life and death in it at one and the same time, and that even though no physical bagpipe will strike up, you will hear it loud and clear - perhaps like a very present ghost, a very alive presence after death, or better, a continuum that overrides life AND death - a thing which integrates in a way that makes it possible for both life and death to be contained within it. Yes, we can absolutely be dead and alive at the same time!

The mineral water is going to my head so I'll stop.
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Old 07-28-2018, 12:32 PM   #53
K Sanger
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Originally Posted by Heatherbelle View Post
Whereas I'm not so sure 'dead OR alive is'
Well having spent a very long time working in the health service we found it helped considerably if you knew the difference.

Mind you I still look back with some amusement about an occasion when the hospital RC Chaplain had given the last rites before we terminated things and then with a huge smile wandered over to discuss the translation of a Latin document from the Scottish Exchequer Records I had left on his desk the day before.

Though it was the Surgeon who called the time I was the one who then turned off the life support so can claim death as part of what was my job description. Possibly explains in some way my liking for Laments.

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Old 07-28-2018, 02:14 PM   #54
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

If anyone wants to hear "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", a.k.a. "The Star's Salute", a.k.a. "Cumha Shinichi Suzuki", here it is: https://youtu.be/Zh96vfM8LCQ . I apologize in advance for the memory slips in the beginning and the amateur fingers. I tacked on the a mach on the fly, as I noticed that the next performers weren't quite ready and there was some time to fill.

I presented the tune dead straight, saying I was going to play a well known piece that goes back to the eighteenth century, and that had inspired Mozart to compose some variations. I claimed (based on nothing, of course) that he incorrectly attributed it to being a French tune, whereas we, the piping community, knew the truth.

This was not a competition, but collectively among the audience were at least six gold medals and ten Glenfiddich championships, as well as several other judges. All the comments I received afterwards were positive, including from some of these august persons. Some of the comments were very positive indeed, one judge saying "that works, that really works!"

Curiously, the performance right after me was a drum salute that referenced "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". I don't know if that was coincidence or improvisation.

Last edited by Steven Knox; 07-28-2018 at 02:18 PM. Reason: punctuation, number, grammar
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