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Old 07-17-2018, 11:27 AM   #21
John Blunt
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

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Originally Posted by Heatherbelle View Post
I wonder what the comments would have been?
Written in crayon, perhaps? Then juiceboxes in the Beer Tent!


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Old 07-17-2018, 10:20 PM   #22
Ron Teague
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

What distinguishes Piobaireachd from other pipe music? For me Ceol Mor pieces are always an invitation to reflection rather a call to action. Listening or playing Piobairechd is essentially an introverted experience. The music and themes are not particular or individual but rather collective, perhaps even archetypal. The music forces one to look within rather than without. Tunes like a Flame of Wrath have us explore the deep atavistic feelings of wanting revenge and the forces that might make us do frightful things. The Gen Is Mine leads us to the experience of ownership no matter what the cost. The Sprees give us an experience of remorse for drinking way too much. Much of the music of Piobaireachd is essentially cathartic, it evokes slumbering emotions and gives expression to them which can free one from the grip of obsessive affects. I remember after the debacle of the 9/11 attacks on America I didnít know what to do but play Lament for the Children which helped quite a bit. When there are big feelings to be expressed, I have found that Piobaireachd is just the thing to allow obscure emotions to come forth, angry, giddy, proud, sad, it doesnít matter. Piobaireachd gives us pipers a voice to Ďsayí what is hard to say. In many respects Piobaireachd is like Opera where what is too difficult to be said can be sung. So with Piobaireachd what is too difficult or confusing to say can be piped. Other pipe music including airs, marches, jigs and the lot are just fine but they donít get to the deep feeling that does Piobaireachd. I think that the Flowers of the Forest is a closet Piobaireachd as it does much the same thing as a Piobaireachd save for the fact that it is over too quickly. Piobaireachd sustains an evocation of emotion for quite a bit. It sort of wrings the emotion out of one. The variations, when not played as a finger exercise, with their insistence on the theme notes just push the affective experience over the top. His Fatherís Lament for Donald MacKenzie, for example, is an exercise in sustained grief when the variations are expressed as keening. If this tune is played well, there shouldnít be a dry eye in the house. What an expression of essential grief for the loss of a beloved child. Big human emotions needs a big music to express them. Piobaireachd is just such a music.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:22 PM   #23
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

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Originally Posted by Ron Teague View Post
What distinguishes Piobaireachd from other pipe music? For me Ceol Mor pieces are always an invitation to reflection rather a call to action.
I would only add that stirring emotion, evocation and communication may have most often led to action, and not just introversion. From Joseph Macdonald:

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…The Gatherings (as before Mentioned) consist chiefly of Allegros diversified with very curious Cuttings – & Different Time also. These are the most animating of Pipe Compositions, as they were originally intended to assemble the Highlanders under their respective Chiefs upon any emergency & indeed they answerd the Purpose being very well adapted for it. Every Chief had a Gathering for his Name which are So full of Life & Fury that no Musick can be more animating.
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:16 AM   #24
Ron Teague
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

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Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
I would only add that stirring emotion, evocation and communication may have most often led to action, and not just introversion. From Joseph Macdonald:



Your response got me thinking, always a bad thing. I wonder if Ceol Mor was ever played during a battle? Perhaps just the Urlar? The Piper's warning to his master seems close. Ok, history buffs, help us out here. Where was piobaireachd actually played when it was composed? Who listened to it and when and where did they listen to it? I haven't been able to deduce this from Donaldson or others. Gatherings imply the music was used as a bugle call but were they. We know that the titles of ceol mor tunes are often later additions so they can't be quite trusted. So, for example, where would they play a Flame of Wrath or Lament for the Little Supper? I don't know but this seems to me to be the most important variable in determining what is or isn't a piobaireachd, namely, how were they used and how are they used
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:05 AM   #25
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

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Your response got me thinking, always a bad thing. I wonder if Ceol Mor was ever played during a battle? use
Not usually. many of the older records of payments to pipers refer to 'the pyper and his man'. That is pipers had a servant who would carry the pipes. Prior to a battle the piper might play to keep the moral up but there are several contemporary references to the piper handing his pipes to his servant and charging into battle with the rest.

There is a letter in the Atholl archives from Lord George Murray defending some criticism of the fact that in one battle while one wing of his army had smashed through its opposing wing of the enemy, the other wing of his army was making very heavy weather of its opposition. Murray claimed that he was unable to recall the victorious wing because the pipers had charged with the rest.

How far the pipes would have actually carried in battle is a moot point. In one of the re-enactments of Killiecrankie a few years ago I tried an experiment of heading off from the main arena down by the flat area near the road while the pipes were being played. It did not need many bumps in the terrain before I could not hear the pipes anymore.

Because it is a flat stretch of water a piper playing by the loch-side can be heard on the other side of the loch. Someone closer to him on his own side but higher up the hillside with some dips in the terrain may not hear him at all.

Sound like light, is blocked by obstructions in its path but also how far it travels in any case depends on its pitch. Low sounds travel furthest which is why Fog Horns are pitched where they are. At a distance if there is a pipe band coming then it tends to be the thump of the bass drum you will notice first.

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Old 07-19-2018, 11:12 AM   #26
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Kenneth Mackay of the 79th Highlanders famously played his bagpipe outside the square during the French cavalry charges at Waterloo. His tune was Cogadh no Sith - Peace or War. Since he was fairly close I would assume that the soldiers in the square could hear him quite well.

I saw a BBC documentary a few years ago about the Battle of the Somme and the question came up about the effect of the pipers playing their men over the top. A sound analysis was done and, lo, given the amount of noise going on, artillery shells, shouting, machine guns, etc., the bagpipe could not have been heard.

This being said, years ago I was practicing in the evening at a parking lot at the University of Texas in Austin. The lot was on a ridge across from the UT tower, which was on an opposite ridge, with the football stadium in the valley in between. After about two hours, I noticed a fellow running up and down the sidewalk next to the stadium. He suddenly stopped, looked up to where I was playing, spotted me and came running up the slope. Turns out he had heard my bagpipe while walking around the tower on the opposite ridge and spent quite a while tracking down the source. It was a quiet mild, evening with a gentle breeze out of the southeast, i.e., from me to the UT tower. While it's true that if there is enough noise or blocking terrain, the bagpipe can be drowned out, but I'm still amazed, given the right conditions, how far the sound of the instrument can carry.

Cheers -

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Old 07-19-2018, 12:48 PM   #27
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

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Originally Posted by Texas Gael View Post
Kenneth Mackay of the 79th Highlanders famously played his bagpipe outside the square during the French cavalry charges at Waterloo. His tune was Cogadh no Sith - Peace or War. Since he was fairly close I would assume that the soldiers in the square could hear him quite well.



I saw a BBC documentary a few years ago about the Battle of the Somme and the question came up about the effect of the pipers playing their men over the top. A sound analysis was done and, lo, given the amount of noise going on, artillery shells, shouting, machine guns, etc., the bagpipe could not have been heard.



This being said, years ago I was practicing in the evening at a parking lot at the University of Texas in Austin. The lot was on a ridge across from the UT tower, which was on an opposite ridge, with the football stadium in the valley in between. After about two hours, I noticed a fellow running up and down the sidewalk next to the stadium. He suddenly stopped, looked up to where I was playing, spotted me and came running up the slope. Turns out he had heard my bagpipe while walking around the tower on the opposite ridge and spent quite a while tracking down the source. It was a quiet mild, evening with a gentle breeze out of the southeast, i.e., from me to the UT tower. While it's true that if there is enough noise or blocking terrain, the bagpipe can be drowned out, but I'm still amazed, given the right conditions, how far the sound of the instrument can carry.



Cheers -



Wes


I feel like the effect of Pipers going over the top in the war was more akin to the men being inspired by the sheer testicular fortitude displayed rather than the music itself.

That being said as many of us know Pipe tunes are often assigned meanings when theyre played in certain settings...

Scots Guards books break it down.

Each regiment has a marchpast, each company as well. Certain tunes mean wake up, or itís time to eat, etc

I would prefer to believe that even back before light music certain piobs held meaning, each note imbued with history and significance.

My friends all know when Iím playing ceremonially or for fun, because the tunes seem to change, not in the dots, but the impact on the soul.


Take amazing grace, I know I know, Iím numb to it too.

Now we can play it like weíre sick of it (I know I am) or we can play it like a story- drawing out notes and building suspense and emotion.


Just my few cents


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Old 07-19-2018, 01:57 PM   #28
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

[QUOTE=Texas Gael;1329347]Kenneth Mackay of the 79th Highlanders famously played his bagpipe outside the square during the French cavalry charges at Waterloo. His tune was Cogadh no Sith - Peace or War. Since he was fairly close I would assume that the soldiers in the square could hear him quite well. /QUOTE]

The regiment at that time still had 20 drummers, assuming no casualties, and the drum beat was the signal for loading and so on. Taken along with other shouted orders of command from the NCO's and Officers there would have been quite a bit of noise just from his own regiment. I would suspect that the relevant factor here was that he stepped outside of the square. While it may have only been the immediate soldiers who could hear the piper, by being outside the lines which would have been 'facing to the front' then far more would have seen his action.

Regarding 'battle' tunes there is one interesting fact about which I have been ruminating for some years. In 1816, John Campbell of Netherlorn in his tune list for that years competition included a tune called simply 'Battle of Fontenoy'. The Battle took place in 1745 and as the Black Watch were the only unit with pipers there presumably it was a composition by one of their pipers.

The tune as such does not seem to have survived but it was the last 'battle' tune ( some tunes were composed during the 45, but not directly related to battles), until the 'Battle of Waterloo' was composed by John MacKay in 1815. Not that Mackay took any part in that battle as he was in the local militia in Skye.

This means that there were no tunes commemorating any of the battles in which many Highland Regiments were involved during the two 'American' wars of 1757-1762 and 1775-1783, along with numerous other engagements in India etc.

Keith
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Old 07-19-2018, 02:06 PM   #29
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

[QUOTE=K Sanger;1329352]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Gael View Post
Kenneth Mackay of the 79th Highlanders famously played his bagpipe outside the square during the French cavalry charges at Waterloo. His tune was Cogadh no Sith - Peace or War. Since he was fairly close I would assume that the soldiers in the square could hear him quite well. /QUOTE]



The regiment at that time still had 20 drummers, assuming no casualties, and the drum beat was the signal for loading and so on. Taken along with other shouted orders of command from the NCO's and Officers there would have been quite a bit of noise just from his own regiment. I would suspect that the relevant factor here was that he stepped outside of the square. While it may have only been the immediate soldiers who could hear the piper, by being outside the lines which would have been 'facing to the front' then far more would have seen his action.



Regarding 'battle' tunes there is one interesting fact about which I have been ruminating for some years. In 1816, John Campbell of Netherlorn in his tune list for that years competition included a tune called simply 'Battle of Fontenoy'. The Battle took place in 1745 and as the Black Watch were the only unit with pipers there presumably it was a composition by one of their pipers.



The tune as such does not seem to have survived but it was the last 'battle' tune ( some tunes were composed during the 45, but not directly related to battles), until the 'Battle of Waterloo' was composed by John MacKay in 1815. Not that Mackay took any part in that battle as he was in the local militia in Skye.



This means that there were no tunes commemorating any of the battles in which many Highland Regiments were involved during the two 'American' wars of 1757-1762 and 1775-1783, along with numerous other engagements in India etc.



Keith


Yes but when I say battle tunes I mean tunes used as signals in ancient combat.

Green Hills and Battle Oíer are retreats because they were used to signal exactly tgat. Flee for the hills of Tyrol or the battle is over


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Old 07-19-2018, 08:04 PM   #30
Ron Teague
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Ok I get, I think, that Ceol Mor could be used to gather folk to get ready for battle and sometimes used to rally the troops. Well and good. But to get back to my question, what about all of the other piobaireachd tunes that outnumber these gathering and encouraging tunes? The 'military tunes' are sparse among the number of other tunes. So where did someone play, for example, Fair Honey or Too Long in this Condition or any of the so-called rowing tunes? Laments seem to be clear when they might be played, The history of Lament for Donald of Laggan where his daughter had it played every night prior to going to sleep is well documented. But where was the tune the Pretty Dirk played and on what occasion? What about the Vaunting? Should this be played when a very sick person got better? When were the various Battle tunes played? I mean really when would the Massacre of Glen Coe be played? A commemoration? Salutes are easier to determine but tunes like the Old Woman's Lullaby are more obscure. I can't imagine that this would be played as a real lullaby, infants would probably be quite annoyed by the attempt to lull them into sleep with a big honking bagpipe even if they were Scots. I do know that this tune has been used for funerals and such. I still am wondering where MOST Ceol Mor tunes were played and when i.e. what was the context of the big music? Understanding this might lead us to understand what is and what is not a piobaireachd
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