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Old Today, 01:31 PM   #41
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Keith's is a traditionalist's definition. As such, I would call it a "small pibroch" perspective.

Arrangements are part of the toolkit of composers and musicians alike. But also, there is a natural development of a musical form that suddenly finds itself taken up in locations and times beyond its origins.

Jazz may have started in the Mississippi Delta on guitar. That did not prevent it from being played on multiple instruments all over the world. And yet, no matter what instrument or arrangement presented, we still identify it and call it jazz.

Mine is a "big pibroch" perspective: there may be very specific limits that provide the de-finition of the music - scale (tessitura, tuning), maybe; thematic structure, possibly; audience expectation, certainly. But as a "big pibroch" enthusiast, I'm not so sure that these definitions need to prejudge a given piece as not being "authentically pibroch."

That's part of what Heatherbelle is getting at - with the call for a new Modern Pibroch Library, it's going to be interesting to see what is agreed upon as "pibroch". (There is at least one submission that calls for micro tuning on the pipes - it has all the earmarks of a traditional tune, including the fact that it is on a bagpipe, but the scale is vastly different. One wonders what a "small pibroch" traditionalist would make of that?)

I do not wish to argue with Keith. I think his perspective is entirely reasonable. And yet, I do not wish to rule out the unexpected.

J David Hester
Alt Pibroch Club
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Old Today, 03:23 PM   #42
K Sanger
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Location: Scotland
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

I do not think I have been called a 'traditionalist' before so to make sure I checked the dictionary. I am not sure it fits, after all in our private conversations I have made clear that change is a constant and it is not possible to stop it, or for that matter go back.

The original question Heatherbell asked was if what she was doing could be called 'piobaireachd'. I simply pointed out that to be piobaireachd as the word simply means piping it would have to be played on the pipes. The Gaelic language has enough problems in surviving without good Gaelic words being subverted or mangled even further.

You give as an example 'Jazz', so to run with that. Earlier in this thread I mentioned the first occasion I heard 'When the Saints go marching in' played on a bagpipe. I believe that tune would count as jazz, but played on the pipes it was simply piobaireachd.

To reiterate, there is nothing to stop anyone from composing works with a theme and variations with the variations modeled on movements like Taorluth, Crunluath and so on but why call something by the Gaelic word 'piobaireachd' when it is not? Possibly at least use the corrupted English version of 'pibroch'.

I am sorry that you seem to have missed my other tongue in cheek example, but to push it further how in a written description, (as apposed to hearing it played), would you describe a Trumpet Voluntary played on a trumpet?

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Old Today, 09:15 PM   #43
Ron Teague
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Default Re: When is a Piobaireachd not a piobaireachd

Ok I am starting to understand. Simply put, no one knows when and where any given Piobaireachd was played 'in the day'. There are some indications that tunes like War or Peace were played prior to and possibly during battles but other tunes like Lament for the Little Supper or the Groat are more mysterious. Tunes like the Bells of Perth can be understood for why they were composed but not understood just why they were continued to be played. Tunes like Salute to the Birth of Rory MacLeod could be played as a commemoration but Fair Honey who knows why it survived. This is one of the big mysteries of ceol mor, the survival of tunes over the decades. So it seems that we do not know why many tunes were composed or when and where they were played and there is a lot of confusion about the names of the tunes but never the less pipers, possibly for their own pleasure, have continued to play these obscure tunes which for me is a good thing. In our current time, for the most part, only pipers are really interested in listening to piobaireachd tunes which is a pity. Even many pipers really don't have a taste for the Big Music thinking them to just being long and boring finger exercises with no snap or rhythm. Their idea is that if you can't play a tune with a drum behind it the music is not really music which is asinine. So we will continue to scratch our heads wondering why this great music survived and continues to enchant many pipers and a few other folk
Ron Teague

The Cheesy Piobaireachd Player
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