Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Pipe Bands
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Pipe Bands For everything or anything related to Pipe Bands..

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-06-2017, 08:36 AM   #1
3D Piper
Forum Clasp
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Posts: 967
Default Playing with a band

For pipers playing in the circle, do you:
a) not look at anyone else (close eyes?)
b) look at a random person's fingers
c) look at one person's (pipe major's) fingers

Do you take advice or direction from another player who can not play what they are describing?

If odd or even wrong technique is directed, such as a D-Grip on D (instead of b-grip), do you speak up or question it?

-Matthew
3D Piper is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 10-06-2017, 02:05 PM   #2
Pppiper
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 424
Default Re: Playing with a band

As a former pipe major .. here's my perspective:

a-c): Watch and sync with the pipe major's foot. Ideally, your pipe major will direct with his foot. This is equivalent to a conductor directing.

Fingers are troublesome as far as I'm concerned. Only exception, if you're in a bad position to watch the pipe major, try to watch the fingers of someone dependable in the group (pipe sergeant, etc). Overall though, in the circle, just about all pipers should be able to watch the foot directing from the pipe major.

As to "wrong" technique ... ask your pipe major about your concerns, but IN PRIVATE. Do NOT question direction or methods when you're in the corps. This is just asking for trouble, despite any good intentions you may have. When you're in ranks, you obey. If you have a question regarding clarity following an order, maybe raise your hand, and if the P/M calls upon you, go ahead.

This is merely to maintain order. Otherwise, band practices (and God forbid appearances) can become chaos.

As to the chosen technique of the band, if you bring up an issue and it's dismissed, DO accept that decision. The people in the positions got there for a reason. If the day comes that you're in their position, you'd be just as appreciative for any/all lack of insubordination.

The most important thing for the band is consistency and accuracy. If a judge marks the band down as a whole for playing a d-gracenoted grip on D .. then so be it. But it'll be a heck of a lot worse if some people play with B, and the others with D.

So to sum up .. bring up issues you may have in private. If you get a "no" for an answer, please do accept that answer. Doing so is in the best interests of the group, and that's what matters for a group. Consequently, not everyone is good for any given group, and vice versa. If that becomes the case at some point, and the amount of concessions you need to make doesn't sit well with your stomach, look for other playing opportunities (politely, and with grace).

I hope this doesn't sound too harsh .. I don't mean for it to. Rather, I want to be clear and direct. Leading an ensemble can be a very taxing experience at times, and in many situations, the responsibility taken on by the leadership is overlooked and thankless.

One band, one sound.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 10-09-2017 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Removed unnecessary block quote of entire first post.
Pppiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2017, 08:13 PM   #3
Pip01
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North America
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Playing with a band



3D Piper,

When playing in band settings... most of our lot... and
including myself... did glance about... in "keeping pace."

For some... their look may have been random... but mine
was always specific... even though it may have included
more than one... though sequentially.

Sometimes... it was specific to the PM... but most usually...
it was simply to those... the more visually adjacent.

For your penultimate question... Hmm... I am not quite sure
what is intended... for I cannot fancy my (or anyone else)
seeking guidance from any... who... also... could not guide.
(Seems rather... "The blind leading the blind." :)

And now... cometh we... to what the Old Cobbler gave his wife...
"the last." I don't think I could honestly say... that I've ever been
given any... "wrong direction."

This is almost as with any other engagement... !/we/they... asked
to play something... and it's played. Were it at basic odds with the
structure of the pipes... or the music ("Sorry. Simply can't play the
U.S. National Anthem on our Great Beast.")... but such is being
demanded...
then the time has come... for a graceful... but ever
courteous... exit... as disputation in such areas usually generates
more heat... than light...

Trusting that I have not managed to misconstrue... either your
questions... or their intent...

Regards.

Pip01

__________________
My friends all know,
With what a brave carouse...

Last edited by Pip01; 10-06-2017 at 08:53 PM.
Pip01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 10:19 AM   #4
Paul M Burke
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Waterford, Ireland.
Posts: 1,205
Default Re: Playing with a band

Look at nothing, I go to my happy place in my head because most of what goes on in the circle is rubbish.

Often you hear a pipemajors saying
" For f..k sake don't follow me when I make a mistake"


I think what the lads are saying here is that,

If you have any musical knowledge, keep it to yourself. Pipemajors may be in charge and lay down the law, but if you question them in front of the band you will be victimized. If you go in private you will be told that's how I do it and I don't give a flying fornication how real musicans do it,...... just watch my foot.

Paul
__________________
Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.
Paul M Burke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2017, 05:53 PM   #5
Jim Fogelman
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1,727
Default Re: Playing with a band

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post
For pipers playing in the circle, do you:
a) not look at anyone else (close eyes?)
b) look at a random person's fingers
c) look at one person's (pipe major's) fingers

Do you take advice or direction from another player who can not play what they are describing?

If odd or even wrong technique is directed, such as a D-Grip on D (instead of b-grip), do you speak up or question it?

-Matthew
All 3.
a) While I have a harmony part
b) When I hear mistakes (I'm the PS and have a degree in music education, so I'm good at finding the culprit)
c) All other times

I only take advice or direction from the PM or instructor. I will, however, give direction when a piper makes the same mistake multiple times.

If wrong technique is directed (which has never happened), I would talk to whoever directed said technique one on one after rehearsal. Never question the PM during rehearsal.

Rule 1: The PM is always right.
Rule 2: If the PM is ever wrong, refer back to rule 1.
Jim Fogelman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2017, 08:14 PM   #6
Chris C.
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 235
Default Re: Playing with a band

FWIW, when I was in a band everyone watched the pipe major's fingers.

His foot also. But mostly the fingers.
Chris C. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2017, 10:56 PM   #7
Andrew Lenz
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Posts: 10,216
Default Re: Playing with a band

Jim, excellent answer.

Andrew
__________________
Andrew T. Lenz, Jr.
www.BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." ---Mark Twain
Andrew Lenz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2017, 06:06 AM   #8
Steve Law
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 150
Default Re: Playing with a band

Iím with Jim and Chris above.....but donít think Iíd enjoy playing in the band Paul describes....Iíve been fortunate enough never to have experienced such poor behaviour....
Steve Law is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2017, 09:56 AM   #9
3D Piper
Forum Clasp
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Posts: 967
Default Re: Playing with a band

Thanks for the replies.
We all assume the leadership is qualified and experienced, but I should have gave more detail and said the hypothetical situation is more like Paul describes: a circle where you are told "just watch somebodys fingers, it doesn't matter" then to see several go off the tune or even stop playing... or to be told "everyone just play how they feel it".. Or if the leadership calls the wrong tune or even specifically states to play a certain part with certain melody notes when they are incorrect.. It is hard to not respectfully speak up to keep the whole band's practice/rehearsal from going down the wrong track..


-Matthew
3D Piper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2017, 10:12 AM   #10
Steve Law
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Norwich, UK
Posts: 150
Default Re: Playing with a band

I agree, Mathew.

Sadly if ď everyone is playing just how they feel itĒ itís not a band, itís a group of individuals....not that folks canít enjoy that...but a band plays the same settings at the same time in harmony with itself (thatís what a band is), ideally under the direction of the most competent leader...

Back in the day, my band had a system where officers were elected every year at the AGM, and sometimes that meant that (perhaps) the best solo piper was elected as PM.....didnít necessarily make the best PM as often solo piping skills are different to the skills required to lead a band.

Mercifully our PM has been in post for over 30 years now and that silly system has ben discarded...our man might not win prizes on the solo boards but he has lots of other skills which better pipers lack....but shouting at people in public isnít on his agenda...thatís saved for practice time
Steve Law is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:25 PM.