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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 11-22-2015, 11:40 AM   #1
CalumII
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Default The Pipe Music of the Western People

This is a very curious little book, published in New York in 1974. By one Thomas P. McGloin, it has a rather nonsensical introduction which suggests that settings are relics of an oral tradition...

...which is clearly nonsense, because it is a style of light music that I would have thought barely existed in 1974. Some of it is very nice, including some of the self-composed stuff (and some is filler, but hey). Thomas must have been a pretty solid piper if his music is anything to go by. There is a lot of material one can easily imagine the Ontario bands of the late 70s and early 80s playing.

There's practically nothing on the web about him or his book. Can anyone fill in the gaps?
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:31 PM   #2
Adam Sanderson
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

I can't add much, except that I had a book by him a long time ago, called The Killasser Ceilidhe, A Collection Of Traditional And Original Airs.
I bought it in London for 50p, it was in the remainder bin at Bill Lewingtons in Cambridge Circus, and it was imported from the USA, with a "sponsored by American Airlines" logo. It was printed in New York. Despite all the Irish tune titles, most of them appeared to have been written in New York too.

The notes/history were a fantasy, not much of the "traditional" in there, some of the tunes were OK, but the settings were odd, to say the least.

I kept it for a year or two, then chucked it.
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:12 AM   #3
Jim McGillivray
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

I have that book somewhere. I remember Ed Neigh discovering it somewhere in the mid-70s and we found some eccentric though interesting stuff in it. We may have played one or two things. Odd settings, as I recall, but obviously from someone who put thought into things but who had no idea how to market.

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Old 11-23-2015, 12:31 PM   #4
John Dally
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

Considering how difficult it was to get a book published in those days, even a cheap paper pamphlet, staple bound, it's pretty amazing. The paper in my copy has deteriorated quite a bit. The comments above about the settings being "eccentric" are interesting. That must have something to do with what's Establishment and what isn't. I've overheard Scottish pipers use the same language to describe Michael Grey's tunes.

McGloin must have influenced Dave Rickard's Irish collection, which in turn must have inspired Terry Tully's collections. Comparing McGloin's tunes and Neil Angus MacDonald of Barra's collection, which is wonderful IMHO, to a couple of collections put out by Establishment pipers at the same time (I won't name names) the latter come off as fusty, dry and not a little sloppy. There were other collections, of course, that were first rate, like those put out by Donald MacLeod and John Wilson.

When John MacFadyen's third collection came I brought it with me to a summer school headed by Captain John MacLellan. He had many interesting things to say about it.
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:52 PM   #5
LloydB
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

I also found some of the settings a bit 'off' but suggestive
of some interesting melodies. I exchanged a letter or
two with the author (remember letters?), and re-wrote
a couple of the tunes.
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Old 11-24-2015, 04:08 AM   #6
CalumII
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McGillivray View Post
Odd settings, as I recall
Yes, that's what I found really interesting. The settings to me are in technical terms twenty years ahead of their time, at least as my understanding of the evolution of tune arrangements goes. Musically, I don't quite know what to make of many of them, but there are definitely a few that are more than playable.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:22 AM   #7
Leong
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

When y'all say a setting is odd, you mean that it differs from present day playing - am I right in my understanding? It is not wrong per se, yes (esp with traditional tunes as opposed to modern tunes where reference can be made to a living composer)? I'm just trying to get my head round this issue.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:55 AM   #8
CalumII
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

Either from present day playing or from the standard idiom at the time.

What it means to be "wrong" in the context of a tradition art is, as I've said before, not a simple question. And there are degrees of wrongness.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
John Dally
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
The settings to me are in technical terms twenty years ahead of their time.
Perhaps it's because it's Irish?

Gordon Duncan, Terry Tully, Dave Rickard, Richard Parks, Ailean Domhnallach, Dr. Angus MacDonald, and almost everyone who claims to be playing in a Cape Breton style today, they all were influenced by popular traditional Irish music. That doesn't mean they all joined the tradition. It just means the influence can't be denied. This book came out as the Bothy Band was becoming famous around the world.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Pipe Music of the Western People

Thanks Calum.
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