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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 11-06-2019, 08:04 PM   #1
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Glenfiddich Tempos

Adding to the collection of Glenfiddich posts, here are some tempos (M S R):

Connor 69 120 80
Finlay 65 115 79
Niall 67 120 82
Callum 66 117 83
Stuart 66 113 81
Glenn 68 120 85
Gordon 70 121 79
Iain 70 117 78
Andrew 67 114 80
Jack 64 115 78

Strathspeys were the hardest as the tempo would fluctuate up to 25 bpm sometimes (125 down to 100) over technical or heavily navigated sections. Anyways, best average tempos I could come up with.

Contrasting with the same competition in 1984 (Grant's):

Iain MacFadyen: Kantara to El Arish at 74 bpm, Inveraray Castle at 142 bpm, and Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree at 95 bpm. Truly an engaging performance.

The slowest reel came from Hugh MacCallum’s John MacKechnie at 85 bpm. Other reels included Malcolm MacRae’s at 98, Murray Henderson’s at 92, Gavin Stoddart’s at 90, and Bill Livingstone’s at 94. Other strathspey tempos were anywhere from 128-138. Marches in the low 70s.

You know where I'm going with this. Modern competition tempos have slowed. Personally, I think at modern tempos, some tunes are losing their melodies.

I'm giving Gordon McCready the award for most engaging march.

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 11-10-2019 at 06:19 PM. Reason: Correction to text per Patrick.
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:28 AM   #2
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Sorry, that should say “125 down to 100” regarding the variation in strathspey tempos.

[Fixed. —Andrew (Moderator)]

Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 11-10-2019 at 06:20 PM. Reason: Added note about editing original post per this post.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:09 PM   #3
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Interesting the difference in tempi between a 2/4 march functioning as a MARCH and a 2/4 march functioning as a listening piece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6MUXVu_Gi4

Likewise Strathspeys and Reels. As a longtime RSCDS member I have those tempi "in my bones". Of course Highland dancers might well have rather different tempi in their bones. Both, I suspect, are different than the tempi heard when tunes formerly used to accompany dance are played for listening.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:49 AM   #4
CalumII
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Aye. It's interesting that I've done a lot of my playing in various bands with military connections of one sort or another and we've always maintained tempi that a lot of civilian bands, nominally far better, would balk at. The 6/8s at a major contest are like slow airs; you can certainly slow march to them.
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Old 11-11-2019, 05:51 AM   #5
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

All these discussions, competition tempo, competition pitch, piobaireachd competition style points towards that competition is now its own distinct, convoluted style of playing.

People playing to win will play what is required to win, not what is musical (to an extent of course). Competitive art (there's an oxymoron surely) is continually changing the 'tradition', evolving to suite the tastes of the day. I see it more clearly in piobaireachd, but without a doubt it's present in all forms of competition.
What we have to come to realise is that competition style is a distinct branch of piping now, in it's own every evolving form, separate to the piping we are familiar with, where sound & technical proficiency come before tempo and musicality.

Competition, especially piobaireachd has become esoteric. A convoluted, edited for competition, shadow of its former self. Which is why it has been threatened with its extinction. I don't think we should get to hung up on the tempos, or Hz. We should strive to play in our own inimitable style, in a way that satisfies ourselves. If thats competition style then great, enjoy! But, if not, that's great to, and don't feel that because you don't play it like the Glenfiddich it devalues your style. It doesn't!

My biggest irk is with the concept people have of 'tradition', whether its tunes or dress or whatever. Grinds my gears hearing you have to play this or that dress like this or like that, grrrr! Like all these aspects have been fixed for all eternity, not realising that it changes with the tastes and demands of the present, in a constant state of flux.

Just my tuppence worth. No offence intended.
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Old 11-19-2019, 02:32 PM   #6
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Something to warm your cockles Patrick

https://www.pipesdrums.com/article/t...m-and-seminar/
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:03 PM   #7
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Thank you for the link.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:04 AM   #8
DNorwood
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Yes of course. Because anything should be allowed in a way that will accommodate the emotions, fears, rationale of those who wish not to be constrained by conventions that suit not their desire, needs, belief systems, or any guidelines. It all the rage these days.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac an t-Sealgair View Post

My biggest irk is with the concept people have of 'tradition', whether its tunes or dress or whatever. Grinds my gears hearing you have to play this or that dress like this or like that, grrrr! Like all these aspects have been fixed for all eternity, not realising that it changes with the tastes and demands of the present, in a constant state of flux.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:09 AM   #9
Doug Walton
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

For me, whatever the most accomplished solo pipers on the planet currently deem as their best effort is pretty much exactly what I want to hear, and what I consider to be the benchmark. In my opinion, they (and judges, to some extent) get to decide and establish things like this. I find it all very musical. I don't find current competition tempos or tunings to be an issue at all.

Conversely, I found the tempo and overall musicality in the video posted above of the military marching band to be almost comical and frantic. And I could not care less if the tempo supports quickly-marching troops. That may be related to the fact that I'm not at all interested in pipe bands, pipe band culture, or military/police connections to piping.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:11 AM   #10
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: Glenfiddich Tempos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Walton View Post
In my opinion, they (and judges, to some extent) get to decide and establish things like this.

And I could not care less if the tempo supports quickly-marching troops. That may be related to the fact that I'm not at all interested in pipe bands, pipe band culture, or military/police connections to piping.
Exactly, this style has been 'established'. As a competition style, self serving, a technical masterpiece 'arguably' devoid of musicality. And, I can see the argument. But if you like that then enjoy.
I too like the competition style light music (I must have been conditioned too ), and I too could not give a monkeys about military.

But competition piobaireachd, what a pale poorly configured pastiche it has become. A tragedy. Although some do still maintain their beauty even in their overtly edited state.

Last edited by Mac an t-Sealgair; 11-20-2019 at 11:15 AM. Reason: 'overtly edited state' - much like my post ��
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