For all things related to Piobaireachd ...


No announcement yet.

Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

    I won't say much other to direct interested parties to this opinion piece from Lt. Col. DJS Murray in which he says that he now "dissociates" himself from the foreword he wrote to Archibald Campbell's "Sidelights to the Kilberry Book of Cel Mr."

    Murray cites Willie Donaldson's "The Highland Pipe & Scottish Society 1750-1950" several times. I just got my copy of the book in the mail last week, and I'm looking forward to digging into it.

  • #2
    Re: Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

    Murray had an open mind, from what people I know who knew him said. He even entertained the ideas of Ailean Domhnullach. He was instrumental in the PS publication of the MacArthur ms, which itself is somewhat controversial.

    Murray died in 2016, and this was originally publishing in the PIPING TIMES in 2013. Why this is being published again now? Being a "cranky old man" myself I recognize the tone. The headline is unfortunate and doesn't really express Murray's main point.

    Whatever the reason, if it encourages more people to read Donaldson's book so much the better. I've reread it twice now, and was just considering reading it again when I decided to reread OLD AND NEW WORLD HIGHLAND PIPING by John Gibson.
    Also a must-read is Gibson's TRADITIONAL GAELIC PIPING
    Also of interest, although it doesn't cover piobaireachd, is Barry's DANCE TO THE PIPER.

    In PS volume 16, the treatment of tunes taken from Uilliam Ross's book doesn't add much clarity and the reason for making changes is debatable. Fortunately, the PS printed Ross's settings along their setting, letting the piper decide. Giving all the information available shows the progress the PS has made in the last century.
    Cha de\an a' phluic a'phiobaireachd


    • #3
      Re: Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

      The late Lt. Col. Murray set forth his views in an interview with Alan Henderson of Piper's Persuasion, which you can listen to here:

      Over the years I enjoyed reading the many articles Lt. Col. Murray wrote, a lot of "food for thought". Murray straddled the change between the era of the "Gentlemen vs. the Players" into the modern era of professional pipers sitting as judges. I read once that after a competition in the late 1940s, Robert Reid happened to run into Archibald Campbell and Peter Grant outside the hall, and having not been listed on the prize list though he thought he played well, got into a row with those two judges. Murray did a lot to document the changes in piping judging over the years. Not everyone thought well of him though.

      Cheers -



      • #4
        Re: Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

        Thanks for correcting me re: the original date.

        I've watched a lot of the Piper's Persuasion vids, but I'll have to go back and have a look at that one.

        In the article, Murray mentions P/M Angus MacDonald.

        When I took lessons from Allan MacDonald for a few months in 1998, there was one evening when we were in one of the practice rooms in the Piping Centre, and Allan was teaching me Joseph MacDonald's "March for a Beginner" and explaining the style of cadences used in "Complete Theory" and their changes up through Donald MacDonald, Angus MacKay, etc. P/M Angus happened to walk by and poked his head in the door.

        "You know, I remember my dad used to put wee flourishes like that in his pibrochs when I was a boy. Of course, he only did it at home when he was playing for himself--never in the competitions."

        "You're kidding!" Allan sputtered. "You've known me this long, and you've NEVER told me this!" (I think Allan mentioned to me that he and P/M Angus were second cousins, BTW. Allan had known him his whole life.)

        P/M Angus just gave a chuckle and walked out the door. He died the following year.

        I don't recall if you were there, John, but when I reconnected with Allan in 2014 at the Fis in Port Townsend and reminded him of this story, he had no memory of it.


        • #5
          Re: Lt. Col. DJS Murray in Bagpipe News

          I don't remember, but I believe you, Channing. That's a very interesting comment from PM Angus.

          IIRC, George Moss said some enlightening things on the subject as well.

          You spent some time with Jimmy MacColl, too, IIRC. I only had the one lesson with him, but I think he just took them out. Correct me if I'm not remembering correctly.
          Cha de\an a' phluic a'phiobaireachd