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Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

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  • Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

    Hi all - wondering if anyone might be able to offer some insight into the way that Donald MacLeod played his crunluaths in Struan Robertson's Salute, on Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Vol. 2.

    His taorluaths are exactly what I'd expect - fast, but with clarity, all the notes discernable. No surprise. But when he gets to his crunluaths, he slows and opens up the first part of the crunluath (which is the taorluath minus the final E gracenote), and then he rips the dre at full speed to complete the crunluath. The effect (of really emphasizing those two low Gs) is interesting and sounds cool, but very different from what I have been taught and what I hear from most/all top players today.

    Is this just an older style of crunluath, or an evolutionary step from perhaps what it was a hundred years ago and what it is now, or just Donald MacLeod deciding to do it the way he thought was best? I know there is a lot of room for expression and interpretation in piobaireachd, but not sure where to place this.

    Thanks!
    Doug

    PS: I did just run across this, which does talk a bit about it. http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/...d.php?t=110161

    And one last note: listening to Donald MacLeod's version of MacLeod's Controversy on his Vol. 8 tutorial CD, his crunluaths there sound a lot more like I hear from most everyone today.
    Last edited by Doug Walton; 12-26-2020, 10:06 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

    Rab Wallace made a vague comment in the last PS "Talk Piobaireachd" session, which was led by Jack Lee, about the way Donald MacLeod played his crunluaths later in life. I gathered they were somewhat controversial, but that's speculation on my part. I know one local piper who emphasizes the first low g in his crunluaths and he said it's the way DM played it. Now that I'm in my 60's I find my crunluaths slipping away, and one good way to get some clarity is by nailing that first low g, giving it a bit of emphasis. My old teacher said before standardization pipers often emphasized some notes in the heavy movements for rhythmic or melodic reasons, especially in the a machs, so there may have been a historical precedent for it.
    Cha de\an a' phluic a'phiobaireachd

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    • #3
      Re: Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

      Originally posted by John Dally View Post
      Rab Wallace made a vague comment in the last PS "Talk Piobaireachd" session, which was led by Jack Lee, about the way Donald MacLeod played his crunluaths later in life. I gathered they were somewhat controversial, but that's speculation on my part. I know one local piper who emphasizes the first low g in his crunluaths and he said it's the way DM played it. Now that I'm in my 60's I find my crunluaths slipping away, and one good way to get some clarity is by nailing that first low g, giving it a bit of emphasis. My old teacher said before standardization pipers often emphasized some notes in the heavy movements for rhythmic or melodic reasons, especially in the a machs, so there may have been a historical precedent for it.
      Hey John - thanks for this!

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      • #4
        Re: Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

        Well, I was taught by Wee Donald, and he did stress the importance of sounding the low Gs good and full. But he did also stress (as in everything to do with piobaireachd) the importance of balance; and that the effect should be a smooth ripple from bottom hand to top hand.

        I was subsequently taught by Kenneth Maclean, himself a pupil of Donald (and a Gold Medallist) who also stressed the importance of a good firm pair of Gs.

        I try to keep my crunluath balanced but did get dinged in my last (online) competition outing for an imbalance between bottom and top hand execution. Listening back to my effort, it was that in some movements my crunluath resembled those in the OPís reference to Struan Robertsonís Salute. Make of that what you will...


        Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
        Occasionally known as Bob Low

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        • #5
          Re: Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

          I believe Jimmy MacIntosh also teaches a firm low G. Emphasising that that is where the crunluath starts from, and not the themal note.

          I prefer it a solid G, but the crunluath must ripple away from it. And the G is only minusculey emphasised to provided a solid foundation for the movement.

          edit to add link:
          https://vimeo.com/13539318

          He talks about the crunluaths from about 8:00 minutes in.
          Last edited by Mac an t-Sealgair; 12-29-2020, 10:21 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Question about this interesting "open" crunluath

            Really interesting info - thanks everyone! No denying that a clean, tight pair of low-Gs sounds good. Where I can run into problems is when I rush the crunluath "front end", and when I'm carrying too much tension in both hands.
            Last edited by Doug Walton; 02-12-2021, 05:41 AM.

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