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Piobaireachd High G / High A

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  • Piobaireachd High G / High A

    Hi folks,

    With regard to these two notes in piobaireachd, is there a ‘rule’, or indication as to when the ‘piobaireachd’ versions of these notes should be played when these notes are shown in the notation for any particular tune? Should they be played in every tune in which a high G/A are written? Or, is there some form of indication that these are required when….required. When these notes are shown as part of a ‘doubling’…should they be be played as ‘light music’ versions, or ‘piob’ versions?

    I hope that makes a wee bit of sense.

    Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Macs66; 12-23-2022, 11:37 AM.

  • #2
    I will say that, for my part, I always play the piobaireachd High G and never the piobaireachd high A when playing piobaireachd and no judge has ever remarked on it.

    [email protected]


    • #3
      As Tom says, it's generally rare to see the "piobaireachd A" being played in any context, and those who do play it often play it all the time, including in light music. Not an absolute hard and fast rule - there are few rules in piping that someone isn't breaking somewhere - but not worth bothering about. That said, I'd argue it's pretty obvious that much of our technique naturally fits around this fingering.

      As for the piobaireachd G, the generally accepted practice is to play it with the piobaireachd fingering everywhere in a tune unless it's actually a literal gracenote. If you choose to play the piobaireachd A in a particular tune, this is a safe rule to stick to.
      -- Formerly known as CalumII


      • #4
        Many thanks guys, much appreciated!


        • #5
          It's not a piobaireachd high A. It was an alternate fingering for the high A that was played in the light music as well. Piobaireachd high G is not played in light music and it sounds different than a regular high G.

          Here's a excerpt from an interview with the late Donald MacPherson. BB stands for the Boys Brigade.

          "At the BB I learned to play the open C and the high A with the F finger down and also the heavier throw on D. My father changed all of these: the C had to be played with the little finger down, the high A with the E finger down and the throw on D without the grip."

          I have a recording of Andrew MacNeil talking about the scale. He describes the alternate fingering as Donald MacPherson did and adds some players found it easier to get the lock notes off in tunes like The Earl of Antrim using the alternate fingering.

          Here's the link to the interview
          This is the first excerpt of an interview given in 1998 by Donald MacPherson at his home in Perthshire for Piper Press magazine….. I don’t think there is any great secret about getting a good…
          Last edited by Piperalpha; 12-25-2022, 07:45 AM. Reason: added the link