I’ve posted before about how little variety there is among the MSR sets submitted by the top level bands. That particular post was just after the World Pipe Band Championships last year, and this year was about the same. I just went through the recordings posted on the BBC website of the 14 bands in the final MSR, and determined the following:
- The march was where there was the most variety, with nine different tunes.
- The most popular march was Pipe Major Tom MacAllister (4 times), with Balmoral Highlanders and The Clan MacRae Society being played twice each. These were the only tunes that were repeated.
- Usual favorites Highland Wedding, Donald Cameron, and Lord Alexander Kennedy only made one appearance each.
- Eight different strathspeys were played, with Susan MacLeod being played most often (4 times). Maggie Cameron and Atholl Cummers were each repeated twice, as was The Islay Ball, which hasn’t been very popular in years past.
- Perennial favorite Dora MacLeod was only played by one band, as was Tulloch Castle.
- There were only six different reels played, showing the least diversity
- John Morrison of Assynt House was the most popular (4 times), with MacAllister’s Dirk next (3 times) and two appearances each of Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran, John MacKechnie, and Charlie’s Welcome.
- Pretty Marion was only played once, and it was the only reel not repeated.
So there’s still an appalling lack of variety in the MSR tune selection, but there seems to be a bit more variety than last year. What can be done to shake things up a bit? Well, I have an idea that might appear here sometime in the next few days.