In the fourth installment of the Monday Survey, I asked if you this question regarding the fact that royalties are not paid to bands competing in the World Pipe Band Championship:
Are the rights of performers and composers being violated by these recordings?
Of the three responses, the general consensus was no, their rights are not being violated.
Dan pointed out that games usually lose money on competitions, and selling the recordings is one way to help recoup the costs. He said, “…if bands or soloists want to try to make money from their work, there are better ways to do it than entering competitions.” Very true!
Vince made a similar comment about finances, and also added this, which I like very much: “Should cyclists at the Tour de France be compensated for their “performance” in that competition?”
Adam agreed with Vince, and also asked if “we paying royalties to composers who created the tunes you compete with, every time you play them?”
I like the analogy of the Tour de France or Olympic Games: do the athletes enter expecting to get royalties from their televised performances? Of course now. It’s about the competition, not the compensation, and that’s how I feel the pipe band world should stay.
This video was posted today over at the Piper’s DoJo Blog, and it’s really fantastic. Stuart Liddell gave one of the lunchtime recitals at The Piping Centre in the week leading up to the World Pipe Band Championships, and at least part of it was captured on video and posted to YouTube this week.
There’s not much to say about the man except that he is truly amazing. His pipes are immaculate, his playing of the standards is among the best, and on the flashy stuff I think there’s no piper alive today who can match him.
Share this video with all of your friends. Everyone always needs to see more good piping videos, and this certainly qualifies.
Three more videos from the recital were added since my original post, and I now have linked to all 8 videos.
This Saturday, October 30, is the annual Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship at Blair Atholl castle. The event is a very prestigious one, and the winner is often considered to be the unofficial world champion of solo piping.
Fall means elections here in the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, and the ballots for new officers should have been received a few weeks ago. Be sure to take a hand in the organization and vote for the leading candidate.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since I got my EUSPBA ballot, but I’ve struggled to find the right words for it. It was stated much more succinctly than I could by Peter Armstrong in the Fall 2010 issue of The Voice. This is the closing paragraph from his article entitled “Breakfast With the Judges: A Missed Opportunity.”
When is an association not an association? When the membership does not participate and makes it merely a collection of people. My best memories of games are the friendships built with other band members and judges. That is what I enjoy most about piping– being with other “friends” who share the same passion. What is my point? This is our hobby– if you are passionate about it, take advantage of the opportunity others are working hard to provide you; workshops, and branch meetings. Make a point of meeting other people and give back to the association in a manner that helps it serve you better in the future.
The basic message: go do things!
There are a lot of neat events that are so very poorly attended. There are people (all volunteers, I might add) who work hard to bring opportunities for improvement and entertainment to the membership, and it would be really nice to see more involvement at these events.
I came across a very nice piobaireachd video this afternoon, and thought I’d share it.
The tune is MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart, performed by Alasdair Mackenzie. I don’t know anything about Alasdair except that he’s a very good piper. He plays this complex tune very well, and it’s definitely worth a listen. (more…)
This past weekend saw the last highland games and bagpipe band competition in the mid-Atlantic region for the year, and as much as I love actively competing, it’s nice to have a break. The band finished a month ago and we’ve been off since then, and now with the my last solo event over I’m getting ready for a little piping break.
I usually take the first few weeks of the off season to think about what tunes I’d like to learn for next year. I’m going to try to rotate out one of my competition tunes in each category, and learn a new one to replace it. As of now, my new tunes are projected to be:
- 2/4 March: Murdo MacLeod (replacing Mrs. John MacColl)
- Strathspey: Cabar Feidh (replacing Arniston Castle)
- Reel: Ca’ the Ewes (replacing Major Manson)
- Hornpipe: HMS Renown (replacing Train Journey North)
- Jig: Donald Cameron’s Powder Horn (replacing Alan MacPherson of Mosspark)
- 6/8 March: Dornach Highland Gathering (replacing Dundee City Police Pipers)
- Piobaireachd: Lament for the Only Son (replacing Massacre of Glencoe)
These are all in addition to a few new tunes for the band that were distributed earlier this week.
I also like to take some time to get my instrument together, adding hemp where necessary and doing a general maintenance update.
I’m also trying to expand my number private performances, which means I need to brush up on some smaller tunes to fill time.
So that’s what my offseason looks like. Do you have any plans for your piping over the next few months?
Unfortunately my posts have not been as frequent of late, but I’m going to press on with the Monday Survey. Keep those answers coming, I love to hear what you think!
This post is going up a few days later than I had hoped, but better late than never, right?
The second installment of the Monday Survey asked:
What was the first tune you learned?
I received six comments, and I was kind of surprised that only one (Dan) had learned Scots Wa Hae first. It’s the first tune in the famous “Green Book,” and I know of many people who learned it first.
All of the others were unique responses: Minstrel Boy (Tom R), Highland Cradle Song (Tom T), Roses of Prince Charlie (Adam), Highland Cathedral (Pops), and Thomas Sanders (Jeremy).
Five of the six still play the tune at least on occasion, with the exception being Dan with Scots Wa Hae (I don’t blame you!). Tom did say that he didn’t like Highland Cradle Song at first and didn’t play it for a long time. Going back to it some years later, he found he rather liked it and now warms up with it.
Maybe I’ll find the same if I go back to my first tune, the slow march Loch Rannoch. I didn’t like it very much at the time, and I haven’t played it in about ten years. We’ll see.
Thanks to everyone who participated, and be sure to answer this week’s question!
In last week’s question, I asked what was the first tune you learned that you liked, and some followup questions about that.
For this week’s question, I’ll be asking about another experience you had early in your piping career. Here is this week’s question:
What do you remember about your first performance?
Do you remember where and when it was that you first played for others? Do you remember what the tunes were? How you felt before and after?
Post your comments below, and keep watching here for a review of comments before next Monday.
I had some really good responses to last week’s question, and I’d like to thank everyone who commented.
In the second installment of the Monday Survey, I’d like to ask a question about your piping history: (more…)
Thanks to those of you who commented on the first Monday Survey. It remains open, and I’ll gladly accept your comments indefinitely.
As promised in the original post, I’ll take a minute to review some of the responses. The question was:
When is a piper ready to perform in public? (more…)
Regardless of how you feel about them, solo competitions are a fixture in the piping world, and if you’re serious about improving your piping they are something that must be undertaken. We can sit here and argue all day about liking or hating competition, but the fact is that playing for a trained ear is a great way to improve, and competitions give us that chance.
I’ve come to realize a few things about the tunes I’ve chosen for competitions, and I’ll share them with you now. (more…)
I found this video this afternoon and had to share. The two pipers are Lyric Todkill (left) and Doug MacRae. Both play with 78th Fraser Highlanders in Toronto, and as of September 21 of this year Doug is the pipe major of that band.
Lyric is a good friend of mine (and a former instructor), and as you can tell, he’s not a bad piper. I’ve never met Doug, but he can clearly do a thing or two with the pipes. They’re playing a set of jigs that I first heard in the first track on the Flame of Wrath album (which is fantastic by the way; if you don’t own it you should).
Anyway the video is a good listen, and worth your five minutes.
I see that I’m starting to get some more views here on the blog, which is really exciting. I expect that most of you have something to contribute, so I’m going to start a feature called Monday Survey. I’ll post an open question relating to bagpipes here each Monday morning, and encourage you to leave comments with your thoughts. I’ll post a follow up later in the week highlighting some of the more interesting responses.
Here is the first installment. (more…)
EUSPBA elections are coming up, with ballots to be distributed in the next few weeks. The president spot is up for election this year, as well several other seats (I’ll update the post when I find out exactly which ones). The results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting in Baltimore on November 13, and the new officers will take over immediately.
Andrew Douglas over at The Piper’s DoJo posted a great resource for voting members of the EUSPBA: an interview with the presidential candidates. He sent a list of questions to each of the four candidates and has posted the responses of two of them, Eric MacNeill and Albert McMullin. They both gave very thoughtful answers to the questions, and it’s definitely worth reading if you’re a voting member of this organization.
There are a lot of benefits to playing solo competitions, and after seven seasons of active competition I can attribute a lot of my improvement to competitions. Competitions have motivated me to practice, and knowing that I’ll be playing for a judge’s trained ear has made that practice more guided and thoughtful. My endurance has improved, my technique become more consistent, my ear become more critical toward my tuning and playing.
There’s also the constant battle against yourself and your nerves, and this still gives me a thrill. Do I have what it takes to get up in front of accomplished piper, push my nervousness away, then settle my pipes and play a good tune? That’s the question I answer every time I step in front of a judge; unfortunately the answer is not always “yes,” but that motivates me to work harder for the next time.
But there is a downside to focusing so much on solo competitions: repertoire. Knowing that my only performances in the next few months will be competitions encourages me to practice my competition repertoire, to the exclusion of the dozens of other tunes I’ve learned in my dozen years of piping. Since I’m never really satisfied with how I play my competition tunes, I don’t feel like I can move on to other stuff.
But one of the things that makes good pipers is knowing lots of tunes, and that doesn’t happen when you only play competition stuff. Every once in a while I’ll take off from my competition stuff to play older stuff. I’ll pick a category of tunes (like 2/4 march) and play every one of those tunes that I can think of. It’s a good memory challenge, but it’s fun to dust off old tunes. I’ve rediscovered quite a few favorites this way, and it makes me feel like I know more.
Andrew Douglas over at The Piper’s DoJo posted on this a while back, and he has a nice quote that’s worth some thought:
“The truth is, no tune will ever be perfect – that’s the name of the game; how close can you come?”
If you try to focus on one tune until it’s perfect, you’ll never play anything else. Revive some of those old tunes that you learned when you were first playing. It’s a trip down nostalgia lane, and it’s fun.