Newsletter January 2011

Welcome to the annual newsletter for members of the Piobaireachd Society.

The most visited area on our website is Set Tunes. This shows the continuing importance, like it or not, of competition in Piobaireachd. Competitions need to be judged and one of the Society’s regular activities is arranging regular seminars for judges. Usually set tunes are discussed, but as the gold and silver medal lists were own choice last year the March seminar looked at judging more generally. A full account is on www.piobaireachd.co.uk , under “set tunes”, and an article appeared in “Piping Today. The nub of the discussion was about judging musicianship and about how individual taste can be incorporated into the judgement. Clan Chattan’s Gathering and the Battle of Auldearn were played by two current competitors and they were given a critique by three senior judges.

The annual conference went well. A highlight for me was the talk given by Jim Barrie about the Cameron/Gillies/Reid style. This can be seen in full, including sound illustrations, in the member’s area of the website and it deserves study by any piobaireachd student. The differences are small between this style and what is usually heard now, but they are distinct and I think that it is sad that we hear little of this style today.

There is continuing interest in the Campbell Canntaireachd. The search for the possibly undiscovered third volume has been publicised by Peter McCalister. He gave a presentation about it at Piping Live during which an unpublished tune was played. The Society owes Peter a debt of gratitude for this research and also for his work maintaining and developing the website. He is preparing a new article about canntaireachd which should appear soon.

We continue to receive positive comments about the website and we are considering future developments. Our webmaster John Dow has reduced his involvement so we are looking for an enthusiastic and suitably skilled person to assist with maintenance and development of the website. Please be in touch with Peter, John or me if you are interested.

The rich sound archive of the Army School of Piping has been made available to the Society and we a currently trawling this for suitable sound files to add to our collection. The Army School was started by the Piobaireachd Society 100 years ago and an informal Piobaireachd for Pleasure event was held in October to celebrate this.

We now have well over 400 members from all over the world. It is always a pleasure to hear from you and to assist in any way we can.

Jack Taylor

January 2011