Okay. The moment we’ve been waiting for.
This is the final results of our journey, performed on the big instrument.
The thing about being a musician is that you always feel there is more to explore, more to learn, more depth to a tune. That is the same I feel with this one.
It is a shame that many pibroch students, competitors and performers measure performance against a standard – whether the standard is that of the performances on a given day, or that of a recording they heard and want to mimic, or of an instruction they have been given.
Music is a living art. It is all around us. Every voice we hear, every sound we encounter, is music. We cannot not encounter it – we do not have earlids!
Music impacts us deeply. We are moved by it, excited by it, sometimes bored by it. It goes directly into the limbic system, short-circuiting the pre-frontal cortex. It is visceral.
Why would we want to play something in a way that stifles the spirit? In a way where the easy accusation is: “it all sounds the same.”
Yes. Yes, it quite often does. Because of the single-style, single-genre, single-text approach we have taken culminating in the 20th century and reverberating today.
We at the Alt Pibroch Club believe there is much life in the music, life that has been routinely stifled by means of context, transmission, self-doubt, fear: whatever. The primary source materials show a vibrancy and palette of music options that is simply not encountered or performed today.
Well, it can be, should be.
It will be. Because the evidence is prima facie. And the results are exciting.
In the months ahead, I will continue to produce a series of recordings of the rest of the materials in the Hannay-MacAuslan collection. I will do the kind of sausage-making posts I did here with Cille Chriost, but with perhaps less detail. I may draw from my own lessons with Allan or others. I may simply summarize my findings and decisions and attach a recording. We’ll see.
But the point of this exercise is to demystify the process of interpretation, so explain the interpretive decisions, and to empower you, as performers, to begin making your own. You may not like the results: Good for you! But, I hope you do not reject them on the principle of “that’s not how I was taught” (so what?), “judges won’t understand” (who cares?), “it’s sounds weird” (go out and expose yourself to more performances by people who are on the cutting edge of this morn-traditional revival). Come up with good, interpretive reasons for your choices.
And share them with us!