PS 172 – Lament for the Sword, or The Aged Warrior’s Sorrow (for not being able to wield his sword as formerly)

Here is another tune from the Hannay-MacAuslan collection. Over the weeks, I will be posting more recordings, until all 10 songs* have been recorded. Some tunes I will take you through my interpretive process, much as I did for PS 170 (Glengarry’s March).  I probably won’t take you through the level of sausage-making detail I […]

The MacFarlanes’ Gathering (Too Long in this Condition)

This tune presents excellent opportunities for amateurs and professionals to make tired ears prick up and pay attention. It is one of those tunes begging for a fresh interpretation by a piper who wants to offer something extra – a memorable and authoritative performance that stands out from the crowd. Every year at the Piobaireachd Society Conference, I hear the Music Committee longing […]

The world’s oldest tune and pipe

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Sweden piping at the opening of the Archaeomusica exhibition. Most of the pipes in my case were reproductions of archaeological finds. In 2008, a 42,000-year-old vulture bone with 5 finger holes was unearthed in Hohle Fels cave, southwestern Germany. On 8 April this year, I made a reproduction from a Gyps fulvus radius bone kindly provided […]

Fear Pìoba Meata – The Timid Piper

This is a glorious piece of music, unjustly neglected. Its combination of brevity and musical depth is ideally suited to amateur pibroch players and learners. If competition organisers can’t change the rules to allow gems like this to gain currency, then something is seriously wrong! This is one of many good tunes that don’t fit our institutionalised thinking or event categories. The […]