Reverse Engineering in Pibroch – by Ronald Smith

We have seen great advances in recovering and reclaiming the nearly lost art of the clarsach, and heard Simon Chadwick’s ressurections of its music and explorations into the lost world of the era when harp music and pibroch flourished side by side.  While illuminating and inspiring, much of this remains a specialist activity requiring dedication […]

An Interesting Puzzle, and a Potential Opportunity

In my encounters chatting with competitors and judges, one  hears discussions about what constitutes qualifications for aassessing “alternative” settings. This poses an interesting question: Since so many of the current and previous generation of pipers only learn from and know the derivative and secondary sources, and are taught in the dominant stylistic paradigm, where does one find judges familiar […]

Using colour to convey musical pitches – Part 5

1. The rift between vocal and written canntaireachd 2. The rationale behind a proposed colour scheme 3. Case study 1: Hiharin hiodreen – One of the Cragich (PS 36) 4. Case study 1 (cont.): testing a coloured vocable score Part 5 concludes case study 1. In Part 4, I began identifying issues that arise when music from canntaireachd sources is shared in the conventional way, using staff […]

Using colour to convey musical pitches – Part 4

PART 1. The rift between vocal and written canntaireachd PART 2. The rationale behind a proposed colour scheme PART 3. Case study 1: Hiharin hiodreen – One of the Cragich (PS 36) Part 4 is a continuation of Case study 1. Experiments with different desktop printers prompt me to lighten the colour of high A in order to make the proposed set […]

Using colour to convey musical pitches – Part 3

PART 1. The rift between vocal and written canntaireachd PART 2. The rationale behind a proposed colour scheme PART 3. Case study 1: Hiharin hiodreen – One of the Cragich (PS 36) This series is dedicated to the memory of Lt Cl David Murray who awakened debate on the notation and timing of hiharin over 50 years ago. He was a source of tremendous encouragement […]

Using colour to convey musical pitches – Part 2

In Part 1, I observed how the difference between sound waves and light waves has severed the vocal practice of canntaireachd from its written forms. In this part, I explain the rationale for a colour system that could heal the rift, making canntaireachd easier to handle. I have been using colour to communicate pitches in music education since 1995. That was when I bought […]