Interview with Stephen Rooklidge – Shasta Piping Society (Part 2)

When you first considered this, what were the goals you hope would be achieved by this competition?

Originally, there were two goals: spike an interest in pibroch from
younger players who might not have thought about composing pibroch;
and gather enough tunes together to create a collection that we could
then use as “set tunes” for future prize pipe competitions. We hoped
the awards were substantial enough to make new composers or old hands,
who may have some melodies kicking around but never acted on, inspired
enough to sit and write. Fortunately, this proved to be the result in
two cases where the composers let me know they needed just this little
bit to get them over the edge and complete the composition.

I’m sure some of the composers already had work completed, and we are
very happy to give them a place to send it. The judges did not
provide comments to the composers; that would have required more
effort from the judges and the load was already heavy, but more than a
few composers were chuffed to have their tunes judged along with some
heavy-hitting composers. The quality of composers varied from
first-time efforts to gold medalists, so the range was wide. The
judges didn’t know who the composers were, and you can imagine the
variety of submissions when there was virtually no criteria for the
tunes entered. Judging was based strictly on their musical quality
compared to other entries, and I know it was a real task to limit the
awards to the top three.

The rules of the contest allow the SPS to published the score in a
collection and use audio for future advertisement, while the composer
retains full copyright. At this time, we’re not sure if we will ever
exercise that right to publish because the prize pipe competitions are
put on hold. We have seen some composers post their submitted tunes
on the web, and that is very satisfying. To witness our original idea
of getting new pibrochs out into the world come to fruition is very
exciting for us. We’ve decided next year to only allow entries that
have not been published and were not previously submitted to be
included in the contest. It’s our intention to try to keep the
momentum for new pibrochs to be created.

More to follow…


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