Original Piobaireachd Society Series – Volume 4

By the time Volume 4 hit the shelves, the Society, enough dissatisfaction with the scores had been voiced that the Piobaireachd Society invited professional pipers into its ranks, including John Macdonald of Inverness,  John MacDougall Gillies, and William Ross (Scot Guards).  That this was a simple political ploy, however, is evident not only in internal documents and correspondence, but in the very notes themselves published with the Volume: The subcommittee “reserved for themselves full discretionary power as to the settings to be accepted and printed.” In effect, the three performers had no impact upon the resulting scores at all.

Typographically, what we see see in this Volume is the standardization of motifs finally taking hold in a format and style familiar to us today.  All crahinins are now recorded in the “echo-beat” rhythm performed today.  Hiharins in particular begin to show their pre-gracenoted format as quick double-taps that eventually became the birls by the time G. S. McLennan publishes his book. Rodins for the first time become grace noted movements, as do edres in the Urlar.

And While no held-E cadence is recorded as a main themal element, darados, vedares, odros and otros continue to retain thematic notes associated with them.

And still, lemluaths, taorluaths and crunluaths remain full traditional-style movements.

Most interesting of all, however, is that in this Volume, no sources are cited for the scores.

Stuart’s White Banner – With the comments made, above, in mind, perhaps the most striking thing about this version is that the Siubhal is played “up”, whereas in both MacDonald and MacKay, it is played “down”. Something interesting happened in the generations after the primary sources.  The later publication in Book 7 retains this punctuation.

Weighing from Land – The only significant difference between this publication and the one later published in Volume 2 Second Series is that triplets of the Taorluath gearr are later recorded as 1/32nd notes. Here, they are simple 1/8th note triplets.  The setting is from Angus MacKay’s manuscript, with no editorial changes

Prince Charlie’s Lament – Drawn from Angus MacKay with with very few changes, this 6/8 version stands out over against the monstrous Common Time setting produced in the Second Series in Volume 10.

The Vaunting – Drawn from Angus MacKay, with emendations based on typesetting format (held-Es as themal notes in MacKay are abandoned in favor of the tripping-cadence style of formatting).

Lament for Lord Lovat – Same as above: Drawn from MacKay with the only changes being the style of typesetting.

Tulach Ard – Actually known as “MacKenzie’s March”, and not MacKenzie’s Gathering, this is partially recorded in Peter Reid and Angus MacKay.  This version appears to be drawn from Peter Reid (with some emendations of style).

Lord Breadalbane’s March – Today known as the Carles with the Breeks (PS 002), this version is an interesting pastiche of source materials.  It follows MacDonald’s 6/8 time signature (as well it should) in the Urlar, but favor’s MacKay’s crahinin style and very clearly draws from his book as the source for the remaining cycles.  The Second Edition version found in Book 8 is a total and complete corruption, abandoning the 6/8 style of performance altogether.

Lady Doyle’s Salute – Yet another template-based resetting of the Angus MacKay score from his book.

Here is a copy for your enjoyment.


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