Strictly a vanity project. I am making my way through all the pibrochs we’ve assembled at Musical Materials. I will be recording only the urlars. My interpretations will be based upon the APC Approach I, outlined here.
I select from the earliest piping staff score. When that is Angus MacKay, I select from his Kintarbert, which is his latest manuscript and represents his most worked upon material. Otherwise, you will see Hannay-MacAuslan, MacArthur-MacGregor, Donald MacDonald and Peter Reid.
I try to be respectful of the score selected, but I recognize the idiosyncratic nature of the interpretation: MacKay’s predilection for held-E cadences and standardized echo-beats typically do not survive as literal. That is intentional: first and foremost, I make an effort to recover the melodic core. Cadence and crahinin performance comes from the perspective of viewing those motifs as interpretive supplements to the melody.
What I am toying with is, in addition to the chanter version, I may do a sung canntaireachd version. In particular, as I have been doing this, I’m finding it much easier to read and understand Colin Campbell and the interpretive freedom his notation represents, after I take a gander at the staff notation (of any transcriber). Such a comparison truly allows one to see just how idiosyncratic performances were (and could be), and how inflexible staff notation can be.
When I’m through all 314 songs*, I will probably circle around and put them on the pipes.
Tempos are as indicated. Otherwise, they are generally faster than normally performed today, and may be chosen based upon genre considerations or simply musical interpretive intuition (what sounds good and memorable).
Every week I will release 5 urlars. Every month I will assemble them into a play list. The first installment is a recap of the APC Approach I. You may find it here:
Once I release you will hear that they are done on electronic chanter, with drone accompaniment. Each recording is generally quite brief: most are around a minute, with a maximum (so far) of 2-1/2 minutes.
These are intended to be provocative, to stimulate discussion, encourage reaction and incentivize you to go make your own music.
I hope you will subscribe and enjoy.