I ran into an interesting situation this week.
I met a Grade 2 piper, young guy, at pipeband practice. Asked him about his pibroch choice this season. He named MacFarlan’s Gathering.
I said, “Cool. Too Long in This Condition!”
“Yes. They are regional variants of the same tune.”
“Yup. I think yours is braebach and the other is fosgailte.”
“What does that mean?”
“Who’s your tutor?”
“And he hasn’t taught you those terms?”
“No. I remember something ‘you-lor’ or something….”
“Yeah. That’s it.”
“You’re in grade 2, competing in pibroch, and don’t know the names of the various parts or styles of tunes.”
Now, in his defense, he’s a young teenager who, probably when pressed, couldn’t cite most key moments in history, styles of government, or anything else that isn’t 100% important to his life at the moment. Teens, after all, have more important things to do than memorize obscure Gaelic terms on behalf of learning two tunes for a single season of competition piping. (I should know – I have two of them.)
Still, that got me thinking: how could I help?
I wanted to point him to the Alt Pibroch Club, but it occurred to me that the lad would get overwhelmed at all the information we provide.
Then I got to thinking about this site in particular and the number of posts and scattered pages that try to address areas of interest to me: primary-source embellishments, styles, settings, structures, genres, etc. I realized he’d have to hunt this info down.
So I sat down last night, collected my thoughts, assembled everything together and started composing a structured outline of a kind of introduction to what I call the Modern Traditional Piper. (Okay, maybe it’s corny, but it’s shorthand; if you have other ideas, let me know.)
So now, the menu “Modern Traditional Piper” assembles a number of pages on the key areas of interest that the Alt Pibroch Club has focused on over the years.
I hope it will make it easier for lads, such as the one I met, to come to this site and take a look a what they’ve been missing in the modern era of pibroch research.
I am soliciting your feedback. Let me know what works, what doesn’t, what is missing, what is over-mentioned, or how I could have better organized/conceived it.
-J David Hester