Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What is Piobaireachd?

Piobaireachd ("pee-brock") is the classical music of the great highland bagpipe. It is less commonly referred to as Ceol Mor, meaning Great Music. It is an entirely different from the category of music known as Ceol Beag (or Little Music) that includes marches, slow airs, and the various idioms of dance music (jigs, reels, strathspeys, and hornpipes).

Piobaireachd tunes are often several hundred years old, dating as far back as the 1400's. It is distinct from the other forms of Celtic music in that it is only traditionally played by a solo piper on the great highland bagpipe.

The tunes tend to be much longer than light music tunes, and feature a theme called the Ground or Urlar and several variations. The variations take the basic melody established in the ground and present it a variety of different rhythmic contexts with a variety of different technical embellishments. Common variations include the use of the Taorluath, Crunluath, and Crunluath-a-mach movements.

Piobaireachd tunes are often associated with particular individuals or clans or historic events. Colorful titles include: Too Long in this Condition, The Piper's Warning to his Master, The Lament for the Children, Beloved Scotland, The Little Spree.

Many pipers consider Piobaireachd to be the highest form of bagpipe music and also most satisfying and challenging to play. The world's most prestigious piping competitions, such as the Gold Medals at Inverness and Oban, are won by pipers who compete by playing Piobaireachd tunes.

I'm very pleased to offer for the first time Tune Lesson Downloads for Piobaireachd. The first batch of these tunes includes:
  • The Glen is Mine
  • The Little Spree
  • The Munros' Salute
  • Too Long in This Condition
With each Tune Lesson Download you receive:
  • A high-quality, studio-produced audio recording of your tune played by one of the world's top pipers.
  • A professionally-typset printed sheet music for your tune -- perfectly matched to the audio recording.
  • A detailed audio instructional lesson on the tune, including learning tips, practice strategies, suggestions for improvement, and demonstrations played on the practice chanter.
  • An additional sheet of BONUS written instructional materials related to your tune.
For more information on these tunes, please visit the BagpipeLessons.com Tune Downloads page.

Here's a complete list of all the tunes that you can download and print.

Here's a brief video of me playing some of the Piobaireachd Mary's Praise at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

1 comment:

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