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Deadbeat
25-07-09, 07:20 PM
Hello everyone!
Im new to the pipe band world. I started with FSPD this year as a fill in bass drummer. As it turns out, looks like Ill be the primary guy for the job. I absolutely am loving the whole thing... the uniqueness of the sound, the atmosphere at competitions, hell even parades!

The history of the pipe band fascinates me... everything from war time to present day events. (I get some fantastic stories from then, to now, at the beer tent. Let me tell you ;) )

But what I'm most interested in at this moment. Is the different types of tunes, and what they were played for, and feel associated with the tune? I think an understanding of this will help me. So if any of you good folks could please explain. Im all ears!

jessierose
26-07-09, 05:39 AM
Well...dance tunes are played for people to hop around to, marches are played for people to march around to, and piobaireachd are played for people to mill around to.
That's my take on it, anyway.

Deadbeat
26-07-09, 05:51 AM
Well...dance tunes are played for people to hop around to, marches are played for people to march around to, and piobaireachd are played for people to mill around to.
That's my take on it, anyway.

:cb: must be more to it than that

jessierose
26-07-09, 06:13 AM
Ok....perhaps that was an oversimplification.

getawaytae
26-07-09, 12:02 PM
Pipe bands are traditionally thought to have been formed by the Army, and although this may be disputed, the standardization of the instrument and the main use that early pipe bands were put to was with the military.
In the clan system the clan piper was used as a rallying point for gathering the clan members together in the confusion of a battle. The Army used drummers for a similar purpose. In addition musicians were used to convey signal messages around the battlefield.
It was a short step to put drums and pipes together and form bands. If you look in the Scots Guards book you will see certain tunes aligned with elements of the regimental battle line, such as right or left flank. Such tunes were used to manouver the subunits and to coordinate the battle plan.
6/8, 4/4, 3/4 were used to alter pace and even direction.
Off of the battlefield the bandsmen were put to use, calling out the times of the day and the pattern of life, such a reveille, mealtimes and lights out.
Most of the dance music such as jigs and reels were taken from fiddle music and put onto pipes for light entertainment. Piobaireached was, and remains a more sober, serious form of entertainment.

Daz Gregory
26-07-09, 12:09 PM
Yep - What he said...

Bang on Brian!

Regards

Daz

janelleTG
27-07-09, 01:01 AM
Tankie Drummer wrote some interesting history pieces. I don't have permission to copy them over, but here is a link to where they are. I think it should work.
http://pipingconnections.forumotion.com/history-of-drumming-f28/

jjpiper
27-07-09, 04:10 AM
A "retreat" is not a call to run from the battlefield.

Retreat refers to the lowering of the flag at the end of the day.

It was meant to be light and jovial and to dance to, I think. Signalling a good day.

Daz Gregory
27-07-09, 04:31 AM
OK JJ no probs there.....

KAILY
27-07-09, 10:50 AM
Pipe bands are traditionally thought to have been formed by the Army, and although this may be disputed, the standardization of the instrument and the main use that early pipe bands were put to was with the military.
In the clan system the clan piper was used as a rallying point for gathering the clan members together in the confusion of a battle. The Army used drummers for a similar purpose. In addition musicians were used to convey signal messages around the battlefield.
It was a short step to put drums and pipes together and form bands. If you look in the Scots Guards book you will see certain tunes aligned with elements of the regimental battle line, such as right or left flank. Such tunes were used to manouver the subunits and to coordinate the battle plan.
6/8, 4/4, 3/4 were used to alter pace and even direction.
Off of the battlefield the bandsmen were put to use, calling out the times of the day and the pattern of life, such a reveille, mealtimes and lights out.
Most of the dance music such as jigs and reels were taken from fiddle music and put onto pipes for light entertainment. Piobaireached was, and remains a more sober, serious form of entertainment.

Yes Getawaytae the army was supposed to be the birth place of pipe bands as we know them today.
The M.O.D./Government paid the wages for 6 pipers, the "officers mess" donated funds for extra pipers and drummers to create a full band.
A young officer with the rank of adjutant was put in charge of the bands affairs.
My adjutant was the famous and very rich Member of Parliament, ex chairman of The Royal Bank of Scotland and Youngers Breweries The Right Honourable Sir George Younger.
He was a young lad then and looked after the band well.
Kaily

UpstatePiper
29-07-09, 02:10 PM
William Donaldson points out in his book that evidence for civilian pipe bands can be found at least as far back as for military bands. He observes that there were many civilian brass bands in those days, too. He does not say that civilian pipe bands pre-date military pipe bands, only that the evidence is not clear one way or the other.

Here's your basic breakdown:

Piobaireachd -- it and the GHB seem designed to go together. They probably evolved into their present state, each guiding the other. Piobaireachd might seem to exist only for competition, but it is played for it's own sake as well.

Marches -- originally for marching, but many 2/4 marches are only every marched to in competition. The 2/4 march idiom has evolved over the last 100 or more years primarily as a competition form. So light tunes like Barren Rocks always have been for marching, but the big tunes were written to compete with. Then you have your 4/4, 3/4, and 6/8 marches. Someone has already mentioned "retreat" marches are for the end of the day, and seem to be universally in 3/4.

Dance music -- jigs, reels, strathspeys. Originally these were for dancing, but as with the marches, many have been written for competition, and might not be very good for dancing. It seems that the tunes for dancing need to have a clear rhythm, made obvious by long notes and basic embellishment, while the tunes for competition go the other way on both counts.

Hornpipes -- There is a form of dance music called a hornpipe that fiddlers and other musicians play, but it bears little resemblance to what GHB pipers play, which is strictly a competition form. The modern piping hornpipe has evolved from that dance form.

Airs -- a catchall category for everything that doesn't fit above. Aire is Scots dialect for "tune" or "melody". Slow aires are played as a competition form. They're basically tunes for listening to; music for it's own sake.

getawaytae
29-07-09, 10:29 PM
A "retreat" is not a call to run from the battlefield.

Retreat refers to the lowering of the flag at the end of the day.

It was meant to be light and jovial and to dance to, I think. Signalling a good day.

I'd have to agree with you, but the origin of this form would have been at the end of the day on the battlefield, calling the troops back to the standard.
BTW my post does not state otherwise!
...............Double post automerged..............
William Donaldson points out in his book that evidence for civilian pipe bands can be found at least as far back as for military bands. He observes that there were many civilian brass bands in those days, too. He does not say that civilian pipe bands pre-date military pipe bands, only that the evidence is not clear one way or the other.


Again in my piece I decided to keep it simple. I alluded to these very points. However originally pipers would make their own instruments during their apprenticeship, so there was no standard instrument, rather it would be more like a collection of "Guida" these days. The Army did the standardization thing, and thus could be said to have produced the elements which we today recognize as a pipe band.

Deadbeat
30-07-09, 01:31 AM
Tankie Drummer wrote some interesting history pieces. I don't have permission to copy them over, but here is a link to where they are. I think it should work.
http://pipingconnections.forumotion.com/history-of-drumming-f28/

bah... not another log in..... hehe thanks Janelle... ill get around to logging into yet another web "thing" some other day... lol if im on the pc all day there's no time for practice :)

UpstatePiper
30-07-09, 05:21 AM
However originally pipers would make their own instruments during their apprenticeship, so there was no standard instrument, rather it would be more like a collection of "Guida" these days. The Army did the standardization thing, and thus could be said to have produced the elements which we today recognize as a pipe band.

Hugh Cheape's new book seems to present a far different picture. He says Highland Pipes, so far as the evidence presents, always were made by expert woodwind makers. There may well have been amateur made pipes of all sorts though -- no way to prove much it one way or another. But they weren't GHB.

If 10 guys had pipes made by Glenn they would have been uniform, Army or no. I don't believe anyone in the Army would have drawn up the boring dimensions of a set of pipes -- the standardization just came from more makers making more pipes, at the same time as the rest of the world was moving to standardized pitches. Based on how pipers were used in the the Army, there was no real reason for standardization, per se. The fact that pipe makers standardized on a pitch for A might have more to do with being wind instrument makers and the whole world standardizing on a pitch.

When you think about it, pipes are still only modestly standardized today, 150 or so years later. Will your blowstick fit my pipes? Will my drone mid section fit yours? Will our chanters play at the same pitch without serious manipulation?

According to this guy:
http://www.180fw.ang.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123118781

Retreat began as a garrison signal (as opposed to a battlefield signal). For those outside the US, he uses the word Retreat to refer to both the ceremony and also the name of the bugle call (aka Tattoo).

getawaytae
30-07-09, 09:00 AM
It all really comes down to the point at which you choose to begin. Almost everything is a development of something else. I have no doubt that the earliest pipes were home made affairs, there being no market for a manufacturer. As with all circles of life some people are better than others and those became skilled woodworkers and then some became bagpipe manufacturers.
As for standardization do not underestimate the role of the Military, they have been involved in the standardization of most things. The way it may have worked would have been by them appointing a supplier and ordering the same stock from them over a period. Other manufacturers would then have begun to copy the Army style. I doubt there was a planning meeting.

In the history of warfare, even since ancient times, musicians have been used. Romans would have gathered under their Eagle. In the dark, after the battle had finished for the day you can't see so sound would be the next best way to let troops know where to meet. Romans may have been gathered in by a Buccinator.

janelleTG
30-07-09, 12:50 PM
bah... not another log in..... hehe thanks Janelle... ill get around to logging into yet another web "thing" some other day... lol if im on the pc all day there's no time for practice :)


Deadbeat, I'll try and pm Tankie and see if I can copy them over here. He's not on that often , so i might have to wait for an answer. Watch this space!

Deadbeat
31-07-09, 04:54 AM
Deadbeat, I'll try and pm Tankie and see if I can copy them over here. He's not on that often , so i might have to wait for an answer. Watch this space!

:) you don't have to go through the trouble Janelle. though it would add even more to an very interesting thread

Thanks everyone for sharing and taking the time to type all that information! I need some time to soak it all in and ill come up with another question.

Robbie.Crow
31-07-09, 03:40 PM
Janelle i'll try and get in touch with ian......

tankiedrummie
02-08-09, 01:20 AM
Deadbeat, I'll try and pm Tankie and see if I can copy them over here. He's not on that often , so i might have to wait for an answer. Watch this space!

Jannelle you can carry on pal,

Ian

janelleTG
02-08-09, 06:49 AM
I think it would best if I start a new thread for it though.

The History of Military Drumming by tankiedrummie, can be found here http://www.pipebandsforum.com/showthread.php?p=231573&posted=1#post231573