Piobaireachd Workshop – 2nd Meeting

Last night I hurried along to the second in the series of Piobaireachd workshops given by our band instructor, Justin Howland.

I have been practicing since last meeting (take note, Justin!), and I am beginning to get the hang of the edre movement. In an earlier post on piobaireachd technique, I referred to an article by Jim McGillivray in which pipers are exhorted to practice the edre “relentlessly”. The reason given is that, apart from being a very common movement in piobaireachd, the edre forms the back end of many other movements – including the crunluath fosgailte. Practice the edre, and you’re improving the others too.

So, last night I got a chance to see if my edre practice was paying off. I have to say that I was pretty happy with how I’m doing. Justin’s method of playing everything at a glacial speed from the outset forces you to focus on technique. We all sounded fairly solid at the slow speed we had been practicing since the last meeting, and so Justin increased the tempo. By the end of the workshop we were playing the 2nd variation doubling almost up to speed, and the crunluath doubling considerably faster than before. This is just the second workshop, and already I can see results.

Towards the end of the workshop, Justin dissected the urlar for us, using a notation I had not previously seen. He had us write numbers and symbols under the notes to show how to phrase the ground. It’s like math canntaireachd. More on this as I continue to work on it…

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