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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:38 pm 
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This Saturday morning, August 13th, the Grade 1 Medley competition will go from 10:15 AM to 12:15PM (Eastern Time).

Streaming live via the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ewzzc8
(There are links to archived clips from the earlier day's MSR competitions).

The World's page:
http://www.theworlds.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx

If you have Facebook, just go here to "World Pipe Band Championships", for commentaries, pictures and videos of this morning's qualifiers: https://www.facebook.com/WorldPipeBandChampionship/

-John

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:34 pm 
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Sorry I missed it. I was visiting my dad for his birthday. For those who saw it, how was it? Anything stand out?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:14 pm 
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Hi James,

It's been archived for your listening/viewing pleasure here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p044g8w4 . There are two categories; March Strathspey & Reel (MSR) which is more like the compulsories in figure skating and Medley, which allows more tune variety. I put the link to the medleys because after listening to a half dozen MSRs, it gets kind of tiring.

Anyway, the top 3 bands in Grade 1 were: 1) Field Marshall Montgomery 2) Inverary & District 3) St. Laurence O'Toole (Best Drum Corp). To my ears, Field Marshall's Pipes were clean as a whistle. Inverary was the most musically enjoyable and S.L.O.T. had the meatiest drums. By the way, this is the last year of competing for Jim Kilpatrick, formerly of Shotts & Dykehead. He joined a new all star band last year called "Spirit of Scotland." Some of the Top Pipers and Pipe Band Drummers are in it, but it goes to show how a winning band isn't necessarily made up of top soloists.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:18 pm 
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Hi John,
Thanks for posting. I've watched Field Marshall Montgomery and St. Laurence O'Toole. I'll check out Inverary & District later. I found St. Laurence O'Toole's drum line quite mesmerizing. I agree that Field Marshall Montomery's pipes were really clean. They seemed to have the more solid technical program. I'm totally not a pipe band expert--just a an occasional observer who happens to enjoy it--so take my opinion for what it's worth.

Two questions to John or anyone else who is "in the know":

1. With Field Marshall Montgomery, I noticed that two of the snare drummers hold their sticks with a reverse traditional grip. Is that common? Does it not count against the group in uniformity of playing style or anything like that?

2. Tenor drums - In research for my tenor book, I found that several pipe bands are using pitched tenor drums (different pitches with one drum per player). I'm sure I've seen it before, but I didn't know to listen for it. I could definitely hear it in the videos though, and I really like the variety it creates. The parts remind me of tonal bass drum parts found in the drum & bugle corps of the late '60s. I also like how the pitches lead naturally to the bass drum, so that the whole bass section functions as one unit. Can anyone add further comments on this? How long have pitched tenor drums been common in pipe bands? Do most fans enjoy this different texture, or are their traditionalists who prefer one pitch? I think the research I found said that some pipe bands use up to six different pitches. What is the most common configuration?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:16 pm 
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Location: York, Yorkshire, England
You'll see traditional, reverse traditional & matched grip in pipe band drumming - there is no desire for uniformity or effort placed in stick heights etc.

You'll still hear a very precise tight and intricate drum sound produced by very accomplished players regardless of how they're holding their sticks.

Another point to note specifically with drummers in Northern Ireland there is a tradition of marching bands, many many mainly marching Bb flute bands in rural and working class communities that produce many drummers with all sorts of styles of playing /stick holding and I know of at least two that play or have played with FFM.

Most bands in NI come from the Loyalist (pro-British) communities however there are a number of republican (pro-United Ireland) flute bands also.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:12 am 
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Interesting insight from Drizzle. I've always wondered why Northern Ireland and the Republic had so many good drummers...

To answer your question, James- I'm more of an enthusiast than someone "in the know"; Grade 3 is the highest band level I've competed at. But from my observations:

1) Grip uniformity is not required, although players with the same teachers are likely to grip the same way. And stick heights aren't the focus for dynamics; whatever you do to corp an accent at a uniform volume level is what's important. Most of the accent volume comes from a snap of the wrist/fingers, not stick height. That being said, The good corps tend to bring sticks to the same height for timing, rather than accents.

2) Tenor drum arrangements have advanced over the last several years; both visually and musically. Tyler Fry from "Spirit of Scotland" (Formerly with Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia) has been at the forefront of this.
Now that's not to say that there weren't great tenor drummers of the past (Matt Hamilton is someone to check out). But there were times where he was the only Tenor Drummer in a band contest and made up his own parts while flourishing visuals, basically as a solo. In the early 90's when I got into this, there were Grade 1 bands with Rhythm Tenors only. These players didn't flourish at all and many of them came out of the snare ranks. I've seen Grade 1 World's videos from the 80's showing bands with just one Rhythm Tenor. There were/are exceptions: Boghall & Bathgate had innovative Tenor (Mid-sections) decades ago.

Currently, Six or Seven Tenors seems to be the most common configuration among Grade 1 Bands. As far as acceptance, I think it has been positive because the actual playing for most bands has been subtle and doesn't over shadow the pipes. The visual/flourishing element doesn't actually count toward any score placement. But I'm pretty in today's environment no top band would ever go out there with Rhythm Tenors.

Again, I'm no expert on this and hope an authority can chime in.

-John

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Last edited by John W on Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:41 am 
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Another point with Mid-sections over recent years is it appears you need to pack them with pretty girls from looking at the BBCs 'worlds' coverage.

On a more serious note there are interviews with Tyler Fry on Youtube where he explains in-depth about the advancement in mid-section/pipe band tenor drumming. Like JohnW points out there were many great Tenor drummers before him however he's pushed and revolutionized the concept in my opinion - like Duthart did with Pipe band snare drumming, there were many great players before him but he went further.

John Quiqq explains during his presentation at USARD's 2012 convention (videos are on USARD's website and some are on Youtube) that you'll see various types of grips in the pipe band snare drumming world as no-one really cares about it, he also explains how he teaches new students touch on a drum between the stick and drum head over full/down/tap & up strokes because it's more relevant to Pipe band drumming. One of the many differences between Pipe band and American rudimental drumming.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:38 am 
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Very interesting. I've often thought American rudimental drumming puts too much emphasis on visual uniformity at the expense of clean and musical playing.

A common scenario: Group A has slightly different angles and stick heights, yet sounds as clean as a whistle. Group B is super uniform in their approach, yet somewhat dirty.

In my opinion, Group A is the better group, though I know many judges would give a preference to Group B. I'd rather evaluate the end product, rather than the methods of getting there. In the end, I just want to hear a great performance. If you can accomplish that with uniform stick heights--great! If you can do it with a more individualized approach--great!

I know many will disagree with this, but I find the pipe band approach refreshing.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:15 am 
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Sure am Always here to help and promote the pipe band and solo scene. After all some more people might consider entering these compitions and gain more experience as well as playing along side some of the top class players.

Fee xx

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:57 pm 
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Laurases wrote:
Sure am Always here to help and promote the pipe band and solo scene. After all some more people might consider entering these compitions and gain more experience as well as playing along side some of the top class players.

Fee xx

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This does seem to be totally legit. ;-)

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