Piobaireachd

First, this is a piobaireachd. I have purposely left out the name of the tune so as to not allow it to get in the way of how you receive the music that lives within.

It is a very unique piece and very old. The composer is not known. All of this adds to the specialness and will ultimately provide you with the ability to draw upon your inner wisdom and create something pretty amazing.

You will no doubt need to listen to this several times in order for it to "speak to you". For me, it came right away and parts of it drew me into a world of magic, darkness and magnificent beauty as only could be delivered by the great highland bagpipes. I don’t think this would ever be the same on any other instrument – not the piano, not the harp, not the fiddle, not the guitar. Perhaps, the voice… Maybe… Which is probably where it originated. But, all that is for another day…

So, listen to the tune. Digest it. Listen for note combinations. There is a pattern of notes that you will hear and perhaps recognize. If you do manage to recognize the pattern, write about it. Hint – we have discussed this in class so there is no secret there…

Second, you can be any character you choose – you can be the composer of the tune if you want. You can be the subject of the tune if you wish. You can be the Bard. It can be about you. It can be about someone or something in your family. You MUST be from Scotland. You can be part of a clan. You can be the chieftain if you wish. You can be a "delicate woman" who was sad about not being allowed to marry your true love if you wish. You can be a man who was not allowed to marry your true love if you wish. The bottom line is that you can make it about whatever you want. Somehow, you are magically transported from today back in time to the 1600’s and somehow again, you return back to the present time. Talk about what you learned and how the music of the tune impacted you in your present life circumstance. Connect the characters through the music. Don’t just tell a "story" – I am looking for connections to the music and the melody. That is the point of the assignment. The basic rule is that there are no rules. Use your creativity genes.

Describe in detail how the tune pulses, noting the ebb and flow of the variations. Notice the patterns and time signatures of the 3 grounds and how the tune changes perspective with the playing of each through 4/4, 6/8 and finally in 2/4, the Taorluaths and Crunluaths – make a connection with how these parts affected how you heard the tune and what it was telling you.

Tell me what kind of tune you think it is – a lament, a salute, a gathering, a rowing tune or a battle. There is no right or wrong answer.

Music has color. Look for the colors in this tune. If that is hard for you, no worries. Just make it an original story that comes from you and it is about how you perceived the music of the tune. If you look on the course materials there is a file there with examples of some of the stories. My bet is that every one of you could write something even more original and more spectacular.

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