the intervew with Roddy MacLeod about the
BIG Gathering n.4
My general impression of the whole thing has been absolutely fantastic, wonderful…from the arrival on the first night when one of the outstanding things for me was the presentation of the CD Rom…because unfortunately I couldn’t get the other CD Rom’s to run on my computer and to see this 4th one on Pibroch and some historical aspects of piping.
I thought that it was an extremely valuable thing and there was a lot of work obviously that was put into it and I think for me as well the 2 things that were outstanding in terms of being useful were Alberto’s …. Alberto Massi’s interpretation of Pibroch written down in a notational form as a performance manuscript as opposed to the type of manuscript that you would pick up in a Piobaireachd Society’s bool where they run the course structure then pause on the music which then actually doesn’t end up being played.So for me to see through the like of the music maker where a notational interpretation of what I had essentially thought…to come out and be played so accurately by a computer was really good and I thought that was a tremendously useful teaching tool and I think that there is huge potential for that.
It’s a task that has yet to be tackled as for someone to reinterpret the manuscript and give people who don’t know Pibroch a layman’s guide to how to play it…you know… is what bagpipe music writers notational interpretation…Alberto…gave actually was.
I think also there is huge potential and I was impressed and the thing I asked Alberto was regarding the section of the CD where he had the Mackay of Raasay Salute and also above the manuscript there was a cantaireachd above each note. So if you wanted to teach a tune, I think you could put it on a lap top presentation and you can send through the tune with the cantaireachd so effectively then you can much more effectively teach 1 or 2 sessions and how the syllables relate to what’s playing…so I thought that was really effective and well done.And these were just small parts of the CD but they were parts of the CD that really impressed me and someone who wants to teach and I think the historical information and video clips on how to play the movements and things like that were tremendously useful and I think that it’s just incredible what’s been done by so few people…Italian people and this is the point because I know having tried to achieve something similar.
I know how much work goes into something like that and I think that if you can get the right people with the right enthusiasm and expertise to come together, it can be hard enough to create something but for the authors to maintain the motivation and finish it to me as I said I thought it was translated from English and you know but out there for the greater public I think it would be an extremely successful product.Well I mean I don’t want us to impose on that but at the same time I would like us to help it. Because I know it has been a huge amount of work that you have done and I think that by adding some more expertise but not too much because you’ve done all the work, we may act as a global branding basically you know because for better or for worse piping is recognised as the highland bagpipe and the National Piping Centre are synonymous to global brand almost so I’d be very sensitive to what the piping centre could do because you’ve done all of this work….if we could support that by giving out endorsement then I think that could be a very successful global product for the piper and I really do. There was much of the text that I couldn’t read because it was written in Italian so and you know from that point of view I think I need to examine the text more but in terms of the usefulness of the CD I thought it was a tremendously useful product. I found that to be one of the most impressive things of the whole weekend and that was right at the start of the weekend.Then the other thing that for me was, and I’ve been playing the pipes for so long now and travelling abroad, is that it never ceases to amaze me how pipes and its music connects people and people from different walks of life and interests and social background, to me apart from the music, this is one of the values and events like this in which people find friendships. But there comes a day when you 90 years old and your fingers don’t move anymore and you can’t play anymore and that might well be something that’s enduring and that you can remember for the rest of your life and value more as much as being able to play correctly. I think that the connections made and the friendships are the good part of a weekend like this. I think you know for the people that come here and I’m speaking from my perspective as a teacher for the people coming here to learn, the learning experience would be brief and I thought that they were really gracious seeing how much they enjoyed all of this. I feel that I could give them a lot more but one of the things that is important for them I feel coming from all different regions of Italy and I know that they can pick up the phone and call each other or email each other or they can talk to me an if I get better with using computers we can maybe try to connect.
The initial connection has been made although brief for some of them that brief intro to Pibroch but maybe if something interests, it will forever…
Llike great camaraderie , great friendship ….. and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the mass band today from the time we spent tuning to the actually playing along the street into the circle it was very presentable, listenable, enjoyable and entertaining…it was good. So lots of positives for me this week end. One of the things it reminds me of coming to an event like this is that pipers like me….I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying … but like Bruce Gandy or but me who teach a lot and are very fortunate to have travelled a lot and having been successful with piping … one of the great things for us is mainly the music.We can get very caught up in high level competition and correct playing and trying to be something very flashy in piping but for me what it reminds me of, is when I was like 12 years old and starting out in piping and just the love of the sound and just the excitement of meeting people who play the same instrument and I think that that is what this Gathering does for people….
it reminds you of why you wanted to play the pipes regardless of what level your at.
Question :We know that we are just beginners as Italian pipers but do you think that our way will be the right way to follow here in Italy? What do you think about the Italian approach to piping?
I think …I’m very confident with the future of Italian piping…very confident because I think you have some very good people doing the right things. Your organising, promoting and connecting world wide. Your listening to good advice and you have an ever improving standard like Alberto Massi and he is so dedicated to playing correctly and his teaching lots of people which are filtering through and you know that the world has become a smaller place. You’ve opened up this gathering. That there’s some young people from Austria who came and who are learning well and teaching well…the world is opening up and I think that Italian piping has been receptive to all of that in a good way. I think that through your interests and your connections and the way you are supporting the process in many ways and through people like Alberto, Franco and you Duilio and that fact that your bringing people here now once a year is a tremendous thing.
Everywhere I’ve been that have maintained a process like that…summer school or an annual gathering…ever year you feel the young people getting better and the base spreads out and talent begins to grow and they become more aware of who they want to listen to and who they want to aspire to and it’s much more focused on the bigger picture of what the world of piping is and what are the good attributes of piping and what you have to work towards.
I think that since my few visits there have been improvements all of the time and there are a few people that I’m really impressed with on this trip and I’m really optimistic.
Question :So I can understand that for you and for Bruce this weekend will remain in your memory?No doubt this will be a treasured memory for me and I’m quite sure for Bruce as well…very much a treasured memory for me…it has been very enjoyable and I think that one of the great things that this gathering does in a very commercial and corporate world that is ever seeking success is that you give people a chance to just relax and enjoy each others company and talk and learn a little bit and that in itself is motivational.
I think that very often when you have a small amount of time to teach people to spend the entire time working hard and pounding on the table with your fist and to demonstrate that there is a fine balance to make people feel….they’ve worked hard…they don’t want to do that again and the other side of the coin is that they’ve had a great time and they’ve enjoyed meeting people and having a chance to talk to them and they’ve learned a little bit and they want to do that again. I think that this is one of the things that the bagpipe gathering in Italy does well.Well if you ask me to come back next year you won’t have to wait for an answer…you know the answer….it would be yes.