Posts Tagged ‘music matters’
My life has changed. In Shotts, half-way between Glasgow and Edinburgh, I confronted the ear-bleeding intensity of the House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band in rehearsal. It’s one of the most technically impressive, and loudest, musical experiences I’ve ever had. I used to think pipe bands represented a sort of anti-music, a way of life that was all about competitions, accuracy, and awards, in which so much as single grace note out of place in a jig makes the difference between success and failure, and where the only index of musical value is absolute fidelity to a pre-existing canon of traditional tunes, memorialised and ossified over the centuries into the musical equivalent of a beauty contest: music as surface and commodity rather than novelty or inspiration.
Aye well, I learnt my lesson at the hands of Pipe Major Robert Mathieson, who’s led the Shotts band to a handful of world championship titles over the years (I interviewed him for this week’s Music Matters on Radio 3). Shotts is a band that’s formed in Robert’s image – well, his and Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick’s. Robert and Jim are writing completely new melodies, medleys and arrangements for this year’s competition season, which gets going in May. Read the rest of this entry »