Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pipe Band Forum 9/16/07

Synthetics in Piping

I've given my thoughts on plastic before and they haven't been too popular, but I'm not ignorant of what is happening in piping, just as it is in other areas of music and art. (You don't see a lot of hide drum heads anymore.)

I didn't start piping at a time when hide bags and cane reeds were the only things available and I'll be the first to admit that I don't know as much as I probably should about maintenance. My instructor and the band don't spend much time on it. What I have learned I've learned on line for the most part.

I've enjoyed the discussions about drone valves, hide bags, cane reeds, canister systems, polypenco, carbon fiber and such. It has made me think about where things are going.

For example, electronic chanters are getting so advanced now that it won't be long before bags and drones won't be necessary to get a bagpipe sound good enough for recording. In fact synthesizers have already made it so that you need little more than a key board to play all kinds of instruments even in a live performance.

I attended a concert a few months ago where Dean Martin's son did a tribute show of Dean's old hits. He had three guys playing for him and it sounded like a full orchestra; brass, woodwinds, percussion, etc. It was amazing.

So where do you draw the line? Anything synthetic is not allowed or at least frowned on? Do you draw the line at electronics (probably a reasonable place to say no)? What about something that is an assistance device (drone valves, canister system, synthetic drones)? How would you define an assistance device?

I can certainly understand where there is a need to keep from losing the art and skills of piping. I guess they (the essential skills) really need to be defined so they can be preserved. You need to separate nostalgia from necessity?

No comments:

Blog posts