Piobaireachd is musical form of melody and variation peculiar to the Scottish Highland bagpipe. Sometimes called the classical music of the Highland bagpipe, piobaireachd was the music of battles, births, deaths, of gatherings and great events, and even social commentary. The slow or moderate tempo of the opening melody gives way to a host of treatments, often very stylized and rhythmical, making copious use of gracenotes and complex embellishments. Throughout, the sound of the chanter against the drones, four precisely tuned reeds in all, combine with fingering technique and deliberate musical expression to produce a powerful, emotive portrait in sound. In the final analysis, any musical form must be both explained and heard, and piobaireachd is no different.
Click "Play" in the player below to here are a sample of the piobaireachd Sheep in Buchts Kye in Fiels.
Why the International Piobaireachd Composers Forum?
IPCF is a small group of players, as well as composers and arrangers for the Highland bagpipe from around the world who wish to encourage the composition of new piobaireachd by exposing new works to critical discussion, and making their music accessible to the greater Highland piping community.
About This Month's Piobaireachd
Robinson McClellan's piobaireachd "Lament for the Flowers" was written in 2008. It laments the American wars of the 21st century; it is modeled after Pete Seeger's unaccompanied version of his song 'Where have All the Flowers Gone?' (available on iTunes) — an American folk song famous during the Vietnam era.
This piobaireachd repeats the urlar (in shortened form) between each variation, reflecting the way piobaireachd may have been performed in the 17th and 18th centuries as a "rondo", before repeated urlars were later dropped presumably to reduce the overall lengths of tunes.
This performance is by Matt Welch (the variations are omitted)