Pipehacker Holiday Gift Guide No. 4: Media

Can you believe the holiday season is upon us once more? Here at Pipehacker we love making it yourself, but sometimes there is no substitute for a well crafted, high quality item. This year, send your loved ones over here to Pipehacker.com as a (not so subtle) hint for gifts. Check back on upcoming Fridays over the coming weeks for lists of more Pipehacker-approved piping gear!

Piping Media

Books, music, software…it all serves to feed one’s bagpipe addiction. Your personal library can never be overstocked.

Sealbh by Iain MacInnes. Here you’ll find classic playing. Mellow, old-world (but not old-fashioned) rhythms and melodies that sound as fresh today as when they were penned. Iain likes his small, old and historic tunes and you’ll find plenty of them here, expertly played on smallpipes and all of them capturing the stylings that one might have heard back in the heyday of the 17th or 18th centuries. Even Iain’s tuning on the Highland pipes is a refreshing taste of the old days. The whole thing has a “courtly” feel, like you were sitting in the halls at a party of the Lord of Isles himself back in the day. Well done.

The Call to the Gathering by Don Bradford. Don Bradford is one of those well known piping characters renowned for his “after Worlds” party even before his stint as PM of Strathclyde Police. His tunes have been played by many of the top bands as well as folk groups like Pipedown. He has finally given in to the pleadings of his friends and published his tunes—and the piping world rejoiced. “The Winnipeg Forger” and “The Spice of Life” are just samplings of Bradford’s stylings that have caught on with pipe bands and whose stories are also a slice of life of the Glasgow piping scene. Lots of modern rhythm and style in these tunes but also a good helping of the more classic style in his marches. A holiday treat for sure.

UPiper Software. For the digitally inclined there is Universal Piper software. UPiper has painstakingly sampled actual drone and chanter sounds to provide a midi interface that faithfully reproduces digital Highland bagpipe sounds. Unlike many of the cheesy midi samples of Highland pipes one finds, UPiper has options for playing back different drone sounds form the great makers. Miss Lawry, Miss Hendy, et al. provide a realistic backdrop for the digitally adventurous. The piping music geek engineer will have loads to play with here and, when their specially designed chanter is finished, he or she will also be able to play directly to digital.

Donald Lindsay’s Canntaireachd. Learn to sing canntaireachd with this amazing instructional book and CD package by Donald Lindsay. Donald’s is one of the most knowledgable and experienced teachers of piobaireachd there is and he outlines in detail the singing “language” used to teach ceol mor for centuries. The book lays out the vernacular and takes the reader through several tunes. Just about any level of player looking to satisfy their piobaireachd jones will find something noteworthy here.

The Highland Bagpipe Edited by Joshua Dickson. Plenty of books offer a history and opinionated purview of the Highland bagpipe, but The Highland Bagpipe steps it up and delves into the realm of ethnomusicology, anthropology, and cultural studies. A series of scholarly writings on the music, cultural significance, traditions, and historical context of our noble instrument provides a brainier approach for those wishing to expand their piping horizons.

Ceol Sean Music Books on CD. Ceol Sean has been around for a while but a piper’s music library is not complete until it has these pipe music books on CD-ROM that represent the core of our entire repertoire. Anyone with a yearning for the historical sources of pretty much all of the music we pipers play will satisfy themselves with something from Ceol Sean’s catalog. The out of print sources such as Glen, MacPhee, Ross, and others (as well as all the old piobaireachd sources) span almost 200 years of bagpiping and are but a click away for those with a sense of adventure. Release your inner tune hound.

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