Solo event discussions
By one-eyed-cantab
Perhaps we can spur some discussion on the Piobaireachd forums again.

I've been thinking for a wee while the dilemma we as pipers have when it comes to lists and own choice competitions. Often there is an argument to be made that an own choice competition highlights the best of a player and lets them play tunes they are most comfortable with, without having to learn tunes they may not be able to associate themselves with or really get stuck into.

Having said that, some incredibly musical tunes have been set in the past few years in both the Clasp and Gold Medal lists, and some of the performances have been very very good. And there is the obvious argument, made by Murray Henderson in his Piper and Drummer interview, that we are inherently lazy musicians and lists focus us and give us something to work from. I know of a few last year in our very own Gold Medal that struggled with the 4 own choice, simply because they left it too late to learn the tunes and to fashion up an excuse! :P

But should we, as an art form, be restricting ourselves to learning 3/4 tunes from a list of 6/8 each year for the purposes of a competition? Would it not make more sense if we were to expect more, but be open with the sources? Or even go down a different path and, instead of picking 6/8 tunes to be on the list, prescribe a particular Canntaireachd or manuscript that is perhaps not as well known as the traditional PS/Killberry.
By Talisker
Own choice has its place in the new wave of C & B grade piobaireachd events that are now becoming more common however lists are required for all snr events. It is well known that a few highly celebrated players of yesteryear could only play a few tunes and therefore only ever played those tunes in competition time and time again. The eventual inception of a new list for each years events very quickly weaned them out and they did stop playing but a whole new generation has a vastly superior repitoire as a result of the introduction of the lists. The events are also much more interesting as by and large the regular players are forced to learn new tunes and present them to the listening public
By one-eyed-cantab
But often its the case where list competitions end up being repetitive - you only need to look at the list of prize winners from not only NZ, but Scotland, Canada, and the US to see several prizes were won by the same tune... then you have all the tunes that didn't make the prize list.

One of the most interesting contests I have heard in New Zealand was the 2010 Clasp Competition - all different tunes, from different interpretations... not one repetition.
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By Robo
I have not posted anything in ages... Will I regret it this time? Having played in all scenarios I think there is merit to both. With own choice but more tunes submitted you will most likely hear pipers playing their favorite tunes very well and a good chance of no repeats. With a list the challenge is out there and it certainly allows Judges a better opportunity to refresh themselves and research the tunes they will be judging because there is nothing more taxing in judging than Piobaireachd. That makes for much more accurate judging and a deeper understanding of the tunes. The old system of 2 from the list plus 2 of your own for the GM and 3 + 3 for the clasp was very balanced in my opinion. I know we moved away from that to bring us in line with Oban and Inverness but frankly that has not payed off, we have Clasp players who struggle to get into the Silver Medal list because of the set up in Scotland so the relevance only applies to 3-4 people in the country every year. Personally I think we should do what works for us.
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