Pipers are some of the most competitive-minded people on the planet.Â Gather a few pipers, throw a shoe box up for grabs (a functional, if not stylish, trophy), find a judge and, voila,Â you’ve got the makings of a grand solo piping event.
I’m not entirely sure why this is the case – that pipers love to compete – but it’s a truth.Â The great early 20th century Scottish piper, Robert Reid, is often quoted as saying, “a competition is only as good as its judges“…or something like that.Â Â If you’re a competitor this statement is absolutely accurate.Â Of course, if you’re a listener, its all about the performance – who cares if the judges are onion heads.
Anyway,Â I was ploughingÂ through some old books this morning and stumbled across David Graham-Campbell’sÂ publication, “A Guide to the Judging of Piping”, a 14 page pamphlet published by The College of Piping in 1954.Â
Even with aÂ good few quaint lines throughout (“The players are sometimes given journey moneyÂ providedÂ they play up to a minimum standard which is decided by the judge.Â To withhold journey money is an unpleasant task for the judge and heÂ should recommend in only extreme cases.”),Â over half a century after publication,Â most of Graham-Campbell’s advice holds up wellÂ .
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