Page 1 of 2

NPS competition results

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:49 pm
by Julia Say
The results of today's competitions were:

Overseas classes: there were no entries at all for any of these classes

Tune composition (14 entries, 7 composers):
1. Brian Forster (Workers and Drones)
Joint second: Sue Clarke, Richard York, Peter Dunn

Composition of variations (3 entries):
1. Bill Wakefield
Joint 2nd: Richard York, Brian Forster

Novice: 1. Brian Forster
Junior: 1. William Wood
Beginners: 1. William Wood
2. Nigel Potter
Senior Starters: 1. Dorothy Cragg

1. Dorothy Cragg
2. Nigel Potter

Smallpipe Duets: 1. Ann Sessoms and Anne Dolphin

Pipemaking: 1. Nick Hopkinson

There were no entries for Advanced, Open, Mixed duet,or Border pipes.

Notes and certificates etc for those not able to be present will be posted shortly.


Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:47 pm
by hillneerg
What a shame there were no entries i the overseas classes and also for the more advanced. At least there are newer pipers coming forward who will, hopefully, progress to those classes in due course.
I'm sure things will pick up.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:16 pm
by Matt Seattle
I have long suspected that competitions have run their course and that declining attendance is the writing on the wall. I do know that comps have positive features and wonder whether it is time to replace them with something which keeps the useful elements - encouragement, advice, recognition of quality of effort as well as quality of achievement - but ditches the 'top of the class' nonsense. I don't know what form such an event might take but I can sense the flavour, it tastes good, and may be nourishing to individuals, the community and the tradition.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:57 am
by Barry Say
I sympathise with Matt's position but would not go so far as sounding the death-knell for competitions.

Over the last two decades playing Northumbrian Smallpipes en-masse has become the most visible has become the most visible presentation of the instrument. This leads to a situation where playing the same as everyone else in the group becomes more important than playing well. I talso leads to a situation where rythyms are simplified and the range of tempi reduced to make playing accessible to the majority of those attending.

I have noticed over the years that those who achieve competence on the pipes are not enthusiastic supporters of such events.

Can we explore Matt's alternative, but not to replace competitions but as an alternative venture which would be a good thing in itself and might revive the competitions.


Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:52 pm
by Dally
Clarification of the rules of what qualifies as a tune with variations might help encourage overseas entries. Judges comments are usually encouraging and helpful, but not always. Matt's point is a good one, but individual pipers are reluctant to share their music in public, as the lack of participation in the "Tune of the Month" proves. Why is that? Could it be related to the fact that pipers are more comfortable playing in groups than solo? Most people will not perform, even remotely, for a hostile audience. Performing solo can be a lonely and nerve-wracking experience in the best circumstances. But, frankly, in piping you have to gird yourself for nasty sniping, openly or from behind the scenes. Competitions bestow prestige and authority to the winners, but the organization must have prestige and authority before it can bestow it. However, it does appear that positive progress is being made overall, if not in the area of competitions.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:44 am
by Matt Seattle
Good points, John.

There was some discussion a while ago about the definition of variations, and the point I made then is that we recognise a difference in quality, or some kind of gradation, between a slim and a substantial piece, and size is not the prime determinant. I felt, and feel, that the 'rules' can be over-specific and limiting in this regard - is a piece a 'big' piece, or a little piece with (insert number) extra little pieces tacked on??

You confirm what I have felt about certain musically toxic environments; I do not place the NPS comps among these - this is my personal experience, it may not be that of others. It may be wise to simply avoid certain environments. What I'm seeking is a discussion on the possibility of a type of event that retains the positive features of competitions and by its nature excludes the negative ones which we have evidently both experienced.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:25 pm
by pipemakermike
Another possibility that springs to mind is to have a set program with tunes decided well beforehand, sort of like figure skating.
Set and publish 4 tunes, a jig, a reel, a hornpipe and a slow air, well in advance and judge on the playing on the day with marks for style, accuracy, tone, posture, non use of dots and any other criterion.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:12 pm
by Matt Seattle
pipemakermike wrote:Set and publish 4 tunes, a jig, a reel, a hornpipe and a slow air, well in advance and judge on the playing on the day with marks for style, accuracy, tone, posture, non use of dots and any other criterion.

I can't see your face, Mike - are you joking?

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:26 pm
by Dally
Matt, you are correct, and I am at fault for not making it clear that my only experience with the NPS competitions is as an oversea's piper. To define my myopia more clearly, I can't speak for all overseas pipers, or even for our group. My general comments are based on years of competition experience in various circumstances and discussions with other pipers who have participated in the Overseas competition. My performance anxiety is much less than it was a decade ago, which was a lot less than a decade before that, mainly because I gave up competing. Playing in sessions has really helped. Sessions have their own set of issues, but participating in a friendly session is much more enjoyable than performing for criticism.
Re: variation sets. Pipers performing variation sets are assumed to play at a level where they should know what a variation set is. It leaves the piper open to disqualification by a mean spirited judge. It's not necessary to define events to the extent that Mike recommends. That kind of extreme control would discourage participation. But we are not too far from it already when it comes to variation sets.

Re: NPS competition results

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:33 am
by Matt Seattle
The more rules, the less music - ?

We're touching on imponderables: on the one hand, the more we define, the more we confine, and prevent music from opening its wings and taking flight. On the other hand, there IS a tradition (it changes, for better and/or worse - who can tell at the time?), and we don't have to throw it away. Is there a balance in this world or do we have to make a new one? This is my question in proposing a discussion of a 'something' which has a structure which fosters encouragement rather than revolves around giving marks and placing one person over another.