Name: Diane Creel
Student Number: 12007258
Title: Gnostic Roots of Piobaireachd
Module: Scotland’s Music
Course: BA Applied Music
Date: 8 April 2013
Word Count: 1940
He had answered wisely, when a faerie woman asked ‘Which wouldst thou prefer, skill without success, or success without skill?’
Musicologist Iegor Reznikoff recently went into the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy to look at paintings of mammoths, bears and fish, painted 40,000 years ago. He found that most of them were painted in places where, if a sound was made, there was a strange, echoing presence. Clapping his hands beside a painting of a mammoth made it sound as if hooves were galloping towards him from the inside of the cave. These paintings are well inside the caves, far away from the light at the opening. Could it be that these paintings were a gallery of soundscapes? Consider then the role of sound in our ancestors’ lives.
Imagine a battlefield in Scotland some 600 years ago and listen to the sounds of two thousand men playing horns as loudly as they can. Froissart tells us that all Scottish foot soldiers carried horns and the din altogether was calculated to terrify their enemy, which it invariably did. The first official mention of pipers, though not bagpipers, is in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls of 1377. It is believed that the bagpipe at this time was a gentler-toned instrument, which had not yet developed into the great, powerful, battle associated instrument that it would become.
Before the bagpipe became the instrument for battle, the harp was the instrument for hastening to war. Every laird had his harper, his fool, his piper and his bard. Battles were begun with rousing poetry recited by the bard and the earliest reference to this is at the Battle of Mons Graupius in CE 82. The last reference to this poetic incitement to war is before