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The Worlds 2010

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Paul McFadyen Paul McFadyen | 08:38 UK time, Tuesday, 3 August 2010

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This year's World Pipe Band Championships takes place on Saturday 14th August and once again we'll be streaming the entire event worldwide via bbc.co.uk/worlds.

Producer of Radio Scotland's Pipeline programme, Iain MacInnes tells us more about the event:


This year's Worlds on Glasgow Green is shaping up to be the biggest - and quite possibly the best - in living memory. Ian Embleton of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association tells us that 239 bands have entered, split over eight competitive grades, with a particularly strong entry from Canada and the United States.

We'll be streaming the action in the Grade One arena live from 9am. 26 bands are playing in Grade One, the first part of the competition being a qualifying round to determine which bands go through to the afternoon final.

Simon Fraser University pipe band from Burnaby in British Columbia are the reigning world champions, and they'll be going neck-to-neck with their old adversaries, the Field Marshal Montgomery pipe band from Belfast. Add into the mix the St. Laurence O'Toole band from Dublin, which won the recent European Championships, and some impressive early-season form from the Scottish contingent, especially Boghall and Bathgate from West Lothian, and a close-run final is assured.

At heart, the event is all about the music. The Grade One bands perform, firstly, a March, Strathspey and Reel, and then a medley selection which lasts between six and seven minutes and which gives a good deal of scope for imaginative arrangements and distinctive tune selection. The judges will be looking for the quality of the tuning, the precision of the fingerwork, and the integration between the pipe corps, the snare drums and the mid-section - and of course for that extra 'fizz' that gives the top bands their distinctive sound.

One noticeable development in recent years has been in the size and imaginative scope of the pipe band mid-sections, in other words the bass and tenor drums which provide the rhythmic pulse to the whole performance, but which also give an element of theatricality with their choreographed flourishing and variably tuned drums. As a long-time radio person I was particularly struck by seeing the high shots of the bands in the online coverage last year. These allowed me to get a good impression of the mid-section work, the complexity of the drum beatings, and the sheer skill involved in flourishing to such a high technical standard. An eye-opener to me! It's coming your way soon.

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