The Border Minstrel

By Billy Pigg

Three comments

“Billy Pigg: The Border Minstrel” ~ Northumbrian Piper

CD & Cassette ~ Label: Leader, 2003

“Billy Pigg: The Border Minstrel” ~ music transcriptions
A.D. Schofield & J. Say

“Published in 1997, this book was based on extensive research by A. D. Schofield and edited by Julia Say. It contains a biography of Billy Pigg, a study of his unique playing style, a collection of all his known compositions and transcriptions of some tunes which have become associated with him. Billy was undoubtedly one of the most influential pipers in the period before the modern resurgence of the pipes.”

62 pages - A4 Landscape - Folded & Stapled - Embossed Card Cover

"Billy Pigg 1902-1968
Said by many to have been the best player ever, but declared by some a ‘bad’ piper, Billy learnt from the Clough family, and then extended the boundaries of possibility both in style and repertoire. Several of today’s pipers acknowledge his influence on their playing, particularly those who were fortunate enough to hear him live. ~"

Just bought this, and dubbed it. Forster Charlton’s brother announces on the first track of side 2, “This is something which has never, ever, been done before!” That is, Billy playing with Forster’s fiddle and John Doonan’s piccolo.

Never been done before? I think I know why it’s unusual…

Kevin - I think it’s the case that Billy Pigg’s pipe chanter was tuned to play in something like C/F, and probably not in today’s true concert pitch for these notes, come to that; this makes this track rather unusual - the fact that the piccolo player and fiddler were able to adapt their fingering or else retune their instruments so as to play along with Billy in his unusual keys. (And it’s a great track.)
I remember it now - “nominal G” was what Northumbrian pipes used to be habitually tuned in: I think the note was a little bit sharp on F natural.