I posted the first of “The Composers” series of articles by prominent tune conjurors today, Bruce Gandy kindly volunteering to take the difficult lead-off spot.
Like most pipers, I’ve dabbled in writing tunes, but probably haven’t composed anything for at least 10 years. Of the maybe 20 things I’ve written, four or five have actually been published, and I once even heard a band play a strathspey of mine.
And, also like most pipers who compose, I never had a game plan when it came to tunes. I just sort of put them together on the chanter repeatedly altering them until I was either satisfied or bored of it.
I’ve known Bruce for almost 30 years now, and played alongside him for 10 of those. I’ve played dozens of his tunes, and, until now, never really thought about what process he might use to produce such frequent gems. I figured he was born with the muse around his head, halo-like.
To get a glimpse of his usual approach was a real eye-opener. Never would I have guessed that he would use a system like the one he outlines in the article.