Unless permission has been granted by the Branch Committee, all competitors must wear Highland Dress.
Highland Dress can mean anything from full regimental uniform to the simplest form of day dress, i.e. shirt sleeve order.
The recommended minimum basic requirements are:
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL COMPETITORS
1 All competitors must be registered with a band currently registered with the RSPBA.
2 In ‘Open’ Branch contests, any band registered with the RSPBA may enter.
3 In ‘Confined’ Branch contests, only bands or members of bands currently registered with the RSPBA - North West England Branch may enter. Which contests are open and which are confined is decided each year at the Branch autumn committee meeting. At present the Solo Piping is a ‘confined’ contest, with the exception of the A Grade MSR. The Trio Piping, Quartets and Mini-Band contests are all ‘open’ contests.
Details of the musical requirements for every event can be found on the entry forms on the Documents page on the Home menu.
Make-up of Teams in Trio Piping, Quartets and Miniband contests
1. Bands MUST play in their own grade, and may also play up one grade and/or in the Open if time permits.
2. The Pipe Major is allowed to appoint another piper to act as ''Designated Pipe Major for the day'' in his stead. The Branch official responsible for the contest must be informed of this before the contest begins. The choice of ''Designated Pipe Major'' may not be changed once the contest has begun.
3. No piper may play more than once in any grade, with the exception of the Pipe Major OR the 'Designated Pipe Major for the day'. He/she alone may play up to three times in any grade.
4. The full drum corps is allowed to play as many times as required in any grade.
5. Any band without a bass drummer may borrow a bass drummer from another band in the same grade.
6. Any band in any grade may enter a Novice Juvenile team. The registered Pipe Major, or the appointed Acting Pipe Major, and the drum corps, are the only adults allowed to play with them.
7. In Miniband contests, the pipe corps in all grades must consist of 4 or 5 pipers. The drum corps must consdist of one bass drummer and two side drummers. Tenors are optional.
8. Bands may enter teams for both the Quartets and the Minibands but not in the same grade, ie. bands may choose to enter the minibands in G4 and the Quartets in G3 and the Open, or the Minibands in G3 and the Quartets in the Open, but they would not be allowed to put in teams in G4 in both the Quartets and the Minibands.
Competitors will have rooms assigned to them for the day for tuning and preparing. There will be a steward on duty whose job it is to keep them informed as to when they are on and how much time they have to go. About ten minutes before they are due to go on he will call them through to the final tuning area where they will have an area to themselves to do any final preparations.
Competitors must follow the instructions of the Steward promptly when called. Any excessive delay in complying may result in disqualification.
Entering the Contest Area
In Trio Piping, Quartet Piping and Mini-Band contests no tuning is allowed in the room where the contest is being held. Only in the Solo Piping contest is tuning is allowed in the contest room but it should be kept to a minimum. Excessive tuning here may result in disqualification at the judge’s discretion.
What follows in this section are not rules which have to be adhered to. But they do describe accurately what the usual customs are and what the judges expect and like to see.
Band Set Up
There is no stipulation as to what formation you take up. Many bands form a complete circle. The ideal formation is a half-circle facing the audience. A good suggestion is to have your pipers on one side and the drummers on the other. It is also a good idea to keep at least ten feet away from the judges’ table.
Entry to Competition
Make a smart entrance. The usual procedure is to march in and mark time until everyone is in position. Then the Pipe Major gives the order “Band Halt”. Everyone remains in the “Attention Position”. You may march in with pipes up or pipes down but you must have your pipes down before your performance begins. Therefore, if you marched in with pipes up, the P/M should now give the command "Pipes Down". When the judge indicates that he is ready, the P/M then gives the command “Pipes Up”.
When does the judging begin and finish?
Here there is no 'Intro' or 'Finish' requirement. Pipers may spend a short time playing tuning phrases while their pipe settles in. The judging begins on the first note of their tune and ends with the last note. No 'clean finish' is required.
The drummer is required to play 2 3-pace rolls to lead into his selected piece. The judging begins with the beginning of the first drum roll and finishes with the last stroke of the drum. The playing of the piper accompanying the drummer is not counted as part of the performance. If the piper(s) break down the drummer may still continue and finish his performance on his own.
Trio Piping and Quartet Piping:
Here there is an 'Intro' and 'Finish' requirement. All the pipers should bring their drones in together and then bring their chanters in together on an introductory E before beginning their performance in the same way as they would if they had a drum corps playing a 2 3-pace rolls intro. The judging starts from the first sound from the drones.
The judging starts the beginning of the first drum roll and ends with the last note played. The drumming judge is listening for 2 smooth three-pace rolls which start and finish together. The piping judge is listening for all the chanters coming in together at the end of the second roll, holding a steady sustained ‘E” before making a clean break into the first tune. At the end of the performance they will be listening for all the pipers finishing together with no trailing drone sounds or dropping of pressure before the end.
Leaving the Contest Area
On completion of the performance the Pipe Major orders "Pipes Down". Everyone comes to the "Attention Position".Pipe Major will order “By the Right, Quick March”. Everyone turns to face the Pipe Major and the team leaves the hall in single file with pipes down. In Mini-Band Competitions some bands prefer to march “on the tap”, ie. with the Leading Drummer or bass drummer giving a single tap on the drum on each left foot to keep everyone in time.
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