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Indoor Contests
NW Section
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All teams must look smart and be uniformly dressed.
Unless permission has been granted by the Branch Committee, all competitors must wear Highland Dress, with the exception of those entering the Novice events in the solo piping and drumming contests. Novices will still be expected to be dressed in a "reasonably presentable fashion".
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:
  • Kilt and Sporran.
  • Full length socks, any style (or spats and hose tops)
  • Leather brogue shoes, (preferably ghillie brogues).
  • Collared shirt (worn either with a tie with top button fastened or without a tie with top button undone).
  • Head dress: Glengarry or Balmoral
The full standard ‘Day Dress’ uniform worn by most competing bands consists of:
  • Head-Dress: Glengarry or Balmoral, bearing the band's chosen cap badge.
  • Any Highland style jacket: Argyll, Braemar, Bonnie Prince Charlie, battle dress etc.
  • Shirt.
  • Tie.
  • Kilt. (Kilt-pin optional)
  • Sporran: any uniform day, dress or semi-dress style.
  • Leg wear: any style of knitted full-length hose with flashes and ghillie brogues laced up the leg. (Skean Dhu optional).
  • Waist belt.
  • Waitcoats may also be worn, with or without a jacket.

1. All competitors must be registered with a band currently registered with the RSPBA.
2. All our Branch contests are open to other branches, ie. to any band or member of a band registered with the RSPBA.
3. Details of the musical requirements and rules for each event can be found on the relevant entry form. These are available on the Documents page and the Entry Forms page on this website.
4. All competitors, apart from Novices, must be in uniform when going up to receive trophies at the prizegiving.
Make-up of Teams in Trio Piping, Quartets and Miniband contests
1. 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.
2. Bands MUST play in their own grade, and may also play up one grade and/or in the Open if time permits.
3. Juvenile Bands may play in their own grade and in Grade 4. They may also play up into Grade 3 and/or in the Open if time permits.
4. 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.
5. All drummers are allowed to play as many times as required in any grade.
6. Any band without a bass drummer may borrow a bass drummer from another band in the same grade.
7. Any band in any grade may enter a Juvenile event. Each team entered may include one adult piper from the band to act as leader for the team. Each adult is only allowed to play once with the exception of the Pipe Major, or Acting Pipe Major, who alone is allowed to play three times.
8. In Miniband contests, the pipe corps in all grades must consist of 4 or 5 pipers. The drum corps must consist of one bass drummer and two side drummers. Tenors are optional.
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/she 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 in the contest room allowed 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 but the ideal is one where all the players can be seen clearly by both the audience and the judge(s). The usual formation is a shallow half-circle. 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 either in silence or "on the tap" from the leading tip or bass drummer. 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 at your P/M's discretion. If you marched in with pipes down, when the judge indicates that he is ready, the P/M would then gives the command “Pipes Up”.
When does the judging begin and finish?
Solo Piping:
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.
Solo Drumming:
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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