O lads, ye shud only seen us gannin', We pass'd the foaks upon the road just as they wor stannin';

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Adrian Schofield

Adrian is one of the foremost and very rare 'Traditional solo' Northumbrian Smallpipe players around. His style of playing is exciting, full of vitality and adventurous; it is not to be confused with the 'legato' style of playing which seems to be dominating the piping scene at the moment. He is highly regarded in piping and general session playing circles. In the right environment he is full of life when playing live, always smiling and full of humour with the audience!

The gentle, sweet sound of the Northumberland Small Pipes or Northumbrian Smallpipes, which can be played indoors as well as outside. They are not loud and intrusive but quiet and evocative. They are the only English bagpipe to have a continuous pedigree. This instrument can entertain purely on its own without the need for any other musical instruments. From mournful and sensitive slow airs - to lively, happy jigs, hornpipes and reels.

His piping

Adrian has played the pipes for over 27 years and has won many competitions (in fact he was barred from entering for winning so much) solo and duet with Pauline Cato and trio with Pauline and Colin Ross (of the High Level Ranters). He has performed on stage, radio and television in the United Kingdom and abroad solo or with Pauline and Colin. He has twice played at the Lorient Folk Festival in Brittany as well as the Bagpipe Society's 'Blow-out' in Milton Keynes. He has played in concerts with Highland piper Arthur Gillis, (now departed from this life) one of the foremost exponents of Ceol Moor and the renown 'Calgary Highlanders Pipes and Drums'. Recently he has recorded with Norman McKinnon who sings in English and Scottish Gaelic. Adrian performs, teaches and judges piping competitions. He has tutored on one day and weekend piping courses around the country. Back in the late 1980s he was on the Northumbrian Pipers' Society committee. He is a honorary member of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society and was the researcher for the Billy Pigg 'The Border Minstrel' tune book.

The tunes

Adrian plays a selection of tunes ranging from Northumbrian, Scottish, and Irish folk music. He is very fond of the compositions of the late Billy Pigg and therefore plays quite a few of them. He also plays some of his own 'competition winning' tunes.

Adrian's playing technique

Adrian's technique is that of the traditional detached fingering method which gives the Northumbrian Smallpipes a unique sound in contrast to any other bagpipe. It makes the chanter completely staccato which requires some skill to play tunes without ruining the natural flow. This technique was handed down from Tom Clough to Billy Pigg. Although Adrian was influenced by the playing of Billy Pigg in his earlier years, he now has developed his method to that of Tom Clough - "Prince of Pipers".

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