Choosing my 3 favourite drum scores was a hard choice to make. In the end, it really came down to which drum scores are the most enjoyable for me to play. I decided on the scores that make up my current solo competition March, Strathspey and Reel element, which adds a nice touch in that it means I’m playing scores I really enjoy. So, what are these three favourite drum scores of mine?
Pipe tune composed by Angus Mackay and the drum score by John Moneagle.
Balmoral Highlanders is the first real Grade 1 standard drum score I learned and therefore is one of my favourites. Learning a full-on Grade 1 score for the first time was an awesome experience and it really forced me to lift my playing level.
The score was written by John Moneagle, at a time when drumming was about fitting in as much as you possibly could, while still maintaining musicality. I love this style, as it is a huge challenge, not just to me, but to lots of players. This style is what really does it for me. I would love it if more scores were written like this today. Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll start putting fingers to keyboard and see what happens!
I’ve also been going through Gordon Brown’s Balmoral Highlanders, from the book Something Old Something New. I am yet to master it, but I’m liking it. It’s a different style to John Moneagle’s score, but it’s starting to sound really good.
Drum score by Arthur Cook.
Bogan Lochan is the second Grade 1 score that I learned and this again helped lift my playing level. When I told my solo piper that I was playing “Bogan Lochan” as the strathspey for my MSR he looked a bit bemused as he’d never heard of it before. It turns out that Bogan Lochan is also known as Atholl Cummers. Once that confusion was sorted out, it was easy to confirm it for my solo MSR.
This score too was written in the same style as Balmoral Highlanders, but Bogan Lochan was written by Arthur Cook.
Pipe tune composed by G. S. McLennan and the drum score by Arthur Cook (6th Part Jim Kilpatrick).
Mrs MacPherson of Inveran is a well known Reel around the world. This was around the fifth or sixth Grade 1 score I was taught and was once again written by Arthur Cook. Interestingly, the sixth part of the score was written by Jim Kilpatrick. I really must find out how that came about. If you happen to know the story behind this, please write it in the comments below!
Mrs MacPherson of Inveran was also written in the same ‘musical cramming’ style of writing, which just makes it so enjoyable to play. I love them!
All of these scores are amazingly well written and I extend my thanks to the composers of both the piping and drumming scores. Playing these scores in solo competitions has without doubt improved my playing and I look forward to playing these scores for many years to come.
Thanks also to Mr. Steven Stanley, Drum Tutor at Brisbane Boys’ College, for providing these scores for me to play, and to Mr. Dean Hall of DrummingMad for “fine-tuning” my playing.
I’d love to hear from you, what are your three favourite drum scores and why? Do you use them in your competition sets or are they just for fun? Or a combination of both? Let me know in the comments below!
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