Piping world stages X Factor-style contest to find 'iconic' new tune

Pupils across Scotland are being challenged to enter the "Piping Hit 2018" contest.
Pupils across Scotland are being challenged to enter the "Piping Hit 2018" contest.
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The Scottish piping world is to be stage an X Factor-style contest for school pupils in a bid to uncover an "iconic" new tune for the national instrument.

Some of Scotland's best-known pipers will be advising contenders for the "Piping Hit 2018" contest.

It will see young pipers and composers challenged to write and record a new piece of music, with pop, rock, orchestral and traditional music all eligible.

The winning piece, which must be suitable for the Great Highland Bagpipe, will then go onto be performed at the world's biggest schools piping contest next year.

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, which launched the competition today, is encouraging entrants to arrange the tune with other instruments, vocalists and pipers.

The eventual winner of the competition, who does not need to be piper themselves, will win £1000 for their school's music department and a £250 cash prize for themselves.

Judges will include Lorne MacDougall, one of Scotland's leading young pipers, who has featured on the soundtrack of films and TV shows like Brave, Whisky Galore and Doctor Who.

MacDougall, who is from Carradale, in Argyll, said: "I started playing the pipes when I was at school and I am very lucky that it is now my fulltime career.

"Composing is not only great for getting the creative juices flowing, its also very therapeutic and a good way to express yourself. It can also lead to lots of exciting prospects, including travelling around the world, so there is the potential to make a good career from it."

Kenny Forsyth, chair of the judging panel, said: "We have some fantastic young musical talent in Scotland and we are looking forward to hearing what they compose.

"The pipes are used in so many different types of music now and we want to encourage all pupils to get involved, whether they play the pipes or not.

"The tune doesn’t have to be what is considered a typical traditional Scottish melody, it could be as modern as Ed Sheeran or Katy Perry – it’s up to the composer.

"The judges will be looking out for tunes that have the power to connect with an audience."

BBC Scotland and promoters Hands Up For Trad have staged an annual contest to find the nation's young traditional musician of the year since 2001.

Founder Simon Thoumire said: "Any opportunity to engage with young people and traditional music is a good one in my opinion.

"The tradition will only carry on if it renews itself and the composition of new tunes is one way of doing this.

"The piping world has been very successful in writing tunes that engage with the whole sector with composers like Gordon Duncan and Ross Ainslie having their tunes played worldwide."