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The Scottish Highland Bagpipe, now heard around the globe, has long enchanted musicians and listeners for it’s brilliant tone, humming drones, and its profoundly stirring music. Mirroring Joseph MacDonald’s unprecedented and encyclopedic treatise of staff notations of the Highland bagpipe (1760-1803), Dr. Matthew Welch’s A New Compleat Theory for The Highland Bagpipe charts the complete (or the archaic “compleat’) trajectory of the use of the Highland Bagpipe up to 2020. Terse and insightful, this treatise will educate both the piper and composer. Included in Part II is a selection of Dr. Welch’s original and inventive compositions for the bagpipe in an array of traditional and modern forms.
“It seems in the world of music connected to the Great Highland Bagpipe a book comes along every 250 years or so that offers up a fresh view of the music - and its place in the world. In his “A New Compleat Theory” noted performer, composer and scholar, Matthew Welch succeeds in doing just that: a remarkable and rare amalgam of ideas that respect tradition while showcasing the broad - and exciting - potential of the instrument. A must-have for anyone who has ever held - or heard - a bagpipe.”
– Michael Grey, acclaimed composer and piper, Dunaber Music
“As a composer of new music for the highland bagpipe, Matthew Welch is a bold pioneer, an explorer of uncharted territories. Many of Matthew’s compositions explore ideas new to the world of piping; often unique and exciting, always mindfully crafted and thought-provoking. Although Matthew often builds on the established idioms of the traditional piping repertoire, ranging from jigs and reels to piobaireachd, he produces original new music that progresses piping to new realms. An examination of the music presented in this book will reveal a sense of humour, a sense of madness – a mad genius!”
- Mark Saul, composer-piper and electronic musician
"I have always found Matt's compositions, interpretations and performances to be thoughtful, creative, authentic and interesting. I still have a vivid recollection of hearing him perform The Vaunting at a solo piping competition in the Pacific Northwest in the mid-late 1990s. It is a testing piece to interpret effectively, and Matt played it in a rather maverick fashion, yet with maturity and flair that I found utterly captivating. The present work is yet another example of what Matt brings to music generally, and will be a valuable resource for serious students of the bagpipe and to non-piper composers who wish to better understand our instrument and its unique character."
- P/M Alan Bevan, Simon Fraser University Pipe Band
“This book is a significant contribution to piping, to the progression of traditional music, to composition, and to the exploration of entangling musical philosophies. It is brilliant, baffling, obscure, obvious, and quite simply wonderful.”
- James MacHattie, Director of Education at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, P.E.I.
Dr. Matthew Welch is a critically acclaimed opera composer, bagpiper, multi-instrumentalist, conductor, recording artist, husband and dad living in the SF Bay Area, California, USA. He won a World Pipe Band Championship as a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and since worked with composers Philip Glass, Anthony Braxton, Julia Wolfe, Alvin Lucier, and John Zorn. He founded his NYC-based ensemble Blarvuster in 2002. Welch earned his Doctor of Musical Arts at Yale University’s School of Music.
Eddie Van Halen was a rare musical genius of individual style and broad appeal through his ecstatically expressive and technical electric guitar playing. He was a god of rock whose music and playing enthralled me throughout the 80s. Dreams were catalyzed for me to be a musician by EVH, and his signature sound still inspires me. I was thrilled when PopMatter’s dubbed me “The Eddie Van Halen of the Bagpipes,” a badge I wore proudly. In response to his recent passing two weeks ago, I dipped back into the music of Eddie Van Halen, one of my childhood and lifetime heroes, remembering every note, awakening locked away personal memories and reveling in it for another moment. Somehow my young self and current self could meet again and atone in a musical ritual. In tribute, here are my SEVEN ERUPTIONS FOR EDDIE VAN HALEN for solo bagpipe and guitar amp effects. Matthew Welch, October 22, 2020
Kotekan Records is dedicated to the projects of Matthew Welch. Inspired by the interlocking rhythm, Kotekan records focuses
on the most intertwined reaches of Welch’s hybrid compositional world. Each album cover is commissioned from artist Lauren Kolesinskas....more