Hamish Moore lead a workshop several tunes from the Haddington Pipe Band repertoire. Here is an edited transcription of the session.

“The Haddington Pipe Band has been so supportive of piping in the area and of ‘extra-mural’ activities, as it were, that I thought it would be great to get as many band members along to today’s event as possible - and I’m very pleased to see so many here,- I asked Colin Macaldowie, who is both an LBPS committee member and a member of the band, to show me the band repertoire. There were four tunes that jumped out at me, all Border tunes and I thought , well, we could could look at these tunes and compare and contrast the way these tunes are played in the band with how I would approach playing them - it might be an interesting exercise.
“The first tune I’d like to tackle is the ‘Blue Bonnets’ [Over the Border] [Hamish then handed music to those who needed it] “What I want those of you with the music to do is ignore all the ornaments, because that’s how we are going to reconstruct the tune.
“When looking at how to play a tune I always like, if possible, to go back to the source, what was the original social context of the tune, was it a song, or was it a dance? We’re really lucky in this case because here is a recording from 1972 of Cape Breton piper Angus Beton playing this very tune. Angus Beton couldn’t read music at all - his people were from South Uist - though this is a Border tune it was popular in the Highlands. I want you to listen to this recording; please don’t pay attention to the tuning, the high A in particular is very sharp - what I want you to be listening for is the rhythm of how he’s playing. He would have been playing sitting down and he’s being accompanied by a pianist. What we’re going to do in this workshop is try to recreate the way Angus is playing, and that’s very difficult for any of us who have been trained in playing the way the music that I’ve handed out has been written.” [Hamish played  the first 8 bars of the recorded performance]
“Before we listen to any more of it I just want to comment on one or two things. We’ve got in front of us a 6/8 march; Angus is playing it as a jig - he’s playing it for the jig figure of the Inverness County [in Cape Breton] Quadrilles - and the step that goes with that is 1-2-3 1-2-3 [here Hamish demonstrated the step].What I’d like you to notice about that is that it’s very even - it’s not uneven as you would play the 6/8 march, and that’s a very difficult thing for us pipers to do because our whole training has been to get us to play with a long first note and a short second, 1–-2-3.
So that’s the internal rhythm; there’s also the tempo - it’s played at a much livelier tempo than I’m sure you will have heard it before. I’m going to talk about how I personally went about trying to recreate those internal rhythms, but I want you to go away and find your own way; because you will find a way that’s easier for you; that diversity of styles was very much discouraged at the beginning of the 19th century” [Hamish then played the remainder of the Angus Beton recording].
Hamish then discussed how the training of highland pipers in playing the GDE ornament results in the ‘dotted’ rhythm of the 1-2-3 triplet
“You do it over and over again, and what’s imprinting on you brain is exactly what we don’t want to do here. So the first thing I decided was not to play the GDE ornament, because that would destroy what we’re trying to do before we start.
“So, allowing for my gammy finger, this is what I came up with; with 8 fingers you can probably come up with something better. I go from and E to the A without any ornament and then a [high] G grace note and then a very open birl and then another G grace note. On the high A’s that follow I’m trying to make those even by doing three thumb strokes, an upstroke followed by two down strokes.”
Hamish then pointed out all the subsequent places in the tune where attention was needed to keep the triplet rhythm even and avoid holding onto the first of the three. Before the company played through, Hamish mentioned the use made by Alec Currie, who had never had a lesson in his life, of the C grace note- “ He used it all the time and the effect was fantastic.”
Hamish then worked his way through the first and second parts; when it came to the third part he commented “It will start with a throw on the D. I’ve got a visceral hatred of throws on D - I never, ever play them. Here it will do the same as a GDE at the beginning, it will destroy the rhythm. Instead, I go up to the D with no gracing, play a G grace note, a strike and another G grace note.”
Hamish went on to describe how using a similar approach, he would generate the internal rhythms of both the strathspey and the reel versions of The Reel of Stumpie, and the reel ‘Tail Toddle’. This last, in which Hamish emphasised that his goal had been to recreate the rhythm of the song, was also an opportunity to explain why the ‘tachum’ - “another thing you will have spent hours doing -  is something we don’t want - it is not useful in a reel. So, where the tune asks for two even notes, C to A, try just a G grace note before the C and nothing else. This may seem ridiculously simple - it’s not, believe me, when you put it in the context of the tune.”