Constituting the world’s most significant source of piping history, opinion and news, both Piping Times and Piping Today ceased publication in 2020. The unprecedented financial challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic meant The National Piping Centre was forced to make the decision to stop printing the titles, which together recorded over 70 years of piping history. In seeking your support we want to make this significant resource more accessible by digitising it and making it free to access online. In addition, if we reach the target, Piping Times will live on in the form of an Annual publication, Piping Times, The Annual.
The National Piping Centre’s Director of Piping, Finlay MacDonald; “It was with the deepest regret that we made the difficult decision to cease publication of the two magazines, Piping Times and Piping Today. Both titles hold a special place in the hearts of pipers across the world.
Sadly, publication of the magazines could no longer be justified on the grounds of the associated costs. Dwindling circulation numbers - a common trend in publishing in recent years - meant that, despite their long histories, the savings made had a significant impact on the organisation’s ability to weather the pandemic.”
The Piping Times was first published in October 1948 as the monthly ‘house’ magazine of the College of Piping. As well as printing competition results, reviewing events and reporting general news in the piping world, it provided a platform for the frank exchange of opinions and ideas. It was also influential in fostering an international piping community. Contributors in those early years included some legendary names in piping such as Archibald Campbell (of Kilberry), Willie Gray, John MacLellan, Robert Meldrum, John MacFadyen, J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus, John Garroway and D. R. MacLennan.
Although not the Piping Times’s first editor, Seumas MacNeill, co-founder of the College, was the Convenor of the Editorial Committee that produced the magazine from October 1948 until 1959 when Seumas became the sole editor. He produced the magazine each month until his death in 1996. Throughout these years, Seumas took no payment from the College and never missed a single issue. An acerbic style of writing made him a controversial personality but his commitment to the publication – and to piping – bequeathed the piping world a substantial and valuable historical record. Subsequent editors were Dugald MacNeill, Robert Wallace and Stuart Letford.
When, in 2018, the College was incorporated into The National Piping Centre, the magazine archive and its continued publication became part of the Centre’s legacy commitment.
The National Piping Centre began publishing its own in-house magazine, Notes From the Piping Centre shortly after opening in 1996. As the focus of the publication shifted to the broader world of piping its title changed to Piping Today. The bi-monthly magazine, under the editorship of TNPC’s then Director of Piping, Roddy MacLeod MBE, maintained a distinctive voice in the piping community for almost 25 years.
Head of Piping Studies at The National Piping Centre, John Mulhearn said; “The history recorded in both magazines’ archives is of great value to the international piping community. The unmatched resource it represents for students and scholars of the bagpipe cannot be overstated. In making this resource more accessible, future research will benefit profoundly.”
Donations to the campaign will also support the design and production of the first volume of a new physical annual publication under the Piping Times banner. It is planned that the Annual will be added to the digital archive each year. Finlay MacDonald said: “Creating a physical record of the year’s piping news is still a priority for us. By publishing a Piping Times Annual we hope to create a new archive for the future.
This first volume, covering the period from Spring 2020 to Autumn 2021, will be of enormous historical importance. While, on the one hand, far less piping activity has taken place due to the pandemic, the innovations that have taken place - most notably the explosion in online competitions - may be seen as a pivotal moment in the development of piping performance. It is essential that this is documented appropriately for researchers of the future.”