North-East musician steps into academic role to research future of Scottish traditional music
One of Scotland’s most notable musical figures has been awarded an academic position at the University of Aberdeen to carry out a three-year research project into the future of traditional Scottish music in modern society.One of Scotland’s most notable musical figures has been awarded an academic position at the University of Aberdeen to carry out a three-year research project into the future of traditional Scottish music in modern society.
Paul, who lives in Tarland, is recognised as one of the most exciting fiddle players to come out of Scotland in recent years and will embark upon his three-year project in November with the aim of developing the connection between traditional fiddle styles with those of modern fiddle players.
The research, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, aims to explore the underlying musical dialects of the North-East fiddle tradition, providing a firm foundation for future creative work and a benchmark for similar future research.
The project, entitled, Reconnecting Scotland’s North-East traditional fiddle styles and repertoires with today’s Scottish traditional musicians, will see Paul travel throughout the North-East to introduce Scottish traditional music to new audiences both within local communities and to a wider national and international audience.
Paul said he was delighted to be awarded the AHRC Fellowship: “I am looking forward to developing my interest in traditional Scottish music via an academic route. This project will allow me time to reflect on issues that have interested me for many years. It will also enable me to develop research skills and widen my knowledge base.
“Scottish traditional music, particularly fiddle music, thrives today with thousands involved at all skill levels, however, many younger players in Scotland are unaware of the characteristic, traditional markers of regional Scottish styles and repertories and addressing this issue is one of my main aims.”
Paul will reintroduce selected pieces to a new generation of fiddle players and traditional Scottish music audiences and, through the performance of well-known pieces in new styles, encourage a greater interest among modern players in the stylistic features and techniques of the unique North-East style.
”The music of the fiddle is an important part of the heritage of North-East Scotland. I will seek to explore the style of playing and present new repertoires, “ he continued.
Paul will employ a variety of research methods during his study including an archival study of unpublished music collections and collaboration with older musicians. He will also organise courses and workshops to develop new styles in group performance and will introduce the students to music and performance that many will be unfamiliar with.
Paul will have unlimited access to the University’s music collections within its Historic Collections, including the Scott Skinner Collection.
Paul has been playing the fiddle professionally for seven years (and 20 years as an amateur). He plays solo and in groups, teaches the fiddle and composes new tunes for the instrument. He is the winner of most junior and senior Scottish competitions, and won the prestigious Glennfiddich championship in 1995.
His important study will contribute to the existing research of the Elphinstone Institute – a University of Aberdeen initiative devoted to the research, collection, and promotion of the culture and traditions of North and North-East Scotland.
Dr Ian Russell, Director of the Elphinstone Institute, said: “It is a great achievement for Paul and we are truly delighted to have him join the Institute, especially as we will be hosting a second North Atlantic Fiddle Convention here in Aberdeen in late July 2006.”
Notes to Editors
Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.
Issued on: Tuesday 1st of February 2005
Contact: Angela Ferguson