Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunes

bringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free

Exercise 18  - Throws

This exercise is intended to help you develop control over a medium light throw.
It helps in this by marking out clearly where the low G is in relation to the beat and by making it clear this low G is the same length as the other gractenotes in the throw. The lightness comes from the short low G and the extra emphasis comes from the three gracenotes being the same length. Specifically making the strike to C the same as the D makes the effect of being more heavy than if the C were shorter.

The G gracenote to C which precedes the throw is a common feature that occurs in tunes and so you should be able to copy and paste this rhythmical version of the throw in those situations when you feel it is the correct interpretative decision.

Things to watch out for are crossing sounds between the C and E. Also make sure your High G gracenote is consistent.

How to practise

Solid bagpipe technique is not about being able to squeeze more wiggly bits into an ever smaller space of time. Solid bagpipe technique means that you can choose how long or short every finger movement will be (and why, according to your physical situation and musical interpretation), and the actions come out as exactly you want. These exercises are designed to make this happen, to give you total awareness and control over your embellishment rhythm.

The Magic Maxim:

"If you can play slowly you can play quickly, but the converse isn't necessarily true..."

This means exactly what it says - the better you become the more exactly you should be able to control what you are doing, and so to test ourselves, we shouldn't practise more quickly, but more slowly.

To think like computers - a sampling rate for a recording is a measure of how many times a second the computer will measure what is happening in the sound. A higher sampling rate makes for a higher quality of recording, up to a point beyond which it doesn't make much difference. It is the same with piping - the more times in a beat you can say exactly what is happening, the better your piping, up to a point..

Playing exactly with the midi files at a quarter speed is a fairly good test for a group, and this extra secret can dramatically affect the strength of playing within a band, and the confidence. It is true that using this approach, you can bring about a positive revolution in your band's playing and attitude.

So to repeat, as you get better and your finger and rhythmical control become more exact, you should go from the fastest videos...to the slowest.
mapex 18

Videos to play along with (start with the fastest and gradually move to the slowest)
Low pitch full speed

Low pitch half speed

Low pitch quarter speed

High pitch full speed

High pitch half speed

High pitch quarter speed

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author