Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson

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Intermediate Exercise 47

Intermediate exercise 47

This exercise is intended to help with controlling the 'strength' of high G gracenotes.

It helps in this by marking out common patterns with different timings so you can take this as a whole remembered block and drop it into tunes.

Watch out for the difference between a high G gracenote from F and from other notes - this has been set up to demand focus in your fingers.

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 by helping establish patterns in your brain.

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.

Please be aware that youtube will allow you to change the playback speed, which means you can train your rhythmical skill with more subtelty.

Videos to play along with (start with the fastest and gradually move to the slowest)

Low pitch normal speed

Low pitch half speed

Low pitch quarter speed

High pitch normal speed

High pitch half speed

High pitch quarter speed

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