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

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The Ale is Dear

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Five discussion points

1  Bar 1 High G gracenotes - not all of the high G gracenotes are the same length in this interpretation.  This is needed because of the doubling and in order to make the other notes have enough length to make adequate impact in the rest of the interpretation. The 'long' G gracenotes are 32nd notes whilst the 'short' ones are 64th notes. The gracenotes in all cases close on the beats. As ever, the best way to get on top of this is to listen to the midi files.
2   B doubling bar 1 - listen carefully to the rhythm of this to get the proportion between the B and D gracenote to the relation 3:1 (three 64ths against one 64th). This pattern is repeated in the tachum later and in many doublings and tachums through the reels (and indeed the whole MAP) section.
3   Bar 2 G gracenote to E - this is a 32nd note, while the last G gracenote (from C to F) is a 64th note. This is to place emphasis on the phrase ending here. The effect of highlighting the E is to make it seem longer than it actually is.
4   Bar 5 throw - the C and low G are the same length as each other and the D opens on the beat. The strike is a quarter of the preceding D. Listen to the midi file. This is a throw of medium weight - neither heavy, nor light.
5   Bar 11 C doubling  - there is not enough time available to make the high G gracenote as long as instinct would suggest. A soloist might give the high G gracenote a third of the preceding D (thus involving triplets and getting an extra layer of complexity in here, this can happen in the MSR section), but a band would be better advised to avoid introducing further layers of difficulty and opt for a quarter of the D going to the high G gracenote. As ever, rather than talking about it, please listen to the videos below.

This section of the website has tunes taken from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Asociation (RSPBA) prescribed tune list.

If you learn these tunes, there will be a large number of people you can be sure to find tunes in common with.

The RSPBA update their list from time to time and the versions here followed their original published versions, pending updates in due course.
These videos show the music and you can hear midi generated tracks where the rhythm of the gracenotes and embellishments is maintained in proper interprative proportion. You should try to feel the rhythm and also count it out exactly. Start with the fastest files and as you get better, go to the slower files, as this is a true measure of your security of technique.

Each file is given at two pitches, A and B flat. This reflects the different practice chanter tunings commonly found. Please scroll down to what you need (site updated for smart phone and tablets)

The exercises below are chosen to help with some particular trickiness in each tune.


Videos to play along with


Low Pitch normal speed

Low Pitch half speed

Low Pitch quarter speed

High pitch normal speed

High pitch half speed

High pitch quarter speed


For more information on how to use these midi files please follow the link on the left.




Five exercises

Exercise 1

mapex6

Low Pitch High Pitch
Full speed Full speed
Half speed Half speed
Quarter speed Quarter speed

Exercise 2

mapex11

Low Pitch High Pitch
Full speed Full speed
Half speed Half speed
Quarter speed Quarter speed

Exercise 3

ex46

Low Pitch High Pitch
Full speed Full speed
Half speed Half speed
Quarter speed Quarter speed

Exercise 4

ex49

Low Pitch High Pitch
Full speed Full speed
Half speed Half speed
Quarter speed Quarter speed

Exercise 5

ex50

Low Pitch High Pitch
Full speed Full speed
Half speed Half speed
Quarter speed Quarter speed

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author