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

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The Fairy Dance

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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.  The second and fourth  High G gracenotes are longer than the first and third. This has been done to balance the phrasing more evenly. 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   The High A gracenote in bar 3 is a 64th note, like the short high G gracenotes.
3   Tachum bar 4 (and later) - for the tachms the C is three quarters of the 16th note and the D gracenote occupies just a quarter of the 16th note. This is not the only way to play tachums (not the way the writer plays it, on account of this being a particular feature of the style of Jimmy Inglis, the writer's teacher) but for the purpose of bands playing together this is easier as it conforms to a rhythmical gracing pattern that is used elsewhere.
4   Grip bar 5 - this has been placed in the space of a quarter of the crotchet beat; the low Gs seem to be the same length, although they are not. This means the D gracenote is very short (128th note). Listen carefully to the midi files.
5   Throw - the low G is half the length of the preceding C. The strike is a quarter of the length of the 16th note assigned to the movement. Please note, this means the rhythm of the D and C strike in the throw is the same as the C and D gracenote in the tachum. Once you get your band feeling this approach to gracing the style will reinforce itself.

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

mapex16

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

Exercise 4

ex46

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

Exercise 5

ex47

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

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author