Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunesbringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free
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Link to RSPBA (Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) source
Midi files (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)
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Five discussion points
1 The positioning of the E doublings in this tune is somewhat surprising and thus awkward to play. The function of a doubling is to create very heavy emphasis on a note, and here in bar 1 we have this happening exactly half way through a beat, where if we were dancing (and a reel is a dance tune remember) we would be in thin air. This is what the RSPBA have indicated so this is what has been worked out, although the writer himself plays this tune without the doublings here, replacing them with a plain gracenote. One way to solve this problem is to lower the tempo slightly and so create the effect of being a fast strathspey. There is plenty of musical precedence for this and so it is a perfectly justifiable thing to do. Please be aware that th E doublings might feel odd though. Part of the implications of this are that all f teh G gracenotes must be very short, shorter than would usually be expected, otherwise the tune starts to get lost in amongst the gracenotes.
2 Strikes on B in bar 2 should be played very lightly and open on the beat.
3 The sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth note in bar 4 is an important figure later on in the tune and so particular care should be taken to make sure it sounds the same as the same thing later. This gives the tune musical coherence.
4 The sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth note in bar 5 must be very rigidly and squarely on the beat to give the maximum and most exciting effect. Be aware of making the short note too short - there is a hidden melody in here which should be brought out clearly by keeping the given rhythm.
5 Last bar - the sudden change in rhythmical pattern is tricky but will thrill your audience (judges among them) if brought out clearly. Make sure here also to hold on to the dotted C long enough to highlight this opint.
Five exercises (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)