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

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Jock Wilson's Ball

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Five discussion points

1   The change from a 'round', even, rhythm in bar 2 to dotted rhythm is very tricky. It is worth tapping this change out on the table together with a metronome at various speeds to make sure that everyone can keep this under control.
2   Taorluath bar 4 - this is horrific to play together in the small amount of time available. It is advisable here to shorten the marked dotted 8th note and make the beat a triplet instead, giving the last third of it to the taorluath. This give the impression of dotting the C but also makes it possible to play the taorluath and indeed - hear it! Playing what is actually notated leads to the taorlath disappearing.
3   The D gracenote in the second time through the first part is virtually impossible to hear, but it should be played as it is in the music.
4   The birls all have the first strike (tap or downward action with the little finger) before the beat, coming up on the beat thus giving  the efect of a 'tachum' type rhythm on the low As. This could be played in various ways but this style has been chosen for balance and steadiness of effect when playing together.
5   Last strike, last bar - this comes up on the beat, and so must go down before the beat.

This tune is much, much easier to understand when played very slowly. Please try starting from slow versions to fast, instead of the other way round.

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 (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)

Exercise 1

mapex19graphic

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

Exercise 2

ex46

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

Exercise 3


ex52

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

Exercise 4

ex53


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

Exercise 5

ex54

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

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author