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

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Marion and Donald

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Five discussion points

1   Bar 1 E gracenote - this is bigger than the other gracenotes around in order to give a strong rhythmical effect at the beginning of the tune.It is the length of a 32nd note and closes on the beat. This is the same in bar 3.
2   G gracenote in B doubling, bar 2. This is a small gracenote (a 64th note) on account of its context, surrounded by other short notes. This means that the G gracenote and the D gracenote in the doubling are of the same length.
3   Strike bar 4 - this is a 32nd note, closing on the beat. This big strike serves to balance the strong rhythmical effect at the beginning of the tune. Listen carefully to the midi files.
4   Bar 5,'hadah' - where usually we would have 'hara', here we have the same thing but heavier, using low G to strike instead of C. The writer personally would not do this, and many other people would also use a C here. The rhythm of both would be the same - sound the D on the last 16th of the crotchet and then give the last quarter of this to the strike going down (low G or C), with the next D coming up on the beat. Whilst this explanation may sound wordy, it is just dot and cuts, and you can hear this clearly in the midi files.
5   Bar 7 F doubling - the high G gracenote here is, like in the B doubling elsewhere, the same length as the second G gacenote in the doubling, so therefore a short gracenote This is simply because of the rhythmical shape of the tune.

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
ex 16 graphic

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

Exercise 2

ex47

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

Exercise 3

ex48

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

ex51


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

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author