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

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Miss Girdle

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Five discussion points

1   Throw bar 1 - a very light throw, where the strike happens in the last quarter of the first quarter of the crotchet beat....Listen to the midi file and is is easy. This rhythmical shape is used everywhere here to help your band play together.
2   G gracenote to D, bar 1 -  as in Marion and Donald (mapr8) the rhythmical effect here is like stamping your feet, one after the other, in a dance (a reel is a dance after all...). The same 'boom,boom' effect is called for in accenting the two crotchets, and is achieved the same way by having  a bigger G gracenote than usual on to this second crotchet. It is a 32nd note, closing on the beat.
3   Tachum bar 1. The D gracenote from the C to low A is the same length as the strike is the throw. You can get this rhythm working in your band by tapping it out on the table together. This will give a remarkable strength to your rhythmical awareness and control as a group.
4   Grip bar 2. To keep the main body of the tune light and in so doing emphasise the boom,boom or stamp,stamp of the first two crotchets, the grip needs to be fairly light and nimble. It fits into the space of a semiquaver with the proportion 3/64:1/64:1/32
5   Bar 6 heavy 'hara' - this has the same rhythm as doublings in this 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

mapex11

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

Exercise 2

ex55


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

Exercise 3

ex60


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


Exercise 4

ex61

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

Exercise 5

ex62

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




About this project
Lindsay Davidson
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