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

bringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free 
McPhedran's Strathspey
McPhedran's

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 particual trickiness in each tune.

For more information on how to use these midi files please follow the link on the left.

Low pitch normal speed

Low pitch half speed

Low pitch quarter speed

High pitch normal speed

High pitch half speed

High pitch quarter speed


Five discussion points

1   Hara - High g gracenote opens before the beat and closes on the beat. It is the slightly longer gracenote used frquently elsewhere in these tunes. The D is on the beat and the strike is very light and short after it. Listen carefully to the midi files.
2   Doublings - whilst the high G gracenotes vary (some are long, in beats where there should be more emphasis), after the beat they are all rhythmically the same.
3   Strike bar 2 - comes up on the beat and lasts a thirty-second note.
4   C doubling bar 4, bar 8 and B/C doubling bar 11 - getting this rhythm right when you are in the flow will take a bit of discipline, but the contrast willbe recogined by the audience (judges) and is worth thr trouble. It is details like these that make the difference between 'just another generic strathspey' and an interpretation.
5   Triplets and G gracenote - triplets, when the writer was young, simply didn't exist. They do now. Listen carefully to get this variety to work and be careful about the high G gracenotes, which take up a quarter of a third of a quarter note (if we want to be purposefully obtuse.!). Without being obtuse, listen to the midi files...

Five exercises (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)

Exercise 1

mapex12

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 2

mapex14

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 3

mapex19graphic

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 4

mapex20graphic.png

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed

Exercise 5

mapex34graphic

Low PitchHigh Pitch
Full speedFull speed
Half speedHalf speed
Quarter speedQuarter speed


About this project
Lindsay Davidson
About the author