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

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O'er The Bows To Ballindalloch

Oer the Bows

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.

Five discussion points

1   Grip bar 1 and elsewhere - this is a short grip, fitting into a semiquaver. Make sure that both low Gs create the impression of the being the same length (although they are not) and that the D gracenote truly 'cuts' them.
2   Bar 1 E doubling -  this is opened with a long high G gracenote, as it is on the third beat in the bar.
3   Bar 2/6 strike on B - this movement, which we could call a 'hiodo' from the canntairreachd, is treated like a doubling, a very heavy doubling, with the strike coming after the beat. Listen carefully.
4   Throw in bar 4, an interpretation not much used in these tunes.... The low G (before the beat) is a third of the preceding B, the D opens on the beat and the strike is a 32nd note. If you listen carefully to the midi files, it isn't as bad as the description.
5   Bar 5 - you may hear this first note as a low A in some versions, indeed this is how the writer plays it (low A dotted quaver). Be aware there are other versions...

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 exercises

Exercise 1

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

Exercise 2


ex42


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


Exercise 3

ex43

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


Exercise 4

ex44


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


Exercise 5

ex45




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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