Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunesbringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free
The Inverness Rant
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
For more information on how to use these midi files please follow the link on the left.
Five discussion points
1 Bar 4 some people will add a high A gracenote to the F doubling by habit. The midi version here follows the RSPBA arrangement. This rhythm is also slightly unexpected, with the F and E seeming the same length. This makes for a very powerful chance to show your band can play together, and as such it is worth playing what is written.
2 Basically, two rhythmical interpretations of the throw are given in this tune. The first occurs at the end of bar 1, where the low G, D and C (strike) are all the same length, with the beat falling on the opening of the D. The second is in bar 4, where the D is three quarters of a quarter of the beat and the low G and C are both the same as each other, a quarter of a quarter of a beat. The arithmetic looks bad - listen to the midi files (the slow ones)
3 Tachum, bar 6. The D gracenote is timed like a normal gracenote from C to low A, in other words a quarter of the note. There are other ways to play a tachum, but for a whole band this approach is both simple and effective, and indeed, perhaps the least controversial of possible choices.
4 Grip bar 8 - this fits into the space of a semiquaver. Be careful to get the internal rhythm correct as well (ta-fi ta) to give the impression (but not the reality) of equal length low Gs.
5 Bar 5 high G gracenotes are all the same length as each other, giving apparently equal weight to each beat in the bar. This tune is a rant. To rant is to rage and bang one's hand passionately on the table (of course with a big smile). This can be emphasised by making all the beats in the bar of equal weight.
Five exercises (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)