Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunesbringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free
Because he was a Bonny Lad
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.
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 2 throw and later throws - these are all quite heavy, meaning that the initial low G is given a full 32nd note (half of the preceding 16th notes). This heaviness is further emphasised by the fact the D and C are the same length as the low G. There are many ways to interpret this, and this choice has been made to make it easier for a whole band to learn to play together.
2 Bar 2 taorluath - this taorluath has been opened up and given fully half the beat. Taorluaths are great embellishments for showing how well your band can play together and will thrill the audience, whoever they are, when done well. This approach gives your band time and space to make a good job of this. An alternative would be to reduce the time given to the throw to one third of the beat. You can do this using triplets.
3 Bar 5 tachum - as elsewhere with the strathspeys, this tachum and those that are later follow the simple proportion of 3/4 - 1/4 for C note and D gracenote. This is easy to practice together and learn and makes a very good effect when played together.
4 Bar 10 doubling with strike - the preceding high G gracenote is relatively long, taking a third of the C, and the doubling is in the same rhythm as other doublings, where the low G is treated as rhythmically identical to the usual D gracenote which serves to chop the note into two. The beat is on the first B, so when the G gracenote closes. Alternative approaches would be to make the low G longer, or move where the beat lands.
5 High G doublings. These are teated as similar to the throws, but obviously without any preceding gracenotes. Both the G and the F are the same length as each other and gives an effect of being quite heavy Please listen carefully to the midi files.
Five exercises (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)