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

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Colonel MacLeod


Colonel MacLeod

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   Birl bar 1 - the rhythm you should 'feel' or hear in the low As in this birl should be 'tafati', or two sixteenths.At the beginning of a bar this gives strong emphasis and is reasonably simple to manage rhythmically with a whole band.
2   High G gracenote in the C doubling bar 1 - this should be thought of as a triplet. That is to say that the high G gracenote takes up one third (the last third) of the semiquaver (16th note). As ever with tricky rhythms, listen carefuly to the midi file, and say "tri-pe-let" to yourself a thousand times.
3   Bar 2 strike - again this should be thought of as a triplet - the low G is in the last third of the semiquaver and comes up on the beat.
4   Throw in bar 3 - yet another triplet.....
5   Bar 4 c doubling - this is in the same rhythm as the birl. Listen carefully and ty tapping it out togeher on the table. This may be a surprising idea, but when you can play this together as a band the effect on the listener is magical.

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 (please keep coming back until this is fully updated)

Exercise 1

mapex4

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

Exercise 2

mapex7

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

ex37

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

Exercise 5

ex38

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

About this project
Lindsay Davidson
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