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

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Lady MacKenzie of Fairburn


Lady MacKenzie of Fairburn

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   C doubling bar 1 - some people call this rhythmical pattern a 'double tachum'. This is because we can think of it as a single action, or also because the doubling fits into the space given to the C in a tachum. To make this work and have the desired effect, and fit in the given space, the D gacenote needs to be fantastically short (128th note). Listen to the midi file..
2   High A doubling bar 1 - this is rhythmically identical to the C doubling. Knowing this should help get the feel for the rhythmical pattern into everyone's hands and heads.
3   High G gracenote from E to C bar 3 - this takes up a third of the last semiquaver of the beat, giving extra emphasis to the third beat in the bar.
4   Throw bar 4 - a kind of medium weighted throw - long low G and a short D and even shorter strike. Rhytmically this is identical to the C doublings (after the beat). Listen carefully to the midi file (and in time there will be an exercise about this, please keep coming back).
5   Bar 5 the first high G gracenote is shorter than all the others. This is a merely pragmatic step as to introduce triplets into this complex pattern is impractical for less experienced bands. Soloists might have a different approach.

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

mapex12

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

Exercise 2

mapex34graphic

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

Exercise 3

ex37

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

Exercise 4

ex39

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



Exercise 5

ex40

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


About this project
Lindsay Davidson
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