Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunesbringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free
Lady MacKenzie of Gairloch
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 (and one extra)
1 Tachum bar 1 - the D gracenote takes a quarter of the semiquaver. This is not the only possibility, and has been chosen to make it easier to help train the whole band to play this together, and have a model tachum which can be applied in many places. The writer plays this differently making the C and D gracenote the same length as each other. This gives quite a different effect and if you are preparing for solo playing, you might want to do this instead of the interpretation given. Both are equally viable.
2 Last High G gracenote in bar 1 (written in bar 2 but played in bar 1...) - this is alonger gracenote as it serves to emphasise the first beat of the bar. The gracenote takes up a third of the D preceding it and closes on the beat. Listen carefully to the midi files. This approach to gracenotes in places where extra emphasis is needed has been used frequently in these interpretations.
3 Bar 3 tachum - rightflly this should have a high G gracenote to make it like traditional tachums. No doubt the bar has been copied and pasted by the typesetter, and the absence of a high G gracenote is simply a mistake. Add one if you like.
4 E doublings and High G doublings and High A doublings - the rhythms in these doublings after the beat is the same everywhere. This is another place where you might want to have everyone tap this rhythm out on the table to gether. This consistency makes it easier to learn the tune, to play together, to 'feel' the rhythms and creates a very goo dstrathsey effect, a kind of stability and consistency that accents the regularity of the beats (it is a dance....!)
5 Bar 5 C doubling and Bar 6 B doubling - to get the evenness in this is tricky when you are in the flow. Doing so is worth the trouble though, giving contrast and interest.
6 Grip in second last bar - this takes up half of the B, and teh impression of both low Gs being the same length (in fact tehy are not, but they give that impression). Listen very carefully yo the slow midi files.
Low pitch normal speed
Low pitch haf speed
Low pitch quarter speed
High pitch normal speed
High pitch half speed
High pitch quarter speed