Bagpipe Tunes I'm Working On

It's been a while since I posted about the bagpipe tunes I've been working on. Since our band is in its off season, our pipemaster assigned us a bunch of new tunes. I start by learning them on my practice chanter. I try to get to the point where it's basically memorized and than I switch to playing it on my bagpipes.

The first tune I focused on is called Tenpenny Bit. This is a jig so it's a very lively tune. The only version I could find on youtube is a rock version of it but you get a sense of what it sounds like.

Lady Carmichael's Strathspey is the next tune I focused on. I couldn't find a version of this one on youtube, but a strathspey is a basically a 4/4 dance tune. Auld Lang Syne is another example of a strathspey. This tune has been pretty easy for me to learn.

I've just started to work on Lord Lovat's Lament. This is a march and I've learned plenty of marching tunes in the past so it seems like it'll be pretty easy to learn.

The one new tune that I've really struggled with is called Itchy Fingers. This tune has been crazy hard for me to learn. I am able to sight read most bagpipe tunes and at least play them slowly all the way through, not so much for this one. My fingers are really having to learn new moves. Other challenges with this tune are that it's a bit longer than I'm used too, and it's fast.

Well, wish me luck with these tunes and pipe on!


Anonymous said...

many years ago I had the great good fortune of having Pipe Major James Troy as my judge.He along with Bruce Gandy and a few others told me this one real easy trick to playing real fast...are you ready for it.....S l o w D o w n. In certain elite military units of the us army they have a saying that goes like this: "slow is smooth and smooth is fast"

when you practice this tune and every other tune take it out of its time slow it way down, exagerate your finger movements way off your chanter. Make your grace notes very big.almost like melody notes except you slow the melody notes down as well. what you are trying to do is develope your muscle memroy and synaptic relays between your fingers and your brain.
google Scott MacAuley solo and watch how high his fingers come off the chanter when he incidentaly he gave me the same advice during a chance airplane ride in the late 80s...I wish I could have taken lessons from him...but it is sound advice that I have taken and it has helped my playing real hard tunes...and life in general.
May God bless your life and your pipes,

Anonymous said...

if you can get your hands on it .."Piping because we enjoy it" has the best rendition of "itchy fingers" I have ever heard anywhere. I believe either Bruced Gandy or Scott MacAuley played this tune though it could have been Ed Neigh on the recording...good luck

it is scorching hot fast

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. A hint to learn Itchy Fingers....though you probably know it by now. It is easier to play without looking at the music so first memorize it and then speed it up...

Anonymous said...

I would like to recommend you watch the Rapalje video "Jenny Dang the Weaver/Itchy Fingers" and watch the pipers fingering.This piper is faboulos.You can find the vid on youtube.Rapalje is a Dutch group who play Celtic music.

ss_blog_claim=68f7af64104fe11da76f3d4a6a84c2cd ss_blog_claim=68f7af64104fe11da76f3d4a6a84c2cd