3. Core Tunes

This page is more for pipers and drummers in the band, as a reference, than for the general public, although it does give some background to some of the tunes.  There is no music to listen to, here. 

Included is the order of learning (or tune acquisition) that we are following in this band and some comments or explanations.

Below (at the bottom of the page) are PDFs ("Portable Data Files") of each tune for downloading.  TO DOWNLOAD: Click on the blue arrow on the right side of the margin.


To help with learning to read music and to help memorizing the tunes, the Pipe Major strongly recommends that every piper or piping student, use this blank music paper to copy out each tune.  This is worth the time and effort it takes to do this!


Revision: June 1, 2015:  We have modified the order of tunes a little...making a "top ten" list, so that new pipers will be focused on learning the tunes we will play.  Please note: The Basic Core List order is the same from 2012.  
The Intermediate Core List now includes Green Hills of Tyrol + When the Battle is Over, the two retreat marches played in Massed Bands at virtually every Highland Games.  The music has been re-typeset, but it is still the WUSPBA Massed Bands Settings.  So, the "Basic Core List" + the "Intermediate Core List" = the "Top Ten" List.  Beyond the first ten tunes are a lot of tunes that the band has worked on before...I've ordered these to give some idea of priority in learning/memorizing, if you don't already know the tunes.

"BASIC CORE LIST" 
(Tunes 1 through 4)


01. Amazing Grace (slow air in 3/4 time)   To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
[WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]
While this is not an easy "first tune to learn," most people know it, and knowing how a tune sounds makes acquiring it easier.

Additional historical and musical background information on Amazing Grace by Stéphane BEGUINOT



02.
Mairi's Wedding (also known as "Mhari Bhan") (quick march in 2/4 time)
Now, the updated "round" (even rhythm) setting, as recommended by Rob Bratsch
Additional historical and musical background information on Mairi's Wedding by Stéphane BEGUINOT

To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.



03. The Rowan Tree (quick march in 4/4 time)  (as pronounced in Scotland: "Rall-in" not "Row-in")
Additional historical and musical background information on The Rowan Tree by Stéphane BEGUINOT

What is a Rowan Tree?  See the Wikipedia article on the Rowan Tree.

To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.



04. Marine Corps Hymn (quick march in 4/4 time)
This is probably the best of the tunes associated with the different military services, and is certainly the most well-known among the American public.

To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.



"INTERMEDIATE CORE LIST" 
(Tunes 5 through 10)


05. No Awa' to Bide Awa' ("Bide Awa' " for short) (quick march in 4/4 time) 
[WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]

To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.


06.  Skye Boat Song (slow air in 6/8 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
Historical and musical background information on The Skye Boat Song by Stéphane BEGUINOT


07
Garryowen (quick march in 6/8 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
Famous as the regimental march of the U.S. 7th Cavalry (under George Armstrong Custer), he was inspired to adopt this tune for his regiment when he heard it played in the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War.  It is now the official march of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (of which the 7th Cavalry Regiment is a part).

While this tune is not commonly used for a Highland dance... I've checked with a couple of certificated Highland Dance teachers, and they say that this tune could be used for the dance, "Flora MacDonald's Fancy."  This would be more for a show situation, never for a competition situation.


08.
The Green Hills of Tyrol (a "Retreat" March in 3/4 time) To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.  [WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]
This tune is a "Massed Bands Tune" played at every Highland Games and Celtic Festival.  It's played as a set with "When the Battle is Over" as the second tune.

Additional historical and musical background information on The Green Hills of Tyrol by Stéphane BEGUINOT



09. When the Battle is Over (a "Retreat" March in 3/4 time) To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.   [WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]
This tune is a "Massed Bands Tune" played at every Highland Games and Celtic Festival.  It's played as a set following "The Green Hills of Tyrol."

Additional historical and musical background information on When the Battle is Over by Stéphane BEGUINOT



10. Scotland the Brave
(quick march in 4/4 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
 
[WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]
Hard as it is, we need to keep after it This is one of the tunes every person on the planet knows and associates with the Scottish bagpipes.

Additional historical and musical background information on Scotland the Brave by Stéphane BEGUINOT




"ADVANCED CORE TUNES LIST" 
(Tunes 11 through 16)
List revised on 11-20-2015, after discussion at band practice on 11-15-2015.

11-A. Hot Punch -- into Orange and Blue (quick march in 6/8 time transitioning into strathspey) 
To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
 

11-B. Hot Punch (quick march in 6/8 time--2 parts)
This is the same tune as 11-A, only that it doesn't "transition" into the strathspey idiom--it's stays in the 6/8 march idiom.



12. Orange and Blue (Strathspey)    To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
[Scots Guards tune setting]  --  Corrected 10-8-2012
"Orange and Blue" is an easy strathspey tune for Highland Dancers (mostly for the Highland Fling dance, although, it could also be used for the Sword Dance in a pinch).



13. The Barren Rocks of Aden (a quick march in 2/4 time--2 parts only)
[WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]

This is one of those tunes that every piper should know.  Many pipe bands play it, and it's often a Massed Bands tune, too. The Barren Rocks of Aden was an unnamed composition composed by Piper James Mauchline, when he was with a detachment of the 78th Seaforth Highlanders, stationed in Aden.  Pipe Major Alexander Mackellar re-arranged (adding parts 3 and 4 for a longer version) and named the tune. 

Aden was a British Colony from 1839 through to 1967.  It is now part of Yemen and is located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.  It is a strategic location, near the confluence of the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean.  It was in Aden, that the bombing attack on the U.S.S. Cole took place (Oct. 12, 2000).  For the British, it was halfway between the Suez Canal and India, and they needed a "coaling station" as well as a base to help control piracy (still a problem there).

To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.



14.
Highland Laddie (quick march in 2/4 time)
   To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
 
[WUSPBA Massed Bands setting]
Additional historical and musical background information on Highland Laddie by Stéphane BEGUINOT

This is a tune for a Highland dance, called "Highland Laddie.  Notes on how to pipe this for dancers are on the page of music.



15.  Highland Cathedral (slow air in 3/4 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.


16.  Going Home (slow air in 6/8 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.




"EXTENDED CORE TUNES LIST"
The more advanced pipers should be ready to play:
(Sets and individual tunes given numbers 17 through 23) 
List revised on 11-20-2015, after discussion at band practice on 11-15-2015. 
Additional tunes could find their way onto this list in the near future.


17. Gar the Rigger (set) (Irish reels in 2/4 time, played at a brisk tempo)
(all three tunes--"Gar the Rigger," "Bog Down The Valley-O," and "The Rakes of Mallow")
To download this set, go to the bottom of this webpage.

This set of Irish Reels is suitable for Irish Step Dancers performing the Irish Reel.  You just about can't play this too fast!


18. The Battle of the Somme (a 2-part 9/8 Retreat March)
To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.

This is the preferred tune for the Highland dance called "The Scottish Lilt."  Notes on how to play this tune for the dance are on the page with the music.


19. Wearin' of the Green (set)
(four tunes, each of two parts--all are quick marches in 4/4 time)
I think that many Colorado pipe bands play these tunes, usually in this order:
        "Wearin' of the Green"
        "The Minstrel Boy"
        "Roddy McCorley"
        "Kelly the Boy from Killane"

In time, we will play all four tunes of this set.  However, many pipers in the band can already play the first two tunes (Wearin' of the Green, and The Minstrel Boy), and these two tunes we will certainly play for St. Patrick's Day 2016.

To download these tunes, go to the bottom of this webpage.  The tunes are listed individually (not as a set).


20. Glasgow Police Pipe Band Jig
To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.


21. The Irish Washerwoman
To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.

This is maybe the best tune to play for the Scottish Version of the Irish Jig.  Play the first part three times (instead of just twice) to equal an 8-bar intro, then the 16-bar first step.  After that, play the 2nd part with repeat (to equal 16 bars), then play the tune over, playing the 1st Part with repeat (to equal 16 bars) and then the 2nd Part with repeat (to equal 16 bars)... this makes for a "Four Step Irish Jig" for dancers.



22. Corriechoillie (quick march in 2/4 time)  (pronounced: "Cory-coy-lee")
To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
 [RSPBA MAP tune setting]

This is a tune for a Highland dance, called "The Village Maid."  For intro, play the first part (8 bars)...(without repeat, for the intro)...so this is a situation where, with the intro, it results in playing the first part "three times" (instead of just twice).


23. The Drunken Piper (quick march in 2/4 time)  To download this tune, go to the bottom of this webpage.
 [RSPBA MAP tune setting]




See the "Extra Pipe Tunes" Page.

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