Category Archives: Snare

People playing scottish snare.

For the drummers, with a metronome this time!

This post is a continuation of my initial post about helping drummers by providing recordings for them to play along with.

My “band” has no active drummers. Last time I played in a band with drummers was 2002.

Let’s just say I’m wholly ignorant of all aspects of solo drumming competition.

How often do solo drummers utilize a recording of a piper to play along with in competition (allowed in EUSPBA, maybe not elsewhere)?

If there was a repository of tunes played at band tempos specifically made available to assist drummers just so they could have something to play along with, would it be helpful to anyone?

Long story less short, my piping blog has been devoted to bagpipe sound research for a while and it still will be but in an effort to expand my website’s usefulness and connect with the broader piping and drumming community at large I’m toying with the idea of making a website with tunes played in ways that help or assist (or what have you) drummers.

What I get out of this is how to play for drummers. My first experiment was recording tonight’s practice session with a metronome going through my ear phones as I recorded one tune after another. For each tune I provide some sort of count and stay true to the metronome the best I can.

A little research showed that 80 bpm was common for 2/4 marches, though I’m a bit clueless as to strathspeys and reels (I went with 120 and 80, respectively). What are standard tempos?

Things I’ve learned so far:
1. It’ really obvious when you’re trying to speed up to catch up with the metronome.
2. An 80 bpm 2/4 is fast! (for this solo piper)
3. Phrasing is harder and easier with a metronome clicking away.

Warning, some of these down right suck, in my not so humble opinion, haha.

2/4 Marches:

Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling

Highland Wedding

Hugh Kennedy


Jeannie Carruthers

Jimmy Young

John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage

John MacMillan of Barra

Mrs. Duncan MacFadyen


Bogan Lochan

Dora MacLeod

Susan MacLeod


Charlie’s Welcome

Would continuing this be a valuable contribution? I’m not the greatest piper in the world by any means, but I see this as another way to grow.

So, there it is. I’d love for other pipers to join in and contribute. I always said I’d play for a drummer if they needed me to in competition, but I rarely get the opportunity (as in never). I’d love the challenge of recording a specific tune for anyone to use, just give me the tempo and a specific setting if need be.

I got really tired of playing with a metronome. The band is picking up the tune Cork Hill which the score has taorluaths in. We took them out and put in just GDE. But, to make up for it I figured I would put some taorluaths into:

Troy’s Wedding

just for kicks, you know.

For the drummers, does this help?

I’ve been thinking about more ways I might contribute to the greater piping (and drumming) community. How useful would a repository of recorded tunes (with rolloff count) be to drummers? I’m not the best player in the world but I’m not THAT terrible. Surely others could contribute also. Record the tunes and post them to a website (this one?) for people to download, like drummers, who could then play along without having to have a piper on retainer. Would that be useful?

Concerning the recordings, I’d have to:

1. get some earplugs going with a metronome ticking away.

2. remember to count the roll off

3. not totally suck

4. perhaps focus the recordings more on the chanter and less on the drones (I’ve been doing it the other way around because drone reeds is a big focus of my blog)

5. play at a tempo useful to drummers (I’m a soloist, our band has no drummers)

6. actually play tunes drummers use in competition

7. what else…..?

All free of course. This post is all about realizing all these things based on my first few attempts at a collection of 2/4 marches where I at least added the roll off count to the beginning, but that’s about it. Tempos probably change a bit (a lot). Any drummers out there care to comment? Thanks!

Here’s my first shot at a bunch of tunes that I sort of know to maybe help somebody:

Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling

Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque

Balmoral Highlanders

Cowal Gathering

Highland Wedding

Mrs. Duncan MacFadyen

The Clan MacColl