As a student of classical music, I learned about Sonata-Allegro form.  This is an example of a type of musical form that classical music/symphonies follow. There are three parts:

  • Exposition
  • Development
  • Recapitulation

 The exposition is where the initial theme is exposed.  Beethoven’s 5th Symphony has those 4 famous notes. Dit-dit-dit-daaaa! You know what I mean, right?  In middle of that movement, Beethoven develops it by playing that motif in a different key and playing a lot of variations of it. Then the music returns to the beginning to recap the story. 

 If you listen to a lot of music, watch a lot of movies, and read a lot of books, you’ll see the same thing.  Initial idea, developed to a frenzy and then recapped at the end to close the story.  Similarly, this is what I have tried to do with the 15-minute sets that I put together to play at events, etc. Here are some examples.

 4/4 Marches– good easy going marches

  • Scotland the Brave
  • The Rowan Tree
  • Wings


6/8 Marches- something a little different with a little swing

  • The Glendaurel Highlanders
  • Mrs Lily Christie

2/4 Marches-a little more intense

  • Highland Laddie
  • The Barren Rocks of Aden
  • Jennies Bawbee

Strathspeys (Dance Tunes in 4/4)

  • Loudens Bonnie Woods and Braes
  • Captain Horne

Reels (Dance Tunes in 2/2)

  • The Wind the Shakes the Barley
  • The Devil Among the Tailors

Jig (Dance Tune in 6/8)

  • The Curlew

 Hornpipe (Dance Tune in 2/4)

  • Crossing the Minch

 Retreat (March in ¾)

  • Killworth Hills

You can also substitute any tunes into this format.  Once you’ve made your selection, then you will always play these tunes in order. 

 Remember a bagpiper is a person who can play a list of tunes by memory on the bagpipe.  So, work on your memorization skills and think about the Sonata-Allegro form if you’re putting together your own sets.  The best place to get more music is in these 3 volumes: