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David Lairson

David Lairson
David has been playing the bagpipes for over 20 years. He is an instructor and soloist with the Palm Beach Pipes & Drums and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band. David is active in the Florida competition circuit, and when he is not practicing or playing he works as a computer technician. He currently lives in sunny South Florida.

Bagpipes in World War II, Part 1

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The role of bagpipes on the front lines of war came to an end after the First World War. The high death toll inflicted on pipers relegated them to duty behind the front line in the camps. However, there are always people who defy the rules, this is the story of two of them.

Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E.

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Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. was one of the greatest pipers and composers of the 20th century. He served in 51st Highland Division in WWII and was appointed Pipe Major of the Seaforth Highlanders at the age of 25. He published 6 books of light music and one book of piobaireachd. He also released over 40 volumes of piobraireachd tutorials as well as several other recordings.

Embellishment Practice Tunes

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Exercises are a good way to improve your embellishments. But basic exercises tend to be monotonous and it’s easy to lose focus. You may also find that something you can play well in an exercise becomes rough once you find it in a tune. An easy way to solve this problem is to find a tune that has a lot of the embellishments you want to practice.

Crafting Great Tuning Sets

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Knowing a tune is good. Knowing a set is better. Being able to play a good sounding set that also lets you check the tuning on your pipes is the best. Having a good tune, or set, that allows you to make sure everything sounds correct, but you can also use to entertain, kills two birds with one stone and gives your repertoire depth.

"What Is the Bagpipe Scale?"

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The Highland bagpipe scale, the notes that can be played on a bagpipe chanter, is made up of 9 notes. The notes are low G, low A, B, C, D, E, F, high G, and high A. The notes of the bagpipe scale as written in sheet music are only representations of notes not the

"What Is a Manometer?"

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A manometer is a type of pressure gauge. Specifically, it is a type of gauge that uses a column of liquid to indicate and measure the pressure, in terms of force applied.

Pipe Major John MacLeod and the Relief of Lucknow

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One of staple tunes of many pipe bands is “The Green Hills of Tyrol.” This tune was adapted and transcribed from an Rossini opera by PM John MacLeod. While this is one of his main claims to fame, a story of his time in India during the Mutiny shows his courage as a soldier.

The Great Hemp Controversy—Part 2

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When it comes to bagpipes, the phrase “more than one way to skin a cat,” could not be more true. One of the biggest areas of conflict is what type of hemp to use and where to use it.

The Great Hemp Controversy—Part 1

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When it comes to Highland bagpipes, the phrase “more than one way to skin a cat,” could not be more true. Go to any band practice and ask advice on how to do something. You will get 5 different answers and each person will insist that their way is the best. One of the biggest areas of conflict is what type of hemp to use and where to use it.