"What Is a D Throw?"

"What Is a D Throw?"

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A D throw is a common, three-step embellishment that occurs in all types of Highland bagipe music. It finishes on the note D from any other note on the chanter, hence the name.

The D throw is written as follows:

The D throw is, less commonly, written as follows:


There are two types of D throws: The "light" D throw; and the "heavy" D throw.

The Light D Throw

Steps for Playing the Light D Throw: To play the light D throw, execute the following steps:

Step 0: Start (come) from any note.
Step 1: Play low G
Step 2: Play a D grace note to C
Step 3: Play D

The following graphic illustrates the steps of the light D throw:

Beat Placement in the Light D Throw: There are two techniques for beat placement when playing the light D throw.

The most common technique is to place step 2 on the beat, thereby finishing the D throw on the beat.

The second technique, the technique that is emphasized here at Dojo University, is to place step 1 on the beat, thereby beginning the D throw on the beat.

The Heavy D Throw

Steps for Playing the Heavy D Throw: The heavy D throw adds an extra, 4th step to the embellishment. Execute it by the following steps:

Step 0: Start (come) from any note.
Step 1: Play low G
Step 2: Play a D grace note to low G
Step 3: Play C
Step 4: Play D

The following graphic illustrates the steps of the heavy D throw:

Beat Placement in the Heavy D Throw: There are two techniques for beat placement when playing the heavy D throw.

The most common technique is to place step 2 on the beat.

The second technique, a technique that is emphasized in the Dojo School of Piping, is to place step 1 on the beat.

Take Action

Improving Your Embellishments With Bruce Gandy
D Throw Timing and Recovery

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Mark Olson Mark Olson is a software engineer in Omaha, NE. Over the years, he has played numerous musical instruments including the bagpipes, guitar, piano, flute, and saxophone. As a young man, Mark competed as a solo piper. Due to the demands of raising a family, Mark had to forgo his musical pursuits. While he regrets the fact he gave up the bagpipes, he is proud of the fact that both of his sons have grown to be fine young men. With the nest now empty, he has picked up the pipes once again. If he gets his chops, and his groove, back, he plans to compete again as a solo piper.

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