The doubling may be the most common embellishment in bagpipe music, right after the single gracenote. It accompanies a melody note turning the sound from "ah" to "cha-dah". It adds a rhythmic accent and creates two syllables on a single melody note, hence the term doubling.
"But there are three notes in this embellishment," I hear you say. Why isn’t it then, a tripling? Take a look at the middle note of a doubling. It will be the same as the melody note it is embellishing.
A basic doubling will begin with a G gracenote on the melody note (the middle of the embellishment). This will be followed by a second gracenote (the third note in the embellishment) played on the melody note. The result is a two syllable sound on one melody note.
There are a few variations on the basic doubling. One is typically called a "half doubling". Occasionally, when the first G gracenote of the doubling can’t be played, as when coming from a high G or high A, the first syllable of the embellishment will be the sound of the next melody note, most usually a top hand note such as F or E, but less usually a lower hand note. The second syllable will be the gracenote that forms the second "half" of the doubling, hence the term half doubling. When coming from a high A or G to a bottom hand note such as C, the G gracenote of the doubling may sometimes be replaced by a high A gracenote.
- The G gracenote of the doubling happens on the beat and not before the beat.
- The second gracenote should be the same size as the first gracenote.
- The length of the first melody note (the first syllable of the "cha-dah" sound) should be consistent throughout all of your doublings.