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The Bagpiper's Road Map of Fundamentals
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The Bagpiper's Road Map of Fundamentals

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Whether you're a total beginner, transitioning to the pipes, or an experienced pro, you need a knowledge of the fundamentals to succeed. With that said, the most difficult thing about the bagpipe world is, until now at least, no set of bagpipe fundamentals has been presented in a clear and concise way.

The Dojo has worked to develop our "road map" of fundmentals, using (gasp!) universal musical fundamentals as our guide! It goes something like this:

Fingerwork FundamentalsFingerwork Fundamentals:

Every pitched instrument needs to be able to do four fundamental things, and bagpipers are no different!

  1. Melody (pitches)
  2. Rhythm (how the above pitches are arranged over time)
  3. Articulation (various ways of presenting the above pitches and rhythms)
  4. Dynamics (ways of showing the importance of sections of the above pitches, rhythms, and articulations)

Tree of Bagpipe Sound lo resInstrument Fundamentals

All pitched instruments need to be able to do three fundamental things with their instrument, and, you guessed it, bagpipers are no different here either!

  1. Instrument Set-up and Maintenance
  2. Achieve a Desired Tonal Quality
  3. Tuning

Freeing Ourselves from Subjectivity

While there is certainly a place in music for subjectivity, we must not let subjectivity interfere with the development of our fundamentals! Without making this a 200 page email, I'll just say that you won't find "expression," "holding," "cutting," "light and shade," etc. in any of our fundamentals!

While these are really important things for pipers to think about, they should only be thought about once our fundamentals are solid, and controlled.

Check out more of the Dojo fundamentals today, at Dojo University - Click here now!

All the best to you!

FundamentalsMap

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Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com

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