Playing the Bagpipes (with accompanying CD)

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English-language textbook for French bagpipes with semi-closed fingering in English (with accompanying CD) by Bernard Boulanger


This textbook in English was produced in cooperation with the English Bagpipe Society.

Tutor book in English language.

The piping scene had to wait quite a long time for a comprehensive tutor for these bagpipes, which are now widespread in many parts of Europe. With their typical French fingering they are – next to the Highland Bagpipe – probably the most popular kind of bagpipes!

The musical range of these instruments far exceeds the possibilities of other types of bagpipe. Because of their wide tonal range and their chromatic notes, they open up a large spectrum of musical expression to the musician. In particular in the (folk) dance scene they are practically ubiquitous nowadays.

Bernard Boulanger is an admired virtuoso on this instrument himself. For more than 20 years, he has been teaching novice players in the North of France. His school of music, ‘La Piposa’, has produced a number of outstanding musicians in recent years and really earned the high esteem in which it is held by the French piping scene. A schoolteacher by profession, Boulanger has been working on this book for more than 12 years. He has managed to describe and explain the great variety of playing and ornamentation techniques systematically.

All basic playing techniques are described in an easily comprehensible style in the first section of the tutor. A large number of exercises provides ample opportunity for the student to practice what they have learned. The tunes used in this book are chosen to fit the current level of difficulty. On purpose, they are not taken from a standard repertoire, but give the musician exactly what is needed in order to build up and perform an individual repertoire.

The CD included with the book contains 99 exercises and demonstrates the theory presented in the first section with carefully recorded examples.

In the second part of the tutor, the author goes beyond the usual ornamentation techniques and explains in detail how to reproduce the well-known Scottish grace notes on this type of bagpipe.

The concept of the book makes it suitable for self-study as well as for use in courses and in regular lessons with a teacher. It was written in close contact with experienced musicians, music teachers and instrument makers. Its well thought-out systematics have been tried and tested for years in Boulanger’s practical work.

The book is also available in German and French language.

About “Half Closed” fingering: Some 25 years ago, instrument makers all over Europe, including for example Remy Dubois in Belgium, Bernard Blanc in France, started again to build bagpipes with half-closed French fingering. In spite of their many different names, such as ‘Cornemuse’, ‘Bechonnet’, ‘Cornemuse du Centre’, ‘Schäferpfeife’, or ‘Flemish bagpipe’, they are always equipped with the same type of chanter, usually tuned to G/C.

These sophisticated instruments provide musicians with a principally chromatic range of 1 1/2 octaves and a timbre which mixes well with the sound of hurdy-gurdy, accordion and many other (dance music) instruments. The variability of their build and their harmonic, assertive sound qualify these bagpipes for many types of music: The music of the Middle Ages sounds just as convincing as traditional European dance tunes, new compositions or polyphonic arrangements in the style of Jürgen Obermeier. This type of bagpipe can be heard frequently on our CDs and is being taught in numerous music courses in Germany and abroad.

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ISBN: 978-3-927240-70-4
Format: DIN A4
Number of pages: 156 pages with CD
Cover: Wire-O spiral binding

Additional information

Weight 0,64 kg


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