The Bagpipe Primer Volume 2

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Textbook Volume 2 for advanced players of the medieval bagpipe by Thomas Zöller – with a foreword by Brian Haase (aka Briantanus).


After the first Bagpipe Primer was published, we received a lot of positive feedback, for which we would like to thank you. The enthusiasm for the Bagpipe Primer, the suggestions and experiences have inspired the author to write the sequel now available.

The new volume 2 of the popular bagpipe instruction book picks up seamlessly where volume 1 left off and teaches advanced playing techniques and advanced fundamentals for playing on practice pipes and bagpipes in an easy-to-understand and comprehensive manner. In addition, it again contains many more new and well-known melodies for these instruments.

In volume 1 of the primer, you learned basics. Volume 2 is now about expanding your own expressive possibilities based on what you have already learned. You learn how to make melodies more interesting and embellish them by developing your own variations using newly learned stylistic devices.

Volume 2 addresses the following topics, among others:

– Develop variations (through ornament notes / through melody notes)

– New ornaments (twos, threes)

– Vibrato

– Drawn tones – glissando

– Combination of ornamentation techniques

– The rhythm – the bagpiper’s tool of the trade

– Advanced music theory

– The use of the G-bordun

– Intonation of the bagpipe

– New notes on the bagpipe (C# / G#)

– and numerous new melodies

The use and combination of all these techniques gives the musician a wealth of new possibilities with which to greatly expand the musical and tonal variety of the bagpipe and develop his personal style.

This book was again beautifully graphically designed by graphic artist Frank Wolf. It is printed in four colors throughout and features numerous graphics and illustrations.

On the website
an online database is made available to owners of this textbook. This contains all the pieces & exercises discussed in the Bagpipe Primer to listen to & play along with. This online database of sound samples is open to all purchasers of this textbook who have requested access information to the online database by emailing the author.

The two volumes of the Bagpipe Primer are the only comprehensive textbook on the bagpipe, the medieval bagpipe as known from medieval markets or bands like
In Extremo
Corvus Corax

Both textbooks teach beginners and advanced players a structured playing and ornamentation technique. They guide the learner step by step from the practice whistle to the bagpipe. All content is clearly presented with text, images and graphics.

Before working with volume 2 you should read the first volume of the
Bagpipe Primer
and have understood it. The notation system remains the same for the second primer. The background to this as well as the reading of the notes is learned in the first primer.

Printed in four colors throughout and beautifully designed, these instructional books are dedicated to all those interested in the ‘medieval’ bagpipe as it is heard in most medieval markets today. ‘Medieval’ is in quotation marks here because this form of bagpipe is not a historical instrument. Various names are associated with the instrument, for example, bagpipe, A-sack or market sack. In this textbook, the author uses the term ‘bagpipe’.

As with any instrument, self-study alone is not highly recommended for the bagpipe. So one does well to look for a teacher in addition to the bagpipe primer who is conscientious of one’s needs and problems.


This is the first and, at present, only tutor for the mediaeval bagpipe as we know it from mediaeval fairs and bands such as In Extremo or Corvus Corax.

Volume 2 of the tutor is suitable for more advanced players and continues the structured ornamentation technique of Volume 1.

The book contains advanced exercises, but also more popular tunes.


Volume 2:

  • Creating Variations

  • New Ornamentations

  • Vibrato

  • Glissando

  • Combination of Ornamentations

  • The Rythm

  • Advanced Music Theory

  • Using the G-Drone

  • Intonation of the Bagpipe

  • New Notes (c sharp / g sharp)

  • Again, this beautifully designed, full-colour tutor is dedicated to all those who are interested in the ‘mediaeval’ bagpipe as it is played nowadays on many mediaeval fairs (although this is not a historical instrument; hence the quotation marks).

The playing techniques presented are explained in an easily comprehensible fashion and considerably extend the musical expressiveness of the bagpipe. They offer advanced possibilities to the musician. In spite of his innovative approach, Thomas Zöller shows respect for the peculiarities of this instrument.

As with any instrument, complete self-study is not to be recommended for the bagpipe. It is a good idea, in addition to the Bagpipe Primer, to find a teacher who is prepared to cater to the needs and problems of the student carefully.

Via a website dedicated to this book, the owners of this tutor can access an online database which contains all tunes and exercises in the Sackpfeifen-Fibel for listening and playing along.

The tutor is also available as part of an inexpensive novice player’s set together with the practice chanter required for the work with this book via our partner

On the website the owners of this tutor can access an online database which contains all pieces & exercises discussed in the Sackpfeifen-Fibel for listening and playing along. All buyers of the tutor can request access information by e-mail to the author.

The book is written in German language.


Thomas Zöller studied Scottish Music with a major in Great Highland Bagpipe at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. His musical activities range from medieval music to pop productions. As a permanent member, guest or studio musician, he plays in several well known groups. In 2005 he founded the German Bagpipe Academy, which sees itself as the German center for various European bagpipe traditions. Since 2007, the Academy organizes the Inter-Celtic Bagpipes Folk Festival, inviting internationally renowned artists to Hofheim am Taunus.

Additional information

Weight 0,27 kg


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