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A bagpipe lesson for Donald MacKillop


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Donald MacKillop — Jig

The bagpipe tune Donald MacKillop, was composed by Pipe Major Alexander “Sandy” Hain. MacKillop was a piper in the Perth British Legion Pipe band who was a jocular fellow and well liked. Sandy when Pipe Major of the Black Watch used to help the band when stationed nearby. He was taken with Donald's wit etc., so much so that he named his jig in his honour.

Lesson Pointers

Endeavour to maintain a good jig rhythm with the regular almost round/evenly timed beat rhythm of 1,2,3, with just a touch of feeling, very slight duration on the “3” of the upbeat. Good controlled momentum also.

There should be good clarity of the G, D, E, grace note combinations in that beat rhythm as demonstrated.

Beware of the full relative controlled duration of single beat dotted quarter notes/crotchets. Naturally, clean fingering is essential as in all you're playing.

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Click to download the tune notation for Donald MacKillop

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Pipe Major Alexander “Sandy” Hain

Pipe Major Sandy Hain has placed an indelible stamp on piping excellence in northeast Ohio since arriving here in 1958. Born in Leslie, Fife, Scotland, the eldest of nine children. Sandy had his first pipe lessons at the age of 4 and began serious studies at 8 years of age with the Thornton Pipe Band.


Pipe Major Sandy Hain, Black Watch, circa 1950

Major Alexander Hain 2nd Battalion The Black Watch about mid 1950's, in Edinburgh with the Castle top left of the photograph.

He joined The Black Watch Cadet Force at 14 and at 17 enlisted in the British Army. He joined the 1st Battalion, Black Watch Pipes and Drums under Pipe Major James Jenkinson. He attended the Piobaireachd Society's Pipe Major's Course at Edinburgh Castle where his instructor was Pipe Major Willie Ross. He was appointed Pipe Major of the Depot Black Watch and later Pipe Major of the 2nd Bn. Black Watch, a post that he held until the Battalion was disbanded in 1957.


Sandy Hain, Pipe Majors Course, Edinburgh Castle

Historical photograph of those pipers on the Pipe majors' Course at Edinburgh Castle 1950/51

L/R: L/Cpl G. Johnston, Cameron Highlanders; Cpl. A. Hain, Black Watch; Cpl. T. Shearer, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; Cpl. P. Forbes, Highland Light Infantry. P/M R. Crabbe, Scots Guards; Bobby Cuthbertson; Cpl. G. Symon, Gordon Highlanders; and L/Sgt. Ramsay, Irish Guards.

The combined 1st and 2nd Black Watch Bands toured North America and this led Pipe Major Hain coming to live in the United States after retiring from the Army.

He was an accomplished accordionist and in 1966, he formed a Scottish Dance Band, Sandy Hain and The Clansmen and they played at Celtic Gatherings of every description imaginable for 42 years.

The Hain Family has figured prominently in the piping circles. Sandy's Grandfather was a piper. His Father was a Piper in the Black Watch during World War 1. He was also the founder of Cupar and District Pipe Band. His Brother Robert was a piper in the 1st Bn. Black Watch. His Sister Jean was Pipe Major of the World Champion Lochgelly Ladies Pipe Band.

Over the years Pipe Major Hain has had a guiding hand in piping and drumming instruction, helping pipe bands and dance orchestras, pointing fledgling entertainers in the right direction, encouraging musicians to strive for excellence and striking that spark of enthusiasm in them which is so evident in him. The people whose lives he has touched have been enriched for having known him.

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