The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh

For this bagpipe lesson Pipe Major Bill Robertson explains playing the tune The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh. Bill breaks the lesson down into sections with commentary for each section.

Listen to Bill's Audio Instruction
The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh - March

Download the Music Notation for The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh

Click to download the tune notation for The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh

Lesson Pointers for The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh

My audio tutorial of this is on the practice chanter to allow comment etc., on expression and execution. Some points are:

1st part: In my small recap sound file the opening first complete bar, first pulse might need some close attention to the clean cutting of the short E with high G grace note marked 1. At first play the longer C with its clear doubling and hold for a few seconds, then the E with its G grace note and hold for about one second duration then cleanly to the high A and hold for a few seconds. Repeat. Progress to a shorter yet clear E cutting as required and incorporate from the starting notes at a steady pace up to the first E second bar repeatedly to gain confidence etc.

In the main sound file in some places where two very short notes are together as in 2, I remark about the slight relaxation on the first of the two very short notes to help with good clarity of execution of the following cutting. The other point in the above extract is that I believe that the high G grace note is preferable on the low A rather than the tachum as in P/M Willie Ross' Book 4, which I deem to be a printer's error. Seumas MacNeil's Book 1 has it almost as above except for an E grace note instead of the G grace note – another printer's more obvious error.

2nd part and elsewhere: Beware of clean not clipped tachums and in the 4s below proper upbeat low A duration on these tachums and elsewhere in the tune. The B taorluath 5 played on the beat – birls end of parts too.

Additional Information

For this bagpipe lesson Bill teaches us to play The 74th's Farewell to Edinburgh. This 2/4 Competition type march used to be very popular by competitors, although today it seldom appears in recordings from the top solo competitions.

The “74th's” refers to the old numbering of the second battalion of the Highland Light Infantry regiment of the British Army; later amalgamated with the first battalion numbered the 71st. The regiment was amalgamated in 1959 with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to become The Royal Highland Fusiliers.

A few years ago the infantry regiments of the British Army were re-organized into much larger regiments, whereby all the Scottish infantry regiments of the Line (not including the Scots Guards) were amalgamated into the one new regiment called the Royal Regiment of Scotland and consisting of five new battalions with each retaining a small recognition of their old regiments, but all wearing the same new badge and kilt in the Government tartan also known as the Black Watch tartan. However, the pipers (the drummers I am not certain about) retain the accouterments and tartan of the old regiments. The pipers tartan is often the Royal Stuart tartan that only pipers are privileged to wear by Royal consent/approval.

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