Heroes of Vittoria

The bagpipe tune I have chosen for this lesson is the Retreat Air, Heroes of Vittoria, composed by the famous composer John McLellan" 


John McLellan, Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in the Boer War about 1900. Apparently this music was composed long after the event of the Battle of Vittoria, Spain, 1813.

Listen to Bill's Audio Instruction
Heroes of Vittoria - Retreat Air

Download the music sheet for Heroes of Vittoria

Click to download the tune notation for Heroes of Vittoria

Lesson Pointers for Heroes of Vittoria

These retreat airs with three beats to the bar have appealing melodies that are not very difficult to play well and could be suitable for fairly advanced beginners and onwards up to the advanced level. Endeavour to play well with attention to good clear execution, controlled rhythm without anticipating beats ahead of their time. A stately tempo of about 76-84 beats per minute is suggested.

When played by military pipes and drums in the ceremony of “Beating the Retreat”, the retreat airs are played for musical enjoyment/entertainment at a stately tempo rather than a faster tempo for marching troops.

Additional Information

The regiments of note at the Battle of Vittoria as shown in the above website link are: The 3rd, Dragoons - later The Royal Scots Greys and today Royal Scots Dragoon Guards; the 1st of Foot, The Royal Scots (Bill's old regiment); the 71st , and 74th of Foot, Highland Light Infantry (the composer's old regiment); and the 75th Foot, Gordon Highlanders.

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