Kilworth Hills - 3/4 Retreat Air

For this bagpipe lesson Pipe Major Bill Robertson explains playing the tune Kilworth Hills. Bill breaks the lesson down into sections with commentary for each section.

The tune is a ¾ retreat air and was composed by Pipe Major George S. McLennan.

Bill playing Kilworth Hills on his bagpipes

In my sound file of this tune on the pipes, I play at a rather slow tempo because I was demonstrating some tuning exercises and wished to let the notes sing out a bit more. I also like most retreat airs played at a more majestic musical pace and with parts once through only.

Listen to Bill's Audio Instruction
Kilworth Hills - Retreat Air

Download the Music Notation for Kilworth Hills

Click to download the tune notation for Kilworth Hills Click to download the tune notation for playing the harmony for Kilworth Hills - Harmony

The following 2 videos are poor quality and will be replaced in the future.

Additional Information

For this bagpipe lesson Bill has chosen the bagpipe tune – Kilworth Hills Kilworth Hills is a ¾ retreat air with three beats to the bar. It is one of my favorite pieces composed by one of the most famous composers of pipe music Pipe Major George S. McLellan, a very successful competitor in solo piping, and gold medallist in the early nineteen hundreds.

The following is from The Piper Press magazine of July 1999 on A Century of Piping (Editor Robert Wallace — the magazine is no longer around):

  • George Stewart MacLennan (other spelling McLennan) 1884 – 1929.
  • Born Edinburgh..
  • Family from Black Isle.
  • Taught by father and uncle P/M John Stewart and John MacDougall Gillies.
  • Joined Gordon Highlanders 1899 (became Pipe major there).
  • Gold Medal Oban 1904, Inverness 1905.
  • Served through World War One.
  • Noted brilliance as a composer, Mrs MacPherson of Inveran, Inveran, Little Cascade (and many more famous pieces).
  • Top competitor.
  • Bagpipe making business Aberdeen from 1922 until his early death.
  • Music collection published 1929.

I have his collection of music book “Highland Bagpipe Music compiled by Goerge S. McLellan – published by R.G”. Hardie (bagpipe makers) and George McLellan. I think this re-issue of the book by R.G. Hardie might have been published in the early Nineteen Fifties. The unusual feature of the printed music of many the fine compositions is that seldom does McLellan show what we call pointing in the music.

Highland Bagpipe Music compiled by Goerge S. McLellanHighland Bagpipe Music compiled by Goerge S. McLellan

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