Major David Manson

This bagpipe lesson is for Major David Manson, Bill breaks the lesson down into sections with commentary for each section.

The tune is a reel and was composed by Peter R. MacLeod


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Major David Manson - Reel

Download the music sheet for Major David Manson

Click to download the tune notation for Major David Manson

Lesson Pointers for Major David Manson

As in most Reels relax, have good clear execution, avoid over-pointing, and have controlled downbeats and upbeats in each full beat. The high G grace note in short note tachums from C as in first part bars one and five, and similarly elsewhere, must be heard clearly, not too clipped.

The G, D ,E grace note combinations such as in bars one and two first part and throughout this reel must have good clarity of execution as explained in the video and more detailed audio. The fourth part triplets as in bars two and six are shown in the music with a short note D leading in so that you make that note clearly enough before executing the rather open doubling on D followed by the strike still on D in the triplet.

Additional Information

Peter R. MacLeod came to Glasgow around 1900, where he worked as a shipwright at Connells Shipbuilders until about 1927. At that time he was involved in an industrial accident in which his right leg became entangled in the gearing of a winch, necessitating amputation. This marked the end of his competitive piping career, and in fact he would not work again until 1941 when he returned to the shipyards until his retirement in 1955.

Though he was fitted with an artificial leg, he was in pain from the injury for much of his life and would remove the prosthesis to ease the discomfort.

He joined the Territorial Army in the early 1900s and enlisted in the 7th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). He achieved the appointment of Pipe Major and served in Egypt and Gallipoli.

He composed more than 200 tunes in his lifetime and was one of the most original composers of his day, penning such distinctive classics as “The Conundrum”, “Dora MacLeod”, “John Morrison”, “Assynt House”, “Major David Manson”, “Hugh Kennedy” and “Pipe Major Willie MacLean”.

He also composed a piobaireachd called Salute to Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, which earned accolades from those who heard it. However, the score and hence the tune, have been lost.

His pupils included his sons Iain and Peter Jr., Norman Gillies and double Gold Medallist and former Piobaireachd Society president Andrew Wright.

The above biographical information was extracted from

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