The Royal Scots Cap Badge


Playing Two Note Intervals


Before playing Two Note Intervals please make sure that you can play Single Note Intervals. As with many things in life we want to run before we can walk, hence make sure that you are able to play the Single Intervals correctly first, before you start to play Two Note Intervals.


If you are going to play bagpipes in a bagpipe band, or Piobaireachd or for your own pleasure, it is very important that you learn to play clear, clean notes. This is one thing that Bill always puts a lot of effort into with his bagpipe lessons. By being impatient and trying to get ahead as quickly as possible without having the basics of being able to play a clean, clear note could have an impact on the quality of your playing in the future. Learning to play Intervals correctly will help build a good foundation for you to learn to play bagpipes.

My advice to you is practice and practice again until you can play clean clear notes.

Read and study the lesson below that Bill has for Two Note Interval playing.


Some Lesson Pointers


  • From now on exercises will not have notes named. Please be sure to read and play the notes correctly.
  • Blow evenly and continually when playing repeats.
  • Play each note for a few seconds of equal duration in exercises to allow time to think and execute cleanly and correctly.
  • Fingers must rises and fall briskly together without any hint of an extra sound such as unwanted run or crossing sound. Simply two clean sound in each movement.
  • Hint — always think primarily of the note you are about to move to and the fingers that must be lifted cleanly, if any thing a fraction ahead on any replacement fingering.


Listen To Bill's Audio Instruction


Two Note Intervals

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Watch Bill's Video Instruction


Playing Two Note Intervals with the Lower Hand


Playing Two Note Intervals with the Upper Hand


Some Additional Guidelines


Playing Low G to B on the bagpipe practice chanter. Low “G” to “B”:
Play low “G” a few seconds, the lift together the little finger and third “B” finger to sound “B” cleanly. Think of the higher finger “B” lifting cleanly with the little finger, without the little finger rising too early and making a run of three notes instead of the clean two notes. Return to low “G” cleanly as one with these two fingers, no runs. Repeat. Similar principles apply throughout this section.

Playing Low A to C on the bagpipe practice chanter. Low “A” to “C”:
Sound low “A”, hold, then lift together the second and third fingers as you place the little finger on its hole to sound “C”. Return to low “A” by lifting the little finger as you start to replace the other two fingers as one. Repeat and remember the lifting motion uppermost in your mind.

Hint — At first you may play “C” without using the little finger until familiar, then correctly with it on.

Playing B to D on the bagpipe practice chanter. “B” to “D”:
Sound “B” then lift together the forefinger and second finger as you are about to place the little finger in its hole to sound a clean “D”, without dragging behind your forefinger. Return to “B” cleanly, lifting the little finger in the process. Repeat.

Playing C to E on the bagpipe practice chanter. “C” to “E”:
Sound “C” then play “E” by lifting your “E” top hand third finger and lower hand little finger with the other two lower hand fingers replaced cleanly without any crossing sound. Return with clean lifting of the “C” and closing the “E” as you replace the little finger (not too early) for “C”. Repeat this one more often, naturally.

Playing D to F on the bagpipe practice chanter. “D” to “F”:
Sound “D” then lift together the upper hand second and third fingers (no hint of a run) and little finger of the lower hand, as you replace the remaining fingers of the lower hand (little lower hand finger still off) for the “F”. Return to “D” thinking of the lifting cleanly of the “D” forefinger especially, without any forefinger dragging. This movement is akin to the earlier “D” to “E”, but to “F”. Repeat often.

Hint — If difficult consider doing this a few times with the right hand off the chanter to become more familiar, then as required.

Playing E to G on the bagpipe practice chanter. “E” to “G”:
Simply from “E” lift together the upper hand forefinger and second finger (no run) to sound high “G”. Return by replacing the same two fingers together cleanly. Repeat.

Playing F to high A on the bagpipe practice chanter. “F” to high “A”:
Sound “F” then lift the upper hand thumb in line with its hole and the forefinger as you place the “E” third finger on its hole for high “A”. Return to “F” by thinking again about lifting primarily the “E” third finger as you replace together thumb and forefinger.

Repeat often enough.

Playing High A to Low A on the bagpipe practice chanter. High “A” to Low “A”:
From high “A” play low “A” to make sure all fingers cover the holes correctly.


Sequence of Two Note Intervals


Below is a succession of the two note intervals, to be played at least two or three bars a time from left to right. Pause as necessary for a breath and continue from the bar you last played. There are two pulses in each bar, each pulse of two tied quavers, or eighth notes. The rhythm, in slow time, of each pulse when beating time with the foot is equally “down” for the first note and “up” for the second.

Remember to play correct clean crisp fingering, not tense, and steady even rhythm

Scale two note sequencer.
Continued below ...
Scale two note sequencer.


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