Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidson - Intermediate Finger Exercises and RSPBA MAP Tunes

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'Cadence' as a musical term means a figure or formula which shows the end of a phrase. This is also what it means in piobaireachd.

Strictly speaking we have the following figures known as cadences:

The E indicated as a small note in the group of gracenotes is typically  around half of the length of the next note (marked as a crotchet or quarter note). In this case the emhpasis in your mind and when you sing comes on the crotchet.

Sometimes, depending on the musical context, it is the same length. In this case the emhasis in your mind and when you sing comes on the E.

The low G gracenote, you will notice, is marked as a semiquaver i(16th note) nstead of the usual demi-semi-quaver (32nd note). You need to make it a little longer than is typical in light music (marches, strathpseys and jigs etc). If you try to make sure you can actually feel the low G and register it before opening it to Low A you will be fine.

NotationCanntaireachd word

There is a further phrase which indicates the end of a phrase, but is not called a cadence. This is 'hiharin', more historicaly described as an 'echoing beat' or 'double echo'. This is played like a normal birl, preceded by a D gracenote. To do this, you simply open the D finger when you close the E (or rather minimally before do that you don't get a crossing sound).

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Lindsay Davidson
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