A List of Pipe Band Tunes

Written by blair foy
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A List of Pipe Band Tunes
Scottish pipe bands often play military marches. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Pipe bands combine both drums and pipe instruments such as bagpipes, Irish bodhrans, flutes, tambourines and Irish harps to create music that infuses both Scottish and Celtic roots in its sound. This style of music is most commonly recognised as Scottish military marches. Pipe band music can come in the form of marches, medleys, reels, jigs, hornpipes, slow airs and strathspeys.


Pipe band marches are written for a variety of tempos. These include the 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8 marches, as well as the duty march, which is otherwise known as the general salute. This salute is composed of eight measures of the piece "The Maple Leaf Forever." Popular pipe band marches include "The Bonnie Galloway," "The Highland Laddie" or its other title, "The Regimental Quick March," "Scotland the Brave" and "The Rose of Kelvingrove," which is also known as "The Concert March."


As a form of dance, jigs allow pipe bands the opportunity to play upbeat and happy music. Jig titles include "West Country Barn Dance," "Frisky Jig," "Donella Beaton," "Angus McLeod" and "The Irish Rover." Jigs typically follow a fast tempo and are generally in 6/8 time.

Reels and Retreats

Popular pipe band reel tunes include "The Piper of Drummond" and "High Road to Linton," "The Kate Dalrymple," "The Rakes of Mallow" and "The Kerry Dance." In addition to reels, the military background of pipe bands is demonstrated through various options for retreat music, including "Castle Dangerous," "Green Hills of Tyrol," "The Gypsy's Warning," "Calon Lan" and "Colin's Cattle."

Slow Airs

Slow airs are typically cathedral music or slow marches. Pipe bands can play a variety of slow airs, including "Amazing Grace," "The Ash Grove," "The Bard of Armagh," "By Cool Siloam's Shady Rill," "Danny Boy," "Down By the Sally Gardens," "The Fairy Lullaby," "Chi M'in Toman," "God Save the Queen," "Going Home" and "My Lodging's on the Cold Ground."

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