Learn Bruce's Tunes

As a composer of pipe tunes for over 40 years, and a teacher for 30+ years, I have always taken interest in how many of the great tunes came to be. One discussion that comes up often is how it is sad that while we do have a few recordings of some of the great composers from the 20th century, we do not have much at all in the big picture. I have always wondered how G.S. MacLennan played "The Little Cascade," or how John MacColl played some of his great marches to name a few.

So, after some discussion with a few students, we thought that it would be a good idea to put all of my music down in some way that could both leave a proper record of the tunes, plus provide and learning environment for people wishing to learn the tunes.


Within each tune package, you will find 4 items


1.  PDF of the sheet music.

2.  MP3 of Bruce playing the tune on the pipes.

3.  A story sheet telling you about the tune, from the technical embellishments, to stories about the origin of the tune itself. 

4.  A small video usually between 5-10 minutes from Bruce, showing how to play the tune at a tempo appropriate for learners.


 I hope that you enjoy learning and playing these tunes as much as I have enjoyed both composing these tunes and putting together these lesson packages.


Common-Time Marches | Compound-Time Marches | Strathspeys | Reels | Jigs | Hornpipes | Slow Airs | Miscellaneous | Piobaireachd



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The Virginia State Police Pipe Band 

A commissioned tune which is an easy 4/4. The bulk of the rhythm here is made up of straight quarter notes and eighth notes, which make the tune much easier to count through when learning to site read the score.


The Canada Millennium Pipe Band

A straight-forward 2/4 march, 2 parts, composed in a question and answer phrase pattern.


Chisholm Belle

Medium strength 2/4 march. This tune is a 2 parter in a major key that will fit well in a recital set or a band set.


The Wobbly Knee 

This is an easy little 2-parted 2/4 march, suitable for both a walking around tune or in a band medley.


Jennifer Ferrie

This easy little 3/4 retreat march is simple in structure but unique in that it ends each part on a long C which is very uncommon.


Frances Gandy's Diamond Year

An easy 2-parted 3/4 retreat march which should give you no troubles memorizing.


78th Highlanders' Welcome to Queen Victoria

Easy little 3/4 marched that was commissioned by the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association to commemorate the inaugural voyage of the new Ship.


The Nixon Wedding March

This is a little 2-parted march in 6/4 time. It's easy enough for most to handle and in the always pleasant major key.


The Pride of Denish

Minor key, two-parted march that will add great contrast to a little set of marches for solo performance, recital or a band set.


Dwight Bishop

An easy little 2 parted 4/4 march starting and ending on B which may provide a nice key change for a walking around set.


Silver Lakes Golden Jubilee

This minor key tune in 3/4 is easy enough to not pose any issues with your playing and will add a nice "lower" sounding feel to compliment a couple of other 3/4s in a set.


Tunes of Glory’s Farewell to the Field

An easy 3/4 march commissioned by the Tunes of Glory Pipe Band. They wanted their own tune to play up to the line and back out at contests. Not too tough, but rhythmic enough for them to feel confident and control their tone while marching.


Dancing with Sarah

A relatively easy 9/8 march in the key of B. Lots of syncopation here to give this tune a bit of a fun groove.


Gavin Manson
A very powerful sounding 4-part 6/8 march that is in the minor key. A few tricky passages should not be too difficult if you take your time. This tune will fit well in between two major key tunes, whether in a band or for a solo set.


Home Cooking

This tune is a 2-parted 6/8 in the major key and it's meant to be a cheerful upbeat tune that can move along nicely if marching without bogging you down with an over abundance of technical challenges.


Friday on Soho St

An easy little 9/8 march for your repertoire. The title came from the recording studio in Toronto where the tune was first recorded. 


Lampson St March

A 2-parted march played in the uncommon yet popular 12/8 time. This tune is in the "happy" D Major key and is easy enough for inexperienced players and well-seasoned players can find a good use for this in their performance repertoire.


The MacGillivray Pipe Band

Here's a straight up major key, pipe-band style 6/8 that any band can proudly play down the street. Written for a friend who is Pipe Major of this band in Ontario, he was looking for a tune his grade 4 group could manage, yet be challenged also.


Mrs. Ronnie Eastwood

A 2-part 9/8 march. This tune is rated medium, as for some pipers, playing in compound time plus, playing bars with 3 beats adds to the challenge. A few minutes of studying the rhythm and an easy to follow melody should have you playing this tune in no time.

Bruce MacLean of Tiverton

Four-parted 6/8 rated medium difficulty . Any player with a few years playing experience will be able to play this D Major tune in a relatively short time.


Peter Moran of Blairgowrie
A happy little 6/8 march in the major key suitable for many bands of all grades to play. Commissioned by three ladies that wanted to honour their teacher for his unyielding patience with them.


Parks Canada’s Centennial March
A bright and relatively easy 4 pt 6/8 march played in the D major key. Great for bands to work on tone at many levels here.


P-M Joe Roberts

Easy to medium 2-parted 6/8 march in minor key, a good tune for a recital or performance of a soloist or band.


The Howards of Cornwall

Heres a little march in the seldom played 9/8 time signature. It's not too difficult to play and both starts and ends on B. This should make it a nice contrast to another similar-timed tune.


Domnall Phadraig Nicholson
A 2-part strathspey written for a great piping supporter from Barra. One of the main characteristic to this tune is it's "highland feel" musically. The other feature would be the amount of cut/dots, or, tachum type movements giving the tune great lift.


Duncan’s Welcome to Aberlour
A little 2-parted strathspey in which the strong pulses centre on a cut/dot beat instead of the traditional dot’s on strong pulses. This tune has been described as very “highland” in feel.


Jimmy Rollo

A relatively easy 2-parted strathspey that would be suitable for all levels of solo play or band sets.


Under the Tirboro

One of the easiest strathspeys that I have written, this little major-key 2-parter can work as a first strathspey for new learners, or fit into any pipe band medley.

Steve and Diane of Cheltenham

This is a 2-parted strathspey written for my brother and sister-in-law in Victoria. This rates as a medium difficutly tune due to it being written in a minor key, which is not all that common for a strathspey. 


 Waters of Portage Inlet

Here's a tune that is technically a strathspey, however, this tune is played in a much more slow and pointed feel. Some might liken this to a clog. This is not a tough tune, but you need to take time to ensure the accuracy of the very pointed pulses.




The Black Sheep Reel

A medium/hard 4-parted competition style reel. A good exercise for any player and a solid tune for the repertoire which can be played right up to the open level.


Courtney Bolger of High Bridge

A 4-part competition reel that most pipers can manage and compete with successfully. This tune gives you a timing choice in part 3. Check it out to see for yourself and the big difference a small change can make.


Lorna’s Reel
A fast-paced, traditional, non-competitive style reel in D major. It’s well suited to playing with other instruments.


Miss Pitcaithley's Reel

this is a 4 part competition reel. Not a difficult tune for the most part and can be handled in both the lower grades and at the top competitive levels


Caledonia B-Line

A relatively easy 4-parted reel, written to commemorate a great night in Oban Scotland in the 80s.




Ainsley’s Jig
A medium difficulty jig named for my sister-in-law which shouldn't give you too much trouble. This tune will fit the competition-style repertoire well.


Jimmy Brogan’s Drouthie Cronies

A competition ready 4 part jig suitable for grades 3 up to open. Make it work for you!


Mrs. Sharon Duthart

This 4-parted 9/8 Jig has grown popular with both soloists and with many pipe bands around the world.


M.C. Alistair

Medium difficulty Jig, written in the minor key. This tune was composed many years ago to honour a good friend and his wonderful work as host and fear an tigh for an evening recital I performed at. You will find a few note combinations that you may not have seen before.


Coppermill Studio

A 9/8 jig, also known as a slip jig. An easy to medium tune to learn and good practice to learn the lopsided rhythm of these tunes.



Here's a major key jig with a little fire behind it. Topper is the nickname of one of the mothers of a young man that played in the band. Rated medium/hard, it's a manageable tune for upper-level players and a good tune for less experienced players to learn some of the lesser-known rhythmic moves in jig playing.




Bee Street Fiddlers
A tricky hornpipe with some syncopation. This tune was composed after the opportunity to play with one of the great fiddlers of our generation. 


Duchess of Happy Hour

Here’s a 3-parted hornpipe, good for fun playing, playing in sessions or in a pipe band. Lots of syncopation here to help give it a “groove.”


Littlefield Celtic Centre
A traditional style hornpipe named for Ed and Laura Littlefield, great music-loving people and big supporters of the Celtic Arts Foundation in Washington State.


Miss Brittney’s Celebration

This is a medium difficult ¾ reel/pipe as they’re sometimes called as it would go with either type of tune. Strong first pulses to help with tempo control and you can lots of fun with this tune on your own or in a session.


Weaving Through Glengarry

This tune is a 3/4 reel, or hornpipe. In fact, in the late 90s these tunes were actually called reel/pipes. A little tricky but if you take your time, try to feel the full bars with their lop sided 3-pulse feel and gradually work the tempo up.


 Margaret Elizabeth Copeland

Here's a 2 part hornpipe for you to try. If you are good at birls, this tune will be easy and rhythmical. If birls trouble you, then you need to work on this for the rhythmical practice of that popular embellishment. Once you know the melody notes, you should be able to put this all together nicely.




Lament for Susan of Runzeme

Here's a minor key slow air that should prove not too difficult at all. Use of the F in the tune keeps it from being too sad. Although it's title is lament, avoid playing it like a dirge.


Nita and John Henn
An easy slow air with a first part full of big 1/4 and 1/8 notes. This tune will blend nicely with a variety of other Gaelic airs.


 Mrs Lillian Grace MacDonald

An easy/medium difficulty rating for this waltz/air which is written in the uncommon, 12/8 time. This tune plays more like a Gaelic song and a few listens to the mp3 will help get the "song" into your head. 



Tones of Westlawn

This is a very free flowing air arranged in a 6/4 time with a few rather tricky passages. Best to listen to this one a few times first. 


Victoria Harbour

A 6/8 slow air I composed many years ago to commemorate my time growing up in victoria. This is an easy tune that will suit all levels of player and should not cause any issues for the learner.


Fraser's Lullaby

This 2-part slow air/lullaby written for my son Fraser. Written in 12/8 time to keep the tune to a standard 8 bar part, the first two bars also serve as the final two bars of the part.


New York's Bravest

A slow air that was commissioned only days after the terrible acts of 9/11. The video will show you the ways this tune can be played with all of the embellishments or with a slightly easier version which relies more on the pure melody of the tune.


Calum's Welcome

This is a two-parted slow air, and one of the few that I have composed in 4/4 time. This gives the tune a very stately feel. This tune is not difficult at all and good for all levels of player.



Catie's Lullaby

A 2-parted slow air/lullaby that follows the standard 6/8 (waltz) pattern that in which many tunes of this type are played.


Song for Bronwyn
This slow air is the sister tune to "Catie's Lullaby." It's a tougher tune for this category type and will take a few listens and work on your counting to get all the "tie" notes placed accurately. However, the trickier beats are much the same rhythmically throughout the tune. Learn that and you're home free with this tune.


Waiting for Alexander

A slow air in 9/8 time. I wrote this tune on the Toronto subway in 1988 as i raced home to take Bev to hospital for the birth of our first child. A straight forward tune in waltz time, this shouldn't give you any troubles at all.





Dewdrop is a simple time waltz, written in 3/4 time. A good tune for performance and help with your tuning as it will use all of our melody notes except for the low G.


Salute to Angus of the Chukar Hills

This is a piobaireachd I composed last year for a friend of mine and his ever faithful dog. The tune itself is actually quite easy (in piob terms) and is also a brebach tune which allows some rest time in the technical variations. Major key and a salute so keep this one moving.


Copyright © Bruce Gandy Music 2014.
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