We do an annual gig for the War Museum next to the Johannesburg Zoo and this year’s was great. A lot bigger than previous years in terms of attendance and we played with the Transvaal Scottish and the Wits Rifles as a mini ‘massed-bands’. Great fun and an amazing setting for a picnic on a clear, dry almost-spring Sunday afternoon. The above pic is of us tuning up  – I’m far left.


I went to my first practice (and gig!) of the year last night after two months of diligent sober-dom. I was dreading it. Our first parade is on Saturday (23rd Jan) and we all had to get onto the pipes to make sure that we have no nasty surprises when we arrive at the UJ Rag march. Surprisingly, the tone was quite ok. My instrument felt as if I’d played it yesterday.

To top the evening off, we played in the mess for the General commanding the SA Reserve forces,who was visiting the base. Apart from my forgetting how to march, it went down pretty well. Hopefully he will be helping us financially for the Edinburgh Tattoo tour later this year (or rather helping the Transvaal Scottish go to Edinburgh since the Tattoo organisers seem to think, according to their media publications, that they are the ones visiting this year).

All in all a good start to the year… we’ve got yet another new Matt in the band (I’m really thinking of changing my name… Bob sounds good) and another new member, Riaan, … we’re going to have new competition music coming soon (more coding, etc. for me), and we had roughly 22 people at practice. I’m really looking foward to what’s ahead this year. Also…. band party on the 30th Jan!!

Just an update on what the band’s up to in 2010… (just select the “Season Schedule” at the bottom of the page)


Keep piping!


Just came across this and smiled, so I thought I’d share… read all about it at Sarah Watson’s Invisible Car! at SuperForest.org


I’ve added a video widget to the side bar and will periodically add my favorites or any interesting ones I find. If anyone has any that they would like to suggest, just drop me a line or comment on this post.



A great article outlining the basic priciples of tuning a set of bagpipes… click here.

(EDIT) – Another… here. This one’s from the Winter 1998 issue of New Zealand Pipeband by Ewan MacPherson and is a little more in depth with regard to working out frequency ratios.

I’ve been using Bagpipe Player (by Doug Wickstrom) for the last year or so to update and format the band’s repertoire. Initially I tried to format the tunes using the notation software itself, but found it better to export the tune as an object into MS Word or Powerpoint and worry about the fonts and stuff there.

To export into Word or Powerpoint, make sure that the tune in Bagpipe Player has no Title or Composer, etc. You can put the tune name and the rest into the code  and have it not appear on the tune by using double inverted commas (”  “) anywhere in the code.


… if coded as above, the tune should look like this… with no ‘Title’ (scroll all the way up to the top of the viewing window):


Next, open up Powerpoint or Word and select ‘Insert Object’ (or just ‘Object’) from the “Insert” menu at the top left of the screen.


A box will open up and you should select the ‘Create from File’ option.


Then select your tune file (it will have a .bww or a .BMW extension) and click ok. Reposition and Format as you like – the tune will now be treated as an image.


I’m learning of new ways to do things every day with this program… it really is an excellent bagpipe music notational tool. Just remember… when all else fails, it helps to read the ‘Help’ file.