The Lost Art of Lowland Piping: Dance Repertoire and Rhythms Workshop

Two Workshops in North American with

Pete Stewart

Pencaitland, Scotland

Sponsored by the Alternative Pipers of North America

and the Lowland and Border PIpers’ Society

Pete Stewart Playing

When: Pacific NorthwestNovember 8, 9, and 10, 2013 (Fri night, Satand Sun)


Southern New England – November 16, 2013 (Saturday)

Where:  PNW- John and Gerda Cunningham’s home in Ballard, Seattle, WA.

SNE- Glenn and Wendy Dreyer’s home in Quaker Hill, CT

What else: House concert Saturday nights at 7:00

Cost: PNW- $225 per person (includes lunch Saturday and Sunday)

SNE- $100 (includes lunch and dinner Saturday)

This is a rare and unique opportunity, hopefully the first annual gathering, to learn about the latest research into the mysterious world of Lowland Piping from one of the leading figures active in the revival. APNA is grateful to the Lowland and Border PIpers Society for a grant cover most of Pete’s airfare.

Pete Stewart is well-known to members of The Lowland and Border Pipers Society (LBPS), both as membership secretary and as editor of the journal, Common Stock.  He is the author of two books about Lowland pipers and their music, THE DAY IT DAWS and WELCOME HOME MY DEARIE (available at LBPS).  Over the past twenty years researching and interpreting the Lowland and Border pipe traditions, Pete has made significant discoveries in history, repertoire and technique.   From these he has developed a distinctive, rhythmic style of performance that is fresh and exciting. 

“I came to piping from a background of playing traditional dance music on fiddle,” Pete said.  “My early days of piping were mostly influenced by the music of Central France.  When I moved to Scotland in 1992 and discovered the music of the Lowlands, which at that time was hardly being played, even in the LBPS, I was immediately drawn to this unfamiliar repertoire.  Twenty years on I am still discovering aspects which are new to me.  In this workshop weekend I hope to share some of these discoveries.  It won’t be a master class in technical wizardry, but I hope it will introduce participants to this music and open up new ways of interpreting it.”


Anyone who wants to know more about the music of Scotland outside the highlands, with a particular focus on the dance music repertoire and especially rhythms of the Lowlands, will find this workshop fascinating and an inspiration. 

You should be familiar enough with your pipes to be able to play fairly simple new music and to explore new techniques.  An ability to read music will be a help, but is certainly not essential.

Scottish smallpipes in A440hz are ideal.  Border/Reel/Lowland pipes are too loud for the venue.


The structure of the workshop will be determined by the preferences of the participants, but will cover some of the following:

1 Repertoire:  just what is Lowland music?

2 Interpretation:  this music is unlike any I’ve played before – how do I make sense of it?

3 Technique:  ornament, fingering, and most importantly, rhythm.

4 History:  piping in the lowlands.

5 Resources: where do I find it?

Participant preferences and suggested new topics are encouraged before the workshop.

The focus will be principally on the first two which will inevitably involve item 3 as well; we will look particularly at rhythmic types and tune structures; 6/4, 4/4, 9/4, 3/2, 3/4 etc., the ways in which these forms relate to the dances, and ways in which we can bring these tunes to life from the written page.

Pete is working on a new collection of tunes and we anticipate having pre-publication copies of at least parts the book with the working title ‘A New Collection of the Choicest Tunes for the Lowland and Border Bagpipes’ as source material for the workshops.

There is very little Lowland and Border music on the web but Pete does have his own You Tube channel where you can hear some of the repertoire, though Pete says that he hasn’t uploaded anything in a while and his understanding of the music has moved on in the meantime.  Pete also keeps a blog ‘Lowland Amusement,’ but again, not much has been added here for a while.  “It has been a very busy time, what with workshops, Edinburgh Festival shows, and conference papers – there’s not been much time for writing about piping,” he says.

The You Tube channel is here.  And here is Pete playing ‘Mr. Preston’s Hornpipe’.

 For questions and to register please contact – PNW- John Dally at, 206-463-3535


SNE- Glenn Dreyer at, 860-444-2849