Guitar Arrangement – Welsh Pipe Tune

So next up is another traditional arrangement of mine, Concept Y Pieper Coch, or Dance of the Red Pipers.  At least thats what it means according to a friend of mine.  I came across this tune on a cd called The Rough Guide to the Music of Wales.  I was going to Florida State Univ at the time and was always looking through the Music Library’s cd collection.  On the cd this tune is played on two bagpipes and in a different key. 

Technically there is not alot to say, most of the tune is just two voices, melody and bass, with harmony in there sometimes too.  There are some simple grace notes in places, which adds some nice texture.  The middle finger thwack comes up in a few passages.  Its indicated by a carat above the note.  One thing that i do a few times in this piece that is neat is playing the bass off the beat.  Check out measures 8 and 26.  Its a nice rhythmic change and creates some simple variation for the listener.  

Unlike my previous arrangements that have been in major keys, this one is in G minor.  I like that Orkney works well for several keys, both major and minor.  

After i arranged this tune i want to the Swannanoa Gathering Guitar Week and happened to play it for Steve Baughman, who insisted i teach it to him.  He then came up with an awesome arrangement that him and Robin Bullock recorded on their Celtic Guitar Summit album.  That was the highlight of Guitar Week for me that year.

Here is the audio track, as well as the notation.  On the audio its the first tune in the set.  There are some differences in the audio vs the notation, but the tune is repetitive enough that the notation should be pretty straight forward.

Welsh Pipe Tune Audio

Welsh Pipe Tune Notation


Let me know if you have any questions.


Anton Emery

Comments 8

  1. I can imagine why Steve insisted you to teach him this beautiful piece of music….

    You are an outstanding guitarist, thanks for sharing and providing notations to study

    This blog is exactly what I’m looking for in order to learn celtic fingerstyle guitar ‘for real’..

  2. Thanks Lapsjun. I am glad you are enjoying it. Let me know if you have any questions with any of the notation. Some of that is still kind of new to me so the notation may not be perfect. I’ll be posting some more arrangements sometime soon.


  3. Hi Anton, just wanted to say I really love this arrangement. I don’t play in this tuning at all, but I’m perservering to try and learn this. I think it’s helping me understand the tuning a lot more; I think I learn a lot just by mimicry.

    Did you ever transcribe the second tune in the set (major key)?

    1. Post

      Hi Brendan,

      Thanks for writing, and glad you like the arrangement. I hope you stick with the Orkney tuning. Its a a good one, and I found I learned alot when I studied other people’s arrangements. Steve’s Celtic Guitar Method is a great resource, and I have a handful of transcriptions here on my website.

      I never transcribed the second welsh tune in the major key. I a few people have asked for various tunes off my cd, so I am thinking I should sit down for a month and transcribe the whole album. I would probably sell the TABs individually and also as some sort of package deal.

      Let me know if I can help more.

  4. Hi Anton,

    Well, I will keep an eye on the blog! I think I’ve managed to work out most of the second tune by ear.

    I’m having mixed success with the tuning. I often find the low C on on my guitar is not very resonant when fretted; I think the lack of string tension really hurts the tone. It’s also very easy to bend the slack strings sharp (though this maybe has a good side, as it forces more care and a relaxed hand when playing).

    Mostly I use the guitar for song accompaniment, and while I find strumming a lot easier with these tunings, fingerpicking I find much harder for that purpose.

    Thanks for the tip about Steve’s book; I’ll take a look. Keep up the great music!

  5. Post

    Hi Brendan,

    Yea i find that the low C in Orkney can be troublesome at times. I use medium strings, which can help a bit, as they do not flop around quite as much as lights. Even with mediums it takes a more sensitive touch in the left and right hands not to play the string sharp.

    If I am doing celtic backup in Orkney I usually capo at II, which brings the low C up to a D.

    Depending on your level Steve’s Celtic Guitar Method book may be a bit of a handful. The pieces in there are not overly easy. This other book of his easier and a great introduction to different tunings.


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