Category Archives: Pipes / Folk / Instruments

Musescore bagpipe music workaround

I really like musescore, and mainly I use it for multistaff typesetting.
(In the past i’ve been using Cakewalk for this)

I still use ABC notation and Bagpipe Music Writer.
In abc multistaff can be done, but not perfect, the latter can’t.

So i was playing with Musescore to import BWW files and make it multistaff.

But Musescore kept messing things up, let me explain.

Part 1 – importing the bww file

Import works, but in the mixer part you don’t see an instrument.

Part 2 – try changing the instrument (fails)

Now i’ve got the instrument, but i’ve got 4 sharps, the notes are messed up.
(Tried transposing and turning on/off concert pitch)

Part 3 – creating empty sheet with two staffs and setting the instrument then copy paste the notes (fails)

Incorrectly pasted the b in the wrong octave.

I could not find anything helpful online. Maybe it can be fixed? But how?

My workaround

  • Import bww file, export as musicXML
  • Import harmony, export also
  • Create new sheet, with two staffs
    (file new, assign instrument, press F7 and add staff)
  • Open exported musicXML in a new file
  • Select all with ctrl-a OR first note and ctrl-end
  • Copy with ctrl-c and past into newly created score.
  • Same with harmony part
Instrument/staff add line

Example of this workaround

Enjoying music

I will add to this in time


  • Shooglenifty – Celtic Fusion
    ( The recordings with Angus )
  • The Sidh
  • Ross Ainsley
    Partners in Crime (with Jarlath Henderson)
  • Fred Morrison
    All of his CD’s
    His tunes played others
    Breizh by Claymore pipes and Drums, I will put my version online also.
  • Gordon Duncan
    Thunderstruck, bellydancer, fourth floor, Pressed for time, Sleeping tune and many more
  • Manran
  • Kyle Warren
  • Fraser Shaw
    Air Chall (I play this one on tinwhistle)
  • Martyn Bennett
    Mackay’s Memoirs (Based around the theme and first variation of the piobaireachd ‘Lament For Mary MacLeod’)
  • Callum Armstrong ( Branschke/Armstrong Duo )
    Like his tune Burrito Hurricane on a Triple Chanter!


  • Jutland by Tommy O’Sullivan (We play this one with our Folkband, I play this on Uilleann)
    Versions I like:
    Paddy Keenan and Tommy O’Sullivan
    Michael McGoldrick and John McSherry
  • Bellydancer by Gordon Duncan
    Tape on B and F sound holes to produce the Middle-Easterny, B-flat phrygian scale.
    Gordon Duncan – Thunderstruck CD
    Session A9


Some old skool CD’s

I’ve got many, some can’t be found online in a streaming service

(Maybe i’ll add some track info)

One of the first I bought because I had some cassette tapes with the Corries. Legends in Scottish Folk

PM of the Shotts and Dykehead. I’ve met the guy on a contest on the mainland, and got to speak to him and his mate Jimmy Killpatrick.
Liked his melodies, some easy to play but always interesting.
On of the first tunes I played with a natural C was Ebb-Tide.

Great piper, one of the most brilliant technical pipers. Met the guy in Scotland 1992. Got his autograph on this CD.
Mostly of his March, Strathspey and Reel playing.
(Got his MSR book somewhere)

One of the gold old oldies folk.

I fell in love with this CD (got this somewhere in ’93-94)
Amazing fusion of pipes mixed with other styles and instruments.
I still play Death of a space piper.

Another amazing composer

This CD made me fall in love with “Cauld wind pipes”
(Not mouth blown)
There are many kinds of pipes on this CD.
It made me want to have a set of smallpipes.

Dick Lee’s Book

Again amazing stuff, fusion of instruments and styles.
Dick Lee plays clarinets, saxes and melodicas. But composed as a non-piper amazing tunes!
With the amazing playing of Hamish Moore, a joy for your ears!

He died far to young, this amazing musical wonder.
Hard to explain his style. From Classical piping to electronical music.

Pipes played

  • Lying down
  • In a trucks cabin
  • Elevator
  • Phonebox
  • Cruise ship to England
  • While riding a bicycle without holding the handlebars
  • Motor tricicle
  • Parking garage .. amazing echo
  • Churches
  • Toilets
  • Trainstation hal at night
  • Standing in a back of a bus ( drones through the sunroof )
  • In the back of a car
  • Upside down

Some funny pictures I found

Harp with leds

A ledstrip on a Harp, now I can see the strings at night!

Woohoo .. ( Little harp in the background (autoharp))

Well .. its a pity that the distance of the leds is NOT the same as the strings distance.

I could light up the string to be played, or even cooler …
When using FFT code (Fast Fourier Transform), I could light up the string being played!
I’m probably going to try to implement this at a later time.

Planxty Irwin Concertina Notation

While working on a harmony for Irmgard and me in Musescore, i tought it would be nice to have it also in another notation.

Above a Musescore screenshot.

When using below button assignment, we can easily rewrite above into another notation.

Write musescore as MusicML/mxl Music xml.

Install xml2abc from

python INPUTFILE.mxl

My abc file

T:Planxty Irwin
V:1 treble nm="Henri" snm="H"
|: d | B2 d | c2 A | F2 A | G3/2 d/ B | A G F | G3/2 A/ B | D2 E | F2 d | B2 d | c2 A | F2 A |
 G3/2 d/ B | A G F | G3/2 A/ B | e d c | B2 d | B3/2 c/ B | B G B | c3/2 d/ c | c A F | G d e |
 c d e | d3/2 c/ A | d c A | B c d | c B A | F G A | G3/2 d/ B | A G F | G3/2 A/ B | e d c | B2 :|

Using below bash script you can convert this to PDF WITH concertina notations.
WARNING: I didn't include all keys (yet).
NOTE: Easy to adjust to other notations.
if [ $# -lt 2 ]; then
    print "script orgname convertname"
    exit 1
: > parced
cat $1 | awk '/^\|/ {exit} {print}' > header
cat $1 | grep "|" | tr -d '[0-9]:/'> parse
cat parse | while read ; do 
echo $REPLY
echo -n "w: "

for word in $(echo $REPLY) ; do

	if [ "$word" == "|" ] ; then echo -n " | " 
	elif [ "$word" == "D" ] ; then echo -n " 2 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "G" ] ; then echo -n " 3 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "B" ] ; then echo -n " 4 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "d" ] ; then echo -n " 5 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "g" ] ; then echo -n " 6 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "b" ] ; then echo -n " 7 ";
	else echo -n " * "
echo ""

echo -n "w: "

for word in $(echo $REPLY) ; do

	if [ "$word" == "|" ] ; then echo -n " | " 
	elif [ "$word" == "F" ] ; then echo -n " 2 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "A" ] ; then echo -n " 3 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "c" ] ; then echo -n " 4 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "e" ] ; then echo -n " 5 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "f" ] ; then echo -n " 6 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "a" ] ; then echo -n " 7 ";
	elif [ "$word" == "E" ] ; then echo -n " 4' ";  # <============ example 2nd row
	else echo -n " * "
echo ""

) >> parced
cat header parced > $abc
abcm2ps -x -O - "$abc" | ps2pdf  -sPAPERSIZE=a4 - "$(echo  $abc | cut -f2 -d/ | sed 's/abc/pdf/g')"

Example output (Harmony part)

Late Burns Night and St Patrick’s Day

We had a delayed Burns night, seems a bit of a habit of our band.
But with Covid, who knows, maybe we are celebrating Burns Night 2020.

I wanted to make Haggis “bitterballen” (Fried balls) but Irmgard has no frying pan. So I made some Haggis sausage rolls.

The others made also a lot of Scottish/Irish themed food. (Too much again) But i don’t have the recipes.

We played some old tunes, and some new. Talking eating and drinking, time flies!

Irmgard and I played a duet on the Harp and some new tunes on the Concertina.

Wellll the recipes:

I wanted to make this one:

Instead I made this:

  • 392g haggis, canned haggis ( Holiday 2022, stuffed a load of cans in our car )
  • 3 Sausages (that is about 200 gr)
  • Bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 320g ready rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

Mix haggis, sausagemeat and parsley.

I used square “bladerdeeg” for pastry, made a roll out of one square filled with the haggis. (Takes about of 13 sheets).
Brushed on the beaten egg, and put on baking paper.
20 Minutes in a 180 degrees oven.
Cut up each roll in 3-4 parts.

Flute and more

I’ve been playing tin whistles/low whistle for a long time, but I love flutes.

My first try on a Concert metal flute was in a bus with the “Eendracht” to germany. There is a photo but i’ve trashed stuff a long time ago.
A old girlfriend (Noelle) let me try it. Apparently I didn’t do it that badly.

Now 30 odd years later, I picked it up again. But now on the Irish Wooden flute.

We bought it 10+ years, and occasionally I pick it up and try to play some slow airs.

I love the sound of flutes. But I’m bad at lip embouchure.
The Irish Flute makes it even harder, there is no Lip plate.

We have some books, and Coline attended to the Flute lessons in Ireland.

Tunes i’ve been practicing on flute at this time:

  • Angels Meadow
  • Passing Places
  • Breizh
  • A tune i am writing/composing at this time

(Some are Uilleann/ Low Whistle tunes I already know)
Having a large collection of tunes does not make it easy.
But having trouble myself to get all the octaves correct, I limit myself to certain tunes.

I’ll post some progress / examples at a later date.

Very interesting book and DVD!

Yes, we even tried beatboxing with the flute. (see below)

Some nice flute playing below:

And the best players (according to my opinion)

Sir James Galway
Matt Malloy
Michael McGoldrick
Jethro Tull
Séamus Tansey
Calum Stewart – I play one of his tunes on Uilleann
Paddy Carty
Robert Harvey
Flook stuff

Egyptian flutes are amazing : Lookup Erik the Flutemaker for more exceptional flutes.

Pan flutes from Peru and some asian bamboo flutes are amazing also

I’ve made a overtone flute a while ago, these ones doesn´t have holes.
I’ll post something about those soon.

The last example with overtone reminds me to post my findings about.
(Mongolian) throatsinging, overtone flutes and Altai playing.
(look it up .. amazing, We’ve been to a Hanggai concert)
But i’m drifting away from flutes and the topic in general.

Above McGoldrick with some Fred Morrison tunes i also play.

Greg Pattillo from Project Trio

Overtone flute example

Eleanor Plunkett for Harp

History about this tune:

Arranging this tune for a duet. (Imgard and myself)

This is a work in progress

I’m using Musescore for this typesetting

A Nelly an chuil chraobhaigh
Is a shuil ar dhaith an fheir ghlais
Ag eirghe dhon la,
O! nach breag dham so a radh,
’S gur [tu] do shliocht na bhfear eifeacht
O Ardmacha breige,
Fuair sar-chlu o Ghaodhalaidh
Le trean-neart a lamh.

O Nelly of the back of the wood
With her eye the color of the green grass
Waking with the day,
O what a lie it is of me to say,
And you with your family from a man of import (?)
O lying Ard Macha,
(Nelly? The man? Ard Macha?) Won great fame from relations
With strength of hand