Farewell to Nigg

This is first addition to the website from Eve. She heard Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas  playing it (see their album Highlander’s Farewell) and sang it so much last summer that we had to learn it too.

It is a ‘retreat march’ by the piper Duncan Johnstone, which means that unlike most marches, it is in 3/4 instead of 4/4. Retreat marches are traditionally played as the soldiers leave the parade ground (not as they retreat from battle!).

Originally this tune has four parts (see TheSession.org second setting) but I’ve removed the last two parts because the C part differs only by a few notes from the A part and the D part differs even less from the B part and the different parts sound more like variations on each other rather than distinct parts (and it’s a good deal easier to learn as two parts and you can add further variations if you would like to). It’s often played really slowly, but it’s speed is a matter of choice. As a pipe tune and not too fast, it’s also an excellent place to learn to add ornaments.

Fortunately, there are some good recordings on YouTube:

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas playing it live and on their recording
Uillean pipes, accordion and bouziki
Flute and harp

Jane played a simple version and then again with some more ornaments so you can use this to prompt ideas of where and which ornaments to add…


It’s lovely to hear it on the pipes… but these versions are in a different key than I have here.
Single piper on the chanter (without drones)
Single piper with drones

Pdf here


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