Selected Compositions

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Tunes for Northumbrian Smallpipes

The following tunes and other compositions were written for Northumbrian smallpipes, specifically the set that I own and play. Many of the tunes are playable on pipes with more common key arrangements, so I’ve made them available here. Some of the “Northumbrian piper’s” versions have been altered slightly to make them even more playable on pipes with more common key arrangements.

Note to non-pipers: Northumbrian smallpipes come with differing numbers of keys, with 7 being something of a standard and giving a nominal range from d’-b”. The pdfs of selected tunes are available in two editions, one with everything notated at concert pitch (this will be most convenient to players of other instruments, such as fiddle, concertina, etc.) and the other notated in the keys most accessible to Northumbrian pipers. The “concert pitch” versions are the original versions of the tunes.

Selected tunes from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes; includes:
Dad's Fantastic Jig
Bruce Bowers
Janette Gillis’s Fish Cakes
Troy MacGillivray
Mrs. J. Forbes

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Tunes from Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes, concert pitch
DOWNLOAD sheet music: Tunes from Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes, Northumbrian piper’s version
Suggested Donation: $3.00


Selected tunes from the CD Piper’s Crow; includes:
Maria Gow's Molasses Biscuits
Gables Motel Jig
Fertile Fields of Peebles

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Tunes from Piper’s Crow, concert pitch
DOWNLOAD sheet music: Tunes from Piper’s Crow, Northumbrian piper’s version
Suggested Donation: $2.00


My Ain Kind Dearie, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A 9-minute variation set for solo Northumbrian smallpipes based on the version in Peacock’s tunes, with 5 additional variations. Requires high and low Cs, and F naturals. Probably also good on violin.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: My Ain Kind Dearie
Suggested Donation: $4.00


Mysteries of Knock, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A tune from Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of 1883, with a mix of new Northumbrian-style and Irish-style variations. Playable on 7-key chanter.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Mysteries of Knock
Suggested Donation: $2.00



Ensemble Compositions with Northumbrian Smallpipes

MacKenzie’s Misfortune, from the CD Piper’s Crow
sound sample

A 4-minute slow lament for Northumbrian smallpipes (D set), flute, violin and either guitar or harp ad lib, with optional cello.

From a review by Peter Dyson: “The slow air Mackenzie's Misfortune, from Dick Hensold is destined to become a classic. It is a gorgeous tune with some unusual progressions, and it stays in the memory a long time after the CD has finished playing."

DOWNLOAD sheet music: MacKenzie’s Misfortune
Suggested Donation: $5.00


First Leaves of Spring, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A slow air for Northumbrian smallpipes (D set), whistle, violin and either guitar or harp ad lib. This was written so that each player leads the rhythm in different places, each listening and weaving around the others. Has high Cs, but can be adapted for 7-key chanter.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: First Leaves of Spring
Suggested Donation: $5.00


Lance Robson's Jig, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A 6-minute jig ending in a 4-voice fugue, for Northumbrian smallpipes (D or G set), flute, violin, viola, cello and guitar. The version for D set requires high C, both F naturals, and a middle Bb, and the version for G set requires both F naturals, low G#, and middle Bb.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Lance Robson’s Jig, letter size layout
DOWNLOAD sheet music: Lance Robson’s Jig, A4 layout
Suggested Donation: $5.00


Zoë Cansdale of Hartburn, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A memorial piece that begins with a slow O’Carolan-style tune, which bridges into a highly-orchestrated slip jig. Scored for Northumbrian smallpipes (D set, will fit on a 7-key chanter but has optional high Cs), flute, violin, viola, cello and guitar, with optional harp ad lib.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Zoë Cansdale of Hartburn
Suggested Donation: $8.00


Hartburn Hornpipe, from the CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes
sound sample

A trio for 3 sets of Northumbrian smallpipes, with optional chords for use with F sets. All parts playable on 7-key chanters.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Hartburn Hornpipe
Suggested Donation: $2.00


Cahan O’Hara Rondeau
sound sample

Written as an experiment to see how far one could modulate with fixed-pitch drones. Scored for Northumbrian smallpipes (D set), whistle or flute, violin and either guitar or harp ad lib, with optional cello. Also playable as a Northumbrian smallpipes solo with or without chordal accompaniment.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Cahan O’Hara Rondeau
Suggested Donation: $5.00


7 duets of Scottish and Northumbrian tunes; includes:
Over the Moor Among the Heather
Piper's Maggot
Niel Gow's Lament
All the Night I Lay with Jockey
The Rowan Tree
Lads of Alnwick
Drops of Brandy

This set of arrangements comes in two editions: for Northumbrian smallpipes (D set) and Scottish smallpipes in A, and one for any two concert pitch instruments. Many of the latter will work on two equal Northumbrian smallpipes.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: 7 duets of Scottish and Northumbrian tunes
DOWNLOAD sheet music: 7 duets of Scottish and Northumbrian tunes -- concert pitch version
Suggested Donation: $4.00


Ivory and Dan
sound sample

Written for Northumbrian smallpipes and piano for the wedding of some friends, the sheet music to this waltz contains versions for both F and D sets of Northumbrian smallpipes, and a concert pitch version for any C instrument, such as violin or flute.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Ivory and Dan
Suggested Donation: $2.00


Chromatic Hornpipe

Coming Soon

Suggested Donation: $0.00



Highland Pipe Music

Highland Pipe tunes, opus 1, 6 slow tunes

Coming Soon

Suggested Donation: $3.00


Highland Pipe tunes, opus 1, 6 jigs

Coming Soon

Suggested Donation: $3.00


Highland Pipe tunes, opus 1, 4 reels and a 3/4 hornpipe

Coming Soon

Suggested Donation: $2.00



Other Compositions

Dream at Dawn
sound sample

An air for low whistle, obbligato cello and guitar or other chord instrument. First recorded by Troy MacGillivray in 2006. This sound sample is of the Misguided Fools, a trio with Dick Hensold, Michelle Kinney and Chris Cunningham.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Dream at Dawn
Suggested Donation: $2.00


The Laird’s Good Brother variations
sound sample

The first two strains of the following set are from James Thomson's music book, a recorder manuscript from 1702, edited by David Johnson and © 1975 Forsyth Bros Ltd. The tune seems so much like a Border pipe tune, I have written variations based on the style of the Dixon manuscript of Border pipe music from the 1730s. It is playable on either Border pipes or alto recorder.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Laird’s Good Brother for border bagpipes
DOWNLOAD sheet music: Laird’s Good Brother for alto recorder
Suggested Donation: $2.00


Variations on The Shepherd’s Wife
sound sample

A very early variation set, originally written for alto recorder.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Variations on The Shepherd’s Wife for alto recorder
DOWNLOAD sheet music: Variations on The Shepherd’s Wife for flute, Northumbrian smallpipes or practically anything else
Suggested Donation: $2.00


Tom’s 57 notes
sound sample

Written in response to a request for "something with 57 in it" for a 57th birthday party, it seemed logical enough to make up a tune with 57 notes. This piece is formatted to fit in a birthday card. Originally for viola, it appears here in treble clef for any instrument.

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Tom’s 57 notes
Suggested Donation: $2.00


Seljefløyte Springar
sound sample

A springar (a kind of Norwegian dance) for seljefløyte (a Norwegian willow-flute, basically a whistle with no fingerholes).

DOWNLOAD sheet music: Seljefløyte Springar
Suggested Donation: $2.00


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  All content © copyright 2008 by Dick Hensold.