Gregefalk Bagpipe Music


About My Piping

The sound of pipes has always really caught my attention, to say the least. As a small boy, living in Sweden, it seemed impossible to learn this instrument. However, I got to know that there actually was a pipe band, "The Thistle Pipe Band" in Stockholm and when I was fifteen, I started with Peter Csaba as teacher in 1979. He gave me a very good base for piping. He also had the ability to play tunes on the practice chanter without stopping the flow of air, "circular blowing", a technique he taught me. He also introduced me to Bill Livingstone's "78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band" lending me their first recording. I then realized that I had to write down tunes from recordings, because I didn't have the patience to wait for them to be published. Looking back, I believe this was a good preparation for making my own tunes later on. P/M Mathias Cramér was my next tutor and it was under his guidance, I made the critical step from pupil to piper of the band. He had a great understanding of the bagpipe music especially carrying out and use of gracenotes in particular. I was also inspired by another band member, later P/M, Niklas Hannah, starting with the preparations for the quintet competition at Copenhagen Winter Competition in 1983. 

In 1985, most of the pipers of the band, including me, had to form a new band, "The Pipes & Drums of the 1st Royal Engineers". The same year I made the first of several trips to Scotland, most often with fellow band pipers Carl-Johan Söderberg and Mats Sjöström. In 1987, I went to Scotland for tuition for P/M Willie McBride, Monktonhall Colliery Pipe Band and bringing home a new set of pipes. In 1990, the band competed in Scotland but I had decided to quit the band after this. I've always been keen on finding and playing new or to me unfamiliar tunes. Playing the same tunes over and over has at times been almost painful. I always wanted to move on to other tunes, perhaps not always to the advantage on how good I actually managed to play the tunes before "leaving them". I continued playing, bought a bellows-blown small-pipe in 1992 and joined the band at special occasions e.g. a major TV-appearance, competitions and in 2000 two ambitious band produced concerts.

In 1992, I started to play with another Stockholm-based band, "The Caledonian Pipe Band". Great times were competing in Belgium and a festival tour to Brittany. In 1994 Ulf Schönberg, P/M of the "Caledonians" formed a small group of pipers and drummers. The brilliant idea was to experiment with innovative arrangements and compose new tunes, not only in the traditional Scottish piping style but also using influences from Swedish, Breton and Galician folk music. We called us "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen" ("The Swedish Bagpipe Faction") consisting of pipers, Ulf Schönberg, Krister Bergman and myself, bass drummer, Pelle Stübler and side drummer, Henrik Montgomery. The group competed at Copenhagen Winter Competition and the Bagpipe Association of Germany's competition in Ludwigshafen. We also performed with concert programs in Sweden 1995-96. The peak was appearing at "Falun Folkmusik Festival". It was during this time I made many of the tunes shown on this website. If it hadn't been for Ulf, I would probably only had made one single tune.

Nowadays, there is very little time for piping, besides family life, but I'm not complaining. Anyway, I did change set of pipes in 2013 and bought a mouth-blown smallpipe in 2019. I also realize that I have put quite a few tunes together in the recent years, looking in the list below.

About Making the Tunes

The process to make a tune that is kept together across all parts is difficult. One obvious way is to have all the ends of each part the same. This is not enough, though. You'll have to make something more that shows the listener that all parts are related and part of a "story" and this is not easy. I've also always tried to make tunes that are slightly different. A tune of mine shouldn't be just another tune.

I always start a tune by trying to make a really good start. If the start is good enough, the tune will come a little easier. It usually takes me several weeks to complete a tune. When it comes down to naming a tune, which can be quite tricky, I sometimes try to put something that happened in my daily life together with some important point in the process of making the tune in question into the tune's name. 

The story of the result of my efforts is shown below.

About the Tunes

In 2019, I made a go-through of all the tunes and some changes were made. The alterations in the tunes ranged from grace-note changes, alteration of an odd note or a bar here and there to addition of a half part, second time through. I also discovered that a couple of tunes had a few note values that weren't really correct, according to how I been playing.

The Frog

This was the only tune that I ever made many years before playing in the "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen". The name is a sound association. (1984?)

Admiring the ViewWe had started the "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen". We were struggling to put new tunes together. One day after work, I had to stand in an unusually long queue in the grocers. I was anxious to get home. I remember thinking the girl at the checkout was really something, so time wasn't wasted after all. Back home, I wrote down the first part. 
(1994, revised twice 2019)

Ulf Schönberg's Brilliant Idea

My first strathspey is to salute Ulf's idea that we, should compose and then perform and compete with our "self-made" music. Oddly I had to add a third part in the process. (1994)

Fanfare to the Common Piper 
This tune was inspired by the music themes often heard in American westerns. One often used is Aaron Copland's "Fanfare to the Common Man" and I when I had made this tune, I thought of Copland's title and I "adapted" the title for this tune. (1994)

Four Pints of Guinness
My favorite beer for a long time was Guinness. I wrote this waltz the same day when going to a pub for these stouts. This tune along with the previous three was included in the first medley for "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen". (1994)

The CWC Quintet '95

A jig made in the preparations for "Svenska Säckpipefraktionens" first competition at the "Copenhagen Winter Competition". We didn't use it though.(1994, revised 2019)

The Half-Hour
The actual time, unusual for me, it took me to put this tune together. (1994)

Stockholm Water Festival
The tune was written during one of these annual events arranged in August in the 90’s. I spent a lot of time at these festivals. (1994?, revised 2019)

The Poodle and the Bass Drum
I had problems finding a name for this strange one. In '95, half a year after I wrote the tune I went to Brittany with the Caledonians. After a festival performance, a poodle mistakenly took our bass drum standing on the ground for a car wheel, when it had to take a leak. Per "Pelle" Stübler, the bass drummer, failed to see the humour in this. This tune lacked a name so I named it after this. I usually don't like 4-4 marches but I'm very happy that I could write one that unusual. In the revision in 2019, I realized that the notation wasn't really what I have been playing all these years. (1995, revised 2019)

The Cobblestones
Simply a sound association. (1995, revised 2019) 

Party in Blue
I made the first part before going to a weird party where everything was blue, including the drinks. (1995)

The Drummer's Special
For some time I had wanted to make a tune in one of the compound rhythms and I eventually came up with this tune. I thought it would be a challenge not only for the pipers but also for the drummers. I had big problems writing this tune down with the correct time of the notes and especially, it took some time before I realized that the last bar of each part has an extra quaver. When we used it as the closing tune in competition we played it once through, then "played" only the drones for a couple of bars and then playing the last part once more with more elaborate harmonies. (1995)

The Busstop
During a period of time I used to carry around a pencil and empty sheets of music, if I were to get an idea to a tune. I started this hornpipe waiting for a bus. (1995?, revised 2019)

Some More Mustard
I remember after buying a hamburger at a hot-dog stand, hearing a girl asking for more and more mustard. I think she ate mustard with some hot dog. Later that day I wrote the first couple of bars. (1995?, revised 2019)

The Taste of Fisherman's Friends 
I named this strathspey after my favorite tablets for many years until I developed some kind of "allergy" for them. (1995?, revised 2019)

Falun Folkmusik Festival
"Svenska Säckpipefraktionen" performed here in 1996 and in the preparations we put a Swedish set together and this was the entry tune. Unusually, I wrote the second part first, but something was wrong, until I realized I had to put another part in first. The tune is written in the traditional nordic "polska" rhythm. In the revision in 2019, I realized that the notation wasn't really what I have been playing all these years. (1996, revised 2019)

The Mess in the Tuning Room
The beginning of this tune was written in a hotel in Rio de Janeiro during a work trip. I finished it much later. I named it after a chaos a loose drone stock caused just before going into quintet competition hosted by Bagpipe of Association of Germany's (BAG) in Ludwigshafen. Eventually, we got the situation under control and managed to compete. (1996, revised twice 2019)

The Closing Cracker
In 1997 we lacked a finishing tune for the competition medley set for Copenhagen Winter Competition. I came up with this one. Many years earlier I had been to Scotland for tuition for P/M Willie McBride, Monktonhall Colliery Pipe Band. He used the expression "a real cracker" for a very good tune. I hope this jig is one of those. (1996, revised 2019)

Even if You're Terrified
Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band's P/M Richard Parkes was in Stockholm for an "instruction weekend" with the "The Pipes & Drums of the 1st Royal Engineers". At some point he made this remark on how well you should know tunes you are to compete with and I had just finished this short reel. (1998?, revised 2019)

Chit-Chat Curry
This was the first tune I made many years after the previous tune and after "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen" had shut down. It was difficult to find the motivation to make tunes but for some reason I got this hornpipe together and it was so fun that I have continued. My daughter said that the tune sounded something like this. (2010?, revised 2019)

Playing Gogo's Crazy Bones
When I made this reel I had the purpose of making it an entry for "The Pipe Band Association of Scandinavian (PBAS) Composition Quaich 2010". The same day I decided on the final four parts I went with my sons to buy these small toys. I later asked them for a name for it and they suggested something with "Gogos". (2010?, revised 2019)

Jumping in the Garden
In the spring when I wrote this jig as an entry for "The Pipe Band Association of Scandinavian (PBAS) Composition Quaich 2011", my sons were jumping on the trampoline in the garden. This time the jumping ended with a collision in the air when the older was on his way down, while the younger was travelling in the opposite direction. After being to the emergency with the boys I decided on the name. I later changed the 4th part using the software CelticPipes for the first time. (2011, revised 2019)

The Wake-Up Hornpipe
This hornpipe was written in two steps, about fifteen years apart. I woke up one morning with the first part in my head. After that it became difficult but I finished four parts, named it but wasn’t too happy about the result. Accidently I found the draft many years later, long after "Svenska Säckpipefraktionen". I still thought the first part was good. I made a lot of changes in two parts and eventually made a new fourth part. (1996?/2011?, revised 2019)

The Ever-Dancing Girl
Once, my daughter’s big hobby was dancing. At one point she could hardly walk without putting in some dance moves. When I made this strathspey, I thought the name appropriate. (2012?, revised 2019)

The Piper’s Rose
My wife is like a rose, beautiful, but if you're not careful, you can get stung. I had been thinking of writing a suite for several years and this is dedicated to her. (2012?, revised 2019)

Lights in the Fog
I often come up with ideas for slow airs but I never seem to put them down on paper. This is an exception. We were driving home one foggy evening when this one had been finished and the cars’ lights made a spectacular show in the fog for us. (2013?, revised 2019)

The Pom-Pom Jig
Years ago, I listened to a recording Niklas Hannah made when Willie McBride's eldest son Donald played the Irish jig "Cunla" on the pipes for him. In that tune, there is a grace note sequence that I believe is used in a similar way on the uilieann pipes and I used this in the penultimate bar of each part. I played this jig to my youngest son and asked him what it sounded like. (2013?, revised 2019)

The Peaceful Walk
When I had completed this march, the name came to my mind when I marched playing to the tune for the first time. (2014?, revised 2019)

Piping Live 10 Years
I made this march as an entry for a composition contest. (2014, revised 2019)

Change of Pace
When writing this one I was confused what kind of march it really was and I initially noted it incorrectly. (2016, revised 2019)

The Coffee Break
The start of this tune came to me when I was looking for a café in Stockholm with my sons, exhausted going to shops with daughter and wife. (2016?, revised 2019)

The Bottom-Hand Berserk

Due to so much of the tune involves work on the bottom-hand, I thought the name was adequate. (2017, revised 2019)

The Erratic Quaver

When playing this for the final time, using Celtic Pipes, before publishing it here, there was an extra quaver on the screen ..... and it started to move around after a while!? A fly was scrutinizing my first retreat. (2017)

Skating on Lake Mälaren

We live close to Lake Mälaren and in 2018, the ice was really great to go skating. This jig was written in March when we were skating a lot in the weekends. (2018)

The Lightning Chase

I’ve been working on this hornpipe during the summer. At some point, we made a trip to an island in Lake Mälaren, with our small boat with lightning chasing us across the bay on our return. (2018, revised 2019)

Time Changer

I started writing this tune as a retreat for a composition contest but changed my mind about time and finished it as a 4/4 march without harmonies. I didn't win but I thought the tune was quite good in both time signatures so I decided to finish the retreat version and make two tunes out of it. I then tried playing them one after another and the effect was so interesting that I kept them as a combo 3/4-4/4 march. (2018)

Pipe Bands in Stockholm 50 Years ("See You Thursday")

In 1968 the first pipe band in Stockholm, "The Thistle Pipe Band" was founded. In 1976 some members formed what was to become "The Caledonian Pipe Band". In 1985 the musical core of the band formed "The Pipes & Drums of the 1st Royal Engineers". The remaining members of the "Caledonians" rejoined the band in 1999. In 2014 the name was changed to "Stockholm Pipe Band". I was asked to write a march for the 50th anniversary party. (2018, revised 2019)

While Waiting for My Daughter

I wrote the first part but got stuck and put it aside. A couple of years later I was waiting one Saturday evening to drive my daughter to a party and it took "a while" before she was ready. Meanwhile I wrote the rest of the tune. (2016?/2019)

The Table Tennis Playing Cat

Last year we bought a cat and we have of course spoilt this cat grossly. Despite all the toys we have given her, the favourite is an ordinary table tennis ball. (2019)

The Raven and the Blueberrries

I made this march for a special composing competition. During the process I come up with two versions of the tune, one with the "groups" of 5-note and 3-notes and the other version without these. I was hesitating which to send as entry to the contest, but I finally decided on the latter. I didn't win but I went on making some changes during the summer before showing the former version on this website. This summer we picked a lot of blueberries. Strangely, almost every time a raven circled in the sky over our heads in doing so. I think the bird made the pies taste even better.(2020)