Donald McLennan’s Exercise slip jig

There are 4 recordings of this tune.

Donald McLennan's Exercise has been added to 31 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Donald McLennan's Exercise
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
"Bm"Bff "D"f/g/4f/4ef"Bm"fBB|"D"dff"A"^cee "A"ecA|
"Bm"Bff "D"f/g/4f/4ef"Bm"fBB|"Em"gee"D"fdd "A"e^cA:|
"D"dff "D"afa"D"aff|"D"dff"D"afd "A"^cee|
"D"dff "D"a2f"D"aff|"Em"gfe"D"fed "A"^cee:|
"D"dag "D"fag"Bm"fB^c|"D"dag"D"fdf "A"eA^c|
"D"dag "D"fag"Bm"fB^c|"D"dad"F#m"^caf "A"eA^c:|
"D"dfe "A"efe"Bm"fB^c|"D"dfd"F#m"^caf "A"eA^c|
"D"dfe "A"efe"Bm"fB^c|"D"dad"F#m"^caf "A"eA^c:|
"D"dfa "D"fda"D"f/g/4f/4ef|"D"dfa"D"fda "D"f2e|
"D"dfa "D"fda"D"f/g/4f/4ef|"Em"geg"D"fdf "A"e/f/e2:|
"D"dfd "A"ede"D"~f3|"D"dfd"D"edf "A"e3|
"D"dfd "A"ede"D"fef|"Em"geg"D"fdf "A"e/f/e2:|
X: 2
T: Donald McLennan's Exercise
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Bmin
Bff fef fBB|dff cee ecA|
dff afa aff|dff afd cee|
dag fag fBc|dag fdf eAc|
dfe efe fBc|dfd caf eAc|
dfa fda fef|dfa fda f2 e|
dfd ede f3|dfd edf e3|
X: 3
T: Donald McLennan's Exercise
R: slip jig
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Edor
|:dff fef fBB|dff cee ecA|dff fef fBB|gee fdd ecA:|
|:dff aff aff|dff afd cee|dff aff aff|gfe fed cee:|
|:dag fag fBc|dag fdf eAc|dag fag fBc|dad caf eAc:|
|:dfe efe fBc|dfd caf eAc|dfe efe fBc|dad caf eAc:|
|:dfa fda ~f3|dfa fda fee|dfa fda ~f3|geg fdf ~e3:|
|:dfd ede ~f3|dfd edf e3|dfd ede fef|geg ~f3 ~e3:|

Fourteen comments

Donald McLellan’s Exercise

Not to be confused with Donald McLellan’s tuning phrase. The six part ‘Exercise’ can be heard on ‘Dance of the Celts’ (Narada Collection ND-63932: 1997) preceeded by ‘The £5 Flute - played by ‘Old Blind Dogs’


Great tune.We recorded this in 1984 when I was in a band called Nessie,with Hugo Aerts doing the honours on the pipes.

From the phrasing and bar nos it looks like it’s supposed to be a slip jig in 9/8.

It certainly plays like a slip jig. So if it looks like one and acts like one does that make it one, or is that the actual "exercise".

It’s a jig,and it was written by a piper ,whos name escapes me,as an exercise for Donald McLennan so that he could practise some grips that he was having trouble with,at least that’s what Hugo told me.

Of course it’s a slip jig! Who ever heard of a jig with 6 bar phrases?!
6 x 2 = 12, 12 /3 = 4
Each 6 bar repeated phrase of 6/8 translates to 4 bars of 9/8 and the phrasing is perfect, e.g.:

M: 9/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmix
Bff f/2g/4f/4ef fBB|dff ^cee ecA|
Bff f/2g/4f/4ef fBB|gee fdd e^cA:|


A few years ago, a collection of the compositions of G.S.McLennan was published, called “The Cairngorm” Collection. The final tune in the book is “Donald McLennan’s Exercise”, so it is a G.S.McLennan composition, and is indeed in 9/8 time. Well spotted, the lads down under !

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9/8 & E Dorian ~

All those c#s (^c) are telling…

~ or B minor

~ to start with, the chords and also the working of the melody around the Bs and returning to them…

For me, now playing it as 9/8, which would have been a good start except the baring was throwing me, or I was, being irritated by it, I find it resolves on the B and would call it B minor…

"Donald McLennan’s Exercise" ~ simplified

M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: b minor
|: Bff fef fBB | dff cee ecA |
Bff f2 e fBB | gee fdd ecA :|
|: dff afa aff | dff afd cee |
dff a2 f aff | gfe fed cee :|
|: dag fag fBc | dag fdf eAc |
dag f2 g fBc | dad caf eAc :|
|: dfe efe fBc | dfd caf eAc |
dfe e2 e fBc | dad caf eAc :|
|: dfa fda fef | dfa fda f2 e |
dfa f2 a fge | geg fdf e3 :|
|: dfd ede f3 | dfd edf e3 |
dfd e2 e fef | geg f2 f ecA :|
B3- B3- B3 ||

Slip Jig it is!

Sorry folks … haven’t logged in for 6 months - Never gave 9/8 a thought - and the analysis can’t really be argued with. (hoping the sheet music version updates at some point?) … I’ll check back later.


Another exericse

A variation on the final measure of the four-bar phrase, used in the version on Dance of the Celts is as follows, with part 6 as the base:

M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: b minor
|:ded ede fef | ded e2 f e3 |
ded ede fef | geg fdf e3 :|