When The Battle Is Over waltz

By William Robb

Also known as Battle Is O’er, When The Battle Is Over Retreat March.

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

When The Battle Is Over has been added to 2 tune sets.

When The Battle Is Over has been added to 40 tunebooks.

Download ABC

One setting

X: 1
T: When The Battle Is Over
R: waltz
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:A3/2B/|c2a2f3/2e/|c2A2A3/2B/|c2e3/2c/ B3/2A/|B4A3/2B/|
c2a2f3/2e/|c2A2A3/2B/|c2e3/2c/ B3/2c/|A4:|
|:e3/2c/|B2A2a3/2g/|f2e2A3/2B/|c2e3/2c/ B3/2A/|B4e3/2c/|
B2A2a3/2g/|f2e2A3/2B/|c2e3/2c/ B3/2c/|A4:|

Nine comments

When The Battle Is Over

This tune is a Scottish pipe retreat march (all such marches are in 3/4 time).

The session software makes the technical assumption that all 3/4 tunes are “waltzes”, so that was the only way that I could post it.

Please note that the abc that I have posted only covers the “bare” tune. If scored for the highland pipes, the ornamentation would be specifically written into the score.

Also note that the tune set in the Mixolydian mode. This is close to the natural pipe scale, which approximates to the scale of A major but with a natural G.

Like many retreat marches, the tune is quite simple, but very powerful (IMHO).

Tweek those Gs…

slightly sharp if your instrument of choice allows. It makes a big difference (to my ear) in this particular tune.

Posted by .

When the battle is over

Retreat marches are written in other timings.“Willie Macrae of Ullapool”9/8.“The Meeting of the Waters”,4/4.
The Great Highland Bagpipe has five pentatonic scales available.I’ll try and post a link.

When the Battle is Over

This was composed by Pipe Major W.Robb,accordiong to Scots Guards Vol.1.

Yes, the Cs and Fs…

also could be tweeked, the pipes having a wonderful, idiosyncratic temperment. Normally, though, the tunes don’t push *me* into needing to adjust my intonation to sound good, but this one with the Gs did. Of course, just my ear today, who knows what I’ll think tomorrow? 🙂

Posted by .

When the Battle is Over

Mat O’K. You are correct when you say that a few retreat marches that have been written in timings other than 3 / 4. However, I believe that I am still correct to say that all 3/4 pipe band marches are retreat marches.

Regarding the accreditation of the tune to Pipe Major William Robb in Scots Guards Volume 1, there is a school of thought that says that many of the tunes accredited to various pipe majors in these volumes are actually of much greater antiquity. It may be of course, that the accreditation to Robb in this volume reflects just his arrangement of the tune, rather than the composition of the tune itself. I have also heard it said that the tune is actually Irish, originating from Co. Wexford.

As a comparison, the retreat march “Green Hills of Tyrol” is accredited to Pipe Major John MacLeod (1854), but is thought to be based on a composition by Rossini.

Even if these tunes could be proven to have certain authorship, I still think of them as being “traditional”. After all, O’Carolan tunes are of known authorship, and are nonetheless considered as being traditional.

Finally, I was most interested in your note about the availability of five pentatonic scales on the highland pipes, and look forward to seeing your link to a website covering this topic.

When the Battle is Over

This page gives the five scales available.The three most common are,
G pentatonic GABDEG
A pentatonic ABCEFA
D pentatonic ABDEFA
Referenced from the Piping Times October,1997.
You may “think” of these tunes as traditional,but the people that complied pipe tune collections had more knowledge than you or I,regardless what you “hear”.Let’s give the source and credit,when available.

The Battle is Over - Last Post!

Hi Matt O’K. Thanks for posting the pentatonic scales info.

Regarding Green Hills, it’s very widely accepted that the original was by Rossini, although it was of course first set for pipes by McLeod. There are many references to this – on the internet, and elsewhere. For example, here is a link to a setting of the tune by Pipe Major J. Racliff, who mentions the Rossini origin at the foot of his arranged score.


Regarding When the Battle’s Over, I didn’t say that I thought that the tune was of Irish origin – just that some people thought that it might be.

When I said that I regarded both tunes as being “traditional”, I intended it as a complement to whoever it was who wrote them, or subsequently arranged them. Both tunes have been played frequently for over 100 years, and will no doubt be continue to be played in the future. That is the sense in which I regard these tunes as being “traditional”.

And hey – I guess that as we both appreciate this music, we have something that we can agree about. So let’s just end this thread and declare that the battle is over!“