Learn Bagpipe Tune Colin's Cattle with Sheet Music and Video: A Complete Guide

May 11, 2023

If you're a bagpipe enthusiast, you've probably heard of "Colin's Cattle," a traditional Scottish tune that's been around for centuries. Learning to play this tune can be a great addition to your repertoire, and it's also a fantastic way to improve your bagpipe playing skills because it incorporates lots of grips and doublings. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at "Colin's Cattle," including its history, sheet music, and how to play it on the bagpipes. So grab your practice chanter, and let's get started!


Learning a new tune on the bagpipes can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Not only does it improve your playing ability, but it also allows you to expand your repertoire of music. One of the most popular tunes among bagpipe players is "Colin's Cattle," a traditional Scottish tune that dates back to the 18th century. Let’s explore everything you need to know about learning and playing "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes. If you would like a more in-depth lesson for learning Colin’s Cattle it’s covered in the Highland Bagpipe Academy course or you can learn it 1-on-1 from me with some private coaching. If you are just a beginner you can also try my FREE course "Getting Started on the Bagpipe"

What is "Colin's Cattle"?

"Colin's Cattle" is a traditional Scottish tune that dates back to the 18th century. The tune is named after Colin Campbell, who was a well-known cattle drover in the Scottish Highlands. The melody is often played at Scottish weddings and ceilidhs and has been recorded by many Scottish artists over the years and it sounds good both at a moderate speed or a slow march speed.

The Sheet Music for "Colin's Cattle"

One of the best ways to learn a new tune on the bagpipes is by using sheet music. Luckily, sheet music for "Colin's Cattle" is readily available here. You can find free sheet music for the tune below. You can also download my FREE ebook “50 Essential Bagpipe Tunes” where you can see the bagpipe sheet music for “Colin’s Cattle” and a lot of other great bagpipe tunes.

Learning "Colin's Cattle" on the Bagpipes

Learning a new tune on the bagpipes can be a challenging task, but with practice and patience, anyone can do it. Here's how to learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes:

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Tune

Before you start playing "Colin's Cattle," it's essential to listen to the tune and get familiar with its melody. You can find recordings of the tune on YouTube and other music streaming platforms. Listen to the tune several times to get a sense of the melody, rhythm, and tempo.

Step 2: Break the Tune Down into Sections

To make learning the tune more manageable, break it down into smaller sections. Practice each section separately before putting them together.

Step 3: Practice with a Metronome

Playing in time is crucial when it comes to bagpipe music. Practice "Colin's Cattle" with a metronome to ensure that you're playing in time with the correct rhythm.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Like with any musical instrument, practice is essential when it comes to learning the bagpipes. Set aside regular practice time each day to work on "Colin's Cattle" and other tunes you're learning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is "Colin's Cattle" a difficult tune to learn on the bagpipes?

A: “Colin's Cattle" can be challenging for beginners, but with practice and patience, it can be learned.

Q: Do I need to be an experienced bagpipe player to learn "Colin's Cattle"?

A: No, anyone can learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes with practice and patience. However, it's helpful to have some experience playing the bagpipes before attempting to learn the tune.

Q: Is sheet music necessary to learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes?

A: While it's possible to learn the tune by ear, sheet music is an excellent resource to have when learning any new tune on the bagpipes. It provides a visual representation of the melody and helps ensure accuracy.

Q: How long does it take to learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes?

A: The length of time it takes to learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes varies depending on the individual's skill level and practice habits. However, with regular practice, most people can learn the tune in a few weeks.

Q: Can I modify "Colin's Cattle" to make it my own?

A: Yes, bagpipe players often add their unique style and embellishments to tunes, including "Colin's Cattle." However, it's essential to maintain the integrity of the tune's melody and rhythm.


Learning a new tune on the bagpipes is a challenging but rewarding experience. "Colin's Cattle" is an excellent tune for bagpipe players to learn, as it's a traditional Scottish tune with a rich history. With practice and patience, anyone can learn "Colin's Cattle" on the bagpipes. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you'll be well on your way to mastering this beautiful tune.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your practice chanter and start practicing "Colin's Cattle" today!

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