Battle of the Somme

Jun 22, 2016
Highland Dancers Battle of the Somme

This popular bagpipe tune was composed in 1916 by William Lawrie and was inspired by his experience fighting in the Battle of the Somme, which was one of the bloodiest battles of World War I with over 58,000 casualties to the British army, one-third of which occurred the first day of battle. William Laurie died shortly after the battle due to illness and injuries sustained in the trenches and was barely able to see his tune meet immediate success before he passed away.

Since then “Battle of the Somme” has become a bagpiping classic and is also known for accompanying the national competitions of the Scottish Lilt danced by Highland dancers. It is considered a retreat march and is in 9/8 time.

Utah Scottish Festival Highland Dancers

My wife and I had a chance to go to the Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games a couple of weeks ago, and while we were there we watched a lot of talented dancers compete in the Scottish Lilt to “Battle of the Somme”.

After watching the dancers we thought it would be fun to make a little video so you could see this tune in action. Now even though my bagpipe recording isn’t totally in sync with the actual piper playing and the various dance clips, hopefully, it will at least give you a feel for the tune and get you excited to learn it.
For anyone in Utah that wants to get into the Highland dancing side of things, check out Forsyth Dance Academy. We had a chance to meet the owner Charei Mace at the festival and it looks like they have a great program there.

Sheet Music and Tutorial

If you have already enrolled in the Bagpipe Master course, here’s the link to check out the full step-by-step tutorial and download the sheet music:

Access Sheet Music & Tutorial

All-Access Membership


Learn More