Feb 09, 2016

It’s a little unclear exactly who wrote this tune but most people give the credit to Bandmaster William Newstead of the Corps of Royal Engineers who is said to have arranged it around 1869.

Legend has it that he was extremely unhappy with the current quick march his band was required to play so he created a new tune “Wings” which he thought would be a lot more enjoyable to play during marches and parades. However, not everyone was pleased that “Wings” had replaced other more traditional military tunes and in 1889 the Commander-in-Chief of the corps had it banned.

Luckily in 1902 while Lieutenant General Viscount Kitchener the Commander of the British Army was visiting Catham England he remembered marching to “Wings” as a soldier and was dismayed the tune was no longer played. Some inquiries were made and in 1903 “Wings” was made the official tune of the Royal Engineers.

Since then, the tune has been adopted by other military divisions like the Royal Canadian Engineers and today it has become extremely popular among many bagpipe bands as a favorite parade tune.

Here’s a preview of me playing through the entire tune on the bagpipes.

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:

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Cover image by Lossow Vamp

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