Archie CAIRNS Music


Major Archie Cairns, MMM, CD (4)

(as of 2016, he is 87 years old)

Piping has been his life for over 75 years, and his profession during his 52 years of continuous service in the Canadian Forces.  He had excellent tuition from his father, Pipe Major John Cairns, Pipe Major John Wilson and Captain John MacLellan, MBE, and he was a highly successful open competitor for some 30 years.  A renowned Pipe Major in the Canadian Forces, he is also a published composer, and an international adjudicator, lecturer, teacher.

He was the first to be appointed Senior Pipe Major in the Canadian Forces, a position he held from 1968 - 1981.  During his tenure as such, he wrote / arranged / had published the Canadian Forces Pipe Band Manual.

In 1981, following retirement from the Regular Force, he was appointed the first Commanding Officer of the newly established Central Region Cadet School of Pipes & Drums in London, Ontario.  During his time as CO of the School, 1981 - 1993, he built the school from nothing to a highly successful National Program.  From 1985 - 1993, he had a second appointment as National Cadet Music Advisor for Pipes and Drums.  He wrote the 5 Volume Cadet Instruction Manual for Pipes and Drums in 1985, which became a National Training Program.  After he retired, due to his successor's  mismanagement, the School ceased to exist in the late 1990s.

He authored several Pipes and Drums training publications for the Department of National Defence.  Since his retirement in 1993 he has written, produced and had published 5 Books - 2 of Pipe Music, 2 "How To" Manuals and the "Companion" - including 1 for Light Music and 1 for Piobaireachd.

In addition to Pipe Music and Exercises, these instructional Manuals contain comprehensive, informative and progressive material suitable for all levels of players from Beginners to Advanced.

The original "How To" Manual for Light Music was revamped and replaced by the "Expanded Edition" of the "How To" Manual, in September, 2005.  This new book has many additional Exercises and now has 25 tunes.     

In 2016, he has written and is publishing his latest Book, "Expanded" - Book 2.  It has over 70 tunes, his original compositions, and includes instructional material for both  Pipers and Pipe Bands.  He composed over 40 tunes, naming them for special friends and family and their picture, together with the music for their tune, is contained in a special section.



Mrs. Joy Cairns

The tune "Mrs. Joy Cairns", was composed by Archie in 1968, for his wife Joy, who passed away 23 October, 1996. The Pipe Music can be found in "Pipe Music - Book 1", "Book 2", and "Expanded" - Book 2.

Archie played it with a brilliant Brass-Reed Band accompaniment, written by Sgt Brian Williams, played by the RCAF Air Transport Command Band under the direction of Captain Ken Moore, Director of Music.

The tune was first recorded in Kingston, Ontario, in 1974, during Archie's tenure as Pipe Major of the Air Command Pipes and Drums, Ottawa, Ontario.  It can be heard on the CD, "RCAF 50".




Pipe Major John Knox Cairns

In 1978, Archie composed a Retreat March in Ottawa, Ontario entitled "Pipe Major J.K. Cairns" for his father, who died in 1952, age 56.

The tune has been featured several times in the Edinburgh Tattoo, played many times at the World's Championships, and recorded by some Grade 1 Bands including Shott's & Dykehead, Simon Fraser University and the Strathclyde Police.


Publications by Archie

* date first published

* 1996





The "EXPANDED" EDITION of the "HOW TO" MANUAL (for Light Music) and CD







  * 2004








NEW !!!





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