Bagpipes are not unique to Scotland. Various forms of bagpipe have evolved in countries as diverse as India, Russia, North Africa, and a number of countries in Europe (Ireland, Finland, Germany, France, Spain) and the Middle East. It was probably introduced to Scotland either by the Roman legions or by the Irish
The Scottish bagpipe is unique in having
three drones, and also by being used for military music by Scottish
The Scottish instrument developed its
third drone, a bass drone, around 1700, and from then on the music
for the bagpipe tended to be martial, as its main use was by Scottish
Today's bagpipe has the following parts
The piper fills the bag with air, which causes the drones to skirl constantly, and the tune is played on the chanter
There is, of course, much scope for decoration of the bagpipe. The leather bag is covered with a decorative velvet cover. And the drones are made from quality polished hardwood. Silver decoration can be added to embellish the instrument.
Its loud volume is a function of its developed as an outdoor instrument for use in battle. In fact the recruitment of Highlanders into he British Army in the 18th century was probably what enabled the bagpipe to survive until today.
The martial music has developed into the music used by the pipe and drum marching bands of today
The sound of the bagpipe does carry -
said to carry around 6 miles. And the skirl of the pipes with their
high penetrating notes could be heard above the noise of battle
Classical Bagpipe Music - the Piobaireachd
The MacCrimmon family are often accredited
with the development of "bagpipe music" - Piobaireachd (pronounced
Piobroch and which just means piping in Gaelic) now refers to the
great classical music of the bagpipes.
Having wound its way through these increasing complexities, the piobaireachd ends by going back to the original slow ground. The whole cycle may take from 10 to twenty minutes
A piobaireachd would usually be composed for a particular occasion. And that occasion would be re-lived each time the tune was played