Pipe Bands

If you are new to pipe bands and know nothing about them, you should browse this site to find out what’s involved, and what people get out of being in a pipe band. Unfortunately Bagpipes generally have something of an ‘uncool’ reputation. Many people think that they don’t like the sound produced by the Great Highland Bagpipe, and many think that your average piper is probably an ex military serviceman from an old Scottish regiment. However, contrary to popular belief, there are Pipe Bands all over the world consisting of boys and girls, men and women.

It takes a lot of time to develop the skills required to play and tune the Bagpipes, hence if you think you don’t like their sound, it is probably because you haven’t heard them being played correctly. Today there are some fantastic new talents emerging in the piping world; some stretching the boundaries of ‘Traditional Piping’, some introducing piping into other genres and some creating their own sound. Just see theĀ Red Hot Chilli Pipers for example.

Going back to so called ‘Traditional Piping’ you will find that Pipe Bands are actually relatively new to the world of piping; such that the marches, strathspeys and reels you hear bands play today, are really far from ‘Traditional Piping’. Traditionally piping was always a solo performance, known as Piobaireachd, a huge subject that is briefly introduced on another page on this site.

In the 18th Century when Scotland was still in rebellion against England, playing bagpipes was considered “an offence against the crown” and often resulted in execution. Up to this point in time Bagpipes were played alone without accompaniment. For the Scottish population, the bagpipe was a symbol of national pride and defiance of British colonial repression. After the Scottish rebellion was ultimately crushed, England tried to get Scots to join their colonial army, but they refused. To overcome this, British Army decided to allow pipers to join the army, which marked the beginning of the Highland Regiments and ‘Pipe Bands’, this ploy by England is said by some, to have ultimately saved the Great Highland Bagpipe from extinction.

These days a civilian Pipe Band consists of a Pipe section and a Drum section. The Drum section is made up of Snare Drummers and a Mid Section, which in turn consists of a Bass Drummer and Tenor Drummers.


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