Sound

The Great Highland Bagpipe has a unique sound instantly recognisable from any other instrument. Producing a┬álegato sound, there are no rests in the music, unlike any other woodwind instrument where the musician would have to┬ástop to draw breath. It’s the Bag in Bagpipe that makes the difference. The bag acts as a reservoir that pipers uses to maintain a steady airflow to the reeds while they stop blowing to draw breath.

Steady airflow is key to a great sounding Bagpipe, and it takes years for a piper to develop their technique. It’s essential because there are four reeds in the Great Highland Bagpipe, all of which are set in tune with each other. There is one reed in the pipe chanter; which is played using the piper’s fingers to produce the melody. This is the strongest of the reeds and as such is the loudest, furthermore the chanter is conical which amplifies the sound. The other three reeds are the Drone Reeds. There is a Bass Drone and two Tenor Drones that produce that unique constant hum that tie together with the Chanter sound to create wonderful harmonies that are often most apparent in Slow Airs, Piobaireachds, and Laments.

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