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The Bagpipes That David Plays

Scottish Highland Bagpipes

Scottish Highland Bagpipes

When one thinks of bagpipes, for most people in the Western Hemisphere, the Scottish Highland bagpipes are what usually come to mind. These are often referred to as "bagpipes" or just "the pipes."

From the solo piper playing a haunting tune in the misty twilight, to the power of a pipe and drum band in march formation on the road or on the parade grounds, the sound of the Scottish Highland bagpipes is unmistakable.

The Scottish Highland bagpipes are mouth-blown, with a conical-bored chanter, two tenor drones, and one bass drone. The chanter has nine melody notes.

Air is blown in through the mouthpiece and blowstick into the pipe bag. The air then goes through the chanter reed (double-bladed reed made of cane) and the three drone reeds (single-tongue reeds traditionally made of cane, but now many times made of space-age materials).

A tune's melody is played on the chanter (which has nine notes), while the drones provide a two-note harmony.

When a breath is taken by the piper, a flapper valve on the blow stick stops air from going back up the blow stick. The piper keeps squeezing the bag to continue the airflow from the bag to the reeds.
Scottish Border Bagpipes

Scottish Border Bagpipes

The smaller brother to the Scottish Highland bagpipes is the Scottish Border or Lowland bagpipes.

Scottish Border bagpipes have experienced a revival in interest and players, starting in the 1980's, through the present day. While not as loud as the Scottish Highland bagpipes, the Scottish Border bagpipes are well suited for playing along with other instruments.

The Scottish Border bagpipes are traditionally bellows-blown, with a conical-bored chanter, typically tuned in the key of A, with two tenor drones, and one bass drone. Drone configurations are typically tuned A, a, a or A, e, a. The chanter has nine melody notes from low G to high A.

Air is drawn into the bellows with an upward (or outward) movement of the piper's arm. A flapper valve in the bellows closes as the piper squeezes the bellows to move the air into the pipe bag. A flapper valve in the bag-bellows connection lets air into the bag from the bellows and closes when the bellows is expanded. Once in the bag, air flows throughout the chanter reed (double-bladed reed made of cane) and drone reeds (single-tongue reeds traditionally made of cane, but now many times made of space-age materials) to produce the melody notes and harmonic accompaniment.

Scottish Border bagpipes are also available in a mouth-blown variation.

Fingering of notes and embellishments are usually the same as on the Highland bagpipe.

Many people mistake the Scottish Border bagpipes for the Irish uilleann pipes, which are another bellows-blown bagpipe. The uilleann pipes are another thing entirely.
Scottish Smallpipes

Scottish Smallpipes

The smaller brother to the Scottish Border bagpipes is the Scottish smallpipes.

Scottish smallpipes have experienced a revival in interest and players, starting in the 1980's, through the present day. With their quieter sound, these pipes are well suited for indoor playing.

The Scottish smallpipes are traditionally bellows-blown, with a cylindrical-bored chanter, typically tuned in the key of A, with two tenor drones, and one bass drone. Drone configurations are typically tuned A, a, a or A, e, a. The chanter has nine melody notes from low G to high A. Smallpipes tuned in the key of D are also common.

As with the Scottish Border bagpipes, air is drawn into the smallpipes bellows with an upward (or outward) movement of the piper's arm. A flapper valve in the bellows closes as the piper squeezes the bellows to move the air into the pipe bag. A flapper valve in the bag-bellows connection lets air into the bag from the bellows and closes when the bellows is expanded. Once in the bag, air flows throughout the chanter reed (double-bladed reed made of cane) and drone reeds (single-tongue reeds traditionally made of cane, but now many times made of space-age materials) to produce the melody notes and harmonic accompaniment.

Scottish smallpipes are also available in a mouth-blown variation.

Fingering of notes and embellishments are usually the same as on the Highland bagpipe.

Many people mistake the Scottish smallpipes for the Irish uilleann pipes, which are another bellows-blown bagpipe. The uilleann pipes are another thing entirely.

Please call (509) 528-0131 or email today for event / venue bookings or for a consultation to discuss your requirements.