Bagpipe Facts

Bagpipe Facts
The bagpipes are an instrument of the wind family. Bagpipes have existed since possibly as far back as Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. Bagpipes are most commonly associated with Scottish bagpipes today, and are correctly referred to as either 'bagpipes' or 'bagpipe'. Bagpipes are made with pipes and bag as their name suggests. The chanter pipe has holes to allow for the bagpipe player to produce the melody when played similar a flute. The bagpipe is supplied with air by the musician, who keeps the bag inflated through a blowpipe. The most famous bagpipes are the Great Highland bagpipes from Scotland.
Interesting Bagpipe Facts:
Before becoming famous in Scotland the bagpipes had been played for possibly thousands of years in Turkey, Asia, Africa, the Persian Gulf and some places in Europe.
English pipers tend to refer to the bagpipes as 'a stand of pipes', 'a set of pipes', or 'the pipes' as opposed to 'bagpipes'.
Bagpipes have several parts including the air supply blowpipe, the bag, the chanter, the chanter reed, and the drone or drones.
The chanter is the melody pipe which can be played by the piper, while the drone or drones provide a constant note.
The bag of the bagpipes can be made of a variety of materials. The type used often depends on the environment as they must be air-tight and water absorbent to last. Material used ranges from sheepskin, elk hide, cow hide, and kangaroo hide, to Gortex (substitute for animal hides).
The reed can be made from water reeds, plastic, metal, animal antlers, or brass.
The pipes can be made from wood, or plastic.
Although there are not many bagpipes today that existed prior to the 1800s there are a few examples that suggest they have existed since ancient times. A sculpture that dates to 1000 BC shows bagpipes. Other references to the bagpipes exist in written form dating to the 2nd century AD.
The Scottish Great Highland bagpipes gained popularity when the British Empire expanded and included Highland military regiments, especially during WWI and WWII.
Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK use the bagpipes today in their military ceremonies. The bagpipes are also commonly used in police services as well.
While commonly used in traditional music, the bagpipes have also been used in less traditional music genres such as metal, hip hop, punks, classical, and rock.
In many places around the world the bagpipes are referred to as gaida.
The Great Highland bagpipe is classified specifically as a double reed woodwind instrument.
Some traditional bagpipes were made with ring caps of elephant ivory that makes it difficult to take the instrument to countries where ivory has been banned.
Bagpipes were deemed a weapon of war at one time because they were used to scare away enemies during battle.
In 1560 and in 1746 the bagpipes were banned in Scotland.
Nero, the ancient emperor of Rome, is believed to have played the bagpipes while Ancient Rome burned.
Scotland the Brave is said to be the most commonly played song on the bagpipes.


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