A pipe bands Drum Major from The Gordon Highlanders military pipe band at The Aboyne Highland Games.
© Bill Bagshaw
In a military pipe band the Drum Major would be a man of outstanding military character able to control men in battle.
The Drum Major was the figurehead of the regiment. In battle he instructed the drummers to play certain beats which passed messages to the rest of the troops.
The Drum Major’s was a very important job in the pipe bands. If he got it wrong the battle could be lost. He carried proud regimental honours on his sash and upon his silver headed mace.
Military pipe band drum majors do not throw their mace, however in more recent years a drum major in a non military band became more of an entertainer who threw and caught his mace.