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The Bagpipes -Scotland’s national musical instrument


A line of pipers march along, lead by the lead piper of the Lonach Highlanders, which has been described as Scotlands largest private army. online magazine, photo courses. Photography courses by Bill Bagshaw (Bill Bagshaw & Martin Williams/Bill Bagshaw,

Bagpipes are an icon of Scottish culture.

Little is known of bagpipes in Scotland until the 16th century when they became a competitor to the harp.   The Scottish bagpipe really came to prominence when it was adopted by the military in the 19th century.    The great highland bagpipe is the type of bagpipe native to Scotland and has three drones and a chanter.

Bagpipes consist of an air supply in the form of a bag, a chanter, drones and a blowtube.

The bag is an air reservoir which enables the piper to make a continuous sound, and is blown into by the piper through the blowtube.

The chanter is a tube played by covering and uncovering a series of holes, and contains one or more vibrating reeds.

The drones are tubes containing  reeds.

The blowpipe has a non return valve to maintain the air reservoir.

The Great Highland Bagpipe has a bass drone and 2 tenor drones. The chanter is an octave above the 2 tenor drones and two octaves above the bass drone.