March 10 – International Bagpipe Day

Posted on March 10, 2015

A guy in a kilt, blowing into a pipe connected to a bag with other pipes sticking out of it...

Sure, I'll celebrate that!

Especially because the music produced is so...plaintive...and haunting. 

We generally associate the bagpipes with Celtic culture, especially with the Scottish people, but bagpipes of sorts have also been played for centuries all over Europe and in places like Turkey, around the Persian Gulf, and in Northern Africa. Obviously, girls and women can play bagpipes, too!

Armenian pipes
Syrian piper 
Spanish medieval bagpipes
Pipes from Serbia
Scottish bagpipes

The anatomy of bagpipes

The blowpipe is – you guessed it! – how the piper blows air into the bag.

The bag is an airtight reservoir that holds the air blown in until it is squeezed and released. It's because of this bag that the piper can maintain continuous sound.

The chanter is the melody pipe. It is played with both hands. Chanters have single or double reeds that vibrate and thus create sound. Most chanters have open ends, and there is no easy way for the player to create silences or “rests.”

The drone is a pipe that is not fingered. Like the chanter, it has a single or double reed. The drone produces a constant harmonizing note throughout the play. Many bagpipes have multiple drones.

Also on this date:

International Day of Awesomeness  

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