The bagpipes are a form of aerophone, which is an instrument that creates sound by vibrating a chamber of air without the use of strings. In the case of bagpipes, enclosed reeds are used. The haunting melodies most American’s are familiar with owe to the widespread use of the pipes by military and police organization, especially at funerals which are their ceremonies most likely to be exposed to larger civilian populations. They are, however capable of a wide range of music, and are every bit as useful for celebration as they are for mourning.
While the pipes are very closely associated with the Scottish and Irish Celts, there is much evidence of their wide-spread use in various forms throughout Gaulish Europe. There is even some literary evidence that suggest the Romans and Greeks used pipes, though it is not conclusive at all.
Pipes exist with as little as one chanter pipe (the pipe that plays the melody) and no drone pipes (a fixed not harmony pipe) at all, to those having two chanters and multiple drone, and some pipers learn and practice with a special chanter that doesn’t have a bag at all.
One thing that these different pipes have in common is that they are a unique form of musical expression, and a troupe of eleven pipers would make a spectacular gift for any true love in the season of loving and giving.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas
My True Love Gave to Me,
Eleven Pipers Piping.