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If you haven’t been to Scotland yet and if you’ve only just embarked on your journey with Scottish culture – despite not knowing much…you might still be familiar with the haunting sound of the Scottish bagpipes.  Bagpipes are the national instrument of Scotland and are best represented by the music of the Scottish Highlands.

The three pipes that rise out of the instrument create a constant sound, with a fourth pipe holding nine holes for chord and pitch changes. The bags are usually made of sheep or elk skin and fill with air, which is then pressed by the arm to push the air through. The sound is undeniable when heard and evokes a sense of time-honored tradition for those who love the music of the Scottish Highlands. (Source

Whilst historians can only speculate on the actual origins of the piob mhor, or great Highland bagpipe, it was the Highlanders themselves that developed the instrument to its current form, establishing it as their national musical instrument both in times of war and peace.

Fun fact:

It is said that Queen Elizabeth doesn’t wake up the same way as the rest of us.  Rather than an alarm clock, she has her own personal bagpipe player who rouses her from slumber.  Every morning at precisely 9:30am a kilted piper parades beneath the Queen’s window and plays her favorite military marches.  Her husband Philip hates the bagpipes.

Traditionally, a piper will play at a Scottish wedding, standing at the church door playing as the guests arrive.  He also plays as the newlyweds leave the ceremony and make their way to their car.  Bagpipes are traditionally played as the couple make their way to the top table at the reception, as well as when they cut their wedding cake.  (Source Lochcarron of Scotland)

A bagpiper usually wears traditional Highland dress, so it looks and sounds truly impressive as an ensemble.

Source Public Domain Archive

During the high season Fort Augustus comes alive and it’s possible to hear bagpipe music almost every day around lunchtime.  The music creates a lovely, mesmerising traditional sound unique to the Highlands.

Visit us at The Lovat hotel and we’ll recommend some traditional bagpipe tunes!

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Post by Linda Dumpe

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