Great Highland Bagpipe
Great Highland Bagpipe is the most famous and popular bagpipe in the world. The word “bagpipe” is strongly associated with the image of a Scotsman and many people believe that the bagpipe is a Scottish invention. In fact, bagpipes, as well as many other musical instruments, came to Europe from the East. According to one of the existing versions, the bagpipe appeared in Scotland thanks to the Vikings. It was brought there by the Normans. Another version says that the bagpipes were brought to the territory of Scotland by the ancient Romans.
Bagpipes were known even in antiquity. The first instrument, identified as a bagpipe, dates back to 3000 BC. It was found during excavations of the ancient city of Ur in the territory of the kingdom of Sumer. The Roman emperor Nero played various musical instruments, including bagpipe. Different types of bagpipes were widely distributed on the lands of ancient Slavic states.
The history of the instrument called “bagpipe” includes an extensive collection of archival materials: annals, murals, bas-reliefs, figurines and pictures depicting bagpipes of different periods of time.
Great Highland Bagpipe was developed in the 16th-19th centuries in the north-west of Scotland. In the Middle Ages Scottish bagpipes were used as a functional tool. In the clans of the Scottish Highlanders there was a special post “clan piper”. He played at all ceremonies and events (including ritual). The sound of the Scottish bagpipes frightened the enemies and raised the strength of the spirit of the Scottish mountaineers. The British formed the regiments of the Scottish Highlanders, who traveled with bagpipes, participating in the colonial campaigns of Great Britain.
The Great Highland Bagpipe received the world popularity in the second half of the 20th century. Pipe Bands appeared not only in the states that made up the British Dominion (Canada, Australia, New Zealand), but also in Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, etc. Such a large increase in interest in the Scottish bagpipe was largely due to the international festival of military brass bands Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Since 1947 this festival is annually held in Scotland in the medieval Edinburgh Castle.
Great contribution to the development of world interest in Scottish bagpipes was made by one of the best military orchestras of Scotland pipers, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Pipes & Drums, famous for its collaborations with Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, as well as many rock and pop stars of Great Britain and Hollywood. It was the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Pipes & Drums who first performed Elvis Presley’s song Amazing Grace on bagpipes.
Scottish bagpipe is the loudest musical instrument. Its sound could be well heard at least three miles away.
The main producer and exporter of bagpipes in the XIX-XX centuries was Pakistan.