Could bagpipes play a part in banding?

could bagpipes play a part in banding?

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Along the same lines as the horn "discussion" could bagpipes be used to increase the amount of tembres available to the brass band idium? I feel that brass bands are really very limited and could greatly be improved by the inclusion of such a dolcic instrument, maybe they could replace the newly appointed french horn or maybe just the baritone section, i dunno just looking for some thoughts...


get rid of the baritone section?!?!!? :shock: nooooo

nah but seriously, I don't think so...only one of the hunners and thoosands I've heard in ma puff can play in tune! It's chronic half the time. Plus if I have to hear highland cathedral ever again I'll die.
Plus, Bagpipes arnt a brass instrument to start with, and they can only play certain notes and in certain keys. Although, in "Hymn to the Highlands" the percussion part does read "Synth. Bagpipes" at one point!!! :shock:


Active Member

It's just wrong!!

What's the difference between pagpipes and onions??

No-one cries when you chop bagpipes!!


Active Member
Aaaaaaaaargh no!

No no no no no.

I still bear the scars of a 'massed brass and pipes' event some four years ago. I had to conduct several hundred bl**dy minded pipers who didn't really see the need for a conductor. After all, they all followed their own bass drum. But the drum majors were all determined to play at different tempi 'because we always play it at crotchet = 92/95/96.5' etc. etc.

Nearly committed pipicide that day, not to mention drumicide. To this day I still wander around York with my bow and arrow looking for men in skirts...



Active Member
Imagine getting off a coach at Wembley Stadium at 7am only to be greeted by a couple of hundred of them damned things then Dave.
I'm still getting therapy for it, and that was 20 years ago!!!

Did you know, btw, that Bagpipes were invented by the Irish as a joke. It's just that the Scots haven't caught on yet. :twisted: :lol:


Active Member
Somewhere deep in the archives of Shropshire County School of Music, lies a Concerto for Bagpipes and Brass Band (can't remember the proper title, sadly).
It was written for one of our cornet players, Carol Aspinall, who also played bagpipes. We only played it in company once...

Or maybe I'm making this all up.

matthew ellson

New Member
Bagpipes in brass bands definitely not.Working with them through work is bad enough for example,five weeks on the Edinburgh Tattoo is far to much.I don't think that i could bear to play all those dodgy pipe and band arrangements in a brass band.


Active Member
Kerwintootle said:
Tongue placed firmly in cheek for this thread surely.

You'd like to think so, but in a matter of such gravity it's best to be on the safe side. Once they've been invited to play Highland Cathedral they might just decide to stick around...

No no no.


The Cornet King

Active Member
Oh I think bagpipes could play a real part in a brass band! :eek:

You know the feeling when you walk off concert/contest stage having played a real shocker and need something to vent your anger on?? Bagpipes... :D :wink:


James McFadyen

New Member
Oddly enough when I went shopping today at Sainsbury's, there was a piper dressed in full kilt and stuff and playing the bagpipes in the store. I must admit, hereing bagpipes up here in Scotland sure makes u feel proud to be scottish, although I am somewhat biased!



Active Member
bigmamabadger said:
Somewhere deep in the archives of Shropshire County School of Music, lies a Concerto for Bagpipes and Brass Band (can't remember the proper title, sadly).
It was written for one of our cornet players, Carol Aspinall, who also played bagpipes. We only played it in company once...

Or maybe I'm making this all up.

No, you're not making it up. If I remember rightly it was played in Ellesmere school and was Carols last ever performance with the band.
Not sure whether that was a result of her moving away to Uni or something to do with the bagpipes
I think they may only appear in brass bands in special occasions..... It was okay at this years nationals, but I wouldn't look forward to more "brass band feat. a bagpiper" piece...

No chance, although in some cases an MD might choose to use them to improve the tone of a band, thats if they are really desperate! :shock:


Active Member
We are in the fortunate position that one of our cornet players is a fine piper as well.
We usually finish our concerts with her joining the band on the pipes playing Highland goes down a bomb...mind you we are in Scotland. Not a lot for pipes and band. I did the arrangement and really must sit down and do a few more.


Active Member
Only in specifically written pieces!

Balancing things up with more than one piper must be very difficult, they're so loud. I can remember being halfway up a mountain in Glencoe and being able to hear a piper in the visitor's centre, a good 4 miles away up the valley!


Staff member
I must confess to being rather fond of hearing bagpipe features - the RAF Central closed their Southend concert just before Christmas with one, and I remember hearing Peter Maxwell Davies's "Orkney Wedding With Sunrise", where the moment when the piper appears, ideally from the back of the auditorium, can be quite magical.

They are always going to be a bit of a novelty item, of particular interests to Scots and their "felow-travellers", but with the several cds I have with bagpipe tracks I certainly don't rush for the "skip" button when they come on.

As for massed pipers, though, that's another thing - memories of being ordered to start playing again on the march in Berlin because the pipers had made such a mess of taking over from us :!: :shock: :lol:
I believe that bagpipes; in the right hands; to be a superb musical instrument, producing the whole spectrum of musical emotions.
It has been my privilege to know the greatest piper of all times; Donald MacPherson who has won more competitions than anyone in the history of piping. I could listen to him for hours and derive great pleasure. Being a great musician he appreciates a wide variety of music from opera, orchestral, jazz, and even may I say brass bands, and is very discerning when it comes to quality of performance.
Bagpipes just like brass instruments in the wrong hands can perform the operation that turns hearing people deaf.

Dafydd ap Iago

P.S. The Bagpipes have been used in opera, and orchestral music.

Schwanda the Bagpiper
• Jaromír Weinberger. Opera in two acts. 1927.
• Libretto by Miloš Kareš, based on traditional Czech children's stories.
• First performance at the National Theatre, Prague, on 27th April 1927.

The robber Babinski takes refuge in the farmhouse of Schwanda and his wife Dorota and he and Schwanda go to relieve the Queen of melancholy, as she suffers under the power of a wicked Magician. Schwanda plays his bagpipes and the Queen recovers, suggesting marriage, which Schwanda accepts, kissing her. The Queen is angry, however, when Dorota and the Magician appear, and Schwanda is condemned to death, escaping with the help of Babinski and his bagpipes. He swears to Dorota that if he ever kissed the Queen, he will go to hell, and promptly does so. There the Devil asks him to play, a request he refuses, and then seeks his soul. Babinski rescues him again, this time beating the Devil at cards. Schwanda is finally re- united with Dorota, although Babinski had had hopes of her himself.
Schwanda's bagpipe Polka enjoys great popularity, to which the second act Fugue comes a close second. The opera itself has enjoyed considerable success, with its use of Czech folk material.

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