How Do You Play the Bagpipes?


To play the bagpipes, a musician blows air into the pipe. The musician needs a lot of lung power to fill the bag with air and maintain it. With bellows-blown bagpipes, the musician plays different notes by using the finger holes and moving the bellows with the arms. With mouth-blown bagpipes, the musician plays a melody by making different fingerings on the chanter.

Mouth-blown bagpipes are also called Highland bagpipes. The chanter on a Highland bagpipe is a pipe at the at the front end of the bag with a double reed in it. Bagpipes are among the oldest reed instruments in the world, having existed since ancient times. Early forms of the bagpipe were made in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. Bagpipes are now generally associated with Scotland. The instrument used to have three parts: the chanter or tube, a bag, and a tube with a valve that prevented the air from returning. The bag was made of animal skin or the stomach of a large animal. Modern bagpipes have more than these three parts. The three long pipes coming from the top of the bagpipe are the bass drone, the inside tenor drone and the outside tenor drone. Each has tuning pins to adjust the pitch of the drones.