The Pipes! The Pipes!

Today I come to a controversial subject and one which divides people like no other…bagpipes.

Once upon a time someone thought “Its a pity to waste this animal’s stomach, why don’t we shove a couple of hollow reeds in it and see if we can make a noise” And so the bagpipe was born and I bet my last chocolate biscuit people have been arguing about the resulting sound ever since.

As far as I can see they come in two types, one where the bag is inflated by pumping and the other by blowing. My eldest goddaughter (Hi Lyndz) playing Northumberland pipes where she inflates the bag by means of some sort of bellows she works under one arm…don’t ask me for details, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I have enormous respect for anyone who can make music.

On the other hand, Scots and Irish pipes are inflated by the pipers blowing into the bag.

Either way, the music comes when the air is squeezed out of the tubes. That the full extent of my grasp of the technical details.

How either of them manage to squeeze, blow and run their fingers up and down the holes in the reeds is a mystery to me, but thank god they can, because I love both versions, it sends shivers down my spine and brings a lump to my throat. I will admit I prefer Northumberland pipes in a confines space as the other sort can make the wax in your ears melt if they are played close by.

My Faran mercenaries love the sound of the pipes with one single exception. Stopping his pipers play is on of Lord Darach’s chief objects in life and as he is the boss, he gets his own way much of the times, but even he can’t stop them all the time.

“The Lord of the Faran Hills”

2 thoughts on “The Pipes! The Pipes!

  1. There is a moment in John Galsworthy’s play ‘The Mob’ in which the pacifixt hero has almost persuaded his drawing room guests that his stance is the right one. But troops are already marching to embark for the war (unspecified, but possibly in Afghanstan) and a Scottish regiment passes in the street below. As the bagpipes play the mood in the room changes…it is a great theatrical moment, and tribute to the power of the pipes.
    My – increasing elaborate – plans for my funeral include a lone piper following my coffin out of the church. I want plenty of tears, and that is calculated to bring them on, even in passers by who didn’t know me (or perhaps especially in people who didn’t know me.)
    One of my favourite anecdotes is the story of the Siege of Lucknow, where a soldier’s wife, a Highland woman, was lying ill with fever. When she said she heard the pipes of the approaching relief force the women with her thought she was delirious. Until they they heard them too. This could be a legend. It probably owes its popularity to the melodrama ‘Jessie Brown, or The Relief of Lucknow’ where in the finale the stage fills with the kilted pipers – no doubt from Highland regiments quartered in London, earning a fee as extras and playing, inexplicably, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – which must have electrified the audience.
    But… that is what the pipes are for – as well as ‘Follow Me’ and ‘Run While You’ve Got the Chance’ they said ‘Hang in There. We’re Coming.”

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