Bagpipe Appreciation Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Again I hear you piping, for I know the tune so well, -
You rouse the heart to wander and be free,
Tho' where you learned your music, not the God of song can tell,
For you pipe the open highway and the sea."
~The Piper, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Mixin' it up with the Mixolydian! The bagpipe uses the A Mixolydian mode, which is related to the key of D Major and contains the notes, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, and A (although the A is pitched closer to a B♭). For reference, other famous songs featuring mixolydian mode include: the theme from Star Trek, Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Norwegian Wood (the Beatles), and Pleasant Valley Sunday (the Monkees)! Few attempts have been made to combine the bagpipes with classical orchestral instruments, due mainly to conflicts of balance and tuning . However, composer Graham Waterhouse created the Chieftain's Salute Op. 34a for Great Highland Bagpipe and String Orchestra (2001). He noted: "A satisfactory balance was achieved in this piece by placing the piper at a distance from the orchestra." 🎶
Honour the Piper
Today, July 27 is Bagpipes Appreciation Day! And, it is Scotch Whisky Day! Coincidence?
Most of us are elated by the skirl o' the pipes and want to get up and dance, or charge into battle, or run for the pub.
Some, however, have not yet learned proper appreciation. Here are the best of the best of quotes about bagpipe music for a laugh:
"Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of bagpipes." ~Lee Trevino
"I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig." ~Alfred Hitchcock
"Constable Moore had reached the age when men can subject their bodies to the worst irritations - whisky, cigars, woolen clothes, bagpipes - without feeling a thing or, at least, without letting on." ~Neal Stephenson
Well, it's appreciation of a sort.
Share a dram with your favorite piper today to show how much you appreciate them and the music.
Slainte to the pipers! We salute you!
To see how Bugs Bunny feels about the bagpipes, click the still of the episode "My Bunny Lies Over the Ocean" for a special animated sequence.
See below for a video of the dance performed by the Portland Branch in 1995.