Originating in Scotland around the 14th Century the Great Highland Bagpipe could of been heard. The only instrument to be labeled an instrument of war (per the British government in the mid 1700s) it can inspire every emotion possible, from fear to love and from joy to sorrow. The bagpipe has always had a great variety in the lives of people and has been a staple in the Scottish military for centuries as well as weddings. No event is complete in the Scottish culture without bagpipes as the musical entertainment and it seems that they have a piper at any event possible. Now I’m going to be more specifically talking about bagpipes in modern weddings but still keeping the history of your culture your wedding.
I have been piping for about 9 years now but have been playing some kind of instrument for 15 years now. I have been born and raised in Dunedin, Florida which was founded by 2 Scotsmen and still cherishes those roots! Growing up here you are immersed in this culture like it or not and it is very true that you either love or hate bagpipes. As you might can guess I love the music and the history behind such an amazing instrument! Of the gigs I do weddings by far as are what I love to play at and to add a unique addition to with my pipes. I’ve played such a variety of weddings you can really add pipes to any kind of wedding and though I love to play the traditional kind of weddings where everyone is kilted and the bride and groom actually know the tunes they want I do like the way its been added to modern style weddings and giving me the option to play what I want would fit best for them. Of course bagpipes isn’t something every wedding has like a DJ but nothing makes an impact like it! Though you might think there aren’t may of us around you would be surprised but few are crazy enough to do it fulltime haha. This is my passion and God has blessed me with this time and a amazing wife that I can follow the dream.
What makes one piper a better choice than another? Of course ability and the variety of tunes available are the easy answers. I list my standard tunes on my website, http://www.JoyfulNoiseBagpiping.com but I can learn a tune with enough time. You also want to see about reviews and testimonials because anyone can make a website now adays and doesn’t have the same impact anymore. Something else that might help is to ask what make bagpipe and chanter they will use not what the piper has. I know pipers with amazing pipes they don’t use because they don’t want them damaged and gig with junk. As a bagpiper in the Tampa Bay area I use either a poly or blackwood chanter depending on the environment and always use my Duncan Soutar of St Andrews blackwood pipes which I love and proudly endorse! In my opinion there are 2 kinds of pipers today, the traditionalist who play standard aires, marches, hymns as well as jigs, reels and strathspeys when appropriate. Then there are the showmen modern pipers who play anything fast no matter if it is a good time for it and wouldn’t play an aire if their life depended on it. I am firmly a traditionalist and I love playing those tunes. I’d much rather play and listen to a piper play beautiful melodic tunes that have emotion than someone going off and playing 250bpm.
All that being said the bagpipe is an instrument all its own that has a culture and tradition I feel no other instrument has. An instrument that has struck fear into the British in the days of Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce to the Germans in WWI and WWII and the terrorist today in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the same turn they are used to pay respects to a fallen soldier or a loved one then to celebrate a marriage! Many cultures have had some form of bagpipe for centuries and are even mentioned in the most printed, longest running best seller, the Holy Bible (Daniel 3:15 – Now if you are ready, at the time you hear the sound of the horn, the pipe, zither, the lyre, harp, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music… LITV). So if you think that bagpipes are too limited for your wedding think again and know that is will add something unique you will always remember!