Why do you play the bagpipes?

Have you ever asked or been asked “why do you play the bagpipes”?

The number one answer is “I like the sound”. Why is it, then, that so many pipers don’t put effort into perfecting their sound?

I remember, vividly, the first time I witnessed a live pro contest. I was so amazed at the sound being produced by these players that I literally got tunnel vision. Nothing else existed to me at that time, outside of the piper I was listening to. The tempos were steady, and the musicality was impressive. The execution was flawless, but the sound was sucking me in to hear all of these details. I had to make my bagpipe sound like this. In lessons, I learned that it had to do with the hands on set up of the instrument, and the time and practice of tuning them to perfection.

I have chased that sound for the last 18 years. Achieving the perfect sound has always (and will always) be a goal for me. Each and every time I take my pipes out to play I’m trying to get the best possible sound from my pipes. I do this for me, but I’d also hope that somebody might hear it and have to explain to somebody why they decided to play the bagpipes.


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