Always present at Highland Games – Massed Pipe Bands are an outstanding spectacle with immaculate kilted pipers and drummers.
Each band competes in various sections – bands are graded. They are assessed on uniform, marching and overall presentation and of course, their music. Each band has a Drum Major and a Pipe Major.
There are Pipe bands in most countries of the world, as wherever Scots emigrated to – more followed – and the Scottish traditions were kept alive.
Many Australian Pipe bands practice hard achieving a standard, and some of our bands even travel to Scotland for the World Pipe Band Championships.
The governing body in Victoria is: Pipe Bands Victoria
Some historians believe that bagpipes originated in ancient Egypt and were bought to Scotland by invading roman legions. Others maintain that the instrument was brought over the water by the colonizing Scots tribes from Ireland. Certainly, bagpipes have existed in various forms in many places around the world. In each country the construction of the basic instrument comprises the same components, and air supply, a bag with a chanter and one or more drones.
In the Scottish Lowlands, pipers were part of the travelling minstrel class, performing at weddings, feasts and fairs throughout the Border country, playing songs and dance music. Highland pipers appear to have been influenced by their Celtic background and occupied a high and honoured position. It is considered that by the 1700s the piper had started to replace the harpist as the prime Celtic musician of choice within the Clan system.
As a musical instrument of war, the Great Pipes of the Highlands were without equal. The shrill and penetrating notes worked well in the roar and din of battle and pipes could be heard at distances up to 10 miles. Because of the importance of the bagpipes to any Highland army, they were classified as an instrument of war by the Loyalist goverment during the Highland uprising in the 1700s. After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 kilts and bagpipes were outlawed.