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It was, after all, merely an album of bagpipe music.
March 17, 2010 8:40 AM   Subscribe

I like bagpipes. And I'm not afraid to admit it. They can be traditional, rock, or cross-cultural. They may have been around since ancient Rome. It's the instrument everyone claims to hate, but who can really hate a good drone?
posted by rusty (81 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Paul Dunmall!
posted by kenko at 8:42 AM on March 17, 2010


Look at that horrible monster attacking that old lady!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:44 AM on March 17, 2010


Q: How is playing the bagpipes like throwing the javelin blindfolded?
A: You don't have to be any good to get everybody's attention.

Bagpipes almost make me teary for no logical reason.
posted by fish tick at 8:48 AM on March 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


I love the sound of bagpipes (well played) and they tend to make me feel ridiculously sentimental and teary-eyed too.
posted by supermedusa at 8:52 AM on March 17, 2010


Q: Why do bagpipers walk when they play?
A: To get away from the noise.
posted by dydecker at 8:52 AM on March 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


also, shouldn't that be "I like bagpipes and I cannot lie..."????
posted by supermedusa at 8:53 AM on March 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am crying and shaking: more bagpipes jokes, please.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2010


Wot, no Pokerface cover?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:58 AM on March 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


An octopus walks into a music store and buys a set of bagpipes. The salesman says, "Do you know how to play that?" The octopus says, "Play it? I'm going to fuck it as soon as I get these pajamas off!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:58 AM on March 17, 2010 [21 favorites]


If anyone can find a cover of either Poker Face or Baby Got Back incorporating bagpipes, you win free favorites from me for life.
posted by rusty at 9:00 AM on March 17, 2010


Did you hear the one about the bagpiper who parked his car with the windows open, forgetting that he had left his bagpipes in the back seat?
He rushed back as soon as he realized it, but it was too late--someone had already put another set of bagpipes in the car.
posted by sallybrown at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some more badass bagpipery.

Bagpipes have been on my instrumental "would love to learn someday" list forever, but it's the sort of instrument you really need a mentor and context to learn, and neither has come into my life quite yet.
posted by usonian at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I never thought I'd have any reason to say this series of words together, but here I go:

Goat carcass Bagpipes.
posted by god hates math at 9:12 AM on March 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


There's a bagpipe tradition with Palestinians too.
posted by idb at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wot, no Pokerface cover?

Perhaps not yet, but in the meantime, here's one of the Star Wars theme.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:16 AM on March 17, 2010


When I lived in Pensacola, there was a nice park down by Bayou Texar....I remember summer evenings when the local bagpipe group would get together and practice/play in the early evening...there were a bunch of them. And it was bliss....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2010


I can't plug Rufus Harley hard enough to any bagpipe lovers who may not have heard of him "

"A Love Supreme"
"Malika"
"Nobody Knows the Trouble Us People Is Done Seen"
posted by ryanshepard at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Big Up the Bagpipe inna Bigpipe Style (variation on Orbital's Style, as found on The Alltogether 2CD set).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:18 AM on March 17, 2010


Nothing announces "presence" in as powerful way to me as a group of pipe and drummers marching to Scotland the Brave. The aura of pride is demonstrable.
posted by jefficator at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2010


-Craig Ferguson has an American passport now, but he's still a Scot!

-Bagpipes so old school Beowulf is taught in contemporary literature.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I, too, cry when I hear bagpipes. I wonder, what's up with that?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2010


A couple of contributions:

The Irish pipes. They work a bit differently -- you don't blow in the bag to inflate it, you work a bellows with your elbow.

Kate Bush uses Irish pipes here, and throws in some Joyce for good measure.

Peter Gabriel used the Scottish pipes for this song.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:27 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


BAGPIPE ROBOT NOW KNOWS WHAT YOU HUMANS CALL... LOVE
posted by Greg Nog at 9:28 AM on March 17, 2010


Ah yes, bagpipes are my favourite word in German: it's the Doodle-sack.

(Ok, really spelled Dudelsack, and sometimes transliterated Sackpfeife). I thought the Swiss person telling me this was just joking, or that that was just some sort of a childish/playful name, but no. They explained "Well that is the noise it makes. Dooodle-oodle-oodle-ooo".
posted by molecicco at 9:28 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


See also: learn how to play the Great Highland Bagpipes video series on eHow, though some suggest you really (really) should get a teacher, though he'll give you tips on how to learn on your own. But be warned: it takes a couple of years to learn to play the bagpipe and then several more to learn how to play it well.

For whatever odd reason, I really wanted to learn to play the bagpipes as a kid. My mom, being supportive, called around to find out more. Only then did she learn it was about an 8 year process to be able to play the full instrument. Others say 7 years in and "you'll be able to see your final plateau", but there are many rewards along the way at every level.

And if you want to know more about the varied world of bagpipes, the wiki article is pretty good, covering the history, the general parts of the instrument, and the various types.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on March 17, 2010


Seconding Paul Dunmall, too - the Profound Sound Trio's set at the 2008 Vision Festival pretty much floored me.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:29 AM on March 17, 2010


I was just re-listening to Do or Die this morning for the first time in so long... I too like bagpipes.

When I worked at a company up in Redmond, there was a guy who would get there really early everyday and play his bagpipes out on the lawn. It was really nice, and made me try to get in early too.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:38 AM on March 17, 2010


Big bagpipes are called Great Irish Warpipes in Ireland.

Which, let's face it, is about a million times more awesome a name than bagpipes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:39 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was 13, I played tenor drum in a highlands pipe and drum band for exactly two days. Of course, in my excitement to finally have an excuse to wear a skirt in public, I had somehow overlooked the fact that bagpipes sound terrible even when played by competent musicians, and here I was being deafened by the cat-murderings of a dozen adolescent rookies.

Yeah, um, no thanks, Proud Scottish Heritage. No thanks.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 AM on March 17, 2010


The Wicked Tinkers. you're welcome.
posted by goml at 9:43 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This album by The Red Hot Chilli Pipers has bagpipe versions of We Will Rock You, Eye of the Tiger, Smoke on the Water, Getting Jiggy With It, Rockin' All Over The World, Hey Jude and Voodoo Child.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:48 AM on March 17, 2010


If you'd like to try out the bagpipes some time, just leave your car unlocked in a "bad" neighborhood. People will come and lend you one, no charge, by leaving it in your car. Roll down the windows or they'll break them. They are Scottish, after all. And remember, pay it forward.
posted by stavrogin at 9:51 AM on March 17, 2010


Great thread, I love bagpipes!

Greg Nog, I see your robot bagpipes, and I raise you one goat.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:56 AM on March 17, 2010


oh crap, I missed your link god hates math. Sorry!
posted by madamjujujive at 9:58 AM on March 17, 2010


Ah, the bagpipes.

I grew up in a house with very thin walls and a sister who was learning the bagpipes.

The best part is 'seasoning', which you have to pour into the bag from time to time. The makers claim that it prevents mould and bacteria in the animal-skin bag. From personal experience I can add that it also does a fine job of killing off the maggots of the houseflies that get in through the drones, lay their eggs, then die inside the bag.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:01 AM on March 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


le morte de bea arthur does not want me to sleep well tonight.
posted by theredpen at 10:06 AM on March 17, 2010


I am physically incapable of making a playlist that does not have "Bagpipes" by the Dropkick Murphys on it.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:13 AM on March 17, 2010


Putting in another shill for the lesser-known uilleann pipes (pronounced illin', yeah, that's right, illin') which as noted upthread are played with a bellows under the elbow rather than a pipe in the mouth. To my ear they have a mellower tone than Highland pipes that is absolutely addictive. A good album to check out is The Drones and the Chanters: Irish Pipering featuring the incomparable Seamus Ennis. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2010


Heh, my ringtone is a pibroch snippet. Sadly my workplace blocks Youtube, but I look forward to terrorizing my dogs with these links tonight when I get home. Like the time I bought a practice chanter for fun (I am not musicapable) and put the reed in backwards. My old boy still looks at the chanter like it's a snake. Any dog-loving MeFite pipers in PDX? I know a small club with a small need.
posted by cairnish at 10:36 AM on March 17, 2010


As a banjo player, I am grateful that I'll always have bagpipe players to make fun of.

(Kidding aside, the bagpipes fucking rock)
posted by bondcliff at 10:39 AM on March 17, 2010


I am physically incapable of making a playlist that does not have "Bagpipes" by the Dropkick Murphys on it.

Allow me to present The Real McKenzies. I have never seen a band so drunk play so well.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Where would we be without St Cecilia's strapping cohort, - the music-loving sniper?
posted by aeshnid at 10:50 AM on March 17, 2010


I think what bothers me about bagpipes is how they've become so ubiquitous at weddings, parades, etc.

I even saw some on St. Patrick's Day in Denver, and I was like, wouldn't the Irish and Scots not like each other, what with the whole United Kingdom and stuff. Maybe I'm completely off-base here, but it just seemed like convenient cultural misappropriation.
posted by elder18 at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2010


Polyhymnia: Whereas the great pipes sounded to me like they were going to storm through my living room and break things, the uilleann pipes always sounded to me as if they were laying on my couch weeping.

/ten years of Irish Dance
posted by oflinkey at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only reason the Irish and the Scots wouldn't like each other would be in a situation where we were trying to outdo each other as the bigger victim of the English (j/k) Seriously, though, the only Scots who dislike the Irish are Orangemen (and we try our hardest to enter them into the Darwin Awards every 12th of July by letting them drink and fight as much as they want)

All you bagpipe-lovers are welcome to visit my humble home during the summer months when it's bloody impossible to avoid the noise from Kelvingrove Park. By August I'm ready to kill them all. And accompanied, of course, by twats playing bongos. It's GRATE!!1!!
posted by meosl at 11:11 AM on March 17, 2010


Forget ye not Enter The Haggis!

One Last Drink
Murphy's Ashes
posted by tommasz at 11:11 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have some acid bagpipes.
I'm not ready to write about my brush with Scottish bagpiper culture and its subset of strapping young gay army bagpipers hanging out with lecherous old gay bagpipers
posted by yoHighness at 11:14 AM on March 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Strange, in my 42 years of living in and around NYC, I have never heard anyone say they didn't like them.
posted by circa68 at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2010


Can't forget the avant-garde bagpipes!

(LAD 2 is the more accessible of the two tracks, but both are compelling and impressive. 9 bagpipes, y'all!)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:20 AM on March 17, 2010


I'm not ready to write about my brush with Scottish bagpiper culture and its subset of strapping young gay army bagpipers hanging out with lecherous old gay bagpipers

Could you be ready by, say, 2:00 PST?

Please? Pretty please with haggis on top?
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I grew up in St. Paul, Minn., across the street from Macalester College, "Home of the Fighting Pipers." The pipers regularly stood in the shade of the elms lining the islands in Summit Ave. to practice. Great stuff, except at dawn in June -- then I wanted them to chocke.

Now I see there's a group of alum called "Bagpipe Associates Minnesota" who hire out for events: http://www.bagpipeassociates.com/id3.html Hey, you can commission bagpipe compositions starting at $300!

(My friend Molly's dad played his bagpipes at the start of her wedding reception. The happy couple's limo was delayed, and I thought her Dad would die as he stood at the ballroom entrance and played and played and played...)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oscar Wilde apparently said of them, "Thank God there is no smell."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not longer after I bought my banjo, I was talking to a friend of mine who is an accordionist. I suggested to him that we ought to round up a bagpiper and form the most anoying trio ever.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


Almost as 'anoying' as typos. Argh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2010


Some men there are love not a gaping pig,
Some that are mad if they behold a cat,
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' th' nose,
Cannot contain their urine.

- Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, IV, i
posted by wenestvedt at 11:37 AM on March 17, 2010


Is this the thread where we're talking about Rush? Man, Geddy Lee just has the awesomest voice EVER.
posted by slogger at 11:41 AM on March 17, 2010


Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, 2009 World Champions.
posted by bgrebs at 11:43 AM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw the words "I like bagpipes" and logged in just to make sure "It's A Long Way To The Top" (best use of bagpipes in rock history) and Rufus Harley were covered, but I see the OP and ryanshepard have the situation under control. Carry on!
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:02 PM on March 17, 2010


I suggested to him that we ought to round up a bagpiper and form the most anoying trio ever.

Annoying... like a fox!

That doesn't really work, does it? My point is that would be a great trio. You really should do that.
posted by rusty at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2010


Iain MacDonald doing Puirt a beul from the BBC's cracking Transatlantic Sessions.
Bit of Galician gaita with some nice old pics of pipers.
posted by Abiezer at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2010


The University of Chicago has bagpipers on hand for graduations and other events requiring a procession, and when I was there, some of the bagpipers would hang out on the Midway to practice. The year I was working in an unairconditioned office in Wieboldt Hall, with windows opening onto a nice view of the Midway, a story was going around that one of the deans (in a similarly unairconditioned office) went on a rampage after one of the bagpipers spent...too...much...time practicing on a very hot day.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2010


If only they didn't sound so damn out-of-tune. It's like a bunch of cats wailing...
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2010


Throwing in my favorite, Mike Katz (piping explosion at 2:40) of Battlefield Band.
posted by cgk at 12:19 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Billy Connelly referred to the sound as a cat being eaten by a vacuum cleaner.

I love me some bagpipes.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:00 PM on March 17, 2010


I dinna play piano, accordion or tuba,
I ne’er been to an opera or ballet,
I canna tell the difference between soprano an’ baritone,
I dinna ken any Alisdair, Malcolm or Hamish, tho I’m sure they are fine musicians,
Single malt is jus’ fine fer brekkie, or just about any other time,
2/4, 6/8 an' 12/8 are nae hockey scores,
My alarm clock starts off with two drum rolls,
Jig an’ reel have nothin’ da do with fishin’,
A strathspey has more life in it than the one you were out with last night,
My “PM” is not Jean Chretien,
I don’t need any amplifier, fuzz box or mixer.
There are two volume settings on my pipe - on and off!
I play for me, and anyone within a mile of ground zero.
My entire vocabulary is comprised of G,A,B,C,D,E,F,g and a.
I doona crush my doublings, an’ I really throw my D's.
My name is Rick, and I’m a Piper.

Rick McFarlane
posted by bwg at 1:13 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


sorry palmcorder_yajna, I got a feeling that no juicy detail that I could dredge up would improve on the picture in your imagination when you read my comment... also... fuck I'm back 3 hours after i found the drum'n'bass thread from related links here ... I'm going back for more. DON'T STOP - BELIIEVING
posted by yoHighness at 1:14 PM on March 17, 2010


Meet the only graduating bagpipe major in America.
posted by octothorpe at 1:26 PM on March 17, 2010


While walking around Edinburgh eating a deep fried haggis, I was vindicated by the airy notes of "do you think I'm sexy" done on the bagpipes. A taste of it, at 2:33. Sweet, sweet vindication against the husband.
posted by jadepearl at 1:32 PM on March 17, 2010


What, a bagpipe FPP and no mention of Carlos Núñez? Shame!
posted by Skeptic at 1:34 PM on March 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


> we ought to round up a bagpiper and form the most anoying trio ever.

I will buy your first album (CD or iTunes, your pick).
posted by ardgedee at 1:54 PM on March 17, 2010


Double-piper Celtic fusion band Rare Air.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:54 PM on March 17, 2010


Ronan Hardiman has some awesome bagpipey goodness, he's done some Lord of the Dance stuff. Warriors is one of my favorite songs he does, I was dancing to it while poking at my corned beef.

What, you don't dance while making corned beef? Shame on you!
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 1:56 PM on March 17, 2010


I worked at Carnegie Mellon, home of the only graduating bagpipe major in America. The preferred practice spot was out back of the fine arts building-- which was a half-built construction site when I was there-- next to the dumpster. Proper resonance and all.

At 2am, that's a little unnerving to suddenly encounter on your walk down campus to the Cyert labs.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 1:59 PM on March 17, 2010


I saw the red hot chili pipers at the celtic music festival in Avilés in Asturias, Spain. Asturias has a proud tradition of pipes (called gaitas in Spanish).
posted by itsjustanalias at 2:12 PM on March 17, 2010


I spent my childhood in Scotland (Broughty Ferry represent!). I never appreciated (until adulthood) my parents obsession of taking weekend trips to Bagpipe Competitions.

Also -- one should experience the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

2010 marks the Diamond Jubilee Year (60th. anniversary) of the Royal Military Tattoo.
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on March 17, 2010


Ah yes, the goatskin bagpipe.....
posted by Lynsey at 2:35 PM on March 17, 2010


The uilleann pipes sound great, no kidding!
posted by ersatz at 4:38 PM on March 17, 2010


Seriously, though, the only Scots who dislike the Irish are Orangemen (and we try our hardest to enter them into the Darwin Awards every 12th of July by letting them drink and fight as much as they want).

That said, having grown up in the sectarian battle grounds of Everton, I'll always retain a soft spot in my heart for The Sash -- oops, not that one, this one.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:17 PM on March 17, 2010


I used to hate the sound of bagpipes as much as anyone would.

This sentiment changed many years ago, when I was a student. It was a nice early evening in the month of May. I took the subway downtown to do an late session in the lab. As I walked up the stairs from the subway to the street, I felt a powerful shuddering. As I came out of the subway entrance, I vaguely realized that the boulevard had been closed off from traffic, and that a massive Pipe and Drum Corps were marching past, with a dramatic rhythm pounding in my heart. Just at the moment when my foot hit the pavement, the Pipes kicked in with that amazing droning chorus. The complete audio sensation was utterly indescribable. But memorable.

Ever since then, I try to go to every Labour Day Parade that I can make it out to.

So, Bagpipes on recordings, uh, subject to interpretation.

But the traditional Scottish Pipe and Drum Corps, when experienced at close hand, live, are a deeply immersive experience.
posted by ovvl at 6:31 PM on March 17, 2010


I spent three years as a dancer in a pipe band (Queen's University, in Ontario). Marched in the St. Patty's Day parades in both Boston & Montreal, great times. Mooned the governor-general because I didn't realize we were to be on a raised platform. Best time of my life.

Unfortunately, our fridge's hum was at the same frequency as the pipers' drones. So after a weekend of performing somewhere, we'd come home, exhausted and hung-over. And I'd wake up to what I thought was the sound of pipes, rush out of my bedroom frantically putting back on my kilt, and find my housemates with a mic and an amplifier standing by the fridge, laughing their heads off. Fuckers.

I've always loved the Victoria Police Pipe Band.

Hey I play accordion, I certainly can't complain about the bagpipes.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:56 PM on March 17, 2010


Ricochet Biscuit, I think you mean the best, most awesomest trio ever.


/old time fiddle player who swoons for all three. In fact, throw a bombarde in their and I'm in absolute heaven.
posted by Polyhymnia at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2010


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