A bagpipe is a reed based musical instrument that is made up of a melody pipe and one or more drone pipes (as many as five can be used) projecting out of a windbag, which is inflated by the air blown by the player’s mouth or with the help of a bellows.
While Irish Bagpipes and Highland Bagpipes of Scotland can be played when the bag is filled by air blown from the piper’s mouth, bagpipes from the English county of Northumberland produce sound when the windbag is filled with air supplied from arm-operated bellows.
Though bagpipes are traditionally associated with Scotland, nevertheless they are an integral part of folk music traditions of Ireland, England, France, and in different forms throughout the European continent and even parts of Asia.
The origin of bagpipes can be traced to civilizations that flourished across the world in ancient times. As material (wood, reeds, and animal skin) for building this device was readily available in the countryside to shepherds and herdsmen, bagpipes emerged as a popular pastoral instrument.
Numerous references about bagpipes can be found in art and literature from ancient as well as from the medieval period. Up until the medieval age, bagpipes usually had a single drone but with time more drones were added to the instrument.
In modern times bagpipes have become an integral part of martial tradition and are generally associated with marching bands of specific military units. In fact, there are certain military bands that wholly comprise of pipers.
Apart from bands belonging to armed forces, bagpipes can also be seen in bands of schools and bands belonging to other academic institutions.
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