Like whisky and tartan, kilts and haggis, the bagpipes are most often associated with Scotland. However, the pipes likely originated in India, and the bagpipe as a musical instrument can be found in many varieties and many cultures. There is even evidence to suggest that the bagpipe was around in pre-Roman times.
By far the most popular version of the bagpipe today is the 3-drone (2 tenor, 1 bass) Great Highland Bagpipe, said to be a Scottish refinement of the early instrument. No other image conjures up thoughts of Scotland more than that of a lone piper standing against the backdrop of a shimmering loch, or a majestic glen.
The bagpipe has a long history as both an instrument of traditional music and one of battlefield glory. Indeed the pipes were once classified as an instrument of war and in some circles were said to have replaced the trumpet on the battlefield. Classic bagpipe music is steeped in martial origins, with songs of battle, marches and laments.
The Great Highland bagpipe increased in popularity around the world thanks in part to the British military services that trained large numbers of pipers to serve in both World Wars. Military-style pipe and drum bands are popular worldwide, including in the police and fire ranks. Since the 60's, thanks to artists like Sir Paul McCartney, AC/DC, and others, the bagpipe has even found its way into the world of rock and pop music. One of the hottest acts in Scotland over the past decade has been the unique sound and musical stylings of the band, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Their "backrock" music, covering tunes in genres ranging from metal to rock to pop and beyond is introducing the pipes to an entirely new audience and deepening their appreciation through audiences of all ages.
Craig Munro is one of Scotland's premiere pipers. He took up the pipes at the tender young age of 8. Today he is a renowned instructor, sought after by individuals and organizations/pipe bands from around the world. He is a Scotsman who plays the pipes in a traditional Irish pipe band; they finished 2nd at the just recently completed World PIpe Band Championships. He has performed on the soundtracks to "Brave" and "How to Train Your Dragon 2." He is Director of Wallace Bagpipes in Scotland, arguably the world's finest. And, he is a piper with The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. In short, Craig knows the pipes inside and out. He was very generous to take time from his incredibly busy schedule to share some of that knowledge here, Under The Tartan Sky!