When the Highlands and Islands of Scotland adopted the bagpipe, perhaps some six hundred years ago, they began to develop the instrument and its music to suit their needs and tastes.
What emerged was the instrument we know today as the Great Highland Bagpipe, and a form of music, piobaireachd (pronounced Pee-broch), which is unique to the instrument. The music consists of a theme (ground) and variations on this theme. The theme can express joy, sadness, or sometimes in the “gathering” tunes , a peremptory warning or call to arms.
The theme is developed in a series of variations, which usually progress to the “crunluath” variation, where the piper’s fingers give a dazzling technical display of embellishment or gracenotes.
The Piobaireachd Society was founded in 1901 to encourage the playing teaching and study of this music.
1) Iain Speirs - MacSwan of Roaig Lament for