Annually, International Bagpipe Day is observed on March 10. The bagpipes are believed to have originated in Egypt around 400 B.C., with the first performers being known as the pipers of Thebes. Certain regions of Europe, including Scotland and Ireland, have a special affinity for bagpipes.
The background of International Bagpipe Day
A bagpipe is a form of woodwind instrument comprised of the air supply blowpipe, bag, chanter, chanter reed, and drone or drones. The chanter is the melody pipe that the piper can perform, while the drone or drones provide a constant tone. It has a lengthy and illustrious history dating back to ancient Rome and Egypt.
At the beginning of the second millennium, bagpipes began to frequently appear in Western European art and iconography. In Europe during the late 15th century and early 16th century, they were also popular subjects for carvers of wooden choir stalls.
International Bagpipe Day was founded by Andy Letcher and Cassandra Balosso-Bardin in collaboration with the International Bagpipe Organization and the Bagpipe Society. Since 1986, the Bagpipe Society has been actively recruiting new bagpipe players in order to preserve the instrument’s history and practise. As part of his efforts to promote the diversity of bagpipes to a wider audience, Cassandre devised the concept of organising a bagpipe conference.
The worldwide celebration of International Bagpipe Day was initiated by the First International Bagpipe Conference, which brought together musicians and instrument manufacturers from across Europe. Thousands of pipers around the world now commemorate the day annually, with many local pipers hosting events in Harvard (United States), Glasgow (United Kingdom), Haninge (Sweden), Minsk (Belarus), Iran, and Nigeria.
INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY ACTIVITIES
Master playing the bagpipes
Today is the perfect time to learn how to play the bagpipes. Observe online instructional videos, or even better, locate an experienced piper who is willing to put you through your paces. Who knows, you could be on the path to becoming a professional flautist!
Listen to music containing bagpipes
Bagpipes are featured prominently in a number of tracks. Popular compositions such as “Come Talk to Me” by Peter Gabriel and “Celtic Ray” by Van Morrison are included.
This is an ideal time for bagpipers to educate others about the art form. Take an hour or two out of your day to teach them, and you will experience the joy that comes from assisting others learn more than they will.
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5 BAGPIPES FACTS THAT WILL INTEREST YOU
Historically, they were made from whole animal hide, typically sheep’s skin, but nowadays they are typically made from synthetic fabric such as Gore-Tex.
The ancient Roman emperor Nero was rumoured to have played the bagpipes as Rome razed to the ground.
They were originally used to frighten off adversaries on the battlefield and are the only known musical instrument to have been used in warfare throughout history.
There are currently more bagpipe ensembles in the United States than there are in Scotland.
The bagpipe has become a symbol of mourning for fallen heroes, particularly firefighters and police officers, over the years.
INTERNATIONAL BAGPIPE DAY DATES