List of nontraditional bagpipe usage

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The bagpipe is a musical instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes have been for centuries played throughout large parts of Europe, the Caucasus, around the Persian Gulf and in Northern Africa. In recent years, often driven by revivals of native folk music and dance, many types of bagpipes have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and, in many cases, instruments that were on the brink of obscurity have become extremely popular. This list details the use of bagpipes in a variety of non-traditional works, from classical to jazz to rock.

In contemporary classical music[edit]

  • Sinfonia Concertante for Six Solo Instruments and Orchestra, S. 98.6, by P. D. Q. Bach features bagpipes as one of the six instruments.
  • The Brendan Voyage (1983), The Pilgrim (1983) and Granuaile (1985), all by Shaun Davey, are orchestral works featuring the uilleann pipes.
  • The Relief of Derry Symphony (1990), also by Shaun Davey, includes a highland pipe band.
  • An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise (1984) by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Cross Lane Fair for Northumbrian pipes and Orchestra by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies
  • Arthur's Return, for bagpipes and string orchestra (1983) by John Davison (Commissioned by the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and premiered in Dover, Delaware on September 23, 1983, by the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, dir. Marc Mostovoy; Roderick MacDonald, bagpipe)
  • Joan of Arc: An Opera in Three Acts (1993) by Steven Jobe includes bagpipes in the orchestra.
  • Sinfonia mit Dudelsack und Drehleier "Die Bauernhochzeit" (Sinfonia with Bagpipe and Hurdy-Gurdy "Peasant Wedding") by Leopold Mozart, first performed in 1756
  • Ur Og and Aji, for 4 bagpipes, bass clarinet, and tabla by Canadian composer Michael O'Neill.
  • Illusion of Control, for uilleann pipes, saxophones, electronics and 3D visuals (2010), a collaboration between Pedro Rebelo (composition), Brian Cullen (3D visuals), Franziska Schroeder (soprano and tenor saxophones) and Ivan Goff (pipes) (see Youtube Video "Illusion of Control")
  • A New Compleat Theory for The Highland Bagpipe (2020) by Dr. Matthew Welch [1]

In jazz[edit]

  • U.S. musician Rufus Harley (1936–2006) was the first jazz performer to use the Great Highland Bagpipes as his primary instrument.
  • Jean-Pierre Rasle, an expert player of French bagpipes, is featured in many releases by English bass player Jah Wobble
  • The American jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler (1936–1970) used great highland bagpipe on Music is the Healing Force of the Universe (1969).
  • Katariin Raska, an Estonian Jew's harpist, uses the torupilli, an Estonian bagpipe variety, in an Avantgarde and experimental context.
  • Peter Bennink, a Dutch saxophonist and the brother of drummer Han Bennink, also uses bagpipes in a jazz context.
  • New Zealand/New York based musician David Watson released a new music composition for pipe bands on the Midwest Label in 1996. A release from 1998 entitled Wax and Wane featured his bagpipe played in context with NYC downtown musicians like Ikue Mori, and turntablist Otomo Yoshihide. He also released the all bagpipe CD Skirl in 1999 featuring a variety of different percussion players, such as Cyro Baptista, and jazz drummer Tony Buck.
  • Lammas from the U.K were around in the 1990s (winners of a British jazz award) and features Tim Garland trading licks and solos with Uilleann piper Steafan Hannigan (Sin E, Afro Celts) on a couple of albums
  • Canadian ensemble GUH use great highland bagpipe on all their recordings since 1992
  • Scottish Duo Hamish Moore and Dick Lee recorded two albums, available on Greentrax, in the early 1990s.
  • Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling plays blues säckpipa with her big band.

In rock (single or few songs)[edit]

In rock (common usage)[edit]

Folk black metal band Skyforger performing at the 2007 Cernunnos Fest in Paris, France.
  • Celtic rock and other Celtic fusion bands such as Wolfstone, Peatbog Faeries, Shooglenifty and Prydein regularly use bagpipes in their songs, fused with modern sounds.
    • Prydein's use of the highland bagpipes is so prevalent in their recordings and live shows that their music is often referred to as "Bagpipe Rock".
    • Seven Nations, an American Celtic-rock band, features Highland bagpipes and shuttle pipes in many of their songs. Band member Will MacMorran plays pipes.
    • Finn's Fury, a New York Celtic rock band use bagpipes on many songs. They often perform on stage with the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums.
    • Argentine celtic folk rock bands Skiltron and Triddana make heavy use of the bagpipes in a style common in Europe but still rare in South America.
    • Prague-based celtic punk band Pipes and Pints (f.rmed 2006) incorporates highland bagpipes extensively in their music.
  • Dropkick Murphys, a Boston, Mass. Irish-American punk band use bagpipes in many of their songs. An example is their cover of the Boston Red Sox anthem "Tessie" on EP album of the same name.
  • The New York-based Irish-rock band Black 47 (formed 1989) incorporates the uilleann pipes with a horn section consisting of alto saxophone and trombone.
  • Richard Thompson, the British folk-rock songwriter and guitarist, has used Northumbrian smallpipes on two of his albums: 1988's Amnesia, on the track "Pharaoh," and 1994's Mirror Blue, on the track "Beeswing." In both cases the piper is Alistair Anderson. Thompson's guitar playing is influenced by pipe music, and he has cited Billy Pigg as one of his influences.
  • The German band Corvus Corax (formed 1989) uses bagpipes extensively, alongside various authentic medieval instruments.
  • The Scottish-Canadian punk rock band Real McKenzies (formed 1992) has featured bagpipes on all their albums, played by various pipers.
  • The German band Schelmish uses the medieval bagpipes extensively, along with other various authentic medieval instruments.
  • American punk rockers Flatfoot 56 (formed 2000) use Highland bagpipes in many of their songs.
  • The German medieval metal/industrial metal band Tanzwut uses bagpipes.
  • The German medieval metal band In Extremo uses bagpipes extensively.
  • The German medieval metal band Saltatio Mortis uses bagpipes extensively.
  • The German medieval metal band Feuerschwanz uses bagpipes extensively.
  • The German medieval metal band dArtagnan uses bagpipes extensively.
  • The German hard rock/heavy metal/folk bands Subway to Sally and Schandmaul use bagpipes.
  • The German death metal band Suidakra used bagpipes on their album Command to Charge, released in 2005.
  • The German power metal band Grave Digger incorporated bagpipes in many of their songs, from their concept album Tunes of War.
  • The Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie use Galician bagpipes, played by Sevan Kirder (2003–2008), and Päde Kistler (2008-) in all their music, and feature uilleann pipes in several songs, played by founder Chrigel Glanzmann as well as guest musician Brendan Wade (2010).
  • The Belgian folk metal band Ithilien uses bagpipes extensively along their albums From Ashes to the Frozen Land and Shaping the Soul
  • Danish folk metal band Svartsot incorporate the säckpipa along with Irish whistles, bodhrans and other traditional folk instruments into their music.
  • The Irish-influenced American punk band Flogging Molly (formed 1998, Los Angeles) incorporates uilleann pipes into some of their songs.
  • The nu metal band Korn often uses bagpipes in their songs (played by vocalist Jonathan Davis).
  • The Toronto-based Scottish-punk band Enter the Haggis (formed 1996) frequently makes use of Highland bagpipes.
  • The American/Canadian Celtic/World music group, the American Rogues, regularly employs Highland Bagpipes and Scottish Border Pipes and has also recorded using Small Pipes. Most commonly compared to Wolfstone and Afro Celt Sound System (due to their integration of various cultures and instrumentation) the pipers in the American Rogues are of the highest calibre, including members who have competed with the 78th Frasers, Peel Police, and other Grade 1 bands.
  • Neurosis have used bagpipes on their albums Through Silver in Blood (April 1996) and Times of Grace (May 1999).
  • The Australian folk/rock band Brother often pairs bagpipes with the didgeridoo in their songs.
  • The often surreal band Forest for the Trees makes liberal use of bagpipes.
  • The Spanish folk rock band Celtas Cortos uses bagpipes extensively along their discography.
  • The Spanish folk metal band Mägo de Oz uses bagpipes in many songs, such as "El Atrapasueños" ("The Dreamcatcher").
  • The Spanish folk rock band Mallory uses bagpipes in their albums Mallory and Baskerville, e.g. "Gaita 'n roll".
  • Dixebra, a Spanish rock band, uses bagpipes in almost all of their songs. The Asturian bagpipe has been replaced by an electronic bagpipe in later years.
  • Though not actual bagpipes, the Scottish band Big Country would often use guitars that, by the use of electronics, were very similar sounding to bagpipes.
  • Bad Haggis, featuring Eric Rigler, who it has been speculated is the most recorded bagpiper alive, utilizing Highland and uilleann bagpipes. Rigler also played on the Braveheart soundtrack, and for Phil Collins' cover of "True Colors."
  • Canadian rock band The Mudmen (formed in 1998) includes two brothers who play Highland pipes within the band.
  • Portuguese group Gaitafolia (formed in 1998), which mix traditional music for the Transmontan bagpipe with modern sets.
  • Irish folk-metal band Cruachan uses bagpipes in songs, also uses many folk instruments.
  • Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains played uilleann pipes on British progressive rock musician Mike Oldfield's album-length work Ommadawn and also the track "Taurus II" in the album Five Miles Out. Oldfield himself plays Northumbrian smallpipes in the title track of QE2.
  • Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac incorporated Highland bagpipes in his band The Kitchen Devils. Piper Scott Long from the former fiddler's back up band appears on the double platinum recording Hi How Are You Today and Helters Celtic.
  • Nightwish, a Finnish symphonic metal band, uses Uilleann pipes on several of their songs. They're played by Troy Donockley on every album of theirs from Dark Passion Play onwards, including Imaginaerum, Endless Forms Most Beautiful and Human. :II: Nature.
  • Latvian folk black metal band Skyforger uses the Latvian bagpipes in their music.
  • Estonian folk metal band Metsatöll feature the Estonian torupill and other traditional instruments, played by Lauri "Varulven" Õunapuu.
  • Dispatched used bagpipes on their album Terrorizer: The Last Chapter... released in 2003.
  • Scottish group the Red Hot Chilli Pipers uses bagpipes in everything they do, including many covers of contemporary songs.
  • Argentinian Celtic folk metal band Triddana use bagpipes extensively.
  • Portuguese Pop-Rock group Sétima Legião formed in 1982 uses Gaita (iberian bagpipe), played by Paulo Tato Marinho.
  • Greek progressive rock band Villagers of Ioannina City uses bagpipes extensively in their album 'Age of Aquarius'.
  • British industrial band Test Dept uses bagpipes in the albums Terra Firma and Pax Britannica, among others.

In other forms of music[edit]

  • Niteworks, an electronic dance group from Skye use the Scottish smallpipe in combination with Gaelic song and electronic dance music. Their piper Allan MacDonald is the son of Dr. Angus MacDonald of the Glenuig MacDonalds, esteemed Scottish Pipers.
  • NOON, an electronic band from France have four pipers and a DJ to produce a new kind of electronic dance music.
  • Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo has had an ongoing free form psychedelic project for some years, "Glacial," with piper David Watson (see above).
  • Canadian band Godspeed You! Black Emperor used bagpipes for the opening of East Hastings from their LP F♯ A♯ ∞
  • Originally a hymn, "Amazing Grace" is often thought of as a bagpipe tune since it is particularly powerful on the pipes and is commonly heard at funerals when the pipes are present. It was popularized by a hit single recorded by the Royal Scots Greys under PM Jimmy Pryde, which was one of the first popular recordings of bagpipes played with another instrument.
  • American funk band Parliament used bagpipes on the track "Silent Boatman", from their 1970 debut Osmium.
  • The late Canadian-born Scottish musician Martyn Bennett (1971–2005) played Highland bagpipe and Scottish smallpipe in combination with hip-hop and electronic dance music on all of his albums.
  • Mark Saul is a Celtic fusion musician from Melbourne, Australia who plays the Great Highland Bagpipes, wooden flute, and tin whistle, in addition to creating the electronic aspects of his music.
  • Bagpipes (played by Rufus Harley) are featured on the title track of the 1995 album Do You Want More?!!!??! by the U.S. hip hop group The Roots.
  • Rufus Harley also played bagpipes on the track "Sweaters", on Laurie Anderson's art-rock album Big Science (1982).
  • The British musician Paul Dunmall plays free improvised music on the border pipes.
  • Orchestra Macaroon - Breakfast In Balquhidder -Scottish Latin-American jazz folk-rock with the apposite "Warning: This product may contain traces of bagpipes".
  • Worldbeat ensemble Afro Celt Sound System have a signature sound that highlights the uilleann pipes in its fusion of traditional Celtic and African musical textures.
  • Part of Orbital's single, "Style", includes a remix with (probably synthesized) bagpipes called "Big Pipe Style". The original was played with a Stylophone.
  • In the video game Dance Dance Revolution Extreme, the song "Bag" is composed of synthesized bagpipe sounds.
  • Belle and Sebastian's 1998 release The Boy with the Arab Strap has bagpipes played by Iain "Chic" Mackay on the track "Sleep the Clock Around".
  • Modern Celtic-fusion band Lucid Druid features bagpipes as the primary instrument in their 5-piece, all-instrumental line-up. Their repertoire consists primarily of the original compositions of piper Adam Quinn (formerly of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band).
  • Latin musician Rubén Blades used Eric Rigler (of Bad Haggis, above) to play bagpipes on his Grammy-winning Mundo (2002). Rigler joined Blades on tour, later Blades joined Bad Haggis for their DVD project Span (2004).
  • On her 1994 album The Mask and Mirror Canadian New Age Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt introduced the song "The Two Trees" with a piping solo intro. called "Ce He Mise Le Ulaingt?" ("Who Am I to Bear It?") with Uilleann pipes played by Patrick Hutchinson.
  • A bagpipe was used in the 1965 song "I Love How You Love Me" by Nino Tempo & April Stevens.
  • DRAM! is the latest band to employ bagpipes in an electronic/bagpipe fusion featuring the piper who played with Madonna, Lorne Cousin.
  • On Eminem's album Relapse on the song "Bagpipes from Baghdad"
  • E.J. Jones played Scottish smallpipes on the song, "The Traveling Storm," from Robert Earl Keen's CD, What I Really Mean
  • In Insane Clown Posse's song "Run" from a giveaway CD, (CD also came with one of their comic books, song is also featured on several of their mix CD's) bagpipes are featured.
  • Steafan Hannigan plays Uilleann pipes as part of the wedding band in an episode of Friends - "The One with Ross's Wedding".
  • Laurel Massé (formerly with The Manhattan Transfer) used Great Highland bagpipes, played by Nancy Tunnicliffe, on her 2000 recording Feather and Bone.
  • Composer John Powell used Great Irish Warpipes in the orchestral score of the 2010 feature film How to Train Your Dragon.
  • Bagpipes are featured on Cromagnon's song "Caledonia", the opening track of their 1969 album Orgasm
  • Nobuo Uematsu incorporated bagpipes into the musical theme for the character Relm in Final Fantasy VI
  • Mike Oldfield used a choir of bagpipes in the piece called "Tattoo' of his album Tubular Bells II. For the "Bagpipe Guitars" tune on both Tubular Bells and Tubular Bells 2003 Mike used electric guitars that, by the use of electronics, were very similar sounding to bagpipes.
  • Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits used Uilleann pipes on the soundtrack to the 1983 indie film Local Hero
  • New York-based noise rock band Swans used bagpipes in the intro to the song "The Seer", the title track off of their 2012 album.
  • Naotaro Moriyama uses bagpipes in his 2004 single Ikitoshi ikeru mono e / 生きとし生ける物へ.
  • American performance artist The Unipiper is known for bagpiping while unicycling in costume.
  • Bagpipes feature heavily in the score of Barry Levinson's 1992 film Toys, composed by Hans Zimmer.
  • The House Atreides leitmotif in Dune (2021), also composed by Zimmer, features bagpipes, both as diegetic music and as part of the score.
  • Shuntaro Okino's "Cloud Age Symphony", the opening theme to the Last Exile anime, uses bagpipes for the intro.


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