Talk:Pipe band

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My Edits[edit]

I deleted the erroneous qualification "in English-speaking and certain celtic-speaking countries." I don't know why this has been allowed to remain so prominently in the article for over a year. What of Germany and Oman, just to name two? Rosedaddy (talk) 17:49, 22 February 2011 (UTC)


"a cornemuse is essentially a French made Great Highland Bagpipe which has a characteristically Breton tone"

There are many french "cornemuses" (actually, a generic term just as "bagpipe") which are orignally from those regions since their ancestral roots.

The passage above gives the impression that the cornemuses are all based upon the pìob-mhòr, and in fact most of them are even older than the GHB.

a cornemuse is essentially a French made Great Highland Bagpipe which has a characteristically Breton tone'

This sentence is wrong. Let me explain:

Cornemuse is the French word for bagpipe. As there is many kind of bagpipes there is also many kind of cornemuses. In a badgad (plural is bagadoù) the bagpipe used IS the Great Highland Bagpipe ! The Bagadoù tradition exists only in Britanny (West part of France), therefore the breton language is used to name bagpipes (cornemuse). In the breton language a bagpipe is called a biniou. The Great Higland Bagpipe is named Biniou Braz, Braz in breton means great. There is also an other bagpipe in britanny called biniou coz, coz means old, but that's not the one used in the bagadoù, or if it is, there is only one playing with the bombardes.

I changed 'snare drum' to the proper term of 'side drum'. Same difference (apart from the top snare and all!), but proper terminology. Khiradtalk 11:47, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Someone needs to do a comprehensive article on Highland Drumming. Aren't you sick of piper's joking about the drummers? STEP UP!

History of the Pipe Band[edit]

The "history of the pipe band" paragraphs are definitely the weakest part of this article. I think the whole section should be overhauled. Any takers? I'd volunteer but I don't feel that I'm knowledgeable enough about military history to do it myself. Dorosh, perhaps? You seem well-versed. Taylordonaldson 20:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't have the resources to do it right now; bit of a conflict of interest also as I'm just getting around to military pipe bands on my own website. I think the section reads ok here; it just needs some references. As it indicates, actual sources are a bit scarce, and the ones that exist are usually written by pipers who are somewhat biased. I just got a copy of a book about Regular Force pipers in the Canadian Army; there is an entire page devoted to the idea that the Army lives or dies by the quality of its bagpipe bands - a proposition I don't necessarily agree with. ;-) But I'll certainly continue to watch the page with interest and edit where I can.Michael Dorosh 23:52, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't know, it isn't inaccurate or unrepresentative as it stands. It could be longer, and more citations would be good (I think the introduction to the Scots Guards collection (Vol I) covers most of it). Most of the work that has been done on the history of pipe bands is locked up in back issues of The Piping Times and Piper and Drummer. Calum 14:50, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

First Pipe Band Association[edit]

This mistake is made often, so I thought I'd post it here to potentially save editing again:

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (formed 1930) was not the first such entity in the world. The Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association (formed 1924) predates it by 6 years. --gummAY 00:44, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I was trying to correct the previous editors' odd use of a generic wikilink using the name of a specific society...will happily see his, and my, errors corrected. :-) Michael Dorosh 01:19, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your work Michael ;) --gummAY 02:26, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Shotts & Dykehead[edit]

"House of Edgar - Shotts & Dykehead" is the new name for the "Shotts & Dykehead" pipe band ?

Yes - the band is sponsred by House of Edgar and have changed their name to reflect this. Calum 13:03, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. OC 14:48, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Should we write "Shotts & Dykehead" or "Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia" ? Both names are in the table. OC 13:45, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

The full name is Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, or as it is now House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (I think). I think Shotts & Dykehead is fine in the table and their article can discuss the vagaries of their nomenclature over the years to the nth degree. On another note, I am fairly certain that the Strathclyde Police were 2nd in '87 and that the Vale were second, with the Power third, in 1990. Anyone know for sure? I don't have anything in writing. Calum 17:25, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
According to Vale was second in 87 and Strathclyde 3rd. Usually, on the Lismor CDs, the tunes are ordered according to the results... I think ...OC 07:54, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I was six in those days, so I only have what I can recall from beer tent chatter to go on, but I am certain that the Strathclyde Police were felt to have been robbed in '87 of first place by some, and that the Vale were at their peak in 1990 (they won the Europeans that year, to date their only major in grade 1 (though next year looks good for them)). The track order you've found is odd (well done finding it though), it looks to me like they put the winner's tracks on first and then just picked the order they though made best listening. Calum 19:17, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Don't assume that the listings of these old BBC and lismor recordings are in placing order - they're not. They mixed the bands and placings up on these records so you can't assume that the bands appear in placing order, unlike the CDs of today. I've updated the top 3's from the worlds according to notes and old programmes I have.


I think it should be considered the different types of traditional pipe bands, like Bretonic, Galician and Portuguese ones, which differs in their compositions, but indeed ARE traditional pipe bands. Actually, this page treats pipe bands just as if bagpipe would be specifically for Scottish ones... Tonyjeff 01:54, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

I think this page should stick to the "Pipe Band", in the scotish sense. Other bands with bagpipes are named differently. For instance, the Breton band is called a "Bagad"... may be a entry "Bagad"is neede.. see the French Wikipedia —Preceding unsigned comment added by OC (talkcontribs)

The Bagad[edit]

In this article in the paragraph "The Bagad" it is written:

A popular bagad, Bagad Brieg, recently performed with the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band

I do not think that statement like recently performed are valid in an encyclopedia article. I think the author of these lines should put a date. If not I am in favour to remove this sentence. --OC 12:24, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

The sentence finishes with the date that their collaborative CD was released, 2002. The actual concert was recorded in 2001. I used "recently performed" to note that there had been multiple concerts and finally a recording released. 2001 could be inserted into the sentence, however. Taylordonaldson 14:52, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

New Article[edit]

Now that we have the table of winners, it would be good to create a separate article for World Pipe Band Championships. We should merge most of the information from this article and leave only a description on this page. Musaabdulrashid 23:04, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

yes, I agree. --OC 08:52, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
I also concur. JFPerry 14:57, 24 September 2006 (UTC)


I'm not sure why this term has been reverted to in reference to snare drumming. Counterpoint, as I understand it, refers primarily (if not exclusively) to melody instruments and is an harmonic function, particularly relevant in baroque music. As the snare line is incapable of producing more than one (indefinite) pitch, this is surely inappropriate nomenclature. Also, in my experience, the snare section are not attempting to provide a counter-'melody', but rather are trying to provide rhythmic support and emphasis to the pipe melody. To do this, synchopated rhythmic phrases are played around the natural rhythmic structure of the tune. Mark Glasgow Tuesday, 17th October 2006. 11.32 (GMT)

Mark, you're correct, the term "counterpoint" tends to be used to refer to a melodic construction - two lines occuring simultaneously (usually outlining the underlying harmonic progression present in the musical phrase). However, pipe band music is somewhat unique in the sense that the drum corps is not simply relegated to the role of timekeeping and rhythmic support. In many pipe bands, the line played by the drum corps weaves into the pipe score in such a way that it becomes just as important as the "principal" melodic line generated by the pipe corps. In this sense, the relationship that exists is closer to counterpoint then to a foreground-background relationship.

I certainly see that the term "counterpoint" is not strictly accurate in this instance, however I don't think "synchopated" is an adequate term to replace it, since synchopation simply refers to the displacement of the beat, using accent, designed to add musical emphasis. While it is true that there is plenty of synchopation in drum scores, I don't think its an adequate term to describe the relationship between pipe and drum in the modern pipe band. Taylordonaldson 03:37, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with the above paragraph gummAY 04:03, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Taylor, I'm afraid we'll have to disagree here. I don't see that the musical role of rhythmic and dynamic embellishment operates implicitly within a foreground-background relationship, or at a relegated level - and I'm not referring only to pipe band music here.

When you say that

..the line played by the drum corps...becomes just as important as the "principal" melodic line

it makes me think that you envisage the drum score to be more independent from the pipe melody than it in fact is. The two are not competing for importance within the whole, rather they are inseparable aspects of that whole. As such, to talk about a relationship in terms of counterpoint is too misleading. I agree that, as a replacement, syncopation is somewhat inadequate. Perhaps someone could come up with an appropriate rewording. That said, I'm happy to go with the majority on this one.Mark glasgow 10:27, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

I've just had a chat to a music student down the corridor(who is qualified to teach music theory et al), who says the following:

"are they dependant on each other..? do the pipes and drums mesh together in a way that they use similar material (motivic etc). and if they were to be taken apart, could they stand alone? or would it sound empty?"

After some explaination, the conclusions were:

"I'm not completely convinced it's counterpoint. You could use it, however, if you explain quite explicitly (however straight forward it seems) that the drums do not have the melodic function. but perhaps rhythmically, they are in some sort of counterpoint" "The more I think about it, counterpoint is largely based on melodic elements. rhythmic is probably termed something else."

-- gummAY 14:33, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

A good band should be playing in such a way that the various sections rely on each other to produce the complete effect. Of course, in practice, the pipe section can usually stand alone to some extent, and the drum line cannot. This depends on how well the sections are working together. Calum 16:37, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Calum, which is why I chose the word "counterpoint" in the first place - to try to underscore the interconnectivity and shared reliance which is present between the sections. Taylordonaldson 06:30, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Harmony and tenor drums[edit]

The article states "Since the bagpipe is the only pipe band instrument capable of producing distinct, varying pitches, the pipers are responsible for providing all of the melodic and harmonic material in the music." I'm a little uncomfortable with this wording, since I believe (I'm a piper, and we don't know much) that tenor drums are sometimes tuned to distinct pitches and used at points in the tune where their pitches reinforce the harmony. Is this true? If so, I don't think it's fair to say that pipers contribute all the harmonic material. I'd love to hear other opinions before I change it, though. --MatthewLiberal 14:35, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm a tenor drummer, and yes it is true that tenor drums are tuned to different pitches to add a bit to the melody. It's a relatively 'new' thing, and probably a lot of bands out there don't bother. In my last band, we had Baritone, Tenor and Alto-tuned drums (as well as a bass, of course). --gummAY 01:57, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Should we change the wording, then, to something like "the pipers are responsible for providing all of the melodic material in the music" instead? --MatthewLiberal 18:49, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


I haven't heard of the concept of counter-melodies in competition band playing, so I'd love to see a strong citation for this practice. Also, it would be good to have a definition which is distinct from harmony (as is, the article doesn't address how counter-melody differs from harmony except that it can 'take a drastically thematic approach' [my paraphrase]). Is it fair to say that a counter-melody is a second melody given equal importance as the first and played simultaneously? I don't know if that is the definition - it's only my guess, and again, I'd love to see a citation. --MatthewLiberal 18:56, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Not too common as the limited compass gives little scope for it. A counter melody is a harmony line that has a melodic line of its own. One example is the Vale's Balandran Air (possibly on a Worlds CD, definitely on the MIllenium Concert). Calum 11:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! I integrated your wording ("a harmony line that has a melodic line of its own") into the article. By the way, does/can a counter-melody like the one in Vale of Atholl's air differ rhythmically from the melody? --MatthewLiberal 17:38, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
In that specific example, it does indeed (sustained Fs and As with a moving counter-melody. These terms are all a little bit wishy-washy and quite difficult to pin down, but useful nonetheless. Calum 15:43, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! --MatthewLiberal 19:55, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Honor pipe bands[edit]

There is no such thing, at least as a widespread phenomenon. The top Google link is Wikipedia. Every other link is a page that refers to "honor guards and pipe bands" or "such and such pipe band was honored to play for xyz". The last link is linkspam harvested from WP. I'm not going to accuse the editor of being a member of the band featured in the photo, but a comparison of the website and article text is instructive. If you want to restore any of the text, please cite. Calum (talk) 20:46, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Countries with "few connections"[edit]

"Pipe bands have also been established in countries with few Scottish or Celtic connections such as the United States, Thailand, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina."

The United States has "few Scottish or Celtic connections"? Really? I'm betting the U.S.'s Scottish connections are at least on par with Sri Lanka, Brunei, Pakistan, or any of those other former British colonies listed in the preceding sentence. Tad Lincoln (talk) 09:15, 1 March 2014 (UTC)