About My Bagpipes
The Great Highland Bagpipes (GHB)
Most people are familiar with the Great Highland Bagpipes from parades, movies, concerts and Highland games. The Highland pipes have a conical bored chanter which plays a 9 note mixolydian mode, starting on the subtonic, called G through high A. Drones are configured Bass, tenor, tenor (A a a). The chanter tonic note and drones are referred to as A, but most modern pipes are tuned to concert B flat or higher. Some chanters are capable of playing accidentals such as G #, C natural, F natural, B flat and E flat, but in practice these notes are rarely if ever used by Highland pipers.
I do however, regularly play tunes using those notes and a High B (e.g The Lark In The Clear Air,The Leaving Of Liverpool)
My Highland pipes have chanters pitched at concert pitch (B flat) to play with other instruments
The Lowland Bagpipes (LBP)
Lowland bagpipes have a conical bore chanter like the Great Highland bagpipe(GHB), so they have a similar tone, but are not nearly as loud. Most Lowland pipes, also called Border pipes or Reel pipes, are bellows activated, but they may also be mouth-blown.
The three drones are mounted in a common stock, usually played across the chest rather than mounted on the left shoulder.
Most modern Lowland /Border pipes can achieve a chromatic or nearly chromatic scale using cross fingering, and some can extend the nine note scale one or two notes higher by "pinching". Popular Keys for Lowland pipes are A, the most common, D, C, B flat, and occasionally other keys. My Lowland pipes in A were made by Jonathan Swayne. Drones are configured Bass, tenor, tenor (A a a).
Click on each Picture Below to activate a link to a tune played on that instrument
The Scottish Smallpipes(SSP)
...are a modern revival of an extinct instrument. SSP chanters have a cylindrical bore which gives them a round, sweet tone unlike either the GHB or lowland pipes and they are very quiet--suitable for playing indoors. They play the same nine note scale as the GHB and lowland pipes, but do not have the capability to produce accidentals by cross-fingering. SSP come in many keys including C D F B-flat, G. Currently, A and D are the most common keys.
SSP drones may be configured Bass tenor, tenor; Bass, Baritone, tenor; Bass tenor, alto or even in other configurations. My smallpipes in A by Ian Kinnear have Bass, Baritone and tenor, A ,E/D, a.