Arranged by Robert P. Lynch on the pipes for the opening of the Glen Cove Community Easter Dawn Service to be streamed on Facebook Live, Easter Sunday April 12, 2020 at 7:00 AM at https://www.facebook.com/GlenCoveEaster/
Liner Notes for “Stepping on the Bridge”, by Hamish Moore May 1994
I suppose the seeds of this album were sown in 1987 when I first heard Buddy MacMaster and Maybelle Chisholm playing at a music festival in Philadelphia. I remember well hearing the strains of this joyous, exciting music from afar and being physically drawn to it. What I heard was old Scottish music played with a rhythm, tension and wildness that I had never before experienced, and what excited me most were the strathspeys.
I have continued over the years to listen to as many Cape Breton musicians as possible. In the summer of 1993, I was invited by Sam MacPhee to teach small-pipes at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton. It was there and at house parties at the MacDonalds and the MacNeils and at the dance at Glencoe Mills, that I saw and heard it all in context. Cape Breton is an isolated island on the Atlantic coast of Canada and part of the province of Nova Scotia. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries it is estimated that some 30,000 Scots, the majority Gaelic-speaking, settled in Cape Breton. With them they brought their Gaelic language and culture. A very important part of this culture was the step-dancing, the piping, the fiddling and the song.
Although the majority of settlers in Cape Breton Island were Scots, there are many different ethnic groups contributing to the island’s population. Most fiddlers have a distinctively Scottish style although there are some who play with an Irish flavour. There are even Micmacs who play great Scottish reels, fiddlers from the French community such as Arthur Muse who is a brilliant player of strathspeys and wonderful players and contemporary composers like Jerry Holland whose style although influenced by Scottish and Irish music is individualistic and very much his own.
Coming to Cape Breton as a modern Scottish piper, the players with the very distinctively Scottish style interested me most. I am a Scot with one Irish and three Scottish grandparents and I love Irish music. I have been very aware over the years of the constant comparison throughout the world between Scottish and Irish music, the latter always being thought of as more powerful and somehow ‘better,’ so it was with a growing sense of relief and pride that I came to the realisation that old Scottish music, the repertoire and the style it was played in, was every bit as good as Irish music.
There are several reasons why the style of some Cape Breton fiddlers is thought to be fairly authentically 18th century Highland.
In many cases the people playing this music are only two or three generations removed from an early Scottish settler, their grandparents or great-grandparents coming from Uist, Barra, Strathpeffer, or Sutherland.
The learning of the tunes and style was in many cases by ear and example.
Tunes were also learned from books and it was common practice to insist that the old repertoire was played exactly as was written in the book. When Dan R. MacDonald visited Scotland, he made one of the largest personal collections of Scottish music. This collection is now in the hands of Alex Francis Mackay.
Many of the early Scottish settlers lived and worked in small tight-knit communities.
The most important factor however in the preservation of the old Scottish style of playing is the continuation of step-dancing, since it dictates the tempo and rhythm. But what of Scotland? Many Cape Bretoners are disappointed when first visiting Scotland and hearing Scottish music as it is played today, and many Scots are positively shocked when first hearing the old Cape Breton style, thinking that it is somehow corrupting ‘our good Scottish music’! The reasons are understandable.
If the style in Cape Breton amongst some communities has remained largely unchanged, this has not been the case in Scotland. We need only look at the social and political history of the country and its direct effect on the culture–Culloden and the Act of Proscription; the Highland Clearances; the Church who were responsible for burning vast numbers of fiddles; the enormous influence of fiddlers such as Scott Skinner; the Victorianisation of Scotland; the gradual loss of step-dancing and the succussive waves of English and European fashion in dancing e.g. country dancing; the overwhelming influence which competition and the army had on piping. The list is by no means complete but serves as an example of some of the relevant factors.
Although marches, slow airs and hornpipes are played in Cape Breton, the strathspey, the reel and the jig are by far the most popular. This is the dance music. The step-dancing was taken to Cape Breton by the early settlers from Scotland. I think of it as a very sophisticated form of pedal percussion, tapping out the rhythms of the tunes with the feet while standing up. Quite the most natural thing in the world to do when good, rhythmic music is heard. The step-dancing and the music are inseparable–almost anywhere in Cape Breton where there is music there is also dance. In Scotland, there are many people who remember their parents or grand-parents step-dancing, and there are even some women who learnt to step-dance as children. They have confirmed that the strathspey and reel steps danced in Cape Breton are exactly the same as those they learnt in Scotland.
Step-dancing in Scotland took place in the smallest kitchens, in the halls, on the bridges and at the crossroas. The steps were derived from the old Scotch Reels which were danced all over Scotland in the 18th century and earlier, in both strathspey and reel tempo. When we lost the step-dancing, we lost the need to play the music as it is played at the dances in Glencoe Mills in Inverness County in Cape Breton today. In particular we lost the old way of playing the strathspey, or the strathspey reel, as they were known. Most of these old strathspeys have very primitive melodies, the tune being dependent on the rhythm. If the rhythm is taken away, there is very little left. There is a vast repertoire of old strathspeys with this inherend step-dancing rhythm e.g. Bogan Lochan, Lucy Campbell, Tulloch Gorm and Callum Crubach to name but a few. These tunes require this rhythm to survive.
Another factor however which makes Cape Breton music so distinctive today is the unique piano style. Before pianos were introduced to Cape Breton the accompaniment to the music was the rhythm of the stepping feet. The Cape Breton style of piano playing has developed directly from the rhythm of the steps and has evolved into a sophisticated chordal and rhythmic accompaniment. A typical dance in Cape Breton will have one fiddler and one pianist providing the music.
So far I have made very little reference to the pipes. There were however many pipers amongst the early settlers and they took with them the old piping styles from Scotland, very different from the modern ‘traditional’ style, which has developed since the beginning of the 19th century. (Refer to Barry Shears’ book, The Gathering of the Clans, Volume I, for detailed information on the early pipers going to Cape Breton). This old style of playing was based on rhythm and not on technique. Barry Shears quotes from C.H. Farnham’s ‘Cape Breton Folk’ published in Harper’s New Monthly magazine in 1885: ‘The dancing went on vigorously… The most impressive figure of all was the piper… One of the pipers, a very tall very dark, very shaggy man, sat straight up with a rigid neck, stiff figure, puffed out cheeks, and looked like the presiding genius of some awful heathen rite.’
Many of the early pipers also played the fiddle and I am sure that their piping style would have been influenced by their fiddle-playing and vice-versa. The old piping style can be heard so obviously in many present day fiddlers, most notably Cameron Chisholm, Willie Kennedy and Joe Peter MacLean. For me, this was confirmed when in 1991, Barry Shears sent me tapes of Joe Hughie MacIntyre and Angus Beaton playing at a dance in 1967. At that time Joe Hughie was 75 years old and Angus 72. In 1993, John MacLean took me to visit his great-uncle, Alex Currie. He is thought of as one of the best dance pipers to have lived and played in Nova Scotia. Both from listening to Alex playing in his home and from tapes of him playing twenty years ago, I can confirm this.
There are several facts about Alex and his family which are not just intriguing but crucial in the proof that dance styles existed and flourished in Scotland prior to the military and competitive influences which were imposed on piping. Alex Currie’s grandfather came from Uist and arrived in Cape Breton in 1820 at which time there would have been no military influences on piping in a place as isolated as Uist. The family settled in an area of Cape Breton which was isolated. Alex’s playing was learned from his mother and grandfather and in fact he could sing literally hundreds of pipe tunes before he took up the practice chanter.
One of the most important and interesting parts of Alex’s playing is his method of beating time: for strathspeys – left and right heels alternatively – 8 beats to the bar; for reels – left heel on the first (on) beat of the bar, right toe on the 1/2 (off) beat, right heel on the 3/4 beat. This cycle is then repeated with the left heel on the 2nd beat of the bar. This system of beating time was brought from Scotland by Alex’s family and passed down to him via his mother and grandfather. The traditional style of playing in fact bears little resemblance to its modern counterpart which has evolved since the start of the 19th century, based on the standardised piping of the army and the very rigid and technically correct playing of the solo competitive piper. Competitions have in fact encouraged technical correctness to the detriment of musicality. In conclusion, much can be said of the music of Cape Breton, about how close Buddy MacMaster’s style is to Niel Gow’s or Cameron Chisholm’s to a West Highland fiddler of the eighteenth century. The arguments will go on eternally, but I am satisfied if we can say no more than:
There existed in Scotland one of the richest and most exciting music and dance cultures in the world.
The old reels, which included step-dancing, were danced throughout the whole of Scotland and are thought to be the only truly indigenous dance form.
The style of playing the reel, the jig and in particular the strathspey in Cape Breton today, is basically the same as it was in Scotland in the eighteenth century and before.
Piping was in Scotland, prior to the British Army recruiting the Highland regiments and the advent of competition, wild and vigoros with individual styles existing. I am grateful that Cape Breton exists and has preserved and held our music and dance culture in trust. In the words of Maire O’Keeffe, “The first time I came to Cape Breton, I though I’d died and arrived in heaven!”
The following article, authored by piper Philip O’Brien, appeared originally in the Long Island Press, on January 7, 1977.
Bagpipes always in Season on Long Island
Most music lovers have the misconception that Irish and Scottish bagpipers appear in early spring, play their melodies, and then disappear for another year, like rare migratory birds.
Gaelic piping is far from limited to a few hours spent marching up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day, although the instruments and music remain mysteries to many. The exotic skirl of the “pipes” can be heard every day on Long Island at music festivals, parades, concerts, or by dozens of individual pipers and piping lessons for those interested are available from a variety of sources, according to one instructor, Tom Downes of Richmond Hill.
Almost every culture can trace a bagpipe to its remote antiquity. The Persians and Greeks had a version for the bagpipe, and pipes are still played in parts of northern Spain, Portugal, southern Italy, Rumania, Hungary, Northumbria and Wales.
But the “piob mhor” or great Highland bagpipe is the one most recognized and considered the quintessential bagpipe. Ironically, it owes its survival and predominance to the English, who tried for more than four hundred years to obliterate it. The piob mhor, also called the “war pipes,” consists of a blowpipe and chanter, or melody pipe, connected to an airtight leather bag that acts as an air reservoir and is regulated by the musician’s arm. Harmonizing tones are produced by three “drones” that also are attached to the bag but which play one fixed note each.
“I heard them played which I was a child and I couldn’t get away from them. The bagpipes are most evocative of Gaelic culture,” said Downes, who also is pipe major of the Tyrone Pipers’ Band, one of several bands in the metropolitan area. “It’s not electrified, amplified or synthesized,” said Sandy Hamilton of Whitestone, another Tyrone piper and a city school teacher. “It’s primitive and in touch with nature,” he added. “You work with leather, wood, hemp and bees wax.
Music scholars differ on whether the Highland bagpipe was indigenous to the British Isles or a refinement of the pipe instrument brought there by conquering Roman armies shortly after the time of Christ. That ancestor of today’s bagpipe had only one or two drones, it is said, and the bag usually was made from a pig’s bladder.Until the middle ages the bagpipe lingered as an instrument of the people played by itinerant musicians, gypsies and warriors. Then, at the time that Europe was awakening to the Renaissance, the English began their conquests of the Gaelic countries and imposed a “dark ages” on the people.
For several hundred years the English enacted repressive laws aimed at wiping out Gaelic music, language, dress and Catholicism. Many of the edicts, including the Statutes of Kilkenny in 1367 and the “Penal Times” of Oliver Cromwell in the mid-1600’s, affixed the death penalty to anyone caught playing the bagpipe in Ireland.
The British rulers thought the bagpipe was seditious and its playing an incentive to rebellion. So intense was Cromwell’s genocide that droves of pipers fled Ireland and joined the armies of France, Spain, and later the American rebels, to fight the British. Thousands of others were exiled to colonies in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Africa. However, they managed to bring their pipes and music with them. In these ways the British actually fostered the bagpipe and helped to export it around the world.
About this same time the Irish developed the “uilleann” (illin) bagpipe in response to another English law which prohibited the playing of a musical instrument while standing, as the war pipes must be played. “The uilleann pipes give you a much greater freedom of expression and sound sweeter than the more harsh war pipes,” said Jim Lundt of Bellerose Terrace, an accomplished player of both instruments.
The Scots too endured suppression of their culture but for a shorter time. They soon accepted Protestantism and English rule and as a result were permitted to keep their music. In the 19th Century, Scottish bagpipe-playing regiments were accepted into the British army and the South Pacific.
Today, one of the centers for bagpipe making include Pakistan, as well as Scotland. Additionally, there are units of pipers in many armies, including those of Uganda and Jordan. The members of many Police and Fire Departments in this country have followed the examples of those in the New York City Police and Fire Departments who established their own pipers’ bands.
THE GREAT IRISH WARPIPE
Forgotten instrument of Ireland.
BY Garaidh Ó Bríain
|The skirl of the pipes: Either you love them or hate them, and few there be who are between. One needn’t be of Celtic blood to enjoy the bagpipe (however, those who are Celtic do seem to have some genetic encoding that instills a love for the instrument); for the instrument has existed in every culture in one form or another throughout history.
Today the bagpipe is synonymous with Scotland, but the pipes really came from Ireland, where they are the forgotten instrument of the Emerald Isle.
In 1911, William Grattan Flood, a professor of music at National University of Ireland, researched and printed The Story of the Bagpipe. Professor Flood explored the instrument’s early origin in the cradle of civilization, the Middle East, where he states the earliest date for the pipes is 4000 B.C., where a bagpipe is found in Chaldean sculptures. This evidence shows it is ancient, certainly as old as the harp and nearly as old as the drum. Greeks, Egyptians and Romans all marched to the skirl of the pipes to battle.
|This antiquity includes the ancient Hebrews as well. Flood writes that the Bible passage of Genesis 4:21 has become mis-translated through various revisions over the centuries. The original German Bible of the 1500s used by the Lutheran Church at that time states that Jubal “was the father of fiddlers and pipers.” The currant translation in the King James Bible reads, “such as handle the harp and organ.” The Hebrew word that is
|mistranslated is “Ugab.” The word refers to a wind instrument such as a “pipe” or “bagpipe,” of which the German translation is “pfeife,” Flood gives another example of mis-translation in Daniel 3:5, 10 & 15. The reference deals with Nebuchadnezzar’s band, where the word “sumphonia” was translated to mean “dulcimer” instead of “bagpipe.” Flood states that the word symphony actually referred to pipe music in the Middle Ages. The Hebrew word for dulcimer is “psandherin”.
As for Ireland, a seventh-century account at the palace of Da Derg in Bohernabreena, County Dublin, lists people who came to pay homage to King Conaire the Great in 35 B.C., tells of nine pipers who came from the fairy hills of Bregia (County Meath), “the best pipe-players in the whole world,” who are listed by name as Bind, Robind, Riarbind, Sihe, Dibe, Deicrind, Umal, Cumal & Ciallglind.
The bagpipe was even given place in the Brehon Laws of the 400s. Here it is called the cuisle, meaning “the pulse,” being a reference to the blood pulsing through one’s veins. It’s also in reference to the hum that comes from the drones.
At the great ‘Feis’ (parliament or festival) held at Tara, the pipers occupied a prominent position. The pipes (called a cuisleannoch) were one of the favored instruments down to the last Feis that was presided over by King Dermot MacFergus in 560 A.D., there after Tara’s Halls were silent.
After Christianity was embraced by the Irish, the bagpipe was used in church service to sustain the sacred chant or as a solo instrument. Depicted in one of the panels on the High Cross of Clonmacnois (dated about 910 a.d.) is a sculpture of a man playing a bagpipe standing on two cats.
It is clear that the bagpipe existed in Ireland long before Scotland. The bagpipe is believed to have made its way to Scotland with the Dalradians upon their exodus from County Antrim across the Irish Sea at about 470 A.D., when Prince Fergus MacErc lead his clan in the invasion of the lands of the Picts at present Argyle. The difference in the Scottish and Irish bagpipe is their name and the number of drones. The Scottish refer to their bagpipe as “the Great Highland Bagpipe,” which today (an ancient bagpipe preserved from the battlefield of Culloden, 1746, has but a bass and a tenor drone) has three drones: one bass and two tenor. The Irish call theirs “the Great Irish Warpipe,” which has two drones: one bass and one tenor. In Gaelic the bagpipe is called “Píob Mor.”
An observation of the Irish pipers was made by the musician Vincenzo Galilei in a published work titled Dialogue on Ancient and Modern Music in 1581 in Florence. Galilei wrote, “The bagpipe is much used by the Irish. To its sound this unconquered, fierce, and warlike people, march their armies and encourage one another to feats of valour. With it also, they accompany their dead to the grave, making such a mournful sounds as to invite – nay, almost force – the bystander to weep!”
This use of the bagpipe at funerals is mentioned at the funeral of Donncladh, King of Ossory (father of Sadhbh or Isolde, Queen of Ireland in 975) in an ancient poem where nine keeners sung lamentations with an accompaniment of “cymbals and pipes harmoniously.”
There were settlements made by many Irish bands in Wales who introduced the instrument. The Welsh readily accepted the strange instrument.
By the eleventh century the bagpipe slowly lost favor with the upper and middle class in favor of the harp. Yet in two deeds, one dated 1206 and the other in 1256, both near Dublin, mentioned Geoffrey the Piper and William the Piper.
Even though the upper class shunned the skirl of the pipes, its music could still be heard among the working class, especially the military who employed its emotional effects upon the battlefield. Unique to the Irish kerne (soldiers) was that the pipers actually lead their comrades into battle playing the warpipes, which Flood illustrates well in his use of the account by Standish O’Grady, who wrote about the Battle of the Curlews in County Sligo. This battle was fought on August 15, 1599, in which many English officers fell. O’Grady wrote, “Brave men, these pipers. The modern military band retires as its regiment goes into action. But the piper went on before his men, and piped them into the thick of battle. He advanced, sounding his battle-pibroch (song), and stood in the ranks of war while men fell around him…. So here upon the brown bog Red Hugh’s pipers stood out beyond their men sounding wild and high the battle-pibrochs of the North with hearts and hands brave as any in the wild work…. At last the whole of the Queen’s host was reduced to chaos, streaming madly away, and the battle of the Curlew Mountains was fought and lost and won. “Thus, many State papers concerning various battles read: “`Slew Art O’Connor and his piper.'” The entry shows that the loss of a piper was most tragic, second to that of an important officer.
After the occupation of the Normans in 1169 of Ireland, the Irish were forced to enlist its men into regiments to assist the English Kings in their wars. To France marched the Irish regiment in 1243 for King Henry III, and into battle they advanced to the sounds of their warpipes; as they did at Gascony in 1286-1289 under King Edward I, and into Flanders in 1297. In the following year, the Irish army was assigned to the English army at the Battle of Falkirk in Scotland against Sir William Wallace, where on July 22, the Irish marched into battle line to the skirl of the warpipes as their cousins, the Scots, watched in amazement on the other side of the battlefield. It was at Falkirk that the Scotsmen saw the martial effect of the bagpipes upon the Irish soldiers and thereafter began bringing bagpipes into battle and into the annals of history.1The first mention of the Scots using their bagpipes in battle was at their victory at Bannockburn in 1314. The Irish army continued in Scotland, fighting their cousins from 1297-1334 under the command of the English.
Again as at Falkirk, Irish pipers marched 6,000 comrades into the Battle of Crecy in France, which was fought on August 26, 1346. This Irish army contributed heavily to the English victory over the French.
King Richard II delivered a silencing blow to the long tradition of the Irish warpipe playing the folk airs of the Emerald Isle or marching her troops into battle. The King recognized the warpipes ability to rouse Irishmen to acts of “insurrection” and “violence.” England caused for the Statute of Kilkenny to be passed in 1366 making the possession and playing of the warpipes a penal offense, which included having pipers entertain in the home. The English government became paranoid that Irish pipers acted as “…agents or spies on the English whereby great evils often resulted.”1The consequence of an infraction of the Kilkenny statute was death. No doubt the English were pleased with the results. The silencing of the warpipe in Ireland would not raise the Gaelic Clans anymore. This edict was again supported by Queen Elizabeth I and again by Cromwell, whose punishment was banishment to Barbados or other West Indies islands. Ironically, the English were delighted to have Irish regiments retain pipers outside of Ireland. Even in Ireland pipers still played, but by special order, like those given to Donal O’Moghan in 1375 and Richard Bennet in 1469. Both men, having proved their loyalty to the crown, were allowed to play their pipes.1
Yet at the very time Ireland’s pipers were silenced, the pipes were being listened to by King Richard II, who had four pipers in his train in 1377, showing that the bagpipe was also popular in England.1
During the 16th century the warpipes of the Irish kerne sounded throughout Europe. In May 1544, Lord Power marched his 800 Irish kerne in a warlike manner into London, and assembled them before the King in St. James’ Park, with ten warpipers leading the way. These Irish kerne later served at Boulogne, where the Irish pipes skirled away during its siege in September.1
Not only Londoners heard the Irish pipers, familiar ears along the Scottish Borders two years earlier heard the Irish airs. Those same airs were heard by the Scots again in 1549-1550, when the Irish kerne were part of Captain Sherlock’s troops in King Edward VI Scottish Expedition.1
By the end of the 1500s, the Irish were again fighting in continental Europe, where Richard Stanihurst, who was at Antwerp in 1589, recorded his impression of the Irish pipers, writing, “The Irish also used instead of the trumpet a wooden pipe constructed with the most ingenious skill…This sort of instrument among the Irish is held to be a whetstone for martial courage; for just as other soldiers are stirred up by the sound of trumpets, so are they hotly stimulated by the noise of this affair.”1What Stanihurst didn’t write is that the warpipe also served the purpose of the bugle in sounding battle commands. For example, in 1600 during the siege of Kinsale, Earl Tir Owen signaled retreat with his piper when he found himself outnumbered.1Also at the Battle of Yellow Ford on August 14, 1598, the Earl of Tyrone, assisted by O’Donnell and Maguire, charged their Irish kerne to the skirl of the warpipes, utterly defeating Marshal Sir Henry Bagenal and his 4,500 troops.1In 1647 with the surrendering of Ardlonan Castle, numbered among the garrison was a lone piper.1During this same year Alastair MacColl MacDonnell found himself besieged in a northern castle. He embarked in a boat and placed a lone piper in another, which deluded his enemies who were trying to pursue him.2
Cromwell laid waste to Ireland in the mid – 1600s, and during this period various histories note the presence of warpipes as the Irish fought the English foe. It was the last golden era of the instrument on the Emerald Isle. Piper Cornelius O’Brien being a piper, was sentenced on January 25, 1656, “to receive twenty lashes on the bare back, on suspicion of inciting to rebellion.” He was deported to Barbados.2
One hundred years after the events described by Stanihusrt, King James fought King William of Orange in the Siege of Derry in 1689 in northern Ireland. Both kings had Irish pipers playing the troops into battle, which truly must have been awesome to see and hear. But the warpipes failed to rouse King James’ troops to victory. King William banned all Irish minstrels, harpers and pipers.2When the government Irish Guards were asked by King William which king they would serve, only seven of the 1200 kerne chose William. The others followed the exiled King James to France, where the defeated king accepted the men who had helped to defeat him.2
Having been banned from Ireland once again, the warpipes found a home in France, where they led the Irish “Wild Geese” into war for the next hundred years. Their greatest moment in France was at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. As was the custom of the Irish kerne, the pipers led their commrades onto the battlefield. Knowing that the Royal Scots regiments of the 21st, 25th and 42nd (Black Watch) were assembling on the other side, the warpipers struck into the great Jacobite song “The White Cockade.” It must have rankled the kilts of the Scots to no end in hearing played the famous Scottish Jacobite rebel song. At Fontenoy, the French and their “Wild Geese” were victorious.2
A few months later was the Scottish Jacobite Rebellion, ending at Culloden. Prince Charles Stewart asked France for some of the Irish kerne to assist. The liasion between Stewart and France was Colonel O’Brien, of Clare’s Regiment. France assisted the Scots with Irish troops, but the English captured the ships with most of the troops. The few who got through died on the battlefield or were captured and returned to France.
The warpipe continued in future Irish regiments of the British army, with the Royal Irish Rangers being the high-profile Irish regiment today.
While the warpipe was alive and well upon the battlefields of France, the warpipe had almost disappeared in Ireland. Queen Elizabeth and Cromwell succeeded in abolishing the warpipe. But the ingenious pipers invented another pipe to take it’s place. The union or uilleann pipe required the joining of a bellows under the right arm, which pumped air via a tube to the bagpipe under the left arm, with the bellows replacing the blowpipe. The instrument could only be played sitting down and had a much lighter sound, making it a popular instrument for the parlor. The English placed no ban upon this new pipe, and by 1710 the warpipe was gone and the uilleann pipe was. (Today the uilleann pipe is the national instrument of Ireland.) Except for the battlefield and funeral marches, the warpipe of Ireland was silent.2
Two hundred years later, around and about Dublin, warpipe bands gathered to play. In appearance they resembled their Scot counterparts, i.e., three drone pipes, a couple of tenor and snare drums, a bass drum, and they wore kilts. The kilts were different. Instead of tartan they wore a solid color, and instead of glengarry and balmoral hats, they wore the Irish cabean (an oversized berete). The warpipe was making a comeback in the form of pipe-band competitions. True to form, the playing of the warpipes stirred the Gaelic blood and soon the streets of Dublin were in turmoil followed by a nation. It really wasn’t the skirl of the pipes that brought about the rebellion, but as King Richard II, Queen Elizabeth and Cromwell well knew, some of the movers and shakers of the Irish Rebellion, were none other than the musicians of the forgotten warpipes of Ireland.
1. The Royal Irish Rangers, Standard Settings Of Pipe Music. “The Irish Bagpipe.” Paterson’s Publications Ltd., London. NOTE – history introduction to this musical book are not numbered. Future references to this work is called Rangers.
. Flood, William H. Grattan, The Story of the Bagpipe. Page 20. London; The Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd., 1911.
. Ibid, page 21. Perhaps this is the artist’s opinion of pipe music, i.e., it sounds like screaming cats.
. Ibid, page 92.
. Flood, page 23.
. Ibid, page 24.
. Ibid, pages 96 & 97.
. Ibid, page 94 & 95.
2. Flood, page 27.
3. Ibid, page 39.
5. Flood, page 90.
7. Malcolm, C.A., M.A., Ph.D. The Piper In Peace And War. “Irish Pipers and Pipers of Irish Regiments,” page 209. Originally printed by John Murray, London: 1927; reprinted by Scotspress: Bruceton Mills, WV., 1985.
8. Flood, page 96.
10. Ibid, page 116.
11. Ibid, page 117.
13. Malcolm, page 210.
15. The Pipers’ Review. Newsletter of the San Francisco Piper’s Club. Volume 1, #3; June 1980, page 3.