A male and female satyr discussing musical instruments.
The Scottish Word:


I’m giving up the bagpipes and going back tae the pan pipes sic as you’re uisin.

Playin this big boy here is like wrastlin wi an octopus in pain.

Ahn forebye efter I’ve had a guid blaw wi dinni see a Pixie for weeks.

It fair pits them aff their stot.


bagpipes: a set of reed pipes powered by blowing into an airtight bag that you also squeeze.

I am giving up the bagpipes and moving back to the pan pipes such as you are using.

Playing this big boy here is like wrestling with an octopus in pain.

And besides after I have had a good blow we do not see any Pixies for weeks.

It really does upset them and put them off.

The Scottish Word: bagpipes with its definition and its meaning illustrated and captioned with the word used in context in the Scots language and in English.


The Great Highland Bagpipe consists of three drones, a chanter, windpipe and bag.

The drones, chanter and windpipe fix to the stocks which normally remain attached to the bag. The longer bass drone separates into three sections; top, middle and bottom. The two tenor drones separate into two sections; top and bottom.

Annotated diagram of a set of Great Highland Bagpipes.

It’s a reed instrument and the piper tries to keep air flow over the reeds at a constant steady pressure by a combination of blowing and squeezing the bag.

The sounds produced by the chanter, bass drone and tenors all interact with each other like separate ripples patterning in a pool. Which adds up to a rousing aural experience greater than the individual parts.

The reason bagpipes can also be hellish instrument is that if the drones are not in tune with each other or in tune with the chanter or any other bagpipes that are around then the pleasant interaction of ripples in a pool can become a torturous sea sickness of the ears.

Even a non musician can get a sense of what’s involved in tuning bagpipes from this site. Musicians will enjoy the technicalities.

This Bagpipe site is by Nate Silva who is a Polish American and very enthusiastic about bagpipes and communicates about them really well.

A good set of bagpipes has a value in much the same way as a good violin to a violinist and has its own canon of famous makers.

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