How to Play the Bagpipes

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017
Play the Bagpipes

How to Play the Bagpipes. Bagpipe music can be an acquired taste, since it is very different from the majority of music played in the Western culture. The bagpipe is also a complicated, but not impossible, instrument to play. With a few simple steps and a lot of practice, you'll can learn how to play the bagpipe.

Know your bagpipe parts. A drone is one of several large pipes without fingerholes, and each drone creates only one tone. A chanter is the pipe where you play the melody on.

Hold the bagpipes in your left arm with all three drones placed over your left shoulder. Put the blowpipe in your mouth while holding the chanter with your left hand and fill the bag with air.

Stop filling the bag with air once you hear the drones chime in. This sound is a sign that the bag is full of air.

Tap the drones in. You may take a few tries.

Tap the chanter in. This tapping also takes time to perfect since the chanter requires more air pressure than the drones.

Blow into the blowpipe while holding the chanter with your left hand to create one clear note.

Let the air out of the bag as much as you can when you're ready to stop playing. This action will release the pressure that makes the music and provide a clean stop to the music.

Tip

Bagpipe music does not change in volume and there are no pauses between the notes, so it is harder to show expression in the music. As you become a more experienced bagpipe player, work on the timing of your music to make it as expressive as possible.

Warning

Don't stop your tune with the maximum amount of air pressure in your bagpipes. If you do, you'll end up creating a ear-splitting screeching noise.

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