History::Pipe band


Bands::pipers    Section::drums    Drummers::music    Often::scottish    Grade::known    Their::which


The pipe band began life in the military, but its origins are obscure, and historical records exist mostly in hints gleaned from contemporary regimental records that had no direct interest in pipes.

It is known that pipers served in regiments from the earliest times; the Royal Scots have records referring to pipers dating back to the early seventeenth century. Where pipers were employed as pipers (rather than just happening to be a soldier who also was able to play), they were employed by the officers of the regiments as private pipers. This situation continued until the 1840s, when Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for all things Highland was instrumental in the War Office's decision that each battalion of the Highland Regiments be allowed five pipers and a Pipe Major, which continues to be all that the British Army provides funds for to this day. Any additional pipers in the battalion pipe band were and are equipped today by funds from the Officers' Mess Fund of the battalion.

By this time, pipers were already playing together with drummers, probably modelling themselves on the fife and drum bands which had existed in Switzerland since the fifteenth century. Drumming is, of course, as ancient as the concept of formed military units, and their original purpose on the battlefield was to signal tactical movements and keep cadence on the march.

By the end of the Crimean War, pipe bands were established in most of the Scottish Regiments. The first civilian organizations to adopt pipe bands were police and fire brigade bands;<ref name="Cannon">Cannon, R. 1988: The Highland Bagpipe and its Music; p.153</ref> even today, several forces maintain bands that play to a very high standard.

By the time World War I broke out, the pipe band represented a popular image of Scotland, both internally and externally.

Military pipers were killed and injured in significant numbers in the Great War, before the War Office banned the practice of playing in the trenches in 1915.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} The ban was often not observed; Canadian piper James Richardson was awarded the Victoria Cross for playing in action in 1916. Pipes have occasionally played into battle, notably at El Alamein, Dieppe, the Normandy beaches, and the crossing of the Rhine. The Calgary Highlanders went into action for the first time at Hill 67 in Normandy with company pipers playing; it was the only time the Regiment did so.<ref>Bercuson, David Battalion of Heroes: The Calgary Highlanders in World War II</ref> Military pipers have also served in both Gulf Wars.

Pipe band sections
Intro  History  Military pipes and drums  Music  Uniform  Competition and the World Championships  Noncompetitive piping   See also   References   External links   

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Military pipes and drums