Great Highland Bagpipe

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The Great Highland Bagpipe is the most well known bagpipe. As its name implies, it originated in the highlands of Scotland. Other varieties of bagpipes are to be found in Ireland, Northumberland, Galicia, Brittany and further afield.

The pipes consist of a bag, a blowstick, a number of single-reed drone pipes (usually three), and a double-reed chanter. The pipes are usually played in a standing position with the bag held between the piper's arm and side. The drones rest against the piper's shoulder and point upward. The bag provides a constant supply of air to the pipes, and is inflated by blowing into it through the blowstick. The piper produces sound by inflating the bag and applying pressure to the bag with the arm. The air escapes through the drones and chanter, via reeds placed within each pipe. The drones produce a constant tone in accompaniment to the chanter.

The pipes usually have three drones: two tenor drones tuned an octave below the chanter's low A, and a longer bass drone tuned one octave below the tenor drones. The chanter usually has eight finger holes, two tone holes, and a range of nine notes from low G to high A.