Do you recall the frustration, as a beginner piper, being told to play the music as it is written, but then told to “hold” certain notes longer than others? It takes some time and experience to understand and to appreciate that the music for the bagpipes is not often “played as written”, especially when the music involves “dotted and cut” notes. It's important to understand what this really means if you expect to get more musicality out of your playing.
The “bag” of the bagpipe has the sole function to be a reservoir for a constant supply of air under pressure that keeps all reeds vibrating at optimum. Once upon a time, it was thought that the more air in the reservoir of the bag meant better sound. As a result, playing as big a
ALAP and ASAP are acronyms. ASAP stands for As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP). ASAP stands for As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).
ALAP/ASAP is a method for learning and teaching “dot-cut” rhythms, dotted eighth notes followed by a sixteenth note, on the Highland Bagpipe.
Most people know that bagpipes are usually made from African blackwood (dalbergia melanoxylon). However bagpipes have been, and are, made of a variety of materials. Some of them are good, some less so. The question becomes: why is African blackwood used in bagpipes?
The general degree of difficulty in a bagpipe tune is typically gauged by the frequency of certain technique relative to the note groupings and timings, as well as frequency of finger and hand changes within musical beats. The concentration of these aspects puts a demand on the player’s mastery of certain fundamental skills. High fundamental
A Highland bagpipe chanter reed is what is known as a “double reed.” All double reeds (such as in bassoons, oboes, bagpipes, bombardes) work based on a common principle: the oscillation of an air column maintained by the flow of air over and through the reed.