Well, think about it. What is the difference between the word "Cat" and the word "Mat"? It's just the first letter, or consonant. Change the way we articulate the beginning of the word, and it can take on a very different sound and meaning. The same would be true if we changed the consonant at the end of the word. Think of "Cat," and "Cab" this time. The way we articulate the end of that word drastically changes the sound (and of course the meaning) of the word.
Notice that the vowell sound stays the same in all of those examples. It's the "filler" that makes these consonant-articulations possible.
In bagpiping, gracenotes are the same concept as the consonants! Depending on the type of articulation we use (G gracenote, D gracenote, Strike, etc), bagpipe melodies will take on different sounds and meanings. Indeed - very slight differences in gracenote patterns can mean the difference between jigs and reels, marches and hornpipes - and so on, and so forth.
Thinking of gracenotes as articulative devices is key to mastering them. Let us show you a bit about this at Dojo University:
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