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"What Is the Bagpipe Scale?"

"What Is the Bagpipe Scale?"


The Highland bagpipe scale, the notes that can be played on a bagpipe chanter, is made up of 9 notes. The notes are low G, low A, B, C, D, E, F, high G, and high A.

The notes of the bagpipe scale as written in sheet music are only representations of notes not the actual notes as played by other modern instruments. The bagpipe scale is based on the Mixolydian mode or scale. This scale is based on a major scale but with a minor seventh.

Specifically the bagpipe uses the A Mixolydian mode. This is related to the key of D Major and contains the notes, G, A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G, and A.

The bagpipe scale, while represented as a scale on A, is currently pitched close to B♭. The standard modern frequency of A is 440Hz. Current chanters are tuned to achieve A around 476 to 480Hz.

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David Lairson David has been playing the bagpipes for over 20 years. He is an instructor and soloist with the Palm Beach Pipes & Drums and a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band. David is active in the Florida competition circuit, and when he is not practicing or playing he works as a computer technician. He currently lives in sunny South Florida.