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Everything's Louder with Bagpipes

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Can someone please encase that satyr in clay!? We're trying to sleep!

"A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the bagpipes but doesn't."
"Why do bagpipers always walk when they play? To get away from the noise."
"Why do bagpipers always walk when they play? Because it's harder to hit a moving target."
Traditional Jokes

Bagpipes are fantastic instruments—if you know how to play them. Hearing somebody unskilled learning to play bagpipes, though, is just as painful as media makes it out to be. Also, a lot less painful outdoors than inside, as they are also quite loud. How loud? Well, if the wind is in the right direction and you listen a bit, you can hear the buskers on Edinburgh's Royal Mile from a couple of miles away. Since the original bagpipes, as well as the modern Great Highland Bagpipe originally were signaling instruments, meant to be heard over the sounds of a couple thousand dudes banging at each other with bits of metal, one can argue that this is the point. Other types of bagpipes have different, less screechy sounds.

The origins of the Great Highland Bagpipe are Shrouded in Myth. The oldest known fragment of a Great Highland Bagpipe is a remnant of a set allegedly played by Clan Menzies at the Battle of Bannockburn, but this claim is disputed. The earliest concrete evidence for the use of bagpipes is a written account of the Battle of the North Inch of Perth (or Battle of the Clans), which mentions the use of "warpipes". The first example of a specifically "highland" version appears in the 1549 work The Complaynt of Scotland. It is a persistent but untrue myth that the bagpipes were banned by the Act of Proscription 1746. Both persecution by Government forces and mass emigration/deportation to British colonies during the following decades led to a decline in the instrument, but the discovery that Highlanders made excellent shock troops led to a revival. Pipes were carried into combat to provide Music for Courage during the Battle of Assaye, the The Duke of Wellington's first independent command, where he destroyed a European-trained Maharatha army nearly seven times his numbers. Throughout the 19th century, pipers were a common feature of Scottish attacks. In World War I, the pipes were used early on, but heavy casualties led to the end of the practice. Daniel Laidlaw won the Victoria Cross for piping his faltering company out a trench during a German gas attack during the Battle of Loos. War piping made a brief revival during D-Day, when William Millin piped the 1 Special Service Brigade onto Sword Beach. The last use of bagpipes during a combat situation in the British Army was during the 1967 Aden Emergency, where the 1st Btn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders occupied the Crater district of Aden without a single casualty, something High Command thought impossible.

Though there are many kinds of bagpipes used in traditional music throughout Europe, North Africa and the Caucasus, in fiction you almost never see anything but the Great Highland Bagpipe; just take a look at The Other Wiki on the subject.note  They have a nifty list of songs with bagpipes as well.

Most often used for a Regional Riff of Scotland. Also see Loud of War. Amazing Freaking Grace is an extremely popular tune to be played on the pipes, as is Scotland The Brave; for non-Scottish, these are often the only tunes ever heard played on this instrument, in fact.


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  • MetLife: In one ad, Charlie Brown and Sally show off some outfits their grandpa sent them from an international trip. Then Charlie Brown is loudly interrupted by blaring bagpipes, and he remarks with embarrassment, "Oh yeah, he sent my dog something too." Cut to Snoopy playing the bagpipes as Woodstock and the birds provide percussion, all wearing little kilts.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The extended version of the The Vision of Escaflowne opening theme has bagpipes. And they are awesome.
  • The music from Heat Guy J is Epic Rocking on the pipes. Kind of appropriate given J's signature cooling pipes. Word of God has it that the bagpipes were chosen because Kazuki Akane thought it was a Rated M for Manly instrument, and J is always bringing up what it means to be a man. ("A man should ______.")
  • Little Wing, the JAM Project-produced opening to Scrapped Princess, opens with bagpipes and has a short interlude with them in the full version of the song. The result is predictable.
  • The second season opening of the Ah! My Goddess TV series. Belldandy herself was featured playing the instrument during the opening animation sequence.
  • "Colosseum", from Noir.
  • Claymore has a bagpipe motif for Clare. Because Clare is so badass that only bagpipes are good enough for her motif. Like here.
  • The first ending theme of Pokémon Best Wishes uses bagpipes, though you might not notice because of the adorable sight of Tepig blowing into them.
  • Aramaki's Theme in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex features bagpipes in its second half.
  • Bagpipes are used quite a bit in the soundtrack to Spice and Wolf's first anime adaptation.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: England/The UK's versions of Marukaite Chikyuu and Hattafutte Parade contain surprisingly good bagpipes. Technically, they're Scottish, but Iggy apparently represents the whole UK at World Meetings, and Scotland has only ever been alluded to back then. When Scotland finally shows up in the manga, one of his pictures is him annoying England by playing the bagpipe.
  • A strange place to find them, but when the chorus and the musical bridge of the ED of Ragnarok: The Animation, Alive plays, you can hear bagpipes as an accompaniment. It's also obvious during the ending as they're one of the last instruments to fade out.
  • Fairy Tail's soundtrack aims for mix of celtic/folk mixed with heavy metal, and as such bagpipes are featured in several tracks, including the main theme.

    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": While tending to his herd of pigs and donkeys in the woods, Hans plays beautiful music on his bagpipes, attracting the kings' attention to himself (As this is a German folktale, it would be wrong to imagine him with Scottish bagpipes. Rather, he would likely have played an instrument with two parallel drones, or perhaps a Bohemian-type bagpipe with a bellows and a goat's head ornament if he lived in Eastern Germany).

    Fan Works 
  • In the Recursive Fanfiction and crossover, Shimmering Sunsets, in the 20th chapter, Sunsetverse!Sunset needs to interrogate some prisoners:
    "Hey Fiddlesticks, do you have any bagpipes?"
    Fiddlesticks reached into her hat and moved it around for a bit. She pulled out a pair. ".........Why do ah have these?"
    "Don't care." Sunset said as she levitated them over to herself. "Now talk or I start playing, and let me just warn you, I have never had a single lesson so it will be even worse than usual with bagpipes."

  • In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the historical army summoned by the witch to fight off Those Wacky Nazis include a bagpipe player. When he/it starts playing, several other suits of Animated Armor glance at each other as if to say " he with you?"
  • Brave: The pipers strike up whenever the lords start fighting. One even casually dodges a bench that flies at him.
  • In The Dark Knight, bagpipes are played at the memorial service for Commissioner Loeb.
  • Army of Darkness featured the undead army of death marching complete with drum, flute and bagpipes.
  • In The Departed, bagpipes are played when the main characters graduate from the police academy and again at the funeral.
  • Dead Poets Society. A backpipe is being played in the opening ceremony scene and later by Keyting himself.
  • In The Devil's Brigade the Canadians are introduced by appearing on the horizon behind a full pipe and drum band. Richard Dawson's character later plays Scotland the Brave at a birthday party in Italy.
  • In Denis Villeneuve's Dune, the arrival of House Atreides on Arrakis is heralded by bagpipers, which are also heard as they fight the Harkonnen forces later. Given the House's general Spanish themes they're probably intended to be Galta pipes, but they sound like Scottish bagpipes.
  • The Fighting Prince of Donegal: Bagpipes play whenever there is a feast inside an Irish clan's castle, and when Hugh O'Donnell fights Henry O'Neill. And bagpipes play again in the Final Battle when Hugh's army is Storming the Castle.
  • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Scotty plays "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes at Spock's funeral.
  • L.A. Story. A freeway sign electronically plays "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
  • The French comedy movie The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe has a scene where a character accidentally sits on a bagpipe, with predictable results. The bagpipe then proceeds to haunt the poor guy.
  • At the end of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (which The Departed is based on), there are bagpipe players at a funeral.
  • Braveheart of course, set in Scotland. They use Irish pipes, though. Word of God on the DVD commentary says they tried Scottish pipes at first but decided the Irish pipes sounded better.
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) has a scene involving "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.
  • Marriage on the Rocks: Dan's Scottish mother-in-law Ginny, who can't stand him, deliberately irritates him by playing bagpipes in the house.
  • In The World Is Not Enough Q Labs is shown testing some bagpipes with a machine gun concealed in one of the drones, and a flamethrower in another. Fitting, this is set in their Scottish headquarters.
    Bond: I suppose we all have to pay the piper sooner or later.
    Q: Oh, pipe down 007.
  • Casino Royale (1967) also has Ursula Andress' character using a bagpipe/machine gun on a corps of pipers attacking Peter Sellers, and then on him. Early in the movie, agents playing M's widow and daughters try to corrupt Bond (David Niven) at a funeral fling with piping, drinking, and dancing, but he ends up the last person standing.
  • In So I Married an Axe Murderer, Mike Myers' character's wedding party has his dad (also Myers) singing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" accompanied by bagpipes. When the old player drops, dad announces "We have a piper down!" It's just as awesome as it sounds.
  • The Gordon Highlanders are very prominent in Waterloo, performing a bagpipe-accompanied dance at the Duchess of Richmond's ball and later fighting in the battle. A regimental piper gets it from a French cavalryman.
  • Dead Poets Society. Half of Keating's Triumph is bagpipes!
  • The Rundown has Beck's bush pilot sidekick, Declan (who appears to be from Northern Ireland, though he is played by a Scottish actor) play Highland Pipes on the outskirts of Hatcher's town, then deliver a bizarre sermon warning Hatcher of the coming judgment. He then resumes playing, until a herd of cattle stampede through the town.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - Fat Bastard, an infiltrator in the Scots Guards, plays a bagpipe that emits knockout gas, and contains tools used to extract the frozen Austin's mojo.
  • Help! - The Beatles once again run afoul of the pursuing Eastern thug cult at the London riverfront, disguised as a Highland band, with a bagpipe that spews sacrificial red paint.
  • In There It Is MacNeesha busts out his bagpipes and starts playing while in a cab. The cabbie pulls over, thinking he has engine trouble.
  • Bill Millin in The Longest Day, played by Pipe Major Leslie de Laspee (who was the official piper to the Queen Mother in 1961). Not everyone he played for appreciated it, though. One soldier (played by Scottish actor Sean Connery) said "it takes an Irishman to play the pipes."
  • In The Three Lives of Thomasina the cat Thomasina is presumed dead, and the children give her a heroic funeral with mourners and an honor guard, including little Jamie McNabb playing "MacIntosh's Lament" (with only nine mistakes) on pibroch. The town constable even stops traffic for the procession and salutes as the bier passes. It's Jamie's piping that brings the local "witch" (actually just a woman who lives alone, with a reputation for curing sick animals) out to see what's going on and saves Thomasina from being buried alive.

  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, there's Count Vorvolynkin (derived from Russian volynka = bagpipe). This count is famous for his looong trial for his territories. Note that the word volynka has another meaning in Russian: something long and boring.
  • Three Men in a Boat has a long digression on the previous efforts of one of the three to master the instrument.
  • The Nac Mac Feegle on Discworld play the mousepipes, which are pitched too high for humans to hear, but are apparently beautiful (and slightly painful, with a sense your earwax is about to melt). There's also occasional mentions of Lancre bagpipes, although they've never actually been played in a novel.
  • The rock band mentioned in Harry Potter, "The Weird Sisters" has a bagpiper in the band. The music video for the song "Do the Hippogriff" from the film version of Goblet of Fire even has a bagpipe solo.
  • In Lost Dorsai, by Gordon R. Dickson, there is a "gaita gallega", a Bagpipe from Galicia, in the Northwest corner of Spain. The instrument is described and demonstrated, and then later used in a battle (of sorts). To hear one try a record by Susana Seivane, Christina Pato, or almost any of the Galician folk groups. There are similar instruments in Asturias, also worth hearing.
  • In Doc Sidhe by Aaron Allston, set in a parallel universe with a culture similar to 1920s America, bagpipes are considered a standard instrument for blues music.
  • The Cat Who... Series: Police Chief Andrew Brodie, like many characters in the series, is of Scottish descent and is known to give stirring bagpipe performances at public events, weddings, and funerals.
  • The Gaunt's Ghosts series includes, as part of a general "space Scots" feel for the Tanith, Space Bagpipes. They're noted to both encourage the Ghosts and scare everyone else, Imperial or Chaos (and scaring a chaos cultist takes some effort...). Trooper Milo's first job, before enlisting as a proper soldier, is to play the pipes as they march into combat.
  • Invoked and played for slight laughs in The Witcher Saga short story A Question of Price, where a large bagpipe is used to stop a possessed girl's rampage—by the sheer loudness of the noise it produces.
  • Max And The Midknights Battle Of The Bodkins: In chapter 5, when Max and Sir Gadabout find themselves surrounded by Crags, they call Mumblin' the wizard on a pear for help. He sends them Seymour, who plays the bagpipes very loudly, causing the Crags to crumble.
  • George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan short stories recount his days in the Highland regiments, particularly Johnny Cope in the Morning, which deals with the shenanigans of the regimental pipe band. They developed the habit of assembling outside the newbie officers' quarters every Friday at six AM and blasting them all awake with Johnny Cope; MacNeill makes friends with the pipe-sergeant by getting up even earlier so he could critique the performance. Later, the subalterns eventually get revenge by inviting the colonel to stay overnight one fine Thursday and conveniently forgetting to tell the pipe band.
    • The first time this happens, MacNeill and his messmates all have their own ideas about what's going on; one of them thinks the Americans have gone insane and dropped The Bomb, another thinks it's a new Highland Rising. MacNeill, on the other hand, is convinced it's the MacLeods who have gotten their act together and are coming to settle the score with him and his clansmen once and for all.
  • In Chapter 15 of Doc Sidhe, while in a club, Harris discovers that the equivalent of the blues on the fair world is traditionally played with the singer accompanied by bagpipes.
    Doc: That's the way it's done. What else could sound so soulful?
    Harris: Do you suppose anyone would get mad if I beat both of them to death?
  • Played partially for laughs in Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers: “Pretty soon we had four pipers, maybe not good but loud. ... A tyro practicing can set your teeth on edge — it sounds and looks as if he had a cat under his arm, its tail in his mouth, and biting it.”
  • World War Z. When the fightback against the undead begins, each country adopts a Primary Enticement Mechanism. In a nutshell, this involves playing loud music (or simply creating as much noise as possible) in order to lure any zombies within earshot towards the firing lines. In the case of the British, this takes the form of bagpipe music, though it's not mentioned whether the bagpipes are actually being played on the frontlines or are pre-recorded.
  • In the (chronologically) final Sharpe book, Admiral Cochrane is quite happy to give up a tenth of his marines' firepower in exchange for three drummers and two pipers (in this case, meaning fife-players), due the positive effect it has on his men's morale. He bemoans the fact that he used to also have a bagpiper, until the Spanish shot him. They shot the bagpipes as well. A full military funeral was held for both.
  • The Franny K. Stein book The Fran With Four Brains has Franny taking bagpipe lessons as a plot point. When she sets out to destroy the three Franbots she built to take her place in her classes so she'd have more time for her experiments, she gets the bagpipe-playing Franbot to self-destruct by tricking it into attempting to play a non-existent J note, resulting in the robot's insides being forced into the bagpipe from blowing too hard.
  • Empire from the Ashes: In the third book, the Malagorans have adopted this instrument. And they have a favorite tune they like to play on the pipes.
  • In Busy, Busy World by Richard Scarry the story "Angus the Scottish Bagpiper" is about an Edinburgh police officer (and scottie dog) who plays the bagpipes in his spare time. The joke is that he spends all day telling other people to stop doing things, but he can't hear them pleading for him to stop.

    Live Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • The Adama(s) theme using bagpipes, noticeable in almost any scene involving both Adamas, particularly when they're having some kind of heartwarming moment. Also noticeable in the fourth season when Adama, Sr gets in the Raptor to wait for the Baseship/Roslin.
    • Bear McCreary likes uilleann pipes. They also show up in some of the action sequence music, such as "Storming New Caprica" which is pretty much an orgy in taiko drums and uilleann pipes. The song also uses Highland pipes, although they aren't as audible on the soundtrack album as the show itself.
  • Invoked in season two of Better Call Saul. Jimmy wants to get fired from his current job while retaining his signing bonus, so he acts as annoying as possible. The final straw? Playing the bagpipes loudly and poorly to 'let off steam'.
  • Ross intends to play the bagpipes at Monica and Chandler's wedding in Friends because Chandler's family is from Scotland, and they can hear his rehearsal from across the road ("I think it's the Dying Cat Parade."). They turn it down, especially because of how bad Ross is at it.
    Monica: Unbelievable. Why is your family Scottish?
    Chandler: Why is your family Ross?
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Terror of the Zygons", Angus the landlord plays "Flowers of the Forest" on the bagpipes. It turns out to be an omen (of sorts). Well, he does have second sight.
    • The Second Doctor serial "The Highlanders" uses bagpipe music as a motif and introduces a piper as a companion, but no-one actually plays them diagetically. The fact that the Second Doctor spent his first story playing the recorder badly, to be followed by a second story full of the constant threat of bagpipe music, after a truly controversial actor recasting really was a brave move.
  • In NCIS Ducky's cellphone ring-tone is Scotland the Brave (mentioned below).
  • On a Christmas Episode of The West Wing, in an attempt to get into the holiday spirit more than he had in past years, Tobey brings various musicians to play carols in the lobby of the White House. At one point he brings in bag-pipers, who can be heard throughout the building. This aggravates Josh in the short term and in the long term, is revealed to be the trigger that causes his PTSD to flare up.
  • JAG: Scotland The Brave is played at Admiral Chegwidden's dining-out retirement party in the last episode of season nine.
  • The Goodies. A bagpipe-wielding Tim is the only effective contestant against Bill Oddie's mysterious martial art of Eckythump! when Tim uses the pipes to knock the black pudding out of Bill's hand. Unfortunately Tim is then knocked out by a boomerang thrown earlier in the contest.
  • Dad's Army. At the conclusion of "If The Cap Fits", Captain Mainwaring reveals he knows how to play the bagpipes when he's called upon to pipe in the haggis, stunning Private Frazer who was expecting Mainwaring to make a fool of himself as usual.
  • In a rare instance of non-Scottish bagpipes, the Theme Song of Xena: Warrior Princess has a bagpipe introduction.
  • John Oliver on Last Week Tonight feigns love for bagpipe music while trying to woo Scotland back to remaining part of the United Kingdom in his segment talking about the Scottish independence referendum.
  • Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report tries unsuccessfully to play the bagpipes while showing solidarity for Scotland in his segment on the Scottish independence referendum.
  • Frontier Circus: In "The Clan MacDuff", the patriarch of the eponymous clan arrives at the circus playing his bagpipes, which spooks the animals. Ben and Tony get in a fight with his sons-in-law in attempt to get him to stop.
  • In iCarly, Sadist Teacher Ms. Briggs inadvertently tortures her students by practicing her bagpipes. When Freddie accidentally breaks them, Ms. Briggs forces Sam and Carly to let her play the bagpipes on their webshow. They reluctantly let her on, but Freddie plays funny videos behind her to make the music less grating.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Bear McCreary uses Scottish bagpipes and Irish uilleann pipes for the Harfoot theme, giving the Harfoots a more care-free vibe, than the rest of other factions that have more solemn themes.

  • Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell features bagpipes at the end of "Everything Louder Than Everything Else", because Everything's Louder With Bagpipes!
  • The Wicked Tinkers' third CD was simply called "Loud".
  • "Scotland the Brave," one of Scotland's unofficial national anthems.
  • Xera, an Asturian folk-techno band, has a gaitanote  player. They are indeed epic.
  • Korn uses bagpipes on most of their albums. Lead singer Jonathan Davis plays the instrument.
  • "In a Big Country", by Big Country. Anything by Big Country really; their sound was based on making guitars sound like bagpipes
  • Mike Oldfield 's Tubular Bells (side 2) has guitars imitating bagpipes. The equivalent passage in Tubular Bells II uses the real thing.
    • His track "Tattoo" is a bagpipe track that simply cannot be played loud enough.
  • Rock music with Irish/Scottish instruments is a pretty popular music genre in certain circles, so there are plenty of bands that have a designated bagpipes player. Enter the Haggis, for example, emphasize the use of bagpipes in their music.
  • "You're the Voice" by John Farnham. This did not go unnoticed by Colin Morgan.
  • "Under the Milky Way," by Church features an e-bow imitating bagpipes.
  • Punk band Dropkick Murphys has a bagpipe player in the lineup.
    • Nicknamed Spicy Mc Haggis!
    • Their Scottish-Canadian fellow folk-punkers The Real McKenzies also make use of bagpipers on many tracks. "My Head is Filled With Music" in particular is about Bill Millin from World War 2, and fittingly features some sick bagpipes.
  • "March of the Cambreadth" by Alexander James Adams. The bagpipes are really only icing on the cake for it, but still...
  • The song "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle has simulated bagpipes.
  • The soundtrack for Riverdance features a cousin of the bagpipes, the Uilleann pipes (a sort of tenor bagpipe).
  • The Most Unwanted Music makes liberal use of bagpipes in an attempt to produce the most unlistenable piece of pop music ever composed. The result is so bad it's AWESOME.
  • The Red Hot Chilli Pipers play a mixture of traditional pipe tunes, pop and rock tunes like "We Will Rock You", and original stuff like "Celtic Bolero". They call it "Bagrock".
  • "It's a Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC. Played by Bon Scott, no less!
    • It's so awesome that Brian Johnson, who succeeded Scott as the band's lead singer, refuses to sing the song, since it was considered Scott's signature song.
    • When AC/DC first got the idea, Bon Scott was under the impression that Angus Young could play the bagpipes. Young replied, "No, I said I was in a highland bagpipe band. I played the drums!"
    • When Corporation Lane in Melbourne (near Swanston Street, where the song's video was filmed) was renamed ACDC Lane in 2004 (according to Melbourne law street names can't include slashes), the official ceremony ended with this song being played by bagpipers.
  • Swiss Celtic Metal band Eluveitie have a piper among their number, using a traditional Galacian design.
  • UK-based Heavy Metal band Hell use bagpipes in the beginning (sampled) and on the bridge of the song "Macbeth." Understandable, considering what the song is based on.
  • Grave Digger's album Tunes of War, which is based on wars between Scotland and England have bagpipes played by the band Subway To Sally. The album even opens with metal rendition of Scotland the Brave.
  • Running Wild's epic "Battle of Waterloo" opens with bagpipes.
  • Blind Guardian has used bagpipes now and then, most obviously on the title track from Somewhere Far Beyond and its intro track, aptly titled The Piper's Calling.
  • "Mull of Kintyre" by Wings. A paean to Paul McCartney's longtime residence (a home and recording studio in Argyll and Bute, Scotland), the 1977 recording features bagpipes from Kintyre's local Campbeltown Pipe Band.
  • Lenahan's "Nothin'" is blues bagpipes.
  • The German Mediaeval Rock band In Extremo make use of the Marktsackpfeife, a German bagpipe about as loud as the traditional Scottish one.
  • St Petersburg-based folk band Otava Yo mainly play re-envisioned traditional Russian numbers, with a growing repertoire of pan-European numbers drawn from as far away as French Canada. Alexei Belkin plays a recognisable set of bagpipes in the bandnote  This has led to heated discussion between Russian and Scottish fans of the group as to whose culture devised bagpipes first.
  • The group MacUmba plays music that's a fusion of bagpipes and Brazilian Samba drums. Listen here
  • The song "Gimme the Prize" by Queen has a brief instrumental section that's clearly meant to be evocative of bagpipes; not surprising, since the song originates in the first Highlander film.
  • Composer/humorist Peter Schickele utilizes bagpipes to comic effect in some of his P.D.Q. Bach works; most notably in the Pervertimento for Bicycle, Bagpipes, and Balloons (which subverts the "louder" aspect in one movement by using the wheezy practice chanter), but also in a Sinfonia Concertante in which the bagpipes player executes florid, highly embellished mock-Baroque passages, while completely drowning out the other much softer solo instruments, such as a lute. (As Schickele is fond of saying when he introduces the piece, "It's a lovely lute.....think of it while you're listening to the bagpipes.")
  • The "Scallion Song" of Hatsune Miku was originally a scottish marching tune during the reign of James I.
  • The liner notes for Great Big Sea's album Fortune's Favour contains this gem: "There are no bagpipes in the studio, but there are some on Heart of Stone. We suspect Bob is responsible."
  • Wizzard's 'Are you ready to rock?' mixes rock & roll and bagpipes. Yes, really. And it's AWESOME.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel's "Ghost" and "Untitled" both make superb use of bagpipes, plus trumpet, trombone, theremin, zanzithophone...
  • "Come Talk To Me," the opening track off Peter Gabriel's album Us, features bagpipes — as well as an Armenian doudouk, a Russian women's choir, and Sinead O'Connor on backing vocals, and manages to make it all work together.
  • Another guitar-imitating-bagpipe example: Slade's "Run Runaway". Furthermore, the video was loaded with Scottish imagery.
  • "Bagpipes (That's My Bag)" by Ray Stevens. He uses his voice to imitate one.
  • Almost any recording by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
  • Bonaparte's Retreat - the version by Glen Campbell.
  • And of course, there's Rufus Harley, quite possibly the only prominent jazz musician to choose the Great Highland Bagpipes as his primary instrument. How good was he? Well, he was able to record jazz-funk songs without sounding like a novelty act.
  • One season of America's Got Talent featured The Badpiper, a punk piper who played AC/DC on the bagpipes.
  • Johnny Bagpipes is a stand-up comedian who incorporates bagpiping into his routine. One of his anecdotes had him get revenge on a bunch of loud frat guys staying in the hotel room next to his by being even louder, imitating a fire alarm and related sirens on the pipes at 6 the following morning.
  • The song, "Dream" by Forest For the Trees.
  • Battlefield Band have had a dozen different pipers over their 40+year history. Sometimes they have two at once. Do not sit in the front row at one of their concerts.
  • Averted by Loreena Mckennitt, who uses the Uilleann pipes (an Irish variant that uses a bellows to inflate the bag instead of the player's breath, and has only three drone pipes instead of five) on her albums and in concert, partly because they are much quieter than Highland pipes.
  • Laurie Anderson's Break-Up Song "Sweaters" has a spare arrangement of Anderson's voice, the above-mentioned Rufus Harley's bagpipes, and drums.
  • Robin Mark's "Garments Of Praise" from Revival In Belfast uses Irish bagpipes as part of its intro.
  • Efenwealt Whystle, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, penned the ballad "Who Kilt the Piper?". The song is about a bagpiper who makes an incredibly poor decision to play in the middle of a village at six or seven in the morning, with ludicrously violent consequences.
  • Corvus Corax is a German band that plays neo-medieval music, very often involving bagpipes. They also have a side project called Tanzwut where they play medieval metal.
  • Mark Knopfler's song Piper To The End is about an uncle of his who played bagpipes and was killed in World War II.
  • Keith Urban's "I Told You So" uses a variant of bagpipes known as Uilleann pipes to play the main riff.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One strip of Drabble shows the dad reacting in horror to someone just off-panel, as if the unseen man had a weapon. ("I don't think he sees us. Just back away very slowly...") The final panel reveals the source of the threat to be a bagpipes player; dad breaks into a run as the man begins playing.
  • A Herman strip shows a kid telling a piper that "It'll probably stop screaming if you let it go."
    • Another has two thugs using bagpipes to rob a bank, threatening to start playing if their demands aren't met.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: In the episode, "Aliens Dig Baloney", the aliens that Baloney encounters make him listen to bagpipe music (though they later regret this decision). The bagpipes horrify him far more than the brain-probing they said they'd do afterwards.
  • In the Bagpuss episode "The Hamish", Bagpuss believes the tartan porcupine pincushion Emily has found is a "small, soft Hamish", a tartan creature that sounds like badly-played bagpipes, and tells a story of a small, soft Hamish befriending a bad bagpiper named Tavish McTavish, who lives high up in the mountains where nobody can hear him except the Hamishes.
  • In the Julie Andrews episode of The Muppet Show, Gonzo played "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" on bagpipes while atop a wooden flagpole, while in full Scottish uniform. A beaver, however, got on stage and began to eat at the flagpole's base. Seeing this caused Gonzo to speed up the tempo, but he couldn't finish before the pole tipped over.
    Waldorf: Gonzo should quit while he's ahead.
    Statler: Gonzo should quit while he's alive.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, the daemonic Heralds of the Plague God Nurgle known as Sloppity Bilepipers carry a set of grotesque bagpipes that are the pestilential remains of the Bilepiper's predecessor. The Bilepiper uses these putrid pipes to entertain the Great Unclean Ones and Nurglings of the Plague Legions, something represented in the game rules by enhancements to the combat ability of these daemons in battle.
    • In Warhammer Fantasy Battle, a night goblin hero can use a set of enchanted 'squigpipes'. Their music is so horrible it panics enemy horses.
  • In Diana: Warrior Princess, bagpipes are weapons only usable by druids.
  • An item in Munchkin Cthulhu. It gives a hefty +4 bonus (on the level of some pretty fatal weaponry, like a combine harvester or a flamethrower), but with an unfortunate caveat that monsters may mistake its audio and appearance and think it's something they can mate with.
  • In some WW2 wargaming rule-sets, especially those set in North Africa, the presence of bagpipes on the Commonwealth side is a negative factor on German and Italian morale, as once the Axis soldiers start to hear bagpipes on the breeze, they know exactly what's going to come next - lots and lots of fight-crazy Scotsmen.
    • Indeed, Revell (German) and Italeri/ESCI (Italian), manufacturers of 20mm figures for wargaming, both include bagpipers in their WW2 British Infantry sets - a sure indication that the terror of Scottish soldiers lives on, over sixty years after the end of the war. It must have done something to the psyche of the former enemy...
  • In BattleTech, the very Scottish Northwind Highlanders mercenary outfit uses bagpipe music as a form of psychological warfare, either by blaring at maximum volume from loudspeakers on their signature Highlander assault 'mechs, or by blaring it at maximum volume on enemy radio channels as a form of signal jamming.
    • An unsourced rumor in the lore suggests that the Northwind Highlanders' predecessors, the Royal Black Watch, also partook of this tactic. The rumor surrounding this involved regiment's Last Stand during the Amaris coup, which had their last four surviving Battlemechs obliterating Amaris' Mech, armor, and infantry forces by the dozens—reportedly, while broadcsting a stirring bagpipe march. It took repeated nuclear strikes to finally wipe out the Black Watch and silence their song, but legend has it every night, for the rest of his life, Stefan Amaris would be haunted by the faint sound of bagpipes in the distance as an ominous warning: the Black Watch does not die that easily, and by their hand he would pay for his crimes. And he would.

  • Brigadoon has two bagpipers on stage for Harry's funeral procession, playing a traditional Scottish melody. Only one bagpipe is actually played, though: two would be too loud.
  • Cats has a bagpipe sequence in the midst of "The Pekes and the Pollicles." Hilarious, too.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars Days of Ruin's CO Gage/Trak's theme song Proud Soldier has bagpipe sounding sections and is awesome.
  • "Relm's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI might actually be considered a subversion of this, because the song itself is a very mellow and quiet tune, with the bagpipes only accenting one part of it.
  • "Different Word Ivalice" from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
  • Servants of the Mountain from Final Fantasy X. The bagpipes come in at the end of the loop.
  • The town theme for San d'Oria in Final Fantasy XI features loud bagpipes that usually frighten and scare off people entering the town for the first time.
    • The theme for the Wings of the Goddess 20 years ago version of San d'Oria also features bagpipes, but they are more reserved.
  • In Wizardry 7 one of musical instruments is bagpipes that produce Terror spell. Wizardry 8 adds three more — with Shrill Sound (damage), Hex (bad luck), and Pandemonium (fear and possible insanity).
  • The Total War series has bagpipes in almost every incarnation (aside from Samurai). The Barbarian Victory theme music in Medieval and its expansion was particulary awesome, but it is also very noticeable in Medieval II when playing as the Scots, of course, and in Empire. Slightly weird when your Russian troops are steamrolling over the Balkans, but awesome nonetheless.
    • However, frustratingly enough, bagpipes were never featured in-game, which is quite historically inaccurate (especially for Scottish, Polish, Georgian, Celtic French, etc. factions and regiments).
  • "bag" from DanceDanceRevolution. It's also a possible That One Level due to the fact that the song scrolls at a ridiculously-slow 65 beats per minute, meaning if you don't play with speed modifiers, the notes will be really scrunched up, making the song near-impossible to read without some memorization.
  • Worms World Party had the intro theme played partly on bagpipes.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has "Sad Monster" for the final boss' first form.
  • Team Fortress 2 uses bagpipes in several places related to the Demoman's, including his theme, "Drunken Pipe Bomb":
    • The end of "Meet The Demoman" has the usual ending riff played on bagpipes.
    • Bagpipes play in DeGroot Keep (Demoman's ancestral castle) every time Points A and B are captured and open the gate leading into the castle. The song is in fact the British victory music from another Valve game, Day of Defeat.
    • The Demoman taunt "Bad Pipes" has Tavish pull out his traditional family instrument and play his rendition of Scotland the Brave, incredibly off-key.
      Ha! Nailed it!
  • Honorable mention to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker; the Koroks have singing voices that sound astonishingly reminiscent of bagpipes, and their ceremony becomes all the louder for it when they start vocalizing.
  • The credits theme for Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe features bagpipes.
  • Mount & Blade: Warband mod Mount & Musket: Batallion features the Piper as an actual class for the United Kingdom. They don't get a weapon, just their pipes. And they still win battles.
  • The "Warpipes" theme from The Lord of the Rings Online, used for skirmish battles in The Shire. It's a quite suitably awesome battle theme.
  • The music for the "Granny Chair" bonus level in Earthworm Jim 2.
  • Occasionally heard in Age of Empires II, thanks to the inclusion of a Celtic Civilization.
  • In NiGHTS into Dreams…, bagpipes (or something sounding like them) can be heard in the track, "Suburban Museum", the theme to the Soft Museum stage.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Grey Wardens sound the alarm with an impressive cadence of bagpipes in their themed motif.
  • The soundtrack of the Howling Fjords area in World of Warcraft, based on Viking culture, features bagpipes.
  • The Satyrs of Fracture Hills in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! are known to play the bagpipes all-throughout the night, much to the irritation of some of the fauns and the golems. In-fact, the golems become so sick of it, they entrap all of the satyrs and their temple in stone. Spyro must free all of the satyrs, who then play their bagpipes loud enough to free the temple.

  • CoyoteVille: In the April 25, 2001 strip, Sean wears a pair of "Baggy-pant-pipes", which contains a bagpipe that he plays around Mulder in the last panel. The latter covers his ears due to hating the loud melody that he ends up being subjected to.
  • In Girl Genius, Sleipner has turned a set of bagpipes into a flamethrower-ish weapon she calls the "Hot Pipes" in this strip.
  • In Oglaf, a lady, upon being approached by a bandit for a "quick mid-forest poll", insults the suggested name for a bandit gang and bagpipes at the same time. Cue a woman with bagpipes stepping out of the forest.
    Woman: Cleverness is like bagpipes: A hellish screech that only sounds pleasing to the one making it. (bagpiper steps out, awkward uncomfortable glances with her fellow bandits)
    Bandit: This is a robbery, then.

    Western Animation 
  • The Animaniacs segment "Dot's Quiet Time" has Dot Warner desperately trying to move away from various dins so she can enjoy some peace and quiet. At one point she moves to Scotland, only to then be disturbed by a Scotsman coming her way while playing the bagpipes.
  • The original 1977 pilot for Danger Mouse, "The Mystery Of The Lost Chord," dealt with the disappearance of a flock of bagpipes by Baron Greenteeth (Greenback's original name) for him to use their collective drone to create a destruction ray. The episode was retooled in 1981 as "Who Stole The Bagpipes?"
  • Dave the Barbarian had the Gargle Pipes, which Dave played non-stop to get back at Princess Candy, who was being a total slave-driver towards her brother. She comments that they're loud enough to wake the dead, but Dave disagrees. It turns out she's kind of right about that, because Quasmir awakens due to the Gargle Pipes.
  • DuckTales (1987): Scrooge McDuck plays the bagpipes. Poorly, judging by how other characters react. Also, used by Burger Beagle in "Full Metal Duck"note  to "torture" some hostages. Scrooge thought it sounded lovely. Everyone else was horrified.
    • Scrooge is also a bagpiper in the reboot, where he's shown to be a much better player. In the second season finale "Moonvasion!", Scrooge leads his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in an assault on the Moonlanders holding McDuck Manor playing a bagpipe, having previously quoted his great-grandfather's "Give me twelve highlanders and a bagpiper, and I'll give you a rebellion" to the group. The tune is pleasant enough, but the Moonlanders, having never heard a bagpipe before, assume it's some form of sonic weaponry.
  • In Earthworm Jim, when Bob the Killer Goldfish fails to awaken the Antifish by pounding on his eyelid with a mallet, a marching band bass drum/trumpet comb, and detonating dynamite sticks jammed in the monster's mouth, he declares that they need a noise so horrible it can wake the dead. His next line? "#4! Fetch... the bagpipes!" And then it has absolutely no effect on the Antifish, either.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Sting", Scruffy plays "Walking on Sunshine" on bagpipes for Fry's funeral, as a parody of Spock's funeral from the aforementioned Wrath of Khan.
  • In The Garfield Show, there was one episode where Jon brought home an accordion and started playing it. Garfield said accordions were the second worst kind of musical instrument ever (losing only to bagpipes). Guess which instrument Jon brings home at the end of the episode.
  • In Godzilla: The Series, Dr. Mendel Craven, on learning the likelihood of his Scottish ancestry, tortures Vitriolic Best Buds Randy Hernandez with his attempts at playing the bagpipes in the episode "Deadloch," much to Randy's utter dismay and Mendel's delight.
  • Home Movies — A rival soccer team has a bagpiper (though it sounds more like a synthesizer) whose music drives Coach McGuirk to tears. He later confesses to Brendon that he was a competitive Scottish Highland-dancer as a kid.
  • The leitmotif of Duff Killigan on Kim Possible.
  • In an episode of League of Super Evil, Red Menace's bagpipe playing causes Voltar and Frogg to run away.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the cartoon "My Bunny Lies Over The Sea," Bugs pops up in Scotland looking for the La Brea tar pits. He then sees a guy in a kilt playing bagpipes and thinks it's a monster attacking an old lady, so he rips up the bagpipes, making the Scotsman angry at him. At the end of the cartoon, Bugs "beats" him at the pipes by using them as a one-bunny-band (he sticks other musical instruments like trumpets in the openings of the pipes).
    • In "Ducking the Devil", Daffy discovers the Tasmanian Devil can be made calm and docile with music - but bagpipes just enrage him more.
  • At the end of a segment in Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas , Scrooge gets a set of bagpipes for Christmas. Santa also sent Huey, Dewey and Louie earplugs.
  • The Monster Farm episode "The Meaning of Life" ends with Dr. Woolly annoying the rest of the cast by playing bagpipes.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch reveals that a Scotsman named Stuart invented the bagpipes to cover up his attempt to do it with a sheep he fancied, with his lamenting that he had to go through with killing the sheep to make the instrument and throw off suspicion including a jab at bagpipe music's reputation for being hard on the ears.
    Stuart: That was the day I killed two things I loved most in the world, my beautiful Bessie and music. I also killed music.
  • Bagpipes appear in several episodes of Rocko's Modern Life, usually as a shorthand for bad music.
    • In the episode "Road Rash", Heffer's idea of road trip music is a tape of all-bagpipe versions of disco music. Unfortunately, it gets stuck in the player and Heffer accidentally breaks the off switch. The music eventually drives Rocko up the wall, and he accidentally trashes their motorcycle in a fit of rage trying to get the tape out of the player.
    • One of Rocko's failed dates has him go on one with a bagpipe player.
  • Samurai Jack: The only recurrent character besides the titular samurai and Aku is the behemoth Scotsman who has a penchant for the pipes. They're heard long before he and Jack actually meet face to face. Actually becomes a plot critical ability during a later episode, where the pipes manage to drown out the mind controlling song of some sirens.
  • The bagpipes come in handy in The Smurfs (1981) Season 9 episode "Phantom Bagpiper", as Smoogle imitates its sound in order to make Smurfette's horse run faster in a horse race against the greedy Frugal McDougal.
  • On South Park, when little baby Ike's Faking the Dead, a piper shows up at his funeral to play Hava Nagila - apparently, the only Jewish music he knows. Everyone plugs their ears right before he starts.
  • In the old seasons of Thomas & Friends, Donald and Douglas' leitmotif was played on bagpipes supplemented by drums and flute, because of their Scottish origin.
  • In the short, "My Brilliant Revenge!" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Fox Trot", Plucky practices his bagpipes to get into the Acme All-Bagpipe band. His practicing drowns out Hamton's favorite show, "Swine Search" on TV, a show he has been waiting all year to see. After missing the entire show due to Plucky's practicing, he destroys Plucky's bagpipes in a fit of rage. At the end of the cartoon, it is revealed that Hamton taped the show.
  • In the special Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, Toot's Uncle Bertie is an accomplished bagpiper. The sound of his bagpipe playing later saves some lost puppies, who were born on the bagpipes. Though not before Toot tries first:
    Uncle Bertie: That's a good theory, the only problem is the awful noise you're making is apt to scare them back to Scotland.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: "The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch" features two jokes about bagpipe music being unbearable to listen to, with Sundae stating that he still has a headache from when Muffy McIntyre played the bagpipes and remarking that Ronald's attempt at playing the bagpipes sounds like when his Aunt Fritzi got her tail caught in the doggy door.

    Real Life 
  • Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family (well...most of them) have a love for Scotland and bagpipes. A senior piper from a Scots or Irish regiment of the British Army will play for the Queen everyday. Members of the household staff have been known to grumble about it.
  • In many Commonwealth nations (and a few that aren't!), pipe & drum bands are the musical outlet of police and military organizations.
  • 'Fighting' Jack Churchill was the one of the most badass officers in WWII, leading his men with a broadsword in his belt, a longbow and more than once, pipes under his arm. His last commando raid ended badly with him being wounded by mortar shrapnel: he insisted on being propped up against a wall and proceeded to play his bagpipes to encourage the defenders until the position was overrun and he was captured.
  • A few years ago, a burglary in Scotland was foiled because the householder had stowed his bagpipes under the window the luckless criminal chose as his point of entry.
  • The College of Wooster, a small Presbyterian liberal arts college in rural Ohio whose mascot is the Fighting Scot, boasts a Wooster Pipe Band consisting solely of several bagpipes and one drummer (an impressive feat for a rather small school). The Pipe Band appears at football games as well as more formal and official school functions. If you go to this school, not only will you have the tune of the school song, "Scotland the Brave," memorized within three or four months thanks to these guys, you will also consider it to be one of the most epic songs ever. The band even appeared in a Coca-Cola ad. Also, it will occasionally hide around the campus and burst out playing, an occurrence known as a Random Act of Piping.
  • There are few police or firefighter funerals (especially for those killed on the job) that don't feature at least one piper playing Amazing Freaking Grace. Cue the Manly Tears.
  • A few music teachers teach by having their students play percussion while he/she plays bagpipes. In the same small room. The purpose of the exercise is to understand rhythm, although you get the feeling that this isn't strictly necessary.
  • Bagpipes in confined spaces are so loud that pipers are advised to wear ear protection when playing them indoors.
  • Highland Park High School in Dallas, whose mascot is the Scot, has a drum and pipe corps.
    • As does Shadle Park High School, in Spokane, Washington. Their mascot is the Highlanders.
    • The Notre Dame Fighting Irish men's Lacrosse team is always led out on the field by one of their players playing a bagpipe.
  • At the Battle of El Alamein in 1942, combat was preceded by the heaviest and most intense British artillery barrage since 1916. At its peak this involved some 1700 field guns backed by infantry mortars and nearly 1000 tank weapons used in an artillery role. The noise was practically unbearable. Yet German and Italian survivors of the battle clearly remember hearing the bagpipes of Scottish and Irish infantry regiments over the noise of the barrage. This was not comforting to the Axis as they knew exactly what bagpipes meant - a Scottish infantry attack. Similarly, one of the few things that frightened Japanese infantry in the Far East was the sound of bagpipes - for similar reasons.
    • George MacDonald Fraser recollects being present, as a war correspondent, with a Scottish infantry unit in Borneo in the 1960's during an undeclared war with Indonesia. He relates how, advancing behind the pipes, a leisuredly advance under enemy fire escalated into an all-out charge that swept everything before it. The Indonesians had, apparently, learnt what it means to hear pipes: bagpipes were not a cultural thing with their former Dutch colonial masters.
    • The morale effect of the pipes was one of the biggest single reasons why American infantry fighting in Iraq asked for British, especially Scottish, infantry support in fighting around Baghdad. They got the Black Watch.
  • It's been claimed (in certain educational materials) that Scottish traditional music was revolutionized by the introduction of amplification... because it actually allowed other instruments to be played alongside the bagpipes!
  • It's worth noting that this trope is downplayed or averted for many types of bagpipes that aren't the Great Highland Bagpipe. Which is perhaps why, on one point on the English/Scots border, you'll see a piper playing the Great Highland pipes (for the benefit of tourists visiting Scotland) but he is unlikely to find competition from anyone playing the Northumbrian smallpipes native to Northumberland on the the English side.
  • Bill Millin was famous for being the only bagpiper in the Normandy invasion of World War II. He became known as "the mad piper" because all he had during the invasion was his father's kilt, a ceremonial dagger, and of course, his bagpipes. That, and enemy German snipers could have easily shot and killed him several times, but didn't bother, because they "assumed he was on a suicide mission, and was clearly mad". However, his music actually might have helped in some way. Another survivor of the Normandy invasion, Tom Duncan, said "I shall never forget the skirl of Bill Millin's reminded us of home and why we were fighting for our lives and those of our loved ones."
  • "Everybody knows" bagpipes are outlawed under the Geneva Convention. Needs citation.
  • When a fire and brimstone preacher perplexed and irritated people in the Scottish town of St Andrews by setting up a sound system so obnoxiously loud that he was barely comprehensible, onlookers were greatly amused upon his meeting his match in the form of a local bagpiper.
  • The city of Dunedin, Florida of all places has a high amount of bagpipe usage (understandable as the city was founded by a pair of Scotsmen and is named after the Gaelic name of Edinburgh). The middle and high schools both feature a pipe band as part of the curriculum and the city has an official pipe band, all three of which have competed and won at piping competitions in Scotland. In case you don't believe us
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, co-founded by Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie, has a pipes and drums band and even offers a degree in bagpiping. Their robotics institute also developed a pipe-playing robot named "McBlare".


Video Example(s):



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