Masters Thesis

Music of the great Highland bagpipe: chronological changes in piobaireachd structure and piping repertoire

Misconceptions abound regarding the Highland bagpipe. Despite the global presence of this instrument and its popularity for both solo and ensemble work, there is disagreement among scholars and performers regarding piobaireachd and appropriate interpretation of this musical form. To solve that problem, it is necessary to consider the instrument and the music for which it is used in historical context. Understanding how the Highland bagpipe has evolved and the social forces that have influenced both piobaireachd and ceol beag will result in more consistency among scholars and better informed artistry among performers. This study uses extensive video, pictorial, and print sources to identify changes in the Highland bagpipe and its music, as well as to reconstruct the social conditions in which they occurred. It also uses case studies to examine the resulting music, particularly piobaireachd, in order to analyze and describe changes in musical form, performance practice, and artistic interpretation.