Bagpipers: How to Play FAST

Some pipers think that it is really hard to play fast, but they’re wrong. It’s very easy to play fast, even at a tempo that comes close to matching that of Stuart Liddell. Thus, a fast tempo is really no problem at all. The problem arises when we expect to play fast and at the same time make anything that sounds close to good music.

Visualizing ALAP/ASAP—Part 1

On the bagpipe, we cannot play a note with more volume in order to add expression to a phrase. Indeed, our goal is to play at a steady pressure so that the pitch of the chanter and the drones remains constant. Nor do we have techniques such as staccato or legato available to us on the Highland bagpipe. On the Highland bagpipe, we express our music by holding notes longer than we would normally hold them, playing them As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP) and playing contrasting notes As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).