AN AMAZING FACT: Although identified with Scotland, bagpipes are actually a very ancient instrument, introduced into the British Isles by the Romans.
We associate bagpipes with kilts, funerals, and Amazing Grace. But the first bagpipe actually came from the Middle East. The Oxford History of Music describes the first sculptured bagpipe found on a Hittite slab, dated to 1,000 B.C. Historians from the first and second centuries A.D. depict Nero playing an instrument whose description fits that of a bagpipe. Roman armies carried pipes into Europe, and beginning in the second millennium, European art features bagpipes with increasing frequency. Their first certain connection with the British Isles appears in The Canterbury Tales, written around 1380.
Bagpipes became most popular in Scotland and Ireland, where their distinctive sound brightened an otherwise drab existence. During the expansion of the British Empire, a large number of pipers trained for military service and carried the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe worldwide. But as Western classical music developed into a sophisticated art that used technology to improve its instruments, the bagpipe, with its limited range and function, couldn’t keep up.
Nevertheless, a number of countries modeled their militaries after the British Army and adopted the bagpipe, as have police and fire forces. The pipes are commonly used today in military and police funerals.
God endowed humanity with a bit of His creativity. Music is one way we express that creativity. David instructs us to praise God with all manner of instruments. Whatever you use, praise God today for His surpassing greatness!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 150: