Bagpipes: The emotional battering ram

Place to blether and haver ;-)
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Do you feel powerful when you see the effects of your playing on other people?

Never really thought about it
Total votes: 11

Callum Mathers
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:05 am
Location: Abbotsford, BC

Bagpipes: The emotional battering ram

Post by Callum Mathers » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:02 am

I am just a little bit excited after playing at a funeral. The funeral was for an elderly woman. Her daughter was there with the stereotypical large black hat and veil, dressed in all black, red lipstick, straight-backed, with the determination of a guinea pig on the wheel to stay prim, quiet, and proper throughout the service.


She did pretty good. That is, until I blew up and played Amazing Grace.

Slowly....recognition of a melody. Shock. Memories. Peel a layer. Surprised and insecure. The tune keeps going. Her jaw quivers, eyes twitch. Her clasped hands grow taught. . . and so I play on.

Watching the music actually hit her; the impact of the powerful sound of the bagpipes so close to her, jarring her, and tearing through every emotional barrier she had erected in the face of the black day, one by one, like an impatient child at Christmas. I had never seen the like.

Bye the end of the tune, she was on the ground in the fetal position, sobbing. White makeup a mess; blotchy lipstick; hat rolled to the side of the room; others attempting to help while knowing that there is nothing they can do.

It's quite a powerful feeling, knowing that you have the ability, with the company of your instrument, to do such things to people. It's that magic in the pipes that maintains its popularity and recognition as a ceremonial instrument. The powers to evoke raw emotion.

Tears of Music

One hundred sad ears perked and straining
My instrument has voices made of gold
Heaven opens up, it ceases raining
Tradition, beautiful music of old.

Thoughts and feelings fade into the rhythm
All friends and family, lessons, life has gone
We all sing Amazing Grace just for him
His relatives are mourning to my song.

It’s when I’m finished playing people smile
In tears of music, sorrow disappears
They thank me, I made it worth his while
I nod, embrace them, and share their tears.

The solemn satisfaction I feel as I go
Is shared by an old man I will never know.
"When He finally abandons You
Your wit and Your blade
Are all that keep You alive."

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Post by SpicyMcHaggis » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:39 am

i know that its bad to feel this way, but its true, and you cant help it... Ive stopped a 270 lb Military (Capt) Police Officer dead in his tracks by switching from a Hornpipe to Amazing Grace... He was coming to shut me up, as I was on course and drawing attention to myself to his dismay apparently.

He stopped 3 feet from me and went from anger and authority to a single twear of rememberance for some loved one/comrade in arms... shook my hand and told me to continue playing... the OC was impressed because apparently this guy has a penchant for being a, uh, well, insert pretty much any/all "descriptive" choice word here...

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Post by ladypiper47 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:36 pm

No question, they can be a very powerful instrument. I feel it particularly when the band is marching and people are standing in the path. I walk in the front row of our band and it feel like you are part of a brick wall about to roll over anything in the path.

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