Wednesday

Why Bagpipes at a Funeral?

Yes this funeral is still on my mind. I'm afraid in my last post I missed an obvious question, why are bagpipes so often played at funerals? The most requested tune after all is Amazing Grace, a traditional funeral song, and they really are associated with funerals.

Why bagpipes at a funeral?

Part of the answer might be that they are very mournful sounding.

But the only historical answer I could find relates to when the Irish first came to America. When they came they faced huge discrimination, signs reading NINA (No Irish Need Apply) were posted and it was very difficult for them to get jobs. They were forced to take the jobs that no one else wanted, jobs that were considered dirty and dangerous like police officers and firefighters. These dangerous jobs often resulted in deaths so at their funerals the Irish used their traditions, which included playing the bagpipes.

From there I guess it just spread. Interesting.

Pipe on!

5 comments:

Laane said...

Yea, it's interesting.

Our band also plaus amazing grace, but also highland cathedral.
I like the last one better.

Piping Girl said...

I will have to check out Highland Cathedral, I don't know that tune. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find the true reason pipes are played at funerals dates back to the battle of Floden and the tune that is played is "Flowers of the Forest"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_of_the_Forest

Piping Girl said...

Thanks for the tip anonymous, I wasn't familiar with the Battle of Flodden and learned a great deal reading up on it.

Mike said...

I read that the reason bagpipes are played at funerals is because it is the only instrument whose sound carries all the way to Heaven to signal St Peter to have the Pearly Gates open for the Dearly Departed.

The Bagpipe Guy

 
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