Engraving of a Lowland wedding, late 17th or early 18th century

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depicting a Bridal couple dancing to the music of the pipes

Postcard of Engraving of a Lowland wedding, late 17th or early 18th century.
© National Museums Scotland

Engraving of a Lowland wedding, late 17th or early 18th century

In spite of history suggesting that Scotland might have been a joyless country or that the Kirk censured dancing and music-making, weddings were generally celebrated with music and dancing. The piper, to the left of the group, is playing a set of Lowland bagpipes. The illustration is an example of a European fashion for illustrating rural life sometimes with a satirical strain.

The Lowland pipes, or Border bagpipe, was a distinctive instrument by the 18th century. It has a chanter and three drones - two tenors and a bass - and sounded and tuned as the Great Highland bagpipe but would generally not have produced such a strident and carrying sound.

A distinguishing characteristic was the mounting of the three drones in a common stock, and the use of bellows strapped under the arm to provide a supply of air. Such a bagpipe would sometimes be described as a 'cauld wind pipe', in contrast to the mouth-blown bagpipe in which the player's breath was hot and lurid. The lowland pipes were the instrument favoured by the Town or Burgh Piper of Lowland Scotland.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-551-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  Bagpipe Archive 1.4
Date: Late 17th or early 18th century (date of depicted wedding)
What: Engraving of a Lowland wedding
Event: Lowland wedding (depicted)
Description: Engraving of a Lowland wedding.
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