minstrel: periodness of the great highland bagpipe?

M. J. lawteller at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 3 11:43:00 PST 2000

> There are two poles to the whole authenticity and periodicity debate,
> according to the Knowne Worlde Handbooke.  One end are the people who are
> there for fun, and don't care particularly much about being perfectly period
> and perfectly authentic.  They enjoy singing filks, and don't give a hoot
> about the fact that your Great Highland Bagpipe is dated to 1780.
> The other pole are those of us who believe that authenticity and periodicity
> are important to having fun.  They don't lke filks all that much, and try to
> make the bagpipes look as much as possible like it came from 1580, rather
> than 180 years OOP.

I can completely understand the polarity and your viewpoint on it. However, I for one (being
completely and utterly biased) feel that some leeway must be made on this subject. Consider the
plight of Scots and Scot Files in the SCA. The highland pipe (as we know it and how most can get
it is OOP. The bodhran is completely OOP (circa late 1800s to early 1900s). Most Scottish music
(both secular and sacred) was destroyed circa 1560. Can a Scot performer then be in period and
still have a well-rounded repetoir in any real sense? Only if he/she goes outside for material
seems to be the answer. Scot performers have the unenviable task of trying to recreate something
that simply isn't there. Therefore, the highland pipe, the works of Burns (when not discussing an
OOP topic) and others I consider to be "in period" because they, more than anything in period,
allow us to recreate a truly Scots flavour to the proceedings. 

Black Corwyn MacCamie

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