Many folks will say that single-malt whisky is an acquired taste. Many of the same folks might also say the same thing about Highland bagpipe music. There are still others who love, and are deeply passionate about both. In this, the two things share a similar character. But the similarities do not end there. The two things—bagpipes and malt whisky—are woven into the fabric of Scottish tradition. The development of each has moved side-by-side throughout Scottish history. Each is associated with celebration, sadness, and ceremony. Each can be infused with originality and artistry. Each of these things—Highland bagpipes and malt whisky—has influenced the other immeasurably.
Whisky Tunes is not an ordinary bagpipe music collection. In what is the first online, serial bagpipe tune book, Whisky Tunes offers bagpipers and traditional musicians new arrangements of vintage tunes inspired by Scotland’s famous spirit. A new tune will appear each week and take the reader on a journey through Scottish whisky-making and bagpiping history. The journey starts with the people and places of Scottish whisky, travels to the growing and harvesting of barley, to the brewing and distilling, and then to, yes, the drinking. Much of the collection is accompanied by researched notes on the tunes with some historical background. Read the Introduction to Whisky Tunes for an overview of whisky history in Scotland up to the early to mid-1800s and that history’s connection to the Highland bagpipes.
I believe each tune, no matter how small, has a story to tell. As this collection unfolds, I hope those stories will have a new voice. Many tunes that will appear have not been heard in more than a hundred years. These tunes capture the spirit and flavor of life as much as the flavor of a favorite spirit. These tunes, like good whisky, have been aging for a long time. It’s time for them to be bottled and served.
First tune of the collection appears November 3, 2015!
Niel Gow (1727–1807) is an iconic name in Scottish fiddling. He achieved musical renown in his lifetime and was friendread more →