The exploits of pipers and musicians, generally, overindulging in drink is well documented and the stuff of legend. It’s natural that something as integrated into daily Scottish life such as whisky would give rise to tunes throwing a wink to its end results. The drunk piper is almost an accepted caricature and has been used to poke fun at Highland bagpipes and pipe bands for a long time. Such stereotypes rise from true experiences though. Pipers of the past and pipers of today both have been known to indulge in excessive drink after the day’s music is played. According to W.L. Manson in his 1901 work The Highland Bagpipe, William MacDonald of Badenoch was a man who “played so well, even when rivals had given him too much to drink, that he always got a prize at competitions.” The more devastating life effects of overindulgence in spirits are widely known, and these days, folks are keenly aware that responsible consumption is a hallmark of any whisky enthusiast.
View the score for “The Drunken Piper.”