Are there arrangements for bagpipe and concert band/orchestra?

If the piper can tune his instrument to a fixed pitch, (s)he can play with concert musicians in either a band or an orchestral setting.

I've personally never seen a commercial score for concert band and bagpipes, but, given the number of military bands with associated pipe corps (e.g. The Black Watch), I imagine that there are many arrangements available. Other thoughts would include asking at one of the school bands [e.g. Music Department at The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio) or Dunedin High School (Dunedin, Florida)] which performs routinely with pipe band.

I have performed a piece with the Kalamazoo Concert Band utilizing the full band, one piper, one highland drummer and a highland dancer. Richard Swinsick wrote the score for a medley in which we started with Bonnie Dundee (pipes and drum), the Easy Club Reel (pipes, drum, band playing mostly chords), Irish Washerwoman (pipes, drum band, band playing mostly chords and dancer) and then Scotland the Brave (pipes, drum, band with more melody). It was a lot of fun. (Please note that Richard passed away a few years ago.)

There are several pieces for orchestra. Many seem to be derived from an interest in including a bagpipe with an orchestra.

The orchestra piece "An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise" by Peter Maxwell Davies will require the bagpiper to play with Low A tuned to concert pitch at 440 Hz. There is little/no evidence that this was ever a standard pitch for pipes and it is very difficult to get a stable instrument to play at this low pitch. There are a few of us who've done it, but it isn't easy. Here's what I did. There is a recording of Nancy Tunnicliffe with the Boston Pops doing this tune. Great stuff! (The Kalamazoo Symphony did this in 1992.)

There is a religious piece out there entitled "The Call", arranged by Gary Rhodes and orchestrated by Dave Williamson, which includes a bagpipe part in the score. It CAN NOT be played on the highland bagpipe due to the key of the part. The recording is done with a synthesizer. In one case, I know of a music director who transposed everything upward so that pipes could be used. (I believe that a set of small pipes in D would do nicely, but I haven't tried it)

"Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel" is a score for smallpipe and orchestra, with a narration of the children's book running through it. You can probably guess who the smallpipe represents! The piece was composed by Stephen Simon.  Recordings are available.  (Many thanks to Nancy Tunnicliffe for pointing out this piece!)

Other orchestral pieces, of which I've heard but know very little (possibly having titles or authorship wrong as well!), are:

"Bagpipes, Bicycles and Balloons", by P.D.Q. Bach

"Afore Ye Go" - involves Nancy Tunnicliffe and orchestra (available from or

"Arthur's Return"

"The Brendan Voyage", by Shaun Davey, an orchestral suite for Uilleann Bagpipes

"The Relief of Derry Symphony", by Shaun Davey (Tara Records, TARACD3024)

"The Pilgrim", by Shaun Davey, a Celtic Suite for Orchestra, Soloists, Pipe Band and Choir

 The Denver Brass - Bagpipes and Brass

??? by D.J. Kroegel

There are also pieces which are arranged by pipe bands to include orchestras and concert bands. I'll try to put together a listing of these tunes.

If you have additional information about the tunes listed above or others for bagpipe and concert/orchestra, please let me know!

Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016