I remember as a child, I’ve always wondered why are bagpipes played at police funerals? To me, bagpipes sounded like music for happy people.
If you’re like a lot of people, you have a certain love of bagpipe music that dates back to your childhood. Maybe you don’t remember when you first heard them or why they were playing the bagpipes. However, I bet you’ve liked them ever since.
Bagpipes are a fairly hard instrument to learn how to play, and then they take a very strong set of lungs to make them work, so there aren’t a lot of skilled players around.
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Still, if you have an event, such as a wedding, funeral, dance or other ceremonies, you can have the bagpipes playing for a very reasonable price. But let’s see why are bagpipes played at police funerals.
Why are Bagpipes Played at Police Funerals, Military, and Firemen Funerals
You might wonder why every time there is a policeman lost in the line of duty; there will almost always be bagpipes played. The same goes for many military and firefighters funerals as well. As it turns out, in the Scottish and Irish tradition, bagpipe playing for funerals has been done since anyone can remember.
During a time of famine in their home country, due to a potato blight that killed nearly all of their harvest, millions of Scottish and Irish people immigrated to the United States.
Unfortunately, there was a shortage of jobs in the US at the time, and the new immigrants were looked down upon much the same as new arrivals are now. So the Irish and Scots took jobs that no one else wanted, the hard labor, steelworkers, street cleaners, police, and firefighters.
Being a fireman in the past was a very dangerous job with many fatalities in the larger cities due to collapsed buildings and smoke inhalation. The Scots and the Irish came to dominate these professions, especially in the larger cities of the US Northeast like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
Then, whenever one of their own died in one of these very dangerous jobs, it was traditional to bring out the bagpipes for their fallen comrade.
In their minds, they were giving their friends the best send-off possible, and at the same time, it served to remind the citizens of the city exactly who it was that protected them against fires and criminals.
This has it’s rooted in the US Northeast beginning at least 150 years ago and has since become an American tradition no matter the ethnicity of the fallen policeman or fireman. The US military has also adopted the bagpipes for many of their larger funerals, and you’ll also hear them played for politicians as well.
Bagpipes Aren’t Just for Funerals, They are Quite Common at Weddings
While you’ll notice the bagpipes at nearly all funerals of police that have died in the line of duty, you can also hear the bagpipes playing at many weddings too. In the old country, they are almost always present, even more so than other types of instruments.
The bagpipes that you’ll hear most often are going to be the Great Highland pipes that originally came from the Scotland-Ireland area and are commonly used in many military and civilian ceremonies. These can be played solo or in a band usually with a few drums.
Sometimes marching and other times standing still, as with most instruments, it’s always harder to play them while walking or marching. Bagpipes use a lot of air, and the artist needs to be in excellent shape to provide sufficient air, especially while walking.
The Variety Of Events to Play Bagpipes Is Unlimited
While you might think that there are only a few places where bagpipes are appropriate, there are in fact hundreds of different types of events where they are used.
The key is to pick the type of music that would be appropriate, and that can be easily done, either online or by consulting with a Piper, as bagpipe players are called. You’ll note that they will have songs that fit nicely with events ranging from funerals, weddings, and sporting events to charities, dances, and festivals.
You might also be surprised to learn how many Pipers there are spread out around the world ready to take on almost any kind of ceremony or celebration that you might need. You can go online and find them with many sites having the ability to check availability immediately for dates and locations for your event.
This has made hiring a soloist Piper or band easier than ever. You can also read online reviews from previous customers, either on the reservation sites or independent review sites to see how the performance was, the level of play, and the service as well.
If you have an event that you’d like to have a bagpipe play at, you can find them online at various musical promotional sites. Just make sure you check their reviews, reserve them early, and pick music that is appropriate for your particular ceremony. I hope that we were able to satisfy your curiosity about the question of why are bagpipes played at police funerals.