Sound performing: sound aesthetics among competitive pipers

Simon McKerrell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines how individual performer's identity can be constructed and maintained through the sound of their instrument. The complete history of acoustic research into Scottish bagpipes is evaluated and then extended with original research into the pitch of the instrument and how this relates to group understandings of pitch, intonation and timbre as aesthetic qualities. Through the analysis of tonometrical analysis and fieldwork with leading players this paper attempts to show how the aesthetic value of sonic constructs such as reliability, dissonance, timbre, warmth are culturally agreed to allow pipers to perform a particular sense of identity through the sound of their instrument.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-187
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Scottish bagpipes
  • performance
  • sonic constructs
  • pipers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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