Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heritage Golf - Bagpipes and Tartans

The Heritage Golf Classic comes to Hilton Head this week on the heels of the rather anti climatic Masters Golf Tournament.

With the Heritage Golf Tournament comes bag pipes and tartans. Admittedly I’m a fan of both, it may be my heritage and a last name that begins with “Mc”, but the pipes and tartans are as old as battles for land and pride, and of course golf.

The often quoted “bagpipes sound like a wounded sheep” is hardly funny, even less humorous Alfred Hitchcock’s distain for the sound piped through reeds using pressure from an air-filled bladder, and to quote:

"These are bagpipes; I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equaled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig."

Highland bagpipes are always credited to the Scots ... as they say, “Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion”... but there are piping traditions in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Iraq, India, Greece and even Saudi Arabia and Syria. The Middle East is rich in pipe tradition, as noted with the funeral of Yaser Arafat and Jordan's King Hussein.

Most familiar are the songs of “Scotland the Brave” think Irish Spring Soap and “Amazing Grace,” played at funerals but bagpipes have a wide repertoire. My favorite is Highland Cathedral made notable by the movie Four Weddings and Funeral.

My least can be seen on You Tube,

Yes, it is a guy in a Darth Vader mask playing the 'Star Wars' theme on a bagpipe.

The Citadel's Regimental Band and Pipes will perform through the tournament and at the closing ceremonies on Sunday. They also play most Friday’s at 3:45 on The Citadel parade ground during the academic year.

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