The Great Highland Bagpipes are the best known of several types of
Scottish Bagpipes and are very loud. The bag is inflated with the mouth,
and there are 2 tenor drones, 1 bass drone and an open chanter usually tuned to
Bb. It is interesting to note that the pipes from 200 years ago were in
tune more to the key of "A" which is the same key that fiddles are often
played in. Some theories go that the pipes were tuned more to Bb over
the years as competitions in piping grew. It seemed that the bands
that were playing more in Bb sounded "brighter" and were winning more
competitions. Eventually all pipes were tuned to Bb. But the older sets of pipes are still
originally in the key of "A", as is the pipe music as well as music written for the fiddle.
It is usual to use a practice chanter when learning the Highland pipes.
The practice chanter has a narrower bore than a pipe chanter, and
is cheap and quiet enough for use in the home.