I believe that an invitation to play at a funeral is a great honour, as it is perhaps one of the most difficult, and vulnerable moments in the lives of the family and friends left behind. The Great Highland Bagpipe can go some way to marking this transitional moment with a sense of closure and finality. It provides an enclave of music, an envelope of mourning that blocks out the noise of the passing world and gives you a sense of privacy in your final moments at the graveside.
The haunting skirl of the the Highland Pipe has been used for centuries at funerals and memorials to mark the loss of a loved one. Traditionally, they are played at one or two of the following times:
The complete opposite of the Great Highland Bagpipe, Smallpipes are mellow, quiet, and offer an incredibly rich sound. They are perfect for indoor background music as they lack the immediate impact of Highland Bagpipes and are particularly beautiful when used to provide hymnal music during the service.
In Christ Alone
To listen to more hymnal music played by myself on Smallpipes, please visit my Soundcloud channel:
There are many pieces of music that a piper can play for you that offer respect and reverance at both the service and graveside. Below is a list of the most popular requests in this regard, however if there is a piece not listed that holds particulary special meaning to yourself and family then please do not hesitate to make contact and I will endeavor to meet your requirements.
This ancient tune is nowadays heard exclusively at funerals and is known throughout the world to represent loss and mourning. It has a haunting, stately air that offers nearby mourners a sense of reverence.
John Newton's celebrated piece is perhaps the most popular request to mark the passing of a loved one. It offers a sense of hope to the family and friends left behind and the lyrics inspire positive reflection.
A popular folk song, this air is often requested after the commital.
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, From the New World, is Dvořák's most well known piece and a popular choice for remembrance.
This is an incredibly atmospheric piece that is particularly well suited to marking the loss of a loved one.
Characterised by the distinctive Feather Bonnet, (often mistaken for a Busby or Bearskin!), Full Dress is the apotheosis of uniform that ensures your piper maintains a respectful and dignified presence at the graveside.
I currently have three tartans available from which you can choose.
I view it as a great honour when commissioned to write a piece commemorating any occasion, but it cannot compare to writing a piece in honour of an individual. Whether you would like the piece composed for your own loved one, or perhaps as a memorial gift to the bereaved family, it is a lasting thought that will encourage nostalgia from future viewers.
The composition can be written to reflect the individual and your own specifications. For example, would you like a fast or slow piece? Stately or lively? Do you have a particular title in mind? Or is there a theme around which the tune should be based?
The playing and/or presentation of the piece is completely at your discretion. You may decide to have it played at the graveside or perhaps just take away the recording to play at a more appropriate time. It can be presented on the day or a week after and will come to you in an appropriately mounted frame along with the CD recording.
Ultimately this presentation and playing of your tune is completely at your discretion and so can be tailored to suit your individual requirements.