Patriarchs, Pipers and Presidents: Gaelic Immigrant Funerary Customs and Music in North America

Barry Shears
2020 Genealogy  
One of the most moving tributes to the dead is the playing of the Highland bagpipes during funeral services, whether in the church or at the graveside. This custom has a long history both in Scotland and in areas of North America settled by Scottish immigrants over the past 300 years, and for lovers of bagpipe music it is an essential part of the funeral ritual. Throughout its history the piper's lament has transcended social class structure and has been performed for paupers and presidents
more » ... and presidents alike. Despite being deeply rooted in tradition, the music and function of this musical practice have changed over time. Drawing from printed texts of the 19th and 20th centuries, recent scholarship and local folklore surrounding funeral customs and music, this paper examines the origins of the funeral piping tradition in Gaelic Scotland and its evolution in North American society.
doi:10.3390/genealogy4020063 fatcat:xk5bksiqjzaatplkiczr6vgndi