Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.
The pipe band's origins are in the military, but are obscure as contemporary historical regimental records had no direct interest in piping, giving only hints at details. The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association maintains that the origin of military pipe bands are traced back to the early 1800s as soldiers tasked with keeping pace and morale on long marches with their respective regiments. The global spread of piping can also be directly attributed with British colonial expansion. Pipers and drummers in the employ of the British Army and Scottish emigrants brought with them traditional music and the culture surrounding the practice.
The music played by pipe bands generally consists of music from the Scottish tradition, the Irish tradition and the Breton tradition, either in the form of traditional folk tunes and dances or popular music that has been adapted for pipes. Examples of typical pipe bands forms include marches, slow airs, jigs and reels, and strathspeys. In recent years there has been a great deal of emphasis placed on new forms, especially the suite. A good example of a suite for pipe band is Don Thompson's composition Journey to Skye (1987).
In conventional pipe band music, each section of instruments has a different role in the music. Generally speaking, the pipers deliver the melodic and harmonic material, while the side drummers provide a rhythmically interactive accompaniment part. The tenor drummers provide rhythmic pulses and the bass drummer anchors the rhythms, providing a strong and steady beat.
Pipe band uniforms vary from band to band. However, the typical uniform consists of a glengarry (cap), shirt, tie, waistcoat (vest), jacket, kilt, hose and ghillie brogues. Many pipe bands wear a tartan that may reflect the area the band originated from or the history of the band. Jackets and waistcoats are usually black, and shirts are often short-sleeved for comfort. Each band also has its own tie, which can match the kilt tartan, or is sometimes merely a block colour. In competition, appearing smart in uniform is essential; some competitions have dress codes, for instance certain types of jackets only, ties must be knotted at the collar and so on.
Pipe bands often vary the uniform worn, depending on the formality of the occasion. Very formal occasions require jackets to be worn, whereas less formal occasions do not, and only the waistcoat is worn. On semi-formal occasions, the jacket is not worn, but a long-sleeved shirt is worn under the waistcoat. This increases the formality of the outfit, but decreases the comfort. On occasion, no waistcoat is worn, in which case the shirt sleeve must be of long length.
Pipe Major uniforms are usually different, to distinguish them from the other members of the band. More traditional highland dress may be worn, sometimes with a feather bonnet.