Give An Ear To The Drones
The chanter is for artistry and flash
Impossible notes that take no time
Dancing fingers and lightning burls
With nary a squeak nor squawk.
Effortlessly from high A to low G
And back again describing melodies
Of tunes familiar to please the crowd
And set the troops to a rhythmic sway
Of kilts and polished brogues.
Then complex piobaireachd,
Unfathomable to those not in the know,
Is both a mystery and a marvel,
More Grace notes than can possibly exist
Between one note and the next.
A pattern that repeats upon itself.
But still, the mastery of the chanter
Dominates the art.
But listen to the drones, two tenors and the bass
A pulsing tone that settles in the heart,
That summons up the ghosts of all
Who marched to the piper’s call.
When set just right they hit a spot so sweet
A pulse that beats with corresponding waveforms
That cannot be denied.
When not, they set one’s teeth on edge
That no amount of chanter artistry will offset.
Drones set each to the other,
Outside tenor to middle and then the bass,
An octave that calls for a sensitive ear
To move the slides to a perfect pitch.
When all is set and chanter brought to life,
A final tuning and the stage is set.
For pipes unaccustomed to constant use
A time of settling in is allowed
Where heat and humidity make subtle changes
And try to undo the careful tuning process.
But when the instrument is settled in
Admire the skill of the piper’s chanter,
But give an ear to the drones.