Guide to the Electronic and Digital Bagpipes
Over the years there have been various attempts to make digital or electronic bagpipes, from iPad apps to actual instruments that you blow, squeeze and finger as normal.
Two of the most inventive instruments available are the German-designed ‘Degerpipes’ and ‘Redpipes’ which use sampled bagpipe sounds. You can change instrument type, pitch, temperment and fingering at the flick of a switch, and the chanter responds to vibrato and ornamentation in a surprisingly accurate way. Electronic chanters are a popular alternative to Highland practice chanters and so will usual offer, at least, highland style fingering, although several makers make alternatives on request. Some chanters have midi outputs to allow connection to external synthesisers.
Opinion on the merits of such an instrument remain divided, but it is increasingly popular on the continent amongst experimental artists and metal bands!