Our Pixar Press Day Bagpipe Demonstration #DisneyPixarEvent

Music will be a very important part of Brave. I can’t say too much about some of the scenes that we saw right now, but it will be authentic to the time period in which Brave is set, which is approximately 900 A.D.

A small part of our morning was devoted to time spent with bagpiper Jeff Campbell, who has been playing the bagpipes for 40 years. For the first few minutes with him, we listened to him play the bagpipes, all musical notes committed to memory.

If you’ve never seen a bagpiper perform, Melissa at Sippy Cup Mom filmed a bit of Jeff Campbell’s performance:

Fun Facts About Bagpipes:

  • The bagpipe has a bag which the musician fills with air either by blowing the air into it directly (or using a pump) so that there can be continuous music. The bags were originally made with skin from local animals (goats, sheep, cows, etc.)
  • The chanter is the pipe which is held between both hands. Fingers are held flat (not curved, like if you were playing a woodwind instrument) while the notes are being played.
  • There are no sharp or flat musical notes.

Jeff had asked if any of us were musicians, and during middle school and junior high I had taken flute lessons. I noticed a lot of similarities between the flute and the bagpipes, mainly with finger placement. The major difference between the two is that when playing a flute, the musician’s fingers are curled.

I had the opportunity to try out a bagpipe for myself, which was my first up close and personal contact with one. The air was already inside of the bag, and I had to place it underneath my arm and squeeze it while moving my fingers on the pipe to try and perform a scale. It’s a lot harder than it looks, especially with trying to keep the instrument’s drones from slipping.

Photo Credit: Deborah Coleman/Pixar

*Disney/Pixar provided me with an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco to visit Pixar Animation Studios for the Brave Press Day. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.*


Jen currently lives in Utah with her family, and enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. She is active on popular book websites including paperbackswap.com, Goodreads.com, and luxuryreading.com.

more by Jennifer »