United States Piping Foundation

About Us

The United States Piping Foundation, Inc. (USPF) is a non-profit charitable organization founded to promote musical excellence among traditional performers on the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe.

This goal is accomplished through a combination of musical competitions and scholarship. Competitions are held annually, with events for both the best professionals and for rising amateur talent. The prizewinners in the Amateur event each year garner scholarship awards for further musical studies, with the top prize being airfare and tuition for two weeks of study at an approved venue in Scotland. Competitions are held on the third Saturday in June on the campus of the University of Delaware at the Amy E. du Pont Music Building.

Whether you are a Grade 1 Amateur, or a Professional, you'll find that these events provide a platform for you to perform at your best, and challenges you to do so.

If you are an enthusiast interested in hearing bagpipe playing at its best, with world class players we invite you to join us for a day of excellent piping.

About the Music

In a broad sense, there are two main forms of pipe music, called in Gaelic ceol mor and ceol beag, literally big music and little music.

Ceol mor, often described as piobaireachd, is the classical form of pipe music and is a highly sophisticated kind of early post-medieval art music with its own tonal system, its own intricate metrical forms and its own characteristically heroic style. It is a type of art form unique to Scotland and completely uninfluenced by the European music of the last three of four hundred years. There are over 300 compositions in the ceol mor style, most of which were written between the 16th and 18th centuries - a time which saw the flowering of the Highland culture in Scotland.

The best-known composers of ceol mor were the MacCrimmons of Skye, who were the hereditary pipers for some 300 years in unbroken succession to the Clan MacLeod. There were the MacArthurs (pipers to Clan Donald), the Rankines (pipers to the Macleans of Duart), the MacKays (pipers to the MacKenzies of Gairloch), and other hereditary pipers, many of whom studied with the MacCrimmons at their College of Piping at Boreraig.

By contrast to the classical music, there is the light form of pipe music - ceol beag - which is comprised of marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs, and hornpipes. This is a fitting test for the finest of pipers and demands not only a finely tuned instrument but the utmost concentration of memory.

Other Piping Links

Bagpiping is an extensive community which spans around the globe. If you are interested in bagpipes, you may also enjoy the following sites.