The following text from the new Piobaireachd Society web site is a well written summation of Piobaireachd, and it’s an example of the content of their fantastic new site. Take a look. You’ll love it and learn something in the process. I did. Top marks to the Piobaireachd Society!
When the Highlands and Islands of Scotland adopted the bagpipe, perhaps some seven or eight hundred years ago, they began to develop the instrument and its music to suit their needs and tastes. What emerged was the instrument we know today and a form of music, piobaireachd, which is unique to the instrument. It is a very stylized form of music. There is freedom in the theme or ground of the piobaireachd to express joy, sadness, or sometimes in the gathering, a peremptory warning or call to arms. Thereafter the theme is repeated and underlined in a series of variations, which usually progress to the crunluath variation where the piper’s fingers give a dazzling technical display of embellishment or gracenotes.