The word ‘piobaireachd’ literally means pipe playing or pipe music, but is now used to describe the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. Another name for it is ‘ceòl mór’ meaning the’big music’, which separates piobaireachd from all other forms of pipe music (marches, reels, jigs etc. ) which are referred to as ‘ceòl beag’ – the little music.
To describe a piobaireachd is not easy. It consists of a theme or ‘ground’ with variations (which vary in number and complexity) that follow the theme. The theme is often very slow, and the general effect of the whole piece of music is slow – slowness being a characteristic of Highland music, though not, obviously, the dance music.