Scottish Instruments


While many instruments can appear in Scottish Music, the ones you need to be aware of are:

  1. Bagpipes
  2. Accordion
  3. Fiddle
  4. Clarsach


The bagpipes are a traditional Scottish instrument consisting of a bag, blowpipe, three drones (two tenor and one bass) and a chanter. The player fills the bag with air by blowing into the blowpipe. They then keep pressure on the bag to move the air through the drones and chanter which make the notes.

The drones produce a consistent note which doesn’t change; this acts as the accompaniment. The chanter plays the melody and functions a bit like a recorder with holes that the player covers and uncovers with their fingers to play different notes.

Rosewood Royal Stewart Bagpipe - Kilt and Jacks



The accordion is a common instrument used in Scottish Dance bands. It is played by compressing and expanding the bellows, which moves air in and out of the instrument. It has piano style keys on the right to play the melody and buttons on the left to play the accompaniment.


There is no physical difference between a fiddle played in Scottish Folk Music and a violin played in an orchestra. It has 4 strings and is usually played with a bow; although, sometimes plucking the strings can be used as an alternative technique.