Here's an unusual but completely rocking take on one of the most famous guitar solos of all time, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." Ally the Piper, a talented musician probably best known for her amazing bagpipe covers, recently uploaded a video of herself playing the classic rock hit's iconic solo on the Great Highland Bagpipe. Impressive!
In an interview last year, she talks about the limitations of the instrument:
It's not like a clarinet. The bagpipes have only nine notes and, for the most part, we can't play anything outside of those nine notes. When it comes to sharps and flats, there are very few that are even remotely possible on the bagpipes. So, because of the range of the instrument and its limits, I can't play solo on a lot of songs. People ask me all the time to play the national anthem, and it is just not possible. So, the bagpipe's definitely about respecting the limits and boundaries of the instruments. I think it does take quite a lot of creativity and understanding of music theory and how music functions to be able to add bagpipes to a song where it really wouldn't be possible. There are places where I have to go outside of the melody and take a harmony part so that I can get through a section that I can't play with the range of the instrument, and then still try to make it seamless. That takes some work. Outside of just that, bagpipes are not tuned the way that concert instruments are and we kind of have our own tunings. So, if I took my regular bagpipe that I played and competed on for years and played it alongside a piano it would sound horrible. There are different adjustments, and you have to get different pieces for the bagpipes that are tuned the way that a concert instrument is so that you can physically even play some of the notes and have them be in tune.