Development of Scottish bagpiping in former British colonies in the Far East
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date07/06/2024
This thesis examines the development of bagpiping and bagpiping culture in former British colonies in the Far East, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. While the bagpipe is considered a Scottish national instrument, it has a significant history in the Far East due to its connection with British colonialism. Despite being perceived as a symbol of colonialism, the bagpipe has played a vital role in the musical traditions of the Far East. However, the bagpipe has yet to receive thorough academic attention in this region. Almost all scholarship surrounding the bagpipe has occurred in the Anglophone regions of Europe, North America and Australasia. The thesis addresses six research questions that are related to understanding the interaction between music and politics, including how and why people in the Far East accepted British culture, how the bagpipe was introduced to the Far East, the role of the bagpipe in the Scottish expatriate community, why natives in the Far East learn the bagpipe, how competitions or Highland gatherings improve playing skills and provide opportunities for knowledge exchange, and how postcolonial politics have affected the role and function of the bagpipe. Through historical analysis and case studies across military, civilian and ritual contexts, the thesis argues that the Scottish bagpipe is a ‘political instrument’ in the Far East due to its association with colonialism and identity, and that it has been used to establish associational connections and provide a sense of home for Scottish expatriates. This thesis contributes to the literature surrounding the relationship between music and post-colonialism in a unique and unexplored context.