Scottish music is considerably more than "Scotland the Brave" played on bagpipes, although you may well hear the song during your stay. The Gaelic-influenced songs and sounds of the Hebridean Islands and the Highlands have been around for centuries - and today many Scottish folk musicians live and play most often in Edinburgh or Glasgow. The fiddle, accordion, guitar, flute, and Celtic drum are all part of the musical tradition. The best chance to hear the real deal is at a jam session in a pub or at a more formal (but still fun) ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee). Traditionally, ceilidhs were community gatherings, with music, dance, singing, and story-telling. More often today, they are reduced to Scottish country dances, such as the Gay Gordon or Stripping the Willow. Bagpipes and the rousing, indeed ear-shattering, sounds they can create are entrenched in the national identity. Every summer, Glasgow hosts an international piping competition that draws thousands of pipers (many of whom also perform as part of Edinburgh's Military Tattoo, a show featuring music, marching, and military exercises). But a lone piper may pop up anytime, anywhere.
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