Drambo Pipes - Play the bagpipes and have a Happy Robert Burns Day !

It's Robert Burns Day today! Time to release a Drambo Project dedicated to give you the right bagpipe sounds.

Here is the link on PatchStorage:


This instrument can be used to imitate the sound and the playing characteristics of bagpipes. The modular design should allow the simulation of a range of bagpipes and reed instruments like the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe or the Irish Uilleann Pipes. This is achieved through a set of three types of modules:

  • DP-Chanter: Synthesizer module for playable pipes (Chanter, Regulators etc.)
  • DP-Tenor-Drone, DP-Bass-Drone: Synthesizer module for drones.
  • DP-Tuning-Control: Provides quantisation for micro tuned chanters, and controls gate for chanter and drone modules. In “Auto” mode the pipes keep droning for a few seconds after the last note.

Everything is provided in a single Drambo project.

Track 1 contains the simulation of a Great Highland Bagpipe configured for 480 Hz tuning.

All is provided in one single rack named “DP-GHP480”

The playable MIDI note range is G3 – A4. Choosing the G mixolydian scale gives you the right notes on the pads or the keyboard. If you want to play with other instruments, you can switch to “440 ET” (440 Hz equal temperament). Don’t forget to switch the drones as well: Choose the indivudual drone under “DP-SET” in the “Set of pipes” section, and switch the tuning in the same section. Repeat this for each drone.

If you want to play the full range of notes, you can remove the MIDI note filter at the beginning of this track. This only works in 440 ET mode.

Track 2 contains the individual modules to make it easier to save them as rack presets.

Track 3 can play a kind of “generative Slow Air”. My thanks go to Zhou-Jing for providing the fabulous CHA777NCE generative module that is used in this track.

Start the transport, switch the “PLAY !” switch on and lean back...

You can now play straight away and have fun without reading any further…

I recommend to remove the tracks that are not needed in your own projects. Because of the complexity of the synth modules this project is quite DSP intensive.

The acoustic model

A reed resembles a sound source that is rich in both harmonics and frequencies outside the harmonic spectrum. This is simulated by a set of three VCOs. The output of VCO 3 is fed through a heterodyne pitch shifter to create the inharmonic part of the spectrum. In my experience this sounds more authentic than just detuning the VCO. VCO 2 is not used in the example Highland Bagpipe configuration. I just added it so that there is another oscillator at hand – just in case !!!

The corpus of the pipe is simulated by a waveguide with a resonant frequency that tracks the oscillator frequency. In a real chanter or drone, the frequency of the reed “tracks” the resonant frequency of the pipe – depending on the fingering and the length of the pipe. Here the resonator tracks the sound source.

Each of the synthesizer modules has a chorus effect and another pitch shifter (detune) at the output. This allows for a richer and more natural sound.

The example has an additional reverb effect for the whole mix


While some bagpipes, like the Irish Uilleann Pipes are often tuned to concert pitch, other pipes like the Great Scottish Highland Bagpipe use customized tunings. These chanter tunings can be configured by entering the frequencies in Hertz into the Custom Tunings section. The drone synthesizer modules have a built-in option to either tune them to a concert pitch note or a given frequency in Hz.


Robert Burns image: Alexander Nasmyth, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

CHA777NCE generative Drambo module: Zhou-Jing https://patchstorage.com/cha777nce/

Enjoy !


  • holy shit! beautiful sound and playability. I appreciate all the detail and flexibility of the patch design as well.

  • Very cool patch, I think everyone can tell it’s a labor of love, thanks for sharing 🙏

    oh and I hope you don’t mind but I had to throw some of Drambo’s wonderful resonators into the mix to produce some ungodly noises (probably not the intended usage, sorry)

  • Ungodly noises, you got it! I am just using it to create a kind of "Sound Story" of my favourite Robert Burns poem: Tam O'Shanter

    Full of sin and ungodliness. With one exception: Remember Tam O'Shanter's mare (who in the end saved the lives of the drunk fellow and herself).

    Going to play it tonight at the gathering of our Synth club.

  • Holy cow, this is an amazing instrument! Fantastic sound design @catherder

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