pipe bands, also called bagpipe band or pipes and drums band, are musical groups who use the scottish bagpipe as part of their instruments.
Some are linked with uniformed organisation such as police or fire department or are an integral part of the armed forced but many are purely civilian affairs with the use of insignias and uniforms being part of the pageantry for the performances.
It should be noted first that uniform worn are varied and thus the following indicate only generalities.
Due to the pipes' origin, clothes and accessories tend to be inspired by scottish or irish traditional garments with at the very least a kilt or tartan pants being worn if not the full set regardless of the country of origin of the players or the band itself.
Rank insignias, especialy if worn by civilians, are almost always based on british ones with the standard system being:
- basic member: embroided image of a drum (drummer) bagpipe (piper) or lyre (other musician)
- member with more seniority and/or added responsabilities: embroided image of his musicial instrument with 2-3 chevrons pointing down. These are often refered to by the equivalent ranks in the british army i.e. drum corporal for 2 chevrons and a drum, pipe sergeant for 3 chevrons and a pipe
- pipe/drum major (usualy the leader): instrument with 4 chevrons pointing up or instrument within a wreath.
note that the instrument can be shown above or in front of the chevrons depending on the band although the choice seems to usualy be consistent across ranks.
Though usualy embroidered and sown to the arms, these ranks are offered by some shops as enamel pins, more then likely for pipe bands that march without wearing a jacket but with a plain shirt. Probably for the same reason, at least one shop offers embroidered slides to be worn on shoulder straps.
One last method of displaying the standard insignias when in short sleeve offered by some stores is to have them displayed in metal on a wide leather wristband.