They have been played across the globe for hundreds of years, with variations in Ireland, the Caucasus, Brittany and North Africa.
Mentioned in the Canterbury Tales, some say the earliest bagpipes date back to Roman times and before.
But without doing down the claims of the Northumbrian smallpipes or Ireland's haunting uilleann pipes, bagpipes have become indelibly associated with Scotland in the public imagination.
Loading article content
That is why Glasgow is home to Piping Live! the world's biggest celebration of the instrument with the love-them-or-hate-them reputation.
With an explicit desire to capitalise on the city's post-Commonwealth Games glow, event organisers are expecting about 50,000 fans and 8,000 musicians to visit the city for a blend of the traditional, modern and surprising. With players expected from 26 countries, the welcome for audiences and musicians alike is sure to be every bit as warm as that for the sporting heroes who departed barely a week ago.
And with the event incorporating food for the first time this year, there's every reason to think it won't just be the music that is piping hot.