Uilleann Pipes

A uilleann pipe "practice set" sampled to create the sound of a "full set"....

The story

Dear Pianobook Community,

The Uilleann Pipes are not quite as well known as the Great Highland Pipes (and not nearly as loud), but they have a beautifully melancholic sound that has captivated me for years. Unfortunately Uilleann Pipes are so uncommon that most people have to contact the pipe-makers directly, and then wait three to eight months for their pipes to be built. That is the situation I have currently found myself in.

Fortunately it is much easier to find a “Practice Set” which consists of the chanter, bellows, and bag but none of the drones or regulators (smaller drones activated by palm keys). I decided to take my practice set and utilize the magic of sampling to create the closest I can come to a full set.


Typically Uilleann Pipes come in one of three keys: D, C, or B. I have set the drone notes on D1, C1, and B0 accordingly. Next are the regulators which I have mapped from G1 to G#2. And lastly the chanter (which would normally have just under a two octave range) I have extended down to B2 and my playing abilities limited me from going higher than A4 consistently (so I’ve stretched it to C5).

This was as much an exercise in sampling as it was in learning new Kontakt skills. There are three keyswitches (C0 for Sustain, D0 for Staccato, and E0 for a velocity-based combination of the two). I have also recorded two different mic positions, two round robins for each long note and five for each short. And there’s a reverb knob just for fun!

I hope you enjoy playing this instrument as much as I do!

Kelan Rooney

P.S. – My reed doesn’t seem to like the “top D” (D4) on my chanter. You’ll see what I mean when you try it out!


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Pretty darn cool!

    This is a really great sample pack, and I'd pick it over some of the professionally produced bagpipe sounds I've purchased in the past. It's well recorded not an easy thing to do with pipes, I've discovered, and it's evident that a ton of work and care went into creating the Kontakt instruments. The key switching works great, and the instrument is really playable. Really well done!

    Sam Ecoff17 October 2021
  • Folk pipes for our people

    It's not easy to find a folk virtual instrument out there. Hell it's hard enough to even find a real one! This Pipe VST is a solid one, and you can definitely put some good use to it. With that said, there is definitely some room for improvement. The "worst" part - though it's not such a huge deal, is that some samples are textured way differently than others, making some virtual-legato transitions very midi-obvious. While the GUI is good minimal and it just works, there should be an indication of which articulation you are using. Also I found that while in the "combo" articulation, the staccato trigger is way too high, making it kind of hard to "perform" on it. There is no dynamic attachment to the modwheel, which is in reed instruments is usually a must but I'm not sure if bagpipes work the same. The default-looking knobs take some magic away as well, but I am really nitpicking at this point. Nevertheless, it's an amazing addition to your folk library, which you can't really say no to.

    Alex Raptakis14 October 2021
  • Hauntingly evocative of the Highlands

    One of those samples that makes you want to immediately write something around it, which I did, having never thought this would be an instrument that would inspire me. Wonderfully playable especially in terms of being able to create the ornaments that are the key to making it sound authentic. Terrific in a pared-back musical setting, but also glorious as the top line riding out over a huge orchestral bed. Love it.

    Solfegiste14 October 2021
  • Best backpipes one can find for free

    I have been trying to get a good backpipe library for so long, but they are very rare. Im happy with the sound and this is extremely usable for example backpipe pads and similar needs.

    Heikki Ketola13 October 2021

    Nice to have an instrument that's not very common. Just what I was looking for. Writing music for a folk group. Well done. Super with some reverb, look out Enya!

    Phil Wallace13 October 2021