Definition of pibroch in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈpiːbrɒk//ˈpiːbrɒx/


  • 1[mass noun] A form of music for the Scottish bagpipes involving elaborate variations on a theme, typically of a martial or funerary character:

    ‘the Great Music, or pibroch, can be a mystery to pipers of even reasonable competence’
    • ‘He travelled to 40 different countries in search of Ceol Mor ‘the Great Music,’ the obscure, expressive, less formally rigid art of piobaireachd - also pronounced ‘pibroch.’’
    • ‘The traditional music expert presents a programme in which he rediscovers what he maintains is the real ‘pibroch’ (Highland piping tradition).’
    • ‘He complained that pipers had lost the strong sense of rhythm and form which characterized the true pibroch style, and he published a number of well known tunes in settings which purported to give the true timings as originally played.’
    1. 1.1[count noun] A piece of pibroch music:
      ‘the mournful majesty of his father pacing the floor and playing a pibroch’
      • ‘The Emperor desired him to play "a lament," and Donald having tilled his bag, played a pibroch of most melancholy strain.’
      • ‘When our piper played a pibroch, the music of the waves drowned or softened down the harsh sound of the bagpipe, which discoursed most excellent music.’
      • ‘I passed out of the library and as I did, I thought I heard from the other side of Arthur's Seat a lone piper playing a pibroch.’
      • ‘Her Majesty's piper, Mackay, had orders to play a pibroch under her windows every morning at seven o'clock.’
      • ‘Somewhere in the far distance the pipes played a pibroch, a lament for the day's dead that felt like it came from the wind itself, and the drone was echoed by groans and shrieks from deep in the mist.’


Early 18th century: from Scottish Gaelic piobaireachd art of piping, from piobair piper, from piob, from English pipe.