John Dally reviews the recent Society publication from the vantage point of Washington State, USA.

It’s gone,” sighed the Rat, sinking back in his seat again.  “So beautiful and strange and new!  Since it was to end so soon, I almost wish I had never heard it.  For it has roused longing in me that is pain, and nothing seems worth while but just to hear that sound once more and go on listening to it for ever.”’
Kenneth Grahame’s description above might describe the constant desire of pipers to better their skills, improve the sound of their instrument and to play music together.  We are all pursuing THAT sound, THAT musical experience, but it always seems to be just around the bend.  

Thankfully, the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society once again lends us a hand with their new publication, The Wind in the Bellows.  This book is the product of a group effort headed by Jock Agnew, Martin Lowe, Simon McKerrell, and Dougie Pincock.  Guided by the lights of a large constellation of piping stars they created a book full of more information about bellows piping than several Highland piping tutors put together.  There is no other book about piping in any tradition with so much well organised, balanced and thoughtful material about pipe music, history, technique, reference material and how-to advice.
Within the first six pages, I think, we are told at least three times that this book is best used in conjunction with the first volume, More Power to Your Elbow.  Yes, it cannot be emphasized enough: get the first book too if you do not already have it.  Then we get right into descriptions of the three different types of pipes played in Scotland, bellows and mouth blown.  On page one we encounter the first of many excellent tables that reveal and unravel at a glance wads of information with ease and economy.  
Among the abundance of topics covered in the book you will find excellent sections explaining pitch compatibility of different kinds of pipes in different keys, composing, harmony and how to use it, standard and unusual drone tunings, singing with the pipes, how to run a piping school, a teaching syllabus called “Progressive Schedules,” biographies, an index of tune sources, and even explanations of such scientific arcanery as the Bernoulli Effect.
“ ‘It’s like music—far away music,’ said the Mole, nodding drowsily.
“ ‘So I was thinking,’ murmured the Rat, dreamful and languid.  ‘Dance music—the lilting sort that runs on without a stop—but with words in it, too—it passes into words and out of them again—I catch them at intervals—then it is dance music once more, and then nothing but the reeds’ soft thin whispering.’ ”