I am in sympathy with he points expressed above, but I also believe the matter is a bit more subtle. It's not a question of drone music versus harmonic music.
Pipe music - the type we're talking about here, not the fiddle-repertoire-on-pipes type - has, to my senses, a foot in both camps. To take two extremes, Indian classical music is based on a fixed drone with a great deal of variety and subtlety in the intervals of the scales which are played over that drone. There is no sense of harmonic progression (chord pattern), it is harmonically static, and it's not trying to be anything else. Much jazz and much modern 'serious' or 'classical' music is based on shifting harmonies and an equal tempered scale which has no subtlety because the intervals are the same everywhere. Most of this music is based on harmonic direction - you're in a key, you move away from it, a little or a lot, and you go back to it. Pipe music is like neither of these. There is a fixed drone and all the chanter notes have to be in tune with it (however you define or perceive 'in tune'). But there IS a harmonic element, in that the melody, in the Dixon-Peacock-Bewick class of pipe tune, has a sense of being 'in' or 'out' with the drone. An example to make sense of it - the tunes Berwick Billy, Lads of Alnwick and All the Night I Lay with Jockey are all built on the same harmonic pattern, 3 bars 'on' the drone and 1 bar 'off', in NSP terms G, G, G, A minor (A, A, A, B minor in 'Border' terminology). There is harmonic movement, but not much, and from a 'classical' point of view the interesting feature is that the tune does not end on the tonic, or 'on' the drone. Other tunes which are otherwise similar may indeed end on the tonic (Dixon's Mock the Soldier's Lady), and have the samae chords in a different sequence, but the underlying aesthetic is the same - the label I give to this aesthetic is 'harmonic proportion' as distinct from the more conventional Western 'harmonic direction'. There is a 'system' at work which, in the Dixon tunes, can become very sophisticated, but is nevertheless distinct from the sophistication of conventional Western harmony. It was, I believe, understood by pipers and fiddlers up to the end of the 18th century, either because it was taught and handed on, or because it worked and was absorbed, or both. I personally find it such an attractive aesthetic that once I became immersed in it I lost interest in (for example) the chromatically inflected hornpipes which are so popular among NSP players. My background before this was the one John Dally may have implied as being in an opposing camp. If so, I defected long ago, and where John and I have had disagreements in the past, I suspect that it was because I was trying to argue that a particular tune (you know which one, John!) did not conform to its OWN aesthetic, not that it should be conforming to some externally imposed aesthetic. Peace and love Matt To get on or off this list see list information at http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html