The move to rename the magazine “pipes|drums” was made about three years ago. It was previously known as “Piper & Drummer Online,” and complemented the now defunct print publication. The name could have been kept, but it made more sense to start a new era with a new name, and it’s been a great success.
But I’ve noticed that people are still a bit unsure of the name. “Piper & Drummer” established very good brand recognition, of course, so old habits die hard, especially in the tradition-fixated piping and drumming world. I also hear a lot of folks refer to the magazine as “pipes and drums” – something of a morph between the old and new.
The correct name and pronunciation is, however, “pipesdrums.” All one word, no “and.”
There are reasons for the name. First, “pipes” and “drums” are an equal five letters. That balance is in line with the goal of providing content of interest, overall, to both pipers and drummers. Some articles – for example, those on piobaireachd – may be of interest especially to pipers, just as the current feature on mid-sections could attrcat the attention of more drummers. But, again, providing an overall balance is the objective, and one can reasonably assume that a publication called the Fiddling Times, or Fiddling Today, or the Fiddle Band are really pretty much only for fiddlers.
Many folks aren’t quite sure about the | symbol, which, incidentally can be found on most keyboards by shifting the backslash ( ) key. The reason for the vertical slash is, again, to reflect balance. Pipes and drums are separate but equal. It was a conscious decision not to use the ampersand or “and” since that might imply that one is an afterthought. I was always a little uncomfortable with “Piper & Drummer,” wondering if it implicitly suggested “pipers . . . oh, yeah . . . and drummers.”
Lastly, it’s all lower-case. Because it’s all one word, it was thought that it would throw things out of balance with a capitalized “Pipes” and non-capitalized “drums.” And having Both Capitalized just looked odd. Besides, we’re a class-less culture, as it were.
So, there you are. As one who has had to spell out his last name repeatedly, I thought it might be beneficial to clarify again the name of the magazine.
pipes|drums – proper noun, pīpsdrŭms – world’s most read magazine for pipers and drummers; nonprofit and independent and sustained by sponsors and subscribers . . . like you.