VIEWERS of Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation of beloved sci-fi novel Dune have noticed the presence of bagpipes during the two-and-a-half-hour epic.

The new movie version of Frank Herbert’s best-selling novel has received positive reviews since its premiere last week, with critics praising its stunning visuals as well as Hans Zimmer’s other-worldly score – part of which was recorded in Edinburgh.

The movie tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the son of a noble family who leaves his comfortable life on ocean planet Caladan for the desolate and dangerous mining planet of Arrakis, rougly in the year 10,191. While on the planet, Paul will be entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

Oscar-nominated Villeneuve, director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, is telling the complex story in two separate films.

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In the first part, released on October 21, as House Atreides arrive on the planet of Arrakis, a bagpipe player is seen heralding the noble family’s entry.

The sound of the pipes is loud as the group touches down, and the piper is the first to leave the spaceship with the family members following behind.

The decision to include the pipes was made by both Zimmer and Villeneuve. The director had been seeking a way to expand the characters' culture and traditions.

"I was thinking music, a traditional instrument," the French-Canadian director told The Telegraph. "I’d always seen Atreides as a kind of Celtic people. So I realised they couldn’t just disembark their ship. They had to be – how you say? Piped out."

He went on: "When I had this idea I ran to my first AD’s office the next morning and said, 'I need bagpipes!' There was a long silence. People thought I was mad but I got Hans Zimmer’s respect for introducing the bagpipes."

“I asked Denis about it and he said he wanted something ancient and organic for such an occasion, so I embraced it,” Zimmer told IndieWire.

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“The pandemic had just started, but lo and behold, within seconds, in Edinburgh, I managed to find 30 bagpipe players, who were more than happy to go into a big church and stand at the right distance from each other and make a fabulous noise.”

Composer Zimmer described the overall score for the film as spiritual without being religious, and often altered the sounds of instruments using the Cubase – a virtual synthesiser.

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Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck and Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides

“I asked for more things to superimpose the sonic quality of one instrument onto another so you would [create] these impossible sounds,” he explained.

“The characteristics of a Tibetan long horn on a cello and let a cellist play it so that you’ve invented a new instrument. I wanted it to be things which would float across the desert dunes and penetrate between the rocks, and I wanted things to sound dangerous.”

The bagpipes may link to the Atreides’ home planet’s name of Caladan – a word remarkably similar to Caledonia, the Latin for Scotland. However, filming for the brief scenes in Caladan actually took place in Myresanden, on the Nordfjord Coast of Norway.