The Drum Major is an important position for any band, but especially in a pipe band. Traditionally this position wasn’t necessarily an officer in the formal sense of the word, but the most senior person of the drum section.
The Drum Major has many important duties. First and foremost he leads the band in parade formation at nearly all functions. It is hard for people to stand idly by when a Drum Major comes through carrying and flourishing the mace as announcement that the band is here.
The Drum Major is also charged with making sure the band looks good, in action and dress.
The Drum Major (when not playing in the band) often helps get the band ready for performance and competition by checking tuning, conditions of the performance area, and reminding the pipe major that it is time to stop tuning, and start playing.