Articles

Grace Notes Feb 2022 in Chanter 2022 Spring

Firstly, I must address some of the problems experienced with the last edition of Chanter. Several UK members reported that they had been charged extra postage for receiving their journal. This was particularly frustrating as the total weight was definitely below the 100g limit for standard postage. I knew it was a close call but my local Post Office had randomly selected a selection from the pile to double check the weight and had approved the postage rate.

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Grace Notes Dec 2021 in Chanter 2021 Winter

Membership of the Society slowly creeps up year on year and the new joiners always outweigh the non-renewals. I often wonder what makes someone join The Bagpipe Society and I like to think that for many, the impetus for joining is to have four journals a year pop through their letterbox. In my role as editor of Chanter, I aim to meet the aims of the Society by publishing articles informing on the diversity of bagpipes and their social and cultural history and encouraging research into all aspects of piping.

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Grace Notes Sep 2021 in Chanter 2021 Autumn

Jane Moulder Welcome to another edition of Chanter! I’m hoping that for you, like me, music and performance opportunities are beginning to open up again – whether that’s simply being able to listen to live music (not experienced through a screen or headphones) or being able to meet and play in person with other musicians and friends. It wasn’t until I met with my bandmates for a rehearsal after 15 months that it struck home just how much I had missed the comradery and sheer joy of playing with others.

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Grace Notes Feb 2021 in Chanter 2021 Spring

Welcome to The History Special! This is an edition I’ve wanted to do since taking over as editor 6 years ago but as history is a field so close to my heart, I always thought it a tad self-indulgent to produce it. However, following the AGM at the Blowout in 2019 several people came up to me and suggested that the history of bagpipes and bagpiping would be a good theme for a special edition.

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This accompanies the article in the Spring 2021 edition of Chanter. It’s available to members only, so please sign in to view and listen.

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Grace Notes Sep 2020 in Chanter 2020 Autumn

There’s not much room for Grace Notes, even in this slightly extended edition of Chanter, so I will keep my reflections short. I am especially pleased to feature an article on the baghèt, an instrument which I’m hearing more and more about, but one which is still in the early days of its revival. There is also a thought-provoking piece from Yannis Pantazis, with regards the item that is so essential to the soul and very being of the bagpipe – the bag.

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Grace Notes May 2020 in Chanter 2020 Summer

Can it be only 3 months ago when the last Chanter proudly announced the Society’s fantastic line-up for the Blowout? I was just a couple of weeks away from packing my bags to head off to the International Bagpipe Organisation’s conference in the States and a spring and summer full of festivals, concerts and events was mapped out in my diary. How can so much change so soon? I am, along with everyone else, saddened that our shared world of music-making has been one of the major casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Grace Notes Mar 2020 in Chanter 2020 Spring

Just a few brief notes to kick off this Spring 2020 edition – there’s no room for any more from me as it’s another packed, eclectic edition of articles and features. I never cease to be amazed at how wide a diversity of material is included in Chanter and this, I suppose, simply reflects the wide diversity of pipes, players, cultures, histories and music that this single (!) instrument shares. However, all bagpipes and bagpipers should come together to celebrate the instrument this coming 10th March as it is, of course, International Bagpipe Day!

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Grace Notes Dec 2019 in Chanter 2019 Winter

Over the last few years, as editor of Chanter, I have tried to expand piping horizons by featuring bagpipes and traditions from across Europe and further afield. This is borne partly out of my own curiosity and interests and partly because I believe that bagpipes of all shapes, sizes and cultures deserve equal treatment and exposure to as wide an audience as possible. In doing so, I wonder whether I have neglected some instruments that are perhaps more widely known to the core membership of the Society.

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Grace Notes Mar 2019 in Chanter 2019 Spring

When Yannis Pantazis was featured in “Tools of the Trade” back in the Winter 2015 edition of Chanter, he chose his workshop as his ‘tool’ and opened with the words “The workshop is like a micro cosmos of our planet: all the elements of nature in the workshop to serve a purpose …. What purpose? To create…”. I really related to that statement not only as a maker but as someone who finds myself hugely influenced by my surroundings.

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Grace Notes Nov 2018 in Chanter 2018 Winter

I would hazard a guess (and do correct me if I’m wrong), that the majority of members of The Bagpipe Society are experienced players of at least one type of bagpipe. So, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are people out there who are interested in the instrument but have yet to make the brave move to taking up the pipes. It can be very difficult for the keen potential player to discover if, firstly, it is the instrument for them and/or secondly to find a teacher or experienced hand to guide them through the initial stages.

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Grace Notes Aug 2018 in Chanter 2018 Summer

Jane Moulder The months and years seem to swing by in an instant (is this me getting old?) and I’m writing this with less than a month to go before the Blowout but my mind is already racing ahead to my annual pilgrimage to Le Son Continu. 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of my first attending the festival. Back in 1988 my exposure to bagpipes had been fairly limited and mainly consisted of the Scottish, Irish and Northumbrian varieties and, through listening to David Munrow recordings, I had some awareness of medieval and renaissance bagpipes.

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Grace Notes Feb 2018 in Chanter 2018 Spring

Jane Moulder Grace Notes - Jane Moulder Whilst writing this, I am looking out of my window at the snow falling down and thinking that it really would be great to go to Mallorca for the International Bagpipe Organisation conference in March! Sadly I can’t because of other commitments but whilst it may now be very short notice, if you can spare the time, then do see if you can find a last minute cheap flight as it really does look like bagpipe heaven to me!

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Grace Notes Nov 2017 in Chanter 2017 Winter

Welcome to the Winter edition of Chanter and I hope there will be something to interest everyone whether a player, maker, researcher or simply an enthusiast. I am particularly pleased that Paul Roberts has submitted his work to date on the evolution of the “pastoral pipe” in Britain. I have heard Paul’s presentation at both the International Bagpipe Organisation’s Conference and the Blowout and as the majority of members were unable to be at either of these, it is good to be able to print it in Chanter.

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Grace Notes Sep 2017 in Chanter 2017 Autumn

Welcome to the first ever full colour edition of Chanter. As editor it gives me much pleasure in being able to write that sentence! It has always been something of a frustration that some of the articles are not reproduced to their best, as the colour photographs that are normally submitted by contributors do not always clearly convert to black and white. Hopefully, that is now all resolved. I am sitting at my desk writing this column whilst looking out at grey skies and frequent showers – a sad sight for the beginning of August.

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Calls and Responses Jun 2017 in Chanter 2017 Summer

Editor’s Note: There was something of an editorial oversight in the last edition. Somehow, Jon Swayne’s response to Andy Letcher’s question on tapering bores (p.11) acquired an extra paragraph at the end of his article. At this point I must confess I have no idea where the paragraph came from and who wrote it! So, I will reprint it as a “Call” and hope that there are some “Responses” – and to both Jon and the questioner – apologies!

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Grace Notes Jun 2017 in Chanter 2017 Summer

Well, there I was, thinking that last Chanter’s bumper edition was going to be a one off – but here we go again! I’m very pleased that it is the gaita and the pipes of Iberia that have caused this second oversized volume in a row because there’s a special place in my heart for these instruments. What has become very clear to me in reading through all of the articles is that in the same way that the generic word “bagpipe” covers a multitude of different forms and type of instrument, so it is with gaita.

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Grace Notes Jun 2017 in Chanter 2018 Autumn

Jane Moulder Just a few brief comments from me this quarter as there is a pretty full edition for you. My quest to explore and feature some lesser known bagpipes continues with the Lithuanian bagpipe taking centre stage. Still relatively unknown in its native homeland, its resurgence is in the hands of a very small group of people who are working hard to bring the instrument back to the fore.

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Grace Notes Mar 2017 in Chanter 2017 Spring

Welcome to this Bumper Edition of Chanter! It is, I think, the largest edition of Chanter to have ever been published. As editor, I was in enviable position that so many excellent articles had been submitted I was having difficulty in deciding which ones would be held back for the future – so I have resolved the issue by simply putting them all in! A big thank you to all the contributors.

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Grace Notes Nov 2016 in Chanter 2016 Winter

Welcome to another edition of Chanter – the last in the Society’s 30th anniversary year. As we approach the end of 2016, I think the Society can look back with a degree of satisfaction as to what it has achieved over this period but also look forward to many more years of making a positive contribution to the world of bagpipes and bagpipers. In 2016 the Society has given financial support to various initiatives and this Chanter includes reports from two events which have benefitted.

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Grace Notes Aug 2016 in Chanter 2016 Autumn

Any comments from me will be short and sweet this quarter as this is another packed edition of Chanter with little room for superfluous words. An excellent state of affairs! I’m particularly pleased that, after a long absence, this edition contains a number of tunes, both old and new. The 30th Anniversary of The Bagpipe Society was celebrated at the Blowout with a tune competition and there was a plethora of excellent entries from Society members, a couple of which are reproduced here.

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Tools of the Trade Aug 2016 in Chanter 2016 Autumn

I first encountered bellows smallpipes in the late 80s at the Holmfirth Folk Festival. On the Saturday there was an open stage bagpipe event. The variety wasn’t on the scale of The Blow Out, but this was my introduction to one of the main bagpipes of the British Islands. Among the Northumbrian, Union, and Highland pipes, someone was playing a set of highland fingered smallpipes. I fell in love with the open, almost Northumbrian type sound, and the fingering was the same as I had learned as an eight year old at my local pipe band in Port Glasgow.

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Grace Notes Jul 2016 in Chanter 2016 Summer

Since the last edition of Chanter, I have visited Glasgow and the National Piping Centre twice. This feels a bit like the arrival of the long awaited Number 64 bus — having not been to Scotland for over 30 years, I then have two forays north of the border within 3 months of each other. The two occasions were very different though. At the end of February I attended the bi-annual conference of the International Bagpipe Organisation (IBO) for the first time.

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Grace Notes, Spring 2016 Mar 2016 in Chanter 2016 Spring

This is a celebratory year for The Bagpipe Society – it’s 30 years old! Further inside, Ian Clabburn, the Chairman, gives details of just one of the ways this event is going to be marked. With this anniversary in mind, it is particularly poignant that we received the sad news that the Society’s co-founder, Dave VanDoorn, died recently. It was Dave who first started producing a regular newsletter which, over time, morphed into Chanter.

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A New Find Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

It’s not every day (in fact not every year) that a new double chanter carving comes to light. Come to think of it it’s not every day you have a conversation with a stranger about double chanter bagpipes but this is what happened. . . . I was busking at a folk festival and stopped to speak to a lady, her son was writing a dissertation on “Cornish” bagpipes, so, whilst sat upon my “High Horse”, I remarked on their existence in many other parts of the Realm and maybe, perchance, they should more properly be referred to as “Dorsetian” or is that “Dorish”?

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