Articles

Grace Notes Feb 2018 in Chanter 2018 Spring

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.

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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 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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Adrian Grant, our friend Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Today we still play a vast body of ‘traditional’ tunes that link us to people in the past; tunes that may have been composed by people who died hundreds of years ago, and we will never know their names. Other tunes are named after people about whom we may know little or nothing but their tunes still live on, and are cherished. This August I was staying with my friends Matt and Carolyn Buckley, in Richmond, Vermont, USA, when my wife Pat Skyped me to let me know that our friend Adrian had died.

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All set for Glasgow!? Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

The International Bagpipe Organisation presents the Third International Bagpipe Conference 26-28 February 2016. Hosted by the National Piping Centre, Glasgow, Organised in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow University with the support of the Bagpipe Society and the Piobaireachd Society. Programme Committee: Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, Dr. Joshua Dixon, Dr. Andy Letcher, Dr. Susana Moreno. The International Bagpipe Organisation warmly invites everyone to attend the Third International Bagpipe Conference on 26-28 February 2016 to celebrate of the world’s immensely diverse bagpipe traditions.

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Bonny Lad if you can shew me the way to Wallington Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Bonny Lad if you can shew me the way to Wallington This odd looking tune is displayed in the FARNE archive, in the section devoted to the Henry Clough Collection, with the following note :- “This may or may not be a version of the more common tune of a similar title; it is included as a curiosity and to see whether anyone can decipher its meaning - the ending has shades of The Rocky Road to Dublin, and while strain 2 is evidently in 9⁄8 strain 1 is more erratically written.

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Droning On Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

When it comes to bagpipe ornamentation, the options of what physically to do with your fingers aren’t great. You can lift a finger off and put it down again, as with the cut or the trill. You can put a finger down and lift it off again, as with the strike or vibrato. You can slide fingers off rather than lifting them. Or you can put lots of fingers down, usually on the tonic, to give the impression of a staccato – in France, the rappel.

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Eth Bot d'Aran Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Many of those attending the Blowout in May this year were entranced by the sound of a bagpipe made and played by Pierre Rouch. The bot has a haunting, open sound and is particularly suited to accompanying singing. It proved such a hit that I know several orders were placed with Pierre! Wanting to find out more about this instrument, I am particularly grateful to the maker, Bernat Ménétrier-Marcadal, who has contributed this article and to Pierre Rouch for sharing his personal reflections.

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Funding Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Over the last few years, we have regularly announced that The Society has money available to support bagpipe related activities (3 Chanter mentions in the last 2 years alone), without too much uptake, and now - finally - requests are rolling in! To make the funding allocation as fair and open as possible, we have decided: To set aside a sum of money for this purpose every year, the amount depending on the health of our bank account; Invite members to apply for this money between the period of December and March (the time between Winter and Spring Chanters); The applications will be considered by the committee.

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Grace notes Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Welcome to the Winter edition of Chanter where you will find articles covering quite a diverse range of bagpipes and subjects. As editor, it’s interesting the way it goes – almost like the number 29 bus. You wait for ages for an article on eastern European bagpipes to be submitted, then suddenly two of three come along in quick succession. Both in this edition, and the next Chanter, there are features on the volynka, gaida and pipes that I, for one, am less familiar with.

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In the Bag - Yannis Pantazis Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Yannis Pantazis lives on the island of Santorini where he founded a Greek bagpipe workshop and exhibition at La Ponta. As well as making tsabouna, he plays and teaches the instrument and has given workshops, lectures and concerts in many countries such as Italy, Norway, Estonia, France, Great Britain, USA. Alongside the bagpipes, Yannis plays saxophone, blues harp and flutes. He was influenced at very young age by the music of his region (Grevena, Greece) and was brought up in in a musical environment as his father was a percussionist.

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Live your Dream - The Redpipes Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Well this headline may sound a little like I would like to pretend that I have a perfect life – but I don’t. I have a whole lot of work waiting for me every day. There are customer requests coming in every week - which is fine when you make your living on building electronic bagpipes. And yes, I love my work, it’s what I wanted to do for many years.

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Some thoughts on cabrette tuning Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

Ian Clabburn’s article, printed in Chanter Summer 2014, about the cabrette tuning and in particular his struggle with the “neutral third” intrigues me, and I keep going back to his article and have re-read it several times. In summary, Ian felt it was his fault that he was unable to play the instrument ‘in tune’, only later finding that the cabrette is tuned to a scale different from that which we consider ‘normal’.

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Subscription renewals Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

For many of the longer standing Bagpipe Society members, the annual subscription renewal date will be falling due at the end of December. If you presently pay your subscription by bank standing order, you need to read on. Earlier this year, we moved to another new system, Membermojo, to replace Webcollect in administering subscriptions. At the same time, we also moved away from 31th December as a common renewal date, so for new members joining since then their renewal falls due on the anniversary of their joining the Society.

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The Bagpipe Society video archive Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

For a little while The Society has had this idea of collating all the member videos that are made at the Blowout, and other events, into one big resource for posterity’s sake. As part of that I rather assumed that no doubt individual members take the time to ensure their hard work travelling to and recording events, and they take an equal amount of care in ensuring they have multiples copies in the event of a computer failure?

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The Bagpipers of John Astbury Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 Winter

I have recently been in correspondence with Jenny Coxon, dulcimer player and music researcher, in connection with my ongoing search for Hale the Piper. As a result of our correspondence, she very kindly offered me some photographs of a Staffordshire pottery figure which she had in her collection and were now surplus to her requirements. I was, of course, a grateful recipient and I am pleased to be able to include the photos in this edition of Chanter (rear cover and left).

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