Pipes at the Ready

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Inverness Museum & Art Gallery has a fine collection of bagpipes the importance of which, I suspect, is generally underestimated. There are Highland Pipes, Scottish Smallpipes and Union Pipes, some complete and others fragmentary. Among the oddments are the three bagless, chanterless drones that so intriguingly resemble those on Geordie Syme’s bagpipe (see Chanter, Winter 2003, 12-13). The Union Bagpipes interested me most when I examined the collection of items not on display, because of the quality of the Inverness specimens and the instrument’s patchily understood history and evident importance in the music of England, Scotland and Ireland.

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