Guide to Northumbrian Smallpipes

Alongside the Great Highland Bagpipe, NSPs are the other pipes that most people have usually heard about.

Unique amongst British bagpipes in having a chanter that is closed at one end, and related to the French Musette de Cour from which it probably derives, NSPs have a characteristic staccato sound and remain strongly rooted in the music and traditions of the North-East of England.

Played with closed fingering (only one sound hole uncovered at a time), NSPs are bellows blown, have up to four drones worn across the chest, and employ a number of keys to extend the range and to enable accidentals.

They come in a variety of pitches, have a rich and unique repertoire and their singing quality lends them to slow airs as well as crisp hornpipes.

We are settling into our new website, including making available articles from our thirty year history. If you spot something inaccurate, garbled or missing, or if you want to volunteer to help us improve our site, please mail info@bagpipesociety.

Website by Joe Wass, managed by Ian Clabburn.

Website content by Andy Letcher.

All articles copyright their respective authors.

Enquiries to

Membership enquiries to