Let me start by admitting that I’ve never been a big fan of the Northumbrian smallpipes - and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s the staccato style of playing resulting from the closed fingering, or maybe it’s the style of music that I can’t get along with. Then again it may just be psychological - me being a Middlesbrough lad and despite the Borough being distinctly part of the North East, being brought up constantly being told you’re not a proper Geordie…Read more »
This edition is from our archives, so it is presented as scanned pages rather than text. You may need to scroll to find the article you’re looking for.Read more »
This edition is from our archives, so it is presented as scanned pages rather than text.Read more »
In 1973 I was a student at Newcastle University. I managed to secure a place on an evening class, learning to make the Northumbrian Pipes. This took place in the metalwork room of a local school, and it was a lot more interesting than my degree course! At two hours a week, making a set of pipes was a long-term project - after the first session, I was the proud owner of two 2”x1” brass plates, which the following week would be rolled up to make ferrules for the chanter and blowpipe stocks.Read more »
The Northumbrian small-pipes in their later classic form with seven or more chanter keys have an unusual significance in the traditional music of England, being one of the very few instruments which are entirely native, their creation being in the north-east of the country. These pipes have become so firmly rooted in the traditional music of Northumberland that their relatively recent origins, though never actually obscure, are easily forgotten. This is an instrument belonging entirely to the 19th and subsequent centuries, and represents an invention by a single individual, Robert Reid of North Shields, being the product of a working life of approximately 30 years beginning in the first decade of the 19th century and continuing until his death in 1837.Read more »
At the International Bagpipe Conference in Glasgow Feb 26 28 Pete Stewart and Julian Goodacre officially launched a new website http://www.thebagpipemap.co.uk . Julian writes: I started making English pipes in 1983. Apart from the Northumbrian pipes, there was no living tradition of piping in England at that time, and no actual English bagpipes had survived, so the best I could do was to develop pipes that were based on looking at surviving early carvings, paintings, illustrations and other depictions of bagpipes in England.Read more »
3rd to 5th June Savage Prunes (concerts, Saturday, Sunday) In 2015, the Savage Prunes won the ‘Petites Formations’ competition at ‘Le Son Continu’ music festival, since when they have expanded into a trio. The group is particularly influenced by European folk, as well as baroque, Celtic, jazz, techno, and classical music. Callum Armstrong is an innovative piper whose questing approach to the hitherto unexplored acoustic possibilities of the smallpipe is taking the instrument into areas most of us have never encountered.Read more »
It’s good to see the subject of tuning and scales capturing the interest of members, because it’s a subject hard to understand and therefore not well understood. So I was fascinated to turn to Ray Brown’s thoughts on the tuning of the Cabrette in the Winter 2015 edition of Chanter, the third response to Ian Clabburn’s original article in Chanter of Summer 2014. Ray covered a wide range of topics and raised a large number of questions.Read more »
Long ago when I decided I’d like to make myself a set of pipes I had no idea how to go about it. There were only a couple of books on the subject; Wilbert Garvin’s crash course in uilleann pipe making and Cocks and Bryan. Garvin is still worth getting although it was out of print for a few decades and became quite sought after. These days we are only a click away from a video of pretty much any part of the process but it has to said that it’s not all good practice.Read more »
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.Read more »
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