Scottish Smallpipes

Scottish Smallpipes A modern development of the 1980s, Scottish Smallpipes are based on the old eighteenth-century instruments that survive in various museums. SSPs are typically in the folk-friendly keys of A or D, are usually bellows-blown, have a set of drones in a common stock worn across the chest, and use a nine-note scale that fingers like a GHB but which plays at a fraction of the volume. Some makers include a second thumbhole which allows minor (dorian) tunes to be played.

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Blowout 2016 Mar 2016 in Chanter 2016 Spring

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.

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Blowout 2016 Mar 2016 in Chanter 2016 Spring

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.

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The First Time Nov 2016 in Chanter 2016 Winter

I headed to my first ever Pipers’ Gathering simply hoping for a chance to try my hand at Scottish smallpipes. I’ve played the highland pipes since my teens but now, as a retiree, I hope to share my love of this music by playing an instrument that can be played indoors and with other instruments. Also, I wondered if playing a bellows-blown instrument would enable me sing with my pipes. In every way, the Pipers’ Gathering far exceeded my expectations.

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Making a Bagpipe Mar 2017 in Chanter 2017 Spring

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.

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In the Bag: Callum Armstrong Mar 2016 in Chanter 2016 Spring

Callum Armstrong is an experimental piper who enjoys exploring the possibilities of the pipes. He won the solo prize in 2014 and the ‘Petite Formation’ Prize in 2015 with Cellist George Pasca at the ‘Son Continu’ Festival in France. Callum has recently collaborated with Julian Goodacre to develop a smallpipe chanter with almost 3 octaves, and is currently working developing a technique for the ‘double Scottish smallpipe chanter. Amongst Callum’s current projects are learning and developing reeds for ancient auloi and learning the Musette de cour.

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