Smallpipes

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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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… Well anyway, apart from a few albums by Pauline Cato and a compilation album of old stuff - Billy Pigg, Forster Charlton and the like my collection of piping CDs is particularly lacking in Northumbrian smallpipes.

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The Trehawsa smallpipes weekend Dec 2005 in Chanter 2005 Winter

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.

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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.

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This edition is from our archives, so it is presented as scanned pages rather than text.

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The development of the Northumbrian Smallpipes Mar 1987 in Chanter 1987 Spring

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.

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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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Do Hills Get Steeper as One Gets Older? Jul 2016 in Chanter 2016 Summer

(or Age and the Learning Curve!) Reflections on a beginner’s disastrous entry into the world of bagpiping. My first thought is that approaching 70 is not a good age to start learning a new instrument — in fact it is not a good time to start anything new. It is a time to sit by the fireside with a cup of cocoa and reflect on better times. To be fair, however, I don’t much like cocoa and times are pretty good despite the aches.

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Medieval Music in the Dales Jul 2016 in Chanter 2016 Summer

2nd- 4th September 2016, Bolton Castle, Wensleydale - Box Office Now Open! Medieval Music in the Dales is the new medieval music festival being organized by medieval minstrels, Trouvere. Bagpipes are a really important part of the event and we are immensely grateful for the support of The Bagpipe Society, who are funding Danilo Turchetti (Musica Inspirata) to exhibit his magnificent medieval bagpipes at the festival. It was our first bit of funding and cheered us on enormously as we planned the event!

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