2010

A Great Lost Opportunity... Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

There has been much discussion over the years in the pages of Chanter concerning the history of bagpiping in Wales. That there ever was such a thing is evident from the clear references to bagpipes covering a span of several hundred years. There are many more references to pipers and pipes, of course, and surely some at least of these must have meant bagpipers and bagpipes - but which they are who can say?

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Abraham Bloemaert’s (1566-1651) The Bagpipe Player (Fig. 1) (now in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg) was painted in Utrecht somewhere between 1625 and 1630 (Roethlisberger, 1993: 267). As one of the most arresting images of a piper and his pipes, it is not surprising that it has been subjected to a good deal of attention in the bagpipe literature. Askew (1931) and Cheape (1994), for example, have particularly emphasised its influence on later representations of bagpipes, an influence which can be felt over more than a couple of centuries; this is a subject to which I intend to return in a later paper.

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Letters Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

Hi John, I’m half way through the latest Chanter Magazine and I am finding Julian Goodacre’s “Working as a bagpipe maker” article of great interest. This bit caught my eye: “As far as I am aware there is now no available course on woodwind instrument making available in this world.” I am pleased to say that (at this time) he is wrong! I started out at what was Newark technical college where they run a course on clarinet making and woodwind repair.

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Like many keen pipers I always keep an eye out for carvings or pictures of bagpipes on my travels, but recently thought I should try to find examples closer to home, which for me is Cheshire. Over the last year or so I have visited nearly all of the surviving medie- val churches in the county to explore them for images of bagpipers. Many of these me- dieval churches are now bare of carvings or paintings, following reformation, civil war and the heavy hand of Victorian restorers, but still I found eight examples in the area.

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David Hockney carried out research at the very end of the 1990’s into certain painting techniques used by many of the ‘Old Masters’. I have no idea if this is widely known by instrument makers and researchers. It culminated in a lavish book published in 2001 entitled Secret Knowledge- Rediscovering the lost techniques of the Old Masters. I was first made aware of his research through a fascinating TV program that he made, which fortunately I videoed and have watched many times.

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On using the wrong pipes on the TV Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

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Pipe Music from Underground Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

This year, 2010, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Weirdstone of Bris- ingamen by Alan Garner. It’s regarded as a modern classic, an influential work and has never been out of print. I’ve been involved with some of the preparations for the cele- brations, so was intrigued to find that there was a bagpipe connection in it all. Garner’s book develops the legend of Alderley, with its account of sleeping knights and great treasure under the hill and the ensuing action plays out across real landscapes of woods, cliffs and mines of Alderley Edge in Cheshire.

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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…

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Review: Full Boar by Saor Patrol Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

Whereas as editor of Chanter I occasionally receive CDs to review - one of the few perks of the job I suppose - I do also sometimes put my hand in my own pocket and buy one as well. This one was slightly different, however, as I came upon the band - Saor Patrol (pronounced shore patrol and deriving from the gaelic word for freedom) in the wonderful world of Youtube.

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Starting Drone Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

The following exchange of emails was sent to me by Ian Clabburn: Original Message to bbc.co.uk/complaints: Use of wrong type of bagpipes in programmes about Scotland. There have been a number of wonderful BBC programmes about Scotland, in particular the recent History of Scotland, where to provide a sense of Scottish culture bagpipe music is heard. But time and time again it is Irish bagpipes (Uillean pipes), that are played, NOT the Scottish warpipes that ordinary people associate with Scotland.

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The Earning of Hatred Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

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bagpipes in satire Jun 2010 in Chanter 2010 Summer

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A Rigadoon Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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A point of view Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Argeers Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Bagpipe iconography Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Blowout 2010 Preview Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

Yes, we’re back to the Bank Holiday weekend for this year, which gives us more time to indulge in all the qualities that have made The Blowout such a great little festival. Changes: I have taken this opportunity to make the Saturday Bal longer and to move the now extended concert to the Sunday evening. The concert will be followed by an “open stage mini-bal”, featuring Society members. Contact me direct if you want to be part of this.

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Chanter Spring 2010 Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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End Drone Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

WHEN the very long-standing early music group of which I am privileged to be a longish standing member plays a concert at an arts centre, theatre, church or school hall we do not require amplification nor fancy lighting effects, but we do request tables. The more tables the better. A table each for six performers is the ideal. On these we lay out the preposterously large numbers of wind and stringed instruments that we employ during our programmes.

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Ham House or Cherry Tree Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Lament for the Bluebells Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Letters Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

Gorhemmynadow dhiworth Kernow! We have at last made our CD of pipes and drums (gaita and bombarde - not the reconstructed Cornish pipes, gav dhymm!) and thought that our Celtic cousins might be interested… Tracks Cor Elath Wondrous Works/ Daniel Cooper/ Silver Buttons/ Woolly Monkey An Culyek Hos Joel’s Tune/ An Ahwesyth An Morladron/ Nancledra/ Tom Bawcock’s Fly Cellar/ Hevva Turning of the Tide/ Pencarrow/ We all Stepped Out/ Carmela

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JTLO Workshop That stands for the ‘John Tose Light Orchestra’, a name Ian Clabburn came up with last year for my G and D pipes harmony workshop. I’ll be doing it again this year, but this time with something a little easier - a nice slow processional from Galicia. In addition we’ll probably have a go at something from the previous two years repertoire. The Marcha Procesional de San Benito was composed by Xose Benito Gonzalez of ‘Os Dezas de Moneixas’ fame.

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Over The Hills and Far Away Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

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Ramsgate Buzz Preview Mar 2010 in Chanter 2010 Spring

A day of Hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe workshops & concert on the 20th of March 2010 at Studio 5, St Lawrence Industrial Estate, Manston Road, Ramsgate Kent CT11 0QZ, featuring Steve Tyler, Katy Marchant, Tim Garside, Sean Jones, Claire Dugue and Daughters of Elvin. Bookings and general information at http://www.claire-dugue.com dugue.com. Workshops: Saturday morning- from 10.00 to 12.30 Hurdy-gurdy maintenance with Claire Dugue Come and learn to get the most out of your instrument.

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