2015

In the Bag - Jon Swayne Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

Jon originally trained as a lawyer and worked as such for twelve years before seeing the light, and turning to his first love, music. Studied Early Woodwind Technology 1977-80, subsequently setting up his workshop in Somerset specialising in bagpipes, whistles and flutes. Founder member of Blowzabella in 1978. Introduced his English Border Pipe which forms the foundation of his work in 1986, and in the same year was elected Honorary President of the Bagpipe Society.

Read more »

Jean Cristoph Maillard Orbituary Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

Although I met Jean-Cristophe Maillard only five years ago at a folk music education symposium in Antwerpen, it feels like I have known him for much longer. We both grew up in the same town, Fontainebleau, and we went to the same high school, the Lycée Francois Premier, where his father used to teach music. About 30 years before me, Jean-Cristophe went to study music and musicology at the Sorbonne. His master’s dissertation was supervised by Pr.

Read more »

Pipers of the Maastricht Hours Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

Last year Tom Hughes, posted a picture on Facebook that he’d found on a British Library web page depicting a bagpiper from the Maastricht Hours, Medieval book of Hours. It didn’t take much imagination to come up with the idea that if there was one bagpiper, then there may well be one or two more. In fact there turned out to be 15 of them ! The Maastricht Hours was produced in the first quarter of the 14th century in Liege in the Netherlands for an aristocratic woman who it is thought is actually depicted in various places through the manuscript.

Read more »

For those of you leading busy lives who might not have the time or inclination to read a thousand words of text without checking your email or social networking feed here is the “executive summary” in 140 characters: “This is a good book for £12 with good tunes in it. If you have an interest in playing Irish music on the border bagpipes, you should buy it.” Having thus satisfied the Twitterati and their ilk, we can afford to adopt a slightly more discursive style and go into a bit more detail.

Read more »

Roderick Cannon - a personal reflection Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

A personal reflection by Matt Seattle Somewhere, either before or just after I took up the pipes (1991), I bought a couple of back issues of The Piping Times and homed in on the Tune of the Month articles by a certain R D Cannon. The article – and the tune – which took my fancy was Portpatrick or The Churlish Husband and, as I recall, the author commented that he was surprised no-one had ever made it into a 4-part tune or maybe something even longer.

Read more »

The Sourdeline of Manfredo Settala Part 2 Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

In the first part of this article (Chanter, Summer 2015) I wrote about the discovery of a painting, dated 1640, attributed to Carlo Francesco Nuvolone. The painting depicts Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) with his “sourdeline”, a complex Italian bagpipe of the 17th century (fig. 1). This important painting reveals several facts about the personality of the ingenious scholar of Milan. In this second part we will look at the technical knowledge that we can gain about the sourdeline, and its place in the European family of wind instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Read more »

Tools of the Trade Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

When I was at A Level college we had a talk from a production engineer. He talked about finding ways to solve interesting problems like drilling curved holes in turbine fins and joining dissimilar materials. I remember being fascinated but didn’t think to consider it as a degree option. I actually wound up as a post graduate genetic engineer which, though fascinating just wasn’t me. For one thing the maths was way too hard.

Read more »

100 Torupilli! Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

“100 Bagpipes” is a video blog that introduces the Estonian bagpipes and the musical opportunities they offer through active Estonians. Throughout 2015 - a year dedicated to music - 100 videos together with fascinating facts and sayings about the instrument will be published on the blog. Torupilli Jussi nr 21 Estonian bagpipes used to be very popular instruments. Not a single party, especially weddings - events that were often postponed when the bagpiper could not attend - was held without the accompaniment of the bagpipes.

Read more »

Droning On Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

I enjoyed watching Phil Cunningham’s Pipe Dream, BBC2 in Scotland’s two part documentary celebrating the bagpipes in all their diversity. Any fears that this would be a programme taking cheap shots at pipes or pipers were swiftly allayed. It was, rather, a genuine and heartfelt homage to our instrument, one that was both informative and entertaining. There were many familiar faces, some great footage of the Blowout, and as an added bonus the two episodes went out on either side of International Bagpipe Day.

Read more »

Grace Notes: Bagpipes in the Media Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling really quite positive about the way bagpipes are now being reported in the media. Yes, they are still first and foremost associated with Scotland and they will always, no doubt, be the butt of a few jokes (the poor viola and banjo likewise suffer the same fate) but I think attitudes and approaches are slowly changing. In only 3 years, International Bagpipe Day has helped raise the profile of bagpipes and provided a focused vehicle for demonstrating the breadth and variety of the different types of bagpipes and their associated cultures.

Read more »

In the Bag - Catlin Magi Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

Cätlin Mägi is a leading figure in Estonian piping. A champion of the torupil, the Estonian bagpipe, she is a charismatic teacher, performer and recording artist, most recently releasing an album with the Torupilli Jussi Trio. What bagpipes do you play? As I am an Estonian I only play Estonian bagpipes. I have thought of getting myself bagpipes from other countries as well, and being young it seems I still have time …

Read more »

International Bagpipe Day 2015 Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

When Andy Letcher came up to me at the end of the Blowout in 2011, telling me about his idea of International Bagpipe Day, neither of us had any idea how successful it would become. It seems that the bagpipe world was thirsty as it is veritably drinking up the international connections that are forged every 10th March since 2012. This year far exceeded previous episodes as over a dozen countries celebrated the day with events all over the world including Belarus (Minsk), the USA (Texas, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco), Canada (Thunder Bay), Germany (a Swedish/German concert in Berlin), Greece (Athens and Santorini), Hungary (Budapest) and Iran.

Read more »

Pipes at the Ready Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

Inverness Museum & Art Gallery has a fine collection of bagpipes the importance of which, I suspect, is generally underestimated. There are Highland Pipes, Scottish Smallpipes and Union Pipes, some complete and others fragmentary. Among the oddments are the three bagless, chanterless drones that so intriguingly resemble those on Geordie Syme’s bagpipe (see Chanter, Winter 2003, 12-13). The Union Bagpipes interested me most when I examined the collection of items not on display, because of the quality of the Inverness specimens and the instrument’s patchily understood history and evident importance in the music of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Read more »

The Estonian Bagpipe - Torupill Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

Compiled by Catlin Magi and edited by Jane Moulder The Estonian bagpipe is called a torupill, with toru meaning pipe and pill being a general term for a musical instrument. In fact, sometimes the instrument is simply referred to as a pill. The first mention we have of the bagpipe dates back to the 16th century when, in describing a peasant’s uprising in 1560, Johannes Renner refers to a bagpiper riding on horseback in front of the rebel’s leader.

Read more »

Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan. Cortile degli spiriti magni. If there is one place I love above all in Italy, it is the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. People come from around the world for the famous paintings of Leonardo, Caravaggio and Boticelli, but also for the strange and fascinating wonders gathered in this venerable house which was established by Cardinal Borromeo in 1611. Here there is a shrine enclosing a lock of blond hair from the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia as well as shells, beads and curious objects : this museum keeps the spirit of the «cabinets of curiosity» (or wunderkammer) of the Renaissance.

Read more »

Julian shares the secret of his favourite tuning tool: What is the wisest course of action if you find that there is one note on your chanter which sounds a wee bit flat? One approach to any problem in life is to ignore it and hope it just goes away. With bagpipes this can lead you into the bad habit of trying to raise the note by squeezing a bit harder which can cause other tuning problems.

Read more »

In the second part of my article on zampogna, I will say a little about the process of making one and introduce my contribution to plastic reed technology, the “Parr spine”. Bet you can’t wait. I will also explain the title of the article, “Full Circle”, which will lead us on nicely to the extraordinary experience of the zampogna festival in Scapoli. I’m conscious that there was a slightly hysterical, overwrought tone to Part One and I will try to be a little more sober in Part Two.

Read more »

Tools of the Trade Mar 2015 in Chanter 2015 Spring

As a German bagpipe maker, I live in a region where there is a tradition of playing double and single reed bagpipes. That’s how I came to be making Säckpipa! You may not be aware, but the thickness of the wall of a chanter influences the tuning of the scale of a chanter. This fact creates some problems when it comes to making the scallops on a Säckpipa chanter. Sure, one could carve them.

Read more »

Chanter Winter 2015 Dec 2015 in Chanter 2015 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.

Read more »

Chanter Autumn 2015 Sep 2015 in Chanter 2015 Autumn

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 »

Chanter Summer 2015 Jun 2015 in Chanter 2015 Summer

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 »

A Dancer's Perspective - Swedish dance Mar 2015 in Chanter 2015 Spring

Photo: Phil Keen The Painted Hall at the Early Music Show in Greenwich is a pleasant and elegant, if over-heated, place to catch up with friends. Jane Moulder turned our discussion to dance. Was dancing to Swedish music and musicians different in some way, from say, English or even French folk styles, she wanted to know. It had struck her that there was something more intimate, more interactive from a dancer’s perspective.

Read more »

Andrew Heywood - Obituary Mar 2015 in Chanter 2015 Spring

Heywood, Andrew I am sad to report the sudden death of Andrew Haywood in early January this year. Although Andrew may not be known to the present generation of French bagpiping enthusiasts, he was a well known and respected maker during the early days of the present revival. Andrew was a pupil at Winchester College where his musical interests led him to study both the piano and the bassoon.

Read more »

Blowout 2015 Mar 2015 in Chanter 2015 Spring

Friday 29th to Sunday 31st May 201. This year’s Blowout will again be taking place at Polesworth, nr Tamworth. We have got an exciting and interesting programme lined up for this year – and it is still evolving! There will be updates as we get nearer to the event which will posted on the Bagpipe Society Facebook page or on the Blowout page on http://www.bagpipesociety.org.uk. Trio Matta Rouch Balázs Istvánfi and András Németh Jon Swayne and Becky Price (Bal) Rohan Kriwaczek Paul Martin Chris Allen Dave Rowlands Andy Letcher John Tos.

Read more »

Chanter Spring 2015 Mar 2015 in Chanter 2015 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.

Read more »

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 info@bagpipesociety.org.uk

Membership enquiries to membership@bagpipesociety.org.uk