There’s not much room for Grace Notes, even in this slightly extended edition of Chanter, so I will keep my reflections short. I am especially pleased to feature an article on the baghèt, an instrument which I’m hearing more and more about, but one which is still in the early days of its revival. There is also a thought-provoking piece from Yannis Pantazis, with regards the item that is so essential to the soul and very being of the bagpipe – the bag.Read more »
Can it be only 3 months ago when the last Chanter proudly announced the Society’s fantastic line-up for the Blowout? I was just a couple of weeks away from packing my bags to head off to the International Bagpipe Organisation’s conference in the States and a spring and summer full of festivals, concerts and events was mapped out in my diary. How can so much change so soon? I am, along with everyone else, saddened that our shared world of music-making has been one of the major casualties of the coronavirus pandemic.Read more »
Just a few brief notes to kick off this Spring 2020 edition – there’s no room for any more from me as it’s another packed, eclectic edition of articles and features. I never cease to be amazed at how wide a diversity of material is included in Chanter and this, I suppose, simply reflects the wide diversity of pipes, players, cultures, histories and music that this single (!) instrument shares. However, all bagpipes and bagpipers should come together to celebrate the instrument this coming 10th March as it is, of course, International Bagpipe Day!Read more »
In May 1770, the radical English journalist and politician John Wilkes (1725–97), fresh from a two year prison-sentence for libel, was teased for his anti-Scottish views at one of the regular masquerades (masked balls) organised by Teresa Cornelys (1723–97), soprano, actress, and lover of Casanova, in Carlisle House, Soho Square, London (KG: 19/05/1770):1 A gentleman in a Highland dress, with the bag-pipes, came up to Mr Wilkes at Mrs Cornelys’s masquerade and played two or three tunes to him.Read more »
I’m a music enthusiast and Swedish säckpipa player, originally from the Pacific Northwest. I like musical apps on my phone, especially at points in my life where I’ve had a long subway commute, or other chunks of time where I need to keep busy with what I have on-hand. I’d been speaking with musician and app programmer Michael Eskin on a tangential issue and also to The Chanter editor and we concluded that quarantine downtime would be a great time for people to consider music apps, given the delays in overseas shipping, and people being stuck at home.Read more »
A Pig of Dumfries - Tom Hughes In early 2018 I moved from Cheshire to Dumfries in south west Scotland. One of the first things I did was to try to find references to bagpipes in the town. I work in the museum but we had very little piping relating material there. However, I found historical records of medieval pipers entertaining King James V on his visits to the town and mentions of various border pipers with bellows blown pipes, including a visit of the Wandering Piper who I have written about in Chanter a couple of times.Read more »
Spielkurs Pipenbock is an annual event in Northern Germany which features workshops on traditional instruments, music and dance - including two bagpipe courses:• half-closed pipes and Swedish bagpipes aka säckpipa.The main attraction for me was the chance of being taught by Swedish riksspelman Olle Gällmo, so I made the trip in 2018.• And went back again last year, and will be going again in November 2020! The Pipenbock weekend is a full-on experience, packed with tuition, concerts and dancing.Read more »
Images to follow As editor, I find it fascinating how various editions of Chanter develop as I go through the process of compiling them. I don’t want you to think that there’s no planning or aforethought but generally I send out requests and feelers for potential articles and contributors, maybe up to two years in advance of publication, and wait to see what comes back to me. As many know to their cost, some people receive more than one reminder or prompt!Read more »
On 4th March 2020, Roger Landes and I were wrapping up the last details of the fifth International Bagpipe Conference, due to take place on 14th and 15th March 2020 at Harvard University in Boston, USA. We had planned a wonderful line up of speakers, all presenting on the subject of bagpipes and diaspora, chosen in honour of our friends from the Americas, many of whom practice piping traditions linked to their heritage.Read more »
As you might have gathered from Cassandre’s account, the Virtual Pub session at the end of the IBO was something of a success, so a new monthly event has been established. It is now open to pipers everywhere. Dronehenge is a monthly “virtual pub” open to bagpipers around the world. Held on Saturdays starting around 17:00 GMT, a time equally inconvenient to those in Europe (for whom it’s too late) and North America (for whom it’s too early), the goal is to provide social interaction for pipers.Read more »
Bagpipes and all things Medieval - Gill Page Medieval Music in the Dales is the UK’s only festival of medieval music and we are really grateful for the continued support of The Bagpipe Society, our most consistent and valued sponsor. Every year we have featured Beginner Bagpipe sessions, usually run by Paul Leigh of Trouvere, and it’s a known fact that several shiny new bagpipers have been brought forth as a result… Most years, we’ve also had workshops for more experienced pipers, customarily run by Durham’s own Paul Martin.Read more »
Olle Geris & Toon van Mierlo, Olle Gällmo Porembela, Quentin Budworth, Dave Rowlands John Tose, Terry Mann •plus … The Friday Tune competition!! Full details of the Blowout 2020 can be found on The Bagpipe Society website. Here you will find biographies of the performers and workshop leaders together with details of the workshops and any sheet music that is going to be used. You can also find arrangements for camping and cuisine – including a full menu by our new caterer!Read more »
Images to follow Way back in the Winter 2018 edition, Andy Letcher wrote in asking if anyone had any information on the nibiles, an Ethiopian bagpipe he had seen referenced in A. Buchner’s 1971 Folk Music Instruments. Well, there was a resounding silence from you all! Further on in this edition you will read about the work of Wiebe Stodel and the compilation of an online encyclopaedia/thesaurus of bagpipes and their terminologies.Read more »
I first came to Blowout four years ago, invited by Vanessa to work as a galley slave. My only experience of bagpipes was a uillean play at my local musos’ session and a 75yr old who played out of tune great pipes in a local park most mornings. So to see and hear so many different breeds of pipe was a joyous revelation. And the people – so very friendly, who just wanted to share their passion.Read more »
Autumn 2019 brought another trip to Santorini, a visit to the Symposion Music and Mythology Cultural Centre and a welcome opportunity to catch up with progress. I am very pleased to report that the project is going from strength to strength. Yannis and Argy are very happy with developments and are brimming with enthusiasm for the next stages. One of the highlights had occurred earlier in the year when they ran a series of musical presentations to groups of school children (age 8+) from every school on the island.Read more »
Five years ago, my dissertation “Die Stimme des Windes” was published as a book by a German publishing company focusing on Linguistics. As my academic field is that of languages and my private interest that for bagpipes, I was lucky to be able to combine those two and thereby create a thorough study of the history of bagpipes from the perspective of language. My thinking was: If no early specimens of bagpipes survive and iconography fails us, language is the only thing we can turn to on our quest for answers.Read more »
Images to follow It was a fast-flowing cascade of happenstance, discovery and opportunities: Time Team. I’ve been binge watching [If I had my time again, I’d aspire to be an archaeologist.] and they dug up a neck fragment from a Bellarmine jug, the bit with a bearded face on it. I’ve been intrigued by them for years and seeing the programme reminded me that maybe I should try to get myself one.Read more »
Of all the sounds to be heard at Le Son Continu, the piping festival held annually in July at La Chartre, in Central France, the sound of the boha from Gascony is, in certain respects the most exotic. In part this is because its chanter uses a single reed and, in part, because of its “contra pipe,” recognizable to anyone familiar with bagpipes of Eastern Europe, especially those associated with the Carpathian Basin.Read more »
Introduction Since the publication of the complete study around the sordellina and the Baldano’s manuscript by TARRINI, FARRIS and VAN DER MEER(1) this Italian court smallpipe has witnessed a return of interest, especially in the past few years. An excellent example of this is the phenomenal research conducted by MONTBEL and TOMASSI, leading in 2019 to the public presentation of their reconstruction of Settala’s trimelodic sordellina ((2). MONTBEL also published in 2015 two articles about his research about Settala and his well-known instrument depicted on his portrait of 1646 (3) (or later), by Nuvolone(4).Read more »
During a conference in Barbaste in 2012, Robert Matta gave a detailed demonstation of his manufacturing technique for his boha reeds. After numerous experiements, he determined the dimensions and measurements that best suited his bagpipes. Only a few materials are required, just a Plexiglass body and a strip of carbon fibre or cane. Then, having assembled the reed, all that is required is to vary the thickness of the carbon fibre or cane strip to refine the setting.Read more »
Images to follow Master piper, ace teacher and Bagpipe Society committee member, David Faulkner, has volunteered to run a monthly Zoom session for pipers on the first Monday of the month leading up to the 2021 Blowout. They will be held for an hour between 7.30 and 8.30pm (GMT). Here’s what he has to say about them: The idea is for us to get together via Zoom once a month and share some enthusiasm, repertoire, questions and learning.Read more »
Last year Jane Moulder asked me to write about my fascination with the traditional music of Hungary and in particular the Hungarian bagpipes, which I play as part of a duo with Ildiko Csige who is from Debrecen, but lives and works in Manchester. The article explained how I came to be introduced to the music of Hungary. It was through the same medium that I also became enamoured with the music of Bulgaria.Read more »
What follows is a story that spans over 7 years. It is a tale which illustrates one person’s love of one small chanter and the perseverance and determination to be reunited with it. For me, the story begins back in August 2019 when I was contacted by Daniele Bicego. Daniele is Italian, a member of the Society and you will know him from his research and writing on the müsa.Read more »
In Chanter n. 30, vols. 3 and 4 (2016) I talked of the müsa in the Edinburgh museum, concentrating on that specific instrument with technical drawings, but many pages were dedicated to a general description and background of the müsa, no need to repeat it here. I will just give a short note about it as the aim of this article is to enlist all the surviving instruments and to propose an hypothesis on its tuning as since the ‘70s, when musicological research started, one of the most debated topics was the scale of the chanter and which note the drone played, a question still debated today.Read more »
Images to follow Greetings fellow Baglings As promised in the last issue of Chanter, here’s the Anatomy of a Bagpiper of the female kind – deadlier than the male as any fule kno. When it was suggested I should draw a female piper to go with the happy chappie who appeared in the last Chanter, I must admit I scratched my head for a bit. What on earth did women pipers look like, I wondered.Read more »
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