Archive for the ‘Northumbrian Pipes’ Category

What is an Interchangeable Stock?

Monday, February 1st, 2016

One of the features available on some sets of Northumbrian pipes is an interchangeable stock – here’s a description of what that means:

  • Non-interchangeable: Chanter is plugged into a wooden stock that is tied into the neck of the bag. Unplugging the chanter exposes the reed.
  • Interchangeable: A socket is tied into the bag and the chanter and stock are plugged in. Unplugging the stock protects the reed.

An interchangeable stocks is commonly used to allow a player with one set to switch between two or more chanters (e.g. 7k & 17k chanters or ‘F’ and ‘G’ chanters) whilst protecting the reed.

It is also possible to have an interchangeable dronestock – allowing you to swap sets of drones – but this is far less common and significantly more work to make.

Burleigh Smallpipes Timeline

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Unnamed Schottische (NPS Book 1)

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

In the first edition of the Northumbrian Pipers Society Tunebook published way back in the early days of the NPS there was a tune called simply ‘Schottische’. In the 2nd edition, a number of tunes were dropped from the book including this unnamed Schottische. In the third edition, the tunes were restored and ‘lost’ tunes tunes such as Bellingham Fair have been re-appearing in the wild – but I’ve yet to hear ‘Schottische’.

I was dipping into my library of old books yesterday on a search for something completely unrelated when the tune at the top of the page tripped me up – it took me about 5 minutes to make the connection – and now our unnamed Schottische now has a name. Kerr’s Merry MelodiesĀ  has this tune as ‘Such Chiming’ a melody from the ‘The Magic Flute’.

The NPS tunebook version is printed a 4th down (key of D) to fit the range of the pipes – but other than that, the tune is practically identical. I’m also not overly familiar with Mr Mozart’s original, and Youtube seems to suggest a different medody line for ‘Such Chiming’ – I’ll have to look it up sometime to see exactly where it can be found.

Dunn/Reid smallpipes: refurbishment part 1

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Here’s a very interesting set of pipes that came to me last year. It’s a hybrid set; a 9 keyed James Reid chanter (~1830’s) coupled with a much earlier set (1780’s) of John Dunn drones that almost certainly started life as part of a simple unkeyed set.

There are some interesting engravings on the drone sliders and also on the original stocks (of which more later). I’ve traced the set back through the 1900’s and back in to the 1800’s; this is the set of pipes illustrated in the painting which is currently on display at the Bagpipe Museum in Morpeth. The set played in the painting includes an early blackwood Reid chanter and Reid bellows. This chanter & drones became separated and formed part of another set in the early 1970’s and the drones were paired at that point with the current chanter. The chanter itself has been heavily played, snapped and long since repaired; unfortunately at some point the silver key pins have been replaced with copper wire which will prove difficult to extract.

I’ve been considering what approach to take to take with them – they’ll never be an everyday instrument but it will be great to bring such a significant set back in to full playing order. I’ll start by fitting everything to a new bag and getting the drones playing with a contemporary chanter – this should be completed shortly. Once this is done I can take a long slow look at the chanter to work out how to effect a repair that will hold the two halves together with minimal interference on the musical qualities.