Piper playing the reel of Tullochgorum

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Postcard of Piper playing the reel of Tullochgorum.
© National Museums Scotland

Piper playing the reel of Tullochgorum

Piper, seated, playing on bellows-blown Union or Uillean pipes inspiring folks passing to dance. The scene by the deaf and mute artist, Walter Geike (1795 - 1837), shows a market day in the Edinburgh area in the 1830s.

The Union Bagpipe was developed for chamber music and light opera performance in the early 18th century. It is a form of bellows-blown chamber bagpipe which survives today in the versatile Irish Uilleann pipe. In the early form, it was a popular and fashionable musical instrument but now it is not generally seen beyond museum collections. It had a wider melodic range than the standard bagpipe and this was achieved in the early stages by overblowing and later by adding keys to the chanter. 'Regulators', which were stopped pipes with keys and mounted with the drones, were added to the instrument in the second half of the 18th century and were used to provide chord accompaniment to the chanter. The Union Bagpipe was used for orchestral performance in the ballad opera tradition of the 18th century and later for operatic arrangements of the Ossian Cycle.

The Irish bagpipe, known today as the Uilleann pipes was developed by bagpipe makers in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It was based on the earlier Pastoral and Union Pipes which were used in the pastoral dramas and ballad operas of the 18th century. In this form, it was always a bellows-blown instrument and originally had a long or 'flat' chanter and two drones in a common stock. The tonal range could be extended for orchestral performance by cross-fingering and overblowing. In the late 18th century, keys were added to the chanter to increase the melodic range and regulators were added to the drones to provide chordal accompaniment to the chanter.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-620-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  Bagpipe Archive 4.6
Date: 1830s (date of scene)
Who: Walter Geike (artist)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (depicted)
Description: Piper playing the reel of Tullochgorum.
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