Cane plantation

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Frejus, France 1924

Postcard of Cane plantation.
© National Museums Scotland

Cane plantation

Black and white photograph of a man standing in the middle of a cane field at a cane plantation in Frejus, France, 1924.

A strong type of cane, Arundo Donax, both farmed and naturally grown, is favoured for making reeds for bagpipes as well as for other musical wind instruments. The drone reed, a so-called 'single reed', uses the whole body of the cane. The same cane is also cut into thin blades to make into chanter reeds, the so-called 'double reed'. The cane is cut into lengths, longer lengths and larger bodied cane supplying bass drone reeds, one end is blocked off at a natural division within the cane; the 'blade' is cut horizontally and this produces a 'tongue' which vibrates freely in the flow of air from the bag into the drones. The cane reed is 'seated' in the bottom end of the drone.

This image comes from the Glen and Ross Collection of musical instruments which were preserved in the shop of 'J & R Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers' until it closed about 1978. This was the business founded in 1827 by Thomas McBean Glen in the Cowgate in Edinburgh, dealing in and repairing musical instruments. His brother, Alexander Glen, specialized in bagpipe-making and was succeeded by his son David. Thomas' sons, John and Robert Glen, succeeding to the business in 1866, probably did most to collect instruments and their antiquarian interests were carried on by Andrew Ross who acquired the business from the Glens in 1947. The National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland purchased the bagpipe collections from the family in 1983.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-865-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2002.1783
Date: 1924 (date of photopgraph)
Material: Photographic paper
Dimensions: 84 mm H x 112 mm W
What: Photograph
Who: Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers (manufacturers and collectors of musical instruments)
Where: France, Frejus (depicted)
Description: Black and white photograph printed on photographic paper depicting a cane plantation.
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