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Tuning rush for a Pastoral bagpipe chanter with detachable foot joint

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Scottish, 18th century

Tuning rush for a Pastoral bagpipe chanter with detachable foot joint
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Tuning rush for the bagpipe chanter for the Pastoral pipe, Scottish, 18th century. Detachable foot joint. Light coloured hardwood mounted with a brass ferrule on the top of the foot joint and a bone sole. The bottom fingerhole is drilled obliquely to maintain note spacing and to reduce the span of fingers. The foot joint has a single sound hole. The tuning rush was held in the bore of the chanter. Moving the rush up the chanter would help to tune the lower notes against the higher notes. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

The Pastoral Bagpipe was developed in the early 18th century for chamber music and light opera. Such instruments were used for example in the popular and fashionable pastoral dramas with music such as the 'Gentle Shepherd' (1725) by the writer and poet Allan Ramsay (1688-1758) and in John Gay's 'Beggars' Opera' (1728). The early instruments, created by musical instrument makers in London and Edinburgh, had only two drones, bass and tenor, and the chanter. The chanter, made in sections like a flute, had a long narrow conical bore with the extension, described as the 'foot joint', allowing the instrument to be overblown into a second octave. A 'tutor' and book of music, 'The Complete Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe', was produced in London for the Pastoral Pipe by John Geoghegan in about 1746 (ref. NMS H.1947.129).

This piece 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.

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