Front of bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes

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early 19th century

Postcard of Front of bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Front of bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes

Bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes, early 19th century. Single closed-standing brass key. Slots have been cut for two more keys but they are unfinished. Boxwood, ivory ferrule on the foot. The top and bottom fingerholes are drilled obliquely to accommodate the stretch of the fingers. The chanter is in two sections with a brass ferrule over the join, turning the line of the lower four fingerholes either to right or left; the ferrule has two fingerholes side by side, the one to the left which is out of line is closed off with a piece of cork. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

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.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-934-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.729 (1)
Date: Early 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Boxwood, brass, ivory and cork
Dimensions: 434 mm L
What: Bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Description: Boxwood, brass and ivory bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes.
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