Set of drones for a set of Northumbrian small pipes

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late 18th century

Postcard of Set of drones for a set of Northumbrian small pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of drones for a set of Northumbrian small pipes

Set of drones for a set of Northumbrian small-pipes, late 18th century. Four drones with stoppers, each of the two sections set in a common stock. The drones are made of ivory, tooth ivory and bone, silver mounted and sound holes mounted with silver ferrules and the stock is of birch.

Small pipes are a small version of the bagpipe which has been made and played in Scotland but which has been most familiar in Britain in the form of the Northumbrian Pipes, a small, bellows-blown instrument with a keyed chanter and variable drone accompaniment. Both Northumbrian Pipes and the Scottish small pipes probably derive from a Continental bellows-blown bagpipe developed by wind-instrument makers in European cities in the 17th century for chamber music and operatic performance by professional musicians. Known as the musette in France, it became a fashionable instrument in the late 17th and 18th centuries for court and drawing room recital.

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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Online ID: 000-000-580-022-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.821
Date: Late 18th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Ivory, ivory tooth, bone, silver and birch
Dimensions: 1st drone 370 mm approx L; 2nd drone 290 mm approx L; 3rd drone 265 mm approx L; 4th drone 170 mm L
What: Drones
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: Set of drones for a set of Northumbrian small pipes made of ivory, ivory tooth and bone silver mounted and a birch stock.
  • Cheape, Hugh,. A Checklist of Bagpipes in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Reid School of Music, 1983, p. 42.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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