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Set of drones for the Uilleann pipes

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by M. Dunn, late 18th or early 19th century

Postcard of Set of drones for the Uilleann pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Set of drones for the Uilleann pipes

Set of drones for the Uilleann pipes by M. Dunn, late 18th or early 19th century. Treble drone with two joints. Tenor drone with two joints. Bass drone with four joints, looped twice and joined with two brass U-bends. Regulator with three square flat brass keys with raised touchpieces. Light hardwood, brass and ivory mounted; marked 'M. DUNN' over square and compass symbol on the drone stock and on the regulator. Baritone regulator and regulator cap missing. Treble drone top joint has been replaced in a different type of wood. 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.

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Online ID: 000-000-579-912-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.712
Date: Late 18th or early 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Light hardwood, brass and ivory
Dimensions: Treble drone 310 mm L; tenor drone 562 mm L; bass drone 1050 mm approx L; regulator 290 mm approx L
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
M. Dunn (manufacturer)
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Description: Light hardwood, brass and ivory mounted set of drones for the Uilleann pipes.
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