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Chanter and regulator for a set of bellows-blown Union bagpipes

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English or Scottish, late 18th century

Chanter and regulator for a set of bellows-blown Union bagpipes
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Chanter and 'Regulator' with five keys for a set of bellows-blown Union bagpipes, late 18th century, with bellows of wood and leather, silver mounts, and a black velvet bag cover over a leather bag. The drones include a Regulator with five keys, providing a chordal accompaniment to the chanter. The long or 'flat' chanter, with a 'foot joint', is made probably to tune to Concert A; it includes a tuning rush which can be used to flatten the top notes on the chanter. Collected by Dr Duncan Fraser.

The Union Bagpipe was developed for chamber music and light opera performance in the early 18th century. It is a form of bellows-blown chamber bagpipe which survives today in the versatile Irish Uilleann pipe.

In the early form, it was a popular and fashionable musical instrument but now it is not generally seen beyond museum collections. It had a wider melodic range than the standard bagpipe and this was achieved in the early stages by overblowing and later by adding keys to the chanter. 'Regulators', which were stopped pipes with keys and mounted with the drones, were added to the instrument in the second half of the 18th century and were used to provide chord accompaniment to the chanter. The Union Bagpipe was used for orchestral performance in the ballad opera tradition of the 18th century and later for operatic arrangements of the Ossian Cycle.

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