Patrick O'Farrell playing the Union Pipes

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Postcard of Patrick O'Farrell playing the Union Pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Patrick O'Farrell playing the Union Pipes

Vignette showing a man in bonnet and trews seated playing a bellows bagpipe with chanter and two drones, on the title page of O'Farrell's Collection of Pipe Music of 1804. The full title of the book was 'O'Farrell's Collection of National Irish Music for the Union Pipes, Comprising a Variety of the Most Favourite Slow and Sprightly Tunes, Set in proper Style and Taste, with Variations and Adapted likewise for the German Flute, Violin, Flageolet, Piano and Harp, with a Selection of Favourite Scotch Tunes, also a Treatise with the most Perfect Instructions ever yet Published for the Pipes'.

O'Farrell published his collection in London and as the 'portrait' shows, had played the Union Pipes for the performance of Oscar and Malvina in Covent Garden in the 1790s.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-675-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.1995.795.3
Date: 1804 (date of publication)
What: Image of Patrick O'Farrell playing the Union
Who: Patrick O'Farrell (depicted)
Where: England, London (place of publication)
Description: Patrick O'Farrell playing the Union Pipes.
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