Bagpipe chanter for the Union or Pastoral pipes

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Scottish, 18th century

Postcard of Bagpipe chanter for the Union or Pastoral pipes.
© National Museums Scotland
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Bagpipe chanter for the Union or Pastoral pipes

Bagpipe chanter, Scottish, 1740 - 1800. This is the style of chanter with a detachable foot joint used on the bellows bagpipe which was developed to satisfy musical taste in the 18th century. This instrument was called the 'Pastoral' or 'Union' pipe.

The Pastoral Bagpipe was developed in the early 18th century for chamber music and light opera. Such instruments were used for example in the popular and fashionable pastoral dramas with music such as the 'Gentle Shepherd' (1725) by the writer and poet Allan Ramsay (1688-1758) and in John Gay's 'Beggars' Opera' (1728). The early instruments, created by musical instrument makers in London and Edinburgh, had only two drones, bass and tenor, and the chanter. The chanter, made in sections like a flute, had a long narrow conical bore with the extension, described as the 'foot joint', allowing the instrument to be overblown into a second octave. A 'tutor' and book of music, 'The Compleat Tutor for the Pastoral or New Bagpipe', was produced in London for the Pastoral Pipe by John Geoghegan in about 1746 (ref. NMS H.1947.129).

The chanter, designed to play in E Flat or D, had a long, narrow conical bore with a 'foot joint' extension, allowing the instrument to be overblown into a second octave. The two, three or even four drones set in a common stock, with the bass drone looped back on itself to reduce the standing length, included bass and tenor or bass, tenor and baritone. Regulators, with four or five keys, could provide chordal accompaniment to the chanter and were added to the instrument in the second half of the 18th century.

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Online ID: 000-000-579-715-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.LT 148
Date: 1740 - 1800 (date of manufacture)
What: Bagpipe chanter
Who: The Museum of Piping, Glasgow (place of display)
Where: Scotland (place of manufacture)
Description: Bagpipe chanter with detachable foot joint.
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