Bass drone top joint for a bagpipe

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late 18th century or early 19th century

Postcard of Bass drone top joint for a bagpipe.
© National Museums Scotland

Bass drone top joint for a bagpipe

Bone mounted bass drone top joint for a bagpipe. Its combing is worn almost smooth.

Until recently, about the mid-20th century, pipers would retain damaged and cracked bagpipe chanters and would repair them intricately to keep them playing. They might not be able to afford a replacement and bagpipes were not being mass-produced as they are today. Now we would try to replace a broken chanter immediately and would consider that its quality and acoustic properties had been impaired.

In its origins, the Highland bagpipe in common with other European and World bagpipes is a prehistoric wind instrument. Its main elements are the melody pipe or 'chanter' on which the music is played with the fingers (usually on a scale of nine notes) and with an accompanying fixed note or chordal accompaniment from the drone or drones, all of which are held in stocks tied into an animal skin bag (now coming to be replaced by synthetic materials). The player blows into the bag to supply a constant pressure and flow of air onto the reeds which are set into the chanter and drones and which make the sound. The air flow is controlled by a simple non-return valve on the blowstick.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-745-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 79 B
Date: Late 18th century - early 19th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Bone
What: Bass drone top joint
Who: The Museum of Piping, Glasgow (place of display)
Description: Bone mounted bass drone top joint.
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