Chanter for the Union bagpipes or Uilleann pipes

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probably by Bannon, Edinburgh, late 18th century

Postcard of Chanter for the Union bagpipes or Uilleann pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Chanter for the Union bagpipes or Uilleann pipes

Bagpipe chanter for the Union or Uilleann pipes by Bannon of Edinburgh (?), late 18th century. This chanter has formerly been fitted with five keys, the keys and mounts removed and the holes filled. Ebony, mounted with a bone ferrule on the mouth and a bone mount on the neck above a brass band or collar; marked '-ANN-- / -DIN-----'. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

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.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-914-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.714
Date: Late 18th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Ebony, bone and brass
Dimensions: 377 mm L
What: Bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Bannon (probable manufacturer)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Where: Scotland, Edinburgh (probable place of manufacture)
Description: Ebony and bone mounted bagpipe chanter for the Uilleann pipes.
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