Drones and regulators in a common stock for a set of Uilleann pipes

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made by George Glen, Edinburgh, early 20th century

Postcard of Drones and regulators in a common stock for a set of Uilleann pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Drones and regulators in a common stock for a set of Uilleann pipes

Drones and regulators in a common stock for a set of Uilleann pipes by George Glen of Edinburgh, early 20th century. Tenor drone, baritone drone and bass drone looped and connected with two brass U-bends, the first joint strapped to the second with two metal clips screw tightened, the tuning joint ending in a circular ivory sound box. Tenor regulator, five silver keys, double reed with metal bridle. Marked 'GEO GLEN' on the regulators. African blackwood, turned with full combing decoration, ivory mounted. Associated with bellows K.2003.739.

The Irish bagpipe, known today as the Uilleann pipes was developed by bagpipe makers in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It was based on the earlier Pastoral and Union Pipes which were used in the pastoral dramas and ballad operas of the 18th century. In this form, it was always a bellows-blown instrument and originally had a long or 'flat' chanter and two drones in a common stock. The tonal range could be extended for orchestral performance by cross-fingering and overblowing. In the late 18th century, keys were added to the chanter to increase the melodic range and regulators were added to the drones to provide chordal accompaniment to the chanter.

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.

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Online ID: 000-000-579-941-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.737
Date: Early 20th century (date of manufacture)
Material: Brass and African blackwood mounted with ivory
Dimensions: Tenor drone 233 mm L; baritone drone 497 mm L; bass drone overall 2130 mm L; tenor regulator 340 mm L; baritone regulator 450 mm L
What: Drones and regulators
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
George Glen (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 (place of manufacture)
Description: Drones and regulators in a common stock for a set of Uilleann pipes made of brass, African blackwood mounted with ivory.
  • Cheape, Hugh,. A Checklist of Bagpipes in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Reid School of Music, 1983, p. 18.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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