Chanter stock and top piece for the Uilleann pipes

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possibly by George Glen of Edinburgh, early 20th century

Postcard of Chanter stock and top piece for the Uilleann pipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Chanter stock and top piece for the Uilleann pipes

Chanter stock and top piece only for a set of Uilleann pipes (K.2003. 736) probably made by George Glen of Edinburgh, early 20th century. The two pieces are joined by a brass tube bent to give an angle of 58 degrees between the two. Made of African blackwood, turned with combing decoration and mounted with nickel ferrules.

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.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-579-942-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.738
Date: Early 20th century (date of manufacture)
Material: African blackwood and ivory
Dimensions: Overall 345 mm approx L; top piece 155 mm L; chanter stock 85 mm L
What: Chanter stock and top piece for a set of Uilleann pipes
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
George Glen (possible 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 (possible place of manufacture)
Description: Chanter stock and top piece for a set of Uilleann pipes, made of African blackwood and mounted with nickel ferrules.
  • 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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