Chanter for half-size set of Highland bagpipes

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by John Ban MacKenzie, Breadalbane, c. 1850

Postcard of Chanter for half-size set of Highland bagpipes.
© National Museums Scotland

Chanter for half-size set of Highland bagpipes

Chanter for half-size set of Highland bagpipes by John Ban MacKenzie of Breadalbane, c. 1850. Cocus wood, mounted with ivory sole; marked 'JN.MC.K' twice; broken at the neck and repaired. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

John Bàn Mackenzie (1796-1864), piper, composer and pipemaker, was born in Achilty, Contin, Strathpeffer, and was taught piping by Donald Mòr MacLennan, John Beag MacRae and John Mackay of Raasay. He competed and was awarded the special gold medal for former winners when first issued in 1835; he was then styled 'King of Pipers' or Rìgh nam Piobairean. He is a key figure in the transmission of traditional piobaireachd or 'classical' bagpipe music from the MacCrimmons to the present day, John Mackay of Raasay having been taught by Iain Dubh and Domhnall Ruadh, the last of the MacCrimmons of Skye. As a professional piper of the 19th century, he was successively piper to Mackenzie of Allangrange, Davidson of Tulloch and the Marquis of Breadalbane with whom he remained for 28 years. He earned a place in piping tradition, not only for his skills and achievements, but also for turning down an invitation to join the Royal Household by becoming Queen Victoria's Piper.

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: 000-000-579-958-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0869: The Bagpipe Collection
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.2003.750
Date: c.1850 (date of manufacture)
Material: Cocus wood and ivory
Dimensions: 353 mm L
Who: Andrew Ross (successor to John and Robert Glen)
Glen and Ross Collection (musical instrument collection)
John and Robert Glen, Highland Bagpipe Makers
John Ban MacKenzie (manufacturer)
Reid School of Music, University of Edinburgh (place of display)
Where: Scotland, Breadalbane (place of manufacture)
Description: Cocus wood and ivory mounted chanter for half-size set of Highland bagpipes.
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