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Chanter for a set of Highland bagpipes

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by J. Adamson, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 20th century

Chanter for a set of Highland bagpipes
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Highland bagpipe chanter by Adamson of Boston, 20th century. Made of African blackwood mounted with a resin mock ivory sole; marked 'J. ADAMSON / BOSTON / U.S.A.' three times. A.J. Ross used this chanter a the brass set of pipes by Thomas Glen.

The Highland bagpipe of Scotland is a universally recognised musical instrument but historically, in the last 2-300 years, only one in a variety of bagpipes growing out of the rich piping and musical traditions of the British Isles. Though its precise origins are still obscure, it seemed to arrive in the Highlands in the 15th or 16th centuries and was adopted as the principal musical instrument after the clarsach of the Gaelic clans. By the late 18th century, the Highland bagpipe had emerged in more of less fixed form with chanter and three drones, the style and embellishment becoming a matter of fashion as well as standardisation with a uniformity being required for band playing and competition. By the early 19th century professional bagpipe makers were offering different sizes of Highland bagpipe such as 'Full-size', 'Half-size', 'Reel' or 'Lovat Reel Pipe' and Miniature.

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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