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Bagpipe chanter for a set of Scottish small-pipes

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late 18th century

Bagpipe chanter for a set of Scottish small-pipes
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Bagpipe chanter for a set of small-pipes, Scottish, late 18th century. Laburnum, mounted with a bone sole. The fingerholes have been hollowed out to receive the fingers and the C hole has been enlarged. Formerly stock of J. and R. Glen, Edinburgh, or from the collection of the firm's proprietors.

Small pipes are a small version of the bagpipe which has been made and played in Scotland but which has been most familiar in Britain in the form of the Northumbrian Pipes, a small, bellows-blown instrument with a keyed chanter and variable drone accompaniment. Both Northumbrian Pipes and the Scottish small pipes probably derive from a Continental bellows-blown bagpipe developed by wind-instrument makers in European cities in the 17th century for chamber music and operatic performance by professional musicians. Known as the musette in France, it became a fashionable instrument in the late 17th and 18th centuries for court and drawing room recital.

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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