NMS


 

Record

Tune, Oran Na Maighdinn-Mhara, played on an early 19th century Scottish smallpipe by Iain MacInnes (audio clip)

< 1 of 241 > Back
Tune, Oran Na Maighdinn-Mhara, played on an early 19th century Scottish smallpipe by Iain MacInnes (audio clip)
Add to album

Smallpipes designed for indoor use. The pipes were made by the Edinburgh-based pipemaker and publisher Donald MacDonald. The chanter is open-ended, pitched in F, and is played using a covered fingering system. The three drones, mounted in a common stock, feature a strong baritone, sounding a fifth to the keynote of the chanter.

This type of Smallpipe appears to have been common to both Scotland and Northern England, but died out of use in Scotland by the mid 19th Century. In contrast to the Highland Bagpipe, the top leading note of the chanter scale, the seventh, is sharpened. The tune is a Gaelic song melody Oran Na Maighdinn-Mhara (The Mermaid's song), and it seems likely that this type of instrument would have been well-suited to accompany singing.

Donald MacDonald was one of the most prominent of the early bagpipe makers, with a business in Edinburgh from about 1800 until 1840. He came from a Skye family, the son of John MacDonald of Glenhinnisdale in Trotternish. He was an expert piper and won first prize at the Edinburgh Competition in 1817. He made a variety of instruments including the Great Highland Bagpipe and Scottish bellows-blown small pipes. He was listed in the Edinburgh Post Office Directory for 1824-1825 as 'Pipemaker to the Highland Society of London' at 567 Lawnmarket and this meant that he was making prize bagpipes to be presented as prizes at the annual competitions sponsored by the Highland Society. Donald MacDonald and other Scottish pipemakers were notable for printing and publishing music for the Great Highland Bagpipe. He published his Collection of the Ancient Martial Music of Caledonia about 1820, the first published collection of 'pibroch' music for the Highland bagpipe. This collection preserves a unique record of some aspects of Highland bagpipe playing in the distinctive style and settings of some tunes and their association with the MacArthurs (as masters and teachers of the instrument) and Clan Donald.

Record details

To search on related items, click any underlined text below.


< 1 of 241 > Back