View Full Version : Uillean Piping in Scotland and England
05-25-2003, 10:50 AM
Uillean (Union) pipes are most associated with Ireland but from
what I understand, they were played in Scotland and England
too, and it's not clear where they originated. Their predecessor
is supposed to be the "Pastoral" bagpipe - apparently just
developmental stages of the same instrument - and there are
certainly preserved Scottish examples of this. Can anyone give
me examples of Scots/Englishm,englishmen historically playing
Also, does anybody have an idea what instrument the Pastoral/
Uillean Pipe developed from?
05-25-2003, 11:17 AM
Donald MacDonald was making Union Pipes in Edinburgh around 1810. Bagpipe Makers by Jeannie Campbell has some more info on this.
I imagine they were a variant of the old Lowland pipe.
05-25-2003, 01:14 PM
Henry Clough, 1789-1842, a forebear of the great Northumbrian piper Tom Clough, is known to have had a set of "hybrid union pipes" made by Robert Reid, of the Newcastle upon Tyne area. The drones and regulator survive and are in the possession of David Barclay of Utah.
Robert Reid also made uilleann pipes and a set is in the Smithsonian Institute (http://members.aol.com/wgority/reid.html) in DC.
AS Iain points out above MacDonald made sets in Edinburgh. He also taught Northumbrian pipes. I have long had a suspicion that there was a great spread of the pipes we now associate specificly with Scotland, Northumberland and Ireland in the 18th century and that only later did these pipes take on specific geographic bases. Certainly the timings of certain crucial developments are close - the uilleann pipes taking there current form around the same time as the NSP got a closed chanter, and had keys added.
Recently I have been reading a non piping history book which talks about the Scottish intellectual movements in this period. One thing that struck me was references to the Ulster Scots attending universities both in Dublin and the major Scottish cities. If academics were moving around why not pipe makers, or at least their ideas which would be carried by the "gentlemen pipers" as they circulated in the university cities.
05-25-2003, 03:30 PM
From what I remember the uilleann pipe in its fully developed form dates from around 1850 or perhaps a little earlier. As Ian stated above there was afair amount of commerce between Scotland and Ulster; the tradition of shared heritage goes back centuries, long before the Ulster Plantation, so coincidental development and shared instrumental styles are pretty much a given.
05-26-2003, 09:36 AM
To avoid confusion, note this: "hybrid
union" pipes are what I have called "pastoral
pipes". I think they were called "hybrid"
by W. A. Cocks because there are vent holes
on the chanter bottom joint (which modern
Uillean pipes lack) and that is like the
chanter on Border Pipes. Whether or not these
are related is questionable (the original
Pastoral Pipe had 2 drones and no regulators,
while Border Pipes had 3).