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Mark D 08-05-2015 10:21 AM

Alex Currie's pipes
I've been listening to a lot more of the old (or slightly old) Alex and Paddy Currie recordings, from Cape Breton. Trans-formative stuff -- I would do a lot of things to harness 10% of the rhythms they were able to pump out.

I was kind of surprised to find their pipes were "in A 440" (at least from what I could gather). Does anyone have any info. on their pipes? Was A440 more dominant than I realized?

Thanks, Mark

John Dally 08-06-2015 08:29 AM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
I suggest you send Barry Shears a PM. He knows more about piping in Cape Breton and Currie than all the rest put together. IIRC, though, Alec played a set of Lawries.

Raibeart 08-23-2019 11:02 AM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
Just found this old thread. If anyone can answer, where might these Alex & Paddy Currie recordings be found? Thanks!

Steve Bliven 08-23-2019 03:11 PM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
Same response as before probably applies. Check with Barry Shears. He still remembers more about Cape Breton piping than the rest put together.

Best wishes.


Tom MacKenzie 08-23-2019 03:26 PM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
Dance to the Piper comes with a CD "containing some of the earliest performances of recorded pipe music in Nova Scotia (1923), as well as examples of old style bagpipe performances from field recordings made and collected over the past 25 years". See this thread.


CalumII 08-24-2019 04:59 AM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes

Originally Posted by Mark D (Post 1286597)
Was A440 more dominant than I realized?

Once again I find myself moved to point out that the A=440 standard has only been in place since the post 1945 era, and the question of what absolute pitch any historical instrument (or recording) was intended to be is a complex one.

Steve Bliven 08-24-2019 05:07 AM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
As an interesting sidenote, the A=440 was formalized by the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I. See for a more thorough discussion of what A= over time.

A= on the Loud Highland Pipes is a whole 'nother story.

Best wishes.


Raibeart 08-24-2019 05:19 AM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
Message sent and book ordered.....

CalumII 08-24-2019 02:34 PM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
That page seems a little bit confused about the sequence of events. In particular, there were various methods of generating and measuring the old low pitch, which was variably 435-439 depending on who you asked and how they measured it. The actual convention that A=440 was not established until 1939 and did not become confirmed by ISO until the 1950s.

The Versailles thing was, like the rest of that (treaty) Article about creating common standards and free trade (plus ša change, huh), and probably, if you dig into the details, conferred some sort of advantage on the part of the Allies for instrument makers.

Raibeart 09-19-2019 12:53 PM

Re: Alex Currie's pipes
I've received Barry's book and I'm enjoying it! It did not come with a CD but I found the university website where it can be downloaded (on the honour system of promising you'd purchased the book).


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