Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > History, Tradition, Heritage
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-19-2018, 02:09 PM   #1
erracht
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,370
Default Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

As everyone knows, a standard Highland bagpipe has a bass drone and two tenor drones. However, it is no secret that many old sets (at least from the mid- to late 18th century through the early 19th century) lacked a bass drone, and there would have been other configurations at different times and with different pipers. In order to think outside the box a bit, I was wondering if anyone has come across any old specimen of a Highland Pipe that had a baritone drone tuning to a standard fifth (e.g. tuning to E where the bagpipe has a keynote of A). For example old German/Low Countries bagpipes commonly had a bass-baritone arrangement (judging from typical period graphics and from the one known surviving specimen of such a bagpipe - in the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna). Could there be a specimen from Scotland that exhibits this feature?


In order to focus the discussion, I suggest keeping in mind the following points:


1) "Highland bagpipe" is used here in a generalized sense of a larger, mouth-blown pipe that could have been made in Scotland or elsewhere in the British Isles. Excluded are the various bellows/Border pipes, smallpipes, or types from the Continent (though if anyone knows of any other original German bagpipe that still survives, would be interesting to note this).



2) I am only thinking of authentic ancient instruments, and not of any modern innovations. Henry Starck's "Brian Boru" pipes and other "improved" keyed models aimed at the early 20th-century Irish market did feature a tenor-baritone-bass arrangement, as did James Robertson's "Northumbrian Half-Long" pipes (Border Pipes resurrected with a baritone drone. If we talk about period specimens, only one or two BP have to my knowledge survived that have such a drone). These and other non-traditional modern experiments are obviously not relevant, only period instruments from no later than the 19th century.


3) If you know of such a specimen, could you describe the whole configuration (I.E. what other drones it has, etc.), where it is located, and if possible, when it is believed to date to?



This is a question that seems to be neglected and it would be good to give it fair treatment. On my part, I can say that, having seen very many sets of Highland pipes in the flesh and online, I haven't found one that includes a baritone drone; however, there are many sets from the 19th century that have tenor drones of different sizes. Also, the 18th-century set of pipes at Blair Castle that is claimed to have been played during the '45 has only tenor drones and one is bigger and somewhat different than the other; the two drones seem, however, to have different provenances.
__________________
Desiderantes meliorem patriam
erracht is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 12-19-2018, 02:50 PM   #2
SteveL
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Troy, OH
Posts: 26
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

There are a number of old bagpipe sets in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels. And while I do not recall the physical details, I do recall odd drone and other configurations differences from what we know as the Great Highland Bagpipe. Perhaps an inquiry there may give you more details?


A fascinating museum to visit if you are every in Brussels. You are given headsets at entry, and as you stand in front of each display, can hear a recording of the instrument. There are many, many more instruments in our past then we see played today!


SteveL
SteveL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2018, 07:23 PM   #3
erracht
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,370
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL View Post
There are a number of old bagpipe sets in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels. And while I do not recall the physical details, I do recall odd drone and other configurations differences from what we know as the Great Highland Bagpipe. Perhaps an inquiry there may give you more details?


A fascinating museum to visit if you are every in Brussels. You are given headsets at entry, and as you stand in front of each display, can hear a recording of the instrument. There are many, many more instruments in our past then we see played today!


SteveL

The museum in Brussels has e.g. modern reconstructions of the "Dudelsack" or German/Low Countries-type of bagpipe that I mentioned above. They are not original period instruments. that said, I agree with you. Lots of different instruments were devised at one point or another. This also becomes plain if you go to the excellent museum of music in Prague - they also have interactive displays that allow you to play a recording of instruments displayed being played. As I recall, they have several sets of bagpipes of the Czech type or types. Besides that, though, they have an experimental piano from (I think) between the World Wars that plays quarter-tones (the music is very cacophonous if you ask me), as well as instruments that are reminiscent of those that are familiar to us (e.g. a giant tuba-like brass piece) but that were clearly devised by makers who were trying out ideas that didn't stick.
__________________
Desiderantes meliorem patriam
erracht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 05:24 AM   #4
pancelticpiper
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV to the OC
Posts: 10,046
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

This is a great topic, and I'm very interested to see if anything comes up.

I doubt it- in general ancient woodwinds don't survive, folk instruments even less so than chamber instruments.

There's a large number of different bagpipe species illustrated in Praetorius none of which survive AFAIK.

Not a single example of the Irish Warpipe survives. (The indigenous Irish instrument, not the modern Highland pipe imported in modern times.)

With bagpipes in general, the history in Europe has nearly always gone in these stages, as visible in iconography etc

1) droneless bagpipe, chanter and blowpipe only.

2) bass drone added. (Most Eastern European bagpipes are still at this stage.)

Here's a replica of the only European bagpipe chanter from the Middle Ages to survive, being played with a single drone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHgI...=RDg-JGDFw2qx4

3) 2nd drone added, generally an octave above the bass. (The Spanish pipes show an intermediate stage between #2 and #3, the tenor drone often having a shutoff switch.)

There were northern European Renaissance species where the 2nd drone was a baritone drone, or even a contrabass drone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-JGDFw2qx4

4) a 3rd drone added. This is a more highly developed stage (Renaissance and later) and most species haven't reached it. The third drone could play a note above the tenor drone (as in the uilleann pipes and some Spanish pipes) or a drone intermediate between the bass and tenor.

5) a 4th or even 5th drone added. This is generally a recent thing.

Rare are bagpipes with redundant drones, and non-droneless bagpipes lacking a bass drone (notably an extinct Danish bagpipe and some old Highland pipes, both these species having two tenors only).

This timeline makes me skeptical about an added 3rd drone, a baritone drone, on ancient Highland pipes.

But the Irish Warpipe could well have been more like the Northern European Renaissance pipes with a bass and baritone, or bass and contrabass.
__________________
proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

Last edited by pancelticpiper; 12-20-2018 at 05:37 AM.
pancelticpiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 09:25 AM   #5
Barry Shears
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: capebretonpiper.comHalifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 967
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

Not much to add, but years ago I interviewed an old piper from the northern tip of Cape Breton and when he played the GHB for me , he removed the bass mid section before he tuned the pipes, not sure if this gave a baritone sound or not, since he wasn't that good to play at 84, but obviously it was a tuning technique learned somewhere. It may also explain why the self portrait of Joseph macDonald only features a bass with two sections, this tuning may have been more common, or even regionally based
Good Luck,
Barry
Barry Shears is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 10:02 AM   #6
CalumII
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: London Town
Posts: 5,284
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

Interesting. Gave it a quick try; I get a note vaguely around E flat in real money, so maybe the intent was to tune it to a fourth.
CalumII is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 11:31 AM   #7
Kevin
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,024
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

That is interesting Barry. Could you share who the piper was and which settlement in CB? (not that it's particularly relevant to this discussion; I'm just curious).

Given the preponderance of D-major tunes in GHB repertoire, I am wondering if removing the bass mid section was to get D-A-A drone tuning. One more thing to experiment with over the Christmas break.

Best regards,
Kevin

P.S. Sorry CalumII, just re-read your post. I could have sworn it said "a fifth" on my first pass.

Last edited by Kevin; 12-20-2018 at 11:33 AM. Reason: P.S. added
Kevin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 03:12 PM   #8
erracht
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,370
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Not much to add, but years ago I interviewed an old piper from the northern tip of Cape Breton and when he played the GHB for me , he removed the bass mid section before he tuned the pipes, not sure if this gave a baritone sound or not, since he wasn't that good to play at 84, but obviously it was a tuning technique learned somewhere. It may also explain why the self portrait of Joseph macDonald only features a bass with two sections, this tuning may have been more common, or even regionally based
Good Luck,
Barry

This is fascinating. I wonder why he did that. By the way, Starck's "Brian Boru" pipes do seem to have had the baritone drone in E made up in two pieces that were more or less the same size as the top and bottom joints of the bass drone. Not exactly the same in all respects (some pipes may have had different lengths than others), but the lengths seem to more or less correspond: http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?t=47050



Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post

Not a single example of the Irish Warpipe survives. (The indigenous Irish instrument, not the modern Highland pipe imported in modern times.)


...



3) 2nd drone added, generally an octave above the bass. (The Spanish pipes show an intermediate stage between #2 and #3, the tenor drone often having a shutoff switch.)


...


4) a 3rd drone added. This is a more highly developed stage (Renaissance and later) and most species haven't reached it. The third drone could play a note above the tenor drone (as in the uilleann pipes and some Spanish pipes) or a drone intermediate between the bass and tenor.

...

But the Irish Warpipe could well have been more like the Northern European Renaissance pipes with a bass and baritone, or bass and contrabass.

The Spanish and Portugese Gaita is an excellent example of why I am asking this question in the first place. Unlike the Highland Pipes, it has never been standardized (even in the best known forms, that is, the Galician and Asturian) and different keys, numbers of drones, and decorative elements have been produced and continue to be (with many modern instruments having configurations inspired by Highland pipes, partly due to them being used in the now popular marching bands). I have seen one or two old specimens with a small treble or alto drone (normally tied in on the inner side of the bag) set parallel with the bass drone in a double stock like old German pipes, and another three-droned set with the treble and small drone set in a Y-shaped stock not unlike that in the 1714 painting of the Piper to the Laird of Grant. At the time when the Highland pipes were less standardised, who knows what drone configurations might have existed. As for the old Irish Warpipes, that's a very contentuous topic that is of great interest to me; however, it has been discussed elsewhere and it is probably best not to veer into that territory here. I will say one thing, however, and that is that for all we know, early Scottish pipes could conceivably have been influenced by the German model (I.E. with a bass and a baritone drone) just as much as early Irish pipes. We simply don't have enough evidence either way at present.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post

There's a large number of different bagpipe species illustrated in Praetorius none of which survive AFAIK.

Not true. While the bagpipes illustrated and described in Praetorius' Syntagma musicum may look kind of funky, most either have surviving examples in museums, examples which are typologically close to them, or have evolved into more modern instruments. I will describe each of them in turn:


1) The "Bock" and its lower-pitched cousin the "Grosser Bock" (literally the Billy Goat and the Great Billy Goat; the latter is illustrated) are one-droned with a long cylindrical chanter and (as illustrated) cow horns on the ends of both the chanter and drone. The modern Bohemian dudy is an evolved version of this kind of pipe, with the drone "folded over" in several sections ostensibly to save space and a bellows. Similar pipes are also known from the German and IIRC Polish lands near Bohemia. Some older examples (offhand I would say dating to no later than the early 19th century) survive that have the basic typology of Praetorius' Bock; I think I saw them in the flesh at the Strakonice Castle Museum in the Bohemian capital of bagpiping.



2) The "Schaefferpfeiffe" (the Shepherd's Pipe) is the stereotypical old German bagpipe as is seen in paintings by Breughels and other old masters. It is pitched in F and has a long conical chanter and a bass drone and a baritone drone in one stock. There must have been many variations on this bagpipe and as I noted above, a single specimen with the exact same typology survives in the Music Museum of the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna (I have seen this one too). It is probably a little smaller than the Shepherd's Pipe would have been and is probably newer (18th century?) and is finely turned and ornamented. It likely tuned to G.



3) Praetorius noted that he had seen a strange bagpipe at the Archbishop's Court in Magdeburg with the same basic typology as the Shepherd's Pipe, but larger and with two diverging chanters. No specimen of this survives, but this was obviously a very specific variant.



4) The "Huemmelchen" (means "Bumblebee") is a smallpipe of sorts, with the same arrangement of two drones in one stock; it is not clear whether the chanter was conical or cylindrical. None of these are known to survive at present, but the museum in Vienna mentioned above apparently used to have a specimen of something very like it. I have a poor image file which shows it to be missing its drone tops; I intend to e-mail the museum to ask what happened to it.


5) The "Dudey" (clearly from the Czech word for a bagpipe) are another small bagpipe, with three drones of unequal lengths, set in one stock. I have seen one or two period paintings showing the same instrument. Not one but two original specimens have survived. I have seen both in the Strakonice Castle Museum. Some modern Czech makers make this bagpipe again, which is referred to as "Moldanky" in Czech (an old word which, however, may have meant something else and may not actually have meant this kind of bagpipe. I believe it is cylindrically bored and has single reeds throughout.


Also, a chanter with the remains of a staple for a double reed were found in a wreck of a ship dating to c. 1625. It might have been part of a Huemelchen or Dudey-type bagpipe; here is a video of Sean Folsom playing a reproduction of the chanter that was incorporated into a reproduction of a whole bagpipe made as a Dudey (with more information in the description): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtpiviQDlBs



6) Finally, Praetorius mentions a little bagpipe that has been imported from France and that has been equipped with bellows. From the picture, it is clear that this is a Musette de Cour or French shuttle pipe. Many specimens of this survive. Praetorius' version seems to have only one chanter (only one is visible whereas the Musette de Cour as we know it has a small chanter beside the longer one) but it is clearly the same basic instrument.
__________________
Desiderantes meliorem patriam
erracht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2018, 06:07 PM   #9
Klondike Waldo
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Braintree MA USA
Posts: 8,363
Send a message via AIM to Klondike Waldo
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Interesting. Gave it a quick try; I get a note vaguely around E flat in real money, so maybe the intent was to tune it to a fourth.
FWIW, if I remove the mid-section of my SSP Bass drone, I get another Baritone drone that will tune to either D or E
__________________
Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron
Klondike Waldo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-21-2018, 08:23 AM   #10
Barry Shears
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: capebretonpiper.comHalifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 967
Default Re: Do any museum specimens or other old pipes have a baritone drone?

"That is interesting Barry. Could you share who the piper was and which settlement in CB? (not that it's particularly relevant to this discussion; I'm just curious)."

Sure. The piper was Dave MacKinnon, from Bay St Lawrence . I interviewed him in the early 1990s. He played pipes and violin and was from a family of pipers , fiddlers and step dancers who settled in the Meat Cove area. he was the first piper I heard who used the (piob) trill on F in his light music, and had a an older scale whereby his D finger and Low A finger were both raised to play a D, and for all the notes on the top hand. This is a much older technique which I sometimes use in my SSP playing. The raised D and Low A fingers also help to bring in the piobaireachd High G on some pipe chanters. Not sue how that would go over in competition but this method of fingering the chanter was more common in the 19th century. It has been noted in Donaldson's book in which a player was knocked down in competition for false fingering, but the technique was supported by Donald Cameron who said if a note is flat, just raise more fingers.
The Cape North area of CB was under -researched and many of the Gaelic poems composed in the area have been lost. I did manage to find several pipe tunes (including some very early settings of tunes such as the Smiths of Chilliechassie and Abercairney Highlanders) and have a photo of a locally made set of pipes from the area alongside several pics of immigrant bagpipes in my new book "Play it like you sing it"(sorry for the shameless plug)
Merry Christmas to everyone and a very Happy New Year,
Barry
capebretonpiper.com
Barry Shears is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:07 AM.