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Old 07-27-2019, 04:27 AM   #1
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Default Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

I know that before John Walsh introduced his shuttle pipe, there was a French bagpipe from the late 1500s called a "musette de cour" that used a similar drone arrangement. I also know that around that time, there was a bassoon-like instrument called a "rackett" that was a thick wooden cylinder that contained a long folded bore with a double reed on top.

So, between the French pipe and the rackett, did anyone produce a bagpipe with a shuttle-like drone arrangement? Is Walsh the only producer of shuttle pipes now?
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Old 07-27-2019, 01:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

Dave Shaw advertises shuttle pipes, although his web site says he is not currently taking orders. Not sure whether that meets your criterion of "producer".

Best wishes.

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Old 07-27-2019, 05:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

The rackett falls squarely in the bassoon family, the double reed is played directly by the players lips. It's not a free-reed instrument, so not particularly relevant to a musette de cour or bagpipe discussion. Both instruments feature chunky cylinder bodies, is that what brought it to mind?

"de cour" literally means "of the court" ie, of the aristocracy. Over the 150 years that it was popular, it was highly refined as only an instrument played by the upper class would be with advanced shuttle systems, double chanters, and keywork developed. I believe they were bellows-blown. Its heyday ended with the french revolution as its players heads rolled. Its lineage more or less ended there. Europe had more than enough other bagpiping lines that weren't compromised by such overtly aristocratic associations and those continued on.

There might have been occasional historical replicas in the interim but by and large the instrument was only revived (in a much simpler, more "folksy" or "rustic" form) in the late 20th century.
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Old 07-27-2019, 08:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

Dave Shaw is no longer taking new orders, i have a set of his shuttle pipes in D
Walsh pipes are very simple things by comparison.
Mussetes are made by perhaps 5 makers today, they are still played and taught at several music consevotiore in europe.
Several of us are working on 3d printed musettes with rather a lot of success. We have had a lot of help and encouragement from several of the current makers.
Christophe Mallard was responsible for the revival of the musette, along with Jeqn Pierre Van Hess.
The mussette and shuttle pipes have the ability to tune the drones in various ways to enable different tunings.. the most complex being a six reeded drone assembly with 14 sliders attributed to Lisseua around 1670, the later models are somewhat less complex with 5 reeds an 7 or six slides or layettes.
All however share the same double chanter configuration, 6 keys on the big chanter and six on the small, the big chanter is open ended, but played closed fingered, the small chanter is clsoed ended so on;y osund when a key is pressed, the most similar modern chanter is the northumbrian smallpipes.
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Old 08-05-2019, 01:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

For sure a Rackett lacks shuttles! And a shuttle drone lacks fingerholes.

But the two are otherwise similar: a number of narrow parallel bores drilled in a fat cylinder of wood, the bores having U-shaped connections at both ends of the cylinder, giving a long bore in a short instrument.

I believe that some (most?) shuttle drones had double reeds.

Anyhow there have long been bagpipes with shuttle drones, the Musette de Cour of course but also Northumbrian Smallpipes and some other Renaissance pipes; Praetorius shows a bagpipe with shuttle drones.

There is speculation that the Cornish doublepipes seen on the Altarnun carving have a shuttle drone (it's too short and fat to be an ordinary drone).

About nowadays, Shepherd was making shuttle-drone smallpipes too.

In my opinion the Walsh smallpipes with the ordinary drones sounded better than the ones with the shuttle drones. To me the shuttle drones were a bit too loud and bright.
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; 08-05-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: Shuttle pipes before John Walsh

The folded bore of the rackett's similarity to a shuttle drone is why I mentioned it. That brightness of the drones made me try other reeding approaches. To that end, I got a set of single reeds from Hamon some years ago when he mentioned experimental use with Walsh's shuttlepipes. They do produce a mellower and rounder sound, but I could not get them tuned at all. Before I got the shuttle pipe, I was tinkering with making a smallpipe from brass tubing and CPVC water pipe. I'll post a link later. The plans I followed use brass-bodied reeds with polystyrene tongues. Those sounded nice. I lost them and I'd like to make some more to try in my shuttle pipe.
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