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Old 07-31-2019, 10:05 AM   #51
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

By the way Patrick Molard has recently recorded piobaireachd on a reproduction set after Malcolm MacGregor set up for nominal A 440. The sound is hautingly beautiful at this low pitch, unfortunately I don't know if any of these records will be available soon. However, the original MacGregor pipe which still retains the original chanter was probably not intended for such a low pitch, at least I have not yet found a reed that would flatten the pitch of the chanter to A 440. Interestingly Pierre made another reproduction of one of my early sets, a ca. 1825 Allan MacDougall/Perth which tunes to A440.
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Old 07-31-2019, 03:16 PM   #52
CalumII
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

I know most people on this thread know this, but just for the benefit of anyone else - remember that until after WWII, A was not fixed at 440 (indeed, until the ability to measure the speed of the vibration of air, it was not fixed at all).



The point is that we can't know what pitch any particular bagpipe was intended to play at - obviously, we can deduce from the instrument itself, which gets us close, but it's a mistake to think that the maker of Joseph MacDonald's bagpipe intended his low A to vibrate at 440 cycles per second. It's little more than coincidence that some historical instruments do.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:45 AM   #53
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
I know most people on this thread know this, but just for the benefit of anyone else - remember that until after WWII, A was not fixed at 440 (indeed, until the ability to measure the speed of the vibration of air, it was not fixed at all).



The point is that we can't know what pitch any particular bagpipe was intended to play at - obviously, we can deduce from the instrument itself, which gets us close, but it's a mistake to think that the maker of Joseph MacDonald's bagpipe intended his low A to vibrate at 440 cycles per second. It's little more than coincidence that some historical instruments do.
Of course there was no standard pitch of any kind. Flutes from Joseph MacDonald's time had up to nine interchangeable mid-sections compensating pitch variations up to nearly a minor third. The earliest chanters that I have measured, with the remarkable exception of the famous Iain Dall, are often shorter than modern chanters and have a larger bore. One of these chanters, in the COP Museum collection in Glasgow (now at the NPC Museum) played at a higher pitch than any modern chanter when tested with a modern reed, and this is consistent with corresponding high-pitched early drones. The flattest chanters that I have encountered were made around 1860-1880, not in the eighteenth century.

By the way, I have just received pictures of Pierre Blanchet's abovementioned new reproduction of a third MacDonald pipe made in the 1830's, which looks (and sounds, according to the maker) absolutely amazing. Pierre will take these pipes to Patrick Molard for further sound tests. More soon, hopefully.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:45 PM   #54
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenurquhart View Post
Who is the maker of your chanter?.
No idea I'm afraid. Might even be wrong on the date, so any info based on the pics below would be really helpful. I cannot find a name stamp that I can read, although there is a hint of one above the high G hole.

Here are some pictures I took before I stabilised the many splits.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8a6k80nn2..._1574.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2is446jd67..._1577.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/acjbmqhijh..._1579.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/p0gfcm8ja0..._1580.JPG?dl=0

I want to get it going so I can play piobaireachd on it - that's the plan.

Cheers, will
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Old 08-06-2019, 04:32 PM   #55
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

Quote:
Originally Posted by will103 View Post
No idea I'm afraid. Might even be wrong on the date, so any info based on the pics below would be really helpful. I cannot find a name stamp that I can read, although there is a hint of one above the high G hole.

Here are some pictures I took before I stabilised the many splits.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8a6k80nn2..._1574.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2is446jd67..._1577.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/acjbmqhijh..._1579.JPG?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/p0gfcm8ja0..._1580.JPG?dl=0

I want to get it going so I can play piobaireachd on it - that's the plan.

Cheers, will
Your chanter is not mid-1800's but consistent with sole and bulb patterns around 1880-90, give or take. That does not make it less interesting and it should be much easier to find a properly working reed than for an earlier chanter.
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Old 08-08-2019, 02:44 PM   #56
Ar Soner
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

About the number of copies of the NMS set.


I heard about this story before the trip to Scotland to measure the McD set.


Noone then ever said anything about that number of copies as far as l know.
But some people involved in all this wants to be one the "happy few" only who can have a copy.
I got an incredible message about being 'of the family'...
The restriction is not from whom you might think first.
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Old 08-08-2019, 04:38 PM   #57
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

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Originally Posted by Ar Soner View Post
About the number of copies of the NMS set.


I heard about this story before the trip to Scotland to measure the McD set.


Noone then ever said anything about that number of copies as far as l know.
But some people involved in all this wants to be one the "happy few" only who can have a copy.
I got an incredible message about being 'of the family'...
The restriction is not from whom you might think first.
Hugh Cheape told me that he could not remember that such a restriction was issued when he was in charge at the NMS but Pierre Blanchet is absolutely positive about this and he has no reason to invent such a story and to limit his production deliberately. I am very sure that the problem can be easily solved by contacting the NMS if anyone wants another copy of this set or to measure it for his/her own reproduction. By the way, one of the four copies was actually for sale three or four years ago. There are no "happy few" holding on their privilege of exclusivity: the reproduction was a shared project involving four people including the maker, who obtained permission to make (only) four individual copies of the pipes. I am confident that more can be made in the future.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:06 PM   #58
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

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Originally Posted by Glenurquhart View Post
Hugh Cheape told me that he could not remember that such a restriction was issued when he was in charge at the NMS but Pierre Blanchet is absolutely positive about this and he has no reason to invent such a story and to limit his production deliberately. I am very sure that the problem can be easily solved by contacting the NMS if anyone wants another copy of this set or to measure it for his/her own reproduction. By the way, one of the four copies was actually for sale three or four years ago. There are no "happy few" holding on their privilege of exclusivity: the reproduction was a shared project involving four people including the maker, who obtained permission to make (only) four individual copies of the pipes. I am confident that more can be made in the future.

Pierre Blanchet has asked me to summarize the following information in English in response to Ar Soner’s comment:

The request of a limited number of reproductions of the NMS MacDonald set was indeed made by the custodian of the NMS at Leith in August 2009 when Pierre, Patrick Molard and Andrew Frater took measurements of the MacDonald chanter, but no specific maximum was mentioned. Pierre had previously made a reproduction prototype in resin which he generously offered to Hugh Cheape as a personal gift.

I must have misunderstood something previously: there has never been a restriction to an exact number of authorized copies. As a matter of fact the customized turning squares required for the reproduction were only issued for at least four sets at a time by the furnisher, and since the material happened to be unusually expensive given the oversize squares required for the bass drone top and the chanter there was never any further attempt to order another batch. Two sets were made for Patrick Molard and Andrew Frater who had been involved in the project from the very start, and two for Pierre’s sons. Pierre made a fifth set for himself from African ebony purchased separately. The prototype is still in Hugh Cheape’s keeping as far as I know. So there is a total of six sets, not four!

There is no current restriction, any pipemaker is free to make arrangements with the NMS for his own copy or copies of the set.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:59 PM   #59
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenurquhart View Post
Your chanter is not mid-1800's but consistent with sole and bulb patterns around 1880-90, give or take. That does not make it less interesting and it should be much easier to find a properly working reed than for an earlier chanter.
Brilliant, thank you so much Glenurquhart, I now have a better idea of the date, and it is good news that the chanter should be easier to reed. I really hope to get it playing for Piobaireachd soon. With your vast experience do you have any idea of who the maker might have been, or whether they are more likely to have been east or west Scotland?

Many thanks, will
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:01 PM   #60
Glenurquhart
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Default Re: New set by Pierre Blanchet

Quote:
Originally Posted by will103 View Post
Brilliant, thank you so much Glenurquhart, I now have a better idea of the date, and it is good news that the chanter should be easier to reed. I really hope to get it playing for Piobaireachd soon. With your vast experience do you have any idea of who the maker might have been, or whether they are more likely to have been east or west Scotland?

Many thanks, will
I wish I could; I have several unstamped 19th-century chanters that I cannot attribute. The single scribe line on the bulb is unusual, I would need to browse through a lot of pictures for a check of a stamped chanter with similar details. By the way, have you checked for a stamp against a strong light, or bright sunlight? Some stamps are virtually invisible. Check very carefully all the long from top to sole.
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