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Two-Droned Angel Pipers

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  • Two-Droned Angel Pipers

    piping angel.jpg
    Does anyone know why three of the four Piping Angels in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh are playing two droned pipes ?
    Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 08-23-2021, 11:16 AM. Reason: Formatting tweak.

  • #2
    Well as they only date from circa 1911-12 so of no historical significance it is probably artistic licence.

    Comment


    • #3
      And just to add to Keith's comment, the sculptors were more likely to be familiar with the tradition of religious sculpture, which includes many two droned pipers across Britain and Europe, than with the details of the GHB.
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        Greetings to All

        If--if--I may--(there being far more accredited History Profs here than am I)--The Old Tale--
        told--and heard by many--may shine upon--and yet illuminate--this occasionally--recurring
        question.

        And--that Old Tale--with several important parts--runs thusly...
        (And here I quote: "I tell the tale that I heard told." :-)
        (But--and from--academians. :-)

        * Our instrument--the pipes--with two--or--the newer--three drone configuration--and our
        standard nine-note chanter--is of--The Myxolydian Scale. Most authorities agree--that
        that scale--came from Ancient Greece.

        But added to this--those Ancient Greeks held--that they had but inherited this scale--and
        that they had gotten it from--the Ancient Egyptians. (Hmm--seems to be--rather Old.)

        * Next--The Indo-European Migration--and up--from those far and sandy hinterlands.

        * And finally--(for our purposes here)--The Celts made The Jump--across The English
        Channel--into and through--Cornwall--Wales--Ireland--and then to Scotland--tarrying and
        cultivating--staying in some places--and others--moving on--both planting--and carrying
        their Culture--and their Music--with them.

        ** As to how those first pipes were configured--there is much controversy--and uncertainty--
        but it is generally proffered--that it--they--had at least--one large (bass?) drone.

        ** And--later on (here the more knowledgeable should jump in for some good Timeline)--that
        second (tenor??) drone--was added.

        ** And so it went--and for a very--very--looong Time. :-)

        ** But when that ended--or evolved--we do know--at least roughly--approximately.

        ** About 300-ish years ago (and if any has a clearer date--please do share it)--somewhere
        in Scotland--the second--tenor drone was added--and they called the whole thing--The Great
        Highland Bagpipe!! :-)

        Well--the chanter was the same as before--and the Scale--was the same as before--so I am
        not sure--if that's not something like--calling a guitar--purely--and entirely--Mexican. (??)

        But now--to geopat's question.

        I would suppose--that that two-drone configuration--being (and even then)--as old as it was--
        there would be some deep cultural basis--for its public--and religious--representation.
        (And--how not??)

        And thus endeth--this particular yarn... :-)

        And others--do--and please--jump right in--with better Timelines and dates--corrections--
        and conjectures--to help us all--ease our way--through this recurring question.

        Regards to All,

        Pip01








        Last edited by Pip01; 08-20-2021, 09:27 PM.
        My friends all know,
        With what a brave carouse...

        Comment


        • #5
          Our instrument--the pipes--with two--or--the newer--three drone configuration--and our
          standard nine-note chanter--is of--The Myxolydian Scale. Most authorities agree--that
          that scale--came from Ancient Greece
          It's not quite as clear cut as that. Many old chanters in museums have a C natural and a G#. Old manuscripts such as the 1820 Robert Millar manuscript have C naturals and G#. The famous George Skene manuscript of 1715 has the tunes marked as pipe tunes in A Dorian, with a C natural. Skene was an accomplished piper from Aberdeenshire and knew what he was writing. Millar was from the "Forfar Reg. and Piper to the Aberdeen Highland Society" and clearly was no slouch at notation either.
          Callander Pipe Band FB page Please click and "like". Thanks
          Lowland and Borders Piper's Society

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Adam Sanderson

            It's not quite as clear cut as that. Many old chanters in museums have a C natural and a G#. Old manuscripts such as the 1820 Robert Millar manuscript have C naturals and G#. The famous George Skene manuscript of 1715 has the tunes marked as pipe tunes in A Dorian, with a C natural. Skene was an accomplished piper from Aberdeenshire and knew what he was writing. Millar was from the "Forfar Reg. and Piper to the Aberdeen Highland Society" and clearly was no slouch at notation either.

            Greetings to Adam, and to All,

            Thank you--Adam--and very much--for these verifiable and illuminating facts.
            (Have we any better resource--than this Forum?? Most probably--not. :-)

            With all of the varying--and multiplicity--of the differing influences--over Time--
            upon both The Pipes--and The Music--the Antiquity--of our inheritance--ever
            stands us--in good stead.

            And in what ever--cast or hue--The History of Piping may be seen--to be viewed--
            all of us--can be most grateful--that we but Carry On--with this ancient instrument--
            and with these Gifts--that have come down to us--from those who came--before.

            Regards--and Gratitude--to Adam--and to All,

            Pip01







            My friends all know,
            With what a brave carouse...

            Comment


            • #7
              Bagpipes first appear in European illuminated manuscripts and follow a pattern of development:

              bladderpipe > bagpipe with blowpipe and chanter only > addition of single drone, length suggesting bass or baritone drone.

              That's where many bagpipes stayed to this day, with a bass drone only, including nearly all Eastern European bagpipes and a number of Western European ones as well.

              A second drone, usually a tenor, feels like an afterthought, due to the wide variety of placement (on the shoulder parallel with the bass in Germany and the Low Countries, parallel to the chanter in Central France, sticking out of the side of the bag in Spain).

              Third drones (usually baritone or treble) appear with the Renaissance-era explosion in the popularity and variety of the bagpipe.
              proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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