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A Web Site by Oliver Seeler

Page 5 of 30 illustrating the pipes heard on Bagpipes of the World

For more information on the album click on the cover at left


NORTHUMBRIAN SMALLPIPE
(Later Type, With 7-Keyed Chanter)
Northeastern England
cylindrical bore chanter with double-blade reed; four cylindrical bore drones with single-blade reeds


ALERT!! JUNE, 2006:
THIS BAGPIPE HAS BEEN STOLEN!!
A dirty yellow cur of a sneak thief has stolen this smallpipe from piper Sean Folsom. The theft occurred in Berkeley, California in June of this year. The Universe of Bagpipes is offering a $100 reward for the return of this pipe - if it is accompanied by body parts of the perp, we will toss in a bonus.

Here are some identifying characteristics of the pipe, provided by Sean (see also detail photos, below): "The set was made by Ken Fisher of Jarrow, circa 1972, and the 7 key chanter was made by Colin Ross of Whitley Bay, circa 1994. All the wood is Lignum vitae (also known as South American Ironwood). The mounts are made from Catalin Plastic Imitation Ivory, with Brass ferrules. Underneath the brown tweed bag cover is a Michael MacHarg riveted elkhide bag. The thief did not take the bellows, as that was in a separate plastic bag. The plastic bag that the set was in was actually two doubled up "Hudson Newsagents" plastic bags, from the Logan Airport in Boston."






~Sound File~
The following RealAudio file, unlike the rest on this site, is not from the CD album Bagpipes of the World, but is included here as a special feature for visitors from the web site Sir Francis Drake. The tune, presented here in its entirety, is

Fortune Is My Foe

played on this pipe by Sean Folsom. The above sound file is of limited quality due to the format and is not representative of the quality of the CD. Also, no CD quality .wav file of this tune is provided here because of the size - about 13 megabytes; however, another rendition of Fortune Is My Foe does appear on the album, played on the keyless-style Northumbrian Smallpipe (pipe no. 18). Confused? So am I.
Copyright 1999 by Sean Folsom & Oliver Seeler


General Comments:

The Northumbrian Smallpipe perhaps evolved from the French Musette, itself probably a refinement of the Germanic Hummelchen - a pipe seen in many very old illustrations and now being enthusiastically revived. The Smallpipe seems to first appear during the seventeenth century. Since then it has enjoyed steady popularity, waning a bit as was the case with most bagpipes during the nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries; it is now enjoying a very dynamic surge in popularity.


Musical Notes:


This is a very versitile instrument, not only because the chanter is equipped with an array of keys but also because the four drones can each be set to sound two different notes. Furthmore, the outlet end of the chanter is completely closed and the pipe is generally played with closed fingering; thus the piper has available something very rare among bagpipes - silence between notes. It is a quiet instrument but its clear tone carries well.


The scales and key signatures given may be regarded as approximations; bagpipes may deviate from conventional standards in absolute and relative pitch.


The Northumbrian Smallpipe (keyed chanter variety) being played by Sean Folsom.
A view of the chanter with its formidible keywork.

Chanter outlet (left) end is closed, allowing silences between notes.
The pipes out of their stocks, showing the reeds


Photographs & Text Copyright 1999 - 2002, Oliver Seeler,

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