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Page 18 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
(Early Type, With Keyless Chanter)
England ~ Northumbria
cylindrical bore chanter with double-blade reed;
three cylindrical bore drones with single- blade reeds



General Comments:

This is the early form of the Northumbrian Smallpipe, with a keyless chanter; in general it shares much with the other more sophisticated Northumbrian Smallpipe in this collection, no. 5.


Musical Notes:


The range of this pipe is somewhat limited by the absence of the keys (see pipe no. 5) found on later varieties of the NSP (as the Northumbrian Smallpipe is sometimes referred to) and by the closed-end chanter which yields one less note than it would if open. However, the same closed-end chanter enables discreet notes - that is, with silences between them - to be played. The result is an instrument more versatile than a first glance would suggest.


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


Sean Folsom playing the Northumbrian Smallpipe. The inset shows a rear view of the bellows - one half attached to the body, the other to the upper arm.
Detail of the drones. Basic tuning is via conventional sliding joints.

The upper end of each drone is fitted with a plunger-like device which, when pushed in, silences that drone.
The tiny chanter, with its proportionately large reed. Despite the big reed, this is a quiet and low-pitched bagpipe, due primarily to the very narrow chanter bore.


Photographs & Text Copyright 1999 - 2002, Oliver Seeler,

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