The pipes are callin' me...

I'm moving some things around tonight and came across a bunch of CD's that looks like archived music I transfered to another computer. On it was several tunes of Irish Uilleann pipes.

I'll have to do a time-line one day to see when I started to study pipes and when I actually gave them up. As best as I can recall it was shortly after a roommate came over with a VCR rental of the show Riverdance. I was blown away with the solo by Davy Spillane!
I checked the song credits and started doing research on the instrument. We were in the early days of internet and materials were hard to find.

Long story short. Irish bagpipes differ from Scottish and other bagpipes in that they are driven by dry air pumped into the bellows. The others are mouth blown and the reeds are wet. The main difference is more control over the sound with Uilleann pipes with tapping and note bending.

I located a music store in Maine who had pipes from different pipemakers. 2 from America and 1 from Canada. During that time I bought and sold several sets including some made in Australia by 2 of the best pipemakers in the country.

I had no background in traditional Irish music, but I bought some video tutorials and struggled to learn the instrument. A generation earlier, I studied oboe in the school symphony and stupidly abandoned the thought of a scholarship when I changed my journey to a decade of rock music. So, in my head, the pipes should have been easy. They weren't.

Anyway, it was Davy Spillane who toured in the first Riverdance show and listening to Irish pipes again tends to pull at my heartstrings...

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Comments (9)

Pipes come in different stages:
The chanter (music stick) is the main instrument and that requires a bag and bellows.
Those 3 pieces are called a practice set.
After, the piper would add 3 drones for accompaniment.
Probably a few years later, add 3 regulators that each have keys to press for playing chords.

Here is an example of a 'full set' from a pipemaker in Germany:



Boots for floor tapping are optional.
My daughter said she wants bag pipes at her funeral.. next time I talk to her I'll have to ask which kind. I'm thinking she wants the marching band type, since she was in marching band. I'm always saying just something simple and quick for me and then go have a party....not her she's not gonna make it easy on anyone. ..lol
ah well then, the odds are heavy that you'll never have to pay the piper!
Well then that must be an excuse for Atkins and Knopfler! Who needs and excuse!?
He probably apprenticed with Andreas Rogge. Those pipes are either a Rogge set or an exact copy. The chanter would be his own and is one of the best I've heard for playability up the octaves.

I've worked on Rogge sets, reeding and tuning them. I like them.
Wish there was a pipe calling me
I've heard old recordings of Rogge sets and they were great.
Rogge probably started with a D set inspired from Rowsome dimensions.
His craftsmanship is flawless, but it's been many years since I abandoned the instrument. My guess is he's got a few apprentices doing most of the work now.

At one point I owned a 5 key narrow bore D half set from Geoff Wooff when he lived in Australia.
A four key D practice set from Neil O'Grady, Canada
A four key C chanter from Seth Gallagher, New York
A four key B chanter from Brad Angus, Washington
A four key practice set from Bruce Childress, Maine
A four key full set (in silver) from Bruce Childress, Maine
A four key D full set from Ian Mackenzie, Australia
A keyless narrow bore D chanter from Davy Stephenson, England

Quite a collection...
laugh
I think I left out 2 others...
A four key B chanter from Bruce Childress
A four key Bb chanter from Brad Angus.
I think the B chanter I originally got from him wouldn't tune up and he traded the Bb.
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