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Bagpipes in America

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McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 00 - 07:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 00 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,John of the Hill 21 Apr 00 - 10:10 PM
sophocleese 21 Apr 00 - 11:08 PM
Kelida 22 Apr 00 - 12:31 AM
Barry T 22 Apr 00 - 12:50 AM
katlaughing 22 Apr 00 - 01:46 AM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Apr 00 - 10:51 AM
Irish sergeant 22 Apr 00 - 11:37 AM
katlaughing 22 Apr 00 - 12:36 PM
katlaughing 22 Apr 00 - 12:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Apr 00 - 03:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Apr 00 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 24 Apr 00 - 09:43 AM
catspaw49 24 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM
Mbo 24 Apr 00 - 10:47 AM
catspaw49 24 Apr 00 - 10:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 00 - 12:42 PM
Metchosin 24 Apr 00 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 24 Apr 00 - 01:27 PM
catspaw49 24 Apr 00 - 01:34 PM
Metchosin 24 Apr 00 - 01:41 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Apr 00 - 02:42 PM
Metchosin 24 Apr 00 - 03:23 PM
Irish Rover 24 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM
Barry T 24 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM
Bugsy 24 Apr 00 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 24 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 24 Apr 00 - 07:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 00 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 24 Apr 00 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 24 Apr 00 - 08:43 PM
Dale Rose 24 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Apr 00 - 12:55 PM
Dale Rose 27 Apr 00 - 09:31 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Apr 00 - 01:21 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 12 Aug 02 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,Wordless Woman 13 Aug 02 - 11:54 AM
NH Dave 13 Aug 02 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 13 Aug 02 - 06:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Aug 02 - 07:09 PM
pattyClink 13 Aug 02 - 09:42 PM
smallpiper 13 Aug 02 - 09:48 PM
NicoleC 13 Aug 02 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,Crazy Little Woman 14 Aug 02 - 03:19 PM
NH Dave 14 Aug 02 - 06:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Aug 02 - 06:28 PM
Chanteyranger 15 Aug 02 - 05:51 AM
GUEST 15 Aug 02 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Crazy Little Woman 15 Aug 02 - 10:03 PM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 12:03 AM
Chanteyranger 16 Aug 02 - 01:54 AM
smallpiper 16 Aug 02 - 04:22 AM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 10:34 AM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Neal Townley 22 Nov 02 - 06:49 AM
smallpiper 22 Nov 02 - 09:46 AM
PeteBoom 22 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM
greg stephens 22 Nov 02 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,Bill 22 Nov 02 - 07:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 02 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 02 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,the O'Meara 23 Nov 02 - 06:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM
John Routledge 23 Nov 02 - 07:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM
Jim Krause 23 Nov 02 - 10:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 24 Nov 02 - 11:21 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM
greg stephens 24 Nov 02 - 12:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Nov 02 - 01:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 01:56 PM
Peter T. 24 Nov 02 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 24 Nov 02 - 03:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 04:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Nov 02 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 24 Nov 02 - 09:15 PM
CarolC 24 Nov 02 - 11:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Nov 02 - 05:23 PM
CarolC 26 Nov 02 - 04:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Nov 02 - 05:08 PM
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Subject: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:26 PM

This started in another thread about ideas for new threads.

Anyway one I suggested went: "Why didn't penny whistles and bagpipes make it across the Atlantic to become part of the native tradition?", and a couple of people came on to talk about it, so I said I'd start a thread.

Now I know there are Scots Canadians playing bagpipes in Canada and Irish Amnericans playing the pipes in Boston and so forth, and no doubt in other places across the continent. And I know the same goes for the penny whistle, in Irish sessions all over.

But what I mean is something different. Other instruments went across the Atklantic, and went native. Fiddlers in the Ozarks or in Cajun country, or the Appalachians or Novia Scotia, or anywhere aren't playing the same way as they do back in Ireland or Scotland or anywhere else. Squeeze boxes played by Cajun or Tex-Mex musicians don't sound like Morris Dancers. The same goes for Guitars.

But so far as I know, this doesn't seem to have happened to the bagpipes, neither in North America or clear down to Paraguay (and there's some great bagpipe playing in Galicia, wich was one of the main parts of Spain that people left from to go to America.

And the same seems to have happened to the penny whistle and its relatives. (Apart from flutes in tye Andews, and that'sfrom a different tradition I suppose) And I'm even more puzzled by that, because it's such a portable and tough instrument.

I'm hoping that in fact all this is a misundersatnding, and it's just that the spotlight has missed out on these instruments. Maybe somewhere there are mountainy people playing them on porches, and noone has thought to listen. Maybe there are bagpies blues pklayers...

(And if there aren't, maybe it's time there were...)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 07:36 PM

Sorry about the spelling there. That should have been flute players in the Andes; and bagpipes, not bagpies (though that could be a fascinating instrument...) to correctb the most glaring errors.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,John of the Hill
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 10:10 PM

Perhaps in the days of long ocean passages to the New World, there was a point about halfway where the choice was given, "Either the piper or the pipes go over the side"? John


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: sophocleese
Date: 21 Apr 00 - 11:08 PM

Bagpipes were regarded by the the British as an instrument of war until just after the Second World War. They have been much more closely associated with the military and its regimentation than the fiddle has. Innovation, musical or not, is not generally considered a virtue in the military. There are many pipers still who will not play unless they are in a kilt. We are beginning to see more play with the pipes though. Rare Air and MacCrimmon's Revenge being two bands I can think of at the moment that are using them.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Kelida
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 12:31 AM

One of the guys in Korn (a terrible band, by the way) plays pipes. My friend Seth just got some to play. I saw a rock band called Off-Kilter that had a bagpipe in the regular line-up--and they wore kilts! Maybe pipes are becomeing popular as a rock instrument?

Peace--Keli


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Barry T
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 12:50 AM

I agree with Sophocleese... Though piping in the military may well have saved the instrument from extinction, it also imposed the musical objectives of absolute consistency and precision; pipers were judged by their peers against those two criteria, and departure from them was frowned upon.

It is only recently (within the last 25 years or so) that we have seen more radical and creative tune writing. Coined by some as kitchen piping, this style has stretched the performance envelope and challenged old assumptions. Neil Dickie's Clumsy Lover is a great example of this style and is popular both as a pipe tune and as a fiddle tune. These new tunes are enormously fun to play and to listen to, and they are now standard fare alongside traditional material at competitions and in concert.

A further comment: I think the piping community is generally dedicated to preserving the old traditions, tunes and styles of playing. Other than classical music, it's one of the few instruments where such motivation is steadfast.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 01:46 AM

Maybe it also had to do with the pipes being outlawed by the English? I don't know if this carried on enough to make some not want to take them up again after coming across the pond or not. My own ancestors were Scots, come to Nova Scotia and then Colorado and I've never heard of any pipes among them. Some of them were Sutherlands. We had a great thread about a song about Sutherlands getting run out of Scotland, but I'd have to check the dates of all to see if this would've had any bearing.

Interesting, Kevin. Thanks,

kat (who thinks they must run deep in the blood anyway because I can't them enough...never tire of them. Should I seek help?**BG**)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 10:51 AM

Ah, the old chestnut about the Outlawing of the Pipes!  Many people do believe this, but it never happened in Scotland.  There was some discussion at the time as to whether the pipes were a weapon and therefore covered by the Disarming Acts, but I believe that there was never a successful prosecution.  Once the libraries are open again after Easter, I can get you chapter and verse on that if you'd like.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 11:37 AM

Kat: Although I use the nom de plume Irish Sergeant With a name like MacMillan there is Heiland blood in my veins. Another group that has used the pipes for other than march music is Scotland's Tannahill Weavers. I have their album passages and it is quite good. Be adviced that you are not sick Kat! If you're Scottish a love of pipe music is quite natural> (Although I have several brothers and sisters who would argue. My father God rest him would not. Neil


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 12:36 PM

Ach, then there is hoep for me! Thanks!

Yes, Malcolm, I would be very interested, although I'll bet i cna find some verification on line, over the weekend, so may save you a trip. I have a bunch of Scottish sites bookmarked. If I find anything, I'll post it, or a link, okay?

kathudson-crawford-ewing-gordon-etc.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 12:41 PM

Okay, so I didn't proffreed, *BG*, forgot to say, YES, the Tannahill Weavers! You can listen to two entire CD's of theirs at Green Linnet Records.

kat-grandaughter of Flora :^)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Apr 00 - 03:38 PM

"There was some discussion at the time as to whether the pipes were a weapon" - I wonder if they'd be covered by the 2nd Amendment? That could be a while new musical angle for the gun law threads to pursue...

All the talk so far seems to have been around the warpipes played by Scottish regiments (and Irish as well), and out in places like Pakistan where they are mostly made, and still used by the military to ibspire the troops and terrify the enemy.

But there are all the other types of pipes around, with most European countries having one or two varieties. So didn't any of them take root?

For example, bagpipes ("les musettes") are a major instrument in French country music still. I've never heard of this tradition being carried over into French America, neither in Cajun country nor in Quebec. But given the devotion musicians have to their instruments and the way they manage to pass it on, I can't see how it could have failed to be carried over.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Apr 00 - 01:43 PM

I was listening to some Appalachian "high lonesome" singing, and I was thinking, that really would fit with the pipes, can't get more high lonesome than that. The same kind of thing you can do with a mountain dulcimer, drones and all, would be great with the pipes.

So what happened to stop that kind of thing? Were there religious scruples about the pipes even worse than about the fiddle?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 09:43 AM

I heard that there was (and may still be) a Scots highlander community in (I think) North Carolina. Until sometime after 1900, among the requirements for their church pastor were: He had to be able to speak Gaelic and play the pipes.

T.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:38 AM

Its generally believed that the App Dulcimer gained popularity in the mountains because the sound (drone strings) gave a sound that many were familiar with and fit in well with the music. Pipes probably never made it into the mountains much because of the relative cost and complexity of the instrument (and I use that term loosely). And contrary to popular belief, not everyone had a dulcimore either.

John OTH was probably right in his assessment of ocean crossings too!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:47 AM

Does anyone know that the hammered dulcimer was used in the rock opera "Tommy" by The Who?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 10:57 AM

Who?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 12:42 PM

Right - now how about penny whistles? Or similar. Easy to make, tough, portable, versatile, and definitely played in America. But were/are they used up in the mountains and suchlike, or in black communities?

'spaw's suggestion about dulcimers as a (gag)pipes substitute for poor people makes a lot of sense. But the places where pipes survived and were central to the tradition weren't exactly rich, and if the skills are there I believe it's not that hard to make a very playable set of pipes.

I'm still hoping that someone is going to come up with some living tradition somewhere that's been ignored. You've got a big country there. I liked the sound of that North Carolina pipe-playing gaelic speaking community Okie mentioned...


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Metchosin
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 01:15 PM

sort of off topic but, my brother and I were discussing the following article yesterday, about the famous pipers of Clan MacCrimmon (he finds this particularly interesting as his wife is of Scottish decent but is Italian)

the following is as excerpt from the Inditer

The Great MacCrimmons

Where did they come from?

"In my writings concerning the origins of pipes in general and The Great Highland Bagpipe in particular, it was my intention to speak also of the aristocratic and noble Clan MacCrimmon, who were the hereditary pipers to the MacLeods on Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye

.

The MacCrimmons are accepted as the unchallenged doyens of pipers who lived in Borreraig, close to the MacLeod stronghold, Dunvegan Castle. In Borreraig the conducted their famous College of Piping, father and sons, all fine pipers and composers, during the period of approximately 1600 to 1800.

Sometime, back in the early 1950's I believe, Seumas MacNeil, the then principal of the Glasgow College of Piping, along with his associate Thomas Pearston, became curious as to the origins of the great MacCrimmons, and set about doing some research.

How long they took with their research I do not know exactly, but I believe that it was almost three years. Their studies finally led them to Europe, specifically to Italy, and there, the began to uncover some shattering and incendiary evidence - evidence tying the MacCrimmons to Cremona.

I can well imagine the pair of them sitting in their hotel room, or more likely, the bar, getting slowly smashed as they faced the fact that sometime soon they would be returning to Glasgow to tell a few thousand fanatical nationalists, pipers to boot, that their clan heros were Italian. That's what you call a sobering thought, but I'll bet it didn't stop the lads from knocking back every bottle of Glen Fiddich in the establishment.

Any way, D-day finally came, and Messers MacNeil and Pearston faced their eager-faced, bright- eyed audience, all of whom no doubt had 'wet their whistle' in anticipation of a very exciting evening!

The paper was duly read, passage by passage, and ugly stirring could be felt in the tense atmosphere. A long stunned silence, and then an uproar as at Hamden Park when the 'Celts" lose - 6-0. I wasn't there, but I heard that is was wild with terrible words being used, threats of grievous body harm, and a lot of accusations as to whose parents were never married. Stuff like that - isn't that awful?

Anyway, it's all died down now. For some time after I heard people referring to Pipe Major MacNeil as 'Shameless MacNeil' - that's not very nice, is it? He's a nice man and a fine piper. I suppose things have changed a bit, with Tokyo Pipe Band, Idi Amins Pipe Band (wearing the Royal Stuart Tartan. Is nothing sacred anymore?"

Apparently the Cremona family, in the Northern Italian city of Cremona are still carrying on their tradition on the Italian Bagpipes.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 01:27 PM

McGrath, I learned of this community in a book called Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fisher, then (and perhaps still) of Brandeis University. I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I can't give you the particulars. Maybe someone else on-list can find it before I do.

T.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 01:34 PM

Kevin, as you know, the dulcimore/pipes correlation is a widely held opinion, but I do wonder if the Southern Mountain tradition was more "song" oriented than "tune" oriented? There certainly was a lot of fiddle tunes though........It just strikes me that the "oral" traditions of the region tended toward songs and porch singing.

Just a thought.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Metchosin
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 01:41 PM

The Great Highland Pipes had also lost some of their popularity by the time migration to the Americas had begun, when music venues tended to be held inside rather than in the great outdoors. They were just too damned loud.


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Subject: Bagpipes at funerals
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 02:42 PM

Regarding bagpipes -- I'm curious about the custom of playing bagpipes at funerals. I first saw this in the 1979 movie, "The Onion Field," based on a true story, depicting the funeral of a Los Angeles police officer killed in the line of duty. At the time, I got the impression this was a one-off occurrence because the officer in question was of Scottish descent and had been a piper himself.

Since then I have seen, on TV news, funerals of several prominent Americans (or people, like the officer, who became famous because of the circumstances of their deaths) at which bagpipes were played.

I'd like to hear from pipers. Have you ever played at a funeral? Is this customary? Is it only customary among people of Scottish descent? Has it become more common recently?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Metchosin
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 03:23 PM

"Piobaireachds (piobrochs) were often written to commemorate an event (e.g., Laments for death are very common) or had practical uses in Highland society (e.g., Gathering of the Clans). These tunes are generally several minutes in length and, when well played, are some of the most inspiring music of the bagpipe".

I am not a piper but that may explain the tradition of the Scots or those of Scottish decent having a piper "to pipe them home".


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Irish Rover
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM

The pipe tune "Flowers of the Forest" though originaly a Campbell funeral tune became the standard military graveside tune. When I worked for the fire dpt. in Chicago most funerals had a piper, as well as a bugler, black, white, made no difference. please remember only 5% of celts are pipers. most of us have tried at some point but they are extremly difficult. That alone may have some bering on the problem. and as for making a set, I doubt seriously if you could attaine the tones nessary. have to be one hell of a craftsman. I too am a rabid fan of the pipes, but I'm also a banjo player so I guess my taste is in question.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Barry T
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 05:47 PM

Laments at funerals were commonly played on the fiddle or the pipes, but the latter became a tradition because they were the instrument at the front in the British regiments when troops fell in battle and were honoured by their comrades. In more modern times the pipers also served as stretcher bearers, so they were always on or near the battlefield where the wounded were assembled and the dead laid to rest. The playing of the lament was simply an extension of their duties.

Pipe music played well evokes extraordinary emotion. Whether of Scottish descent or not, most folks succumb to tears at funerals when the pipes play... and I'll freely admit that the piper loses it, too, on occasion.

The tradition really took hold after the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards recorded Amazing Grace back in the 70's. Thereafter it was heard at many well-publicised funerals of famous people. It is now especially common at ceremonies honouring those who have fallen while on duty... soldiers, firefighters, police. The Flowers of the Forest is the traditional standard for military ceremonies, but there are other tunes that are equally poignant, such as Going Home and Hector the Hero.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes at Furnerals
From: Bugsy
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 07:09 PM

Jim, The reason for playing bagpipes at funerals is to let the mourners know that the corpe's suffering is over, whereas the Mourners still have to stand around and suffer the earbashing of the pipes. I just hope that they don't have them in the life beyond.

CHeers

Bugsy

Whosonlyjokingreally.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 07:52 PM

McGrath,

Here is some more detail about the Scots Highlander settlement in the Cape Fear Valley, from David Hackett Fisher, Albion's Seed, Oxford U.P., 1989, page 818:

"Highland Scots began to arrive circa 1732. Many followed after the '45 rebellion, and by 1776 their numbers were nearly as large as the white population of the South Carolina low country. [Citation to Duane Meyer, The Highland Scots of North Carolina 1732-1776, Chapel Hill, 1961.] Other ethnic groups also settled in the Cape Fear Valley, but so dominant were highlanders that Gaelic came to be spoken in this region even by people who were not scots. There is a story of a newly arrived Highland lady who heard two men speaking in Gaelic:

Assuming by their sppech that they must inevitably be fellow Highlanders, she came nearer, only to discover  that their skin was black.  Then she knew that her worst foreboding  about the climate of the South was not un- founded  and cried in horror, "A Dhí nan fras,  am fas sinn bhuile mar sin "?(O God of mercy, are we all going to turn black like  that?)
[Citation to Meyer, Highland Scots, p. 119, and Charles W. Dunn, Highland Settler: A Portrait of the Scottish Gael in Nova Scotia, Toronto, 1953, p. 138.

Even in the twentieth century, the Cape Fear pepole sent to Scotland for minsiters who were required to wear the kilt, play the pipes, and preach in Gaelic. [Citation to "Personal conversation with Charles Joyner"].

Cape Fear is in the southernmost part of North Carolina. Presumably the Cape Fear Valley is the valley in which lies the Cape Fear river, enters the saltwater at Cape Fear.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 07:54 PM

The HTML didn't accept the carriage returns in my preformatted section.

Here again is the quotation about the Highland lady:

Assuming by their speech that they must inevitably be fellow Highlanders, she came nearer, only to discover that their skin was black. Then she knew that her worst foreboding about the climate of the South was not un- founded and cried in horror, "A Dhí nan fras, am fas sinn bhuile mar sin "?(O God of mercy, are we all going to turn black like that?)[Citation to Meyer, Highland Scots, p. 119, and Charles W. Dunn, Highland Settler: A Portrait of the Scottish Gael in Nova Scotia, Toronto, 1953, p. 138.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:18 PM

Cape Fear as the name for a centre of Highland Piping - sounds fitting enough.

Pipes of Cremona - I wonder if Stradivarius ever turned his hands to making a set.

I see the tendency to think of the pipes as a particularly Scottish or Celtic instrument is current even here, whereas most European countries, and many Middle Eastern have one or two in their tradition. And the Warpipes are only one of the types of pipes current in Scotland, and they are pretty the only type of bagpipes which are intended to be played at high volume to get their full effect.

As for the difficulty of making pipes - well there are lots of fine pipes being made these days by craftsmen who are pretty skillful, but no more so I'd say than those making other instruments.

I suppose it's something to do with the timing and circumstances of emigration. Which makes even more puzzling the apparent failure of the French in Quebec to hold on to the bagpipes, because here you had a rural community established at the time when the bagpipes were at their height of popularity in France, and then conquered and occupied by the English in a way that, I'd have thought, would have guaranteed that the musette would take on the same kind of cultural significance that the bagpipes did in the Highlands.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:38 PM

A great many borderers and lowlanders settled in the Appalachians, as previous posts have hinted, yet the region isn't famous for smallpiping. The most popular instrument seems to have been the fiddle.

I suspect that some of the difficulty is that the bagpipes were a diatonic instrument at a time when art music was developing in chromatic directions. There may have been heaps of pipes in folks' luggage, and there may be mention of them in letters and diaries, but they weren't widely appreciated or cultivated. If this is so, and the pipes came on the boat but were simply "hidden", then scholarship might be able to ferret them out.

T.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:43 PM

A further thought. The uillean pipes, as mentioned in another thread, were steadily engineered during the 1800s into a chromatic instrument. Some of these changes were, I think, invented in the U.S., others in the Isles. One might be able to trace the U.S. history at least of these pipes by examining the records of the patent office for patents that were issued for design improvements.

T.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Dale Rose
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:20 PM

I can't say about any place else in the US, but I'd like to comment that the bagpipes are alive and well in Arkansas, at least they will be this coming weekend. This is from The Sun-Times, Heber Springs, AR, April 21, 2000. (slightly edited version~~I think I caught most of the OCR mistakes) Note that there will also be bluegrass and Ozark Folk Music ~~ can't get away from that!:

Lyon Scottish Festival is next weekend

BATESVILLE -- The sound of bagpipes will fill the spring air as the 21st Arkansas Scottish Festival celebrates its 21st year April 28-30 on the Lyon College campus. Events include competitions for pipe bands, individual bagpipers, Highland dancers and Scottish athletics; sheepdog demonstrations, Ozark music and crafts; a Feast and Ceilidh Saturday night; and a traditional Iona Worship Service on Sunday morning. The massed bands will march at the opening ceremonies at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The gates open Saturday morning at 8:30. The athletic, individual piping and drumming and Highland dancing competitions begin shortly thereafter. Children's games will be held both Saturday and Sunday on Braemar Field.

Highlighting the contests of the day will be the band competition. After marching as a mass band for the opening ceremonies at 1 p.m., each band will get a chance to compete in the three grades, consisting of two three to five minute medleys and one four to six minute medley.

The massed band march and parade of clans and societies is perhaps the highlight of the weekend as each band joins to form one large band that marches onto Braemar Field. Around the parade field, clans and Scottish vendors will be set up, handing out information and selling their wares.

Also throughout the day on Saturday, the sounds of traditional Scottish music and bluegrass and folk music may be heard across the hills. Alex Beaton, the popular Scottish folk artist, is set to appear again this year, his 13th year in a row at the festival. At the Grigsby House, bluegrass and Ozark folk music, which descended from Scottish music, will draw the crowds. Surrounding the house will be several Ozark craftsmen and artisans selling their work.

The Feast and Ceilidh will be at 7 o'clock Saturday night. Having outgrown Edwards Commons, the event will be held in Becknell Gym, allowing more room for the fun and festivities, including an authentic Scottish feast and entertainment.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 12:55 PM

Now those are interesting suggestions okie - I hope someone over in America feels like taking them on.

And the same kind of considerations would arise elsewhere - what about Australia?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Dale Rose
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 09:31 AM

Lots of info about the Arkansas Scottish Festival at Batesville's Lyon College here. Schedule of events, pictures from last year, links to other Scottish websites . . .


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Apr 00 - 01:21 PM

On the subject of the bagpipes in the aftermath of Collodden, in both Scotland and Nova Scotia, John G. Gibson (Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping, 1745 - 1945, McGill-Queen's University Press/ National Museums of Scotland, 1998) is currently the best authority.  In chapter 2, The Roots of Jacobitism and the Disarming Act, Gibson convincingly demolishes the myth that the pipes were banned.  He demonstrates that neither the Disarming Act of 1746 nor the amendments to it of 1748 mention bagpipes or any other musical instrument (and quotes the entire text of both in appendices).  There are records of two pipers being tried for treason; James Campbell Macgrigor (transported), and James Reid (executed).  Gibson writes:

" Reid the piper was hanged three months and fourteen days after the Disarming Act of 1746 was promulgated on 1 August of that year.  His conviction had nothing whatever to do with the act.  He was being tried for treason, having been captured in Carlisle as one of that city's garrison.  It bears repeating that the act's mandate, where arms were concerned, involved a clearly specified area of Highland Scotland.  Moreover, while the terms of the act date to 1 August 1746 (politically) and 12 August 1746 (royal assent), application of the part of the act pertaining to arms did not begin in the limited area of Gaelic Scotland until the summer of 1748...
James Reid had been captured in December 1745 as one of the Jacobite occupiers of the English city of Carlisle. Humble piper though he probably was, he had been in active rebellion and went to his execution for that treasonous crime, not for contravening the Disarming Act.  However, the court at York ruled with the words that have distorted the history of piping for generations: that "no regiment ever marched without musical instruments such as drums, trumpets and the like; and that a highland regiment never marched without a piper; and therefore his bagpipe, in the eye of the law, was an instrument of war."  The harshness of the judge's decision in Reid's case has no doubt added to the confusion; after all, at least six Scottish officers who were left to garrison Carlisle when the Jacobite army retreated north to its final grave were reprieved after being found guilty of treason at their trials, and James Campbell Macgrigor was transported; what's more, the English jury at Reid's trial had recommended mercy.  In short, Reid was the victim of judicial inflexibility, outrage, and revenge.
Although it is nowhere stated, Reid's case has almost certainly been emphasized for another reason.  If he was an ordinary unlanded man (and it is all but certain that he was), then he faced the choice of drawing lots to see who should be tried for treason and who simply transported without standing before a judge (under the lot system one in twenty of the common folk were chosen to stand trial as traitors, while the other nineteen were transported).  As James Logan* hinted, if anyone considered that a trial might enable him to avoid both the death penalty and transportation it was surely the non-combatant piper and the impressed man**.  Reid's plea would appear the more pathetic (as it did to the jury) if he eschewed the chance of life in a foreign land by opting for trial rather than drawing a lot.
The proponents of the idea that the Reid case set a precedent for the Disarming Act enforcers erroneously link what was a post-rebellion trial in an English city for the capital crime of high treason with the application of a calculated, extremely explicit sixteen-page act of the British government that had nothing whatsoever to do with proscribing the Highland bagpipes and was not enforced until after the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the duke of Cumberland's European war in 1748.  Not only is there no mention of bagpipes or bagpipers in the act but no pipers were convicted as such under any of the act's published stipulations.  The records of the northern circuit of the Justiciary Court for the period 1748-51, for example, show no apprehensions, trials, or convictions of pipers.
"

* In The Scottish Gaël (1831).

** "Two other pipers, Nicholas Carr and John Ballantine, were among the five who were tried at York and acquitted of treason.  Both successfully claimed to have been impressed (legally compelled to serve in the army).

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 09:35 PM


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Wordless Woman
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 11:54 AM

Philadelphia's own Rufus Harley plays jazz bagpipes. I've heard him and he's good. Here's what Mark Keresman had to say in http://www.jazzreview.com/cdreview.cfm?ID=1873 about Rufus' 2000 release of The Pied Piper of Jazz:

CD Title: The Pied Piper Of Jazz

Year: 2000

Record Label: Label M

Style: BeBop / Hard Bop

Review: Rufus Harley may be the only American jazz musician to focus almost exclusively on the Scottish bagpipes (he occasionally plays saxophone, too). Perhaps this has limited Harley's visibility-some might consider him (or his pipes) a "novelty." But the man is quite serious about the pipes as an expressive jazz instrument, and this compilation-taken from some of his '60s albums on Atlantic-is the proof. (As further proof, Harley has appeared on albums by The Roots and Laurie Anderson, in his post-Atlantic career.) He draws an earthy, soulful wail from his instrument, placing it solidly into a soul-charged hard bop context reminiscent of Bobby Timmons and early-'60s Herbie Hancock. On "Bagpipe Blues" Harley draws from his pipes a drone that recalls not only the highlands of Scotland, but also the sidewalks of Marrakesh and the yearning wail(s) of Coltrane and Bechet. Other tracks on this collection include Harley as a featured guest with other leaders: Sonny Stitt ("Pipin' The Blues," a soul-jazz cooker featuring the organ of Don Patterson--some robust Stitt here, too) and Herbie Mann (the magnetic "Flute Bag," from Mann's great live "Whirling Dervishes" album, which ought to be reissued). Nice stuff--hopefully this compilation will bring Harley some long-overdue recognition. (He's still active--contact him at: 6116 Magnolia St., Philadelphia, PA 19144.)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NH Dave
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 01:28 PM

I would suggest that there were few pipers in the New World because few pipers came to the area, there were few places where piping seemed "right" and there were few teachers of piping.

During the mid fifties, a group of Scots, Scottish Canadians, and generally Scottish leaning Americans founded a local pipe band in western, central New Hampshire. The Pipe Major was a Scot or Canadian who had learned piping as a youth, and taught us how to play the pipes in a proper manner. Scott Hastings was a man of Scottish descent who taught woodworking in a local school and had a keen ear for music. He and his wife formed a Scottish Imports company to bring wool and equipment into the area for resale, or to supply the band. His wife, God bless her, a fair seamstress agreed to make the kilts for the entire band, some 16-20 people, no mean feat in the best of times. As time passed he became the best piper in the band and became the Pipe Major, following the older man's retirement. He began to teach Scottish piping, and then learned and taught Ullean Pipes as well.

At that time, the only Highland Games we knew about were either in Nova Scotia, which also taught piping and Gaelic in one of its universities, or Boston; each held in the fall. Today, NH has its own games at Loon Mountain, there are games at Grandfather Mountain, and others in California, and many other places. Each features piping, dancing, and Highland sporting competitions.

A few years later, a former Naval fitter formed up a second band down on the seacoast, using some folks from the earlier band and lots of Irish and Scottish young folks from the area who were taught to play in a rudimentary fashion over one winter. Over times, other bands rose and fell, and there currently is a band and a "band school" in Manchester NH.

Scott went on to build pipes based on classical models as well as guitars and Appalachian dulcimers; earned a Masters degree in Anthropology; and studied the local folks in NH & Vermont, which resulted in 5-6 popular books on local life before his untimely death in 1991.

Over the last 40 odd years there has been an upwelling of interest in Scottish and Irish piping, as well as Scottish Dress. Locally it is now possible to rent kilts and formal attire for weddings and such, and a local lad attended his Prom in a kilt within the last two years.

All of this reinforce my thesis that with pipers and piping, interest will be maintained in piping and Scottish arts, so that they will flourish in an area.

Dave


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 06:11 PM

I have heard Pipers in the UK and the USA. The sound while loud in both is sweet in the UK but harsh in the US. I suppose that may be the air or humidity or both.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 07:09 PM

Good to see this thread back up again. But noone seems to have followed up on the question of the other sort of musical pipe - the whistle type (tune or wood or reed). Are there any traditions incorporating this? Maybe among native americans?

And am I actually right in my understanding that the French speaking parts of North America didn't hold on to the musette bagpipes heritage? That might reflect the fact that the instrument seems to have been seen as a very aristrocatic instrument in France in the 18th centuiry.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: pattyClink
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 09:42 PM

Well, two more cents on the pipes, there was a tradition in our family, lost somewhere in the 1940's and 50's, in our case they were apparently too blasted hard to learn for average folk. If one was going to suffer it might as well have been to learn something in vogue like saxaphone.

I agree with Dave, shortage of teachers, venues (and probably craftsmen, skins don't last forever). Fiddles by contrast were stubbornly useful in (and as one-man) dance bands right up til swing killed most community dances. Pipes I think really needed 'sessions' like we have now as a venue to thrive in, and those were very rare in the USA for several decades.

As for the whistle, ya got me hangin', shoulda been the ideal portable instrument. A wild guess is they weren't loud and sustained enough to be the one-man dance band?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: smallpiper
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 09:48 PM

There used to be as many different types of bagpipe in England as there are counties. Most have died out and been lost but some are being rediscovered and are slowly gaining in popularity again. I rather think that the reason that pipes havn't cuaght on is that they are notoriously sesitive to moisture and basically the higher humidity would have made them unplayable. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief the Highland pipes are not a complicated instrument basicaly being a bag with a set of tubes and some reeds and that is what makes them so tempramental. (Bloody things) I've played at dozens of funerals and believe that people like the sound of the pipes at funerals because a) the harmonics produced by a well tuned set makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and those harmonics go straight to the emotional part of the brain and b) because a piper in full rig looks good.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NicoleC
Date: 13 Aug 02 - 10:00 PM

I grew up in Virginia, and for what it's worth every kid knew how to make a flute/whistle/pipe thingy. I have no opinion on how that might relate to the immigrant experience though... maybe tin whistles just weren't taken too seriously and ended up being a toy?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Crazy Little Woman
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 03:19 PM

Whaddya mean, no bagpipes in America? Kansas City has a whole pipe band. It is not unusual for a bagpiper to play after a funeral or before a wedding. And my neighborhood churches use the pipes to lead people from community celebration to their individual churchs on Palm Sunday.

As for tin whistles, they probably didn't make it here because we are too fond of cats. (I recall a touring Scots harpist exclaiming, "Everywhere we go, there are cats!) Cats, sapient and equipped with sensitive hearing in the higher ranges, do not tolerate tin whistles.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NH Dave
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 06:15 PM

Further to patty's comments. With central heating more prevalent in the US, I'd expect the drones or chanter to split before the bag goes. I've seen several split chanters, that were only a few years old.

This might parallel the renaisance of the five string banjo during the 50's and 60's. After hearing Pete Seeger on the banjo in 1955, I tried to find a bamjo I could afford, and someone to teach me how to play it. The first involved a fortunate happenstance, when I found three good, old (50 odd years) banjos in an antique shop, selling for $15, the lot. (!) Old instruments were frequently available in these shops before the days of the Kingston Trio and other popular groups that featured a banjo player. Mind you, Pete Seeger, Erick Darling, Oscar Brand, and one or two others were the only ones playing banjo in those days.

I nevfer did find a folk banjo teacher, everyone wanted to teach me Tenor Banjo, or Classical Banjo, whatever that was. The next year, Pete mentioned that he had run up a small book and companion record on playing the five string banjo, and I bought both as soon as I could come up with the money. Interestingly enough, this last year Pete was inverviewed on a National Public Radio(like the BEEB) program where he mentioned that that one book was the most popular thing he ever did, selling more copies than any one or two of this records!

This reinforces my thought about the dearth of intructors for either the pipes or folk banjos. At least at that time.

Today banjo and instructors are thick on the vine, and a restored instrument like mine sells for $675, a far cry from my about $4.00 in '55!

Dave


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 06:28 PM

No shortage of cats in Ireland. They seem to tolerate the whistles all right. Or keep out of the way.

Of course there are bagpipes in America, Crazy - who said they weren't? The question was whether they've ever entered into a native tradition rather than being an exotic relic of foreignness, and been played alongside fiddles and banjoes and such.

I just cannot believe that people playing music on front porches in the old days didn't have whistles playing along with them at times. Maybe they got shushed up when the collectors came around.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 05:51 AM

I don't know if whistles were/are played by native American Indians, but there is a strong wooden flute tradition there.

Yes, there is a tradition of highland piping in the U.S. that goes back over a hundred years. How it came into the use here and how it has recently expanded its scope is just different than how instruments common in appalachia evolved. The main difference is that organized highland piping in the U.S. (and probably everywhere) has been and is, for the most part, a conscious effort to further a tradition and an art, and to expand its scope (through kitchen piping and new compositions), while instruments that were adopted by appalachian folk went through a much less self-conscious evolution. I take McGrath's question to be not simply asking if the pipes have taken hold here, but why didn't they in a more.hmmm..what's the word here...."organic" way (for lack of a better word). It's an interesting question. Bagpipes in many forms have been played all over the world, by farmers and peasants as well as Scottish regiments, so I'm not sure that complexity in making one is a reason for pipes not taking root in Appalachia. Well, I'm not a big help on an answer, but it's a damn good question, Mcgrath!

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 02:01 PM

On the suggestion of looking through the records of the U.S. patent office for mention of bagpipe-related patents:

This book might be a good place to start.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Crazy Little Woman
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 10:03 PM

McGrath - of course there are cats in Ireland, but do they have absolute authority over the running of the households?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Aug 02 - 12:03 AM

Chanteyranger, I have mixed feelings about the issue of complexity. There's a huge difference between being a poor pioneer trying to build or invent the basic necessities, and simply being a poor person who has a house and a chicken coop and neighbors to turn to for help.

Pioneers don't have spare time, and when they do take time off for entertainment at harvest festivals and such, the easier and quicker the instrument maintence the better. Maybe that's why the vocal tradition is so rich in the Appalachians -- it's the easiest instrument to take with you, and you can practice while milking the cows and feeding the chickens.

Maybe their pipes did come with the Scots-Irish, but fell into disuse in favor of those instruments easier to keep up in good condition. I've seen ancient banjos that have survived in some form or another -- has anyone seen an example of a bagpipes surviving in America, or better yet BUILT in America, from the 1700's and early 1800's? You would think at least a couple of them would survive, even if they are in bad shape.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 16 Aug 02 - 01:54 AM

Nicole - Your point is well taken. My point really is that pipes in some cultures are folk instruments made by folk, but not here. Well, I used Appalachia to make my point, (and they did make fiddles and banjos - probably simpler than making pipes) but let's expand it to those not as desperately poor, then. Why they were made by farmers with a chicken coop in some Eastern European cultures and not by farmers with a chicken coop here? In either case, it's still a good question - why didn't the pipes take hold here among folk through the folk process as they did elsewhere among folk through the folk process?

...and I still don't have an answer!


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: smallpiper
Date: 16 Aug 02 - 04:22 AM

The answer is reeds. The making of pipes is a relaively simple opperation compared to making a fiddle. But the really hard part is making reeds, getting the right kind of cane, the right kind of humidity, the time to do it etc. If you can't make reeds then the pipes will go in the bin or be used to keep you warm on the fire.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Aug 02 - 10:34 AM

I don't know either, Chanteyranger, but maybe by the time the frontier started being just rural, in a generation or two, the tradition was lost. Not forgotten, just dropped out of regular circulation.

How large do the reeds have to be, smallpiper? I can think of some small reeds that might in the hills, but nothing big and sturdy. Lots of good wood, though.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: NicoleC
Date: 16 Aug 02 - 10:42 AM

Er, "that might grow in the hills."


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Neal Townley
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 06:49 AM

I would think that with the perpensity of Scots coming over the Atlantic during the Rev. War period and before, there would have been a piper or two with the Contental army, or at least one of the local militias... Or was Fife and drum in too much Vogue during that period? Has anyone seen any documentation on this? How about on the British side? Were there any Highland Regiments (who were still allowed to have pipers from what I have read)in the US that played?

Neal


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: smallpiper
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 09:46 AM

Its not the size of the reed but its comosition, I believe that spanish cane is the best (but don't quote me on that) and clearly some of the native cane reeds that grow around scotland would have done the job - but the key factor is the relative humidity and heat, I guess - perhaps a reed maker would like to comment?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: PeteBoom
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM

Neal - a large number of Highland emigrants, including Jacobites, were loyalists - Inlcuding Flora MacDonald and her family. As far as kilted regiments go, the 84th Foot, Royal Highland (Emigrant) Regiment, was among the (loyalist) regiments raised in Canada among (mainly) ex-42nd foot veterans and their families.

As pipers in the regiments were extra-pay men, and hired by the officer commanding (thus not a true part of the regiment), it is hard to say based on existant records if there were pipers associated with any particular regiment. Having said that, the 84th DID list an extra-ordinary number of drummers on the roster. Presumably, some of these were actually pipers.

Remember, it was not until 1854 that regiments in the British Army were granted a charter to attach a piper with each service company of the regiment. Granted some regiments claimed they had pipers from the time the regiment was mustered into service (the oldest documented case being in 1679), however, there is no evidence that these were any other than noted above.

Cheers -

Pete


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 02:50 PM

If we look the period 1600-1700, bagpiping was hugely popular in England..as already pointed out, there's nothing Irish or Scottish about it. And plenty of pipes will have gone to America on ships in that period. The peculiar thing that McGrath is discussing is the fact that they didnt acclimatise and generate a distictive American style of piping, like Appalchian fiddle or cajun accordion. But you also have to consider that they also died out in England more or less completely, in the same period that they werent catching on in America. They just went out of fashion. Blasted out of existence by the rise of the Italian style fiddle, presumably.
    I dont think difficulty of manufacture in America can have any bearing on the question, anyone could have made bagpipes in America as easily as they could in Britain. And presumably did in the 1600's. There may not be any that have survived, but then how many sets of English bagpipes are still knocking about from that period?
This is a very interesting question of McGrath's, but I fear it will be as impossible to answer as "why do skirt lengths go up and down" or "why dont people read Bulwer Lytton any more?"


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 07:35 PM

I don't live in America so it sounds like a good place for them.
Bill (the sound)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 07:52 PM

What I find more surprising is that the French in America don't seem to have carried on the tradition, either in Canada or in Louisiana.

Actually what I'm really after isn't reasons why the pipes never went native across the Atlantic (as Greg points out, there's really no explanation of fashions). What I was really hoping for was some indication that we've got it all wrong, and that there is in fcat some kind of continuing Americanized tradition, but that it's been overlooked for some reason.

(Of course, even if there hasn't been such a tradition, there probably will be in the future, as pipers experiment with playing other types of American music.)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 08:34 PM


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 08:56 PM

I hate it when that happens! (Technologically challenged, you know.)

I'm a Drum Major recently retired (arthritis) from the Colorado Irish Pipe Band. I've looked into this a bit (I'm sure as hell no expert) and I believe there were a lot more pipers around the U.S. than are commonly discussed. For example during the mid and late 1800s almost all of the towns along the route of the western railroad were heavily populated by Irish railroad workers and there were a great many pipe bands, in fact there were pipe band competitions in the old west. (But the shootouts got all the good press.) But the pipes became associated with "shanty Irish' and fell into disfavor. The 69th New York (Irish)regiment had pipers during the civil war and WWI and do to this day. There was also a Scottish kilted regiment during the civil war, I believe it was the 72nd, who had pipers.

I don't know much about the Rev War, but there is a common belief that there were British units, most notably during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814, who had Scottish pipers.

There was a piper at the Alamo, who would play duets with Davy Crockett, a pretty good fiddler himself. (The suggestion that this was why the Mexicans declared No Quarter is not true. Probably.)

This help any?

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 06:58 AM

Fiddle and bagpipes - no wthat's the kind of thing I was hoping might turn up. Any sources for that story O'Meara?

There's a thriving piping tradition in Galicia in Spain, and that's a region from which tere was a lot of emigration to the Americas. So I'm surprised never to have heard about that tradition being caried acrtoss to Latin America.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,the O'Meara
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 06:39 PM

McG; In his book "TEXAS" James Michner tells the story of Crockett and the piper.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM

Any hint where he might have got it from?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: John Routledge
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 07:03 PM

The Northumbrian Pipers Society has many members in North America.
Indeed John Leistan from Houston Texas has written an excellent Northumbrian Smallpipes Tutor.No further info at this stage.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM

There is certainly a whole range of bagpipe traditions active in the USA now; but most of these seem to be of quite recent origin, and the original question seemed to be about early immigration. We can probably reasonably assume that all sorts of people took pipes with them when they went to live in the New World (hardly any country in Europe has no bagpipe tradition, and the instrument goes at least as far East as Iran and Iraq); without an appropriate social situation, however, it's unlikely that these will have survived for more than one generation.

Where reasonably large immigrant groups settled together, an imported musical tradition common to all would stand a decent chance of persisting; what we have to bear in mind is that this was not always the case; and that the pipes were in any case a minority interest in most cultures. We should not, for example, mistake the current (revived) popularity of the Galician pipes as evidence that they were similarly popular in the early 19th century. What seems to have happened is that second and third generation Americans quickly lost interest in the "quaint" and perhaps embarrassing customs of their European-born ancestors.

There are certainly surviving commercial recordings of traditional bagpipe music made in the USA (in fairly small quantities, for the "ethnic" or "race" market as a rule); I have a few (not originals) of Italian zampogne players, for example. There are also a few field recordings from the 1920s-30s available online at the Library of Congress sites, which include East European pipes. All of these, though, seem to represent "first generation" immigrant traditions, few having survived longer.

I don't doubt that the technical problems described earlier may have some bearing on all this; but it seems more likely that the traditions concerned were not in a very healthy state to begin with, and disappeared after a generation or so in the USA mainly because there was not sufficient interest in the available community to sustain them. It does seem from what people have said so far that current piping traditions in The USA are recent, deliberate revivals.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Jim Krause
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 10:38 PM

Among the peoples influencing American culture in a very large way are the so-called Scots-Irish. These folk are, as I understand it largely from Ulster. Further, I am under the impression that the bagpipes, either Uillean [sp?] or Highland are not part of their culture, they having migrated from the Scottish lowlands to Northern Ireland beginning in the first few decades of the 17th century. But what do I know? I'm a Dutchman.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM

Dutch influence is more important to US culture than is generally imagined; just as "Scots-Irish" is far less so than it is fashionable to suppose at present. For what it's worth, the bellows-blown Irish pipes (originally called "union" pipes, until the early 20th century writer Grattan Flood invented an imaginary, but altogether more romantic term, "uilleann") don't date back all that far. Bellows pipes were first developed, so far as we can tell, in the mid 17th - early 18th century French court; the method was subsequently taken up in Ireland, England and Scotland (in no particular order).

As I said earlier, it is a serious mistake to imagine that the popularity of bagpipes of any kind or nationality today bears any relation at all to their popularity a century ago; or two; or three. Bagpipes were played quite commonly in the Netherlands in the 17th century and earlier; but I have no idea at all if they reached America in any significant numbers from there.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 11:21 AM

McG. ; James Michener did extensive research for all of his books. In fact, he had a paid staff of researchers. It's been several years since I read "TEXAS" in paperback and I don't recall a listing of sources. Probably a search of the net for Michener would lead to his sources.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM

Yes, I know Michener used to ensure his books had the facts researched, that's why I'd be interested in where that he'd have found that story.

I take Malcolm's point about not reading present popularity of instruments as a guide to what was the case a few centuries back. Whether the bagpipes were popular in Galicia two centuries back I've no idea - but my understanding is that in the 18th century the musette was pretty fashionable in France.

The geography of instruments is quite interesting - I don't know if anyone had ever made an atlas showing the territory of various instruments and various families of instruments at various times. I think it'd be interesting.

The bagpipes stretching right across Europe and the northern Middle East, but never into China or Africa - or Russia so far as I'm aware. Hammer dulcimers Eastern and Central Europe, and a few other places such as England.

And then in the last few years it all gets globalised, with the maps torn up.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 12:05 PM

Malcolm Douglas, you may be right about Union-Uillean, but there is that intriguing Shakespeare quote about "woollen pipes". What do you make of that?


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM

Where does Shakespeare write "woollen pipes"? I'm not throwing doubt on the quote - but it'd be interesting seeing the context.

Given that uilleann pipes just means elbow pipes I'd be a bit surprised if the term hadn't been used for pipes with bellows - I mean, what else would you call pipes worked by the elbow (assuming you were speaking Irish)?

And then when the "union" pipes came along, using the term for this splendid innovation would have been an obvious thing to do.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 01:09 PM

I think you'd call them by the Irish word for bagpipes; or just pipes, which is what they were called until the bellows-blown version arrived in Ireland. Grattan Flood adduced no evidence for the existence of the term uilleann in reference to pipes, beyond Shakespeare's reference to "woollen pipes" (in The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, scene 1, line 55); since this was written a century or more before the first appearance of bellows pipes, any connection to Irish pipes is very unlikely; it is generally considered nowadays that the reference is either to the covering of the bag, or an example of a (now obsolete) use of the word to mean "rustic". The latter may be most likely.

At all events, scholars of Irish music such as Breandan Breathnach hav e long dismissed Grattan Flood's claims as mere unsubstantiated fantasy; though it is far too late to stop people using the term uilleann; wrong though it certainly is, the world is stuck with it. It hardly matters, so long as people don't try to draw conclusions from it.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 01:56 PM

Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 03:21 PM

Certainly in France the musette tradition was overtaken by the accordion towards the end of the 19th century (a classic Romeo and Juliet story about the daughter of the king of the Auvergne musettes falling for the son of the king of the Italian accordion players serving as the pivotal moment when the musettes lost ground). In France the factory workers all danced to musettes until the accordion took over. I wonder if squeeze boxes squeezed out whatever remnant bagpiping tradition there was in North America.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 03:33 PM

The old Irish for the Pipes 'a la' Coin, Egan etc was Uillean, meaning 'elbow'. You cannot now legislate 'don't draw conclusions ...' since the word was widely used to refer to the improved Irish instrument as played in the late 1800's.

That the Pipes did not take off in the new world is as much about the climate as anyother thing.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 04:05 PM

The point about the French in North America is that they were existing relatively cut off from France from the end of the 18th century (both in Canada and Louisiana), so I'd have thought that was exactly the kind of situation where the instrument would have been likely to survive as a living tradition.

I can't believe in climate as a reason for the pipes not surviving in the New World - given that over in the Old World bagpipes of one sort or another have been part of the tradition of countries all the way from Ireland as far as the Middle East, and even further. Fashion, and the arrival of instruments that were easier to learn to play are more likely reasons.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 05:42 PM

I'd put money on Breathnach over Coin and Egan, for sure. Where is their specific evidence? There is so much unsubstantiated mythology concerning the pipes in both Scotland and Ireland that it's hardly surprising that otherwise decent authorities sometimes just repeat old wives' tales (or in this case, old Grattan Flood tales), even when they really should know better. Repeat something often enough, though, and all sorts of people will start to believe it just because it is said so often. That really does seem to be the case here, unless new evidence has emerged very recently.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 09:15 PM

So would I put faith in Breathnach ( = Welsh ) but his great grandfather was not yet born when Egan/Coin were long dead.

Second issue, the Uillean were developed as a quiter instrument than the bagpipe. Out of interest the original improved primitive Uillean are all keyed to Bb, so they were low and sweet. I read somewhere that the arrival of the Uillean was a response to the law restraining use of the far louder bagpipe; however this too may be more bs, since also read of a precolonial tradition of bellows powered bagpipes as well.

The use of the word 'Uillean' is a take off from local usage just as today many in Ireland say Box ( gaelic is Buisce Ceol ..I think ) when they mean Accordion.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: CarolC
Date: 24 Nov 02 - 11:47 PM

I was just explaining some things about accordions to a young guitarist today. The subject of bagpipes and the similar pariah sort of status both types of instruments have came up. I said that accordions are almost the same instrument as bagpipes only with a lot more reeds.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Nov 02 - 05:23 PM

Not really - getting a sustained drone on an accordion would be a tricky thing to achieve - I suppose a skilled player might be able to manage it so it didn't get interupted when tye bellows cahhges direction. The Indiuan harmonium (which is really an accordion lying in its side) seems to achiev that kind of effect.

It would be possible to design a sort of hybrid bagpipe accordion instrument, with the bellows filling an airbag, and a keyboard device for the notes. I wonder if anyone's tried doing that.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: CarolC
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 04:44 PM

Actually, McGrath, I use something like a sustained drone on my accordion all the time. If you do it right, you can make it sound like you're just surging the bellows instead of changing the bellows direction.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Nov 02 - 05:08 PM

Interesting - I'd like to hear that.


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: CarolC
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM

Sure thing McGrath. If you're ever in Georgia, give me a holler ;-)


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 11:51 AM

The uilleann pipes did indeed cross the Atlantic with the emigration of the second half of the 19th century (if not before), but they seem to have come close to extinction among Irish-Americans in the mid-20th century, just as they did in Ireland. Chief Francis O'Neill presided over quite a circle of pipers in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but I suspect that respectability is what really did the damage, however valid the point about climate.

The Taylor brothers of Philadelphia are credited with the development of the wide-bore 'concert pitch' pipes which, when copied and perhaps further developed by Leo Rowsome and others, became the standard for much of the twentieth century, in Ireland as elsewhere. An attraction of the Taylor design was that it gave much more volume, important for dances and music-halls in pre-amplification days, though many people regret the loss of tone.

Patsy Touhey was one of several professional uilleann pipers in the US. He played at the Chicago world fair in 1904, but also in music halls where he brought the music to non-Irish audiences. His playing was to become quite influential in Ireland both through his 78 rpm recordings and through his influence on Andy Conroy who moved back to Ireland when he retired.

If you ask the same question on Chiff and Fipple, you'll probably get much more knowledgeable replies. The existence of an uilleann pipes forum on that website reflects a thriving uilleann pipes community in North America today, though this would mostly be due to the post-1970s revival.

I'm not even going to get into the uilleann/union argument!


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: Sandy McLean
Date: 28 Nov 02 - 08:04 PM

http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~ag371/Gaelic/barry.htm
Barry Shears is a Cape Breton Folk Piper.
Sorry that this URL won't copy but if you take the time to type it in it may answer some questions.
             Sandy


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Subject: RE: MusicalBS: Bagpipes in America
From: CarolC
Date: 29 Nov 02 - 01:55 AM

The bagpipe in Nova Scotia


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