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Bagpipes in America

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CarolC 29 Nov 02 - 01:55 AM
Sandy McLean 28 Nov 02 - 08:04 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 28 Nov 02 - 11:51 AM
CarolC 27 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Nov 02 - 05:08 PM
CarolC 26 Nov 02 - 04:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Nov 02 - 05:23 PM
CarolC 24 Nov 02 - 11:47 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 24 Nov 02 - 09:15 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Nov 02 - 05:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 24 Nov 02 - 03:33 PM
Peter T. 24 Nov 02 - 03:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 01:56 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Nov 02 - 01:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM
greg stephens 24 Nov 02 - 12:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Nov 02 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 24 Nov 02 - 11:21 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM
Jim Krause 23 Nov 02 - 10:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM
John Routledge 23 Nov 02 - 07:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,the O'Meara 23 Nov 02 - 06:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Nov 02 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,The O'Meara 22 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 02 - 07:52 PM
GUEST,Bill 22 Nov 02 - 07:35 PM
greg stephens 22 Nov 02 - 02:50 PM
PeteBoom 22 Nov 02 - 02:05 PM
smallpiper 22 Nov 02 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Neal Townley 22 Nov 02 - 06:49 AM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 10:42 AM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 10:34 AM
smallpiper 16 Aug 02 - 04:22 AM
Chanteyranger 16 Aug 02 - 01:54 AM
NicoleC 16 Aug 02 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,Crazy Little Woman 15 Aug 02 - 10:03 PM
GUEST 15 Aug 02 - 02:01 PM
Chanteyranger 15 Aug 02 - 05:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Aug 02 - 06:28 PM
NH Dave 14 Aug 02 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Crazy Little Woman 14 Aug 02 - 03:19 PM
NicoleC 13 Aug 02 - 10:00 PM
smallpiper 13 Aug 02 - 09:48 PM
pattyClink 13 Aug 02 - 09:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Aug 02 - 07:09 PM
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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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 - 12:00 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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 - 06:58 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: 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: 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 - 08:33 PM


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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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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