tube, David Wilton, Finlay MacDonald, Stirling, tuning, RSAMD, Border pipes, piper, drone, LBPS, equal temperament, National Archives of Scotland, pipers, the Society, Jon Swayne, Scottish Music, Highland, students, open tube, demonstration, British Legion, August Adolf Eduard Eberhard Kundt, temperature compensation, musical notes, major thirds, National Centre of Excellence Bodega, modern instruments, white notes, harmonics, harmonic series, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Richard Evans Border, LBPS chairman Martin Lowe, Lowland & Border Pipers' Society, Pete Stewart, National piping Centre, Pete Stewart Chairman Martin Lowe, Hamish Moore, Nigel Richard, Stirling Burgh, Plockton High School, Highland pipes, Royal Scottish Academy, Alan MacDonald, Nigel Richards, John Buchanan
In session at the Collogue, November 2009: (from left) RSAMD student David Wilton, former LBPS chairman Nigel Richard and National piping Centre tutor Finlay MacDonald. For full report, see P4 IN THIS ISSUE The new generation of bellows pipers (4); More on pipers' patronage (14); Hamish Moore's year in Italy (20); David Moore appreciation (25); Quest for a buzoon (28); Jon Swayne on tubular acoustics (32), Dixon weekend report (57)
President Julian Goodacre Treasurer lain Wells Minute Sec. Jeannie Campbell Membership Pete Stewart
Chairman Martin Lowe Secretary Judy Barker Newsletter Helen Ross Editor CS Ji m Gilchrist
JOURNAL OF THE LOWLAND ASNOCDIEBTYORDER PIPERS'
EDITORIAL IT WAS a sight and sound that boded well for the future of bellows piping in Scotland - if not necessarily for Lowland and Border repertoire during the Society's annual Collogue in Edinburgh last month, when the gathering enjoyed a talk and recital from four students from the BA Scottish Music course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, accompanied by Finlay MacDonald, these days a well known member of that younger generation of pipers who have been taking pipe music to broader audiences, himself an early student of the RSAMD degree course and now himself a piping tutor for it. While largely Highland-style music, it was, dynamic, zestful stuff, but it also raised the perennial question of why the Society, now into its 27 11' year,
is failing to attract the younger member '', freshany organisation requires to slay
chairmn During the AGM, our new dangerMartin Lowe, warned about the complaenyof the society drifting into with a largely senior membership. and there was some discussion of him younger members could be attracted
Finlay MacDonald at one point ',aid ehe would in future circulate round th materilRSAMD piping students any this Society's secretary cared to send him
While this is a topic which need'.
addressing (ideas, please, to the
Secretary, or to this sometime letter
forpage!) it needn't really he a cause
nedunnecessary hand-wringing. The
for new blood in the society is hardly a
new issue, and there inevitably come
historyperiods in any organisation's
when it starts
Teithhr e views expressed in Common Stock are those of the contributors and not necessarily those
of the Editor or of the Lowland & Border Pipers ' Society. The contents ofComonStockar
protected by copyright. None of them may be reproduced without the written consent oft he
copyright owner. The copyright in the individual contributions belongs to their authors and the
copyright in each edition of the magazine as a whole belongs to the Society.
when it starts to question its general state of health, purpose and direction. Loyal members, after all, do grow old along with their organisation. The associated discussion also spilled over into that other occasional topic, whether we should still use the name Lowland & Border Pipers' Society, when the bellows pipes revival, while patently successful, has widely - though by no means exclusively - established itself through the adoption of small pipes and, to a lesser extent, Lowland or Border pipes by Highland pipers, for traditional or contemporary Highland-style music. Yet this society was established on the back of a revived interest in a largely forgotten Lowland and Border repertoire, as well as the instruments used to play it, and although we are now well aware that the use of such pipes certainly didn't stop at the Highland line - or indeed at the Border, there remains a vital requirement that Lowland/Border piping culture continues to be investigated and revivified and that should be this society's remit, as well as maintaining our broader interest in and support of Highland and other players with an interest in these and similar instruments. Correction Sincere and overdue apologies to Ian K Murray, whose enthusiastic review of Judy Barker's debut CD, Chanter's Weave, in last December's issue of Common Stock had its final paragraph (and Ian's byline) un-ceremoniously lopped off owing to circumstances which remain unclear to this bemused
editor For the record, Ian's review should have concluded. "Both the Chairman and the President of the LBPS have given their enthusiastic support to the production of Chanters Weave. It is now up to the members to crown its artistic success by buying a copy of the CD and possibly one for a friend. - Ian K Murray" With this bumper issue - thanks largely to the lengthy transcript of Jon Swayne and co's intriguing, I Collogue presentation (see P32) - of Common Stock, now hand over editorship to Pete Stewart. My thanks to all contributors during my four year tenure and, on Pete's behalf keep those contributions coming. - Jim Gilchrist Editor from next issue, Pete StewArt Journal
@lbps. net Lennoxlove Concert Look out on the LBPS website and newsletter for details of a major bellows pipes concert to be held in the hall of Lennoxlove Castle, East Lothian, towards the end of May, organised by the Society with Haddington Festival. LBPS chairman Martin Lowe, who has tested his pipes in the stonevaulted hall, describes it as "a breathtakingly superb setting" CS Pipes for sale For sale: set of Richard Evans Border pipes. Beautiful tone. No bellows. Inc. Copy of More Power to Your Elbow E750 O.N.O. The pipes are in Tynemouth. Contact Richard Bowman, 0191 296 2691 3
C of[IogLn Finlay MacDonald (right) with RSAMD students, plus former LBPS chairman Nigel Richard joining in on cittern, during the Collogue in November Introducing the next generation Jim Gilchrist reports on the Society's annual Collogue, when students from the RSAMD Scottish music course showcased their considerable bellows piping skills QUITE APART from Jon Swayne and company ' s at times spectacular demonstration of "tube acoustics", extensively recounted elsewhere in this journal, the Society's annual Collogue, held once again at Edinburgh University School of Scottish Studies in George Square, featured a heartening showcase of bellows piping from students of the highly successful BA Scottish Music course at the Royal Scottish Academy of music and Drama in Glasgow 4
The three students,
Stephen Blake, Emma
Buchan and David
introduced by Finlay
apart from making a
name for himself with
his Finlay MacDonald
Band and other
groups, is a tutor at
the National Piping
Centre in Glasgow,
among other things
working with those
Stephen Blake playing small pipes in A as fellowRSAMD student Emma Buchan looks on
RSAMD students who enrol in the BA Scottish Music -
introduced by the academy in 2001 Almost all the playing was Highland or
Highland style material, but the standard of playing was very impressive
and, combined with the young players' enthusiasm, bodes well for the
Finlay, who was in the first intake of students for the RSAMD's BA in Scottish Music course back in 1996, graduating in 1999, recalled how while he had played bellows pipes a little, it wasn't until he arrived at the Academy and found that one of the more exciting aspects of the course was playing with other instrumentalists that his bellows playing came into its own. "Because of the dynamics of the Highland pipes, the Border pipes became very much my instrument outwith the Highland piping lessons," he explained.
With that, he continued, came changes in how he played, as he listened to fiddle variations, for instance, or to harpists or accordionists. He reckoned that listening to fiddlers in particular, had influenced how he played the Border pipes. "When I play Highland pipes now it feels very different from when I play Border pipes, and I feel there's a lot more freedom with the bellows pipes." 5
The piping element of the Scottish Music course was largely focussed on the Highland pipes, with tutors Alan MacDonald and Stuart Samson, but using bellows pipes enabled pipers to feel "a bit more included in the course ' s group work sessions" and helped their development ins a group playing context. With the advent in 2001 of the BA (Scottish Music -Piping) course, David Wilton and Finlay MacDonald during the there was more teaching RSAMD recital at the Collogue ti me devoted to piping, including studying the repertoire under the teaching of Alan MacDonald, which included a look at Lowland material. Finlay reckoned, however, that 100 per cent of those on the course came from Highland piping backgrounds and still mostly played the Highland instrument - although many of them would also have a bellows set. "We probably should try and encourage some more Lowland style playing," he said, somewhat apologetically, "but the reality is that it's more Highland piping." Overall, however, he thought it "quite a healthy situation" It was notable that, back when he started on the course, playing bellows pipes was quite a new experience, whereas at last year ' s Celtic Connections in Glasgow, it was "quite a nice moment" to see some 20 RSAMD students on stage, all playing bellows pipes. He went on to open the playing, using Border pipes, with a slow air from Bulgaria, then a Macedonian tune, both picked up on his piping travels in these areas. He was followed by Stephen Blake, who played Scots and Irish 9/8 jigs and reels on small pipes in A. "We're open to everything," he said. "You can incorporate it all into your own style, or you can go down one road if you want." 6
Emma Buchan, who is Pipe
Major with the National
Youth Pipe Band of Scotland,
played strathspeys and some
fine Duncan Johnston tunes
on Border pipes, while David
Wilton (also a world highland
dancing champion) also used
Border pipes and ventured
briefly into Lowland territory with Wally as the Marquis
Ran before shifting into an
energetic set of Irish polkas.
Reflecting something of what
Finlay MacDonald plays as Nigel Richards accompanies on cittern
Finlay had said about different approaches, indeed mind sets,
David said that has a different
set of pipes for bellows, solo and band piping. "Different tunes and styles
tend to come into my head, depending on what pipes I'm using."
All four pipers played in a lively finale, joined by former LBPS chairman Nigel Richards on cittern. During the session, one or two listening members took the opportunity to ask whether the students had known about the Society competition, held in Glasgow the past two years, or other LBPS events - reflecting the feeling the that the Society could do with new blood. Few of them had, and Finlay offered to circulate among the students in future any material that Judy Barker, the Society secretary could send him. CS From the AGM At the AGM, held during the Collogue, Society chairman Jim Buchanan handed over office to Martin Lowe who has been acting chairman for most of the past year owing to Jim's ill health
. Jim, who is very much on the mend following cardiac surgery, was presented with honorary life membership of the Society, and declared that he would hang it "next to my certificate from the cardiac rehabilitation unit"
Martin Lowe warned about the danger of the society drifting into complacency, with a largely senior membership, and there was considerable discussion of how younger members could be attracted. 7
The making of a renaissance Gillian Chalmers, piper with the group Bodega and RSAMD graduate, looks at the role of the manufacturer in the revival of Border pipes in this extract from her final year dissertation. We reprint it with the kind permission of Piping Today, the magazine of the National Piping Centre, which first published it Gillian Chalmers: wrote dissertation on influence of pipe-making in the revival AS PART of my final year studies for a BA Scottish Studies (Piping), at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, I had to write a dissertation on a topic of my choice. Having studied the history and repertoire of my main instrument, the Highland bagpipe, extensively throughout my degree, I felt a study of Border pipes would be of great interest as I had little knowledge of their history, despite having played them for around seven years. The main aim of my study was to look at the recent revival of border pipes and, in particular, the influence of the pipe manufacturer in this. I began by looking at the concept and meaning of "revivalism" and "tradition" generally; before carrying out more specific research into revival in Scotland, piping and ultimately border piping, as well as studying the characteristics of other revivals worldwide. 8
I interviewed leading Border pipe manufacturers - Hamish Moore, Nigel Richard, Stuart McCallum and Colin Ross. I am indebted to these guys for their patience in sharing their knowledge and insights with me. Without their input, I doubt I would have been able to complete my dissertation - and, I certainly doubt if we would be in the position we are in today with the great resurgence in the playing and popularity of the Border pipe! Having prepared my background I used a model devised by the American ethnomusicologist Tamara E Livingston to compare and analyse this particular revival with the characteristics she found common to all revivals. The "basic ingredients" usually necessary for a successful revival are: 1 An individual or small group of `core revivalists' 2. Revival informants and/or original sources (e.g. historical sound recordings) 3 A revivalist ideology and discourse 4. A group of followers which form the basis of a revivalist community 5. Revivalist activities (organisations, festivals, competitions) 6. Non-profit and/or commercial enterprises catering to the revivalist market. The following is an extract from my dissertation, which aims to summarise the main aspects of the Border pipe revival and in particular, "the role of the manufacturer in the recent revival of Border pipes" THE REASONS for the original decline in popularity of the Border pipes are rather unclear but it is likely that it involved a number of factors li mitation due to keys available, a lack of quality instruments, and even, something as mundane as the introduction of mechanised town clocks outdating the pipes' use to "strike the hour" Although there have been many revivals worldwide, the 1950s folk song revival seems to have been pivotal in awakening Scotland's traditional musicians to many other possibilities, both in terms of an increased awareness of the need to preserve our musical heritage and tradition and in the number of folk groups and the greater experimentation they have shown, such as the present common inclusion of the Border piper 9
Through the great work of collectors such as Hamish Henderson, a great deal of our oral tradition was collected and recorded before it had been allowed to decline to the point that much was lost forever The work of Hamish is so well regarded by the Travellers themselves, that many of them are now aware of their own decline and are making concerted efforts to collect, publish and record before it is too late. Unfortunately, it seems that there were few original sound recordings of the Border pipe, or records of fingering and repertoire and few, if any, old players surviving by the time curiosity was once again aroused in pipers "looking for more", as Hamish Moore puts it. As discussed by the manufacturers interviewed, initial attempts to "revive " the Border pipe were hampered by the inability to find an instrument of acceptable quality, yet interest grew as the possibilities of this instrument were realised, and the desire to move away from the narrowness of the pipes as a solitary and separate instrument, used only in competition or pipe bands, increased. Although retrieving the "old style" is vital as part of our heritage, it has been seen, to some extent, to cause stagnation. There must be continuation pref and selection; an old tune isn ' t necessarily a good tune. I personally the now commonly quoted definition of tradition as being "living and breathing", as there can be no specific date or point in time marking a definitive break between "old" and "new", thus allowing for "continuation" The human mind is curious and enquiring, why else would we feel drawn to learn about the past, and equally, it is only natural that we will explore and experiment with new tunes and elements from other genres and cultures. In the past, we had little access to outside influence such as foreign music and, indeed, little access to anything outside our own immediate circle and neighbourhood. Modern communication, travel and technology are constantly widening the possibilities and it will be very interesting to see, iii the next few years, just how much instrument manufacture will be affected by technology, as being trialled by the likes of Stuart McCallum. and how much traditional craftsmanship will still be needed. In terms of Livingston's framework (item 1), the Border pipe certainly satisfies the requirement for a "core group of revivalists," with a combination of players, collectors and historians leading the way, the Lowland & Border Pipers' Society in particular among them. It is interesting, but not unique, that several of this core group went on to become 10 11
manufacturers; their motivation, however, ran a lot deeper than simply realising the commercial potential (Livingston item 6). Their love, enthusiasm and appreciation for the instrument together with growing frustration at the lack of quality pipes led them to experiment for their own benefit before eventually becoming full time manufacturers.
Although, we again satisfy Livingston's requirement for "enterprise" in
that we now have a number of manufacturers to fulfil our need for good
instruments, the enterprise only occurred after an individual developed such
a love and interest that they were drawn into manufacture. There is not a
huge amount of commercial activity in other areas such as trying to make
money from running Border pipe festivals, classes, books or the like; most people just want to play, My case studies
although some will make money playing in a band. became makers
Often an entrepreneur sets out to look for a product/business idea, or to "fill a gap in the
market," with the sole goal being to "make money " accident in order
This was not the case for any of my case studies, to satisfy their
who all became makers almost by accident in order to satisfy, primarily, their own need for a better
own need for
instrument Ideology, discourse, activities and followers (to
satisfy the remaining elements of Livingston's
framework) are certainly not lacking and continue to grow with a number of
Border pipe publications and events now underway As to followers, I
personally sit in the middle of this group, and am a typical example of what
Moore wanted to change.
As one of the first pupils at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, in Plockton, I was introduced to bellows pipes by its director, Dougie Pincock. Prior to this, I was very much the stereotypical solo and pipe band player with very little knowledge or experience in anything outside this circle. Playing bellows pipes opened whole new avenues I had not previously explored and is now my main interest allowing me to enjoy a far greater range of possibilities. I THINK this Border pipe revival seems to have "sparked the imagination " of many pipe players and seems to have filled the "gap," giving us back the option of a much wider opportunity to play as part of the folk community;
rather than just being pipers - a separate, isolated group for ceremonial purposes and competitions only Having seemingly satisfied all the elements required for a "revival", have we reached the point where the Border pipe revival has been successful, and can we say it is complete? I believe it has been very successful given the amount of players we now have with several very successful manufacturers around the country struggling to meet demand. In terms of the level of raised awareness, it would also seem fair to say that this "revival" could now be considered complete. However, if we adhere to the principal that we should have exploration, continuation and development then this, and all revivals, should never be complete. Only time will tell if this is the case, and only then can the revival be truly defined as successful. And the role of the manufacturer in the Border pipe revival? I believe the manufacturer is crucial, as a good quality instrument is extremely important to its popularity and the desire to play it. However the availability of a good instrument is not enough in itself to prompt a revival. Just because the instrument is there is not enough to make someone want to go and buy it and play it. The other elements are required, too. It is unlikely that a revival could succeed if the only motivation was "commercial." Again, people won't buy the instrument just because it's there. The enthusiasm and devotion of all the manufacturers I interviewed was as important to the success of this revival, as their instrument. Finally, referring to the idea that a revival consists of a kernel group including an activist, a researcher, and a pragmatic practitioner; could it be said that some manufacturers, such as Moore, served all three categories? It could be argued that without pragmatic practitioners such as these, a revival would have been unlikely to succeed. GILLIAN CHALMERS' love of piping began at the tender age of seven, when she heard a pipe band playing at the harbour in her home town of Fraserburgh and decided she wanted to take up the Highland pipes. 12
She started with the
town's British Legion
pipe band before being
tutored by Pamela
Smith, who introduced
her to Buchan Pipe
Band under Pipe Major
Malcolm Whyte After
playing in junior
joined Elton British
Legion band and then,
aged just 12, moved to
the National Centre of Excellence
Bodega (all togged upP)),, with Chalmers on left
Traditional Music at Plockton High School
, where she studied piping under
Dougie Pincock and Ian McFadyen, and also played fiddle. There she met the
other young musicians with whom she plays in Bodega, who went on to scoop
the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Gillian plays Highland and Border
pipes, whistle and fiddle, with Ross Couper on main fiddle, Tia Files on acoustic
and bass guitar and occasional pipes; Norrie Maclver on accordion, guitar,
djembe and vocals with June Naylor on clarsach and piano. They've toured in
the US and Canada and this past year appearances have included Celtic Connections and Piping Live! as well as the -fonder festival in Denmark. They
have two albums, Bodega and Under the Counter, both on Greentrax Records,
under their belts.
After leaving Plockton in 2005, Gillian moved on to the RSAMD for her BA in Scottish Studies (Piping) course, tutored by Gavin Stoddart and Allan Macdonald and later by Stuart Samson and Finlay Macdonald. She plays Fred Morrison Reel pipes made by McCallum Bagpipes, but with a Nigel Richard Garvie chanter in "a bit of mix and match" She also has a set of Ian Kinnear smallpipes.
Talking about her dissertation, she explains: "Despite common perception that Lowland/Border piping refers specifically to that geographical area, bellows piping was equally common in the North-East of Scotland and the Highlands. Coming from the North-East, I was intrigued to find that one of the last notable bellows-blown Border or Lowland pipers, Frances Jameson [also known as Francie Markis], came from New Blyth in Aberdeenshire, just a few miles from my home.
"Despite this I had never heard of him which rather sums up my ignorance
and, I think, the general state of the Border pipe world, generally until very
recently, showing the desperate need for not only a revival in terms of playing
but also for the history element
- John Stavin
From Stirling's Common Good Accounts, 1675, recording Ј6-13sh-4d "for ane
pair of pypes to the piper"National Archives
of Scotland E82/55/5/9/94v
Patronage, or the price of
the piper's bag
Keith Sanger dispels some preconceptions as he looks at patronage and the roles of Highland and Lowland pipers
I N COMMON with all musicians, pipers required "patronage", that is some form of reward in return for their service, be it provision of a house or land. a "salary" in the case of the burgh pipers, or an irregular cash income from playing for weddings and similar functions. As further evidence comes to light, it is becoming clear that there were no neat divisions into which the pipers method of "reward" can be placed. Even among the "Highland pipers", the suggestion that they all received some land in return for "hereditary service" is increasingly requiring modification with the evidence showing a considerable variation in conditions of service between the different estates. Among the "Lowland" pipers, especially where the information is derived from kirk session or the odd burgh record, their modern public image has tended to be somewhat lower than their corresponding Highland counterparts, but the deeper we dig, the more a somewhat different picture can be presented, at least when comparing like for like at the top end of the scale. Part of the problem arises from the fact that the description "chief's piper" automatically sounds better than `"burgh piper", when it actually only reflects the fact that as there were few burghs within the Highland area, it was generally only the chief who could provide employment for a piper It is interesting to note that of the two Highland burghs of Inverness and Inveraray, both actually had burgh pipers but with Highland names, and in the case of Inveraray in 1764, the piper John Mcllchonnel was also a burgess and a local boat builder 14
In making any direct comparisons between the relative position and wealth of what are usually described as "Highland" or "Lowland" pipers, it is first necessary to have a fairly detailed picture of some pipers to compare here. The first is Alexander Fairly, who was burgh piper in Stirling during the second part of the 17th century He seems to have been one of a series of pipers in Stirling, starting with a Thomas Edmane in 1582, 2 John Forbes who flourished between 1598 to 1607, 3 Harie Livingstone on record in 1614, 4 James Cowan, 1622, 5 John Buchanan
, 1661 x 1664, 6 John Innis, 1672, ' Alexander Fairly in 1675, Duncan Stalker in 1684, 8 and probably the last to hold the office, Alexander Glass who died in 1746. 9 Several of these pipers were also granted burgess status, in the case of Cowan on his payment of Ј16, but with Fairly. Stalker and Buchanan for free, and Buchanan's "privilege" was also to be passed to his children. In 1668 another piper called John Benny was also granted burgess status for free, "for his service in the militia", presumably a cost-free way of persuading him to help fill the burgh's military quota. 10 There seems to have been a few years' break between Buchanan disappearing from the scene before John Innis was appointed in 1672, followed by Alexander Fairly who was appointed in 1675, and it is between that year and 1782 that there is an almost continuous run of the Stirling Common Good Accounts which provide the fullest record of a Burgh piper to date. Since he was not appointed a burgess until April 1679 and not all the pipers were granted that privilege, it would imply that it was not just something that Stirling automatically gave to its pipers and still had to be earned. The piper's salary was Ј20 per year, sometimes paid in one lump sum and at others, depending it would appear on the treasurer's whim, at half or quarter yearly increments. l 1 That salary was however just a base line and his total remuneration was worth much more when all allowances are taken into account. In 1675, he received a new instrument as the accounts show that Ј6-13sh-4d were paid "for ane pair of pypes to the piper", then just to show that chanter accidents happened even then, in 1677 a further Ј1-15sh was paid "for ane chantrill to the pypers pypes " Of course instruments have running costs and the following year 14 shillings was spent "for 2 skins to the pypers bag" Presumably as the animals tended to be smaller then, one skin was used for the bag while another was needed to provide the long strip of leather required to over-sew the welt. 15
MetcErical An idea of the life of a pipe bag is indicated by a further purchase when in December 1680 "Item payed out for two skins to mend the pypers bagis of his pypes " at a cost of 12 shillings. The final reference in this series occurs a year later when Ј2 was entered under "Item to the pyper per order of the magistrates for mending his pypes" . unfortunately there is no indication what repair was needed but at tha12t price looks like considerably more work than just a replacement chanter There was a further reference in 1683 when an entry "Item to the pyper to buy haggis 8sh" appears, but although it would suggest a continuing decline in the cost of leather, it is not clear whether it refers to Alexander Fairly or his successor Duncan Stal'k' er, as there was a period of some two years overlap between the two pipers. Having dealt with his running costs Alexander Fairly was also provided with clothing although it is harder to assess the full value of this benefit as the clothing accounts usually covered the drummer and piper together, on one occasion a total bill of Ј44-16sh, or on another when the large sum of Ј261 was spent on cloths for the six town officers, (including the drummer and piper), which assuming an equal cost amounts to Ј43-10sh per person. When it came to shoes the entries tended to be more individual, and over the period of his tenure at least five pairs were bought for the piper at a cost of around Ј2 a pair i4 After this there comes the question of extra payments, for example "Item to the pyper for playing to the workmanis. .. Ј1-4sh " , 15 and other " outside " earnings. It seems clear from a comparison with the drummer that their annual salaries simply covered their basic "contract" to play round the burgh morning and evening. Outside that time any further use of their services seems to have been made by extra payments on an as required basis. This certainly affected the piper far less than the drummer who frequently was used to accompany the town officials making proclamations, events whose ti ming obviously could not be predicted. This greater requirement for sudden calls on his services probably accounts for the drummer actually receiving a larger basic salary than the piper However, by implication, outside his basic contract the piper was certainly free to make extra money from outside earnings, fairs, weddings etc. but as these were most likely to be in cash, they are much harder to quantify Some Lowland pipers certainly were employed by members of the titled families but, unlike their Highland counterparts, probably on a specific non- 16
1680 and Stirling Burgh pays 12 shillings for skins to mend "the pypers bagis
of his pypes"
National Archives of Scotland E82/55/5/9/153v
hereditary basis if the example of the Dundee piper John Fenton
Described as the "late pyper to the Earl of Airlie", he successfully petitioned
the Burgh in 1734 to be admitted as town officer and piper in place of
Robert Owen, who had formerly enjoyed both offices but had lately been removed therefrom. '' But the relationship of Lowland estates with their local
piper seem to have been more a case of benevolent patronage rather than
directly employing them if the evidence of the second of this pair of fairly
well documented pipers was typical.
The Polwarth estate of the Earls of Marchmont extends from just South of Duns down to Greenlaw, in the Merse of Berwickshire. At the period of interest here it was during the time of the 3rd Earl, although his earlier home was replaced by the building of Marchmont House in 1750. The piper whose name was John Ma
rshell seems to have been preceded by an Alex Swine who was paid Ј1 (British, as the account books have it) by the estate for attending the Greenlaw fair in 1732, but by 1740 Marshell was on the scene being paid for eight days' threshing, presumably playing for rather than actually doing it himself. From that point until 1753 he appears in the family papers on a variety of occasions. "
There is no evidence that he was a direct tenant of the estate, unless he was sitting rent free, although in those cases an amount equivalent to the rent that would have been paid is usually found listed somewhere among the charges side of the accounts. There was, however, a Patrick Marshell who was the major tenant of Redbraes Farm, the home farm of the estate and there is good evidence to believe that the piper was living there as part of a larger family holding. When at harvest time and everybody on the estate was recruited to help, the piper's wife was listed at Redbraes Farm when she received her harvest wages and on the occasions when John Marshell piper was listed under a place name
it was either given as Redbraes or "in Polwarth", effectively the same place. 18
The mixture of records included both payments to the piper but also records of the piper buying oatmeal from the estate and also receiving a loan of money, which again points to him living locally On one occasion in 1747 he seems to have been required to be in attendance at the house for a prolonged period and was paid Ј1-2sh-6d for "Pipers Suppers "19 This form of remuneration may have been common practice when pipers were required to be actually in residence with their Lowland patrons as another version of that sort of allowance can be found among the Household Accounts for Callendar House. (near Falkirk), where it is recorded on the 3 December 1759, To my Lords pyper Iwo weeks kitchen money, 2 sh " , 20 which possibly suggests that "kitchen piping " has some well established precedents. References 1 Beaton, E and Maclntvre, S. eds. The Burgesses of Inveraray 1665 1963, Scottish Record Society. New Series 14, (1990). p 178. 2. Scottish History Society, 4th series, vol 17 Stirling Presbytery Records 1581 1587 p84 3. Renwick, R, ed, Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Stirling, p 118: Register of the Kirk Session of Stirling in Dennistoun, J and MacDonald, A, eds, Miscellany of the Maitland Club, vol i. (1833), p 131 132. 4. Renwick, R, ed. Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Stirling, (1889), p 136 5H.arri son, J, ed. Stirling Burgess List 1600 1699 (1991), p 29 6. Renwick, 1?, ed. Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Stirling . (1889f p 245 7 Renwick, R, ed, Extracts from the Records of the Royal Burgh of Stir ling. (1889), p 12-13 8. National Archives of Scotland, (NASA), E82 55/5'9, folio 175v. Stirling Council Archives B66/231 9N.ASA , CC21/6'54 /6'54 3604. 10. Harrison, J, ed. Stirling Burgess List 1600 1699, (1991), p 26, 29, 40 and 73. 11 NASA , E82/55/5/9, Stirling Common Good Accounts 1660 1682. Some additional runs of accounts including some of the years from 1683 to 1690 can be found in the Stirling Council Archives catalogued as B66/23/1 1N2A.SA , E825559, folios 94v, 112, 113v, 153v and 169. 13. Stirling Archive B66/23/1 page 2. 1N4A.SA , E82/55/5/9 , 9, f 85, 91 v v, 94, 121v, 130, 152 and 157 1N5A.SA , E82/55.5/9, ,f 95v. 18
First Melrose, '`'e''
then the world
EACH MARCH, the ;,q
Society ' s Melrose Teaching ,~:,
Weekend has a particular
theme or focus for the music = ,.
which is taught. In recent
..$? · > `M`
years, we have looked at
"Rhythm and Dance", "The ';
Irish Connection" and
M"Border and Northumbrian usic"
lain Maclnnes (right) and Fin Moore in session at This corning year we are the March 2009 Melrose Teaching Weekend going to widen our horizons and learn tunes from around the world. Since the tutors are going to be Annie Grace, Gary West and Iain Maclnnes, we can expect to encounter Galician and Breton tunes and many others too. We have got some great tutors and I am sure that we wil learn some wonderful new tunes.
The venue will be once again the George and Abbotsford Hotel in Melrose, the gathering meeting from the evening of Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February, 2010. Bookings can be made on-line (www Ibps.net) or directly to me George Greig (01224 867516 or ggreig[email protected]
Barga: the Tuscan hill town where Hamish Moore spent a memorable year as
a musician in residence
The high road to Barga
Piper and pipemaker Hamish Moore recalls the year he spent as an artist in residence in the Tuscan hill town where everyone speaks English with a Glasgow accent
IT WAS early in 2007 that I heard a fascinating programme on Radio 4. I had heard vaguely of the Tuscan hill town of Barga and knew that our celebrated artist, John Bellany, had settled and worked there. I also knew that a high proportion of the population of the town had relatives in the West of Scotland and it turns out that 60 per cent of the town ' s population have Scots/Italian relatives. There's a poster in the town - "The most Scottish Town in Italy" Is it any wonder? Bellany ' s radio interview, however, was interesting enough to get me looking on the internet for flights to Pisa and so it was in May 2007 that a holiday was planned. It was my intention that we would hire a car, drive to Barga, spend a couple of nights there before exploring other areas of 20
Northern Tuscany However, nothing, not even Bellany's radio interview, prepared me for what I would find when I arrived in Barga. I found beauty beyond belief and a Community Work
ing, functioning and thriving within the walls of a thousand-year-old town. Not only that; but the stories of all the Scotslltalians are true. There are at least six prominent businesses in the town owned and run by lovely people who had been born and brought up in the west of Scotland but have now returned home to settle in Barga. They of course speak fluent Italian, and English - with a Scottish accent. It was their ancestors who emigrated to Scotland, mainly at the beginning of the 20th century, and established the Italian ice cream parlours, the fish and chip shops and the wonderful Italian cafes, to which the Scots took with such enthusiasm and held in such affection. I was hooked by this anthropological curiosity and the rest of the holiday was spent firmly planted in the town, exploring the narrow streets, walking on the nearby mountain paths and sampling the best and most reasonably priced restaurants I had ever come across. The car rental company was about to experience the best hire of their lives, because our little Fiat's wheels didn't turn, except to get us to and from Pisa airport. Barga itself is in the Garfagnana Valley, sandwiched between the Apennines and the Carrera mountains that gave Michelangelo and the world its most famous marble. The town is perched beautifully high on a hilltop with stunning views of the mountains and surrounding country Its streets are just narrow enough to curtail the endeavours of most cars and the piazzas become the meeting places, thronged with people in the balmy summer evenings. The Scots Italians all come home in the summer and like birds coming into roost, they have their favourite piazzas where they congregate every evening. Walking through one of these piazzas with your ears open is like walking down Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday afternoon. Most journeys anywhere in Barga are made on foot and this more than anything determines the thriving Social interaction
that is normal in the town. There is a wealth of wonderful eating places, the recipes are local and the products fresh, with flavours that burst on to the taste buds. Over the years, Barga has attracted a high proportion of writers, artists and musicians. As well as Bellany's gallery in the Piazza Angelio, there are 21
usually 30-40 art exhibitions mounted every summer There are opera and jazz festivals in the summer, and a thriving jazz club meets every Friday throughout the year There are also regular traditional Italian music sessions in the famous Aristos Bar, which is generally regarded as the unofficial cultural centre of Barga. It was at one of these informal sessions that I played a few tunes on my small pipes and quickly got chatting to Keane, the dynamic and enigmatic figure who is the founder and editor of the wonderfully informative and innovative online news paper Barganews (see www barganews.com). As we chatted, it became obvious that we had much in common and , one topic lead seamlessly to another Between us we constructed an artist/musician residency for a year here in the old town of Barga. Keane, being an artist himself, had long loved the concept of "°artist in residence'" and within 48 hours had arranged a meeting with the mayor, who approved the post for me. By the end of my week in Barga, I had been offered a year as artist in residence and given a studio in Piazza Angelio. My new workshop in this most beautiful of squares was only yards away from Bellany's Gallery and one of the best osterias in Tuscany It was with a sense of adventure, excitement and a wee tinge of fear that I set off on my way to Barga in January 2008 to start my new life in Tuscany With half a workshop including my Myford ML7 lathe in the back of my car, I took the overnight ferry through stormy seas from Rosyth to Zeebrugge. From there it was down through France and across the Alps, further on to Genoa and down the west coast of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean closely to my right. From there, swinging east, it was an easy route up through Lucca and the mountains and on to Barga. There, I quickly set up my tools and in my new studio started work making chanters and chanter reeds for sending back to my on Fin in our main workshop in Dunkeld. My year in Barga was probably one of the best of my life, with new experiences and friends, a new language to speak and a wonderful daily rhythm to get used to. I had streams of visitors, which was lovely but it felt sometimes especially ill the summer like I was learning what it would be like to run a very busy B&B Living and working in this town was a rare 22
privilege and I know that the friends I made during my year as artist in residence will be friends for life. Inspired by Keane, I wrote a tune, Le Campane di Barga, based on the three notes sounded by the bells of the local duomo, and this was performed at a concert, which I hosted in the town's beautiful 17th century theatre. The bell ringers rang the bells to start the concert and I played small pipes along with them, filling the theatre with glorious sound. The local Barga choir sang it together with Sangstream, the community choir from Edinburgh who came out especially to perform in the concert. With Sangstream, came their director, Mairi Campbell, and her husband, Dave Francis, as well as Ken Campbell from Glasgow and Loreen Merriman from Dunkeld. Also on board was Fin, my son and his girlfriend and very fine fiddler, Sarah Hoy, and my daughter Fiona, another fine fiddler Three local Scots-Italians, Sonia, Adele and Vanda were the stalwarts who provided invaluable support and help at the concert. The theatre was full to capacity I' m now back here at home in Portobello, Edinburgh, and working in Prestonpans and Port Seton, towns twinned with Barga. And again the connection is John Bellany The twinning arrangement exists because of John and art is a big thing in Prestonpans. Sponsored by the Baron of Prestoungrange, Prestonpans is now on the map as Scotland's Mural Town. Along with a truly inspired team Prestoungrange has been instrumental in stimulating so much art in the town. I got to know the art group when they came out to Barga in 2008 to paint in their twinned town. The Baron's administrative assistant asked me then what I was doing when I came back to Scotland - because, she said, " I think we would like to offer you a similar position in The Pans' as you have here in Barga" I came home across the Alps again at the end of last year with my Myford once again packed in the back of the car I also came with a treasure; an original Bellany which John kindly gave me as a way of saying thank you for playing for him at a surprise party thrown for him by his lovely wife, Helen. came home across the Alps again at the end of last year with my Myford once again packed in the back of the car I also came with a treasure; an original Bellany which John kindly gave me as a way of saying thank you for playing for him at a surprise party thrown for him by his wife, Helen. A treasure indeed! 23
I love the community here in Portobello and The Pans and I love this coast on the Firth of Forth. I also play at official events concerned with The Baron and the community and run a monthly traditional music session in The Goth in Prestonpans. I have been given one of the pottery workshops there to carry on making my pipes in conjunction with Fin in Dunkeld. Barga was an amazing experience, but I couldn't have done it without the support of two key people to whom I will be eternally grateful. The first is Keane, who not only instantly understood the concept and organised the whole affair for me, but helped and supported me in my year there. The second is my son, Fin who with good heart and good grace took on the day to day running of our pipe-making business, and kept it all going while I was dodging out in Italy Grazie mille a entrambi. Hamish will run the first Barga School of Piping, Traditional Music and Dance in Barga from 20-26 June, 2010. Tutors will be Allan MacDonald, Fin Moore, Tiber Falzette and Alberto Massie (pipes), Sarah Hoy (fiddle), Chris Norman (flute) and Frank McConnell (step dance, etc). Tuition fee is Ј300, plus accommodation costs ranging from dormitory to B&B. For further details see www.hamishmoore.com
Hamish playing in playing his composition, Le Campane di Barga, with the
Combined Choirs and other musicians in Barga.
Appreciation: David Moore Tropical forester, carpenter, piper and pipe-maker, David Moore brought his knowledge of timbers to the early days of the cauld wind pipes. This appreciation is based on a eulogy given at his funeral by his son, Hamish Moore
particular contribution to
the bellows pipes revival
in Scotland was just one
facet of an extraordinary
life, during the latter
years of which he
skills and a forester's
knowledge of tropical
ti mbers to the lathe, and
to his talks to the LBPS
and articles for this
David, who died on David Moore (centre), flanked by two Black Watch
24 October, aged 90, pipers based in British Guyana, playing at the St was born on the 27 th Andrews society Ball in Trinidad, 1955 March 1919, the eldest child of James and Margaret Moore (nee Campbell). The family lived at 60 Wellfield Street in Springburn and his father, James, was employed as an iron driller, making steam locomotives, in the districts then thriving heavy engineering industry Springburn at that time was a thriving community based largely round the engineering works of Cowlairs and Hydepark and a big part of David's early life was the local Boys Brigade, where he learned to play the pipes and became an active member of their pipe band.
He left Albert High at the age of 14 to take up a six-year apprenticeship with the firm of lain Mars, sign writers and gilders, and to this day there are a few signs left in Scotland which he lettered. At the outbreak of the Second 25World War
David enlisted with the 51st Highland Division and was among the thousands taken prisoner at St Valery, Normandy, in June, 1940. However, he used his time as a POW, when not working as a medic in the camp hospital, to start studying and, with encouragement from officers in the camp and textbooks supplied by the Red Cross
, took his London University
Matriculation in 1941, going on to pass his first year university degree
subjects of chemistry, physics, zoology and botany Returning to Scotland in 1945, he completed the practical elements of his course, initially while stationed at Edinburgh Castle, when the authorities allowed him to visit the botanic garden
s and the University Forestry faculty in George Square, He completed his course over the next three years, having married Agnes Sutherland in September 1945. After graduating in forestry in 1948, and reverting to freelance sign writing to make ends meet during a period of unemployment, he eventually joined the Colonial Service and was posted to Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, returning to Oxford University
after two years' probation to complete a post-graduate degree in tropical forestry By the mid-1950s he had been promoted to Conservator of Forests in Trinidad and Tobago, whose teak plantations were the oldest and largest in the Western Hemisphere
. His appointment also made him Chief Game Warden, responsible for the rich diversity of wildlife in Trinidad and Tobago, and he particularly loved the tens of thousands of scarlet ibis which returned to roost each evening to the Caroni Swamp, on the outskirts the capital town of Port of Spain. David's piping skills made him very welcome among the island's large Scottish population. He was appointed official piper to the community's thriving St.Andrews Society in 1948, continuing in the post until 1963 when he returned to Scotland. Hamish Moore recalls listening to his father piping round the quadrangle at his office when he practised - his father became Hamish's first piping teacher For his piper's garb, he had his Campbell kilt, which he himself had made in 1936, sent out from home and a pair of hose was purchased and also posted out. A local leather worker made shoes and belt to his specification and a tailor made the jacket. Agnes sewed her husband's lace jabot, but he still needed a sporran and looked for an appropriate pelt. When the leatherworker produced the pelt of a "protected" Trinidad wild cat, David had to avert his game-warden's eyes before accepting the offer 26
The sporran chain was a cheap dog chain he had silver-plated by a friend and the copper front plate in copper was engraved and also silver plated. Hamish still has all these items - except the jacket, which succumbed to moths - and wore them in 2005 when he had the pleasure of returning to Trinidad with his fiddle-playing daughter, Fiona, to play at the St. Andrew's Ball. On that trip, they visited David's beloved teak plantations at Mount Harris and his old Forest Department in Port of Spain, where they were welcomed by his former staff. David's other great pastime, particularly during his Trinidad days, was woodworking, making furniture and turning lamps and bowls. In his workshop at the forest department in Port of Spain, he made, assembled then dismantled a teak staircase, as well as the floors and window frames for the house in East Linton which he would build between coming home in July 1963 and heading off again to work as a United Nations
Consultant in April 1964. He spent the latter years of his forestry career with the UN, living and working in Central and South America
, Indonesia, Nepal, Africa and India. Twenty five years ago, he and Agnes left their unique, custom-built teak house in East Linton and moved to North Berwick - a place in which the family had often holidayed. And when Hamish Moore gave up his career as a vet in 1985 to make pipes professionally, it was David who helped him, turning the first 20 sets of pipes and providing invaluable advice on tropical hardwoods. Piping enthusiasts as diverse as the LBPS, the Piobaireachd Society and the Pipers' Gathering at North Hero, Vermont, also benefited from David's expertise, as in the talk on Bagpipe Timbers, Past Present and Future he gave to the Society's Collogue in November 2007 (reprinted in Common Stock, Vol 22, No2, December 2007). Speaking at his father's funeral in North Berwick (when he and his son Fin and daughter Fiona played pipes and fiddle), Hamish said. "Dad always loved to hear how the business was going and took an active interest right till the end. He always said that his Dad, James Moore, would have been fascinated with what I do now, all my lathes and gun drills and heavy engineering equipment. After all, Fin and I are basically drillers too. My grandfather drilled holes in steel -we drill holes in wood but the machines, methodology and procedures are just the same. If Grandpa Moore's engines sang, which they did, maybe Fin is the fourth generation doing the same thing." 27
The buzoon: an unidentified Lowland bagpipe? Pete Stewart finds an unlikely Scottish instrument among the 16th century
celebrations of the Edinburgh Incorporation of Hammermen ONE OF the numerous sources of insight into the secular culture of the Scottish Lowlands before the Reformation is contained in the Records of the Incorporation of Hammermen of Edinburgh. The first volume of these records runs from 1494 to 1558, a period of flourishing cultural activity in Scotland, largely due to the influence of James IV and his Flemish wife. In the introduction to his edition of the records, John Smith wrote: "Records of the various Trade Incorporations which flourished in the city during these two centuries portray in a Seal of the Incorporation of wondrous and vivid manner an account of Hammermen the daily life and habits of these sturdy and independent men .. One of the special features of everyday life in Pre-Reformation times, was the attention and ti me given to the observation of the numerous festival days held in honour of the patron saints of each particular craft." These festivals, Smith reminds us, included the performance of rude dramatic representations of Scriptural subjects, which were at first acted in churches, and afterwards in the street on a movable stage In the Records of the Crafts we find mention of these old plays being acted before the citizens of Edinburgh. In the year 1505 we gather the title of one from payments recorded in the accounts of that year to `Herod and his two daughters' These characters continued to be the stock company up till 1516, after which date all traces of them finally disappear "I 28
But the main spectacle of the festiva2l was the procession of the craft through the town on Corpus Christi day Smith says "The details of these processions are stated minutely, and bring out in a vivid manner the trouble and expense incurred to produce a spectacle worthy of the wealthy and powerful craft of the Hammermen of Edinburgh.
"Among the items noted in the accounts in connection with this festival," says Smith, "the charge for ale and bread is one of the most frequent. And from this we conclude that the season was a time of considerable licence, which but ill-accorded with the sentiments this originally sacred institution was intended to evoke." This is all of very great general interest, but why should it be of particular interest to Common Stock readers? The answer lies in the next paragraph of Smith's introduction.
The mention of payment to the `Abbot of Narent', or Lord of Misrule, and the sums given for powder, seem to indicate that the whole affair was of a somewhat noisy description. The procession was headed by a band of musicians with instruments of various descriptions, and the frequent payment for skins for the swash or drum shows the rough treatment it received.
We are also informed of other musical instrument
s then available. Perhaps the most curiously named one was the `buzoon' This was the bagpipe, and we gather from the entries for repairs after the day of the procession, that it was not more tenderly handled than the drum."
The buzoon? In all my researches into the story of piping in the Scottish Lowlands I have never seen a reference to such a thing, and Keith Sanger confirmed this. He did, however send me back to the original script to investigate the spelling; here are Smith's transcripts of the records concerned.
to Clofas to play on ye great buzoon .... ij s to Clofois for to play on ye great buzoon .... s
Keith's suggestion was that the "z" in buzoon was a "yough" - "the letter that is a sort of cross between a `g' and a `z' and which was pronounced like the Scots pronunciation of the modern Z in Menzies or Dalzell or the Gaelic pronunciation of the modern Z in MacKenzie. This does at least bring a consistency with the other version of `Bovun ' , with U V and W being sort of interchangeable." 29
Keith's mention of the "bovun" which Smith identifies with "buzoon" as the bagpipe, refers to the following entries in the records:
1516. For ane horse to ye man that playit on ye bovun 1519: to John King, franchman our menstrall for tune greit bovun xij s
Note that these minstrels, like most of those mentioned at the processions, are French. Smith makes the following questionable point: "It would appear that only foreigners performed on the more intricate instruments, such as the trumpet and tabour; the talent of the native never rising above the ` quhissil ' , and the beating of the swash or drum."
The matter of the `swasch', `quhissil' and `tabour' and whether the natives were ever capable of rising to the challenge of playing them, must wait for another time, but there is one further entry that mentions the `bovun' that gives us a clue to its nature:
1507-given for twa parchmont skynis to ye bovun xxxij d
for an ounce of burg threid to ye bynding of it
Now i know bagpipes might require "burg thread to ye binding", but I know of no bagpipe that requires two parchment skins. So, sadly, this is not a bagpipe, despite Smith's claim, for which he gives no evidence. It must be some kind of drum. But what kind? it is not a "tabour" and it is not a "swash" So what is it? Again. Keith Sanger suggested the clue (though he hasn't commented on my inference from it):
"The word Bovun was probably pronounced somewhat like `Bowen' which would be close to the pronunciation of the `yough' [buzoon]
version." And this word "bowen" appears in Naqqara player, Eritrea
the Dictionary of the Scottish Language
Picture courtesy SCRAN
website as meaning "A flat broad-bottomed
vessel, into which milk is emptied from the pail"; "a broad shallow dish
made of staves, for holding milk" Further investigation reveals that the word may also be used to mean a tub. 4
Two parchment skins and thread for a bowl-shaped instrument? At once 1
thought, "This is the nackers" Common in Europe after the 13th century
crusades, nackers are a pair of small, shallow bowl-shaped drums whose
from Arabic naqqara and in various parts of the Arab world and in India, versions are played which could well be called "great"; they are often carried on the back of a camel.
It appears quite possible that we have hear a Scottish version, previously unrecognized, but with its own Scots word and carried, perhaps, on horseback.
The buzoon appears in these
records over a period of 16 years,
and such an instrument makes no other known appearance in Scotland until the late 17th century,
` Kettle Drum, His Majestie's Troop of Guards' from The Riding of the Parliament 1685 National Museums Scotland
when a version is shown being
played on horseback, in the painting of the Riding of Parliament now in the
Museum of Scotland, perhaps the first revival of the great procession of the
craft incorporations since before the Reformation.
As compensation for this "lost bagpipe", here is the Hammermens March, from Aird's Airs, thanks to Jack Campin; there is an earlier version in Oswald's Caledonian Pocket Companion (c. 1750).
References and notes
1 Smith, J., ed., The Hamnrermen of Edinburgh and their attar in St. Giles Church, being
extracts from the records of the Incorporation of Ilanrnrermen of Edinburgh. 1494 to
1558, Edinburgh, 1906
2. A Christian .festival of moveable date; usually falls in the first weeks ofJune. 3. Burg - from the town of Bruges. For ane pund small Birge threid to sew the Kingis
jak with; (Treasurer 's Acts. 1507) " Dictionary of the Scots Language,
hap:.'www.ds/.ac.uk [retrieved 11/11/20091. An ounce seems a rather small amount.
4. Ibid."bowers" Jon S'wavne pointed out to me that the English equivalent is 'basin
According to Chambers Dictionary, 'basin is from Old French 'bacun Bassine, basing
and baisoune, among others, where common in Scotland, from ME. Basson
Tubes and what goes on in them when they play a note At the LBPS Collogue, pipemakers Jon Swayne, Sean Jones and Mike York gave a memorable talk and demonstration of bagpipe acoustics. Jon Swayne provided this transcript THIS IS a fairly lighthearted look at the physics of sound in tubes, a subject with which, as pipers, we are very much concerned. I should say that none of us has any formal training in musical acoustics, so what we have to say is the result of our own experience and reading, and we sincerely hope we are not attempting to teach any grandmothers to suck eggs. As an instrument which provides its own accompaniment, you could argue that a bagpipe is perhaps required to be better in tune with itself than any other The tuning of a piano, for example, is compromised in order that it can play equally out of tune in any key, by a system called equal temperament. A bagpipe on the other hand (and perhaps I should qualify that by specifying a bagpipe set in the context of modern western Europe
an folk music) is usually optimised to play in its home key, determined by the pitch of the drone. As we know, if the drone is not correctly tuned to the chanter, and the chanter scale is not correctly constructed in relation to the drone, then much of the point of the instrument is lost. So in order to arrive at a better understanding of the implications of tuning, of being in tune or not, we are going to look at the mechanisms of sound in tubes. And we are going to do so under four main headings. Resonance, Harmonics and Timbre, Intervals, and Scales and Temperaments. To a certain extent we are going to overlap in the way which we discuss these separate subjects. Resonance Music depends for its existence on the phenomenon of resonance. Without it there wouldn't be any music. It can be defined as the tendency of a system to oscillate particularly strongly at a specific frequency or groups of frequencies, a system being, for example, air in a tube, a stretched string, a stretched membrane. 32
It's worth pointing out that we are not concerned with the resonance of the material of which the tube is made, but with that of the air contained within the tube. For example, a lead or indeed wooden organ pipe constitutes a superb resonator for the air contained within it, but as a tubular bell it would be a complete failure. But have you ever wondered what resonance is, and what it is that brings about oscillation at one specific frequency? I can't say that I had, until I came across a striking explanation in a book about musical acoustics by Ian Johnston with the rather neat title of Measured 7 unes He starts with an analogy for a vibrating system which may be familiar, that of a mass on the end of a spring, and introduces the concept of impedance which can loosely be described as the resistance of a system to oscillation - how much force you have to put into the system to get it to get it to oscillate at a given frequency He explains that whereas the impedance of a mass increases with frequency, that of a spring decreases. So if the frequency is either very high or very low the total impedance will be large, because one component will be large even though the other is small. However there is one frequency somewhere in between where the two parts of the impedance have the same value and cancel each other out. At that frequency a small force can produce a large response. which is what is meant by resonance. Oscillation in an air column can be initiated in various ways, some are familiar such as the lip reed on a trumpet, the so-called air reed on a flute and the cane or plastic reed in a bagpipe. An initial pulse sent from the reed end of the tube travels down it and is reflected from the open end; if energy continues to be fed into the system by air pressure acting on the reed, a standing wave is set up at the resonant frequency of the tube. An example of an extremely unusual method of excitation is that of Rijke's Tube. It is also an example of how small a force can be needed to cause excitation when a body is resonant. Here Swayne and company held a practical demonstration using a piece qt . aluminium scaffold pole about 1.2m long held vertically, with a "birds nest" of thin iron wire placed about '/4 of the way from the lower end. A lighted gas jet is directed in the lower end. After a period of heating, the jet is withdrawn. The tube "sings" at a frequency close to that appropriate to a 33
wavelength twice that of the tube, until the wire cools. (Petrus Leonardus
Rijke. 1812-1899. Professor of Physics at Leiden University
practical demonstration and explanation)
Over the page are some theoretical diagrams of the way resonances behave in open and closed tubes. It's important to realise that the wavy lines represent graphs of air velocity and not the waves themselves, which are longitudinal. Where the line approaches the tube wall, the air is moving at maximum velocity At the centre, the air is still and pressure is at a maximum. So at top left (representing a tube open at both ends, like a flute or whistle) you can visualise the air sloshing in and out of the tube at both ends in opposite directions; meanwhile the air at the centre (a velocity node and pressure antinode), varies between high and low pressure but does not move. Such a tube can contain half a wavelength. At top right, a tube closed at one is shown. A small pipe chanter or a drone behaves as such, the reed behaving effectively as a closed end. Next to the closed end, there must be a velocity node (no displacement) and a pressure antinode, so this tube supports a quarter wavelength.
Jon Swayne contemplating exactly what goes on in this particular Perspex tube containing polystyrene granules
OPEN TUBE A 2nd mode (2nd harmonic)
CLOSED TUBE Fundamental (first harmonic) 2nd mode (3rd harmonic)
3rd mode (3rd harmonic)
3rd mode (5th harmonic)
4th mode (4th harmonic)
4th mode (7th harmonic)
Fig. 1 Note what happens when both tubes resonate in their second mode; this occurs when the tube is "overblown" or as the behaviour of the harmonic of a complex tone. The second mode of an open tube has twice the frequency of the first mode, and the tube supports a whole wavelength. Because the closed end remains a velocity node, the second mode of a closed tube has three times the frequency of the first, and supports a three-quarter wavelength. This pattern continues for higher modes and shows that evennumbered modes are not possible in closed tubes, which explains, for example, why the clarinet overblows at the twelfth, and accounts for the 'hollow' quality of the sound from closed cylinder bores
. In order better to visualise the formation of nodes and antinodes within a tube at resonance, we prepare a demonstration known as Kundt's Tube. This is an experimental apparatus devised by the 19 `x' century German
T ctnnca physicist August Adolf Eduard Eberhard Kundt (1839-1894) for the purpose of displaying and determining the position of nodes and antinodes at resonance within a tube closed at both ends. Here they demonstrated a perspex tube about 1 5m long and 75mm in diameter containing foamed polystyrene granules. The tube was closed at one end, and driven by a loudspeaker at the other A variable sine wave signal generator was connected via an amplifier to the loudspeaker The signal generator was adjusted until the f requency entering the tube reached a point of resonance, at which the polystyrene granules clumped together illustrating the presence of a standing wave. See for example hi/p./4 ww. doflick. com/View Video. aspx?vld=203 Slinky The children 's spring toy was manipulated by Sean to behave as an analogue of a longitudinal sound wave in a tube. Struck resonance of plastic tube They used a 2 metre length of plastic waste pipe to demonstrate the relationship between length and frequency (pitch). Striking the end of it elicited a short percussive note. The pitch can be calculated from the equation Frequency = velocity of sound wavelength. The velocity of sound is usually specified at a particular temperature and altitude for reasons which we can look at later At 15 deg C at sea level it is 340m/s. At room temperature, about 20 deg C it is 343 m/s, a fact which is significant for tuning. We know that an open tube can support a V2 wave, so the actual wavelength must be 4m. 343=4 = 85.75 Hz (cycles per second). When it is needed to make more accurate calculations it is necessary to take into account a phenomenon known as "end correction" This follows from the fact that the air moving in and out of the end of the tube does not stop at the precise end of the tube, but moves out a little way into the open atmosphere. The distance is usually taken to be 0.6 x the radius of the tube. For a tube open at both ends the correction most be performed twice. So in this case, 343=((2 x 2)+ ((0.6 x (.038/2)) x 2)) = 85.26Hz. 36
Mike York plugs his bellows into a giant plastic reed (extra long drone tube to take it has been shoved out the open window)
Comparing the struck note with a tone from the tuner, gives a pitch somewhere between E and F Digression on temperature compensation As we said above, the speed of sound depends on the prevailing pressure and density of the air The density in turn depends on the temperature, and decreases as temperature rises. The British Standard for tuning woodwinds specifies A=440Hz at 20 deg C. A bagpipe tuned thus will play at A=447Hz at 30 deg C; in other words, about 30 cents sharp, or more than a quarter of a semitone. If you are playing outdoors in winter, you might easily encounter a temperature of 10 deg C, when your bagpipe would be playing 30 cents flatter than at 20 deg. This has obvious consequences for playing with fixed pitch instruments, as no doubt most of us have experienced. The lesson for the instrument maker is , rather than keeping his workshop at a constant 20 deg C, he may adjust his tuner by reference to a temperature compensation chart in order to take the prevailing temperature into account. Overleaf is a temperature chart which I use in my workshop. 37
10 8 432.5
11 1 433 0
11 7 433.4
12 8 434.3
13 3 434 7
13.9 435 2
14 4 435 8
15 0 438 0
18 1 438.9
16 7 437.4
17.2 437 8
17.8 438 2
18 9 439.1
19 4 439.6
20 6 440 4
21 1 440 9
21 7 441 3
22.2 441 8
23 3 442 6
Elkin Because wind instruments involve blowing down a tube, it's can be tempting to think that the flow of air down the tube away from the performer is somehow necessary to the process. Struck resonance goes some way to demonstrate that this is not so. But, on the contrary, you can still have an oscillating system if you have air flowing towards the performer The Nolkin is organologically classified as a sucked trumpet, and is a traditional instrument of the Mapuche Indians in south-central Chile. It consists of the central stem of a naturally hollow plant, forming a tube about 1-1.5m in length, with a slightly tapering bore of between 4 and 5mm in diameter An oxhorn is fixed to the wider end to act as a bell. The blowing end is cut to a V shape.
Here Mike demonstrated a laboratory version, consisting of a length of plastic home-brew tubing with a polythene funnel acting as a bell. Four-metre drone You would probably agree that reeds are fairly mysterious objects. They spend their time out of sight in the darkness performing a vital task. What do they look like when they are working? We decided to build an outsize drone and reed and, so to speak, bring things out into the open. .Ion, Sean and Mike assembled a drone reed of plumwood about 250mm long and 35mm diameter to which was tied a tongue made of 2mm tufnol, 150mm long and 30mrn wide. This was inserted into 4 metre waste pipe drone, 38mm bore, via a transparent stock consisting of a plastic drinks
bottle. Air was supplied via a length of hosepipe from a standard bagpipe bag and bellows. A guess at the pitch of the drone might produce an answer around 21 5Hz, based on the formula we have already used. (speed of sound wavelength, 343 - (4 x 4), '/4 wavelength in a tube closed at one end). The presence of the reed will lower the actual pitch somewhat. To determine the actual pitch of the note: 1 We played a recording of the working drone, speeded up four ti mes to bring it to an easily recognisable and singable pitch. Comparison with the tuner found the note so produced to between Eb and E, which at the octave concerned is about 20Hz. 2. We looked at the waveform of a single cycle of the tone, and from the timescale ruler we could read the period of the waveform to be about 50ms. 1000/50 = 20 Hz. 3. Another way of determining this note pitch: if A = 440 Hz, transposing down four octaves gives 440/16 = 27.5 Hz. The difference in cents between 27.5 and 20 is given by 3986.3 log (fl /f2) = 551 cents = 4 th + '/4 tone. So going down 500 cents from A takes you to E, and another 51 cents to 49 cents above E flat. Helmholz resonator Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von 40
Helmholtz (1821-1894), author of On the Sensations of Tone, available in the translation by Alexander Ellis. Relive the availability of modern electronic measuring apparatus, many ingenious devices were employed to carry out research on the physics of sound. A Helmholtz resonator consists of an enclosed mass of air with a single opening consisting of a short tube; it resonates to only one pitch, determined by the elasticity of the enclosed air and the mass of the air in the tube. One of the things it was used for was to identify harmonics within a complex waveform, such as a musical tone. Thirty years ago Fourier analysis or spectrum analysis required very expensive dedicated apparatus. Nowadays, such a task is relatively trivial for an ordinary computer [such as the laptop used for this talk; it is running a shareware tuner program which is has an spectrum analysis function]. On the right is a more sophisticated use of an array of Helmholtz resonators. Believe it or not, it is a spectrum analyser carrying an array of resonators connected to gas jets, viewed in a rotating mirror, which vary their height according to the strength of the relevant harmonic. The human mouth can act as variable Helmholtz resonator, and indeed we can use it to find drone harmonics. They demonstrated by varying the mouth cavity next to the bell of a bass drone, suggesting that those interested should try the exercise in the privacy of their own homes! 41
A more accurate variable resonator can be made from an empty adhesive canister (of the type designed to fit a trigger operated gun). It already has a piston, to which you screw a wooden dowel for adjusting the position of the piston. They demonstrated the resonator picking up the pitch of a tuning .fork. It can also pick out the harmonics of a drone. The resonator was fitted with a miniature tie-clip microphone to amplify the selected harmonic. The mouth of the resonator was held close to the bell of a bass drone in C, two octaves below middle C on the piano. Oddnumbered harmonics up to the 9 th and beyond can be heard. Sean then talked about harmonics, putting them in the context of what they do and how they control the tone of instruments, and explained the next demonstration. "You know when children blow across a blade of grass stretched between their thumbs to make a sound. The grass is in resonance and is working as a torsion reed, that is, one that is twisting. If you get a blade of grass as big as a highway and stretch it over a river and then blow a wind across it at exactly the right velocity, it'll go into resonance just as the grass did. This happened of course at Tacoma and resulted in the bridge becoming unstable and breaking up.
The Tacoma Bridge disaster
Jon then explained another intriguing demonstration of the power of resonance. "We have four Helmholtz resonators here, constructed from small Canada Dry cans. As you can see they are glued to the ends of the arms of a symmetrical cross pivoted at its centre, so as to form a kind of turbine. If we fire the right frequency at it, it should start revolving." The tone started at around the pitch of middle C on the piano. The turbine started to move. When the tone generator changed to a different frequency. the turbine stopped. When original frequency was revisited, the turbine starts again. Sean explained that there was an analogy to the way a jet engine. works. At resonance. pulses of air are moving in and out of the neck of the resonators. The outward moving air produces a more focused transfer of energy than the inward, so there is a net reaction force away from the resonators, causing them to move in the opposite direction. For the simplest illustration of resonance we can think of a guitar string. here motion takes place in the middle of the string and the ends are fixed. unlike a wind instrument where at the ends the air is moving in and out Sean manipulated a slinky to illustrate the point. The guitar string image allows us to look at the phenomenon of harmonics. Very few systems have simply one mode of vibration going on at any one time. Guitar strings don't just do that. The waveform is quite a different shape; they have inherent in what is going, harmonics - like this one of course (slinky illustrated the two halves moving in opposite directions). If you put the finger in the middle of the string as it's played, you fix the middle of the string, you stop it moving and you get a harmonic. You get this motion when the guitar is playing the second harmonic. It's also what you get when the guitar is playing any note at all. When it plays this one 43
(whole spring moving, max in the centre), it's the fundamental. If you pluck a guitar string in the middle, you stimulate mainly the fundamental, you get few harmonics, and a smoother sound, because you get a lot of this one, and very little of this one. If you pluck the guitar string at this end, of course, you get a shape which isn't a nice smooth one. You actually get a wave which looks like this, which is a combination of this (the fundamental), this (the second harmonic) and the third harmonic. So these are all combined together in this complicated guitar string motion which looks like that. And that is absolutely fundamental to the tone we hear If you pluck the string in the middle you get a softer tone; you get lots of the first harmonic. If you pluck near one end you stimulate more higher harmonics as well, giving a harder brighter sound.
Another Helmholtz resonator is an ocarina (Sean blows one). The air inside is being pressed in and pulled out, squashed and expanded. It's not a tube and it doesn't support harmonics, so you get a clear, soft tone. similar to a flute which has lots of first harmonic, and weaker higher ones.
Sean also projected from a
software programme to
Synthesis, named after Jean
Baptiste Joseph Fourier
(1768-1830), whose work
establishes (among other
things) that a musical tone
is composed of a series of
pure tones (sine waves)
such that each is a whole
number multiple of the
Fig 4 shows a sine wave. When we only have one sine wave we have this fundamental ocarina type of sound. Then we can add a second harmonic (octave above the fundamental) and the tone changes, then a third (a fifth above the octave) and the tone changes again. What's interesting to me is that as the level of each harmonic increases, you hear that pitch as an octave or a fifth, but soon you stop hearing the individual harmonics, and the sound 44
into a single complex tone. In the same way as when Jon was using
the resonator to pick out the harmonics from the drone, what you normally
hear is the overall tone. The ear collects all those harmonics and creates the
overall sound, the quality of which is governed by the strength of the
Me demonstration tone changed until it was what they termed a sawtooth, which contained every harmonic, with its harder brighter sound.
'Men Sean produced another tube which can
generate these harmonics
corr ugated plastic tube which he whirled
round his head, commenting that it was
actually very difficult to get it to play the
Sean bl ew gently as a way of estimating what the fundamental would be. Then whirled the tube so as to sound the second and /hen third harmonics at the octave and twelfth respectively.
It ' s actually the corrugations in the tube causing turbulence in the airflow, and kicking off the sounding of the harmonics.
The real relevance of all of this for us is one of lone quality In terms of chanters, it's the difference between a small pipe chanter and border or highland chanter, because they contain different recipes of harmonics, different dynamics of each harmonic.
Now let's look at a square wave (see right).
What we have here is a strong fundamental, then we are missing the second harmonic; we've got a lot of the third, none of the fourth, the fifth but none of the sixth. We've only got the oddnumbered harmonics and that gives that hollow Fig 6
nasal sound which is characteristic of the small pipe and the clarinet, because the clarinet and small pipe don't have the even harmonics in their recipe. And that is what distinguishes a small pipe and clarinet, as compared with a border pipe or an oboe. In short, the sound quality or timbre is governed by the number and strength of the harmonics.
Then there was a demonstration using the Fourier program of the consequence of progressively increasing the amplitude of a sine wave while clipping it at a low level. The waveform on the screen became more and more square until it reached the shape of the square wave in the previous demonstration. Meanwhile the quantity of the harmonics could be seen to increase, and the sound changed from its initial ocarina-like quality to the hollow sound typical of a clarinet.
Sean projected diagrams of waveforms in tubes, similar to those Jon talked about (see Fig. 1)
Referring to the diagram of the closed tube, Sean said it was an example of what they demonstrated with the Kundt's tube, which is a harmonic going on in the Kundt's tube, with no movement in the middle. These complex images of what is happening in tubes are rather hard to follow, but they are important because they help us to understand the difference between small pipes and border pipes.
Looking at the diagram of the open tube, this shows what happens in a flute. A flute appears to be closed at one end, but actually the mouth hole causes it to be open. And there are a lot of flutes in the world which are more obviously open at both ends, such as the South American kena, the Japanese shakuhachi, the ney and the kaval. The fundamental created between the open ends is the dominant sound we hear The higher harmonics of these instruments are weak and this is why flutes, recorders and the like produce a sweet clear tone - rather like the guitar string plucked in the middle.
Reed instruments behave differently from flutes; for one thing they generate much stronger high harmonics giving them brighter sounds. If the bore is cylindrical, reeds actually act as closed ends to tubes. Even though air is passing through them, they reflect the standing waves inside the tube as though the end were closed. As a result, the harmonics we see in the flute
won ' t fit inside. What does fit is a standing wave that has a pressure antinode at the reed end and a pressure node at the open end. It's hard to get around the technical terms here. The upshot is that the full set of harmonics won't fit inside the tube because the reflections at an open end have a different effect from reflections at a closed end. The odd harmonics are missing and we hear a square wave type of sound that we investigated earlier As we have also seen, a cylinder bore sounds one octave lower than flute or conically bored reed instrument of the same length. Border chanters, and other conically bored reed instruments are different again. The conical bore makes the standing wave reflect at the reed end as if it were open. They actually have the full set of harmonics as though they were open at both ends. The reed, the amplifying effect of the conical bore, pfus the fact that they play an octave higher than cylindrically bored reed instruments of the same length, combine to give border and other conical chanters their bright sound, rich in high harmonics. Mike then took over, talking about what happens when two or more pipes are sounded together, as with a bagpipe. As we have seen, he expfained, a musical note is composed of a set of separate pure tones or harmonics, and it is the interaction of these sets of harmonics when we combine two musical notes which causes pleasing, in-tune intervals or displeasing out-of-tune nastiness. If we first look at what happens when we sound two pure tones together, we will be better placed to appreciate what happens when we sound two complex tones or musical notes together Taking two sine tones of similar but not identical frequency and sounding them together, we hear a phenomenon (familiar to all of us) known as beating. The greater the difference between the I wo frequencies the faster the beating becomes and the more unpleasant the sound becomes. They /hen carried out a sine wave demonstration, using two generators, one set to 260 Hz, the other starting at 260Hz and gradually increasing to 290Hz , causing a strong heating, very slow at firs/ but gradually increasing to a rate of 30Hz. They used a visual analogy to explain why this happens This series of vertical lines represents a sound wave, each line being a pufsation of sound energy 47
And this series represents a sound wave of a slightly different frequency The first has has 150 pulsations whereas the second has 155 within the same space. When we combine them we see this ... ...an interference pattern, which is the visual equivalent of beating. The darker areas represent times when the combined pulsations are bunching up, and causing an increase in sound level. The areas in between should be lighter than they show here, since if they were sound waves they would cancel out, but this is just a limitation of this visual analogy It is worth noting that there are five "beats" here and that this is also the difference between the number of pulsations. It follows that if we combine two sine tones one of 260 Hz (cycles per second) and one of 261 Hz, we get I beat per second, while with with 260 Hz and 262 Hz we should get 2 beats per second So a unison is found when two tones have exactly the same frequency Hence they do not beat. 48
And when two musical notes are in unison, all their harmonics are also identical and they do not beat either The white notes here represent the fundamentals and the black notes the next 5 harmonics. What happens when the two notes are different? Here we have 6 different intervals. The notes forming the intervals are represented by the white notes and the harmonics are represented by the black notes. In each case the harmonics are written out only far enough in each series to reach a unison. In reality they continue way up into the stratospheric ledger lines. As you can see the more dissonant the intervals become, the further you must continue up the harmonic series to achieve a unison.
Octave Perfect Perfect Major
If the intervals are mistuned, the unisons between the harmonics will also he mistuned and they will beat. Since the lower harmonics are usually louder than those higher up the series, the beating will be most noticeable with the 3rd more consonant interval. For example, look at the perfect 5t h The harmonic of the A will beat with the 2nd harmonic of the E. But with the major second we've got to go all the way up to the relatively faint 8th and 9th harmonics to find a unison which will beat when the interval is mistuned. On top of that all these close non-unison harmonics further down the series will be beating like mad anyway regardless of the tuning, and it this mass of beating which makes this interval sound dissonant. In fact it's fair to say that the characters of the different intervals are defined by the specific combinations of unisons and clashes between the har monics. Take the perfect 4th for example, an interval we all consider to he fairly consonant, but it has a slight edge compared with the 5th, caused by the major second between these the third harmonic of the A and the second 49
harmonic of the D, (which are relatively low in the series and hence quite prominent). The major third has a few more non-unison relationships in the lower harmonics, and perhaps it is this specific combination of sweet and sour which make it the the perfect harmony These intervals where we find pairs of harmonics in unison are called just intervals. As bagpipers we require the notes of our chanter to form just intervals with are drones in order to eliminate beating and achieve that very pleasing sound we all know and love, caused by the harmonics of drones and chanter reinforcing and complimenting one another Or at least this is the aim of most modern instruments. However there are numerous traditional instruments whose scales contain non just intervals. Sometimes these "mistuning" have come about because of technical compromises, as is the case with the fourth degree of Bulgarian gaida which is flat as result of being voiced through a tiny hole, which if enlarged to give a just fourth would fail to perform its other function of raising each note by a semitone when opened. The cabrette of the Auvergne is another example; the leading note is always very flat. But if either of these instruments were altered to give just intervals, the instrument and its repertoire would cease to sound idiomatic. Here is a just scale, by which I mean that each degree of the scale forms a just interval with the tonic. The frequencies of the notes and their ratio to the frequency of the tonic are as shown. Notice how the consonant intervals are simple ratios octave 2.1, 5th 3:2 - whereas the less consonant ones have more distant relationships, major 2nd 9:8, major 7th 15:8. In fact when you are making an instrument it's actually quite hard to hear if you've got the 2nds and 7ths correct against the bass drone, but if you introduce a baritone or alto drone tuned to the 5th (in this case E) it becomes 50
Anyone bring sausages? Sean, Jon and Mike light gas from a Rubens Tube, the undulating flame pattern indicating the standing wave much easier because you are back in the territory of consonance and small number ratios. The second (B) creates a perfect 5th with the E drone and the Grespctivly and G# form minor and major thirds with it When there is no drone at the 5th it is possible to listen for the 3rd harmonic of the bass drone, which in this case is an E and acts as kind of virtual alto drone against which these notes may be tuned. Some people ask for a bagpipe whose drones will also tune up to the 5 finger note (in this case B) to enable them to play minor tunes without having to resort to cross fingering or keywork. Sadly the B minor scale which a perfectly just A scale yields is far from perfect. Look at the relationship between the B and the F# above. This should be a perfect 5th in the ratio 3:2 hut we get the ratio 733:495 or rather 2.9616:2. This means the F# will be very flat against the B drone. In practise it is sometimes possible to use an alternative fingering or a wide vibrato to overcome this mistuning, but the situation is far from satisfactory Perhaps it would be better to play without drones if you wanted to play in this key The chart overleaf shows the two scales one against the other 51
a semitone out. This is why these notes (C#, F# and G) will sound out of li me when you play them with a piano or accordion, especially one which is dry-tuned. As I mentioned before you can often mask the mistuning to an extent with vibrato, alternative fingering and altered bag pressure.
Most fixed pitch instruments such as pianos and accordions are tuned using a system called equal temperament which arrives at a compromise between perfect just intervals and an ability to play in all 12 keys without wild mistunings as in the above example. The area where the compromise is biggest is with the thirds sixths and 7ths which are 14,16 and 18 cents out respectively - around a sixth or fifth of
In conclusion, Jon said that musical practice in the west has placed enormous emphasis in teaching and in performance on striving for a maximum degree of in-tune-ness. Particularly perhaps we can see, or rather hear, this in the performances of choirs and string quartets. But the concept of what is or is not in tune is frequently misunderstood, and this is often
T cINW0c because of the existence of the system of tuning known as equal temperament. As a bagpipe maker I have sometimes had customers say something like: "I have tuned my drone to my tuner; the keynote of the chanter is in tune with my tuner, but according to the tuner, some of the notes of the scale seem to be out of tune" I hope we have said enough to show what is wrong with such a statement. It's quite common, even in the musical press, to come across a reference to equal temperament being the scale or tuning system now used in western music. As a generalisation this of course is rubbish, and it can't be emphasised too strongly that equal temperament was devised only for instruments having fixed intonation, and especially keyboards. We have already seen that a justly tuned scale of A major only works as such in that key, that the notes of a scale in B minor using the notes of a just scaled tuned in A major are not in perfect tuning with a drone tuned to B. In the same way, it is impossible to tune all semi-tones of a piano so that it can be played in tune in all keys. Equal temperament was devised so that the relative tuning between notes of the scale is the same in all keys, in order that one can play in any key without sounding too out of tune. As the name of the system implied, this is done by making all semi-tones equal. Since frequency doubles at the octave, the multiplier for calculating the frequency of one semi-tone from another is 12 'x' root of 2 or 21/12 = 1.059 Thus, for example, A flat = 440 ± 1.059 = 415.5 Hz Here is another way to look at it. If you were to take note A = 22.5 Hz and rise through 12 perfect fifths, one for each semi-tone, you get the following result: Hz A 2929.29 D 1946.2 G 1297.46 C 864.98 F 576.65 A# 384.43 D# 256.29 G# 170.86 C# 113.91 F# 75.94 54
T chn6c a I i 50.63 l 33.75 A 22.5 111 the other hand, 7 octaves up from A 22.5Hz (22.5 x = 2880 Hz. Where you might expect the two notes to have the same frequency, in fact Oleic is a difference of 23.46 cents (known as the comma of Pythagoras) fnetween 2929.29 and 2880Hz. The logic of equal temperament is that this discrepancy of roughly 24 cents is averaged out over the 12 fifths by ieduring each one by 2 cents. This tuning results in the fifths and fourths fn ink , slightly mistuned by 2 cents each, which is not so easy to hear, but the thirds and sixths are out by about 14 cents which is very noticeable, particularly as we have already pointed out, when paired with a just tuned third. But I'll say again that all this is only necessary for an instrument having lied intonation. A choir, a string quartet or any combination of instruments having flexible tuning, will normally aim for maximum consonance as the context of the music demands, no matter what modulations (key changes) occur as the music progresses. In short, equal temperament is only relevant to bagpipes in so far as it may he necessary to make some adjustments when playing with instruments having fixed intonation. In conclusion, we've been looking at some of the ways sound behaves in tubes, how complex tones are constructed from simpler ones, how bagpipe scales are made from the structure of the tones themselves and how and why this is important for tuning. don, Sean and Mike then ended their talk with a fairly spectacular demonstration of a Rubens Tube (Hein r ich Rubens 1865 1922) constructed hi ,S'can. This consisted of a 2 metre aluminium tube perforated at 2 cm intervals. A loudspeaker fed from a signal generator was connected to one end, and a butane gas supply to the other The gas issuing from the t'ertiu-ations was lit, and the signal generator adjusted to find a resonance at which a standing wave formed in the tube, creating higher and lower pressure points along the tube. Where there was more pressure the flames were higher and vice versa. See, for example, http.//www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpovwbPGEoo 55
T chnical References and further reading
Arthur H Benade. Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics. OUP Murray Cambell and Clive Created The Musician's Guide to Acoustics. Jill Dent. Llewellyn S Lloyd & Hugh Boyle: Intervals Scales & Temperaments. MacDonald & Jane's. lan Johnston. Measured Tones. The Interplay of Physics and Music. Adam Hilger. Jens Schneider The Nolkin: a Chilean Sucked Trumpet. Galpin Society Journal XXL67. Fig. 3 reproduced with the kind permission of the Galpin Society. Figs. 4, 5 & 6 are due to Paul Falstad at http://www.falstad.com/mathphysics.html LBPS piping competition, returns to Edinburgh THE SOCIETY'S annual piping competition returns to Edinburgh in 2010 after a two-year sojourn in Glasgow The event will be held in its former long-time Winners at last year's LBPS piping competition venue of Bruntsfield primary school
, Montpelier, Edinburgh, EHIO 4NA, on Saturday, 3 April. As ever, there will be classes for Novice, intermediate and Advanced players, as well as for Seasoned Pipers; New composition; Pipe and Song, Duet for Pipes, Duet for Pipes and Other Instrument and Duet for Pipes and Voice; Open Solo Scottish Small Pipes and Open Solo Border Pipes. Remember that results for the 2009 competition, held in the College of Piping in Glasgow, as well as sound files of the first and second winner in each class, can be accessed on the Society's website, www.lbps.net 56
l chtng Fanning the flames for Dixon I l to Society's new c h,tirman, Martin Lowe, Ieports on the autumn workshop held in Hawick I)y Matt Seattle, exploring the music of the long-lost Dixon manuscript I N OCTOBER a group of six cnthusiasts gathered for a weekend in Hawick under Matt Seattle's tutclage. This was particularly ,a ppropriate as autumn 2009 was the centenary of Dixon's collection of 7 3 3 being literally pulled from the flanics in Perthshire and also marked 14 years since Matt published the music as The Master Pipet- Nine Notes That Shook the Matt Seattle: hoping for "a sense of 11'or1el (now out of print but how astounding the music is" hopefully not for too long). fu his prospectus for the event, Matt had pointed out that "combining historical legitimacy with musical substance, Dixon's cross-border repertoire provides an exceptionally solid foundation for the revitalisation of Border piping, and demonstrates an approach to music which can inform our own playing" He intended the weekend to help those who wish to become acquainted with Dixon's music to deepen their acquaintance and enjoy hands-on playing, complemented by discussion and instruction" He hoped that all will come to a sense of how astounding the music is and how much it is needed today" While Dixon's collection is not specifically described as pipe music. it is significant that all 40 tunes can be played on a conventional nine-note chanter and there can be little argument that this is music for the bagpipe. 57
Those of us who participated in the workshop were generally stimulated by Matt's careful and systematic approach to the analysis and presentation of the music. We had one Northumbrian piper, three Scottish smallpipe players, a convalescent on electronic pipes and one Border pipe player in addition to Matt's Border pipes, so an interesting combination resulted. From a list of ten tunes issued in advance we had been asked to familiarise ourselves with all of them beforehand and to identify some for memorising. This helped us get off to a better start than is sometimes the case with fresh tunes at workshops, particularly given the demanding technical nature of some of those in Dixon's collection.
We started off with a series of exercises designed to assist with mastering
the demanding arpeggios and runs that abound in the music, and to introduce
some of the different rhythms than can be applied to good effect. Matt went
on to introduce strategies to help cope with memorising the longer tunes, by
We were breaking them down into discrete portions of music and analysing the patterns that are found to recur in different tunes. This led in turn to an examination of shown how to
harmonic ratios, particularly 3 1 which regularly execute a rant
occurs, and the interplay of chanter and drones.
As we proceeded we were encouraged to make while playing
full use of the music issued and we gave special New Way to Bowden attention to analysing and playing Dixon's Highland Laddie, Gingling Geordie, Little Wee Winking Thing, The New Way to Bowden, and Hit Her (don't try this at home ... ) Between the Legs (or Ranger's Frolic for the fastidious). Instruction was liberally interspersed
with discussion and there was opportunity to benefit
from the varied knowledge and experience brought to the table by the
participants themselves. At one point and by request, Matt gave an
i mpromptu rendition in his inimitable style of 16 parts of Dorrington Lads,
the final part being unpublished and having "whispered itself' into his ear.
And as a bonus we were shown how to execute a rant dance step while playing New Way to Bowden (don ' t try this at home ).
Towards the end of the workshop and to put it in context we were privileged to be addressed by Julia Say, the secretary of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society, who travelled from Northumberland specially to tell us how far she has got in her as yet uncompleted historical research
into William 58
I i' uii and his family She has traced the family to a small area delineated by Midi MR ' S Wall to the south, the A68 ("the Roman Road") and the A696 1 Ihr New Road"). Dixons appear in Parish records from the mid 17 `" <·ntur' around lngoe and Fenwick, and other records show that there were I )i\ons in the area from as early as 1538. There is a magnificent Dixon Innnly memorial tablet (possibly decorated by a Parsival Dixon) inside `.I;uiilordhan Church. There are several William Dixons mentioned and so I, u II has not been possible to identify which of these was responsible, with I\\o rOllaborators, for writing the eponymous manuscript. It does seem that the Dixons were well connected both with the gentry +i nd \'ith Contemporary Music
ians. A later William Dixon had a son in Newcastle in 1753 who went to Glasgow as a collier and whose son William established ironworks there (which survived to the 1960s as " Dixon ' s Illaics"): this might just possibly be the route by which the manuscript ,une north before it reached Inver near Birnam by the start of the 20 `" cnturv I he workshop was complemented by tasty meals in the Damascus Drum, a small eatery-cum-bookshop in Hawick whose name Matt has given to one of his more exotic compositions. And on the Saturday evening we enjoyed a splendid session in a pub in Denholm, in the company of some delightful local musicians and singers. Overall it was a rewarding weekend which benefited from Matt's careful planning and courteous consideration of the needs of his class. Dixon demystified'? Well yes, probably so and I suspect we are all now trying to add a few Dixon tunes to our repertoire. S Gary West at Blowout I I1I'S sponsored Gary West, piper, broadcaster and these days head of Celtic and Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University, to play and hold workshops at this year's Blowout weekend in May at Polesworth Priory, Staffordshire, run t' the Bagpipe Society Gary ran teaching workshops and performed in two concerts. You can see and hear some of Gary's superb small pipes playing, as well as more from the Blowout event, on YouTube. Imp://www.youtube.com/watch'?v=aFiR4B_icSA litfp:I/www.youtube.com/watch?v=-00orXZGGmw 59
Meetings and Events Celtic Connections: 14-31 January, 2010, Glasgow Largest winter festival of its kind in Europe piping, fiddling, "Celtic" music and well beyond. www.celticconnections.com To book: 0141 353 8000
LBPS Annual Competition, Sat, 3 April: Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, EH10 4NA. Classes for all levels. See www lbps.net
LBPS Melrose Teaching Weekend, Fri-Sun, 26-28 Feb Sociable weekend in the George & Abbotsford Hotel, Melrose. See www lbps.net or contact George Greig: [email protected]
Pipers' Gathering, 13-16 August, 2010: Killington, Vermont, USA. Billed as "North America's most comprehensive bagpipe event" See www.pipersgathering.org
Barga School of Piping, Traditional Music and Dance, Tuscany, 20-26 June: summer school
started by Hamish Moore in this most Scottish of Italian towns. Tuition in pipes, fiddle, flute and dance. See www.hamishmoore.com
SESSIONS Prestonpans: Hamish Moore runs a session in the Prestoungrange Goth (on the No 26 bus route from Edinburgh), first Saturday of the month, 4-7pm. All welcome
1 St and
3rd Thursday of the month at the
Swan pub, Greenside. Contact Nigel Critchley 01661 843492.
North-West England: Monthly sessions at Old Crown Pub, Hesket Newmarket. Check with Richard or Anita Evans, 016974 73799 3rd London: Thursday of every month, except July ft August. 95 Horseferry Rd. Contact Jock Agnew 01621 855447 LBPS Publications for sale include.. More Power to your Elbow. Manual/tutor with CD-ROM. Ј25 (Ј20 mbrs); Suggested Session Tunes Ј8 (Ј6 members); Suggested Duets and Harmonies Ј14 (Ј9.50 members inc P&P); 50 Lowland and Border Tunes (the revised "Pink Book") Ј5.00 (Ј4 mbrs); Contact Pete Stewart (see website below). Trade prices available on request.
LBPS WEB SITE www lbps.net