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pastoral pipes?
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Author:  crofter [ Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  pastoral pipes?

Pipes and piping have been niggling at me for several decades. When my children were little, there was no question that getting a set of pipes was NOT going to happen. There was no money for it. But now the children are grown up and on their own and I am facing retirement. I expect that will mean a good deal more time and a good deal less money, so the thought came that if I am ever going to get a set of pipes, it had better be sooner rather than later. But what to get?? I have more money than I did 30 years ago, but it is still far from unlimited, and I will likely only get to do this once, so I need to be careful not to make a mistake.

I like the Great Highland Bagpipes, but they are loud and you are limited to 9 notes. They are not so good for playing indoors.

I like the Scottish smallpipes. I like the sound. They are lower-pitched, I believe, and quieter, but you still only get 9 notes. So-called border pipes are similar, if I understand correctly.

I like the Northumberland pipes. With enough keys on the chanter, you have a greater range, but I'm not sure about the closed fingering, and there don't seem to be too many makers in the U.S.

I love the uilleann pipes, with their chromatic two-octave range, and that may well be what I end up with, but more of my ancestors were Scottish than were Irish (I apparently do have some of each), so I lean towards Scottish pipes.

Then there are the pastoral pipes which, from what I read, were developed in the Scottish lowlands. They were apparently the ancestor of the uilleann pipes, differing only in the extra foot joint on the pastoral pipes and the lack of regulators.

So. Does anyone here play the pastoral pipes? Does anyone even make them anymore? In the U.S.?

What think ye?

Author:  dyersituations [ Thu Dec 13, 2018 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

Honestly my knowledge of pastoral pipes is only around what people consider their general place in the history of uilleann pipes. That being said, I do know that Christopher Bayley makes them, though he's in the UK.

Author:  Peter Duggan [ Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

crofter wrote:
I like the Scottish smallpipes. I like the sound. They are lower-pitched, I believe, and quieter, but you still only get 9 notes.

You get a lot more than nine with a Lindsay System Chanter, which also still plays as a conventional nine-note chanter when you want it to.

Quote:
So-called border pipes are similar, if I understand correctly.

There's no so-called about it. Border pipes are border pipes. Some will also play upwards of high A through overblowing or keys, and most will play chromatic notes through forked fingerings. But none will give you the two-octave-plus range of the Lindsay System smallpipes.

Author:  Tjones [ Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

crofter wrote:
Pipes and piping have been niggling at me for several decades. When my children were little, there was no question that getting a set of pipes was NOT going to happen. There was no money for it. But now the children are grown up and on their own and I am facing retirement. I expect that will mean a good deal more time and a good deal less money, so the thought came that if I am ever going to get a set of pipes, it had better be sooner rather than later. But what to get?? I have more money than I did 30 years ago, but it is still far from unlimited, and I will likely only get to do this once, so I need to be careful not to make a mistake.

I like the Great Highland Bagpipes, but they are loud and you are limited to 9 notes. They are not so good for playing indoors.

I like the Scottish smallpipes. I like the sound. They are lower-pitched, I believe, and quieter, but you still only get 9 notes. So-called border pipes are similar, if I understand correctly.

I like the Northumberland pipes. With enough keys on the chanter, you have a greater range, but I'm not sure about the closed fingering, and there don't seem to be too many makers in the U.S.

I love the uilleann pipes, with their chromatic two-octave range, and that may well be what I end up with, but more of my ancestors were Scottish than were Irish (I apparently do have some of each), so I lean towards Scottish pipes.

Then there are the pastoral pipes which, from what I read, were developed in the Scottish lowlands. They were apparently the ancestor of the uilleann pipes, differing only in the extra foot joint on the pastoral pipes and the lack of regulators.

So. Does anyone here play the pastoral pipes? Does anyone even make them anymore? In the U.S.?

What think ye?




I play the pastoral pipes. My set was made by Geert Lejeune from an original set of Pastoral Pipes made by Robertson of Edinburgh.(http://www.geertlejeune.com/bagpipes). They are pitched in D.

In my opinion, I feel that the uilliann pipe has a sweeter sound, a bit more refined. The pastoral pipe, a more robust sound, but not nearly as loud as the Highland Pipes, or as harsh as the border pipe. The Scottish small pipes have a very mellow sound, and most are very quiet in comparison. The Northumberland pipes, for me are too bubbly,(the closed fingering)

When considering the type of pipes you want, consider the type of music you want to play.
For me, most of the music that I play is ITM. I also like to play waltzes, so it’s nice to have a chanter that for the most part that is chromatic, and has a two octave range, and nibble enough to play faster passages.

There are some developments now with small pipes that have extend range. See this discussion:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=101659

I’m not aware of any US makers that are offering the pastoral pipes as part of their production.
Although someone like Brad Angus might take in on. He built a very nice regulator for my set.

Current makers that I’m aware of are:

Geert Lejeune http://www.geertlejeune.com/bagpipes

Jon Swayne https://www.jonswayne.com

Christopher Bayley http://uilleann-pipes.co.uk

With the strength of the dollar, this isn’t a bad time to buy overseas. The major concern there would be the material you want to have them made in.

There are some interesting bagpipe sets of French and German design being made that have an extended range also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoG_U-9cxS0

For me, the playing of Remi Decker on his pastoral pipes was probably what sealed it for me as far as getting my set. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZMFuUycwfs

Author:  crofter [ Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

Peter Duggan wrote:
You get a lot more than nine with a Lindsay System Chanter, which also still plays as a conventional nine-note chanter when you want it to.


Hmmm... So you can have Scottish smallpipes with a greater range? That is very interesting. I'll have to look into it further. Thanks!

Author:  MadmanWithaWhistle [ Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

crofter wrote:
Peter Duggan wrote:
You get a lot more than nine with a Lindsay System Chanter, which also still plays as a conventional nine-note chanter when you want it to.


Hmmm... So you can have Scottish smallpipes with a greater range? That is very interesting. I'll have to look into it further. Thanks!


For the record, I love mine! It's not going to be like playing a uilleann pipe, but the whole range is usable.

Author:  Patrick McLaurin [ Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

You might also consider a set of Jon Swayne border pipes. I have a student set in G, mouthblown. You get an octave and a half as you can overblow all the bottom hand notes. Fingering is similar to Scottish systems, and you can play in major, mixolydian, and aeolian modes due to a thumb hole and cross fingerings. It’s about as hybrid between scottish and uilleann pipes as you can get.

I’m newish to the forum but play highland, border, small, gaita, and uilleann pipes.

Author:  piperjoe [ Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

Carefully and critically listen to Hamish Moore, Michael McHarg, Gary West, Finn Moore, Fred Morrison and dozens of others I could list then ask yourself if nine notes is really all that limiting. :poke:

As someone said on the Dunsire Bagpipe Forum once said, "it's only nine notes...how hard can it be?"

Piper Joe

Author:  Nanohedron [ Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

piperjoe wrote:
Carefully and critically listen ... then ask yourself if nine notes is really all that limiting. :poke:

I couldn't count the times people - some of them musicians - were surprised when I've told them that there were only nine notes.

Author:  Peter Duggan [ Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

piperjoe wrote:
Carefully and critically listen to Hamish Moore, Michael McHarg, Gary West, Finn Moore, Fred Morrison and dozens of others I could list then ask yourself if nine notes is really all that limiting. :poke:

If you only want to play nine notes, it's not limiting at all. If you want ten, or eleven, or twenty, it's very limiting.

Quote:
As someone said on the Dunsire Bagpipe Forum once said, "it's only nine notes...how hard can it be?"

That's just not the argument here.

Author:  crofter [ Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

Peter Duggan wrote:
If you only want to play nine notes, it's not limiting at all. If you want ten, or eleven, or twenty, it's very limiting.

Precisely. Here is where I get branded as a heretic, I suppose, but rushing in where angels fear to tread...

I have read that many years ago some of the smaller chapels in Ireland that could not afford an organ sometimes had a uilleann piper instead. Is that the same thing? Of course not, but it's *enormously* cheaper.

I *do* like some Irish traditional music, but mostly what I like are the slow airs. Some "dance music" is OK, but some of it (sorry!) strikes me as tuneless tweedling. I get the idea that the piper is more worried about showing off than about making music.

I'd like to be able to play slow airs well. I'd like to be able to play hymns well. I heard a recording of someone playing Bach(!) on the uilleann pipes and it was great! But the music that you can play that goes beyond the traditional repertoire of the pipes often requires more than nine notes.

With the uilleann pipes' chromatic two-octave range, you should be able to play anything that the great highland pipes can play, but you can also play a great deal more. And If I understand correctly, the pastoral pipes had an even slightly larger range yet...

Author:  Tjones [ Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

crofter wrote:
Peter Duggan wrote:
If you only want to play nine notes, it's not limiting at all. If you want ten, or eleven, or twenty, it's very limiting.

"Precisely. Here is where I get branded as a heretic, I suppose, but rushing in where angels fear to tread...
I *do* like some Irish traditional music, but mostly what I like are the slow airs. Some "dance music" is OK, but some of it (sorry!) strikes me as tuneless tweedling. I get the idea that the piper is more worried about showing off than about making music."



I’m kinda stunned by this statement and I totally disagree with your assessment about pipers caring more about showing off than about making music.
It’s fine not to like ITM, but, it says to me, you really don’t know much about piping, or pipers, and probably not much about Irish music, or traditional music in general.
Do you play any type of instrument now? If not, you might consider starting on a low whistle, something that is less “showy” to learn on. To play the pipes, which ever you choose, is going to take dedication and hard work, and that’s after first understanding how to play music.

Author:  Peter Duggan [ Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: pastoral pipes?

crofter wrote:
Precisely. Here is where I get branded as a heretic, I suppose, but rushing in where angels fear to tread...

Not my intent at all!

Quote:
Some "dance music" is OK, but some of it (sorry!) strikes me as tuneless tweedling. I get the idea that the piper is more worried about showing off than about making music.

Since I can't imagine any 'tuneless tweedling' being suitable for dancing, I struggle to imagine such tunes. Dance music needs rhythm and structure, but 'tweedling' suggests neither to me.

Quote:
But the music that you can play that goes beyond the traditional repertoire of the pipes often requires more than nine notes.

Which, despite being my point, does not even remotely negate the value of the tradition and repertoire that uses just nine.

Quote:
With the uilleann pipes' chromatic two-octave range, you should be able to play anything that the great highland pipes can play

But not in the same style.

In summary, I was simply supporting you (as OP) in finding increased range a legitimate aspiration for some pipers, not inviting an attack on any great pipe traditions.

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