Its infrequently you will get the chance to review new tools into the bagpipe world, you could be forgiven for convinced that the bagpipe had nearly already been fully created throughout its permutations, but we do are now living in a land of creative artisans thank heavens. Pipeline creating just isn't the faint-hearted, and I suppose the superb instruments that we enjoy playing these days owe too much to the heaps of discarded turned timber to be found when you look at the sides of numerous a makers workshop! But its gratifying to see manufacturers like Dominic Allan, Sean Jones, Richard Evans and Jim Parr that is today into making instruments, joining the ranks regarding the popular names. Pipeline making in England (and Wales needless to say John!) is in safe fingers.
The Instruments involved here are:-
Smallpipes, particularly two comparable designs of bagpipe one by Jim Parr therefore the various other by Sean Jones. They have been both single drone, mouth-blown into the 6-finger secret of ‘D’ on the basis of the Praetorius ‘Hummelchen’ or little bee, and both are – presently – priced at only £250.00p, and no, we don’t understand how they are able to do so when it comes to price either, for these tend to be severe devices and provided a prime busking website could pay for by themselves in fourteen days! The set of Jim Parr’s that I have here are affectionately generally ‘The Jimmelchen’ although Jim refers to it more formally as ‘The Renaissance smallpipe in D’.
Very easy to play? Indeed, but discipline is essential in respect of honouring the fingering maps. At piping week-end here at Trehawsa last year someone asked me personally that was easy and simple bagpipe for a whistle player to take-up. After some thought we advised the Mouth-blown Leicestershire in G, its a very forgiving chanter that tolerates variants in both fingering and stress. The hole nearest the reed may be the one that determines the note, and cross-fingering isn't an option. These Hummelchens, nevertheless are very different and may invigorate the parts that various other keyless smallpipes cannot get to.
So now its time to explode a myth, there are plenty of people, probably some may well be reading this, who think that smallpipes have 9 notes and the hole nearest the reed always wins but, I say to thee, it ain’t necessarily so! Cross-fingering is achievable, it is a function of the size of the holes and the thickness of the chanter walls. I’m yes Sean among others could give an explanation for technicalities of Acoustic Impedances but, to put it simply, should your smallpipe chanter features dense wall space, ie a narrow bore and reasonably small holes then a D Chanter for example lets you finger Cnat and C# at the top and a Bb and – regarding Julian Goodacres Durer you may get Fnat by replacing another hand right-hand when playing F# as well as the power to play Cnat and C# at the top.
The Sean Jones and Jim Parr Hummelchens both have the right thumb-hole for Fnat, along with the power to cross-finger the Cnat and Bb notes that we mentioned earlier.
The base leading note is low C-nat, therefore it has got the flattened 7th however it is liberating indeed to truly have the range of Cnat or C# towards the top.
Top demonstration for the whole gamut that I heard – and can today, after a bit of practise replicate, had been Jim Parr playing ‘Staines Morris’ – this will be a tune better known for words rather than the subject, they go:- “Come ye teenage boys, come-along, together with your songs party and track, …/…. thence towards maypole haste away for tis today a holiday.” Play that on the SSP!!!