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Uileann pipes and Louis XIV

Thompson 02 Jan 16 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jan 16 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jan 16 - 11:38 AM
Thompson 02 Jan 16 - 11:40 AM
Thompson 02 Jan 16 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jan 16 - 11:58 AM
Thompson 02 Jan 16 - 12:29 PM
Les in Chorlton 02 Jan 16 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jan 16 - 01:34 PM
Les in Chorlton 02 Jan 16 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Jan 16 - 02:44 PM
Thompson 02 Jan 16 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 07 Mar 16 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Kevin Rietmann 07 Mar 16 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,ripov 07 Mar 16 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,Kevin Rietmann 08 Mar 16 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Mar 16 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 16 - 09:38 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 16 - 07:22 AM
Thompson 11 Mar 16 - 02:46 PM
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Subject: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:14 AM

A story is going the rounds that the uileann pipes, played with the elbow, and with no pipe ever touching the mouth of the player, originated in the court of Louis XIV as a hygienic device, since people were catching each other's diseases by playing each other's instruments. According to this legend, the pipes then went out of fashion and were strewn around the roads, and a set of them was discovered by some Irish musician called something like Dolan or Dohan or Doogan, whose family became specialists in the trade.
Two questions: 1) Is this nonsense? 2) Is there an earlier history of a type of bagpipes played without the involvement of the human mouth, and if so, where?
(I saw an earlier thread on this, but it was so uninformative, ill-tempered and opinionated that I didn't want to bring it back to life.)


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:35 AM

Never heard the story but I'd say, nonsense. The only link between Louis' court and the pipes could be the Musette de Cour as suggested in this article: From Hotteterre to the Union Pipes.

Several types of bellows blown pipes are ducumented well before the Union pipes arrived in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:38 AM

An early history of The Pipes (note, not pipes in general) in Ireland can be foudn in Seán Donnelly's excellent A century of pipemaking 1770-1870


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:40 AM

Thanks, that's grand.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:47 AM

Incidentally, one of John Derricke's on-the-spot-reportage pictures in Ireland has a dead piper (with "Pyper" written beside him, if I remember right); those who study such things might be able to see what class of pipes it is he had been playing before being slaughtered.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 11:58 AM

Out of curiosity I looked up some of the old threads you may have been referring too. Say no more.

Some of the issues brought up there (a lot of nonsense was being touted, let's say that much). Nicholas Carolan's (also excellent) Courtney's Union Pipes and the terminology of Irish bellows-blown bagpipes would put some of that right.

Your not referring to the 'Justice Knifeboard' picture of the hanged piper are you?


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 12:29 PM

No, Peter Laban, John Derricke was embedded with the crowd who were going around Munster and Ulster slaughtering people in the 16th century, and he drew a lot of interesting pictures of them in action, plus some of their victims. Look for Image of Ireland With a Discoverie of Woodkerne or some such name.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 01:16 PM

Looks to me as if all kinds of pipes, blown with the mouth and with bellows have been kicking around farming communities for hundreds if not thousands of years.

The thing about the Uileann Pipes is they are very high tech. I don't think the metal parts could be made by a blacksmith with a hammer and anvil - which would be the case before the Industrial Revolution.

Ready to be corrected


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 01:34 PM

Before the industrial revolution all sort of metal work was being done by other craftspeople than blacksmiths. Blacksmiths didn't make clocks or jewellery for example. The early pipemakers are well documented in the articles I linked above.

OK Thompson, I know the images you mean now, they were well before the union pipes. Early warpipes I suppose. Seán Donnelly's booklet 'The Early history of Piping in Ireland' (ISBN 0 9509743 9 0) goes into that and deals with Derricke's image of the 'pyer' on pp 33-34


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 02:30 PM

Thanks Peter, when I get chance I will read the above - looks very interesting


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 02:44 PM

The Moloneys from Kilrush were possibly the exception. They were blacksmiths but made a number of sets of pipes, including the very elaborate Vandeleur set (now in the National museum).


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 02 Jan 16 - 06:37 PM

Thanks - all very interesting!


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 03:46 PM

The earliest depiction of a bagpipe with bellows is from Praetorius' Syntagma Musicum, 1619. He says it's a French innovation, newly arrived in Germany. Emperor Nero of Rome was said to have worked the "pipes" with his arm, probably a reference to using a bellows to sound a hornpipe, thus a bagpipe. The reasoning behind this was to avoid the disfigurement of the cheeks arising from circular breathing, not to stave off infection. Never heard that one ever.

There is a connection/lineage with the Italian symphonia (only known from various illustrations, a bagpipe sometimes shown with tons of keys), the musette de couer, the Northumbrian pipes, and the Irish pipes. There is a musette de couer said to have been the property of Bonnie Prince Charlie, for instance. Musettes certainly found their way to Scotland and well may have inspired the first builders of the Northumbrian and Irish instruments.

Something that gets overlooked with these pipes is that structurally they are a part of the art music woodwind family, the construction owes far more to contemporary oboes/clarinets/flutes than it does to other forms of bagpipe.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Kevin Rietmann
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 03:47 PM

Forgot to sign that last post.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,ripov
Date: 07 Mar 16 - 11:15 PM

Kevin - oboe yes - or rather shaum; the chanter is basically a shaum is it not? Clarinet (but are there single reed chanters?) and flute probably not, although keywork may be a common item on modern pipes. Will have a look at the symphonia though.
And there's a fair chance that the "folk" bagpipe was a "that'll have to do" copy of the pipe makers product, rather than vice versa; although the "folk" version probably came first?


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,Kevin Rietmann
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 03:59 PM

Sorry, make that 'Sourdeline,' not symphonia.

Irish chanters are conical bores, the clarinet's is cylindrical. I was talking about the construction, overall shape/profile, keywork, complex bores, things like that.

There really weren't "folk" takes on the Irish pipes until the musicians came to America, and you had hobbyists turning out the odd set of pipes, with amateur makers in Ireland turning out stuff a bit later. Sets from the 19th/18th centuries were invariably made by professional makers; some of them weren't so hot, too.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 05:06 PM

Here we see illuminations from the Cantigas de Santa Maria (circa 1250, I think.) Two paintings show pipes with bellows, and the second of them certainly resembles the present-day bagpipe.

In both cases, the instrument is being held to the mouth, however, so they differ from the uileann pipes.

They are numbers 220 and 340.

old instruments

The illuminations are fun to look at.
===============
From what I have read of life in Louis' court, I doubt if hygiene was ever the motivation for anything.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 16 - 09:38 PM

Your link goes to a video of Sandy Denny.

Cantigas de Santa Maria bagpipe from Google Images. Just the one depiction of pipers, both playing mouth blown instruments. One of them doesn't have the blowpipe in his mouth.


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 16 - 07:22 AM

An early reference to pipes - though Highland, not Uileann
Jim Carroll

The Bag-Piper In Tottenham-Court Road, Daniel Defoe
The following traditionary anecdote, which has an imme¬diate reference to De Foe's story of the blind piper, is derived from the London Magazine for April, 1820: it was addressed to the editor by a correspondent; but the original source of the information has not been ascertained.
"I forward you a rather remarkable anecdote relative to a statue, the original work of the famous Caius Gabriel Cibber, which has, for many years, occupied a site in a garden on the terrace in Tottenham-Court Road.
"The statue in question is executed in a fine free-stone, representing a bag-piper in a sitting posture, with his dog and keg of liquor by his side; the latter of which stands upon a neat stone pedestal.—The following singular history is attached to its original execution:—
"During the Great Plague of London, carts were sent round the city each night, the drivers of which rung a bell, as intimation for every house to bring out its dead. The bodies were then thrown promiscuously into the cart, and conveyed to a little distance in the environs, where deep ditches were dug, into which they were deposited.
"The piper (as represented in the statue) had his constant stand at the bottom of Holborn, near St. Andrew's church. He became well known about the neighbourhood, and picked up a living from the passengers going that way, who generally threw him a few pence as the reward of his musical talent. A certain gentleman, who never failed in his gene¬rosity to the piper, was surprised, on passing one day as usual, to miss him from his accustomed place: on inquiry, he found that the poor man had been taken ill, in consequence of a very singular accident.—On the joyful occasion of the arrival of one of his countrymen from the Highlands, the piper had made too free with the contents of his keg: these so overpowered his faculties that he stretched himself out upon the steps of the church, and fell fast asleep. Those were not times to sleep on church steps with impunity. He was found in that situation when the dead-cart went its round; and the carter, supposing of course, as the most likely thing in every way, that the man was dead, made no scruple to put his fork under the piper's belt, and, with some assistance, hoisted him into his vehicle, which was nearly full, with the charitable intention that our Scotch musician should share the usual brief ceremonies of interment. The piper's faithful dog protested against this seizure of his master, and attempted to prevent the unceremonious removal; but failing of success, he fairly jumped into the cart after him, to the no small annoyance of the men, whom he would not suffer to come near the body: he further took upon himself the office of chief mourner, by setting up the most lamentable howling as they passed along.
" The streets and roads by which they had to go being very rough, the jolting of the cart, added to the howling of the dog, had soon the effect of awakening our drunken musician from his trance. It was dark, and the piper, when he first recovered himself, could form no idea either of his numerous companions or of his conductors. Instinctively, however, he felt about for his pipes, and playing up a merry Scotch tune, terrified, in no small measure, the carters, who fancied they had got a legion of ghosts in their conveyance. A little time, however, put all to rights;—lights were got; and it turned out that the noisy corpse was the well-known living piper, who was joyfully released from his awful and perilous situation. 'The poor man fell bodily ill after this unpleasant excursion; and was relieved, during his malady, by his former benefactor, who, to perpetuate the remem¬brance of so wonderful an escape, resolved, as soon as his patient had recovered, to employ a sculptor to execute him in stone,—not omitting his faithful dog, keg of liquor, and other appurtenances.
"The famous Caius Gabriel Cibber (father to Colley Cibber the comedian) was then in high repute, from the circum¬stance of his having executed the beautiful figures which originally were placed over the entrance gate of Old Bethlem Hospital; and the statue in question of the Highland Bag¬piper remains an additional specimen of the merits of this great artist.
"It was long after purchased by John the great Duke of Argyle, and came from his collection, at his demise, into the possession of the present proprietor."
The little garden mentioned in the preceding extract was nearly opposite to Howland-street; but some years ago a small shop, afterwards occupied as a toy-shop, was built upon it, in front of the house distinguished as No. 178, Tottenham-Court Road.   The statue was removed and sold.
From The Journal of the Plague, Daniel Defoe, 1772
Appendix V1, pp346, 1882 edition


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Subject: RE: Uileann pipes and Louis XIV
From: Thompson
Date: 11 Mar 16 - 02:46 PM

Perhaps we have a new explanation for William of Orange's attack on the forces of Louis XIV?


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