Saturday, February 18, 2012

More on the Leicestershire smallpipes

Back in 2008 I blogged after coming across a reference to the Leicestershire smallpipes. "A variety of bagpipes native to this county?" I wondered.

The answer is probably not. A post on a Mudcat Cafe bulletin board says:
Most English bagpipe designs are based on very scanty evidence such as old pictures and carvings found in churches, or drawings in old books. Occasionally actual relics of pipe chanters are found, which makers study in great detail and take loads of measurements. The rest is imagination combined with experimentation to get a pipe that is playable and in some recognisable pitch. 
The Leicestershire pipes were based on such a design that happened to be found somewhere in Leicestershire. There is no evidence that similar pipes were widely popular in that region, but it's as good a name as any to distinguish it from others.
But the good news is that I have found a video of Julian Goodacre, who makes the instrument today, playing the Leicestershire smallpipes.

And I still like to think that, centuries ago, this would have been a common sound in Melton Mowbray and Woodhouse Eaves.


Tristan said...

Bagpipes appear to have been quite common with many local varieties at one time. I think its a shame that the Highland bagpipes are the only well known type (especially as I think they often sound awful...)

I would love to learn to play smallpipes, but I don't think it would go down very well at home :/

Simon Titley said...

Neighbouring Lincolnshire certainly had bagpipes. And by all accounts, we are well rid of them: