These pipes are related to all other conical bore European bagpipes such as the Gaita of Northern Spain. In the 17th century they were widely played by the 'Toun' pipers, musicians employed by the burghs to perform at civic functions. The name border pipe is a bit misleading as the last place it survived seems to be in the lowlands of Aberdeenshire. So the terms lowland (both sides of the borders) seems to be a bit more appropriate. There could be a place for this 'common' bagpipe to have also been played all over England. The repertoire would have been regional with some common tunesplayed throughout the British isles with localised styles and variations. Over the past few decades Matt Seattle has been researching and publishing the Dixon manuscript. This is a fantastic port hole into the music of William Dixon of Stamfordham, Northumbria, 1733.
The revival of the playing of these pipes started In the 1930s when the scout movement in Northumbria had the pipemaker Glen make sets of half long pipes for the scout bands. For the past 30-40 years, there has been a dramatic upsurge in interest led by the Lowland and Border Piping Society.
My pipes are inspired by the various collections we have in the museums throughout the UK. I use woods that were available to the makers of the past such as Laburnum, Holly and fruit woods, these woods give a lovely sweet tone. The mounts are made of natural materials such as contrasting woods, rams horn, buffalo horn and vegetable ivory. I use nickel silver or brass for the ferrules. Horn could also be used.
Bellows blown pipes are recommended as there are no drastic moisture and temperature changes which will cause the pitch to shift . The reeds I use are cane for the chanter and Ezee drone for the drones.
Over the past few years I have developed a chanter with a beatifull tone that will sound great on its own and also blends great with other instruments .They work at a reasonably low preasure ,about 13/14" of watter .The sound I have been inspired by is Hammish Moore .I have worked hard over the past few years developing a stable chanter that can provide reasnobly acurate accidentales , B flat ,Cnat ,E flat ,F nat and G sharp .
The drone configuration is bass and two tenors tuning to A . a .a.The other alternitive is a A bass ,an a tennor and a d/e alto this is my preferred option. My standard bag is made of pre-treated hide which require very little seasoning. This bag system gives you a completely air tight bag. The bellows are double skinned with vinyl on the inside and leather on the outer, this eliminates the need for seasoning .The leather is then glued and nailed to the plates. The plates are made of local and recycled hardwoods such as oak, ash, teak and larch. Bag covers can be provided in Harris tweed .
Bass and two tenors,or bass tennor alto. wood mounts in the key of A with chanter, cane reed, black leather bag and bellows.-£1500
Black buffalo £70 extra
Rams horn £100 extra
tweed bag cover £60 extra