page 3

page 4



Tasmania’s piping devils

Cauld wind pipes are alive and well and living in Tasmania! The following is a composite made by the editor of two letters sent to the Society by enthusiastic piper and pipe-maker MALCOLM MCLAREN of Berriedale, Tasmania, who says that he can account for no less than ten sets of bellows-blown pipes in this particular neuk of the Antipodes. "Goodness knows how many more sets exist in Australia,” he writes...

9 Lowestoft Ave, Tasmania, Australia.
Berriedale, 7Oll.

Please find enclosed some photos of pipes I was able to gather together for the two workshops I held at both folk festivals this year.

Hamish Moore's record Cauld Wind Pipes has had an influence on those people
interested in piping that I know of, and has changed my outlook and that of my friend George Callaghan, and we have been busy as you can see. All sets we have made are playable and sound O.K. and have given a lot of pleasure to us all.

Your Tutor is great; as soon as I got it and found out about high B I was able to get this note second try - after months of experimenting. The photocopies you also sent were most useful, and would you believe that just towards the end of January at the local market on Saturday morning I was listening to some of the local musicians “busking” when I met an American who was keen on Scottish ancestry. He gave me a book The Traditional and National Music of Scotland by Francis Collinson in return for some tapes of piping I made for him from my own playing and that of records I have. He has your address so watch out!

My last (second) workshop at Longford in January was televised by ABC-TV for a schools music programme later this year, and as far as I know was well received by all who attended - it went on for over two hours! But I had a great time explaining about each set, the history of bellows pipes etc., and of course playing the sets whenever possible. The Battlefield Band was there too. I had a good chat with Dougie Pincock who sends his regards - he had a play on my Lowland pipes and heard the Scottish smallpipes I made. He really is a great piper and with Brian McNiell (fiddle player) held a workshop where they played some fine music.

Can I offer the following comments for consideration.
(1) It's very lonely here in Tasmania and any information is very gratefully accepted.
Newsheets and journals etc. Are eagerly awaited by me.
(2) New tunes as printed in the last journal are great, as the source books for Lowland and contemporary tunes are not all that that “thick on the ground".
(3) Could there be more technical information on
a) Types of pipes.
b) Measurements and differences in material the pipes are made of.
c) Hints and tips to keep pipes in top condition.
d) Details of, for example, the chanter with the double row of holes as played on Hamish Moore's record.
e) Reeds and maintenance.
(4) Difficult as it might sound, could some kind soul make tape recordings of meetings and particularly competitions.
Yours etc.
Malcolm McLaren. 
Editor's note: Malcolm's industrious pipe-making activities have included creating a set of small pipes with a double-bored chanter, inspired by Hamish Moore's record. We look forward to publishing some details and
pictures of these and some of the old pipes he has collected in future issues of ‘Common Stock’.

38 Scott Rd., Kelmscott 6111,
Western Australia.

Sir, - Referring to your reminder for my 1985/86 subscription, it has been very disappointing for me not to have been able to get any help or information regarding my Lowland bagpipes from Grainger and Campbell. They arrived from the manufacturer in an unplayable state, and all enquiries to everyone I can think of regarding tuning the drones to the chanter have failed. So it is with regret that I am having to let my membership lapse and my pipes to be retired to the “bottom drawer".
Yours etc.
Mark Delap.

O.O. Box 18355, Salalah, Oman.

Sir, -I have just received the latest edition of ‘Common Stock' magazine, and would like to comment on Pat McNulty's article which I believe contains a mistake.

Before I go into specific detail I should state that although I could never be a
musician of the same standard as Mr McNulty, whose music I really enjoy, I do possess two working sets of pastoral pipes and a photocopy, obtained from the
British Library in London, of Geoghegan's Tutor for this instrument. All my remarks therefore are based on the capabilities of the instruments I possess and my personal experience in their use.

One of my sets is in many ways similar to the set of Uillean Pipes drawn on Page 9 of ‘Common Stock’, apart from having an extra foot-joint on the chanter and also a modern connection between the bag and the cover of the chanter reed, which is I believe called a goose-neck.

This particular instrument, which has two drones, a drone cut-off valve (disguised as a 3rd drone) and a single four note regulator, was made for me by John Addison, and is a copy of a set, (presently in the Blackgate Museum, Newcastle) which had originally been owned by the notorious Border Piper and tinker, Jimmy Allen.

My second set, was made by Colin Ross, and is also modelled on an instrument in the Blackgate Museum. This instrument does not have a regulator, thus allowing its main stock to be quite slim and this stock can be laid against the shoulder - as per Lowland and half-long pipes—when marching. Both sets are very well made and share a similar range, although possibly due to the difference in their respective chanter reeds they have totally different tonal qualities.

Both chanters easily go into the second octave without any need for them to be ‘banged’ on the knee. Partial opening of the back hole and a very slight increase in pressure on the bag takes you straight into this second octave. It is a very smooth transition and you don't get the rough D in the middle which can often occur on the uillean chanter in my (limited)

With the Ross set, my problem is getting the pressure low enough to get Low E and Low D.

And this is the main point I wish to make, that these chanters do play a second octave quite easily, going up to A in that second octave very easily. Also, I have not stuck to the fingering in Geoghegan's Tutor but am using Highland fingering and it works very well indeed. One of the points which I am trying to make is that the pastoral chanter is not an uillean chanter, but a longer Scottish chanter and is designed for Scottish fingering. It could well be a simultaneous development with the uillean pipe.  

Yours etc.,
Gordon Rust.