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Julian Goodacre examines a once well-used set of Lowland
pipes in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland.

In the National Museum of Scotland, QueenStreet, Edinburgh, there are currently two sets of Lowland pipes on display. One of them (LT32) was acquired by the museum in 1926 from a Peebles family. Nothing more is known of its history and it bears no maker's name. I include a brief report and approximate measurements which are of interest when making comparisons with other pipes. What is of special interest is that the chanter obviously played into the upper octave. The pipes are probably early Nineteenth Century, and, apart from the leatherwork, are in fine condition. The finger holes on the chanter show a lot of wear, so we can assume the pipes had a lot of use - which suggests that they were a good playing instrument. The wood is a dark reddish brown - possibly cocus. The overall appearance of the pipes is plain and pleasing.

CHANTER: The bore is wider at the top  and narrower at the bottom than a current Scottish Highland chanter. The thumbhole is noticeably worn with  a slight groove across it, an indication that the chanter was “pinched" - the technique of placing the thumb nail across the hole to half cover it. This allows one to play into the next octave.

BAG: The pipes have been bagged up for a left-handed player. The leather has now hardened but one can obtain an approximate idea of the bag size from the green baize cover.
BELLOWS: ‘there is some doubt as to whether this is the correct set of bellows for these pipes. An unusual feature of the bellows is that the outer board has a mahogany veneer facing to conceal the stitches. The outlet tube is of stitched leather.
DRONES AND STOCK: The common stock has a horn mount. There is one bass at its end, the terminal orifice being slightly smaller than the final bore.