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In Common Stock Vol No 2, Julian Goodacre examined a set of Lowland pipes from the Royal Scottish Museum collection. Here, he casts a pipemaker's eye over a set of small pipes in the Museum. Drawings by Pete Stewart.

HIDDEN AWAY in the bowels of the Royal Scottish Museum in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, is one of the finest collections of bagpipes in the world. It was collected around the turn of the century by Duncan Frazer and donated to the museum by his son after his death in 1947. The collection consists of over 36 items, including 25 sets of pipes. And this Frazer collection is only a small part of the entire collection of bagpipes in the museum. The vast majority of these are in storage, with     apparently no plans to display them,      although one wonders if the recentlyannounced plans to build a multi-million pound “Museum of Scotland” on the cleared site immediately to the west of the Chambers Street museum may eventually alter this situation.

On 14 October, 1987, the museum kindly arranged for members of the Society to inspect the Duncan Frazer collection. This was a tantalising and fascinating glimpse of this national treasure, and one of the pipes in particular appealed to me; a very smart Scottish small pipe, wrongly cata-logued as 4 Northumbrian small pipe (no. 1947:102). I have since been allowed to inspect and measure this instrument, which is in a very good condition. it is beautifully made in ivory with silver ferrules, and I     assume it to be mid or late 18th century. I     include its overall dimensions to give some idea of what an early small pipe was like. Typically for a small pipe of this age, it is pitched quite high by today's standards - probably around F.

Chanter: This is just under 8in long. The basic bore is 9/64in with the final bore widening to 5/32in. There is a silver key to give one note above the octave; this may have been fitted at a later date as the key is not as finely made as the ferrules.

Drones: Bass, baritone and tenor. The overall design is restrained. Like the chanter, each drone terminates with a wide end mount. All three cane drone reeds are preserved.

Drone stock: This is fairly large (1.3/4in x 4in) and is formed of a tube of ivory with a hardwood plug fitted into the outside end,   drilled to take the drone tenons.

Bag cover: this is in black velvet and is wellpreserved. its dimensions give an idea of the size of the leather pipe bag inside.

Inlet valve and bellows: Missing.

(In the next Common Stock Julian will take a look at a set of pastoral pipes from the collection)