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Folklore: bagpipes in the US

Scotus 25 Apr 07 - 07:51 PM
Ythanside 25 Apr 07 - 08:02 PM
Scotus 25 Apr 07 - 08:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Apr 07 - 08:20 PM
GUEST 25 Apr 07 - 08:46 PM
Big Mick 25 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM
Scotus 25 Apr 07 - 10:25 PM
Scotus 25 Apr 07 - 10:45 PM
Gedpipes 26 Apr 07 - 03:26 AM
fogie 26 Apr 07 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Russ 26 Apr 07 - 12:45 PM
Scotus 26 Apr 07 - 03:40 PM
Sorcha 26 Apr 07 - 05:12 PM
Bill D 26 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM
Scotus 26 Apr 07 - 05:59 PM
Rowan 26 Apr 07 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,JimP 26 Apr 07 - 06:46 PM
Bill D 26 Apr 07 - 06:48 PM
Barry T 26 Apr 07 - 08:20 PM
Arkie 26 Apr 07 - 11:05 PM
leeneia 26 Apr 07 - 11:31 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Apr 07 - 12:55 AM
open mike 27 Apr 07 - 01:30 AM
SongReiver 27 Apr 07 - 02:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 27 Apr 07 - 03:45 AM
Dazbo 27 Apr 07 - 06:39 AM
leeneia 27 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM
Scotus 27 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM
Little Robyn 27 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,Julia 27 Apr 07 - 11:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Apr 07 - 11:52 PM
Scotus 28 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM
GUEST,Julia 28 Apr 07 - 09:34 AM
bubblyrat 28 Apr 07 - 09:41 AM
Scotus 28 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM
Little Robyn 28 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM
Marc Bernier 28 Apr 07 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,meself 28 Apr 07 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,Julia 28 Apr 07 - 09:07 PM
bubblyrat 29 Apr 07 - 01:06 AM
Scotus 29 Apr 07 - 09:17 AM
Bill D 29 Apr 07 - 11:12 AM
Rowan 29 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM
Scotus 30 Apr 07 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 30 Apr 07 - 09:41 PM
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Subject: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 07:51 PM

Can anyone help?

I've always been puzzled that the fiddle transplanted very healthily from Europe to the US, whereas the bagpipes didn't (at least not until relatively recently). Can anyone shed any light on this?

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Ythanside
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:02 PM

Because a rifle bullet can travel further than the sound of bagpipes, perhaps?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:18 PM

I thought I was probably inviting such a response, but my question is a serious one.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:20 PM

See thread Bagpipes in America (2000-2002). It isn't all particularly accurate, but there is some interesting discussion and information there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:46 PM

A heard a quote once that went something like, " A gentleman is someone who can play the pipes,but chooses not to."
BTW, I have played the pipes for about 15 years. But have come over from the dark side to ITM. I am playing Bouzouki and mandolin lately. BTW, anybody interested in a set of pipes? Have 4 or 5 sets laying around, not being played enough.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Big Mick
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM

GUEST, email me at micklane at comcast dot net. Let me know what you have and what you are asking. I might be interested in a set, and I have friends who might as well.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:25 PM

Many thanks Malcolm - I had searched on US and USA instead of America.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:45 PM

Well - - - -

I've had a look at the earlier thread and it raises exactly the questions that I had. Trouble is - despite interesting speculation, there wasn't any real conclusion.

I'm still puzzled that there appears to be no reported evidence of a bagpipe tradition transferring from Europe to America in the same way as the fiddle.

The other thread petered out in 2002 - is there no one out there now with anything new to add?

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Gedpipes
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 03:26 AM

Guest
Pm me and let me know what you have
Cheers
Ged


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: fogie
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:49 AM

Well there must have been Irish imigrant pipers -yes and Scots- perhaps its one of those instruments that needs attention for the reeds etc. and without a large enough group of self supporting musicians ,and perhaps because repairers were few and possibly too expensive they never reached a critical mass. ?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 12:45 PM

idle speculation

Probably a simple question with a complicated answer.

At the times of the various migrations from Scotland to the states,
1. Who, in Scotland, was actually playing the pipes?
2. What percent of the general populace would have been pipers?.
3. How likely is it that members of that population would emigrate?

If you see way more fiddlers than pipers in an emigrant population my first guess would be that there were way more fiddlers to start with.
Alternativley, way more fiddlers emigrated.

There's also the ulster scotts to complicate things.
What sort of population of pipers did they have?

There's also the american context to consider.
The story I have heard is that at certain times in American history, flaunting one's scots roots would not have been career-enhancing.
What sorts of disincentives would there have been to playing the pipes among those first generation immigrants.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 03:40 PM

Thanks for that Russ - still more questions than answers :-)

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 05:12 PM

Too busy trying to stay alive (job) to take the time to master them?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM

I know of at least two pipe bands in my area..(Wash DC) and one personal friend who plays pipes. The tradition may not be widespread, but it is certainly alive.

It seems rather obvious to me that the fiddle adapts better to more 'folk' situations....bands, accompaniment....one can play more types of tunes on it, and it is a bit easier to maintain and find supplies for. (pipe reeds are notoriously hard to find and fix)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 05:59 PM

Just so nobody gets the wrong idea, I played for 15 years in a group (Heritage) that included Northumbrian pipes, Scottish small pipes and Highland great pipes. In our travels we befriended players of the Italian Zampogna and Occitan Musette. Now - I don't play the pipes, but I DO like to hear them (well) played.

Finding myself now living in SW Virginia (the heart of old-time music) I was struck by the lack of any documented tradition of piping alongside the obvious importation of Scots fiddle tunes and styles.

So that's where I'm coming from (as they say in Kelty).

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:34 PM

Russ has raised the questions which, if their answers could be found, might give some interesting leads to Scotus' basic question. But I'd be wary of answers that relied on simplistic social anthropology. I'm quite ignorant of the particulars in the US but when Australia was first settled by the British in 1788 it was as a penal colony. It was still a penal colony (and called NSW) in 1803 when the "Sydney Gazette" advertised a set of uillean pipes for sale; this recalled from when I worked as a convict at Old Sydney Town, which was a recreation of the Sydney Cove of that era.

There were free settlers (who were mostly English and could have brought anything with them that they could afford and fit on the ship), officers (several of whom were Scottish, like one of my ancestors) and the convicts. The convicts of the First Fleet (and, yes, I have ancestors on both ends of the ball and chain) included at least one American and, by 1803, quite a collection of Irish political prisoners (as we'd call them today) had joined the convict gangs.

So, how would a set of uillean pipes get to Port Jackson by 1803, given what we think we know about the social anthropology of the time? Nobody is quite sure. Although there were Scots, I haven't seen any references to other pipes, highland or otherwise, or even pipers, before 1803. There is a reference to the Anachreontic Society being represented there though, which may be of interest to those who know of Tony Barrand.

But about pipes and pipers in America? I wish you luck.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:46 PM

Like others, I have no real information, but some further speculation: Is it not likely that a fiddle is more easily adapted to the solitary nature of frontier lifestyle? What I mean is that the frontier was generally a very lonely place, with homesteads being fairly isolated. In that situation, I can see keeping a fiddle around to amuse oneself and one's family in the evening or during the long winter months, with the very occasional community even thrown in. Maintaining a set of pipes (of whatever type) would seem to be an extravagence in a hardscrabble life. (Perhaps this is just another way of asking if the "critical mass" of pipers wasn't sufficient to offer a source of supplies & repairs.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:48 PM

Scotus...this Saturday there will a Celtic Festival in Maryland...not sure how close it is to you, but there will pipe band competitions....

short notice, but something to keep in mind.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Barry T
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 08:20 PM

I suggest that you post your question in the History, Tradition, Heritage forum at...

http://www.bobdunsire.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Arkie
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 11:05 PM

That is a good question. In some areas immigrants from the British Isles built dulcimers and tuned them in a fashion that they sounded a little like bagpipes and there were drone tunings on fiddles. On the other hand, the Scots-Irish who settled primarily in the southern mountains were originally lowlanders and from what I have gathered were more likely to play a fiddle than pipes.   Somewhere I have read that the pipes were more often associated with the Scottish highlanders.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: leeneia
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 11:31 PM

Things that emigrants crossed the ocean for so they could leave them behind:

bagpipes
boy sopranos
royalty
droit de seigneur
Marmite

Just kidding, just kidding!

(except for the boy sopranos)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 12:55 AM

The Appalachian dulcimer derives, not from the British Isles (where there is no evidence of any similar instrument) but from the plucked zithers of Northern Europe. The Highland pipes were, unsurprisingly, most often associated with the Highlands; but bagpipes of various other kinds were played throughout Britain until they went out of fashion in all but a few areas. Fiddles and flutes (and, later on, the free-reed instruments) were cheaper and more widely available. Piping had become a bit specialised by the time of the large-scale emigrations to America, and it isn't surprising that examples there are sparse; the same is true of other European piping traditions, none of which seem to have survived in the States beyond the first generation of immigrants.

Canada seems to be the place where a tradition survived, perhaps largely because entire communities emigrated there en masse, providing a cultural context that was lacking elsewhere. For detail, see John G Gibson, Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping, 1745-1945 (McGill-Queen's University Press/ National Museums of Scotland, 1998).

The Irish pipes seem to have been successfully exported, but that was a later, urban phenomenon; perhaps on a par with the growth of (highland) pipe bands. See the earlier thread for more speculation on similar lines.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: open mike
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 01:30 AM

a newsletter of the scandinavian music has an article about the Swedish bagpipes. It mentions an Asian origin of the pipes. In the middle ages, it was (they were?) common in Europe. In the 1300's they were found in Sweden, and there are paintings of a shepherd with one of them in a church. The Swedish name is säckpipa.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: SongReiver
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 02:00 AM

Interesting question. With so many Scots travelling to the New World you would think there would have been a greater tradition. I have the set of Border pipes my gr.gr. grandfather brought to Canada in 1833. He was first a millright and then farmer. There were many Scots in the surrounding farm region in central Ontario, and so he had a regular audience of rural folk who apparently would travel from miles around by horse and buggy to hear him play his in his orchard in the evenings. These are bellows-blown 'cauld wind' pipes, but they also have a mouth pipe. They were passed to my father, who was the last player.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 03:45 AM

So, why the fiddle and not the bagpipes or the whistles?

Somebody, Maybe Greg or Malcolm, makes the point that bagpies were dying out in general and in fact disappeared in most parts of England so the base from which to export bagpies was small.

Most of the reasons around complexity and "travelability" don't apply to small whistles but they too did not travel.

So, why the fiddle and not the bagpipes or the whistles? I think we have been discussing "folk" instruments and tunes probably used for dance and community pleasure. But the violin had a greater presence in "classical" music both in europe and, I assume in the States. The relationship between "folk" and "classical" fiddle/violin players has probably been much closer with much greater cross-over than perhaps imagined.

To get to the point: The number of people playing fiddle/violin was much greater on both sides of the pond and so the fiddle survide. The bagpipes and whistles had no support from the "classical" world did not.

Now, why did the banjo evolve?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Dazbo
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 06:39 AM

The banjo evolved to prevent the frame and skin being used as a bodhran:-)

My assumptions would be that for an instrument to be taken abroad by an emigrant it would need to be:

(1)played by the emigrant
(2)cheap, if it was expensive it may be sold to finance the trip
portable (if they had an expensive instrument would they need to emigrate in the first place)
(3)sturdy to survive the harsh conditions of the trip
(4)low tech - easy to maintain and fix or replace - the new land
would need suitable raw materials to hand
(5)fashionable - did the emigrant wished to be associated with an 'ethnic' instrument - links back to (1)

My guesses would be that there were few bagpipers in the general population that emigrated and that if bagpipes were taken there was not the skill to maintain the,; and the fiddle (which could be knocked up by a relatively unskilled person) was the fashionable instrument to play - a bit like the guitar in the second half of the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: leeneia
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM

One definite factor in the development of American music was that one could buy a fiddle, guitar or mandolin from Sears, Roebuck or Montgomery Ward.

For whatever reason, Sears or Wards did not sell bagpipes. No supply; no demand. No demand; no supply.

(For many years, the fashionable instrument to play was not the fiddle, it was the piano.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM

Many thanks to everyone for some excellent discussion and points made. Also for (mostly) avoiding the obvious temptation towards bagpipe jokes!

I think I have clearer picture of possible explanations now.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Little Robyn
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM

A similar situation in NZ - but lots of Scots came to settle in Dunedin and Scots pipes flourished.
I think Dazbo has listed some of the problems.
A set of Northumbrians made by Baty in the 19th C was brought out by a relative of his but once he died the pipes were just left and were almost thrown in the rubbish about 50 years ago.
John Miller heard of them, bought them and restored them (but they're still hard to play). There were no further Northumbrian pipes in NZ until I bought my set (made by Ken Fisher in 1972) and John bought a Burleigh set a few years later. (Our Geordie piping population has grown since then.)
There was a set of Scots parlour pipes (that looked like baby war pipes) belonging to someone in Auckland - Taff Hennessey was trying to master those back in the 80s, and there were a few sets of Irish pipes - one made in Wellington in the mid 20thC by old Mr McPhee, who had a music shop at the time and, according to his son who demonstrated the pipes in the 60s, there was a group who played regularly but I never met anyone who heard them.
I believe Taff had imported a set of Uillean pipes but when he found them too physically demanding he 'swapped' them and Terry Carroll took them on. For awhile Auckland had several Uillean pipers.
There was/is also a set of pipes that were played regularly in a settlement north of Auckland, called Puhoi. I was told they were Irish but they're actually a Bohemian Dudelsac! They belonged to a Dalmation immigrant and there's still a strong community there, although I don't know if anyone still plays those pipes today.
Apart from that, Scots pipes flourished out here and every town must have had it's own pipe band. Many places have Highland Games with dancing and piping competitions (and caber throwing too) and whenever there's a parade (blossom or Christmas) there'll always be at least one pipe band.
BUT NZ doesn't have a great fiddling tradition - violins, pianos and classical training certainly, but we didn't hear what I call fiddling until maybe the 60s. School children were taught to be orchestral violinists.
People who came to NZ were literate and musically literate as well.
Some dance bands had a violin but it was usually played 'straight', not with the technique used by Bluegrass or Celtic fiddlers today.
There may have been pockets of folk activity out on the goldfields, but the NZ Folklore Society spent a lot of time looking in the 60s and 70s and didn't find much at all.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 11:08 PM

Hello from Maine, Jack!

Not many harps over here either... I have evidence of a harper eloping to Canada with the French maid of one of his patrons,though it doesn't say if he brought his harp. Arthur Dobbs, a North Carolina landowner from Carrickfergus had a harper over here and both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson apparently had Celtic style harps, but that's about it!

Regarding the pipes, I have a couple of suggestions. At least here in Maine, the native Scots who came were often prisoners of war and as such would probably not have been allowed to have their pipes. Many came after the '45 when the playing of pipes was "discouraged". In addition, the Scots influence generally in Maine (and New England) is Ulster Scots and Presbyterian. More lowland, I think and less highland.
There was an exodus of Scottish loyalists to Canada during the Revolution which could have cleared out the piping population as well.One does find historically pipes in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

There was a ship full of Highlanders who landed in 1809 the Thomaston arae, courtesy of general Kno. they are described as arriving "plaided and kilted" and "speaking their native Erse". They ended up removing to Nova Scotia as the folk around here didn't speak Gaelic.

There is also the weather factor-- dry cold winters and very hot summers are not kind to pipes (or harps)
Anyway, a few thoughts for the record

yours aye
Julia

BTW did you know that Andrew Carnegie emigrated to the New World in a ship built here in Damariscotta named the "Wiscasset"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 11:52 PM

The pipes were sometimes discouraged (in common with all other musical instruments) by certain clergymen in Scotland, but there was no particular 'discouragement' in the wake of the '45, whatever the old wives' tales may say.

Re those Scots in Maine; which war or wars were they prisoners of? Remember that only a small minority played the pipes in the first place.

The harp was pretty much extinct as a vernacular instrument in Britain and Ireland by the end of the 18th century.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM

Hi Julia,

No - I didn't know about Carnegie's ship! But I have played Carnegie Hall - the original in Dunfermline, that is ;-)

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 09:34 AM

The harp never was a "vernacular" instrument contrary to what the old wives say. And it was very much in use, albeit not in its bardic role, until the late 1700s. Its demise was a technical one- the older harps did not have the ability to adapt to the newer music which modulated keys thanks to the influence of the keyboard.Professional players had to keep up with the times to get the gig. Hence the pedal harp was invented. But that's another discussion.

Places like Maine were one destination for prisoners of all the English wars, but the Maine Scots prisoners I am thinking of fought in the "civil war between Charles and Parliament" among them "Micum McIntyre, highlander". So Cromwellian it seems.

And yes, the piping population was probably about equivalent to the harping population- as specialized instruments. The fiddle and flute became favored partly due to their relative simplicity and portability.
(There is a harp tune called "Contempt for Fiddlers"...)

Regarding blowey things, we have in New England a number of collections of fife music, probably from the military. Pennywhistles were popularized in the early 1800's. Previous to that, the flute and fife were commonly played here.

Best- Julia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 09:41 AM

Without wishing to disparage the pipes in any way, one must ,I feel, consider the possibility that the sound made by them ,was totally alien and,indeed, possibly offensive to , the sensibilities of the indigenous " Red Indians" , or Native Americans. In those cicumstances, it would not be surprising if the terrifying noise made by a set of pipes that had somehow survived a damp,salty ocean crossing, would instantly result in their frenzied destruction, not to mention the ritual slaughter of their owner.Which could explain much, don"t you agree ??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM

Isn't the mouthbow a Native American instrument? - same kind of drone effect as the pipes (and the jaw-harp and the lap dulcimer).

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Little Robyn
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM

This appears to be a US site. Are these all new el-cheapo imports or are some of these second-hand from the early days? Is this where all the old pipes went?
WOW!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 06:13 PM

An other theory if I may.

By the mid18th century wasn't Bagpiping primarily British Martial Music? It is my understanding that by the mid 1700's the pipes had already given way to the fiddle and the flute as far as social music (parties and dances), and were primarily play for ceremonial functions, and usually by a band, and outside. Bagpiping has been kept alive in the north of England and in Scotland as parade music played primarily by military bands, and in the last hundred years or so various "Band Associations".

This was not the music of the poor scots or scots/irish farmer who settled in the appalachians. He brought with him, and then further developed, music suited for the front porch.

As far as Martial Music in the US. Early Americans invested an appreciable amount of effort in trying to not look like their european ex-parent countries. American sailors wore short hair to differentiate themselves from English and French mariners with their que or ponytail. The US armed forces, still largely private militias, continued to use Fife and Drum Corps. well after European armies had changed to full military bands. Where as in Canada which was still an English commonwealth, several military units had and have pipe bands attached to them. Unfortunately many of Canada's great Military bands have become victims of economic changes in the past few years.

There are pockets of Bagpiping in the US though. Every public works department in the city of New York has a pipe band. And some of those band are 125 years old. I bet Chicago has the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 06:25 PM

There are a number of pipers known to have emigrated to Cape Breton, and a tradition there that has carried on to this day, to some degree in opposition to the military piping tradition as it developed in the British army. Some of the prominent fiddling families are descended from these pipers, and there are some known fiddlers who were also known pipers, and vice versa.

I can't provide names and dates and citations off the top of my head; this is my impression gleaned mostly from years of reading about this sort of thing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 09:07 PM

Yes, I was going to mention the Scottish loyalists who left Maine for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. These would have been the military types who would, as "Meself" has said, have been more likely to have a piping tradition.
I have heard that the Cape Breton pipers and fiddlers have carried on the older styles and preserved them. Thank goodness for that!

cheers- Julia


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: bubblyrat
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 01:06 AM

There is a very good group from Cape Breton called " Slainte M'Hath " ( Slangie Var ) whose piper, name McFee, I think, is truly superb . Mike Katz, of Scottish group The Battlefield Band is also worth following up. But in either case, I think most people would agree that their style (and volume !! ) of playing would never have crossed the Atlantic as a means of accompanying singers !! ----They"re just much too loud ! I believe that a Mr. G. Campbell, of the USA, is a Piper ( in his more lucid moments ! ) ---is this true ??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 09:17 AM

My original query was deliberately about an older and solo tradition, although I'm certainly aware of the plethora of police and fire dept bands around the US - and that also intrigues me. As does the solo piper playing 'Flooers o the Forest' at 'heid bummers' funerals.

However I really think that Marc has hit gold - I should have realised that by the time I'm talking about the pipes had mostly become a military instrument and put into a band context. Although that wouldn't be true of Italian or French bagpipes.

IMy thread title was chosen to confine the discussion to the US dimension as I had thought including Canada would just over complicate things.

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 11:12 AM

well, I just attended the Celtic Festival I mentioned above, and saw at least 200-250 pipers...most in bands, but several playing as solo demos and performances. (Pipers as young as 10-12..)

I guess it would be interesting to explore what some of these do when they're not specifically in a band.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Rowan
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM

Julia wrote "Regarding blowey things, we have in New England a number of collections of fife music".

Which reminded me...
When New England was first settled by white folks most of them were Scots, who proceeded to give Scottish names to everything in sight. After a couple of decades they got peeved at what they thought of as misrule by the English and petitioned the Colonial Office in London to establish a separate Colony, which they wished to be called New Caledonia. At first they were ignored but they persisted andt later the Colonial Office relented and established a new Colony, but put the border 100 miles futher north and ensured two things;
1 every subsequent map of what the settlers wanted named "New Caledonia" was labelled, in the largest lettering, "New England" and
2 the new Colony north of the border was named "Queensland".

But there's lots of pipers and the usual parades with pipe bands. Not a lot of fife music, though.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: Scotus
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:57 AM

Well - being originally from Fife I'm always interested in Fife music - - - - -

Jack


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Subject: RE: Folklore: bagpipes in the US
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:41 PM

This is a really good question, never really pondered it before. Our (U.S.) family had a traditional piper until he died in the 1950s, while relatives and neighbors had traditional fiddlers who dwindled down to a tiny few with few dances to play for, but who did transfer their music to younger proteges during the 1970s and 80s.   What was the difference? In our case, we unfortunately had a few tone-deaf descendants who let the ball drop, whereas the fiddlers had hearing children interested in their musical roots by the 1970s.

At the time the original trad music was being pushed towards oblivion in the 50s, country and bluegrass were showcasing fiddle and banjo in their American formats, while Polish accordions and Irish pipes were odd instruments tied to old ethnic roots which became passe. I know more than one boomer fiddler who came in via bluegrass or 'outlaw country' and migrated to their Irish roots.

As Bill D says, there are now a lot of practitioners out there reviving the pipes (and boxes?), so it's a 'broken' but not lost tradition.   Just some years behind the curve relative to the less broken fiddle story?


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