Great Irish Warpipes

Re: Great Irish Warpipes

I don’t know much about Irish pipes, but I believe the only difference is that they have two drones (bass and tenor), as opposed to the three (two tenor drones, one bass) of the GHB

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Re: Great Irish Warpipes

From what I understand, the Irish war pipe is extinct the ones around now are a modern revival ! Think there based only on pictures … Hope that helps …

Re: Great Irish Warpipes

Wikipedia says
"….the modification in the 20th century of Highland pipes by Irish pipers who omitted one tenor seems to be a mistake in terms of making the pipes “more Irish”. At the time those descriptions were made, the Scottish pipes would probably have been the same; at any rate, there seems to be no evidence that there was a third drone until well into the 17th century."

Anyone seen the ‘warpipes’ being played in a Fleadh Cheoil?

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Harmonic miner - yes, once In the US. Only one entrant, who was not very good.

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There’s a reproduction of a sixteenth century woodcut of a chap playing the war pipes in ‘The Companion to Irish Music’ - big bag, chanter and two drones appearing behind his back.

Up in Gweedore, Co. Donegal there’s a fellow who occasionally drags his modern-day simulation of those pipes to the local session. The other musicians usually regard it as the opportunity for a wazz or a fag break.

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MacCruiskeen, would that also be from the series of wood-cut depictions of Mountjoy’s wars? There’s a piper somewhere in that series of prints; and he is shown playing warpipes which feature a chanter with an improbable number of note holes. That’s the one visual detail I can remember.

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Current CCE rules no longer appears to include the piob mor

http://comhaltas.ie/images/press_room/Rialacha_Fleadhanna_Ceoil_Web_2010.pdf

At any rate, the times I’ve seen someone enter a piob mor competition at a fleadh, all of the pipers in question used the British Royal Army’s standard 3-drone GHB.

The real Irish piob mor, like your man in the 1581 Derrick’s Images played, has gone the way of the Dodo.

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Before all you Irish and Irish American Highland pipers start piling on, yes, I know you can adapt Irish tunes to suit the GHB, and that Irish pipe bands playing the GHB do exist.

However, you’re using a British instrument devised for the British army, and instructional methods and repertoire that have their origins in Scotland for the most part.

Of course the Uilleann pipes started as a parlor instrument in the big houses, but at least they’re an unbroken tradition in Ireland!

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"a British instrument devised for the British army…" excuse me, but I learned piobaireachd dating from the 17th century, as collected and recorded by the Piobaireachd Society. Nothing whatever to do with the army, British or otherwise.

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Re: Great Irish Warpipes

@gam Absolutely true the GHB is a Gaelic instrument through and through nothing to do with British army until after the Highland clearances in fact it was the British army/government who outlawed the instrument from the Scottish Gaels … Weather or not the Irish warpipe was played in a similar fashion we will never know …

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I’m just now re-reading Bagpipes by Hugh Cheape.

It’s an interesting and controversial book, because the conclusions that the author draws, based solely on historical and physical evidence, are rather different from the commonly accepted ideas about Highland pipes, Union pipes, and other types of pipes.

Bottom line is that there were a number of urban professional makers in London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and other places in the 18th and early 19th century. Each maker made a variety of pipes, Highland pipes, smallpipes, Union pipes, Pastoral pipes. Moreover it was common for professional pipers of the period to play all these pipes, often at the same concert.

But back to the ancient Irish Warpipes, unfortunately little is known of their appearance and musical capabilities. No examples survive. The problem with the Derrick image is that it’s not provable that what he shows is an Irish warpipe seen in life, rather the artist could be depicting a Low Countries bagpipe.

Of course the "Irish Warpipe" might not have been a single species, but could have had considerable regional variation in Ireland. Such is the norm in bagpipes. For example in the 18th century North Highland pipes had three drones, Southern Highland pipes only two. In Spain the pipes of Asturias and Galicia have different chanter fingerings etc.

From what little evidence exists it seems that the ancient Irish Warpipes might have been closer to Low Countries pipes or the large Central French pipes, than to Highland pipes as they are today. The chanter may have been customarily overblown to reach at least one note in the second octave. (This was also true of the extinct Scottish Border pipes.)

It’s true, though, that early accounts exist of Highland pipers being sent to Ireland for tuition, so that at that time Highland and Irish pipes had shared music and technique.

In any case the ancient Irish warpipe and folk costume etc was exterminated.

In the late 19th century Irish Revival people got the idea of taking the current Highland pipe and removing one tenor drone for a superficial resemblance to the Derrick image. Of course by that time the Highland pipes themselves had changed considerably, during their own evolutionary process. (The Highland pipes changed quite a bit in form in the last quarter of the 18th century, from the ancient Gaita-like instrument to the modern so-called Victorian one.)

About the Highland pipes being a Gaelic instrument, we have to recall that bagpipes were a rather late comer into Ireland and Scotland, arriving at the Celtic fringe after they had been the rage on the Continent for centuries.

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Oh and by the way a band from The Republic (Saint Lawrence O Toole) is now World Pipe Band Champions. They play ordinary three-droned Highland pipes and their music is a mix of Scots Highland music, modern pipe band music, and traditional Irish music.

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Where is bogman when you need him?

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Have you looked in the bog?

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"Oh and by the way a band from The Republic (Saint Lawrence O Toole) is now World Pipe Band Champions. They play ordinary three-droned Highland pipes and their music is a mix of Scots Highland music, modern pipe band music, and traditional Irish music." Richard D Cook

And fantastic was the moment.

" excuse me, but I learned piobaireachd dating from the 17th century, as collected and recorded by the Piobaireachd Society. Nothing whatever to do with the army, British or otherwise." gam

Exactly, the Macrimmon may have died out as a direct hereditary piping blood line but their piping tradition did not. This was continued right down until the latter part of last century by the MacKays of Rassay who maintained many stylistic "Macrimmon school" aspects in their playing and it could be argued that they were the inheritors of this tradition from the former. This same MacKay school had a big influence on scottish piping directly through players and judges on the broader scottish piping competition circuit. There is an interview, now rescued to CD, in which this very issue is discussed with the last direct surviving piper of this of this tradition, who died in the 1970’s. Maybe one day an edited version of this unique record will see a wider audience.

The british army may have standardised the instrument and maintained the high profile, but that would be the extent of it. Piping in scotland (particularly in the gaelic west) is an unbroken tradition. Even during the time of prohibition piping survived hale and hearty through the medium of canntaireachd (Canterach).

The question of the Irish War Pipe? I think if you look to the pre standardized war pipes of scotland you’ll find a very close approximation of how the GIWP may have sounded (look for discussions by Barnaby Brown on "The Iain Dall chanter" for an insight to this fascinating area of pre-standardised pips and piping). There would, as has already been mentioned by others, be a fair bit of regional variation in pipe and piping styles throughout ireland & scotland, as I don’t think you can mention one without the other in the context of the war pipe from a time when the native aristocracies maintained pipers. I’d argue that at that time the irish and scottish war pipe, variations aside, were essentially the same thing and used throughout a common culture spanning the atlantic west, from Kinsale to Dunnet head. It’s the politics of the region that have changed rather than the people and culture, getting some to look beyond political boundaries for answers to old questions is a different story and symptomatic of the condition, both sides the channel.

For a quick insight to canntaireachd see below;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctaMm37-Ud4


A look at the campbell canntaireachd
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M893z11FuNU


http://pibroch.net/articles/bjb/2007.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JofojLWxTPs&NR=1


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QH1-gf8-LE&NR=1


Old tunes find a new voice, check out Fraser Fifield and his stunning jazz interpretation of the pibroch; "lament for the children", not the whole tune but enough to get a flavor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsEDWxbsDU8


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I chuckled at the bit in the clip about the campbell canntaireachd about spelling piobaireachd, and the card with it written out. On a radio program about it last year the presenter said "and if you want to know more about the campbell canntaireachd go to doubleu doubleu doublu dot pibroch dot co dot uk (thats pibroch spelled he gaelic way)" sending me and, it would seem, many others off find the spelling.

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It’s the clip of Barnaby Brown reciting canntaireachd that makes me laugh. I shouldn’t and I try not to, as the man truly is a treasure. But gifts don’t all come wrapped in perfect packaging, so I forgive myself for my occasional giggle.