Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

I borrowed a book recently from Aberdeen University library - "Musical Scotland - 1400 - 1894" by David Baptie. One James M’Kenzie [ sic ] - born 1781, died Glasgow 6th October 1807 is described as "A famous performer on the Irish bagpipe".
A "Google" hasn’t come up with anything. I wondered if the "Prof", or any of the other pipers here might have heard of him at all.
[ There are some quite interesting mentions of some well-known Scottish tunes and their composers in the book, which I’ll post in the appropriate places for discussion later ].

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Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Definately.
Very famous.
Amazing stylist.

John Coltrane was the "David Baptie" of the saxophone.

Rely on me.

Posted by .

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

It could be worthwhile contacting Jim Daily:
http://www.uilleann-pipes.com/

Jim is a mine of information on uilleann/pastoral pipe making and playing in Scotland.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

If that’s a quote from an 18th century source, it’s quite likely that "Irish" meant "Gaelic", and the guy played the ordinary Highland pipes. "Erse" was used in the same way.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Eh?

In any case, they were making them in Scotland in 1790s or thereabouts, so I imagine locals were playing them.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

There supposedly used to be an Irish version of the Scottish bagpipes, though none apparently have survived. i would go with Jack on this one

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

I definitely disagree with Jack and Meuritt’s contention. In the context, Irish pipes probably does signify union pipes and there were several known makers in Edinburgh and Aberdeen in the late eighteenth century.

Have a scroll through the below database and you’ll discover a few Scotland-based makers whose bits and pieces of pipes made it into the National Museum of Scotland’s collection.

http://nms.scran.ac.uk/database/results.php?offset=1&no_results=12&scache=6pucy3n63h&searchdb=scran&sortby=&sortorder=ASC&field=&searchterm=%2Bunion%20%2Bpipes

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Addendum: There was an Irish warpipe but everything I’ve read, including Hugh Cheape’s book (which is about an hour away from me in my office at the uni, so can’t consult at present) suggests that they had more or less died out by the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

It’s a quote from a 19th century source, very nearly 20th. The book was printed in 1894. There are many Highland pipers named in the book, so I believe Mr. Baptie could tell the difference. This is the only mention in over 200 pages of "the Irish bagpipe".
Thanks for the link, "Spear", and thanks for reminding me of Jim Daly, "Weejie". I’ll ask him next time I see him.

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Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Oh aye, an 1894 source using the term "Irish bagpipe" definitely would have meant the union pipes.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

By the way, I can’t find a *thing* from the late nineteenth century using "Erse," "Irish," and "Gaelic" in a kind of interchangeable way like you find in late eighteenth century sources and not to toot my own trumpet but I have read feckloads of stuff in the English language talking about the Gaelic-speaking Highlands from that period. They always always always use "Gaelic;" that includes anything from collections of folktales to medical reports from a mental hospital or parliamentary papers or legal papers or travel accounts or first-person descriptions of the Clearances or newspaper reports or whatever.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

I didn’t know you played trumpet, TSS. How does that fit in?

[heh heh]

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Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Haha. I did used to play the French Horn.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

And I used to play low brass - Tuba, Sousaphone and trombone…

Loved the thread and enjoyed your contributions and link SS… Thanks… Please keep us informed if more surfaces Kenny…

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

We might do well to remember that the Union Pipe was widely made and played in Scotland and England.

If you’re interested in the topic of the origins of the Union Pipe you might well read
Bagpipes: A National Collection of a National Instrument
by Hugh Cheape

This book relies on the actual physical evidence of surviving pipes in museums etc aided by much historical (print) evidence.

He writes
"On the basis of materical evidence alone it is possible to argue for a Scottish origin for the Union PIpe, or at least shared and coterminous development between Edinburgh and Dublin and possibly Newcastle."

"The organology of this instrument is based on very small beginnings with only one or two isolated makers making perhaps one or two instruments per year."

Late 18th century/ early 19th century Union PIpe makers:

Malcolm MacGregor, London
John Dunn, Michael Dunn, Newcastle
Robert Reid, North Shields (1784-1837)
James Reid, North Shields
J Massie, Abereen (also made Pastoral pipes)
James Sharpe, Aberdeen (also Pastoral)
John Naughtan, Aberdeen (also Pastoral)
Hugh Robertson, Edinburgh (1760s)
Bannon
Robert Scott, London
Weldon
Nicholas Kerr, Edinburgh
Donald MacDonald, Edinburgh (1767-1840)
James Kenna, Dublin (making keyed pipes 1770-1790)

Union pipe players in Scotland and Northern England:

Billy Purvis 1784-1853
James Allan 1734-1810
Neil MacVicar
John Sutherland
William Mackie
Robert Millar 1789-1865

Venues where Union PIpes were performed:

Highland Society of London 1788-1822
Performers included Richard Fitzmaurice, Patrick O Farrell, John Murphy, John MacGregor, Dennis Courtney, Malcolm MacGregor, James McDonnell

Perth Gaelic Society
Malcolm MacGregor performed on GHB, Union Pipes, Flageolet, and German Flute

Aberdeen Highland Society

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Can somebody quote what Baptie actually wrote, and tell us what his source was?

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

1st place to check is with Na Piobairí Uilleann in Dublin info@pipers.ie

Scotland’s first uilleann piper - who says so??

If Baptie called him "A famous performer on the Irish bagpipe", what is the reasoning behind calling him "Scotland’s first uilleann piper"? It’s possible to read Baptie’s description as implying there were plenty of others who weren’t as famous.

Some early music collections for Union pipes were published in Scotland, see Cannon’s Bagpipe Bibliography, I wonder if Cheape mentions this too?

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Thanks Richard & Matt…

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Iwerzon, I think anyone limiting their search to Irish sources would miss a huge percentage of the players and makers of that time.

It can be seen that Edinburgh and Aberdeen were, in the 18th century and beginning of the 19th century, centres of Union pipe making.

I posted some venues to demonstrate that in the late 18th and early 19th century the Union pipes were often associated with Scottish Highland culture, being featured at the Highland Society of London, the Perth Gaelic Society, and the Aberdeen Highland Society. These venues were promoting Scottish Highland culture rather than Irish culture.

We would be well served, if we are to understand the true history of the uilleann pipes, to take off our modern "uilleann = Irish" blinders and look at the evidence itself and listen to what it tells us.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

I agree with you, Richard: the centre of the Union Pipes making at he end of 18th an beginning 19th was principally Scotland, even there were well-famed Irish makers like James Kenna & William Kennedy in this time. Edinburgh was a big intellectual and cultural centre in those days, more attractive that Dublin in this time. With no doubt, Pastoral Pipe (or New Bagpipe) and its successor, Union Pipe is a brittanic instrument, not an Irish national exclusivity. It was built in London, Newcastle, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. This bagpipe had a constant evolution in the 18th c. and in the 19th too; remarkably Northumbrian (John Dunne & Robert Reid for example), Scottish (Hugh Roberston and others) and Irish makers (the Kenna’s, Michael Doogan, John Egan…) had all their respectable part in this long-time improvement. In conclusion, Union pipes were sometimes called Scottish Union Pipes and a lot of Scottsih Great Highland Bagpipe players of the 1800’s period used to play Union Pipes too. Take a look to the Ross Anderson’s Page that is very well documented. He’s a specialist of the early years Pastoral & Union piping.

Re: Scotland’s first uilleann piper ?

Yes but its pretty obvious that the long chanter , in D is the Irish and the shorter chanter , steeper bore, in A is Scottish. I acknowledge the transformation of the Long Irish pipes into the Union pipes happened in the main centers of Dublin, London and Edinburgh but The Musical Canon in D , 2 octaves , is Irish. Not Scottish and the instrument they were composed on and played on too. 😎 I mean tunes like King of the pipers are Long chanter tunes, no getting around it. many of the old pipe tunes are are in the Old Irish Scale D mix , just as the Old Scottish Scale is A mix.