Madame Bonaparte (Reprise) played on English Northumbrian smallpipes
Our musical journey continues on the World Express, and we head now to the county of Tyne and Wear in England's North.
The second version of Madam Bonaparte is played on the Northumbrian smallpipes which is the traditional instrument of North East England.
The first written account of this instrument dates from c. 1692 to 1695 in the Talbot manuscript, a treatise on music, partially written by Dean Henry Aldrich (1647-1710) but mostly written by Professor James Talbot (1664-1708), both of Oxford University.
The Northumbrian smallpipes originally consisted of a keyless chanter, which is the section of the instrument that is played, and three drones. The standard set of Northumbrian smallpipes known today (though variations exist) were created by the Reid Family of the town of North Shields in the early 19th century.
Robert Reid the Younger (1784-1837) added a seven metal key chanter in 1810. The metal keys allowed for more chromaticism and, as a result, players could play more complex dance tunes from fiddle music, thus expanding their repertoire.
Robert Reid the Younger also added a fourth drone, stops, and tuning beads to the instrument. The fourth drone allows for the drones to sound harmonies for keys other than G major which could be played with the increased chanter range.
The Northumbrian smallpipes, like the Irish uilleann (pronounced ill-en) bagpipes, are a bellows played bagpipe. As with the Irish uilleann bagpipes, the player pumps air into the bag by means of a bellows.
The Northumbrian smallpipes, unlike the famous Great Highland Bagpipes of Scotland, are known for their crisp, sweet, and softer melodious sound and are thus more suitable for and typically played in an indoor venue.
The Dukes of Northumbria have had an official smallpipes piper in their household for 250 years.
Also, the Mayor of Gateshead and the Lord Mayor of Newcastle have appointed official pipers.
Join us again next time on the World Express!
Copyright 2020 Josiah Wales USA
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