How are bagpipes made? A musical instrument seen in Scottish ceremonies is world-famous for its melodious voice and is played on almost every occasion of joy in Scotland. Yes, we are talking about the Bagpipe. Though Bagpipes are played in another part of the world, also the Scottish one is very famous.
Also, the origin of bagpipes might not be from the place where it is most played. Bagpipes were originated somewhere in the middle east, according to historical facts received. The Scottish bagpipes have a well-known name in the Anglophone world.
Before You Continue Reading…
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- RG HARDIE BAGPIPES TWIST TRAP PRACTICE CHANTER made in Scotland by one of the finest bagpipe makers, engraved with RG Hardies logo and with recessed finger holes perfect...
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Last update on 2021-04-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
A bagpipe, as the name suggests, is an instrument having a bag with some pipes. When the air is blown through the pipes attached to the bag, a melodious voice comes out. The pleasant voice is pitched higher and lower with the help of holes present in the pipes.
Now the question arises, how such a melodious voice is produced and how the Bagpipes are made to create such a pleasant sound. There may be different methods for manufacturing of bagpipe.
How Are Bagpipes Made?
In ancient times, the bagpipes were known to be formed from animal skin, and the bones are used as the pipes. According to Greek sources, dog skin was used, while traditional European bagpipes are made up of goat or sheepskin.
The natural openings for legs in the skin were used for attaching the pipes in the bagpipe making. Pigskins, leather, and synthetic materials are also used to prepare the melodious bagpipes these days. As the world has changed too much in the process, how the bagpipes are made is also changing. Interested to learn how do bagpipes work?
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Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Raw Material Used in Bagpipes
The raw material used in the manufacturing of bagpipers differs with the manufacturer. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the early Scottish bagpipes were made up of bog oak. When trading, start between Europe, America, and Africa, the material also used to get changed with tropical hardwoods’ availability.
Manufactures start using tropical hardwoods for constructing pipes for bagpipes. Blackwood from African land and Rosewood from South American soil are ideal for manufacturing of pipes. The material also used to get changed with time. The condition while preparing the bag was that it must be airtight, water-absorbent, and resistant to the climate.
So the experiments were done, from time to time, to get the perfect one and the material used to get changed along with. So the experiments were done, from time to time, to get the perfect one and the material used to get changed along with. Earlier sheep skins were used for the bag manufacturing, but as these were not durable in drier regions so were replaced by other sustainable options.
Also, the availability of material effects on the material to be used likely American bagpipes consisted of a bag made up of cow skin. In contrast, the kangaroo skins were more in Australia and used there as the material for bags of bagpipes. The reeds in bagpipes were made up of different materials such as brass, but now PVC and other metals are also used.
Design of the Bagpipes
The design of a simple bagpipe consists of two main parts; one is an airbag and the other sets of pipes. The pipes are attached to the bags in a definite pattern to produce the voice.
The pipes of a bagpipe are mainly used to blow air into the bag and generate a melodious sound with them. For a different purpose, different pipes are there and so have different names.
An air supply pipe was used to supply air, a chanter to produce different tones, and a regular drone to give the background sound. The pipes are arranged on the bag in a pattern, first the chanter; then the blowpipe followed the drones.
The Manufacturing Process
How bagpipes are made is a time-consuming process. The manufacturing of different parts is different and then assembled to get a working bagpipe.
First, all pipes and bags are manufactured separately, and then the pipes are attached to the bag to produce the sound in harmony.
The pipe maker used the most suitable material, either wood or synthetic material, to prepare the pipes. For wooden pipes, the hardwood is imported from Africa in the form of logs.
Then the wooden logs are shaped to form the chanters and the drones. Before manufacturing of pipes, the wooden logs are well dried. It would take three or more years for a wooden log to become perfectly dry.
But some manufacturers have decreased this time to reduce the cost of manufacturing of bagpipes. After drying, the logs are drilled to bore out the cylindrical drones, and the bores are made in the center of the logs, and the outer portion is shaped.
The prepared drone is furnished with wax and other beautifying materials to make it look attractive. The bass drone is made more lengthy than the tenor drones, shorter than the bass drone.
How the Chanter Is Manufacturing
The chanters are made similar to the drone, but the difference occurs in the drill, the drill made in the chanter is conical in shape. In addition to this, holes are made in slant height of the cone, open or close by fingers, to produce different sounds.
The narrow end of the conical drill is about 0.13 inches, and the other end is about 0.87 inches, in a 13 inches long chanter.
The chanter is played with both hands, so there are nine holes made in a chanter to place your figure to stop and allow the air through each hole to produce different sounds through various combinations of closing the holes.
How Is the Bag Prepared
The bag is prepared of cow or elk to hide, and about five bags can be prepared for a young cow’s hide. The hide obtained is folded and is cut into a mirror image pattern. The parts are stuck with an adhesive material, and later a leather welt is placed over it and stitched to make the joint permanent and airtight.
The pipes are then placed in the holes made in the bag. The stocks are used to make the joint permanent, and also some adhesive is used to make the joint proper to ensure it is airtight. To complete the pipes, the reeds are added to them. Stocks are made along with the pipes and are long enough to place the reeds over it.
Bagpipes Decoration and Final Thoughts
The prepared bagpipes are decorated with different arts to look attractive. The well-furnish bagpipes are used by the players to produce melodious sounds and entertain the audience. The bagpipes are used almost in the whole world. However, a bagpipe becomes of no use after a period.
But the workers manufacturing bagpipes are continuously working to provide new bagpipes for the bagpipe players. How bagpipes are made is a lengthy process still, the manufacturers are supplying the perfect bagpipes for the melody listeners.