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4.1) What are Northumbrian pipes?




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This article is from the Bagpipe FAQ, by Denise McNickle denisem@southwind.net with numerous contributions by others.

4.1) What are Northumbrian pipes?

The Northumbrian small pipe (NSP) is a small, bellows-blown pipe featuring
as many as four or five drones and a cylindrical-bored closed chanter. This
differs from Highland and Uilleann pipes, which have conically-bored open
chanters. The Northumbrian pipe takes its name from the county of
Northumberland in the north of England, and is native to that area and the
borders. The NSP produces a distinct sweetness of tone which, among other
things, probably inspired this standard joke among Northumbrian pipers:
"Q: What's the difference between the NSP and the GHB? A: The NSP is a
musical instrument".

The NSP chanter usually has keys to provide semitones and to extend the
range of the chanter. The most common has 7 keys with a range of about an
octave and a half, although up to 18 keys may be found on some instruments.
The traditional pitch is about one third of a semitone sharp of F although
many pipes can be found in concert F, concert G and also some in concert D.

 

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