Here's some of the instruments I've collected on my musical journey...
Check out the sound samples to hear them being played!
This Bagpipe is found in Italy and is generally associated with the sounds of Christmas. This particular bagpipe was made in Italy in the late 1970's and is made of aged Olivewood. It's duel chanters produce a lovely mellow "organ-like" sound and create beautiful harmonies with each other.
Uilleann pipes were popular during the 18th century and emerged from Ireland. The word "Uilleann" means elbow, and these pipes are different from many bagpipes in that they have air pumped in them by means of a bellows. This bellows is worked under arm by the player's elbow. These pipes are pitched in the key of D, have a two octave range, and are chromatic. This set was made by John Pedersen and was completed in 1998. They have sweet sound and are about as loud as a fiddle.
Sound Sample from "Hearthside Carols"
The Gaita is the traditional bagpipe from Spain, Portugal, and Asturia. They can have from one to three drones. They are pitched in C and have a shrill, but enticing sound. They can go over an octave, depending on the player's ability. This set was made around 1957 and is made out of olive wood, with the chanter being made from grenadilla wood.
The Hummelchen is the bagpipe from germany. They are a few different models, but these seem to be fairly standard. These emerged on the scene during the 14th century. They are pitched in C with two drones pitched in C (bass) and G(baritone). Hummelchen means "bumble bee" and sounds a little bit like one! A very quiet but beautiful bagpipe.
Sound Sample from my release "Hearthside Carols."
Shuttle Pipes are a quiet and bubbly smallpipe. The chanter is fingered like the highland pipes, but has a much different sound and is nowhere near as loud. What makes the shuttle pipe unique is its drone. The shuttle is a cylindrical block of wood that has been bored out with many holes. These holes are connected to form a network inside that make the drones. This internal creation makes the drones a small force to be reckoned with. Instead of having several feet of drones sticking out, this size makes the pipes compact and portable. They are in the Key of A.
The Highland bagpipes are what most people think of when they hear the word, "bagpipe." They are loud, brilliant, and have an octave + 1 notes. They are pitched in the key of Bb. It take quite a few years to master the strict form and technique of this powerful instrument. When played badly it can leave the listener experiencing nightmares, but when played correctly, it is a most noble and prestigious sound that cuts straight to the heart. This set of pipes was made by Grangers and Campbell in 1975 and is made from Blackwood.
Sound Sample from "Beautiful Noise"
The Hungarian Duda is basically a shepherd's instrument. It is pitched in C#, and has one bass drone. Above the chanter is carved a goat, quite common in many of these mountainous regions. This bagpipe has a unique sound, much like a voice, and is very primitive in nature. This particular model was made in the 1960's in Budapest.
The Hurdy Gurdy: with 4 strings and a two octave range, this is quite an amazing instrument. It sounds like a cross between a bagpipe and a fiddle. You have to crank the wheel with your right hand and play the melody with your left hand. This instrument emerged in the 11th century and was first used in churches by monks, except that it was much bigger then and required two people to play it. It gained popularity in the 17th century and was used commonly by street musicians. The instrument was always popular in Europe, but gained recogonition in the Sates with Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in the 60's. This model is made of cherry and was crafted by George Leverette in Oregon.
The Hammered Dulcimer has its roots in both the western and eastern world. While it would have been common to find it played in the Middle Ages in both Great Britain and the surrounding countries, it would also have been found in the Middle East in Iran and Iraq. There are also Chinese and Thai versions that stretch back hundreds of years. This model is a 16/15 ultralight made by Masterwork's Russell Cook.
These smallpipes were inspired by the Scandinavian invasion in the British Isles in the Dark Ages. The Viking raiders brought their own pipes and there was a mingling of cultures musically. These pipe have the sound of the Swedish Sackpipa, and the fingering of the Scottish smallpipes. This set was made by me based off of Royce Lerwick's design, and is made out of oak, walnut, and olive wood. In the key of D.
This set was recently completed by Kenneth McNicholls from Scotland. It is what in the uilleann pipe world is called a "flat set." Any set of pipes pitched lower than concert D is classified as being "flat." These pipes have a beautiful low and mellow tone, and are a beautiful set all around.
The Sitar is an Indian Instrument that has been around since the 15th century. It has 20 strings and an extremely unique tonal quality. This one is an antique that I have been getting into playing condition. After sanding off all the rust from the frets, turning a new melody peg, adding a bridge and strings, it's in great working order. It has always been a goal of mine to learn to play one of these!
This Bagpipe is a two-droned model from the Galician region in Spain. It is made of boxwood and has horn mounts. It is pitched in Bb. They can have anywhere from 1 to 3 drones and be pitched from High D to low G.
Here are some Native American Flutes flutes I made in 2013. There are made of (from L to R):
Cedar (1,3,6), Ebony (2), Poplar (4), and Pine (5).
The Native American flute is a pentatonic flute sounding an octave range in a minor key. They are quiet, haunting, and easy to play.
Brian Boru Pipes are similar to Highland Pipes, with the exception that they have a Bass, Baritone, and Tenor drone. Standard pipes have a Bass and two tenors. Having a Baritone produces a rich harmony tone at the 5th of the scale, allowing for greater harmonic capabilities. These blackwood pipes were made for Lark in the Morning in the mid 90's.
These Highland pipes are 1972 MacPhersons, and are the most beautiful pipes I have had the privilege of owning.They are the crown jewel of my collection, and are made by Hugh MacPherson of Scotland, a reputable maker who studied under and with William Sinclair, and together they made pipes that were second to none. These pipes have been upgraded with Mopani hardwood mounts, and have the richest set of drones I have heard in a long time!