THIS IS A FAIRLY QUIET SMALLPIPE WITH A CHANTER HAVING TWO REEDS AND TWO BORES WHICH CAN BE FINGERED SEPARATELY TO PRODUCE SIMPLE HARMONIES AND COUNTER MELODIES
English Double Pipe
I can make a pipe using Talbot’s dimensions, giving a pitch of around E for the six-finger note. However, I have adapted these measurements for my standard design, to give a six-finger note of C, which I have found to be far more stable and more easily fingered than Talbot’s tiny chanter. I can also make a chanter where the six-finger note is the A below this C (in which case the drone is D).
There is a detailed account by George Skene in 1729 of two sets of double pipes being played by James Bell of Penrith. One set, which Skene eventually bought, had 'three burdens (drones) on it'. I can also make these pipes with three drones in a common stock, as described by Skene, a set-up similar to the Scottish Smallpipes. (tuned to C-F-C,)
The chanter's left bore is similar to that of the Leicestershire Smallpipe, playing one octave from C to C', but the top B' and the B produced by the pinkie are both tuned to B flat. The right bore has no holes for the fingers of the left hand, so that it plays only up to F. The single drone is tuned to F an octave below the chanter's F. I also make a chanter pitched A-A' with drone in D.
Another possibility is to use fit the pipes with three drones as in the Scottish smallpipes
Keeping double chanters in tune using cane reeds is notoriously difficult because of the instability of cane. The secret of the stability of my double chanters lies in the use of plastic reeds.
Woods and Bags
I make these pipes out of a variety of woods and I am happy to discuss your preferences based on what I have in stock. Plumwood and yew are both favourites of mine.
The bags are of hand-sewn leather and have a graceful swan neck which holds the chanter at the correct position for playing.
The pipes can be either made bellows-blown or mouthblown. The standard bellows are the same as supplied with the Leicestershire Small Pipe.
The standard English double pipes chanters are not fitted with split-stocks unless requested. I can supply the chanters separately with split-stocks to allow them to be plugged into Leicestershire Smallpipes, in which case the six-finger note will be the drone-note.
It is an intriguing pipe to play. Using covered fingering, as on the Leicestershire Smallpipe, it can be played as a simple pipe in F, with the right hand covering the sound holes for both bores simultaneously. However, when the left hand is forming notes above the F on the left bore, there are possibilities of playing F or a lower note on the right bore. There are even some possibilities of fingering the bores independently from F downwards. The effect is surprising and the tone gorgeous.