The most important surviving set of 18th Century smallpipes is the Montgomery smallpipes which are on permanent display in the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.
It has been described as 'a Rosetta Stone of Scottish bagpipe musicology’, since the inscription on the common stock, which reads "HONL. COLL. MONTGOMERY 1st.BATTN.JANY 4 1757”, makes it the earliest dated Scottish Small Pipe. Col. Montgomery is known to have employed 30 pipers in his regiment which fought campaigns in the American wars of Independence. The original instrument is mouth blown, but I also make them bellows blown. The chanter and drones, (bass, baritone and tenor) have extremely narrow bores giving an enchantingly sweet sound. The whole instrument is very small and with its current plastic reed the pitch is E. but I am prepared to consider reeding them to play in concert D. The top leading note is sharpened and the bottom is flattened. It is a fascinating set of pipes which poses many historical and musical questions. It is also a delight to play! A bellows-blown set is wonderful for accompanying singing.
Interest in 18th Century piping has grown considerably since Matt Seattle's discovery and publication of William Dixon's manuscript from 1733. (published as The Master Piper).
No record survives of how these pipes were fingered, but personally I favour covered fingering. I can, however, tune them to play with closed fingering, like the Northumbrian pipes, by closing off the end of the chanter. Barnaby Brown, who has a background of playing Scottish pipes, has flattened his top and bottom leading note using wax.
Here he is playing 'Berwick Bully' & 'New way to Morpeth' using Highland fingering