Reedpipes and Hornpipes
Download sound samples of the Reedpipe by clicking on this link:
Small Reedpipe in D - Length 11.5 inches
Small Hornpipe in D - Length approx. 20 inches (inc. horn bell and reed
Other keys / sizes available.
The above play the notes of the major scale on open fingering. All have a thumb hole. Accidentals are obtainable by using forked or cross-fingering.
Unlike most other Mediaeval reed instruments, reedpipes and hornpipes use Single reeds and have cylindrical bores. The former is played by taking the entire reed into the mouth and blowing with the lips pressed against the top of the instrument or a small pirouette for support. As the name implies, the Hornpipe is really a reedpipe with an open (horn) reedcap into which the player blows. A second animal horn on the lower end of the pipe serves as a bell for enlarging and projecting the sound.
As with many early instruments, there can be variations on the theme!
|REEDPIPE in HIGH G
This is a recent addition to the range (April 2002) pitched a fourth above my D reedpipe. It has a very clarinet-like tone and plays the scale of G major on open fingering. There are 6 front holes and an upper rear thumbhole.
As can you can see, it's a "pocket-sized" pipe (11ins. long) but one which can still deliver an attractively bright and punchy sound!
There are sound samples (albeit with drone accompaniments) which will give a very good idea of the tone of the High G Reedpipe!
|THE DOUBLE REEDPIPE shown here is a
single reedpipe with an accompanying drone pipe joined to it. The melody
pipe has seven holes and a back thumbhole and gives a scale on D, starting
with the front six holes covered. The seventh hole (little finger) gives
a lower C sharp.
IT PLAYS: Csharp - D - E - F - Fsharp - G - A - Bflat - B - C - upper Csharp & D (also available a tone lower in C - 6 holes covered)
The drone pipe can be tuned to various keynotes to suit the intended use.
FOR EXAMPLE: The instrument sounds very well playing a drone-based melody with a 5 finger keynote (E) and with the accompanying drone set to A below this note. Likewise, a 6 finger keynote (D) with the drone lowered to G gives a very pleasing result. The drone adjustment is made by plugging/unplugging certain holes in its length.
For those who find holding two reeds in the mouth cavity a little difficult, this reedcap version could be helpful. The cap is open-ended, turned from wood and very similar to the reedcaps used for hornpipes
|Many people remark that the Double Reedpipe
sounds just like a small bagpipe and has a
warm and soothing sound! Sound sample on site in near future!
Both Reedpipes and Hornpipes have an ancient ancestry and there is ample evidence to confirm that they were also widely used in the Middle Ages. A bladder was sometimes added to encompass the reed, the natural elasticity helping to create the necessary pressure. Air is now supplied to the reed by a small tube at the upper end of the bladder. This is fitted with a simple one-way valve (leather flap) as used for the bagpipe. The Bladderpipe is in fact a kind of bagpipe!
FOOTNOTE: Please don't ask me if the bladderpipe is "a swine to play" - I've heard it all before! Please also avoid equally bad pun - "it makes an offal noise!"
None are difficult to learn to play competently, especially if you already have some experience with other reed instruments. Used appropriately, they can bring a refreshing and unique timbre to Mediaeval Music-Making.
Finally, there are no prizes for guessing how I managed to turn a piece of pearwood using a bladder!
REEDPIPES AND HORNPIPES (continued)
David Marshall, Spring 2002
Tudor Lodge, Pymoor Lane, Pymoor, Ely, Cambridgeshire. CB6 2EE. England.
To send me an E-Mail message : email@example.com
Telephone : +44 (0) 1353 698084
Fax : 0871 277 2589
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