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AUPS Resources

About the Uilleann Pipes

The Uilleann Pipes (pronounced ill-en) are a bellows blown bagpipe that originated in Ireland around the early 18th century. They were derived from an earlier type of bagpipe called the pastoral pipes, with the variations being mainly in the chanter and playing style as well as the addition of regulators. The uilleann pipes were originally called the "union pipes" which is a term still commonly used today, even though it is the archaic name.

The uilleann pipes are played while sitting down so that the drones and regulators can lay across the lap and be accessable to the wrist, which is how the regulators are played. The main part of the uilleann pipes, in which the music (melody) is played, is called the chanter. The chanter uses a double reed and is very similar to the oboe. The music from the chanter is then usually accompanied by the drones and regulators at the piper's discretion. The volume of the uilleann pipes is comparable to that of a violin or flute.

A Full set of uilleann pipes -
chanter, three drones, three regulators, bag, and bellows.

The uilleann pipes most commonly play in the key of D, which is referred to as "concert pitch". Other keys that the uilleann pipes are available in include C sharp, C, B, and B flat which are referred to as "flat pitch". If you are interested in more information about the uilleann pipes, check out the wikipedia description or feel free to email us with any questions!

  "One Way to Make an Uilleann   Bagpipe Chanter Reed"

  By Jim Burke of Green Valley, AZ

  A thorough instructional video   demonstrating how a chanter reed is   made, from start to finish, using Jim   Burke's own technique. The four part
  video includes:

  1) The Staple

  2) Working the Cane

  3) Assembling the Reed

  4) Forming the Scrape

  Duration: 41min 08sec Added: 08/25/09

  Click on the "play" button at the bottom
  left of the player to start the video.

"Making a Vinyl Bag for the Uilleann Pipes"

By Eric M. Wilson of Phoenix, AZ

A how-to guide, as well as Eric's own insights to making an inexpensive vinyl (or naugahyde) bag similar to those used and enjoyed by Paddy Keenan, Pat Sky, and even Seamus Ennis. Click here

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