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2008 World Gathering of MacIntyres Taynuilt, Scotland
Video of Faery Pipes

Faery Pipes of Moidart: An Explanation

The pipes are reputed to have been played at the Battle of Bannockburn by a MacIntyre; although there is no proof that that is the case, equally there is no proof that it is not. In any event the pipes are certainly at least some 300 years old.

There is only one original drone and that is unplayable, being cracked - possibly there only ever was one. In order to play with drones, Archie had to put the chanter from the Faery Pipes in his own bag. The drones are therefore his, with the only part of the Faery Pipes being played being the chanter.

The ancient chanter (whatever its true age) is not accurate in note pitch across the scale, which makes proper tuning of the drones impossible.  Also, the chanter is not suited to modern reeds, so with only a very short time available from release from the West Highland Museum to playing, a modern reed had to be adapted.  Modern reeds do not sit well in such an ancient instrument and the primitive workmanship of the instrument makes the scale inaccurate and tuning impossible. In addition, the unusual placing of the holes compared to modern spacing and the great amount of wear in them makes it very hard to play them at all without error or squealing. 

Never the less, Archie managed to coax out “Scots Wha Hae” from the ancient chanter.  A testament to his skill as a Piper.

View the Video here (Real Media 8.5Mb).
You might want to right click on the link and save it to your computer

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