Uilleann pipes


Davy Spillane Caoineadh Cu Chulainn Uilleann Pipes Riverdance The Show Dublin 1995 Stereo

The uilleann (pronounced /ˈɪlən/pipes are the characteristic national bagpipe of Ireland. Their current name (they were earlier known in English as “union pipes”) is a part translation of the Irish-language term píoba uilleann (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation. The bag of the uilleann pipes is inflated by means of a small set of bellows strapped around the waist and the right arm. The bellows not only relieve the player from the effort needed to blow into a bag to maintain pressure, they also allow relatively dry air to power the reeds, reducing the adverse effects of moisture on tuning and longevity. Some pipers can converse or sing at the same time as playing.

The uilleann pipes are distinguished from many other forms of bagpipes by their sweet tone and wide range of notes — the chanter has a range of two full octaves, including sharps and flats — together with the unique blend of chanter, drones, and “regulators.” The regulators are equipped with closed keys which can be opened by the piper’s wrist action enabling the piper to play simple chords, giving a rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment as needed. There are also many ornaments based on multiple or single grace notes. The chanter can also be played staccato by resting the bottom of the chanter on the piper’s thigh to close off the bottom hole and then open and close only the tone holes required. If one tone hole is closed before the next one is opened, a staccato effect can be created because the sound stops completely when no air can escape at all.

The uilleann pipes have a different harmonic structure, sounding sweeter and quieter than many other bagpipes, such as the Great Irish WarpipesGreat Highland Bagpipes or the Italian Zampognas. The uilleann pipes are often played indoors, and are almost always played sitting down.

Tribute to William Wallace (Braveheart) – Braveheart theme

seamus ennis, god of uilleann pipes

seamus seen here demonstrating his genius ability to play the most difficult uilleann pipes.
worlds most famous piper

Irish Uilleann pipes player Darrach MacMathúna

Uilleann piper Darrach MacMathúna from Co. Meath plays a set of reels, commencing with a lovely setting of “The Boys of the Lough”. Darrach is current All-Ireland Under-18 champion.

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