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Page 25 of 30 illustrating the pipes heard on Bagpipes of the World

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MUSETTE de COUR
France

two chanters and four drones, all with cylindrical bores and double-bladed reeds; the four drones are comprised of four seperate folded bores within one short cylindrical structure; bellows-powered



General Comments:

The Musette de Cour, quite an early bagpipe in various of its forms, was evidently developed and refined from yet earlier pipes - the German Hummelchen, versions of which were illustrated by Preatorious, is often mentioned. It is thought by some that the Musette in turn inspired the Northumbrian Smallpipe. If all of this is true, it would provide a longer connected lineage than can usually be pinned down between groups of bagpipes, especially geographically diverse ones. In any event, the Musette de Cour is a fascinating little instrument; it was not a folk instrument, but was played by aristocratic amatuers and patronized professional musicians, among them the Hotteterre family of Normandy who probably added the "petite chalumeau" (the small chanter) circa 1675. After the French Revolution, the courtly little pipe vanished along with the heads of many of its players. It is presently again considered safe to play the instrument, and it is thus undergoing a vigorous revival.

Musical Notes:


The scales and key signatures given may be regarded as approximations; bagpipes may deviate from conventional standards in absolute and relative pitch.


The Musette (pronounced mew-zet') de Cour being played by Sean Folsom.
The smaller chanter (the "petite chalumeau" ) rides piggy-back on the larger and remains silent until keyed.

The junction between the two is very much like the one of the French Cabrette (pipe no. 23).
The very complicated drone assembly. The cylinder contains four separate folded bores. The ivory sliders (French "layettes") cover slots open to the oulet ends of the bores - moving them changes the pitch or silences them.

Perhaps inspired by the early woodwind called the "Raquet," the structure houses multiple bores and reeds, along with sliding tuning devices.
This many double-blade reeds would be a nightmare to maintain in a mouth-blown pipe, but in a bellows-fed pipe such as this they can last for years with minimal fuss.


Photographs & Text Copyright 1999 - 2002, Oliver Seeler,

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