Francois Langlois By Van Dyck (1599-1641)
Shuttle pipes are a type of bagpipe which derive their
name from the type of drones used to provide the
harmony. Rather than the long tube-like drones which
are employed by most bagpipes, the shuttle pipes use a
shuttle drone. Shuttle drones consist of a series of
winding tubes enclosed in a wooden chamber. Each
shuttle drone tube terminates in hollowed-out groove
which is partially covered by a slide or 'shuttle' .
This shuttle is moved back and forth over the groove,
in effect lengthening or shortening the tube, thus
flattening or sharpening the pitch.
|Like all other
bagpipes, shuttle pipes have a chanter which is
used to play the melody. Shuttle pipes can be
either mouth-blown or they may use a bellows to
fill the bag. The French Musette is a very
famous type of bellows-blown shuttle pipe which
reputedly played by King Louis XIV of France. A
colorful bagpiper with his Musette is depicted
in the classic painting 'Portrait of Francois
Langlois' by Van Dyck (1599-1641).
were very popular about 300-400 years ago, but
as with almost all of the European forms of the
bagpipe, they neared extinction. Fortunately, a
new popularity has brought this wonderful type
of bagpipe back to the forefront.
Drawing from Michael Praetorius's Syntagma musicum (Treatise of Music) of 1618