He has been playing the Northumbrian Samall Pipes for nearly 60 years, during which time he has performed in numerous concerts, on TV and radio and organised a wide variety of Northumbrian Music events and functions. He is also an experienced tutor, having run numerous courses for all levels of playing in England, Germany and the USA, and lectured extensively about the pipes and Northumbrian Music in general. Richard has been the Duke of Northumberland's Piper for neatly 40 years. During this time he has played for Her Majesty the Queen, the King of Spain, at the 10th Duke's Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey as well as at numerous private and public functions. Richard teamed up with Janet Bennett Clarsach and Vocal and Tommy Waugh Fiddle and Bass to form the Border Minstrels , thereby, merging their individual talents and skills to a degree that has seen a renaissance of the region's idiosyncratic tunes, songs and ballads.
Pipes & Pipers
Q: I want to learn the Northumbrian pipes. I am ordering a set but the pipemaker has asked me how many notes I want. A: It probably depends if you have the opportunity to borrow or hire a set to start off with, in which case the more basic the better. However if you are buying a set then you probably want a reasonable amount of notes for your investment! Q: If I wanted to write something for Northumbrian pipes what information do I need to know? A: There is a lot of controversy and discussion at the moment and for the last 30 years at least about the preferred pitch for the Northumbrian smallpipes.
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The Northumbrian smallpipes also known as the Northumbrian pipes are bellows-blown bagpipes from North East England , where they have been an important factor in the local musical culture for more than years. In a survey of the bagpipes in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University, the organologist Anthony Baines wrote: "It is perhaps the most civilized of the bagpipes, making no attempt to go farther than the traditional bagpipe music of melody over drone, but refining this music to the last degree. The instrument consists of one chanter generally with keys and usually four drones. The cylindrically-bored chanter has a number of metal keys , most commonly seven, but chanters with a range of over two octaves can be made which require seventeen or more keys, all played with either the right hand thumb or left little finger. There is no overblowing employed to get this two octave range, so the keys are therefore necessary, together with the length of the chanter, for obtaining the two octaves. The Northumbrian smallpipes' chanter having a completely closed end, combined with the unusually tight fingering style each note is played by lifting only one finger or opening one key means that traditional Northumbrian piping is staccato in style. Because the bores are so narrow, typically about 4. Bryan  was published in by the Northumbrian Pipers' Society ; it was very influential in promoting a revival of pipemaking from that time.