During one of those incredible afternoon, early evening thunder storms that can happen in Barga during the spring and early summer, a visitor to Barga was enjoying the peace and quiet of Piazza Angelio. Hamish Moore sat outside the Osteria and pulled out from his bag a small set of pipes and started to play (click on the link at the bottom of this article to hear what Hamish played) Afterwards he spoke about some of the story that brought him here to Barga. After graduating as a veterinary surgeon in 1975 in Scotland, Hamish worked as a vet until 1986 when he retired from The Ministry of Agriculture in order to play music and make bagpipes professionally. Through his recordings, teaching, and pipe-making he has done much to promote the bellows blown pipes of Scotland. Some of his music can be bought on line here While listening to the radio a few weeks ago in Scotland he heard an interview with John Bellany and decided on the spot that he wanted to come and see the Barga that John had been talking about so feverently. Here he is seated in Barga Vecchia with John Bellany's gallery just behind him. Hamish had arrived in Barga.
Scottish Small Pipes Due to the social, political and religious history of this country much of the rich, colourful diversity of piping culture has been tragically lost and Hamish has been at the fore-front of a renaissance promoting a pre-military style of piping. This has been achieved principally through his integrated approach to teaching, where the music is taught through the medium of Gaelic song and as part of the old step dance rhythms. Scottish Small Pipes have led the present revival of bellows blown pipes nationally and internationally. In its modern form it is a bellows blown bagpipe with three drones set in a common stock and with a cylindrically bored open ended chanter. The drones are tuned to the tonic, one an octave below the tonic and one in between, on the fifth. It is currently being made in four keys, namely A, Bflat, C and D. The key of A is by far the most popular and can now be regarded as the standard for this instrument. The scale of the chanter is myxolydian having a sharpened third and sixth and natural seventh. The pipes are harmonically rich, easy to maintain and due to a lack of moisture in the system the reeds are very stable and have a life of many years. In the keys of A and Bflat, the finger spacing and pitch are both similar to the practice chanter but with a vastly improved tone. It is little wonder that these pipes have reached their present level of popularity. Once the bellows technique has been mastered, the player has an instrument which is quiet enough to be played indoors with little physical effort and is acoustically and musically compatible with most other instruments. Some of his music can be bought on line here and the Hamish Moore website can be seen here [display_podcast]