My interests in music center on that of the medieval period, as well as some of the ethnic European folk music styles. The instruments on offer evolved over considerable time to fill needs in these two areas, but I have heard them being used in completely different styles with very good effect. All the instruments are made in a one-man workshop and tested by myself, I can play them all.


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Tabor Pipes
Tabor Pipes

The tabor pipe family. Made in high D to low D, with the exception of E, because I haven't yet found a use for it. However, if you'd like one, I'll make one. The fingering is in the most usual tone-tone-semitone intervals.

The picture shows a set in Rata. They can also be made in Black Maire.



The pipes are made from rata1 or almond wood.

Price:
D: $NZ 170
C: $NZ 200
Bb: $NZ 220
A: $NZ 240
Low G: $NZ 270
F: $NZ 300
Low D: $NZ 350 + shipping on all


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Low G Tabor Pipe
Low G Tabor Pipe

These are modelled on the idea of the Slovakian Fujara. This pipe is about 900 mms long.
The fingering is the same as of those above, but because of the size, the index and the ring fingers are used for fingering, with the little and middle fingers holding the pipe. In spite of the first intuitive thoughts it is actually comfortable to hold.
Described in the 17th.c. by Praetorius, large tabor pipes were made back in history. They used brass or copper tubes to lead the air to the main pipe. The use of an integral wooden channel makes the pipe more stable in use.




Price: NZ$ 600 + postage.

A fitted wooden box with a handle can be ordered for an additional NZ$100.

+ shipping on all



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Hungarian folk three-hole pipes
Hungarian folk three-hole pipes


Listen to samples



These pipes work on the same principle as the more common tabor pipes. However, like their even bigger cousins from Slovakia, the fujara, they are far too large to play with one hand. Still, instead of the 2 meter+ size of the fujara, these are only around 850-950mms, so do not require a separate blowing pipe.

The Hungarian tradition of these pipes died out about a century ago, but there are some examples surviving in museums. There is another tradition, closely related, that has not died out, this using five-hole instruments. The difference is in an addition of two further fingerholes, which however are used solely for embellishments and very occasionally for semitones. In practical use these five-hole pipes very often are played without any use being made of the extra two holes, they being kept permanently covered. These pipes are always tuned in a "minor" scale, that is tone-semitone-tone.

The pipes are made from elder, the traditional material. All the folk pipes are from a single piece. I offer both this, with the traditional T-S-T note progression, and a three-part version. This latter one has lead inlays in the manner of countless folk pipes (and other artifacts) to reinforce the joints. It also becomes possible to have two separate foot joints, one with the traditional T-S-T scale, the other with the more familiar (to tabor pipe players) T-T-S one. If so desired, it can be of course ordered with just one foot joint.

The pipes are made in F or G. F ones are more comfortable for tall people. G ones are more accessible to not-so-tall people.

In the photo shown the headjoint of the G pipe is turned around by 180 degrees. The normal playing position is with the mouth facing the player.

Price:
Single-piece pipe, F or G: NZ$400 +shipping
Three-part pipe with one footjoint, F or G: NZ$ 450+shipping
Three-part pipe with two footjoints: NZ$500+shipping
+ shipping on all prices

Carvings are optional, at extra cost. Please discuss with me the requirements for this.

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Tambourin De Béarn
Tambourin De Béarn

Played instead of the tabor with tabor pipes. Tuned to a preferred drone, usually with groups of the strings in fifths and octaves. Made from a variety of cypress, it is very light. A beater supplied.

The rosette pictured is patterned after a number of 15th century representations of lute rosettes. More elaborate rosette and carving can be ordered.

The hard case has a compartment for the pipes. ( pictured with a low D and a C pipe, pipes not included in the price. Can have a larger compartment if desired.)


Price: $NZ 600 + shipping, without case.
Case pictured $150. More complicated designs also available, priced to suit.


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Wooden Ocarina
Wooden Ocarina


Listen to samples

Most ocarinas are made from clay. Using wood enables the tuning to be more precise, also the mouth to be made to more exacting specifications. These ocarinas are tuned in D or G, corresponding to the ranges of the soprano and sopranino recorders. They have an adjustable plunger to enable fine-tuning of the fundamental pitch. This is an advantage since when playing with another instrument before starting they need to be in tune with each other, and also as you play the pitch will slightly rise as the air inside warms up. This necessitates retuning in the first 10 minutes or so, sometimes more than once.

The range is an octave + two notes, big enough for most of the older layers of folk music and a lot of later ones. The instruments are made in a number of woods, as available. Contact me to find out current stock.



The ocarinas are supplied in a soft case, with a fingering chart.

Price: G ocarina: $NZ 100 + shipping, D ocarina: $NZ 120 + shipping

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Carved Wooden Ocarina
Carved Wooden Ocarina

The carved ocarinas are musically identical with the wooden ocarinas above. Available only in G, they lack the plunger, and therefore have a non-tunable basic pitch. They are made from boxwood, a dense, very fine-grained wood, favored for the finest carvings and musical instruments from classical times.



Price: $NZ 600+ shipping

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Double Ocarina
Double Ocarina


Listen to a sample.

Identical to the single ocarinas, with a drone pipe added. The drone can be tuned to a few notes, from the lowest of the playing notes to about a fifth above. The most useful is the second lowest, this is equivalent of most bagpipe tunings.

Made in D only.



Made of Almond or Rata1 wood and supplied with a fingering chart.

Price: $NZ 180+ shipping

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One-handed Ocarina
One-handed Ocarina

Developed for a customer with only one useable arm. Can be very successfully played pipe-and-tabor fashion, with the other hand playing a percussion instrument. To my knowledge the only instrument playable with one hand, that includes a drone. The drone is tuneable to the bottom or the second note of the chanter ocarina, the second one is the most useful configuration. The range of the chanter is one octave+one note, diatonic, with a few of the semitones cross-fingerable.

Made in D only.

The ocarina pictured is made of Almond wood, however they can be made from a variety of timbers.



Price: NZ$ 200 + shipping.


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Wooden Drone Pipe
Wooden Drone Pipe


Listen to a sample.

From the medieval times we have possibly thousands of illustrations of woodwind instruments. Out of the total number more than half are of double pipes, and there are a few triple ones as well. In the early music revival of the 20th century this fact has been mostly ignored.

The first of my double pipes consists of a medieval-type recorder coupled to a drone pipe. The voicing of the drone ensures that it does not overblow easily, making it possible to play at least an octave and a fifth on the recorder side with a steady drone sound. The recorder has a wide bore, making the bottom notes especially strong. The fingering is similar enough to the usual baroque one to make it possible for any recorder player to confidently play it within a few minutes of trying it for the first time. The recorder side is pitched in C, with the drone being in D. This type of pitch relationship is the most usual on bagpipes, which have many similarities with these double pipes. However, other drone setups are also possible, contact me to discuss details. The pipes are made from almond wood, and are supplied in a wooden box, with a fingering chart.

There are a number of folk pipes with a drone played from Hungary and Ukraine in the West though the Balkans and the Middle East to Pakistan and India in the East. These are usually diatonic whistles with a drone, and most do not meet the standards of modern early music performance requirements.



The pipes are made from almond wood, and are supplied with a fingering chart.

Price: $NZ 800+ shipping
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Wooden Double Pipe
Wooden Double Recorder


Listen to a sample.

The other kind of double pipe is based on a number of prototype instruments. The only medieval double pipe of the flue kind has been found in Oxford, England, and while it is in unplayable condition, enough remains to have a good idea of what it was like.* Other similar instruments exist in the form of folk pipes used in the South of Italy, and there are double flue-type pipes used in the Balkans, from Slovenia to Greece. All of these have variable fingerholes. The launeddas, the national instrument of Sardinia, are reedpipes, but have the same type of fingering pattern, as do the chanters of the South Italian zampogna and chiaramella bagpipes. This broad type of double pipes with both pipes fingered, and therefore polyphonic music playable on them (within limits) existed from truly ancient times. Some of the earliest instruments discovered in Mesopotamia and Egypt are of this type, as are the Greek aulos. All known ancient double pipes are reedpipes, but in mediaeval times flue pipes also were made with this type of fingering, as is clear from contemporary illustrations as well as the only surviving instrument.

There are three kinds of double pipes I make at present. All three have essentially the same musical range, but with small variations. The top pipe in the photo has the easiest fingering pattern of the three. It is essentially what you would have by playing two recorders, with the right-hand one having the top 3+t fingerholes taped up. This plays C-G, with the option of a thumbhole, adding A. The left pipe plays F-d, with e and f overblowing fairly well in tune. The bottom pipe in the photo has identical right-hand pipe to the above, but the left-hand pipe plays an entire octave without overblowing, using rather tricky cross-fingering (no half-covering). If you are used to conventional recorder fingering, learning this pattern will take a bit of time. With this fingering the advantage is that playing top notes on the left pipe at the same time as low notes on the right one becomes much easier, there is far less danger of the low pipe overblowing. Also, the top semitones are much better. The middle pipe in the photo has an identical F-f left pipe, cross-fingered, no overblowing, with the right pipe playing Bb-G (with thumbhole.) On the two with the right-hand pipe range C-G the thumbhole taking the range up to A is optional. Not much music requires it, and the presence of the thumbhole makes holding th pipe a bit awkward. However, it is by no means impossible, and, well, there is some music that can use an extra note. The lower-range Bb pipe comes with the thumbhole as standard. All these pipes are tuned in a kind of just temperament. Any other kind makes two sounds playing practically into each other clash very audibly, so pure fifths and fourths are vastly preferable.

As no known music exists for these type of pipes, you have to arrange polyphonic music of the period to suit the capabilities of this instrument. It is possible to play launeddas and zampogna music on them to a certain extent, even though the effect is quite different. There also exists a completely new repertoire for the revival Cornish double bagpipe, which is also playable on these pipes. They really come into their own when used for playing two-part medieval and early renaissance consort music. Best results are obtained by taking music with a melody line within one octave, and arrangeing from the lower parts of the original a second line to fit the limits of the right pipe.

A lot of 13th century choral music and 16th century consort music is playeble without alteration.

Video samples of the pipes being played. (Opens in a new browser window)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2HgL1-hNTs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVAANqQci2M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REAurMcrECI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjgDnylzfJ0



Click the image to find a selection of sheet music for pieces from various periods arranged for the double recorder in PDF and MuseScore format.
Sheet Music Sample

To open MuseScore files you will need to download MuseScore for free from http://www.musescore.org.

This will enable you to listen to the files in MIDI format. It's also a very good tool, a free alternative to Sibelius and similar music writing programs.

Check back for new pieces added occasionally.

The pipes are made from rata1 or almond wood. They are supplied with a fingering chart.


*Reference:
Bob Marvin: A double recorder
FOMRHI quaterly 31 (1983) comm. 453


Price: $NZ 1000+ shipping

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Bone Flute
Bone Flute

There are only a handful of wooden flue type pipes surviving from medieval Europe, all found in archaeological excavations. However, there are also literally many hundreds of similar pipes made from bone. The great majority of these, at least the published ones, are from North-Western Europe. Most of these are simple instruments, with between 0 and 5 fingerholes. In addition, there exist a handful of instruments of a more musically advanced nature. One of these, a bone pipe fashioned from a deer metatarsus is the model for this reconstruction.

The pipe has been excavated on the site of White Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales*. It has been dated to the second half of the 13th century. The pipe has five fingerholes and two thumbholes. The immediate assumption was that originally it was played flageolet (whistle) fashion. More recently it has been proposed that in fact it might be the only surviving Northern example of a single -handed type of pipe, the flabiol, still played in the Eastern provinces of Spain**. My reconstruction takes this possibility into account, and enables the pipe to be played both ways.

The pipes are made from deer metatarsus, like the original. In order to make the second octave reliably in tune, they have been reamed out to have an inner bore that is reasonably consistent, and allows predictable tuning. With this type of instruments generally breadth pressure is crucial, but having said that, the pipes are tuned to a strict standard. They are in C, A=440 pitch, equivalent to garklein recorders. The range is, if played two-handed, an octave and fifth; single-handed an octave and a note. Some of the flutes might have a note or two extra playable on them. When played two-handed, the right hand plays the first two fingerholes and lower thumbhole and the left hand the rest. Played single-handed the lower two fingerholes are not used, the lower thumbhole being covered by the little finger of the left hand. Usually the right hand plays a tabor or some other percussion instrument suspended from the left arm or the belt at the same time.


The flutes are supplied in a turned wooden case, with a fingering chart

Price: $NZ 700 + shipping.

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References:
*Megaw,J.V.S. “A medieval Bone Pipe from White Castle, Monmouthshire” Galpin Society Journal vol. 16 (1963)
**Montagu,J. “Was the Tabor Pipe Always As We Know it?” Galpin Society Journal vol. 50 (1997)


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1 Rata (Metrosideros Robusta) is a native New Zealand tree. According to some handbooks the second heaviest timber in the world. While difficult to dry, once dry it is very stable. The wood is very dense and smooth, but not particularly showy



All sound samples played by the maker, unless otherwise specified

This page is still in its early stages. There are some more instruments lined up for this page in the near future. After that, some new instruments might be added from time to time.




Visit the Taborers' Society at: http://www.pipeandtabor.org/