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Tabor Pipe

Three-holed pipes for one-handed playing are known in many parts of the world since Medieval times. Tabor-Pipes and Txirula/Txistus have two finger- holes in front and one thumb-hole in the back. The instruments are designed to be played with one hand, so that the other hand is free to play a tabor-drum, a stringed-tambour, or hurdy-gurdy. The only difference between a Tabor-Pipe and a Txirula or Txistu is the diameter and position of the three tone holes and the musical scale resulting from that difference. Both types can produce a contiguous scale of one octave and a fifth, ample range for any folktune!

tabor pipe

Some people manage to play two 3-hole pipes simultaneously. It is possible to play contiguous scales because the pipes are designed to allow the playing of a series of five or more harmonics, using the three tone-holes only for filling in those notes that are not part of the harmonic series. The Tabor-Pipe plays a major scale beginning with a sequence of a major diatonic scale: whole-tone, whole-tone, whole-tone, semi -tone.

Pipe and tabor is a pair of instruments played by a single player, consisting of a three-hole pipe played with one hand, and a small drum played with the other. The tabor (drum) hangs on the performer's left arm or around the neck, leaving the hands free to beat the drum with a stick in the right hand and play the pipe with thumb and first two fingers of the left hand.

The pipe is made out of wood, metal or plastic and consists of a cylindrical tube of narrow bore (1:40 diameter:length ratio) pierced with three holes near one end, two in front and one in back. At the opposite end is a fipple or block, similar to that used in a recorder.

Tabor pipes are widespread throughout the globe, found on most continents and in many countries. Each culture has developed a different style of pipe, so a different method of playing and a different range of notes. The smallest of the family is the Picco pipe, while the largest is the fujara.

In Europe there are many variations of instrument. The pipe and tabor is depicted in illuminated manuscripts, carvings on ecclesiastical buildings in stone and wood, stained glass windows and early printed books.

Although there had been flutes in Europe in prehistoric times, in more recent millennia the flute was absent from Europe until its arrival from Asia, by way of "North Africa, Hungary, and Bohemia."[1] It began to be seen in illustration in the 11th century.[1] The pipe and tabor combination is illustrated in a plate in the 13th century work, Cantigas de Santa Maria.[1]In the 17th century, Mersenne mentions a virtuoso, John Price, who could rise to the twenty-second on the galoubet. Praetorius, author of the 1618 book De Organographia, mentions and illustrates three sizes of the Stamentienpfeiff, the treble 20 in. long, the tenor 26 in. and the bass 30, the last being played by means of a crook about 23 in. long. A specimen of the bass in the museum of the Brussels Conservatory has middle C for its lowest note.

Fife, drum, pipe, and tabor are both combinations of a wind instrument played in its upper register accompanied by a drums. The fife, however, is a transverse (side-blown) flute, whereas the pipe is a fipple flute. The fife requires two hands, and thus the drummer must be a separate person.The fife and drum are associated with military marching. The pipe and tabor has a much longer history and is associated with civilian music and Court etiquette.[2] It was used for dancing (for all classes of society), ceremonies and processions, folk customs and street entertainment.

Three-hole pipes made from bone and dating to the early Middle Ages have been found in England.[3] There are images of medieval taborers in buildings, for example York Minster, Lincoln and Gloucester cathedrals, and Tewkesbury Abbey.

The pipe and tabor are also known as whittle and dub and whit and dub (also spelled dubb) in some parts of the country.[5] Pipe and tabor playing survived into the 20th century. It was close to extinction in the early part of the century, but a revival of interest occurred and the English pipe and tabor tradition remains alive in morris dancing, early music and all manner of cultural displays.

In the 20th century, the makers of Generation pennywhistles introduced an economical English tabor pipe made of metal and with a plastic mouthpiece. The English tabor has changed shape through its history and is now seen in a range of sizes and shapes according to the whim of the player. Traditionally it is played with a snare on the upper face, but today is sometimes played without.

The pipe and tabor, in various local forms, is popular in the Basque region. The txirula (high pitched flute) and the txistu are the two Basque forms of the three-hole tabor pipes tuned to the dorian mode.[6] The pipe and tabor (danbolin in Basque, flauta tamborileira or flauta pastoril in Portuguese, fraita in Mirandês - the second official language of Portugal - tamboril in Spanish) is often played by groups of players in the Basque country.[7]

Aside from its importance in the Basque region, in the Iberian Peninsula the pipe and tabor remains an important part of various regional traditions. The flauta and tamboril are typically used in the regions of León and Castille (most notably in León and Salamanca), Extremadura and Andalucía. The flauta or gaita and the tambor or tamboril are played in Huelva in celebrations, Cruces de Mayo, sword dances and romerías; in the music used around Romería of El Rocío (Huelva, Andalucía) this same pipe is denominated flauta rociera, gaita rociera or sometimes pito rociero (a higher pitched whistle).[8]

In Provence a form of tabor pipe called the galoubet is played. Its scale begins a third below that of the English tabor pipe. The galoubet is accompanied on an exceptionally deep tabor known as the tambourin.[7]

From Spain, the pipe and tabor was carried to the Americas, where it continues to be used in some folk traditions.[7] The Yaqui nation in Arizona and Mexico has its "Tamboristas",and the Tarahumara in the mountains of Chihuahua play a three-hole whistle (there is no back thumb hole) made from Arundo donax Cane. The tambor used with the whistle is a large diameter, double-headed skin drum.However, its wood frame, or shell, is very narrow, perhaps to save on total weight.

The revival of the English pipe and tabor occurred to some extent throughout the Anglophone world, including the United States and Canada. One of the largest manufacturers of tabor pipes today is the Kelischeck Workshop, in North Carolina, makers of the Susato line of instruments.[9]

A Tabor pipe in A is a wonderful three hole instrument designed to play with just one hand. This frees the other hand to play the Tabor drum. These whistles range over a octave starting in the second register. These tunable whistles come with an adjustable hold rest and fingering chart.

It might be assumed that such a pipe would have a very limited range of notes, but by using the technique of overblowing (blowing harder) to get higher harmonics, the range can be extended up to two octaves. A demonstration can be found on our Tabor Pipe page

Taborers in EnglandAngel Taborers (players of the pipe and tabor) are depicted in medieval churches, but first appear in the literature as court musicians. They provided music for dancing and processions.

Early Bone PipesSome of the earliest surviving musical instruments are whistles made from bones, often with three or four holes. In Europe they are probably the most common musical instrument artefacts from the 1st Millennium. Although there is no direct evidence of these pipes being played in combination as pipe and tabor, they are clearly an antecedent of the tabor pipe.

A Low Tabor pipe in D is a wonderful three-hole instrument designed to play with just one hand. This frees the other hand to play the Tabor drum. These whistles range over an octave starting in the second register. These tunable whistles come with an adjustable hold rest and fingering chart.

The pipe and tabor are two instruments played by a single player. The first instrument is the tabor, which is a small drum, and this is played with a drumstick in one hand. The other instrument is the pipe, which is a three-holed flute with a whistle mouthpiece of the same sort as on a tinwhistle or a recorder.

Medieval art provides ample illustration of the popularity of one-man pipe and tabor playing during that period. The taborer's pipe was played in the British Isles and many parts of Western Europe. Sometimes another instrument was played in place of the tabor. In France and Spain a special psaltery was tuned as drones and beaten with a stick as a sort of stringed-tabor. Others played bell, triangle, or even a second pipe in place of the tabor.

Pipe and tabor was used to accompany clown acts, dances, puppet plays, religious processions, and any outdoor occasion calling for music by a single musician. Pipe and tabor also was seen in bands, along with other instruments, from the Mediaeval period into the 19th Century.

In the late 19th and early 20th Century, British folklorist Cecil Sharp helped to repopularize a national dance called morris dancing. The pipe and tabor, having been a traditional accompaniment to these dances, with the drum providing audible cues to the dancers, was revived by many morris dance sides (troupes). Some of the new taborers looked to the continent and adopted a larger form of pipe, adapting it by adding a fourth hole, so they would not need to partially cover the bottom of the instrument to get an extra low note. Others stayed with the smaller three-hole pipes. Metal versions of both were produced, the latter being made by the makers of Generation tinwhistles, and widely available inexpensively. 041b061a72

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