The Pipers' Guild of Great Britain The Pipers' Guild

Visit the brand-new Guild website at !
From 1 December 2001, this site will no longer be kept up-to-date.

The Guild was founded in Britain in 1932. Its main aim is the threefold craft of making, playing and decorating bamboo pipes. Pipes are made for personal use, and are not sold - i.e. if you want to play one, you'll have to make one!

The idea of making bamboo pipes has spread around the world, with groups and guilds in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, the U.S.A., and Japan. All of the guilds are members of a federation, which meets every five years at an international course.

What are bamboo pipes?
Treble Pipe
The bamboo pipe is a simple hand-made wind instrument, similar to a recorder but with a gentler tone. While looking for a recorder-type instrument to use with her schoolchildren, Margaret James stumbled across a Sicilian shepherd's pipe. After many experiments the simple treble pipe in D was perfected. Later a full quartet of pipes of alto in A & G, tenor in D and bass in G was developed. This range has since been extended to include sopranino in G, quartbass in D, and great bass in G. In addition, treble, alto, and tenor extended pipes with a range of an octave and a sixth or more are also made.
animated notesMusic

Many well-known composers have written for the pipes: R. Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst, W. S. Lloyd-Webber, Michael Head, Elizabeth Poston, Claude Arrieu and others. Works have been commissioned from Geoffrey Winters, Alan Bush, Edwin Roxburgh, Curdin Janett and Betty Roe. Much music from the past (Bach, Purcell, Mozart, etc.) has been very successfully arranged. Early music, i.e. medieval and renaissance music, sounds particularly well on pipes.
Click on the button to go to 'The Sound of the Pipes' here to go to Music page

Why bother?
First, for the satisfaction: there is a special thrill in using an instrument you have made yourself. Secondly, it makes you a craftsman as well as a musician. Thirdly, it is an ideal way of learning the rudiments of music. Pipes are made and tuned one note at a time; the complete beginner (of any age) learns to play their pipe as they make it. For more advanced players there is the pleasure of ensemble playing in trios, quartets and larger groups.

Where can I find out more?
Click here to go to the Contacts page.

Gallery - Sound - West Hallam Pipers -
Where to Get Tools & Music - Links - Contacts

Last update: January 2002
2001 The Pipers' Guild
U.K. Registered Charity No. 211330

Comments on the website can be mailed to the webmaster.

Graphics of bamboo courtesy of Kaleidoscope
Scrolling music graphic courtesy of Music Graphics Galore
Music Graphics Galore

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