1st International Bagpipe Conference - Jean Pierre Van Hees - Essay on a new typology of bagpipes Wed, 2013-03-27 19:53


Essay on a new typology of bagpipes

Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Van Hees ? Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium)

The bagpipe family tells about 130 instruments. The different kind of sound generators, functions, number and setting of those pipes, are making its classification a difficult task. The few existing works, intending to produce a rational synthesis of the bagpipe?s typology, are using an inadequate terminology, reducing an instrument with a strong musical signature and specific play techniques to a conglomerate of clarinets and oboes. The confusion existing in historical terminology is still not clarified.

An approach based on the musical resources and the sound spectrum of the different archetypes, offering both new terminology and new organological classification, allows one to definite in one sentence the configuration of the sounding pipes and their musical signature. It gives every bagpipe an accurate profile and is also easy to translate to other languages, so one can share a common view on bagpipe?s organology.

Jean-Pierre Van Hees is a professional bagpipe player since more than 40 years, working on different kinds of traditional and historical bagpipes. He plays baroque musette in the Orchestra of the 18th century (Amsterdam), Les Arts Florissants (Paris) and is invited to play as soloist by many renown symphonic orchestra?s (Chicago S.O., Scottish C.O., San Francisco S.O., Orchestre de Paris? ) in the most prestigious venues. He introduced the bagpipe at the music high school of Leuven in 1999 giving young bagpipe players the opportunity to become a master degree in their speciality. He became a PhD (doctor in musical arts) with his study about the specific play techniques of bagpipes and their use in historical and actual music. He is working on a book about the organology, history, play techniques, sociology, iconography and an inventory of the bagpipe family, completed with nearly 80 video portraits of instruments. Jean-Pierre Van Hees wrote also many bagpipe tunes and music for theatre and cinema.