By: Ilse Hagen
A bagpipe chanter is the part of the bagpipe that produces the melody. It is usually a narrow, conical tube that has a series of small holes. These holes are alternately covered and uncovered to control the pitch produced by the chanter. At the top of the bagpipe chanter is the reed.
Bagpipe chanters usually consist of two main divisions: the parallel and non-parallel bored. The former allows the bagpipe to produce a sweet tone while the latter allows for the control of volume in bagpipes.
Wood or resin?
Wooden chanters are made of solid, durable wood such as African Blackwood, Cocobola, or Rosewood. They usually come in the key of concert pitch D and the key of B and are usually tuned to the key of A in 440 Hz. Most wooden chanters have keyblocks for adding brass keys and mounts usually made of maple wood or synthetic ivory.
Meanwhile, a resin bagpipe chanter is made from durable resin and comes in the key of concert pitch D and the key of B. They are usually tuned to the key of A in 440 Hz. Resin chanters are ideal for both beginners and advanced players.
Practice chanters are mainly used for practice in Great Highland Bagpipes. It is smaller than the typical bagpipe chanter and has a top piece that can be blown directly from the mouth. It is generally used by beginners so that they do not have to master the mechanics of controlling the bag. Practice chanters are usually made of hard wood or plastic.
When buying bagpipe chanters, look for those that have a blowpipe made of plastic. Plastic blowpipes are sturdier and do not crack easily. Also, plastics are not vulnerable to extreme moisture and temperature changes that can cause blowpipes to crack.