pipe and tabor

Pipe and Tabor

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If a pipe is joined thereto,
it renders the melody sweeter.

Zamora, c.1260

Beverley Minster - click to enlarge

The pipe is a simple instrument with a fipple like a willow whistle or recorder but usually having only three melody holes (index finger, middle finger, and thumb). The bore is narrow to facilitate overblowing. There is a ridge around the bottom of the instrument to aid in supporting the pipe. This allows the player to handle a the instrument with one hand, leaving the other hand free to strike the tabor. The drum is held with a strap or thong around the arm which fingers the pipe. Thus one performer accompanies himself, making an ideal combination for dance music of a rustic nature, or to supply background music for jugglers or performing animals. The pipe and tabor (also whittle and dubb, or un flagol' un tabourin) player also entertained the audience during scene changes of Shakespeare plays. It takes a player with special talents to handle the unusual fingerings of this instrument.See the percussion page for more information about the drum member of this duet.

Pipes came in several sizes.
Musica Antiqua's pipe is a tenor by Carlick.
The tabor is by Williamson.
Musica Antiqua Instruments

Additional Resources:

  • Pipe & Tabor - The Quintessential Morris Instrument
  • Buengershammer's Pipe and Tabor page
  • Robyyan Torr d'Elandris's Pipe and Tabor notes
  • THE PIPE AND TABOR - An Address to a Society of Morris Dancers
  • Playing the Tabor Pipe with your mountain dulcimer - fingering chart
  • The Pipe and Tabor - An Address to a Society of Morris Dancers, 1914
  • I. Ansorena: Txistu ots gozoa 'nola' (San Sebastian, no date)
  • T. Arbeau: Orchesographie (Langres, 1588/r1965)
  • M. Mersenne: Harmonie universelle (Paris, 1636/r1963)
  • J. Gehot: Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Music (London, 1786)
  • F. Vidal: Lou tambourin (Avignon, 1864)
  • C. Marcel-Dubois: 'Le tambour-bourdon', Arts et traditions populaires, xiv (1966), 3
  • J. Rimmer: 'Tabor Pipes from Aardenburg and Goedereede: some Musical Implications', Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor het oudheidkundig bodemonderzoek, xxix (1979), 527

Engraving by I. Van Meckenem
German Museum, Nuremberg