There is a general opinion amongst the Uilleann pipers in Ireland that the instrument was invented there, or was dropped there from the heavens and that it bears no relationship to any other type of instrument. Which is utter Tosh in my opinion.
It is probable that the Romans first brought bagpipes to the British Isles, they were known to have pipes of some sort. The Sardinians have been making reed/tube instruments for at least 3000 years (according to them) and at one time if Bagpipes were mentioned anywhere on mainland europe people imediately thought of the Italians (not the Scots) who would play at street markets especially at Christmas time all over the continent.
The first 'two octave' chanters were developed from the older form (the Border or lowland pipes) by someone who ,perhaps, was trying to take the bore shape of the Oboe with the idea of extending the range. The Oboe was ,in a similar way, devised from the Shawm by the Hotteterre family, who were bagpipers and instrument makers working for Louis the 14th. This new Oboe was coming into popular use during the 1700's.
My current, highly controversial, theory is that one of the Reid family from the Newcastle-upon-tyne area ,who were umbrella makers and famed for their Northumbrian pipe making, had perhaps traveled to Paris to study 'Parasol' making and came back with some new ideas about bagpipes... cannot prove any of this... but the Uilleann pipes certainly did not drop out of the sky.
Also interesting to note that the Northumbrian pipes most probably were developed from the French Musette de Cour.. a bellows blown bagpipe that was also invented, we think, by the Hoteterre family who also devised the Transverse Flute!
France currently has more different types of Bagpipes than any other country, I think.
Thaks again Michael,
Edited by Geoff Wooff, 13 April 2012 - 06:26 AM.