Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Musette, end of 17th century
    French
    Ivory, silver, leather, silk, wood, and paper; L. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm) chanter with tenon
    Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 2002 (2003.63a–d)

    The musette is a refined form of bagpipe with a bellows that generates wind to inflate the bag and sound a chanter and a bourdon. The bourdon is a device to play the drones. This musette is one of the luxurious pieces used in French aristocratic circles between 1620 and 1760. The instrument features a double chanter, a novelty that emerged soon after 1670, and a bourdon for three double reeds and four sliders. The sliders allow the play of one, two, or three drones. The double chanter operates with only one double reed.

    The instrument is unsigned, but its decoration of ebony studs in the ivory is also seen in instruments by Dupuis, who worked in Paris around 1690. The instrument is original in all its parts. The silk bag is almost entirely bleached out, but still has some pink and yellow. Musettes from around 1700 and in original condition are rarely found on the market. This is now the Museum's earliest bagpipe.

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    On view: Gallery 684
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  • Musette, end of 17th century
    French
    Ivory, silver, leather, silk, wood, and paper; L. 10 1/8 in. (25.7 cm) chanter with tenon
    Purchase, Clara Mertens Bequest, in memory of André Mertens, 2002 (2003.63a–d)

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