Interview: Börs Anders Öhman, Swedish Sackpipa Maker and Player

Here is an interview with a Swedish instrument maker Börs Anders Öhman, recorded in August 2020 at his home in Sweden, near the city of Nyköping.

Bors has been making the Swedish Sackpipa (Bagpipe) since the 1980s and is well known for his innovations and approaching the sackpipa with one eye on the past as well as its future, a traditional design with modern workings.

The interview begins with his early career in the Swedish Military Brass band then later transitioning into the Medieval and folk Fairs, a career covering a span of 50 years, an interesting insight into the Swedish music scene from the late 1960s until the present day.

Börs Anders Öhman playing the Swedish Sackpipa in his kitchen

More info about the Sackpipa and other instruments he makes, can be got from his web site at https://www.borsljudet.com

3 Hole Flute (Open-ended)

I was having difficulty in reaching the top octave note on my 3 holed duct flute, I am guessing the mouth piece was at fault as it was not made for those dimensions. So I thought an open-ended mouth piece might be possible?

The open-ended mouth piece is used in the Ney and Kaval type of instruments, basically you blow across and down the rim of the mouthpiece into a cavity…like blowing into a bottle.

The 3 hole flute uses the same system as the kaval (overtone system) so by blowing harder you achieve a 2nd register. But the normal 3 holed flute has a fipple or duct mouthpiece, like a recorder.

So I experimented with an open-ended mouthpiece and it worked just fine. I can now reach an octave, and even notes below.

I joined this mouthpiece onto on old body, so the measurements are not correct for it to be in tune (concert pitch) but it plays ok by itself.

I am now working on refining the mouthpiece.