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CalumII 02-11-2019 10:27 AM

Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
A great example here of what I'm talking about:

I do this as well, unconsciously, and so do a number of very good players I've listened to over the years.

Where did we all pick it up from? And why?

BaggyMcPipes 02-11-2019 10:32 AM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
An uneducated guess: playing chanter is similar, sort of... in, "feel," anyway... to singing and vibrato when singing or playing practice chanter might make us feel a little more secure about tuning? If we're going for 480hrz but doubt whether we can hold it perfectly steady, wavering between 477 and 483 feels safe, maybe?

Or maybe just because we're fancy creatures, by nature, and the vibrato feels fancy?

Or maybe boredom? Maybe we get a bit bored with just blowing and look for ways to shake it up?

Klondike Waldo 02-11-2019 10:50 AM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Maybe because it makes the practice chanter sound more like a musical instrument? ( and less like an abused waterfowl?):woot:

el gaitero 02-11-2019 02:06 PM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato

Originally Posted by CalumII (Post 1334755)
Where did we all pick it up from? And why?

Good question. No one ‘taught it’ to me ,..yet, I’ve always..while circular breathing and applying good pressure to the reed without it cutting out.
It seems so natural...

Kevin 02-11-2019 03:30 PM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
I agree that that sounds great but do we know that Neil was actually doing that intentionally? I only hear it on some notes, which may be intentional but also has me wondering if what we are hearing is some kind of beating or aliasing caused by the frequency of the recording device :shrug:

If it is intentional diaphragm vibrato and being primarily a bellows-type myself, I am now officially jealous.

Best regards,

Piping Potential 02-11-2019 07:54 PM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Vibrato is ingrained in our musical culture. Listen to any professional singer or solo instrumentalist and you hear it. It adds life and richness to the tone. So it may come automatically from us being used to hearing it everywhere. I developed vibrato when I started playing trumpet, trying to emulate the professional trumpeters I'd hear. When I've heard some of the old recordings of cantaireachd they've sung it with vibrato. But also maybe it's instinctual from humans having done it for thousands of years.

gatormac 02-12-2019 02:37 AM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Just a thought- if vibrato works so well on the PC, and with other instruments as mentioned, would it not work on the pipes? The biggest problem I see on the pipes is that whenever I hear anyone do it, it is over the top- too pronounced. So most of us would immediately say it doesn't suit the instrument. But is that inherent in the instrument and therefore why it is not part of the musical tradition, or is it because very few know how to do it well? The key with vibrato is tasteful subtlety IMHO. Of course on the bagpipes it is a matter of finger movement vs. diaphragm, just as it is with the uilleann pipes or the guitar- instruments where vibrato is common and effective.

Dan Bell 02-12-2019 08:42 AM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Bear in mind that the modern highland pipe chanter and reed have evolved considerably over the last century or so. We tend to play a lot sharper, significantly louder, and with the crystalline clarity of a plastic chanter. These factors make vibrato on the GHB sound considerably different than it does on, say, a border pipe chanter. To my ear, it's less attractive (although it can still be used with subtlety, to good effect). If you're a folk player who wants to use a lot of vibrato, I'd certainly suggest playing an easier, quieter reed, at 466, in a wooden chanter. It's a very different effect.

Andrew Lenz 02-12-2019 12:19 PM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Jimmy McColl is known for playing vibrato. I was able to hear him in person doing it and it was pretty neat. (It might have been in my living room, but I can't recall!) I believe I was told that he used vibrato when he won his Gold Medal in the 1950s playing The Kings Taxes, though I can't confirm that 100%.


Piping Potential 02-13-2019 03:50 AM

Re: Teachers and diaphragm vibrato
Can someone explain how vibrato is produced on the bagpipe? I know it can't be from the breath.

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