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Old 03-16-2010, 06:10 AM   #11
colinmaclellan
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Here's something that someone told me quite a few years ago. I thought it sounded a bit corny at the time but in my teaching of young people getting onto the pipes I found it in practice to be a great little tip, and one I used a lot.

Get your piper to blow the pipes up, and place the outer (bag) forearm against a solid obstacle as he or she leans with some body weight against it, whilst blowing a long note. I found a tall steel file cabinet in my office to be idea, as the drones were not obstructed, so they used that. The weight of the body provided the little bit of power and feel that they had not yet developed themselves. You can use a wall which works ok but the drones sort of lean against it as well!

It was an invaluable aid in getting them to understand through "feeling" the technique that it is not the arm going up and doing that winds the instrument properly, rather a steady taut pressure with the forearm. The blowing and steadiness very quickly followed.

Colin MacLellan

This really worked. Try it!
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:19 PM   #12
blackeagle
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

quick method:

1 set down practice chanter
2 pick up pipes
3 inflate bag
4 make screeching sounds
5 stare at pipes wondering why that didn't work


Now the method I actually used:
with chanter in place and stoppered,
1 cork off 2 drones
2 get remaining drone steady
3 add chanter
4 play tune(s) while maintaining chanter and keeping drone steady
5 stop chanter, add drone
6 get 2 drones steady

continue cycle until all 3 drones and chanter are going
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:34 PM   #13
conner147
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Default first tune

Hi everybody Im a new piper or sincerely Im trying to be a piper!!!
I started to play one year ago with my practice chanter taken classes with an instructor and now Im trying to develop some skills in my Bagpipe.

Well I started with some basics excersices like play only the drones, then mantein a single note in the chanter, now Im playing the scale complete and Im traying to add the grace notes focus in holding constant pressure.

So my question is, how many time will take me until I could play a tune?

One more thing, sorry for my english but I speak spanish because Im from Argentina!!!
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:45 PM   #14
sonofsomerled
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Not long. If you can blow a steady note, its time to start practicing an easy tune. You have come a long way - one more push and you will be playing basic tunes. Good luk!

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:50 PM   #15
conner147
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Default one tune on my Bagpipe

Thanks, I try to practice at least 30 minutes every day with the practice chanter or bagpipe, I know that more time is better but sometimes its difficult (job, family, house, etc).

Actually I Know 8 tunes by heart and I can play very well with my practice chanter (now Im starting with Flower of Scotland), but Im anxious by play at least one of them on my Bagpipe.

well I will keep practicing !!!!
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Old 03-31-2010, 02:27 PM   #16
TStephens
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Hi Conner147,
If you are playing the scale on the pipes, then go ahead and try one of your tunes on the pipes. Most beginners forget to use their left arm and try to blow constantly when they first try a tune on the pipes. If you have difficulty keeping the pipes going, just try again, and pay attention to your blowing and squeezing. Play your tune slowly at first. After you are doing well with the first tune, the rest will be easier.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:35 AM   #17
Peter Finlay
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Play your first tune nice and slow so you get the feel of blowing and playing at the same time. You will have loads of time later to pick up the speed. The most important thing is to play the tune well while getting your breathing, bag pressure and tuning correct. Enjoy
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:22 PM   #18
conner147
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Peter Finlay and TStephens, your words sounds like my instructor!!!! I remember every week last year when he said to me play again but slowly and few minutes later...again!!!
Now I keep traying to obtein the correct balance between blowing and squeezing and more air capacity, playing scale slow in every note for at least 3 minutes or diferent kind of exercices.
But I have trouble to pass the grace notes from the practice chanter to the bagpipe, some times no sound very good, is it normal at the beginning?
By the way, what tune is good at this level? O for a close walk with god, amazing grace, going home.
Thanks a lot
Conner
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:37 AM   #19
Bruce Wright
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Quote:
Originally Posted by royalstewart View Post
Holding the bag by the bass drone stock blow to make a continuous sound for 2 minutes. This is called the 'Two Minute Trick' - if you can do this, you have got the basics done.

The logic is easy to understand - If you are always refilling a bag that has been squeezed and is half empty, then very little energy/strength/air is left over to drive the reeds. Squeezing makes bagpipes harder to blow, and harder to control. 'Blow and Squeeze' is a myth and a mistake practised or aimed at by a huge percentage of pipers in the world.

The only squeezing that is needed is not to empty the bag or to give air to the reeds, but to replace the pressure being applied by blowing with pressure from your arm to stabilise the pressure when you take a breath.
I'm not sure I entirely follow what you're suggesting here. I don't think I've ever heard of the 'two minute trick' that you're proposing, either by that name or even just that general technique.

Squeezing is necessary to regulate the pressure - it evens out the pressure changes that would otherwise occur when you take a breath. You certainly shouldn't squeeze the bag down to, say, half-full and then huff and puff to try to refill it - that makes it difficult to hold a steady tone, to say nothing of being an exhausting technique. So as far as that goes your explanation seems sound.

But it's necessary to squeeze the bag pretty much constantly to keep the pressure regulated, so I don't particularly like your comment that 'squeezing makes bagpipes harder to blow.' However I suspect that what you're intending is to avoid the common mistake of filling up the bag and then squeezing a significant amount of air out of the bag before refilling it. The bag should never get less than about 80-90% full while you're playing, until you're ready to cut off when you need to empty the bag to prevent trailing drones and chanter. Again, the squeezing is for pressure regulation, not to replace blowing completely for long periods of time. One of the other common mistakes is to let up on the arm pressure just before or after you inhale to take a new breath - this will invariably cause a big dip in your air pressure and your tone. That's exactly when it's most necessary to keep your arm squeezing to keep the pressure constant.

The only times when letting up on your arm pressure is acceptable are when you're cutting off (you need to stop blowing and maintain your squeezing until the moment you cut off, then release the arm pressure entirely), or occasionally when you are exhaling into a bag that's 100% full and therefore you're able to control the pressure entirely by your breath, and your arm needs a short break from the constant squeezing. In both cases this requires a bit of practice to maintain a steady tone throughout, I don't recommend that beginners attempt either one until they're able to keep a steady tone just with steady squeezing.

The technique that Colin suggests sounds like a great idea - it gets across the idea of constant steady pressure rather than stopping your blowing and just squeezing the bag down for a long time before you start to refill it. I'll have to try it with my students.

--Bruce
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Last edited by Bruce Wright; 04-07-2010 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:45 AM   #20
Peter Finlay
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Default Re: Transition to Bagpipes

Conner 147

It will take you time to get everything right when you play your GHB's. If you play your tune too quickly you may be working on too many things at the same time and won't be able to complete the tune the way it was written. Concentrate on your breathing, tuning and bag pressure. Again start with a slow tune - AG is fine to begin with. If you have practiced it enough on the PC you should be able to transfer it to the chanter with the correct grace notes. Play the tune quite slowly at first so you can work the grace noting in. You can always pick up the speed later. Whatever you do don't rush through the tune just so you can get to the end!

Pete
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