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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 06-04-2020, 09:33 AM   #11
CalumII
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Yes, somewhere around F is the standard historical pitch, though G is becoming more popular for practical reasons. Northumbrians play with a more classical, fingertips on holes style, which is much easier to accommodate tight spacings with, though the G is still pretty tight even so.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:11 AM   #12
Steve Bliven
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Crossed with CalumII in mailing......



Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
Isn't the standard smallpipe pitch F?

They write the music in G, but it sounds in F.
Well, maybe "F-ish" Not quite F but thereabouts.


There are NSP sets in concert pitch allowing them to mix with other instrumentation without retuning.


Best wishes.


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Last edited by Steve Bliven; 06-04-2020 at 10:12 AM. Reason: CalumII got there first.
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:27 PM   #13
CalumII
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

The trend these days is pretty strongly towards concert pitch, whether F or G. F+ had more to do with the changes of concert pitch over the years than any inherent quality in that exact frequency, and although it was considered historically important in the early days of the revival, it's mostly seen as an impediment these days.
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

All very interesting!


Do you think that any current Smallpipe maker could possibly use those old specs to make an instrument in F on special request?
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Old 06-11-2020, 10:19 AM   #15
CalumII
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Yes, a smallpipe chanter in F would be easy enough to make, the issue is that playability in the Scottish style would be a struggle.
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Old 06-11-2020, 03:38 PM   #16
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Good to know, interesting,
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Old 06-12-2020, 10:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
The trend these days is pretty strongly towards concert pitch, whether F or G. F+ had more to do with the changes of concert pitch over the years than any inherent quality in that exact frequency, and although it was considered historically important in the early days of the revival, it's mostly seen as an impediment these days.
I would respectfully disagree with "trend ..strongly towards" and "seen as an impediment"

There are vocal proponents of 'concert F' as a standard however the main body of Northumbrian piping is firmly in 'F+'. I am aware of individual makers who choose 'concert F' as their baseline and certainly if you ask one maker - they will tell you their preference but it has often been said that the collective noun for makers of the Northumbrian smallpipes is 'a disagreement'.

I can name only one top-line player who plays a concert F instrument - and three who play F# sets (Most of these players also have multiple chanters in multiple flavours of F). Depending on the reed (and the weather) an F+ player can often drop to F although you lose some tone quality. In general when playing with other pipers - it's the concert F set that is the most out of tune and pushing the hardest to get to pitch (and pitch nearly always rises over a long session)

We are currently in a bit a drought as there are no full time makers of NSP at the moment (they all do other things) - but of the 10 or so I can think of 7 or 8 of them would make F+ unless otherwise asked. the current output of 'concert F' is tiny in comparison to the number of pre-existing instruments.

Having said all that - the further away you are from Northumberland (and other pipers) the more likely you are to have a preference or need for concert F in order to play with non-pipers.


Concert G is a different kettle of fish - they've been around for ~50 years and it's certainly in demand for playing with other musicians but there is no NSP community that plays in concert G .. although there are couple of small groups in D. No-one has really solved the conundrum of a reliable, playable, mass producable G chanter.
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Old 06-12-2020, 10:59 AM   #18
CalumII
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

Thanks Rob. I think I've been getting my information from the concert pitch mafia
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Old 06-15-2020, 08:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

One of my students is a little fellow, even at age 11. His hands just couldn't make the stretch for a regular practice chanter, so I made one for each of us in C. Mine was the experimental, but I've fallen so much in love with the sound I'm thinking of making a set of smallpipes in C.
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:00 PM   #20
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Default Re: Smallpipes in other pitches besides A or D?

C is a great pitch too! If I ever get a set of smallpipes, C would be my pitch of choice. E and F might be too small for my fingers, even though I think those would sound lovely.
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