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Competing Pipers Questions, issues, or discussions specifically related to Piping and Pipers competition.

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View Poll Results: What pitch do you tend to have when competing solo?
480 or higher 12 19.35%
476-479 32 51.61%
471-475 12 19.35%
470 or lower 6 9.68%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-25-2017, 02:47 PM   #21
el gaitero
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Why not go right for the jugular then and set up at 466? Then a judge could more easily appreciate it's purposeful rather than off tuning....compared to the contemporary field.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:50 PM   #22
Pppiper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Why not go right for the jugular then and set up at 466? Then a judge could more easily appreciate it's purposeful rather than off tuning....compared to the contemporary field.


Very tempted. I'm curious now to see what happens outdoors in 70s and 80s. This set hasnt had that yet, and won't until next year.




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Old 09-25-2017, 09:08 PM   #23
bob864
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

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Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
I'm curious now to see what happens outdoors in 70s and 80s.
70s and 80s?

Nice weather for piping -- It's been over 100F in Greenville. :-)
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:40 PM   #24
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

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Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
Hi all,

I'll be jumping into solo competition for the first time in nearly 20 years.

I know that, with the top-grade bands, pitch seems to be around the 480 mark.

But what about solo competition? In people's experience, is there a threshold for what judges may deem to be an "acceptable" pitch, or "preferred?"

Being that this is "solo" competition, to me, I would think pitch shouldn't really matter (within reason) ... and that having a well-balanced chanter and scale would be the most important consideration. But that's just me.

While appreciative of any input, I am most keen for general points of view; ones which are not tied to a particular grade level. I'd like know what expectations are across the board, and people's varied experiences.

Thanks much to any and all.

Cheers,
~Nate
I always go for 480, thinking that the judges are surrounded by bands playing about there all day, lots of soloists play their band chanter/reed to solo, so they're probably about 480, so anything too far from that will sound, "off"

Then again, maybe tuning at 465 would make one stand-out in a good way...
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:37 PM   #25
Rooklidge
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaggyMcPipes View Post
Then again, maybe tuning at 465 would make one stand-out in a good way...
Playing low pitch as I do has been a trial. I now warn judges of my pitch before playing, and as Andrew Wright told me "I'm a low pitch man myself!". I played a post-war Sinclair chanter at 460 on a cold morning and the judge commented "Sweet pipe".
The real problem during competition is other pipers tuning up, especially when stewards are allowing tuning pipers to play within 15 yards of the solo boards. All I can say is "sorry pal" when given the stink eye. Of course, the judge has to differentiate the discordant notes when the clunker inevitably comes during simultaneous play, but if the judge can hear you go up the scale without interference at least once, they know the origin of the clashing notes.

I briefly put away the Sinclair until I can strictly focus on pibroch and am currently using a 1980s Hardie at between 470-475 to try to get through pibroch and light music competitions during the same morning. Once the final season competition is over, it's back to the Sinclair and the pitch that gives me the sweet pipe. Best of luck to you, and stick to what you like for solos.
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:03 AM   #26
Pppiper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

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Originally Posted by Rooklidge View Post
Best of luck to you, and stick to what you like for solos.
Thanks, I appreciate this insight. I will do. I like the sound where it is .. and frankly, for solo, I don't understand this whole pitch madness. Especially seeing as we go to such trouble coveting drones which are nice and rich with harmonics ... then, we amp up with pitch, with the harmonics then becoming less prominent. Especially with piobaireachd.

Shrug.

I appreciate everyone's input, truly. I've decided to leave it alone, where I like it, for the time being. And I think that's a good suggestion, telling the judge ahead of time what to expect.

If pitch were to become an issue, I'll worry about it then.

Thanks to you, and to all. The wide array of approaches and perspectives (coupled with well-reasoned rationale) here is precisely what I was hoping for.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:57 AM   #27
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Just a little update for any who may have been curious as to my result, particularly for anyone searching the forum for information on this down the road.

I've decided to jump back into the competition bit, after having stepped away from it about 20 years ago when I was in my teens. As such, I'm a bit out of touch with current trends and norms within competition-land; this is partly why I've decided to go through it again.

The chanter I've been using (and loving) is a Colin Kyo chanter. I bought this chanter new around Thanksgiving of 2016. I love the comfortable spacing, and it has a nice warm sound to it, especially with the c.1915 Henderson drones I'm using. The harmonics of the two together are really something.

I'm rather finicky with my scale. Depending on the reed I'm using, once I'm fully warmed up, I'll commonly have tape on my hG, E, D, and C with the Kyo chanter. This is in no way unusual for me; I've been known to have tape on nearly every hole, though I try to avoid tape on both low and high A whenever possible.

The Kyo chanter seems to pitch consistently in the 471-473 range, and this with a wide array of reeds. I hadn't paid this any mind, I was happy with the sound, and I really couldn't care less about the numbers (i.e., when playing alone). But I've been taking lessons with an EUSPBA judge in order to gear up for competing; she did notice the pitch sounded low, and pulled out a meter. She didn't say that I specifically needed to address the low pitch, but the encounter did get me thinking.

Again, personally I couldn't care less, and it would seem from the varied responses, I'm not alone. I like (scratch that) ... LOVE the sound of the Kyo chanter, and I enjoy the pitch where it is. I'm not a great fan of this ever-climbing pitch; it's seems like we're all chasing our tails, and the sound of the instrument, frankly, is suffering a bit as result.

Whatever, that's just my preference and personal ideology. That being said, after some thought, I decided to pull the trigger and purchase the Gandy model McCallum chanter. My Kyo isn't going anywhere, but nothing says I have to use the same chanter all the time.

The Gandy/McCallum is pretty phenomenal in it's own right. I've only had a couple of playing sessions with it so far, but my initial impressions are very positive. The finger spacing is still very comfortable, which is a very tall order in comparison to the Kyo. It's extremely bright, and also pretty loud, which was a surprise.

The Gandy/McCallum pitches around 481-483 straight away, so it's clearly designed to reach that range. It seems rather effortless, in that regard. With a Shepherd moulded reed (generally my reed of choice), as soon as I got the two A's balanced (without tape), the pitch reading was 481. And most astoundingly (though bear in mind, I've got lots more playing/testing to do) so far, I'm only using tape on my high G, and a little bit on the E. Everything else sounds great, though the C is a little flat at first. The C comes up to a nice place though after a good amount of time warming up. This will deviate, I'm sure, with other reeds ... but rare is the day I have less than 4 pieces of tape on a chanter.

All this said though, I do long for my Kyo chanter. The Gandy/McCallum seems as good as can be for 480+ ... but I just don't like the pitch in comparison. Again, just my preference, but the harmonics are notably less-rich at such a stratospheric pitch.

So I've not decided which chanter I'll use in competitions next year, but now at least, I can easily choose one or the other.

Thanks again for all who commented and voted in the poll, it was all very helpful.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 10-26-2017 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 05:31 PM   #28
C. Martin
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

I play the Kyo also, with the same affection for it. My first CK laminate model seemed to pitch in the high 478-480s quite easily. My current one pitches low as yours does with the same Gilmore reeds which I find a good match to the CK.

I've been using a Melvin reed which brought the pitch up most of the time though this weekend on a rainy day, I pitched about 474 again. Try out different reeds. I played around quite a bit until I found one that brought the pitch back into the 477-480 range again. That said, I've nothing but good things to say about the "Gandy" models I've heard recently. Can't go wrong there at all!
Cheers,
Charlie
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:21 PM   #29
Pppiper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by C. Martin View Post
I play the Kyo also, with the same affection for it. My first CK laminate model seemed to pitch in the high 478-480s quite easily. My current one pitches low as yours does with the same Gilmore reeds which I find a good match to the CK.

I've been using a Melvin reed which brought the pitch up most of the time though this weekend on a rainy day, I pitched about 474 again. Try out different reeds. I played around quite a bit until I found one that brought the pitch back into the 477-480 range again. That said, I've nothing but good things to say about the "Gandy" models I've heard recently. Can't go wrong there at all!
Cheers,
Charlie
Right on, definitely very happy with both chanters. Kyo is definitely my favorite, and by comparison the Gandy chanter is growing on me. I don't know if I'll ever get used to pitch above 478-479 (even that always felt a bit high for my tastes).

I'll try some other reeds at some point, but truth be told, I seem to always end up back with Shepherd straight cuts before long.

Thanks Charlie!

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:16 AM   #30
bob864
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post
so far, I'm only using tape on my high G, and a little bit on the E. Everything else sounds great, though the C is a little flat at first. The C comes up to a nice place though after a good amount of time warming up. This will deviate, I'm sure, with other reeds ... but rare is the day I have less than 4 pieces of tape on a chanter.

Was at a workshop recently. Jack Lee suggested that hG should never have tape. He said if you need tape on hG then open the reed up and shave it down as necessary to eliminate the tape on hG.

He didn't spell out why, exactly, but I suspect it is because it's important to get the right sound from the hG gracenotes, since they are so critical to good piping.
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