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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 08-27-2019, 11:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

RU Brown was very prolific at recording his playing and many tracks give as good a representation as any available for the time in both studio and field. The quality of much of his pibroch recording is phenomenal, and no few present his crunluath technique as second to none of any generation.

Please contact the folks at Tobar for questions regarding recording and mixing techniques of the era and their digitizing efforts. They are knowledgeable, helpful, and are some of the most important stewards of this tradition.

While I agree that cane-reeded drones can be softer and may not project in the same manner as modern band cannons, some of the lower pitched chanters I've fiddled with can be downright trumpets.
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Old 08-27-2019, 07:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

Originally Posted by Dan Bell View Post
We don't have any recordings of Bob Brown's sound that are really accurate enough to let us try to reproduce it. Furthermore, for most of the history of recorded sound, recordings have been mastered to make the performers sound as good as possible, which isn't always the same thing as capturing them in the highest possible fidelity.
That might be true, but in this particular case the recordings were made by a musicologist. It might be that one of his goals was to make a recording that faithfully reflected (as much as was possible at the time) the sound of the performance.
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Old 08-28-2019, 03:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

Quality of chanter reeds is notably better now than it was then, at least according to most everyone I have talked to. Also, bagpipe tone has progressed with so many variables falling under the piper's control relative to cane reeds.

It also may have just been the taste of the moment, not any sort of hardware issue at all. If you want, you can set your instrument up to sound more chanter-y, more drone-y, more reed-y, brassy, etc. Why would this be any different in the early/mid 20th century?
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:00 PM   #14
David Murry
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

I think.. and just an estimation at this point, but the lower pitch alway came across as more rich and carries better whenever I hear one played.

Wonder how much that plays into the organ sound I always hear on the old recordings...?
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:04 PM   #15
Shawn Husk
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

My opinion on this points to modern pitch, chanters and reeds. We now have higher pitched chanters which come across to the ear as being louder, whether they really are or not. We have louder chanters by far and almost all good modern reeds are very loud and vibrant. I think these factors make our modern bagpipe chanter heavy with regard to sound.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:43 PM   #16
Harley G
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Default Re: Drone Volume in Old Recordings

I think Mr Husk is onto it with the pitch.

The overtone signatures on the high pitch chanters are alot different to the lower pitched chanters.

It is not uncommon for the sound bloke to complain that our drones are too loud when we are playing at Bb with band instruments and drones. When we play solo pipes with high pitched chanters, the sound bloke never complains that the drones are too loud.

If I knew how to post pics I could post the overtone signatures of the drones and different pitched chanters. The smart people would then be better placed to make a judgement.

It sort of makes sense when considering bands go high to be heard over other bands and this then forces them to run those icey buzzy synthetic bladed drone reeds so the drones can be heard over the chanter.

Listen to some of Greg Wilson's recordings and you will get the idea. He is a proponent of the more mellow sound you can get from the GHB.
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