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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 01-22-2019, 08:33 AM   #11
CalumII
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Default Re: Sharpness War

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post


A fictitious parallel situation would be if top clarinet players were all playing old clarinets designed to play a quarter-tone lower than today's standard, and mouthpiece and reed makers were constantly experimenting with ways to force those old flat clarinets to play up to modern pitch. I was talking to a professional clarinetist about it and he said that such a thing would be inconceivable in the clarinet world.

I believe exactly such a situation pertains in the brass world, where most mouthpieces still follow the design for A=452, and it's only recently been noticed that redesigning them improves their playability at modern pitches.
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:44 AM   #12
Pip01
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Default Re: Sharpness War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo


FWIW, I don't have a dog in this fight- I play older pipes set up for 466 HZ because when I'm not playing solo, I'm playing with other instruments that are concert pitch.




Greetings to All,

Well... might as well get tore into this one... (Sigh...)

My dog would not take part in this "War"... even were he asked...
(His hearing? Much too sensitive. Much too refined... for such. :)

I... too... play "older" pipes... and by some hundred years...

I like them... he likes them... and were this (apparent) "contest"
to drag itself off... and up... into some musical stratosphere... by
those ever in their pursuit of something "new"... and by which to
take what ever ring may be at hand... then sigh... and alas... I nor
he... would be much concerned... and much less... care...

Now be it understood... that anyone... may do anything... that they
wish... with their pipes... and their pitch... even should it come to
rival... the flight of Icarus...

My only concern... is how... does it sound?

And applauded by the vox populi... or no... there may be a bit of
truth... in the old adage... "What goes up... must come down."

Though... and nonetheless... and quite irrespective of where ever
anyone may play upon this ever-upwards scale... Happy Piping to
All... and...

Regards to All,

Pip01








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Last edited by Pip01; 01-22-2019 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:12 AM   #13
K Sanger
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Default Re: Sharpness War

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
But the 19th century British pitch was not A=439 but A=452, called Old Philharmonic Pitch.
Well yes, correct in parts. A history of pitch as it pertained to the Highland Bagpipe from circa 1850 on-wards first compiled by me as an extended briefing note to Barnaby Brown then ended up as a short article in Piping Today Issue Number 55. page 37, published in 2011.

To try and condense it the 'pitch' goes like this;- Circa 1850 during the Crimea War the Top Brass decided to hold a mass bands of all the regiments there to play God save the Queen on Victoria's birthday. It turned into a farce as they were all playing in different pitches, keys and settings. The result was the formation of the Military School of Music in 1854 promptly followed by the official standard army pitch of A=452.

This in turn became the 'old' Philharmonic pitch and from there the nominal pitch of British (and some Empire) orchestras. What is certain is that A=452 was adopted as the pitch for the International Exhibition of 1885 and there it remained until 1895 when an affluent Scottish Doctor Cathcart who was working in London became concerned about the effect that pitch was having on singers vocal chords. So much so that he offered to sponsor a series of London Concerts providing the pitch was reduced to the French Government Commission Diapason Normal of A=435.

Not for the first time in Anglo French relations there was confusion over what the French standard actually was, (not allowing for temperature I think) , but the result was a new Philharmonic pitch of A=439. However the military decided to stay were they were with A=452, which was re-emphasized in Kings Regulations in 1910. Finally in 1928 the military decided to join the rest and changed their pitch to A=439.

There is from the time of the change a Glen's Catalog which offers their chanters pitched at either A=452 or the new lower pitch of A=439. Since the older pitch chanters were sold from stock while the new pitch ones only made to order they probably did not anticipate selling that many. In which they were proved right as the pipe bands seem to have stayed with the A=452 and freed from that standard military pitch commenced its ever upward creep.

One other aspect which may have contributed to the pipes upward creep is the change in emphasis of most modern pipers and pipe bands to more 'concert' conditions. Lower sound waves travel further than higher ones and one wonders if the instrument was still primarily an open air military instrument where the sound was expected to carry far if the pitch creep would have happened?

Keith
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:24 PM   #14
Kenton Adler
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Default Re: Sharpness War

I don't think chanter pitch creeping up is about the drones at all. I think it's about clarity. Especially in a band setting.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:30 PM   #15
Pip01
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Default Re: Sharpness War

I heard the old Scots Greys... these now many years
ago... and they seemed pretty clear...
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: Sharpness War

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Originally Posted by gisahag View Post

Solo piper's pitch is creeping up too. Discuss



Neil
I don't understand this either. I get the story of why pipe bands have gotten sharper, but soloists? I would imagine most high-level soloists have separate set-ups for band and solo playing - most players wouldn't want to keep a stiff band competition reed, not to mention a sheep bag and cane drone reeds, going for an 12 - 18 minute piobaireachd.

I was surprised however when I first starting attending a high-level solo contest here (the Metrocup) that they were playing chanters way up in the 480's. I even clocked them on my tuning app from the audience. Maybe one or two were still at 478 or so, but most were up around 482-484. At room temperature. I enjoyed the brilliant playing, and the tone was of course amazing, but the pitch was almost abrasively sharp. Especially for piobaireachd. I hate to say it, but I think the instrument has lost some of its soul with these insanely high pitches. Older recordings, which certainly have their issues, nonetheless in my subjective opinion, had more ... I don't know, MOOD perhaps. Which is the point of a lament, or so I would think. There's such a thing as being TOO bright - "all sunshine makes a desert," as they say.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:30 PM   #17
Rooklidge
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Default Re: Sharpness War

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Originally Posted by DapperDan View Post
I hate to say it, but I think the instrument has lost some of its soul with these insanely high pitches. Older recordings, which certainly have their issues, nonetheless in my subjective opinion, had more ... I don't know, MOOD perhaps. Which is the point of a lament, or so I would think. There's such a thing as being TOO bright - "all sunshine makes a desert," as they say.
Agree. Currently playing 452-456 hz and it is a different, more satisfying animal.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:09 AM   #18
CalumII
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Default Re: Sharpness War

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Originally Posted by Kenton Adler View Post
I don't think chanter pitch creeping up is about the drones at all. I think it's about clarity. Especially in a band setting.

I agree. And I don't think that it's *actually* clearer: but without a doubt when you have two equally well tuned bands next to each other, the band that has an edge in pitch will somehow sound brighter and clearer. Psychoacoustics are what they are.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Sharpness War

Regarding soloist at high pitch, I don't get either why or how.
These days I just play for my own pleasure, so the chanter is at whatever pitch requires least tape, and the drones are set to that.
I've got a MCC2 chanter, a MacPhee reed, and antique Henderson drones. Not an uncommon set-up amongst top soloists I'm told (not that I'll ever be able to dream of being close to that league). The drones are fine at any pitch with the right correctly set up reed. But when I balance the low A and high A the chanter naturally pitches at around 470. So by reaching for 480, are soloist pushing their chanters into a range they aren't suited to? If so then why are they choosing to make life difficult for themselves, and how the hell do they get such a good sound from their chanters?
Also I've played a band chanter at 480, and my current set up at solo events, and to me when you're playing solo in a big hall the lower pitch carries better.
I must be getting old. I'm starting to sound like my grandad did in the 1980s

Neil
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:45 PM   #20
Pip01
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Default Re: Sharpness War

A Very Partial Quote From [K Sanger]

Lower sound waves travel further than higher ones

[/QUOTE]



Greetings to All,

And as Neil says above... in a large hall... the lower notes
carry the better ...

And outside... even the more so... midst the trees....

And... I greatly enjoy... that more fulsome sound...

And having played some higher pitched chanters and reeds
around the house... with friends in piping experiments... my
fairly thoughtful Australian Shepherd... does make its marked
preference readily known!! Comes... into the room to listen to
the low range chanters (Really likes the Starck and Hardie!! :)
and when the higher pitch chanters, reeds and notes come out...
simply... leaves the room... And will return... when the change
is made back to those lower... and older... sounds...

Scientific? Not bleedin' hardly... but between us... there is accord...

Regards to All,

Pip01

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Last edited by Pip01; 01-27-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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