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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Technique & Instrument
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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 01-14-2019, 05:01 PM   #1
brewingjt100
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Default An epiphany: blowing tone

I've been on the pipes for just over a year and I'm finally starting to get it. The last couple of times that I've played have been effortless. I could play all day. The stars have seemed to aligned. My bones and head vibrate with tone on an instrument in tune. I'm far from a virtuoso, but WOW what feeling. The nightly hour of practice for 18 months is finally starting to pay off in spades. I'm mostly a lurker here, but the education has been invaluable. For all you newbies, I didn't start until I was 52 years old. It's never too late. Join a band if you can. It forces you to exit your comfort zone.
Thank you,
John T

Last edited by brewingjt100; 01-14-2019 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:06 PM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Huzzah!

Congrats, friend! Keep preaching the good word!
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:31 AM   #3
John Bolt
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Every year on the anniversary of starting out I think I'm starting to get it. Ten years later and thousands of hours of practice and many parades I think I'm starting to get it. I'll decide next year!
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:26 AM   #4
moderntraditional
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

I had one, too, most recently.

I was spending a lot of time focusing on things like blowing steady, bag pressure - the mechanics of blowing tone. That's not a bad thing, and honestly, the best players in the world ARE rock steady on those aspects.

But one day, there was a little click: the bag is just a means. Focusing on it isn't nearly as important as focusing on the tone itself. I began "blowing through the chanter".

And THAT made everything so much easier.

I don't know how to describe it other than that.
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:46 PM   #5
Dan Bell
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Yup. Once you've heard yourself produce real tone, there is no going back. You'll never again accept an instrument or setup that doesn't do it.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:59 PM   #6
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

My blowing tone epiphany came a little over ten years ago (I was in my late 40s) when I joined a band pipe-majored by a world-class piper/tonemeister/reedmaker with a pipe corps mostly consisting of pipers with decades of grade one band experience. (Most of my experience was with grade 4 and 3 bands.)

He would make everybody new reeds at the start of the competition season and at the midpoint.

At practice we would just play retreats for an hour or so... the whole point was to focus on blowing tone. After an hour all of our blowing was totally dialed in, all the reeds totally settled in. Only then would be practice our competition sets.

The epiphany was that everything comes from blowing tone.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:50 AM   #7
Mac an t-Sealgair
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Bell View Post
Yup. Once you've heard yourself produce real tone, there is no going back. You'll never again accept an instrument or setup that doesn't do it.
Almost a curse, the struggle is real. I end up tuning more than playing
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:01 PM   #8
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

It's something that every wind-instrument player has to learn at some point- not to play at the instrument or into the instrument, but through it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:07 PM   #9
brewingjt100
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
It's something that every wind-instrument player has to learn at some point- not to play at the instrument or into the instrument, but through it.
That sums it precisely. The struggle wonderfully disappears. It doesnt happen every time , but when it does, itís magical.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:17 AM   #10
John McCain
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewingjt100 View Post
That sums it precisely. The struggle wonderfully disappears. It doesnt happen every time , but when it does, itís magical.
With proper maintenance and practiced blowing technique (see manometer), it should happen every time.

Piperís Dojo has lots of good info on this.
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