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

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Old 10-12-2018, 04:26 PM   #11
Jim McGillivray
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

No matter what pitch your practice chanter is at, I vehemently disagree with the idea that we shouldn't worry if it's "not in tune" because it's not a performance instrument. With apologies for any lack of humility, my practice chanter sounds absolutely gorgeous and it is in as perfect tune as my ear can possibly make it.

I would contend that if you happily play a practice chanter that is out of tune then you likely play pipes with notes out of tune. Why do I say this? Because if you are a stickler for tuning you wouldn't be able to stand to play a practice chanter that is not in tune. I simply never play pipes or a practice chanter that is out of tune. It goes against all the precepts of good music.

Too many pipers are all too happy to play in public on out of tune instruments and it all starts in the privacy of your own practice room with your practice chanter.

Here endeth my rant.

As for pitch, most of the practice chanter world hovers around Bb (466 cps), and that's where I tune mine. I don't worry too much about my band pc's being at 466 as long as they are in tune with each other. However, all of the recordings on my pipetunes.ca website are made in Bb, so folks who wish to can play along, which I'm told many people do.

JM
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:22 PM   #12
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

As usual, context is important.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:05 PM   #13
Capt. Grimek
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Regarding the PC not being a musical instrument, A few youtube videos featuring Matt McIssac and Lincoln Hilton sound pretty close. It seems that some of the younger fellas are exploring it's "musicality" although in a modern/"newgrass"/"jazz grass" musical vein as opposed to traditional or GHB styles.

Matt McIssac: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfHDXZrIFak&t=88s
Playing "Woman of the House"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aA9bcp91L4 "Galway Girl" duet (more 'traditional' in a small pipes rounded kinda feel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErbIksl_60E This one is a multi-tracked original with "beats".

Anyway, these came up in my youtube reel pipe and small pipe "force" feeds and found them interesting. Some things beyond the tortured duck level anyway

As a retired H.S. band/choir director, private trumpet instructor, I 100% agree that playing in tune is essential for ear training.

I feel "weird" posting things not of the tradition as a new poster/member, but thought these links were applicable to the discussion at hand...
Cheers, C.G.

Last edited by Capt. Grimek; 10-12-2018 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:24 PM   #14
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Regardless of how cute multitrack practice chanter videos are, would you ever pay money to watch a practice chanter concert? Me neither.

Shame the time wasn’t taken to record on pipes.
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Old 10-13-2018, 09:31 AM   #15
Jim McGillivray
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Regardless of how cute multitrack practice chanter videos are, would you ever pay money to watch a practice chanter concert? Me neither.

Shame the time wasn’t taken to record on pipes.

My school band does a spring concert each year and a couple of times we've done a practice chanter number with half a dozen pipers and it has always gone over very well. A good concert requires variety -- even a piping concert -- and with a little creativity the pc can be used to great effect. Look up Lincoln Hilton's "Me and My Chanter" if it hasn't already been referenced here.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:27 AM   #16
el gaitero
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McGillivray View Post
My school band does a spring concert each year and a couple of times we've done a practice chanter number with half a dozen pipers and it has always gone over very well. A good concert requires variety -- even a piping concert -- and with a little creativity the pc can be used to great effect. Look up Lincoln Hilton's "Me and My Chanter" if it hasn't already been referenced here.

Iirc there was a CD track some years back of a notable band playing a practice chanter set accompanied by drum pads and timpani on various drum cases.
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Old 10-13-2018, 07:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

This is why I make my student's practice chanters more like a smallpipe chanter. It's really not much more work in manufacture than it is to bang out a regular PC. If they get a good sounding, in tune chanter first off, they're more likely stick with it and less likely to have tuning issues when they get to the big pipes. I want us nuts on in tune for lessons and tweek high G and C# to be correct. I usually go for A466/B flat, but I've been thinking of making some tune to 478-480 so it would be easier to play along with bagpipe recordings. Not sure if that would be something people would want or not.
Small side rant: I have a feeling that the standard hideously sharp high G on a lot of PC's causes underblowing that eventually transfers to unsteady blowing on the pipes.
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Old 10-17-2018, 10:43 PM   #18
Chris C.
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
Small side rant: I have a feeling that the standard hideously sharp high G on a lot of PC's causes underblowing that eventually transfers to unsteady blowing on the pipes.
I have the high-G's on two of my three Practice Chanters taped to flatten them to a more correct pitch.

On one of them the same hank of Scotch tape has been there for probably more than a decade.

Last edited by Chris C.; 10-17-2018 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:26 AM   #19
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McGillivray View Post
No matter what pitch your practice chanter is at, I vehemently disagree with the idea that we shouldn't worry if it's "not in tune" because it's not a performance instrument. With apologies for any lack of humility, my practice chanter sounds absolutely gorgeous and it is in as perfect tune as my ear can possibly make it.

I would contend that if you happily play a practice chanter that is out of tune then you likely play pipes with notes out of tune. Why do I say this? Because if you are a stickler for tuning you wouldn't be able to stand to play a practice chanter that is not in tune. I simply never play pipes or a practice chanter that is out of tune. It goes against all the precepts of good music.
Amen. I could not possibly agree more, or emphasize this enough. We are musicians. Why on Earth would we want to train our ears to accept something THAT SOUNDS BAD?!

Yes, I tape notes and carve holes on practice chanters. I bin reeds that require excess futzing around to sound right. In the band, I insist that the PCs be set at 466. How can you possibly hear fine unison issues, false fingerings, or crossing noises with 15 people playing, if your practice chanters are roaring out-of-tune? I certainly can't.

I will not recommend to students any practice chanter that can't be easily made to play a true scale. I will happily spend more for a better product, but I will not accept a product that reinforces bad musical habits. Ear training is HUGE part of what musicians do, and we WILL learn to accept whatever we expose our ears to on a consistent basis. I don't want to hear ANYTHING that I'm playing all the time sounding worse than it needs to. No other class of serious musician would accept a practice instrument that sounds bad. We shouldn't, either.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:10 AM   #20
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Default Re: Practice Chanters - tuned to A or Bb?

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SNIP I don't want to hear ANYTHING that I'm playing all the time sounding worse than it needs to. No other class of serious musician would accept a practice instrument that sounds bad. We shouldn't, either.

I'm having a hard time thinking of any other class of serious musician that uses a practice instrument
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