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Old 04-18-2013, 01:13 PM   #21
Steve Anderson
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
The next time I approach a competition judge, I need to say "btw, my chanter is tuned to something else"

I do know what you mean though, what you said just sounds funny.

Charlie
But the acceptable or generally acceptable tuning for notes like D have gotten much sharper in recent years. So the judge will generally be aware of that potential and know what are the acceptable variations.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:04 PM   #22
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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Originally Posted by Steve Anderson View Post
But the acceptable or generally acceptable tuning for notes like D have gotten much sharper in recent years. So the judge will generally be aware of that potential and know what are the acceptable variations.
Uh, old school D tuning was sharper than the current tuning. But, both qualify as some sort of correct tuning. Do you mean to imply that we are going back to the old way of tuning D -or- out of tune D's are becoming acceptable -or- perhaps you misspoke?

http://publish.uwo.ca/~emacphe3/pipe...pipescale.html
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:48 PM   #23
Steve Anderson
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post
Uh, old school D tuning was sharper than the current tuning. But, both qualify as some sort of correct tuning. Do you mean to imply that we are going back to the old way of tuning D -or- out of tune D's are becoming acceptable -or- perhaps you misspoke?

http://publish.uwo.ca/~emacphe3/pipe...pipescale.html

No, I swapped the direction. Seem to have done that in a few posts lately. Thanks for clarifying that tactfully.

I was conveying that the relative tuning of D has changed and that one correct in past years is not as accepted but can it be said to be 'out of tune' if it is demonstrably the way things have been played for years. Intonation waves are perhaps annoying but a cycle or two off on D is not going to create many audible waves.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:19 PM   #24
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

Tuners vs.ears? For the vast majority of pipers, we are looking to be truly tuned in a just temper. Whether you use ears or a device to get there. .......in tune is in tune and out of tune is not very musical. However you achieve the result. ....does it matter?
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:56 AM   #25
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

What does matter is whether or not we hear the difference between in tune and out, without a device telling us so. If we, the pipers, need the device to know if we are in tune, then how much of a chance does the audience have of knowing and appreciating tuning?

If the player can't tell, and the audience can't tell, then for whom do we tune? The heavenly host?

Perhaps we should pass out portable tuning meters to audiences, so they know just how much to appreciate what they're not hearing.

And how many tuner-users are really blowing at the same pressure in full kilter as when they tuned? I'll believe that of the Gold Medalists and the Grade I bandsmen, but then, I have never seen a top competitor using a tuner on the boards in front of a sitting panel. I think that blowing pressure is an absolutely key issue in the use of tuners.

If you don't blow steady when you tune, and when you play, then a tuner won't much help.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:14 AM   #26
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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They might be out of tune on purpose, but "in tune" means consonance.
It means no such thing. There a lot of tuning systems out there, and not all of them are consonant. A piano sure isn't.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:55 AM   #27
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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What does matter is whether or not we hear the difference between in tune and out, without a device telling us so.
That's a fair point David, to be sure.

Maybe where a tuner is most useful is setting up a chanter, at least initially, with refinements best left to ear training.

But sometimes tuning in a challenging environment (like a space with lots of reverberation and background noise), a tuner can be a real help to double check or narrow down drone setting.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:44 PM   #28
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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That's a fair point David, to be sure.

Maybe where a tuner is most useful is setting up a chanter, at least initially, with refinements best left to ear training.

But sometimes tuning in a challenging environment (like a space with lots of reverberation and background noise), a tuner can be a real help to double check or narrow down drone setting.
Yes, this is a proper use for a tuner--essentially a fix for a musician with no option but to tune in a noise-blanketed area. Of course no one asks Yo Yo Ma to tune up by the back door of the Royal Albert with a portable generator hogging the airwaves a few meters away.

All the secondary uses of a tuner are great--as long as a student receives good guidance and drill on ear-tuning.

One thing I do with students is to tune their pipes, let them listen to the sound, then I mess up the drones and have them re-tune. Then eventually I'll take the chanter and raise or lower the reed a bit, without them know what I've done, and they must get it back. But I always start by tuning for them, so they can etch the sound into their brains.

Ear-learning is possible for most students. Some are naturals at it, and some need a lot of drill. Only some few just can't hear tuning at all. Just as a culinary student who cannot taste will not likely ever be a good chef, a music student who cannot hear tuning will not likely be a good musician. But they must be taught well and given every chance. I suspect some teachers just let tuning "happen" as if it isn't a major part of the piper student's education, and very much an instructor's duty to teach. That said, diligent listening to top piping is of inestimable value, or growing up around a top band.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:55 PM   #29
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

I don't know about the rest of you, but I do know that my blowing is different if I try and use a tuner. If my pipes are tuned with a tuner they are close but I can tell when I start playing a tune that the pipes are slightly out of tune and I have to tweak them a bit and I really feel that this is because I'm blowing slightly different.

Ultimately what works best for me is to tune by ear and play well known tuning phrases or tunes that I know well.....such as Morag of Dunvegan (lots of High A's, Low A's, and C's), and tweak the drones as needed.

Jenni
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:42 PM   #30
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Default Re: Ears versus Tuners

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Originally Posted by burp birl View Post
I don't know about the rest of you, but I do know that my blowing is different if I try and use a tuner. If my pipes are tuned with a tuner they are close but I can tell when I start playing a tune that the pipes are slightly out of tune and I have to tweak them a bit and I really feel that this is because I'm blowing slightly different.

Ultimately what works best for me is to tune by ear and play well known tuning phrases or tunes that I know well.....such as Morag of Dunvegan (lots of High A's, Low A's, and C's), and tweak the drones as needed.

Jenni
Many, many pipers have this same experience. Tuning pressure differs from playing pressure.

Playing a nice slow air, or a not too heavy piobaireachd ground, can really help train the ear. Chanter read against drones--that will tell the story!
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