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

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Old 05-05-2019, 06:43 AM   #1
BaggyMcPipes
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Utah, USA
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Default Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

I've always enjoyed playing tunes with a, "C natural," and other accidentals, but I've never been able to get cross-fingering to work.

*not never: I live in a high-mountain desert region, I think it's either the extremely dry air, or the, "thin," high altitude air that effects the effectiveness of cross-fingering because I have been able to produce, "true," accidentals by cross-fingering when visiting the coast.

In any case, should it be of use to anyone here, or should someone have an idea as to the reason, (I am curious,) I share this:

I bought a Surefire synthetic pipe chanter reed. It was tedious to tune, initially, but I was testing it for a student so I persevered. Once it was in-tune, it held its tuning well. But the unexpected thing: I can get a true C-natural and F-natural by cross-fingering! Where I previously had to tape-down those notes and play tunes with those notes flattened permanently, I can now use standard cross-fingering to get an accidental here or there as I please!

I'm elated, and so I share.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:36 AM   #2
DamhCabrachPiping
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

Iím happy you found your answer, sad to hear itís in a synthetic reed tho lol Iím not a huge fan of them- too shrill to my ear.

What do you use for a chanter cap? Do you use a hygrometer?


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Old 05-05-2019, 10:36 AM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

If you have a chanter you're not afraid to butcher, one suggestion would be to move the C and F holes up slightly and make them smaller.



Crossfingering works because the air in the holes is almost too heavy for the soundwave to move it, so the effective termination of the soundwave moves down the chanter. If the hole is too large, the note won't crossfinger at all, so if you make the hole smaller it should start to come in. Except now it's flat, so you must move it up the chanter...
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

It helps to play an easy reed, too. The reeds that many of us play for competitive purposes are often too hard to produce consistent and in-tune natural notes.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:15 PM   #5
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

Thanks for the explanation Calum! Tinkering to do now MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:43 PM   #6
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

With older chanters, and my modern McCallum Bb chanter (especially with moulded reeds) Cnat is very reliable.

With high-pitch modern band chanters and strong ridge-cut reeds the acoustics of the chanter+reed can overpower crossfingerings.

You see it also with the note E: with some modern high-pitch wide-bore chanters using strong ridge-cut reeds you can finger E any way you want and the pitch doesn't change appreciably, while with an older lower-pitch chanter with moulded reed E can drop a quartertone if you change your fingering in any way.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:31 AM   #7
CalumII
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
You see it also with the note E: with some modern high-pitch wide-bore chanters using strong ridge-cut reeds you can finger E any way you want and the pitch doesn't change appreciably, while with an older lower-pitch chanter with moulded reed E can drop a quartertone if you change your fingering in any way.

Yes, my Border chanter will happily play a D sharp if I lift the C finger; not all that useful, but I've deployed it a few times!
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:08 AM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Cross-Fingering, finally found a way to make it work

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Yes, my Border chanter will happily play a D sharp if I lift the C finger; not all that useful, but I've deployed it a few times!
For sure, the three "Border" chanters I've owned were far more susceptible to fingering variation than even older GHB chanters.

That instability is a good thing in that it gives you a chromatic scale.

My chanters were chromatic all the way up from Low A, giving an in-tune Bb, C natural, D#, F natural, and high G#.

As I've mentioned on other threads, D# is very, very useful! Not for GHB-specific tunes, but outside the GHB repertoire a sharp 4th (D# on an A chanter) is very common in songs and tunes.

As I've mentioned three of the five US military service tunes, the US anthem, and a vast number of Hymn tunes, many Irish songs, etc etc require D# (when played in the key of A).
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