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

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Old 01-17-2019, 07:20 AM   #11
brewingjt100
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCain View Post
With proper maintenance and practiced blowing technique (see manometer), it should happen every time.

Piperís Dojo has lots of good info on this.
Yep. I am well aware of Andrew and Piper's Dojo. It's a bit more organic for me though. The manometer is a great tool, but i prefer to hear the pitch shifts and how my breath/technique affects it.
I've been a musician most of my life and have developed a great ear for tuning and pitch. I've also played in a few rock bands. On some nights the stars aligned and some nights, meh not so much. The same goes with the pipes. Some days the music travels straight from the soul and other times I'm playing with 8 thumbs which are fighting with each other.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:34 AM   #12
John McCain
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

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Originally Posted by brewingjt100 View Post
Yep. I am well aware of Andrew and Piper's Dojo. It's a bit more organic for me though. The manometer is a great tool, but i prefer to hear the pitch shifts and how my breath/technique affects it.
I've been a musician most of my life and have developed a great ear for tuning and pitch. I've also played in a few rock bands. On some nights the stars aligned and some nights, meh not so much. The same goes with the pipes. Some days the music travels straight from the soul and other times I'm playing with 8 thumbs which are fighting with each other.

Iím sure youíre right
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:22 AM   #13
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Default Re: An epiphany/blowing tone

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Originally Posted by brewingjt100 View Post
Yep. I am well aware of Andrew and Piper's Dojo. It's a bit more organic for me though. The manometer is a great tool, but i prefer to hear the pitch shifts and how my breath/technique affects it.
I've been a musician most of my life and have developed a great ear for tuning and pitch. I've also played in a few rock bands. On some nights the stars aligned and some nights, meh not so much. The same goes with the pipes. Some days the music travels straight from the soul and other times I'm playing with 8 thumbs which are fighting with each other.
Agreed. If one has trained their ear, then that ear becomes an astoundingly powerful tool in aiding the blowing of tone. I've come to find that when I'm facing and watching a manometer, my blowing will be far more unsteady. I enjoy much better results with using an iPhone to record the manometer via video as I face away from it, using my ear to guide me .. that is, if I bother at all.

Different strokes for different folks though ... that should go without saying.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

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If one has trained their ear
This is the key to being a good musician on any instrument..!
Some get it faster than others...


-Matthew
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Old 01-17-2019, 12:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

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Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post
This is the key to being a good musician on any instrument..!
Some get it faster than others...


-Matthew
Yes, well...it's a bit more complex than that. Dunning-Kruger can have a big impact. I've been a musician all my life, know when things are in tune and out (and really hate it when they are out). Thought I was doing fine. And, generally, was.

But I listened Ian Spiers at the Cpt.John Comp this year and heard something I had never heard before, though I know and been workshopped by Gandy and Lee and MacCallum and MacLellan etc etc etc. Something that day just came into focus: every damn note during his pibroch had a direct impact on the overtones of his drones. You could almost SEE the wavelengths align - you could certainly HEAR them almost snap into place.

So I get on my pipes and see what I can do. Sure enough, I can hear those wavelengths. Then I can NOT hear them, because something is not in tune. And I'm looking at the manometer and I'm checking my arm and thinking about all the mechanics of blowing.

And suddenly - *bing* - it occurred to me: don't worry about the mechanics. That's not where the air is going. It's going out the chanter. Just focus on the music. Blow through the bag and the chanter and listen.

And I got it. Can I do that as regularly as the greats? Not yet. Nowhere near yet. But now that I know I could, and I know I can, I'm going to start.

It's remarkable how the brain works, how insights come, and when and why they do.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

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Originally Posted by brewingjt100 View Post
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
Wow! A great experience, encouragement to any beginner at any age!
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

So awesome when it finally clicks, and so happy it did for you.!

Ive been reading this book on practice strategies by Stephanie Burns. To paraphrase, in the beginning you're just sorta clunking around trying to teach the brain what it should do. Then the brain starts doing it with coaching from you. Eventually you start shaping your playing not based on mechanics, but by the sound you want to hear.

To quote a great piper (who may or may not post on this forum) : When the pipes are going well they almost seem to play themselves.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:47 AM   #18
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

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Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
Something that day just came into focus: every note had a direct impact on the overtones of his drones.
Yes that's the wonderful thing about the pipes when every note of the chanter is dialed in and the blowing is steady: each note has a unique interaction with the harmonics produced by the drones.

One thing that has become more apparent to me in recent years is how each different set of drones supports/interacts with the various chanter notes at varying degrees.

My old Lawries had a nice evenness; yes B was exceptionally good but there were no gaps in coverage (as one might say).

It seems to me that this evenness is more common in old sets, and that many new sets of drones have certain notes that they just don't do much for. For example I was struck how powerfully a couple of my old sets supported F while a couple new makes of drones left F on its own, whistling in the wind. I came to regard F harmonics as important and I sold the sets that didn't do it.

The same thing seems to happen with D, with some drones supporting it strongly and others doing little for it. I heard and played one modern make that had so many harmonics on D that it sounded like a drone was playing D when the chanter played that note.

I have no idea what the cause of this is, but it's striking to the ear. I'll bet your man there had drones which gave wonderful support/interaction for each chanter note.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:31 AM   #19
brewingjt100
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piping Potential View Post
So awesome when it finally clicks, and so happy it did for you.!

Ive been reading this book on practice strategies by Stephanie Burns. To paraphrase, in the beginning you're just sorta clunking around trying to teach the brain what it should do. Then the brain starts doing it with coaching from you. Eventually you start shaping your playing not based on mechanics, but by the sound you want to hear.

To quote a great piper (who may or may not post on this forum) : When the pipes are going well they almost seem to play themselves.
This sums it up precisely. It was almost like a light going on. I was finally playing the instrument with little thought to breath, bag pressure, note memorization, lip seal, embellishments etc. I was only aware of the singing vibration and the music. It was suddenly easy and they really did seem to play themselves.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: An epiphany: blowing tone

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Originally Posted by moderntraditional View Post
But I listened Ian Spiers at the Cpt.John Comp this year and heard something I had never heard before, though I know and been workshopped by Gandy and Lee and MacCallum and MacLellan etc etc etc. Something that day just came into focus: every damn note during his pibroch had a direct impact on the overtones of his drones. You could almost SEE the wavelengths align - you could certainly HEAR them almost snap into place.

It also helps that Ian Spiers gets an almost unfairly good tone from his pipes.


It's interesting to me to hear how this is also where the 'big-ness' of pipe set up comes into play quite a bit. I always admire the pipers that manage a big sound not because of the volume, but because of the precision necessary to get away with a big sound. When you have a big sound, not only is the in-tune-ness amplified, the out-of-tuneness is also amplified. This isn't to disparage lighter volume set ups, because they have their pros and cons too, but big volume set ups require such precision to come off well that I try to understand those players' processes the best to adapt into my own playing and tonal philosophies.


Good reeds, airtight bag, and good chanter set up are suddenly prerequisites to getting not good sound but great tone from your instrument.
Jack
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