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Old 10-16-2018, 12:28 PM   #1
mmatisoff
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Default Drones - how to restart them?

I've been watching many videos and reading many articles on setting up, tuning, and playing bagpipes. One of the articles stated that touching the top of the drone will stop it from playing. Just curious, once you stop it, how do you start it again?


For now, I'm teaching myself to play the chanter using John Cairn's tutor books. I play the clarinet so most of tutor #1 and the beginning of tutor #2 was review.


I plan to play the practice chanter for the next few months until such time that I can buy my smallpipes.


Thanks for all suggestions and answers. Marty
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:07 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: drones

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post
I've been watching many videos and reading many articles on setting up, tuning, and playing bagpipes. One of the articles stated that touching the top of the drone will stop it from playing. Just curious, once you stop it, how do you start it again?


For now, I'm teaching myself to play the chanter using John Cairn's tutor books. I play the clarinet so most of tutor #1 and the beginning of tutor #2 was review.


I plan to play the practice chanter for the next few months until such time that I can buy my smallpipes.


Thanks for all suggestions and answers. Marty
Make it worth your time by investing in an instructor...grade 2 or higher.
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:40 PM   #3
3D Piper
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Default Re: drones

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Make it worth your time by investing in an instructor...grade 2 or higher.
While I agree completely with this statement, I will also say John Cairn's tutors work great even without an instructor. There is not a more structured tutor out that I know of, one of the few that actually starts with music theory. If you follow the instructions and listen to the examples, you will be a very competent piper.

To answer the question: You can either quickly lower your bagpipe pressure and re-start all the reeds together, or if you insert a finger into the bushing of the stopped drone, you can pull it out (like you are making a 'pop' sound) and the pressure will re-start the drone reed.. See here:

https://youtu.be/21n6kCB5QII

-Matthew

Last edited by 3D Piper; 10-16-2018 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Added Youtube link
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Old 10-16-2018, 01:40 PM   #4
CelticHiker
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Default Re: drones

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post
I've been watching many videos and reading many articles on setting up, tuning, and playing bagpipes. One of the articles stated that touching the top of the drone will stop it from playing. Just curious, once you stop it, how do you start it again?
Easiest way is to do a cutoff and then re-strike in bringing them all back on. Some times you can flick or pop them back on (simple enough to do, but rather hard to describe via typing, but its basically wedging the tip of the finger in the hole on the top of the drone and then popping it back out), but it doesn't always work and you can also pop off parts of the top of the drone depending on how it was made and how good the glue is still holding. You might also see people just drop the pressure in the bag enough to get the shutoff drone to come back on, but that can ending up making some unpleasant noises.

And I'm sure you will get sick of hearing it, but seriously consider seeking out a qualified instructor. If there isn't one that you can go to in person, look for one that does Skype or other on-line lessons. If your goal isn't to play the big pipes, but just the small, there are plenty of instructors for that as well, and the need for a good instructor is just as great as with any other musical instrument. There are many reasons for this advice, but if nothing else, your progress will be much faster with an experienced person guiding your journey, and the chances of developing a bad habit or learning something incorrectly that you later have to go back and unlearn will be very slim.

Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:05 PM   #5
mmatisoff
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Default Re: drones

Thanks everyone. I am planning to take lessons as soon as I get the smallpipes. Right now, I'm learning the practice chanter using Cairns' tutors.


M
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:35 PM   #6
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: drones

For what it’s worth, and while the fingering CAN be the same, a highland pipe tutor will teach you things that don’t sound well on smallpipes. Specifically, most embellishments based on low G (taorluaths, grips, throws) lack the crack on a smallpipe that they have on the highland pipes. This is because of an inverted volume relationship as you go up the scale. The highland pipe gets quieter as you go up the scale while the smallpipe gets louder. The highland pipe’s loudest note, low G, is what makes those embellishments work well. However, on a smallpipe they can sound muddy and even detract from the musical presentation. This also affects the kind and number of gracenotes, mainly a decrease in the now rather grating high G gracenote, being the second loudest note on a smallpipe chanter.

I would venture to say that if you never intend to pick up a set of highland pipes, that you would do well to find yourself a smallpipe instructor who does not simply have you play highland style on a non-highland bagpipe.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:20 PM   #7
Capt. Grimek
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Default Re: drones

Patrick, (an others) is there a tutor book that shows small pipes technique in a similar manner to the Green Book or Cairns but specific to the small pipes?

I'm a beginner PC player only for now and attend a local session as an observer (PC silently, in the corner). Are there any books available to your knowledge that have appropriate examples, drills that either demonstrate appropriate embellishments or a detailed method of editing HBP embellishments to be more appropriate for small pipes.

I saw at the session that embellishments are not indicated at all in their tune book so would like to practice in a way that is appropriate. Folks there have been helpful with one short question per session, but I'd like to study this on my own until I decide whether to proceed to a teacher next year...still deciding between reel pipes or small pipes by then if I'm still "turned on" by "this".
Thanks. Hope that was clear enough.
Cheers, C.G.
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Old 10-16-2018, 08:11 PM   #8
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: drones

There are no written tutors that I know of. Most de-gracing is by personal preference.

First thing I do is take out as many throws as possible. Their use can be ridiculous even in the context of highland piping. For example, Jenny Dang the Weaver is often written with a throw at the beginning of 6 out of 8 bars in the second part, as if there was no other way to get to the note D other than to play a throw. A common replacement is just a G grace note on C with a quick transition to D afterwards. A slur, a run through other notes, anything but yet another throw.

My arrangement can be heard here, starting at 2:55:
https://www.patrickmclaurin.com/word...the_weaver.mp3

The throw heavy arrangement can be heard here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4Tap1ckhb4

Taorlauths can often be replaced with just two grace notes or strikes played in the same rhythm, just without going to low G.

Lastly, I would say, is never play a tune the same way twice if you can help it. Variation is the spice of life. Which requires you to play a tune more than once through.
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Old 10-17-2018, 02:41 AM   #9
Adam Sanderson
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Default Re: drones

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post


I plan to play the practice chanter for the next few months until such time that I can buy my smallpipes.

Shutting the drones on and off by touching the top only applies to the Great Highland Bagpipe. It just doesn't happen with smallpipes at all. Some smallpipes come with plugs to shut off drones, some have levers, some have slides. Some people use Bluetac or an equivalent.

If you only intend to play smallpipes, and you insist on not having a tutor, get a copy of the the Lowland and Border Piper's Society book, "More Power To Your Elbow". It goes into the music, technique and maintenance of smallpipes in great depth. A smallpipe tutor will help you play smallpipes, a Great Highland Bagpipe tutor will help you play the Great Highland Bagpipe.

Membership of the Lowland and Border Piper's Society will also give you access to the member's area of the LBPS website, where there is a copious amount of information on setting up smallpipes, as well as videos, etc, that will answer your questions.

If you are not located in an area where there are physical tutors, Skype can be a great help.

Can I also suggest that you please post in the Smallpipes section of this forum from now on? This will prevent people from giving you answers regarding the GBH, which is what has been happening so far as this is the beginner's area for the Great Highland Bagpipe, not the smallpipes.

The mods here have already had to prune unhelpful replies to your posts.

Thank you.
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Last edited by Adam Sanderson; 10-17-2018 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 10-17-2018, 12:10 PM   #10
Capt. Grimek
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Default Re: drones

Adam and Patrick,
Thanks for the very detailed information. Sorry for the transgression.

Patrick your response was extremely helpful and I truly appreciate it.

Adam, I'll occasionally post a question to a HBP forum as I do intend to continue practicing those techniques for now, but will be more discerning as to which forum I post to.

I greatly appreciate the moderators of any forum(s) and don't wish to make things more work for them.


I'll order "More Power to Your Elbow" in the meanwhile. Have been reading some archived articles on the BP Society's site.

Thanks again,
C.G.
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