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Competing Pipers Questions, issues, or discussions specifically related to Piping and Pipers competition.

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View Poll Results: What pitch do you tend to have when competing solo?
480 or higher 12 18.18%
476-479 36 54.55%
471-475 12 18.18%
470 or lower 6 9.09%
Voters: 66. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
Pppiper
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Default Competition pitch, solo

Hi all,

I'll be jumping into solo competition for the first time in nearly 20 years.

I know that, with the top-grade bands, pitch seems to be around the 480 mark.

But what about solo competition? In people's experience, is there a threshold for what judges may deem to be an "acceptable" pitch, or "preferred?"

Being that this is "solo" competition, to me, I would think pitch shouldn't really matter (within reason) ... and that having a well-balanced chanter and scale would be the most important consideration. But that's just me.

While appreciative of any input, I am most keen for general points of view; ones which are not tied to a particular grade level. I'd like know what expectations are across the board, and people's varied experiences.

Thanks much to any and all.

Cheers,
~Nate

Last edited by Pppiper; 09-19-2017 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 09-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post

Being that this is "solo" competition, to me, I would think pitch shouldn't really matter (within reason) ... and that having a well-balanced chanter and scale would be the most important consideration.
Coupled with a well set up pipe, with accurate execution and expression.you'll be in the winners circle.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:44 AM   #3
Pppiper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by el gaitero View Post
Coupled with a well set up pipe, with accurate execution and expression.you'll be in the winners circle.
Thanks for your input.

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:51 PM   #4
bob864
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pppiper View Post

Being that this is "solo" competition, to me, I would think pitch shouldn't really matter (within reason) ... and that having a well-balanced chanter and scale would be the most important consideration. But that's just me.
I compete in grade 4 in EUSPBA and I think what you say is probably right.

I have seen lower grade competitors using band chanters, which means they're probably in the 470s or 480s (our band was 486 or something this past weekend). I have seen an open competitor using a chanter with a yellow sole in piobaireachd, which probably means low 470s.

When it's cold I've seen my chanter as low as 466.

As long as it's balanced and in tune I generally don't worry about the numbers. If you have a modern chanter and a modern reed, then you'll have a modern sound.
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob864 View Post
I have seen lower grade competitors using band chanters, which means they're probably in the 470s or 480s (our band was 486 or something this past weekend). I have seen an open competitor using a chanter with a yellow sole in piobaireachd, which probably means low 470s.
Thanks for the input, much appreciated. I'd bought a newer chanter recently, and I love it, but was surprised to find that it seems to always be around 471 to 473. Maybe out in sun on a hot day, it'll get to the high 470's but I haven't had occasion to discover this yet. My rehearsal space (fortunately and unfortunately) has air conditioning on 24/7 that might make penguins a little chilly.

I love the chanter otherwise (especially the feel/spacing of the holes), and frankly, I like the pitch where it is. I'll not worry about it until I have to (jumping into the ring next season).

Cheers,
~Nate
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:19 PM   #6
Green Piper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

I think you'll be fine with a pitch typical of a newer chanter. For example, my McC2 tunes around 472 in my practice room in our basement (chilly in winter), but more like 474-476 in summer.

I think if you pitched much lower than 472, you may get a comment. More likely could be that your piping may stand out because of the difference in pitch between you and other players and that could be really good, or really bad.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:26 PM   #7
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Default Competition pitch, solo

Sorry...... double posted by accident
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Last edited by Green Piper; 09-20-2017 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:00 AM   #8
Pppiper
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I think you'll be fine with a pitch typical of a newer chanter. For example, my McC2 tunes around 472 in my practice room in our basement (chilly in winter), but more like 474-476 in summer.

I think if you pitched much lower than 472, you may get a comment. More likely could be that your piping may stand out because of the difference in pitch between you and other players and that could be really good, or really bad.
This is encouraging, thank you. The set I'm playing is newly acquired (got them in hand in their current set up around March, 2017); primarily for the purpose of starting up competing in 2018. I have too many irons in the fire to have tried competing in 2017, so I'd decided to keep 2017 as a preparation year as various other obligations start to subside.

I'm glad of that decision, but that also means that these pipes have never been played outside of my practice space. With heat blasting during the dry winter, and a/c blasting during the summer, these pipes have yet to see a hot, humid day outdoors.

I'm doing lots of traveling gigs, and this set/chanter stays at home for these. The events are rowdy, and again, much travel involved .. so I have a plastic set of McCallums for these, which serves me quite well.

As such, maybe it's not so crazy that I'm not seeing the pitch get any higher than about 472/473. It always seems to start at 471, and will climb a bit after about 1/2 hour of warming up.

We'll see what happens when I can get them playing outdoors. If they're still persistently pitching on the low side, and I'm getting comments about it, I'll worry about it then. In the meantime, I like my chanter, my reeds, volume, scale balance, tone, comfort, etc.

So I'm not going futz with anything for the time being. Frankly, I'd much rather invest my time in playing the tunes.

Thanks to all, the input from all has been most helpful.

Last edited by Pppiper; 09-21-2017 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 09-21-2017, 06:23 PM   #9
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Default Competition pitch, solo

I switched to my Naill ABW this last year as birls were extra bad with my McC2. Indeed, to me it felt like it's pitch was stratospheric at times compared with the McC2 although my teacher reckoned it was fine and no judge commented negatively. So, it must have been my ears being used to my McC2 with Troy reed.
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Last edited by Green Piper; 09-21-2017 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Because spellcheck hates birls and loves girls
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: Competition pitch, solo

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
I switched to my Naill ABW this last year as birls were extra bad with my McC2. Indeed, to me it felt like it's pitch was stratospheric at times compared with the McC2 although my teacher reckoned it was fine and no judge commented negatively. So, it must have been my ears being used to my McC2 with Troy reed.
Right on, thanks for the input!
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