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Old 01-02-2016, 11:49 AM   #11
Rojellio
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

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Originally Posted by glasscheetah View Post
Seems to be a trend where the pitch crawls higher and higher towards 480 hz among top tier pipe bands in judging competitions. Why is this the case? To me an unusually low 466 hz actually sounds better than a chanter pitched near 480.
Crawling closer to 494 or a perfect B is more like it.

I have my doubts that anyone likes it, including the people playing at the top. Band or Solo. It's just what everyone else is doing.

Apparently the super high pitch, brings "Clarity" and Brightness without all those Harmonics mucking things up.

There is nothing wrong per se, it just sounds better at the top levels, than it does at the bottom. I happen to believe that above 480 Chanters should be available by prescription only.
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:46 AM   #12
John Dally
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

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Originally Posted by Rojellio View Post
I happen to believe that above 480 Chanters should be available by prescription only.
If you play a chanter at 476 the judge will prescribe a higher pitched chanter by proscribing your performance.

The question might be: Why are judges so easily swayed by a rise in pitch?
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:45 AM   #13
el gaitero
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

oscribing your performance.

The question might be: Why are judges so easily swayed by a rise in pitch?[/QUOTE]



Because judges are Pipers too ... and following/not disagreeing with the same agreeable trend.

I think only if/when many top flight judges start making consistent context negative comments about pitch ..and certain top bands make the winners circle less... pitch might start to lower. But it won't happen overnight or one season.

Meanwhile ...who knows where's the limit?

What I do find interesting despite the higher pitch is how so many vintage pipe tenors ( e.g. seen in the World's circle) are still set above the hempline and ( only) the bass has lowered
significantly below two fingers.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:45 AM   #14
bob864
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

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Originally Posted by glasscheetah View Post
Seems to be a trend where the pitch crawls higher and higher towards 480 hz among top tier pipe bands in judging competitions.
But among soloists there is no similar trend.

I believe it's about the drones. For a given bore, a higher pitch will give a clearer tone (i.e., less harmonics). It makes sense that a band would prefer a clear tone in the drones, especially if they were playing harmonics.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:57 AM   #15
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

When I was a kid, pitches were somewhere in the mid 470s. We thought that 480 was pretty frighteningly sharp and that there would be a "natural" limit somewhere. It hasn't really worked out that way. I wouldn't guess where it will stabilize, or even if it will.

Competitions are about trying to win the contest, and as long as there's a perceived psychoacoustic advantage to playing at a higher pitch, soloists and bands will continue to chase it.

For playing with other instruments, this is obviously insane, so players in mixed ensembles will continue to set up the highland pipe at B-flat or A.

Personally, I like what 466 sounds like on the GHB chanter, but I only play highland pipes in a competition band, so I'm set up at 480ish, just like everyone else...
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Old 01-04-2016, 11:42 AM   #16
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

[/Quote].. and ( only) the bass has lowered
significantly below two fingers.[/QUOTE]

Maybe the lack of short bass reeds on the market? Tenor response to manipulation may be because of length vs pitch ratio. I wish there were more readily available short synth bass reeds besides Ezee.

Judges will tell me that "other judges may have a problem with your lower pitch" (I rarely make the lists but keep pluggin), but only two judges positively responded to my old Hardie chanter in pibroch competitions. My fingering sucked, but they sure liked the tone! So I'm stickin' with it and damn the torpedoes. My band days are over so I have nobody to please but moi.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

.. and ( only) the bass has lowered
significantly below two fingers.[/QUOTE]

Maybe the lack of short bass reeds on the market? Tenor response to manipulation may be because of length vs pitch ratio. I wish there were more readily available short synth bass reeds besides Ezee.
[/QUOTE]

Its not so much a shortage of Short Reeds on the market, Just a shortage of do it yourselfers chucking up their reed in a lathe and making it 1/2" shorter. Any reed can be a short one...
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:38 PM   #18
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

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Originally Posted by Rojellio View Post
Its not so much a shortage of Short Reeds on the market, Just a shortage of do it yourselfers chucking up their reed in a lathe and making it 1/2" shorter. Any reed can be a short one...
Than start selling them! 1/2 inch on the reed doesn't do me much good on the bass pin, besides, I sold my lathe when I quit making drumsticks. I think there is a market for a ready-made short synth reed, guess nobody else plays old drones at new pitch(?).
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:08 PM   #19
el gaitero
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

[QUOTE=Rooklidge;1294415.


I think there is a market for a ready-made short synth reed, guess nobody else plays old drones at new pitch(?).

[/QUOTE]

Selbie and Canning will make higher pitched ( not necessarily short) bass reeds and i' d bet the others could/would if asked. But there does not seem to be a large mass market IMHO....because all those old pipes still aren't using them and the users are apparently happy to tune the bass down at 1.5 fingers or lower with acceptable results.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:13 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why do high level pipers prefer higher pitched chanters?

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Originally Posted by John Dally View Post
If you play a chanter at 476 the judge will prescribe a higher pitched chanter by proscribing your performance.

The question might be: Why are judges so easily swayed by a rise in pitch?
Hmmn. When I was buying a McC2 chanter, Willie McCallum said to me that he plays at not higher than 478, because the sound of the drones loses quality at higher pitches. That comment referred to solo playing, not band playing. He did not comment on that.

I suggest that judges are not marking the top soloists down for playing in the mid seventies.

I spent a week at the National Piping College a few years ago, and the tutors there, all top solo and band players, had no issues with the very high pitch that the bands are playing at. In a band it sounds good. Very clean drone sound.

I am saying that the higher level pipers are playing at different pitches depending on whether they are competing solo or in a band.

No doubt one of those men will now post a rebuttal, but that is the chance you take.
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