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

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Old 11-12-2014, 10:41 PM   #1
Bish
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Default Practice chanter pitch

Had an epiphany last night teaching. Two of my youngsters were on the pipes, both playing old Hardie Bb chanters - the ones with the yellow soles - and were losing the tune. I picked up a practice chanter and played along with them so they could see my fingers, and lo and behold, the PC was in tune with the pipe chanters!

I suspect that this was deliberate at the time of making, and it makes a whole lot of sense. Today the PC is not pitched to the actual pitch of the pipes.
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Old 11-13-2014, 02:03 AM   #2
caveal
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

Low A on my practice chanter tunes around 428
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Old 11-13-2014, 02:08 AM   #3
Bish
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

That fits in with the pre-1952 tuning pitch for low A.
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Old 11-13-2014, 02:49 AM   #4
John McCain
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

I can play a Walsh PC in tune with highland pipe recordings. I do this nearly every day with instructional recordings by Jack Lee and Roddy MacLeod.

I have to blow the C# and B up to pitch, but flat bottom hands are typical on PCs.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

Yes the old traditional practice chanters, for example the 1950s Hardie I have, played around 466, as did the pipes of that period.

It was obviously intentional.

Ironically, practice chanters in recent years have been going lower in pitch while the pipe chanters have been going higher.

We all know about the pitch climb that started around 1980 or so, that saw pipe chanters go from 466 to 480-485 or wherever they're at nowadays.

But then Alexander introduced a 'fullsize' or 'long' practice chanter which due to a longer scale length played at a lower pitch.

These have caught on and now have become standard, more or less. I think everyone in our band plays one, usually by McCallum or Naill. They usually pitch around halfway between Concert B Flat and Concert A (around 450-455).
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 11-13-2014 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 11-13-2014, 05:44 PM   #6
el gaitero
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by caveal View Post
Low A on my practice chanter tunes around 428
I have 2 abw Hardie pc's ca. 1965/70 ; fitted with Walsh reeds they each key at Bb (449cps Korg CA40) and pitch at 475. Ditto my early 1900's D.Glenn pc.
I likewise play along on pc while students on pipes ...they (the pc's) all blend nicely with McC Mk2 poly chanters.
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Old 11-13-2014, 06:53 PM   #7
McThistle
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

I dug out six of my PCs and checked their low A
against a real frequency counter and got these results:

Alexander Long... 203 Hz
David Glenn........ 235
R G Lawrie.......... 220
R G Lawrie.......... 222
McThistle Maple....223
McThistle Cherry..218 Hz

These pitches are a little lower than the normal
tenors and could blend with the full pipes

High A would be twice the above frequencies

Tuning meters that are reporting pitches in the 400s
are probably measuring the High A or giving the wrong octave.
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:47 AM   #8
Rojellio
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

My Gibson PC's all play at bang on Bb 3rd Octave. (One Octave lower than Pipe Chanter.)

If your using a Tuning meter, with A Reference at 440, most PC's will be thereabouts at Bb. OR with the Tuning Meter outsmarted to say its an A, A reference at 466 or so.

I use an Audio tuning reference for PC, and tape accordingly, kinda the same as tuning a Pipe Chanter to the Drones. My body beat sync Metronome has an audio tuner, and many Tuners have an audio feature.
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Old 11-14-2014, 06:58 AM   #9
NickTaitz
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Default Re: Practice chanter pitch

Quote:
Originally Posted by John McCain View Post
I can play a Walsh PC in tune with highland pipe recordings. I do this nearly every day with instructional recordings by Jack Lee and Roddy MacLeod.

I have to blow the C# and B up to pitch, but flat bottom hands are typical on PCs.
flat bottom hand is particularly typical of the long pc. the standard pc does not have such a flattish bottom hand problem.
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