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

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View Poll Results: What additional notes are highest on your wish list. Please pick your top 3.
High C# 6 30.00%
High B 17 85.00%
High A#/Bb 0 0%
High G# 3 15.00%
F-nat 3 15.00%
D#/Eb 2 10.00%
C-nat 4 20.00%
A#/Bb 2 10.00%
Low G# 4 20.00%
Low F# 7 35.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-31-2019, 10:49 AM   #1
Kevin
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Default Additional note wish list.

Hi,

Some of the discussion of the Stark BB pipes over in the beer tent got me thinking; what additional notes outside the regular 9 would you find most useful? I play SSP and have become a regular user of C-nat. High B is next on my person wish list. Which additional notes would you like and why?

I'll try to add a poll here to keep track of your answers. Poll options are limited to 10 so I stuck with notes from the D-maj scale outside the ordinary range of Scottish pipes. Missing notes to make the chanter chromatic are included within the ordinary range.

Best regards,
Kevin

Last edited by Kevin; 03-31-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 03-31-2019, 11:08 AM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

In my personal experience, an easy-access C natural and a high-B would get pretty regular use...
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:50 PM   #3
Kevin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

Interesting results so far; I would have guessed that C-natural would have been more popular but high B currently has a solid lead. Please pick your top three additional notes when you complete the poll.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Old 03-31-2019, 06:07 PM   #4
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

FWIW, it is possible to play high B and high G# on a highland pipe chanter, given the right reed&chanter combination. I play a number of tunes with High B, High G# or both. The High B is achieved through "pinching"- slightly opening the Thumb hole while fingering a low B and applying slightly more pressure. This works on both of my usual chanters a '79 G&M and a '70s RG Hardie, as well as on my Swayne Lowland chanter in A.



A High C# is possible, but not consistently with my set-up, so I don't attempt it in public.



I also can't always get is a solid F natural every time I want it
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:33 AM   #5
Kevin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

Hi,

Just bumping this on a weekday. I was hoping for more response to the poll.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

I haven't responded even now as I'm conflicted.

I'd like to lament that C, F, and G# aren't already common on the highland pipes; perhaps we can blame the incapable, but ubiquitous, practice chanter.

Perhaps this is why high B is leading the poll, it can't be crossfingered, save for Bob's undoubtedly well practiced pinching method.

*IF* you stick to the first note outside the standard 9, it has to be C natural simply because it gives you the ability to play in a completely different mode, A dorian, which would give great ability to play with mood when constructing sets.

High G# is often already replaced with our standard high G, but I would say it would come second, just for those tunes that really brighten up and sound better with the G#.

Or perhaps high B is next. Often it's just a passing note (like G# often is), but not always an easy one to substitute for.

I guess that's why I bought a Swayne border chanter which goes all the way up to high D and readily crossfingers the accidentals within the scale.

And then I bought an uilleann practice set because that still wasn't enough.
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:51 AM   #7
Kevin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

This is something I go round and round on but I agree, C-nat seems like it should already be standard. After C-nat, F-nat would allow tunes in C-maj and (more importantly) A-min, the latter of which sounds good against A-drones.

Outside the regular scale, high B seems like a no-brainer because we have all scratched our heads about what note to dummy in instead and none of them seem to completely have the desired effect. Low F# seems like it should be next.

The G#s are also very interesting. My current SSP chanter can play either G-nat or G# depending on what holes I tape over. It is great to be able to play a proper A-maj scale but g# grace notes just dont sound right in most tunes.... Also, transposing to G-maj is usually an easy option.

Maybe the only answer is to have them all but it seems to me that only 2 or 3 extra notes could significantly increase the number of tunes we can play.

Kevin
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:15 PM   #8
will103
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McLaurin View Post

And then I bought an uilleann practice set because that still wasn't enough.
I had the same "need" for more notes - so I bought a Lindsay system chanter for my smallpipes - extended range from low D to high D. Fantastic
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:46 PM   #9
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by will103 View Post
I had the same "need" for more notes - so I bought a Lindsay system chanter for my smallpipes - extended range from low D to high D. Fantastic
I was an original backer on “Dreaming Pipes” and as such received v. 1 and v. 2 of the LSC, but the Pipe Dreams reeds that came with them either split upon arrival or were distorted heavily so I never got off the ground. I recently started to resurrect it with an Iain Allen reed (didn’t get far enough to know if it will work or not, though his ssp reeds are excellent), but as you can tell I’ve become distracted by what I imagine is actually an easier 2 octave system of notes/fingering to learn.
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Old 04-02-2019, 03:57 PM   #10
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Additional note wish list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
Low F# seems like it should be next.

but g# grace notes just dont sound right in most tunes.... Also, transposing to G-maj is usually an easy option.
My ssp can already acheive low F# with judicious taping of the tone holes. I actually posit that those ssp makers of amenable design should base the length of their chanter past the tone holes on what it would take to get low F# if the tone holes were entirely taped. Or perhaps provide an extended length with multiple sets of tone holes to give you what you want by taping over higher tone holes.

The fact that the equivalent G grace note in uilleann piping is little used (C# instead of C, akin to G# instead of G) is consistent with your and my assessment that the “sharpened 7th” is rather grating. Certainly something to consider.

I’ve wondered, at least for ssp, why the top hand could not be configured like the bottom hand: pinkie=E, ring =F#, middle=High G, pointer=High A, thumb=high G#. Birls on E, throw to high A. Learn to be bidextrous. Of course your hobby ssp, serious highland piper would hate this idea, but for a dedicated smallpiper it could be viable.

Last edited by Patrick McLaurin; 04-02-2019 at 03:59 PM.
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