Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-21-2018, 12:20 AM   #1
moonlitnarwhal
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 1
Default Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

Hello!

I'm saving-up to buy a set of Walsh smallpipes and begin the learning journey to play these incredible pipes and I had a few questions for anyone further along this path -

1. Are there good books or on-line resources for beginner smallpipers (with material specific to the SSP) or do raw beginners typically look to GHB books and tutorials and somehow adapt this to the SSP? I live in Hawaii, which feels about as far removed as possible from any Celtic music communities and will not typically have access to lessons, sessions, or in-person support. I know on-line and Skype lessons are possible, but my finances won't allow that and I would prefer to begin with a good book (or website) if one is out there...

2. I do play the tin whistle have some experience with traditional Irish music, and I have had some success with using ABC notation and MIDI sound files to begin learning tunes - is there a database or other on-line collection of ABC tunes for the SSPs?

3. I know this is a very ignorant question, but can any GHB tunes be played on the SSPs (assuming both sets of pipes are in the same key)? Are there differences in fingering and musical scale between the GHB and SSP in the same key (besides spacing on the chanter)? And is a typical GHB practice chanter suitable for practicing SSP tunes?

4. Besides books, do you have any other recommendations for approaching the smallpipes and learning some initial tunes, particularly for a raw beginner like myself? I have a pretty decent feel for some Irish jigs and reels on the whistle, but I anticipate translation to pipes being pretty challenging...

Thank you all for your time in reading this and offering whatever advice you can! I am certain that I will embark on this learning journey but I'd like to be as prepared as possible because I know it won't be easy!

Rich
moonlitnarwhal is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 10-21-2018, 05:11 AM   #2
CalumII
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: London Town
Posts: 5,011
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

There is the LBPS More Power To Your Elbow book, which is definitely worth a look.


When I've been asked to teach smallpipe specifically, I have generally taught most of the standard GHB technique, but talking a lot more about style and appropriate usage than I would normally at an early level.


On tunes - one handy listing is on the profile of a user called bogman on the session.org website.


Any GHB tune can be played on smallpipe, in the same way that you can play the same tune on different keys of whistle. The resulting pitch will be different, but no other difference in mechanical terms.


The main thing to watch out for is that the loudest notes on the smallpipe are at the top, whereas the GHB has them at the bottom. This can sometimes affect how you want to approach the musical presentation of the tunes and the technique you use. This also depends on the instrument as well.


My only other piece of advice is whatever technique you learn, learn it carefully and thoughtfully. It's very tempting to push tempo and tunes onto bagpipe technique that isn't yet ready. If you're not 100% confident of what your fingers are doing and why, it's time to stop and evaluate.
CalumII is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 06:07 AM   #3
Adam Sanderson
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Posts: 7,819
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

I agree 100% with Calum.

I'd also add that there are guys in the Glasgow Smallpipers group that have gone directly from tin whistle to smallpipes, without ever having touched a practice chanter, that seem to do just fine.
__________________
Scottish Pipers' Association FB page Please click and "like". Thanks
Callander Pipe Band FB page Please click and "like". Thanks
Scottish Pipers' Association website
Adam Sanderson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2018, 01:11 PM   #4
wheels2onfire
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Arizona
Posts: 26
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

I found Vicki Swan's "Tutor for the Scottish Smallpipes" very useful. But also used some of the standard GHB training material.

http://tutor.swan-dyer.co.uk/
wheels2onfire is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2018, 01:42 PM   #5
calecm
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Cupertino, California
Posts: 29
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

GHB sheet music can certainly be played, but if you're brand new to it all, it can be a bit of a challenge learning to ignore all the GHB gracings. And you do want to do that.
calecm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2018, 08:51 PM   #6
pancelticpiper
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV to the OC
Posts: 9,769
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
Any GHB tune can be played on smallpipe...
The exception being some of the modern repertoire as played by Fred Morrison, some Gordon Duncan compositions etc which require crossfingered accidentals such as C natural, F natural, High G sharp, etc. These crossfingerings don't work on practice chanters or smallpipe chanters. To play such repertoire smallpipe chanters are fitted with extra holes (like the lower-thumb hole for C natural) and/or keywork.
__________________
proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte
pancelticpiper is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2018, 08:55 PM   #7
pancelticpiper
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV to the OC
Posts: 9,769
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Sanderson View Post
gone directly from tin whistle to smallpipes
That's the old way in Irish traditional music: if a lad or lass shows musical interest a whistle is put in their hands at an early age. If they show promise and dedication they will "graduate" to a standard ITM instrument such as uilleann pipes, flute, box, or fiddle.

It's why, at least in the old days, pretty much any ITM player could knock out a tune on a whistle.
__________________
proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte
pancelticpiper is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-25-2018, 04:33 AM   #8
Peter.Bailey.Bagpiper
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 48
Default Re: Advice for a Beginner Smallpiper?

I started on GHBs and added smallpipes to my arsenal after about 3 years.

SSPs have the same hole configuration as a GHB chanter, so all GHB music will work. So it's not so much that they're "the same key" but that they effectively have the same chanters so your fingers don't have to do anything different. This would be in sharp contrast to something like a Northumbrian chanter or even an uilleann chanter.

So, a GHB and an SSP could play together if they both had, say, Bb chanters (and the SSP was mic'd )

That being said, most smallpipes come with chanters in A or D, and modern GHB chanters aren't in a concert pitch at all. Also, while you absolutely can play GHB tunes on SSPs, music written for the two instruments have some idiomatic differences. Traditional smallpipe arrangements tend to have fewer gracenotes, and it has been my observation that it's more customary to always play light D-throws on a smallpipe.

If I'm reading your post correctly, you don't currently play a bagpipe of any sort. If I have that right, then your biggest challenge will be just getting used to the mechanics of a bag - especially if you're also going to have a bellows. It takes quite some time to get used to maintaining a steady pressure so that the pitch doesn't wander while you're playing, and so the drones stay in tune with the chanter. Although, starting off, you will want to keep the drones corked until you can play slow air pretty decently on the chanter alone. Then add the drones and work that until you can play the whole tune with good pitch accuracy. Only then should you consider moving onto tunes that will challenge the fingers more, such as jigs.

Best of luck!
__________________
PeterPiper.info | Pipe Sergeant, MUPB
McCallum AB4 GHBs | Nate Banton 4-drone smallpipes with high-B key | MacLellan cocobolo PC
Peter.Bailey.Bagpiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:35 AM.