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Old 06-09-2019, 03:32 PM   #1
murray c
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Default Tunes for a new smallpiper

Hello. I'm new to piping and eagerly awaiting a set of Walsh pipes in A in the mail.



I know it may be a while before I get to where I can actually play a tune, but I'd like some suggestions for slow airs I could begin with...I'm more familiar with Irish Trad... now for this instrument I need to start listening and learning to the Scottish tunes.


I'm not really interested in progressing to highland pipes, and I'm not really drawn to the more formal, marching style..(please no offense if I've misinterpreted this or if GHP is your focus..) I'd like to play in the looser, folkier way I've heard some smallpipers play.



Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions for slow tunes, or for pipers I should listen to, please let me know...I can get to work learning the tunes on fiddle and whistle while i'm figuring out how to make the pipes work.


ps. I just found Brighde Chaimbeul on youtube and have been enjoying her stuff
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:10 PM   #2
Lochie
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

A very nice pipe you've ordered, I've owned 3, still own one, and it's one of my favourites.
Paddy's Green Shamrock Shores comes to mind, as does the Mingulay Boat Song. There are many that fit and express very well on small pipes ...Song for Mary is a gem, if you can't locate it, let me know, I can steer you in the right direction...
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:06 PM   #3
Kevin
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Hi Murray,

There are so many tunes its hard to recommend just a few. The links below might be helpful but they are not all slow tunes. Some that you may already be familiar with might need to be transposed to an SSP friendly key (D, Amix, Bmin etc.)

Skye Boat Song
Mingulay Boat Song
My Laggan Love
Suo Gan
The Mist Covered Mountains
The Rose of Kelvingrove
.... are a few you might get started on.

https://lbps.net/j3site/index.php/repertoire/tune-index
http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/.../t-133786.html

Although you aren't currently interested in progressing to the GHB, I would recommend taking at least a few lessons on GHB technique (on a practice chanter) if you haven't yet. It is much easier to know some GHB technique and choose not to use it, or to use it in moderation than to not know any when you need it to emphasize a note or beat in a tune.

Welcome to smallpipes; it's addictive
Kevin
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:36 AM   #4
bob864
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

If you're sure you'll never play GHB, then you'll find you have a lot more flexibility in fingering. You can play the chanter completely closed, completely open, or with GHB (i.e. partly closed) fingering. Maybe not every combination on every chanter for every tune, but there are a lot more fingerings that can work on SSP than on GHB.

For tunes: Amazing Grace, Twinkle Twinkle, and Ode to Joy are all easy to sound out. Not that you necessarily want to perform them any of those, but you can use them to get your fingers working.

Hector the Hero is a good tune.

Maybe The Dark Isle.

It might be worth taking some GHB lessons because even with the loose folksy style, many people who play SSP come from a GHB background and incorporate some of the embellishments in their SSP playing. When I play SSP, even when I'm learning tunes by ear from someone playing fiddle or harp I'll automatically put in doublings, birls, and GDEs. Although I should work on learning F gracenotes for SSP.
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Last edited by bob864; 06-10-2019 at 02:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:44 AM   #5
murray c
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Thanks for all the great suggestions, and links to those resources. It's helpful to have some starting points, I know some irish session stuff but the scottish isn't as common here. It seems like there are some confused and muddy waters around the different piping traditions, I'm hoping to have fun without trampling on tradition.


I think I'm a long way from a teacher, but I'll definitely try to self-study some of the GHB ornaments. I was reading that the dynamics of the smallpipe and ghb chanters are opposite, with the relative strengths of the higher and lower notes reversed...they said this changed the effect and usage of the ornaments. I don't know enough yet to really understand that but it may become obvious.



I had been debating with myself about fingering as well...crossing over from whistle it seemed like a more open fingering might be more intuitive..or maybe too similar and confusing..i suspect it would affect how I managed ornamentation


..always enjoyed hector the hero on fiddle or the low d whistle, so if that will squeeze onto the pipes that would be great. I have the gow collection for fiddle but it seems like much of that wouldn't fit. And I wonder if the march of the king of laois would work?



'song for mary' is intriguing now, but it's a challenging set of search terms, i'll try looking some more..



thanks again, everyone..
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:04 PM   #6
salmunmousavi
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Default Re: Tunes for a new smallpiper

One of my favorite tunes I play on my smallpipes is In Memory of Herbie MacLeod. There are a few switches from the bottom to the top hand so itís a nice sounding tune and will be good for warming up especially.


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Old 06-10-2019, 03:27 PM   #7
McCracken140
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Quote:
Originally Posted by murray c View Post
. And I wonder if the march of the king of laois would work?
Iíve heard it done by the Brian Boru Pipe Band. They play it in a set with Brian Boruís march, you could find it on YouTube.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:23 PM   #8
salmunmousavi
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Quote:
Originally Posted by McCracken140 View Post
Iíve heard it done by the Brian Boru Pipe Band. They play it in a set with Brian Boruís march, you could find it on YouTube.


Thatís one heck of a recording actually. They play really well!


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Old 06-10-2019, 05:24 PM   #9
McCracken140
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmunmousavi View Post
Thatís one heck of a recording actually. They play really well!


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Theyíre a pretty damn good sounding band


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Old 06-10-2019, 07:07 PM   #10
bob864
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Default Re: tunes for a new smallpiper

Quote:
Originally Posted by murray c View Post


I think I'm a long way from a teacher, but I'll definitely try to self-study some of the GHB ornaments. I was reading that the dynamics of the smallpipe and ghb chanters are opposite, with the relative strengths of the higher and lower notes reversed...they said this changed the effect and usage of the ornaments.
It's definitely true that with the GHB the lower notes are louder, while on the SSP, the lower notes are softer.

Many people argue that because of that it sounds better if you avoid some of the "heavy" GHB ornaments. People who play that way (and substituting the F gracenote for the g) play some wonderful tunes. But there are also some great pipers who seem to play tunes exactly the same on both instruments and they sound great too.

I'm thinking that maybe how you finger GHB is just more particular than how you finger SSP, and with the latter instrument the rhythm and the flow are most important.

The best advice is probably to keep your mind open and try to meet other musicians who you like playing with. If you don't play whistle already, get one. You can learn that too and it opens up a lot of possibilities.
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