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Side / Snare Pipe Bands or Solo - if it relates to Drumming...

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Old 07-07-2004, 05:25 AM   #1
winifred
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Default tenor drum tuning?

our grade 4 pipe band has recently started using 3 tenor drummers along with the bass drum. we are still questioning exactly what pitches we should be using. at this time we are working with an 18-inch, a 16-inch and a 15-inch drum. can someone please help?
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Old 07-07-2004, 05:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Well, I'm not as much as a drumming expert as some on this forum, and don't take my words as gold, but I can tell you what I do in my corps.

Bass is tuned to low Bb. 15" is tuned to high Bb. 16" is tuned to F. 18 is tuned to D.

This gives a nice major chord, so when all are played together, it sounds nice. There are gazillions of other ways to do it, but that's what works for me.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Another way, since tuning depends on drums, skins, dampening, weather, and lots more, is to tune each drum to a point where it has a nice tone, and then move it to whichever note of the cord (Bb-D-F-Bb) is closest and maintains the tone.

This is one you have to play with over a while, and be fairly experenced in tuning drums.
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Old 07-10-2004, 06:01 PM   #4
crunluathman
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Given the above tuning advise, what do you do when your band plays a tune in a "minor" key where the fundamental pitch of the tune centers on the pipe chanter B/concert pitch C (i.e. Duncan Johnstone's "Farewell to Nigg")???
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Old 07-15-2004, 09:55 AM   #5
David Cameron
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

I used to tune the tenors to notes in the scale, but I don't anymore. I still tune the bass to the drone B flat, then I tune the tenors much like I would the toms on my drum set. No specific note, just an interval that sounds pleasing. I haven't had any negative tuning comments since switching.

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Old 07-16-2004, 09:03 AM   #6
Alba2usa
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Hello Winifred, I use my 'lugs'

Cheers Hamish
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

"Given the above tuning advise, what do you do when your band plays a tune in a "minor" key where the fundamental pitch of the tune centers on the pipe chanter B/concert pitch C (i.e. Duncan Johnstone's "Farewell to Nigg")???"

I for one am happy that someone even noticed that this may create a problem! I don't have a really great solution, however. I guess I would keep the F and D drum flourishing in minor sections, or they would create a dissonant sound. The bass drum and the Bb drum would be fine. (if you are using the afforementioned tuning system)
Or..you could do what Ty and the Shotts crew are trying...play 5 drummers! Tune three to major and the remaining 2 to minor (and again, share the Bb)...but this could be increasingly difficult for the tenor sections that don't include Tyler

In short...I have no idea how to fix the problem, I suppose I would just be happy that most pipe tunes are major, or have major sections in them!

Happy tenoring!

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Jaymi Daniels
VACSTC Bass/Tenor Instructor 2004
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Having never had enough tenor drummers in my corps to produce any kind of chord, I can't say I've had experience with this; however, I've found that, in theory (I've done this on my piano while trying to imagine how it would sound if there were tenors playing, instead), a diminished chord would produce a nice progression. (That's B flat (on the bass), C sharp, E natural, and G natural). But what do I know?
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Old 08-04-2004, 07:10 AM   #9
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Default Re: tenor drum tuning?

Ok, so I forgot something. This unusual chord progression is such that it fits both major and minor tunes, as well as those that kind of switch (eg Scotland the Brave) midway, depending on who you have lay out at any given time.
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