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Other instruments using bagpipe fingering?

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  • Other instruments using bagpipe fingering?

    I received an email today:
    "I am wondering if there is another instrument that uses the same fingering as the bagpipe. I am a piper and am currently a singer in a classic rock and a blues blues band and am looking for an instrument I can play with those bands without having to learn new fingering.
    Do you know of any?"


    I have a vague recollection that low whistle is similar fingering, but it's been probably 20 years since I've played one. Anyone else have more insight?

    Thanks,
    Andrew
    Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
    BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

  • #2
    The only ones I can think of are the Eflsong pipers whistle and the Highland Hornpipe (I think the "Sessioneer" version was tuned to A=440Hz). I don't think it is made anymore but used ones may be available. As most people figure out fairly quickly, pipe fingering on a whistle is a bit limiting and it's not hard to learn regular whistle fingering. Some of the electronic pipe options out there might also work in this situation.

    I hope this helps,
    Kevin

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kevin View Post
      The only ones I can think of are the Eflsong pipers whistle and the Highland Hornpipe (I think the "Sessioneer" version was tuned to A=440Hz). I don't think it is made anymore but used ones may be available. As most people figure out fairly quickly, pipe fingering on a whistle is a bit limiting and it's not hard to learn regular whistle fingering. Some of the electronic pipe options out there might also work in this situation.

      Kevin
      Exactly my thoughts, too. I have an Elfsong with "our" fingering. They were very well made and beautiful. As Kevin indicates, however, most likely just learn the regular whistle fingering for a number of reasons. And perhaps that's why the Elfsong whistle isn't made any longer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Kevin View Post
        ............ and the Highland Hornpipe (I think the "Sessioneer" version was tuned to A=440Hz). I don't think it is made anymore but used ones may be available. .........
        I stand corrected, it looks like Carbony makes a Highland Hornpipe now https://carbony.com/product/highland-hornpipe-a/

        Best regards,
        Kevin

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        • #5
          (1) Why do pipers seem to be uniquely reticent about learning new skills? (2) Your man probably wants to use an electronic chanter as a MIDI controller, which he can dress up with a Redpipes style setup for stage use.
          http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
          -- Formerly known as CalumII

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          • #6
            Carbony also makes a few whistles that use bagpipe fingering...I have one in A and one in D....they also jump octaves like a regular Irish whistle...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kevin View Post
              I stand corrected, it looks like Carbony makes a Highland Hornpipe now https://carbony.com/product/highland-hornpipe-a/
              Kevin, is this a whistle that you just put in your mouth to blow? It's hard to tell from their photos. (They need some action shots!!) What's the advantage of this over a practice chanter? Louder? Different pitch?

              Andrew
              Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
              BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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              • #8
                Hi Andrew,

                Assuming it is similar to the original Highland Hornpipe (by Northwind Instruments IIRC), it is like a cross between a Scottish chanter and a sax or clarinet. There is a single blade reed and mouthpiece that you play directly in your mouth so presumably you can make use of embouchure. Based on some YouTube videos I saw, it seems to be louder than a PC.

                Hope this helps,
                Kevin

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                • #9
                  Thanks, Kevin. Yes, that helps.

                  Andrew
                  Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
                  BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

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                  • #10
                    Hello again, I just noticed Matt Willis has a review of the Carbony Highland Hornpipe here https://youtu.be/BaNmk8Lj8x0

                    Kevin

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                    • #11
                      There are MIDI woodwind devices which have programmable fingering- you can make it recognise any fingerings you want.

                      I think some of the electronic chanters/bagpipes specifically made for Highland fingering are MIDI compatible, thus you can do your GHB fingering and make it sound like any instrument, guitar, harp, piano, anything.

                      BTW you're making the understandable, but not necessary, leap that when they say "the bagpipe" they mean the Great Highland Bagpipe of Scotland. There are several hundred other types of bagpipe.

                      Since they don't specify which sort of bagpipe, I might tell them that if it's the Gaita Gallega they mean, the fingering is very similar to the Recorder, while if it's the uilleann pipes they mean, the fingering has close analogies with whistle fingering.
                      proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                      • #12
                        Watched the Matt Willis videos on the Carbony instruments, I found those interesting and informative. As for other instruments with our common bagpipe fingering that can be played with groups tuning to 440A, MacCallum makes a Folk Pipe which fills that billing. The Folk Pipes being smaller in size than the traditional GHB, the tenors and drone tune similarly to what we are familiar with.
                        Differently and similarly the Gibson Fireside Pipes tune to a 467 hz A with the sound noticably brighter/louder than the MacCallums. The other difference with the Gibsons is that the 3 drones are set as high tenorA, middle tenor E, and a base A, which can make tuning those a bit of a challenge.

                        So while not truely different instruments, as they are bagpipes, Those may work as well with other instrucments.
                        Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

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