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 Post subject: Silly Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 4:15 pm 
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First, is it Sweet tone, or Sweet One? I have no idea how to say this one

What are some bad habits I might have learned alongside the following that I need to undo before I get too far in to relearn?
  • no anchoring finger used ever
  • often not venting second octave d
  • learning too many new tunes too quickly
  • ignoring strikes/taps/pats on everything except rolls and using cuts instead whenever I want an ornament
  • playing with my legs crossed
  • playing the wrong c
  • learning a new song while the windows are open
  • sliding the fipple with flutini open to adjust tuning on second octave a and b while my husband is home (on a high D whistle no less)
  • playing the butterfly over and over again
  • buying 3 whistles in less than 2 months
  • buying my husband a bodhran so he can accompany me, and now having to listen to the bodhran

So I bought a Walton's High D 6 weeks ago, tweaked it, and love it. I also bought a Sweetone recently, to try out a different sound, but really not a fan of it, for either the tone, the out of tuneness or the seam, it'll probably end up in a drawer soon.

I'm awaiting a Dixon Dx005 because I hear very good things about it, but have a list already a mile long of whistles I want to try. There needs to be a WOAD starter pack. At the moment, I wish to purchase every one of these just to try to narrow down what I want out of a whistle: generation D, Walton's mellow D, something in PVC (parks maybe?) Chris Wall, Overton, McManus, Gary Humphries, Chris Backhouse.

I'm also awaiting a Becker Low D because who knows if my fingers can reach, or if I can get the bodhran out of my husband's fingers and entice him to play a whistle instead.

So some other questions:

How fast should you play a jig? I read on the interwebs that it's a dance tune, and the suggestions vary from 80-110ish bpm. But I hear tunes played a LOT faster, and have to slow them down to learn them. When I try to figure out what they're playing at, it seems like it's a lot faster. I'm learning this one at the moment, and what speed does he have it at first? https://youtu.be/EoxLpgfrlWA I can play it at the slower speed, but is that first speed really between 80-110?? I set my metronome (this one https://youtu.be/mZu23fwwYMg) to 130 to play this and it's still way slower than he's playing. Am I using this wrong?

Should I stick with one type of tune for a while, focusing on jigs say, before adding in other tune styles? (like jigs or airs) Or just play whatever I fancy at the time? I try to pick a tune, then go on irishtune.info to see what it has been played before or after to pick my next one, so at the moment if I learn a jig, it seems to suggest a jig.

Why does flutini keep uninstalling itself? Is that just me?

How many D whistles is common to get on average before buying another key?

What do you suggest I use for recording my playing? I tried vocaroo but it sounds totally different on that than it does in my head. Even just video on my phone sounded better. The noise canceling was good though, I'd love to know what's recommended that sounds good, has noise canceling, and makes it sharable without being a huge file. (I want to send to my mum and her internet is awful) Do I need a microphone?

How do you decide it's time to learn a new tune? Currently, I learned quite a few in the first few weeks, going through 9 weeks of Father Duns course in around 4, and adding a few others. Now I'm learning a few tunes that seem to be a lot harder than the ones he suggested, and I'm hoping to get a new one a week. For context, I play and listen to music all day. I probably play tunes for a total of an hour or two, practice exercises for an hour, and then listen for a few more. Is a tune a week reasonable?

Sorry for all the words, but rather than a new thread for every topic on here, I figured I'd save your eyes from the text and let you just pick and choose which parts you want to address. Brownie points to anyone who tries to address them all!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:01 pm 
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Greenfire wrote:
is it Sweet tone, or Sweet One?

I think it's supposed to be "sweet tone" but the "sweet one" idea is cute. Hadn't thought of it.

Greenfire wrote:
some bad habits...no anchoring finger used ever

I think it's a good idea to do at least a basic anchoring thing, for example putting down your lower-hand little finger for G, A, B, and C.
I always have mine off for F# and E, but some very good players leave that little finger down fulltime.

Greenfire wrote:
often not venting second octave d

I wouldn't worry about that. Let your ear be your guide. If open and closed D sound virtually identical (they do on all my whistles) then it's a non-issue.

Greenfire wrote:
learning too many new tunes too quickly

I think that's only a problem if you're only half-learning the tunes. I think it's better to have one tune you can play well, than have 20 tunes you can't quite perform.

Greenfire wrote:
ignoring strikes/taps/pats on everything except rolls and using cuts instead whenever I want an ornament

Personally I think it makes playing tunes easier if you use all the things at your disposal, cuts and pats both.
Though AFAIK rare there are players who only use cuts and they do fine.

Greenfire wrote:
playing the wrong c

Do you mean C natural? I don't know if there are wrong and right C's, but there are in-tune and out-of-tune C's, and if C is going to be a long enough note for the tuning to be heard I think you should use the C fingering that's in tune, or can be blown into tune.

And, perhaps as importantly, there are facile C's and awkward C's. I very much prefer one of the crossfingered C's because it's as facile as any other note, and can be cut, patted, and rolled. IMHO there are complicated passages that are unlikely to be played cleanly and precisely using the half-holed C natural.

Greenfire wrote:
How fast should you play a jig?

Initially, if you were my student I'd have you play jigs very slowly and precisely at first. At the beginning I'd have you play a jig at waltz speed, the 123456 becoming the 123 123 of the waltz, and all those beats played exactly evenly. (Think Blue Danube, a waltz at a fairly good clip.)

I wouldn't worry about what speed dancers want, or sessions want, until further down the road.

Greenfire wrote:
Should I stick with one type of tune for a while, focusing on jigs say, before adding in other tune styles? Or just play whatever I fancy at the time?


I've heard it said that the most effective teaching method is motivation. A teacher might have his/her pet theory about teaching methods, but a student learns fastest and best when they're motivated to learn.

So if you were my student I'd allow you to follow your whims as far as what pieces you wanted to work on. (I hate teachers that are inflexible and force their students to play tunes the students find boring.)

But! Regardless of what tunes you picked I would insist that they be played well. And if they're tunes you love you'll be motivated to do that.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:19 pm 
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Welcome aboard! I will do my best to answer some of the questions that you had, although Richard's answers are probably a little bit better.

First of all, I see nothing wrong with buying three whistles in two months. I have added eleven whistles to my collection since September of this year.

I agree about the WhOAD starter pack! Were I to put one together, it would definitely contain a Dixon. Those are some of my favorite whistles. You may also want to try one that's nickel-plated, one with an aluminum body, and one made of wood. As for PVC, Becker is great, especially if you're looking for a quiet whistle.

All of my whistles are Ds. I've yet to find music transcribed for whistles in other keys (and until today, it never occurred to me that I may wish to seek it out). D whistles also fit.in my case pretty well. I'm unsure if anything larger would. How many Ds is too many, obviously, is at the discretion of each player.

I decide it's time to learn a new tune when I can play through the one I previously learned, in its entirety, without going back to the reference material. That's not to say I don't falter here and there, but those are cases of playing one note when I know I should have played another.

Hopefully I've been of some help.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:59 pm 
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Welcome!

I wont go into bad habbits because I've only been playing for around a little over a year and probobly have more of them haha.

My first whistle was a clarke sweet tone. I got it after buying a really bad cheap $30 bamboo flute ( that in case you were wondering, was garbage. Avoid super cheap flutes haha). I heard lots of good things about the sweet tone, and it was extremely cheap. I have probobly less than 30 minutes total played on it. I immediately didnt like it. Note though, that the core issue was my playing and it sounding different than the recordings I'm used to. But I immediately ordered a new whistle. Which was a Feadog C. Which I ended up liking more and have just never gone back to my sweet tone. And to be fair to the sweet tone, its not really bad. Its tone is similar to my dixon trad I use now for playing high d. But my memory of it is still bad and its been replaced so I have no reason to pick it up haha.

What I can give as valid advice as a semi newcomer, your opinion of what you want in a whistle will probobly change a lot as you progress. The good news is that this is an extra excuse to grow your collection. But I would try to slightly resist the urge to buy more expensive ones right away. While I dont fully regret buying my Tilbury C (my one higher end whistle), I'm always on the fence switching between if I think its amazing or if it takes too little air requirement and I dont like the hole spacing.

Also I advise that if you like your current D whistles, to try and get some other keys when you can while trying out other brands. For example, Generation Bb, Feadog C, etc. Then you get to try a new whistle and key. and if you really like one of those in their key, you could get another in D if you wanted.

For speed just play as fast as comfortable and increase speed as you can if you want to.

For the timing question, remember that notes and beats can be fractions. So some songs can have a slow BPM but have lots of half, 8th notes, etc, that make it fast. While some songs can have a high bpm but no half notes or anything, and actually feel slower.

I have not mastered the art of recording but am heavily interested in the topic. My advise for recording is to get a DAW program (didgital audio workstation. The programs people use to record music and stuff). Theres free and paid, free will work fine. And get a decent USB mic, or if you want to go all out you get an audio interface and a XLR mic (the audio interface so you can connect the XLR mic to your computer, USB mic's have all this stuff built in so the yare plug and play). Then you can record, hopefully in a quiet room. And a lot of recordings use reverb plugins to make the dry recorded sound have reverb. Reverb being, the echo-ey sound of playing in a cathedral, caves, etc. Recordings are usually super dry and have no room reverb making them sound worse than if you play in your stairway and it has a nice reverb. so reverb plugins can help to make it sound how you want. If you record in a more reverberant room you may not need any reverb plugin, but general recording best practice is ot haev the dryest sound possible and add reverb as wanted with plugins. but dont worry about all the technicalities. Just play, record, and have fun with it. For stuff recommendations, you dont need to spend a ton. You can use a free daw like garage band, reaper, etc. And for mics something like a Samson Q2U, blue snowball or yeti, etc.

Hopefully some of this info is helpful in some way.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:27 am 
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Narzog wrote:
You can use a free daw like garage band, reaper, etc.

REAPER is not free. Sure, you can keep using the trial version for ever with the five-second nag screen but, if you want it, you should pay for it. It's inexpensive and one of the best DAWs at any price.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:29 am 
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All great questions and thanks to Richard for some fantastic answers. Coming from my own limited experience, try approaching learning this way:

1. Find a tune or album you love and listen to it over and over. If it's music you love you will do that anyway. This will introduce your ear to the technique, rhythm and tone of professional players.
2. Start singing along with the tune. If you have heard and synthesized it in your brain and can train your voice to replicate it, you are a step closer to doing it with your hands. Yes, I know some people prefer sight reading to playing by ear but they are very different neural pathways and hearing and understanding are, I think, more important in music than seeing and understanding. Often I am surprised to read sheet music after I've learned by ear to find out the musician went well off-piste in their recording!
3. Start out with a handful of cheaper whistles by different makers. My Feadog was one of the best whistles I had for a long while, while other comparable ones (Oak, Generation) just didn't match for tone and playability. Plus it will introduce you to the spectrum of tone, back pressure, volume, responsiveness, and air requirements that set makers apart. Eventually, as you buy more whistles, you will start to find your preference. Regarding WHOAD, I would be interested to see if there is a peak and a dropoff as people start to find their favorite and begin to sell ones that they don't prefer.
4. Regarding ornamentation, listen, listen, and listen. I've thought I knew how a player did something and went back and listened again and realized I could replicate the sound better with tonguing than a finger technique. Or vice versa. And the more you play the more you find techniques and shortcuts in the service of rhythm that achieve EXACTLY what you want, only later to learn you've been playing a cut or tap all along without even knowing.
5. Love what and how you play. Ultimately music should create a warmth in your chest and a tingle in your toes when you are in the groove and expressing yourself. Don't get caught up in the "right" way. Finding your own voice is, I think, much more important than adhering to some rule book on style. If you want to be a music historian, by all means argue over the correct time to use a cran. If you want to play, find your voice.

-Peter


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:50 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Greenfire wrote:
often not venting second octave d

I wouldn't worry about that. Let your ear be your guide. If open and closed D sound virtually identical (they do on all my whistles) then it's a non-issue.

Okay, but when I try to do a cut on an unvented second octave d I sometimes get shrieks which I don't when it's vented, and have heard that problem is even worse on a lower whistle. Any recommendations? I also thought that some whistles might prefer vented than others, and it would be a shame to learn to not vent if in future I end up with a whistle that I need to vent for.
pancelticpiper wrote:

Greenfire wrote:
playing the wrong c

Do you mean C natural? I don't know if there are wrong and right C's, but there are in-tune and out-of-tune C's, and if C is going to be a long enough note for the tuning to be heard I think you should use the C fingering that's in tune, or can be blown into tune.

And, perhaps as importantly, there are facile C's and awkward C's. I very much prefer one of the crossfingered C's because it's as facile as any other note, and can be cut, patted, and rolled. IMHO there are complicated passages that are unlikely to be played cleanly and precisely using the half-holed C natural.

meaning, I play a c sharp when it should be a c natural. Slowing down helps, but sometimes my fingers want to play the "easy" one and I play the wrong one. It's one of the things I'm working on.

pancelticpiper wrote:
Greenfire wrote:
How fast should you play a jig?

Initially, if you were my student I'd have you play jigs very slowly and precisely at first. At the beginning I'd have you play a jig at waltz speed, the 123456 becoming the 123 123 of the waltz, and all those beats played exactly evenly. (Think Blue Danube, a waltz at a fairly good clip.)

I wouldn't worry about what speed dancers want, or sessions want, until further down the road.

I'm sticking with the speed I can play now, but it was curiosity asking what the norm is, so that I can judge my own progression, and not end up working towards playing faster than I need to. Unless there's no such thing as too fast?


Narzog wrote:
My advise for recording is to get a DAW program (didgital audio workstation. The programs people use to record music and stuff). Theres free and paid, free will work fine. And get a decent USB mic, or if you want to go all out you get an audio interface and a XLR mic (the audio interface so you can connect the XLR mic to your computer, USB mic's have all this stuff built in so the yare plug and play). Then you can record, hopefully in a quiet room. And a lot of recordings use reverb plugins to make the dry recorded sound have reverb. Reverb being, the echo-ey sound of playing in a cathedral, caves, etc. Recordings are usually super dry and have no room reverb making them sound worse than if you play in your stairway and it has a nice reverb. so reverb plugins can help to make it sound how you want. If you record in a more reverberant room you may not need any reverb plugin, but general recording best practice is ot haev the dryest sound possible and add reverb as wanted with plugins. but dont worry about all the technicalities. Just play, record, and have fun with it. For stuff recommendations, you dont need to spend a ton. You can use a free daw like garage band, reaper, etc. And for mics something like a Samson Q2U, blue snowball or yeti, etc.

Hopefully some of this info is helpful in some way.

Yes definitely! I'm going to look at the DAW programs first! I wonder if the mic on my headset is better than the one on my phone? I'll have to test it out, in the meantime I can learn a little more about recording, and playing with reverb and noise canceling while deciding what mic I want! Thanks, very helpful!

psoutowood wrote:
2. Start singing along with the tune. If you have heard and synthesized it in your brain and can train your voice to replicate it, you are a step closer to doing it with your hands. Yes, I know some people prefer sight reading to playing by ear but they are very different neural pathways and hearing and understanding are, I think, more important in music than seeing and understanding. Often I am surprised to read sheet music after I've learned by ear to find out the musician went well off-piste in their recording!

yeah, my brain learns both in auditory and visual ways. I approach learning twofold, listening is first, but I have to write it down too, in order to cement it in my brain. I could simply just learn without writing it down, but if I want to retain it, I need that written too. So I can pick out a tune after hearing it and play it but, ask me a week later, and I can't recall it. Same with music I know and love, I can sing along with it, I can even pick out the tune to play it, but it won't stick in there till next time unless I commit it to visual language too. Then I've probably got it forever, just need to peek for a moment, or hear it for a moment, even in my own head.

psoutowood wrote:
3. Start out with a handful of cheaper whistles by different makers.

I knew someone would enable my impending WOAD!

psoutowood wrote:
5. Don't get caught up in the "right" way. Finding your own voice is, I think, much more important than adhering to some rule book on style. If you want to be a music historian, by all means argue over the correct time to use a cran. If you want to play, find your voice.
-Peter

I fully agree. I sometimes change the notes even, and have caught myself making a mistake on a tune, but using phrasing I've made up to bring the tune back to the "correct" phrasing without stopping. And once in a while, I've liked my mistake better and play it in the song instead of the first way I learned it instead. I also find that sometimes the way someone else plays something, when I try it, the sound is wrong. There's a song that I have to alter or I get an ooom pahh pahh in a section that reminds me that I grew up with Oktoberfest polkas in my head, and given that the song isn't a polka, I have to ornament it differently than the person who I listened it to does. They don't make the polka sound, but I just can't seem to keep it out of that phrase when I do! (legato legato tongue cut on four consecutive notes like DBBB... I just can't make that work!)

Thanks everyone!

No other common bad habits to look out for then?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:02 am 
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Greenfire wrote:
when I try to do a cut on an unvented second octave d I sometimes get shrieks which I don't when it's vented


I would have to hear and see what you're doing to comment on what's happening.

On all my whistles, from High D to Low D, I can cut Middle D either vented or un-vented with no troubles. I cut and cran Middle D with the ordinary cran fingers, for example a short cran on closed Middle D

xxx xxx
xxx oxx (g cut)
xxx xxx
xxo xxx (a cut)
xxx xxx

When Middle D is vented those cuts all sound below Middle D, around B or C more or less.

When Middle D is closed those cuts sound higher than Middle D. I suppose they could be called squeaks, but as gracenotes they happen too fast for their specific pitch to be heard.

I address these things on this little video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbE3JyW ... e=youtu.be

Greenfire wrote:
I play a c sharp when it should be a c natural...sometimes my fingers want to play the "easy" one and I play the wrong one.


When listening to trad uilleann pipers, fluters, and whistlers you'll hear C fluctuate all the time between sharp and natural regardless of the key signature of the tune. For example there's a B c d triplet, extremely common in trad pipe/whiste/flute playing, where most players play the open c (c#) regardless of what key the tune is in.

I play two versions of the Bcd triplet, the Mary Bergin style and the Matt Molloy style which use c# and c natural respectively. (I use those designations merely for convenience.)

There's also a thing in uilleann piping where, once again regardless of the tune's key signature, c will often be played sharp when part of a descending motif and natural when approached from below.

So your wrong c's might be right!

Greenfire wrote:

I'm sticking with the speed I can play now, but it was curiosity asking what the norm is (for jigs) so that I can judge my own progression, and not end up working towards playing faster than I need to. Unless there's no such thing as too fast?


If you mean performing speed rather than practicing speed, Breandan Breathnach recommends the following:

Double jigs: 127 (two pulses per bar)

Single jigs: 137 (two pulses per bar)

Slip jigs: 144 (three pulses per bar)

Reels: 112 (two pulses per bar)

Hornpipes: 90 (two pulses per bar)

About how fast for jigs, I've heard them played in sessions at more than 150. There's no danger of working jigs up too fast, I don't think.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:08 pm 
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Oh thankyou for that! I'm going to note how my playing improves by working up to those speeds! And I love the idea that if I play the c that comes faster, it might not be something awful!

So, here is a quick bit of me playing on the second octave d.

I'm doing xxx xox, xxx oxx, xxo xxx in sequence, to show what's going on. It seems that xxx xox on the second octave d may actually be okay, so I may have to just go to that. xxo xxx is the worst offender, anywhere that the cut sounds long, I've put my fingers back down already and the note isn't transitioning back to the d as it does other times. I can't work out what's going on. I only have this issue when unvented.

plays as follows, vented d cuts, unvented d cuts, vented d crans, unvented d crans, I exaggerated the crans greatly to really show what it's doing. https://vocaroo.com/13bGpKr4gjj6

Just tested on the other whistle, I cannot do an unvented cran using xxo xxx at all, not even part of the time.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:15 pm 
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okay, I lied, with WORK, I can make it not do that... but I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing to change it yet. I like to analyse things to understand them though, so if you can easily point me to what I am doing when it's wrong, and when it's not, on that xxo xxx cut... I would be grateful, else I'll have to stick with one of the other two fingerings. I suspect that I underblow a little more on the ones that work.

Edit, and of course that's it! When I underblow, I'm blowing the first octave cut, so that works with no issue! Not sure I can do that quickly during a tune though, I am still looking forward to any direction you can give me!

Editing again, because it leads to this next question too, if I do the following, xxx xxx, then a cut to xxo xxx and back, on the one whistle, I can have it hold the xxo xxx without ever going back to xxx xxx despite putting the finger down, you can hear that here. You can even hear me putting down the finger again throughout. I'm certain this is breath control as well, no? https://vocaroo.com/13bGpKr4gjj6 Do you drop your breath control to the first octave for xxo xxx to avoid this?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:02 am 
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Thanks for that audio!

Later, when everybody is awake (it's 6am here) I'll try that cut on all my whistles.

Thing is, as you probably well know, there are three fingers usually associated with cutting and cranning Bottom D

xxx xox F
xxx oxx G
xxo xxx A

so I would just use the F and G.

For sure the A cut is the most unstable, most prone to break and squeal as you have demonstrated.

I was at an uilleann workshop and the "star" teacher (with numerous albums to his name) did his crans with just F and G, sequenced GFG.

He said he liked to keep the upper-hand ring finger (the A cut) free for separating Bottom Ds, for example when there are repeated crans etc.

You could do FGF just as well.

Wouldn't be a bad thing to learn, either the FGF or GFG cran. Those are probably better whistle and flute crans in general.

BTW none of the old whistle or flute players I was listening to when I first started playing (1970s) did crans. As far as I know it was Matt Molloy who popularised them on flute.

They did what I dubbed "the flute-player's pseudo-cran" which I demonstrate on my cran video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u_Xpvr4RNM

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:44 am 
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I've been lurking here a while, and have seen, probably you, mention that before! Your tutorial is the one I learned crans with by the way, thankyou for sharing it. It does in fact sound like you drop into the first octave into that A cut when you slow it down, experience probably has you automatically adjusting your breath control! I'm not there yet but working on it!

I one day want to learn the pipes, figured I could spend a few years getting some tunes under my belt, working on phrasing, and where I want to fit ornaments in, and then give them a try. They're a little too pricey to take on as a beginner, when you're not in an area to find an in person teacher. I'm stuck here for a little over 5 years, then looking at where to retire, and if the music bug sticks by then, the proximity of local session availability, and a teacher may be in play as to location! In the meantime, I feel like learning where to fit in a cran with a whistle, is good practice for future if I do end up moving to pipes.

I love your whistle roll, did you make it?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:28 am 
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Quote:
I feel like learning where to fit in a cran with a whistle, is good practice for future if I do end up moving to pipes.


Pipedreams. It's a perilous route to take, as the previous two posts illustrate. The pipes and the whistle are two distinctly, if related, instruments with different demands and approaches. Learning the whistle is a preparation for learning the pipes in that it helps gaining control of the fingers, agility and an introduction to the music (when you're new to playingIrish music) but the whistle doesn't seamlessly translate to playing the pipes.

The pipes can do infinitely more than the whistle. I think it's probably good to let the pipes be the pipes and the whistle, the whistle. Each have their own merits, demands and character.

The best way to prepare for the pipes would be to listen, listen closely and intently to good Irish music, listen to the detail and the differences between various instruments and which road they take through a tune. Listen to you favourite pipers, absorb the detail. Figure out the siilarities and the differences between different piping styles. All that stuff.

One of the things you will find is that a piper will not, can not, cran the second d' like the whislteplayers who use crans.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:55 am 
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Thanks Mr. Gumby, that bit about the crans on second d is good info to tuck away!

I'm using the whistle to learn tunes, particularly phrasing, and I mostly use fiddle players to play with, and I know that the whistle fingerings don't exactly relate to fiddle playing either, :P but I find that I can find a large number of tunes to play with, and am not competing with someone who is playing whistle while I'm learning. I also am using it, as you say, to gain control of my fingers. I know I'll need to learn new fingerings, and fully expect I may even play a tune differently from not only one instrument to another, but even one whistle key to another. But you do need to be able to move your fingers on a whistle shaped object to play a pipe, and if I'm wrong about that, at least I'll have the phrasing I need. I can't imagine anything more frustrating than picking out an expensive instrument to play, not being able to play it AND not knowing any tunes to play on it or how they should be played either. I may be new, but I at least am working on phrasing, learning sets, gathering popular tunes and not simply just fingering. Hope that eases your concern somewhat.

My expectation, is that I will have a large number of tunes in my head, and know which notes to play in what order, and at what time, to be able to get a tune on a pipe once I do learn the new fingerings, and how to get a good sound. I fully believe that you can learn this on any instrument, but coming from whistle is a lot less expensive than from another instrument, but I think you could really use any, to prepare like I am. I just think that the added bonus of getting my fingers to also move quickly might be better than working on how to hold a bow or strum a string. Oh, and the added bonus of a whistle being really easy to learn, and far more inexpensive than say, a fiddle, doesn't hurt either.

In the years I plan to take doing this, I expect I'll have listened to a good amount of tunes, and absorb quite a bit of it, be it from one instrument or another, I think the ear learns more by not being picky about the medium, so long as it's played well. I'm currently a fan of a scottish small pipes player who I enjoy listening to, and subscribed to Chris McMullen on youtube, but any recommendations on who else to listen to for uilleann is welcome, at the moment, I just get them as they come, from whoever shares any videos in some facebook groups. I'd love to be pointed in the direction of particular players I can then follow on youtube.

and if you can't tell, I'm not in a rush :) I don't expect to even touch a chanter for 6 years. I may even take up flute in the meantime, if I can be sure my sister won't try to pressure me into switching to classical or baroque instead of trad so she can bestow her expertise on me. Piping can wait, but I'll still be soaking up info about them in the meantime.

Had to edit to add this in, as another bonus to using the whistle to learn as a stepping stone to any other instrument, when you do learn another instrument, you also are able to play whistle. So two for one so to speak. You can always stick a whistle in your pocket!

An aside here that may make you chuckle too, my husband's choice is to learn with bodhran. Who knows, in future, he may pick up another instrument too, and I still expect learning the bodhran will help him play tunes on something else if he wishes. He'll at least understand the difference between a jig and a reel, and, I get my very own metronome in the meantime.


Last edited by Greenfire on Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:07 am 
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any recommendations on who else to listen to for uilleann is welcome


Any of the classic pipers, for starters. But you will have to make up your own mind what and who you want to listen to. Find your own way.

You can probably do worse than visiting Na Piobairi Uilleann use their resources and have a look at their tutorials, archive material and ongoing projects like piping in the parlour. And take it from there.

Good luck.

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