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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:05 pm 
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Hello bagpipers! I've been playing the Uilleann pipes for years but I was recently inspired to buy myself a set of bagpipes. And I know nothing... Don't know which makers are good, who they are, or where to find them. I'm interested in possibly buying Spanish pipes, because I love the sound of them but again I don't know where to start. Any beginner info would be awesome and much appreciated! thanks so much :)

~Maire


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Marie, Start with the music you want to play. Most of the pipes developed around the music. So if you like the Spanish pipes, research the music. Is it what you want to play.
If you get pipes that won’t play the music you like to play, you’ll soon tire of them and be frustrated. I have a nice set of small pipes is D, but the pipe only has a range of one octave plus a note. Most of the music I play goes into the second octave. So I recently receive a nice set pastoral pipes that play in the second octave. The small pipes will go on sale soon.

Good luck on your search!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:12 am 
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anbeanceol wrote:
I've been playing the Uilleann pipes for years but I was recently inspired to buy myself a set of bagpipes.


What sort of bagpipes? There are Scottish Highland pipes, Scottish Border pipes, Scottish Smallpipes, Northumbrian Smallpipes, Cornish Doublepipes, Bulgarian Gaida, Spanish Gaita (Asturian and Galician), dozens of sorts of French bagpipes, various Italian bagpipes, Latvian pipes, Swedish pipes, Polish pipes, Czech pipes, Hungarian pipes, Egyptian pipes...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:17 am 
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Yep, Its all about the repertoire. Although I have a feeling that most uilleann pipers who 'double' tend (underscore "tend") to remain in more-or-less Celtic circles: Borders pipes, Scots Smallpipes, Greater & lesser Highland, Northumbrian families of pipes.
But if you really want to widen that scope, go for something that will allow access to several 'veins' of music. Have you looked into what Jon Swayne (& his ilk) has to offer? I ve heard British Isles*, French, Galician, Breton, Germanic, Northern Italian, Medieval & Rennaisance tunes just pouring out of his instruments from many diverse musicians. Both bellows & mouthblown, plenty of chromatics, large range of octave & a 4th, in useable popular keys like G, C, D, & A...They're a very adaptive, versatile species of pipe, if you know what i mean :D

*yeah i know someone;s gonna get all upset about it. im being concise. save it for another thread.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:46 pm 
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Uilleann pipes are bagpipes too!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:28 pm 
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The Swayne style pipes have a chanter with upper and lower thumb hole like some French pipes, yes?
If so, I'm much in agreement with ChasR, although there are occasions when it would be nice to have both a whole step and a half step for the lower leading tone.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:44 am 
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Yes if you want to play Spanish pipe music, Spanish pipes are by far the best instrument to get.

There's a very nice set on Ebay now, by the maker INSPO (? I think) who makes a large number of the pipes and chanters used by the modern Spanish bagpipe bands.

Beware, there are two main types of Spanish pipes, the Gaita Gallega and the Gaita Asturiana, and though they look similar and sound similar they have different fingering systems. It's the Gaita Gallega, from Galicia, that's far more well-known outwith Spain due to Carlos Nunez, Susana Seivane, and so forth. The Gaita Gallega uses a mostly open fingering system not all that much different from a Recorder or even Irish whistle; the Gaita Asturiana uses a closed fingering system closer to the uilleann pipes (though still quite different).

Then there are the Scottish pipes. There are many fine makers is various countries, in Northern Ireland you have Warnock and Warmac, in Scotland a load of good makers including McCallum, MacMurchie, Gellaitry, Fletcher, Murray, Soutar, Marr, Sinclair, Booth, and others, in England Naill, in the USA Gibson, MacLellan, and Cushing, in Canada Dunbar.

The fingering of the Scottish pipes is very different from the uilleann pipes, there are a load of ornaments which will be new to you, and so forth.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:28 am 
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brunokev wrote:
although there are occasions when it would be nice to have both a whole step and a half step for the lower leading tone.

Ive seen pipes with a recorder-like double hole for the right pinky down there, although Im told its tricky to tame.
2nd solution is, & its a cheesy trick indeed, to kind of 'roll' the pinky into a half hole for that bottom leading tone. Good players like Jean Blanchard can do so cleanly; but i havent managed more than a smudge lol.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:21 am 
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Personally I've never found any need for a sharp leading note, tunes requiring a semitone bellow the tonic generally start from the three finger note.
You could of course use keys:
Image

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:57 am 
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Dominic Allan wrote:
Personally I've never found any need for a sharp leading note, tunes requiring a semitone bellow the tonic generally start from the three finger note.

Sorry, but that's just not true - it depends on the type of music that's being played.
While it is true for most of the Scottish and a good part of Irish music (which follows the mixolydian scale), other types of music require different scales - Spanish Galician music for instance generally calls for the sharp leading note, so does Czech bagpipe music.
In case of a chanter that is capable of playing an (almost complete) chromatic scale (as is the case with all bagpipes that are more or less based on the central French chanter design) and therefore giving the chance of playing major and minor on the same tonic, it is very useful having both options, the sharp and the flat leading note (I know, if it's flat, it's not a leading note, but you know what I mean).
A double hole is a cheap and serviceable solution (if it's well-designed) for the higher-pitched instruments, the key system is without doubt much better, and the only way to go for low-pitched instruments.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:18 am 
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I don't know anything about Galician or Czrch music but I've spent a lot of time around the French , Flemish and English repertoire playing "a chanter that is capable of playing an (almost complete) chromatic scale (as is the case with all bagpipes that are more or less based on the central French chanter design) and therefore giving the chance of playing major and minor on the same tonic." I'm yet to find a need for the sharp leading note.
Having said that , others obviously do find a need or I wouldn't get paid to put the keys on! I'd be intrigued to see how much use the keys get.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:02 am 
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Coming from the Highland and Uilleann world, and from somebody who does a lot of "legit" gigs (Church gigs mostly) a sharp leading tone can be very useful.

I wish there was a Highland chanter available that had a key for Low G#, and a key for High B. With just High B there's a vast number of Scottish tunes, Irish tunes, hymns, etc which could be played. Low G# would open up many hymn tunes, as would a D# in the middle of the scale. (C natural and High G# are already available through crossfingering.)

I played Gaita Gallega for a few years and yes all those tunes have a sharp leading tone; it's built into the pipes and built into the music!

The "poster child" for a sharp leading tone on the GHB is the hymn tune DUNDEE. Try this on a one-octave instrument like the Highland pipes and you're up the creek without a paddle because the low leading tone is so crucial to the melody

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZdLa9H4-RU

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:32 am 
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If a tune will fit on a single octave chanter with a sharp leading note it will fit on a 1 1/2 octave chanter with a flat one!
You just start higher up.

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