It is currently Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:21 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 312
Location: Surrey, United Kingdom
Hi all - I'm getting my first set of pipes for Christmas, a Jon Swayne student set in G. Then I'll have to learn how to play them... I've been playing a variety of whistles for a few years, which I hope will help. I'd welcome your advice on how to get started, mistakes to avoid & pointers to learning materials!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:13 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:59 pm
Posts: 12
The book ‘Playing the Bagpipes’ by Bernard Boulanger is a good start. And it is recommended by the Bagpipe Society as an ideal tutor for Swayne pipes in G.

http://www.bagpipesociety.org.uk/play-the-bagpipes/


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:22 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 312
Location: Surrey, United Kingdom
Brilliant, thank you!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 4599
Location: WV to the OC
For a non-piper (but experienced on other woodwinds) coming new to pipes of any kind, it must be stressed how crucial it is to learn to blow steadily.

Trumpet players spend long hours practicing "long notes" and I've spent much time doing the same on the flute.

The pipes are no different! So often people start wiggling their fingers around on the chanter and warbling out tunes before they have a command of the instrument itself.

With Highland pipes, it's common to have beginners plug off the chanter and start with a single drone, playing that one drone until they can start it cleanly, stop it cleanly, and maintain an absolutely steady tone for several minutes. (Drones are more forgiving, usually, of bag pressure fluctuation than chanters, so starting with a drone is less discouraging for the beginner.)

Or you can plug off the drone(s) and start by playing long tones on the chanter. Usually one of the most stable notes is

x xxx ooox (or, x xxx ooxo or, x xxx oooo depending on your particular fingering)

in other words the so-called "three finger note" (which would be G on a D chanter, a D on an A chanter, etc).

If you can't hold this note absolutely steady for a few minutes you are not ready to start playing tunes.

You can use your ear, or do what I do with beginners: have them watch the needle on an electronic tuner, and they must keep the needle pointing straight up.

With bagpipes (either mouthblown or bellows-blown) the trouble is that the air comes into the bag intermittently but must leave the bag steadily! So the arm must come off the bag, be "blown off the bag" as Scottish pipers say, to allow the bag to receive the thrust of air without having a pressure spike. Then, as the lungs or bellows are re-filling with air, the arm must do all the work of pressing down on the bag to maintain a steady pressure as the air in the bag is being depleted.

Quite often a newbie soon gets to the point where the "blowing" half of the cycle is well-matched to the "squeezing" half of the cycle... but at one of the the junctures (from squeezing to blowing, or from blowing to squeezing) there's either a pressure spike or a pressure drop, sort of like this

--------^--------^-------- etc.

Once you can keep a steady air supply to the chanter everything else becomes far easier. The chanter will play in tune, the drones will be easy to tune to the chanter, and everything will tend to stay in tune.

Good luck!

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:07 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:02 am
Posts: 312
Location: Surrey, United Kingdom
Thank you for the sound advice, Panceltic. I might need to talk to the neighbours before the pipes arrive... :wink:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:48 pm
Posts: 2464
Location: canned tuna-aisle 6
this kind of pipe, its not all that loud. Nowhere near as loud as highland pipes. if you live in a block of flats with paper thin walls, then there may be some concern. But otherwise should be comparable in volume to clarinet, violin,... at the most- alto sax. :D

_________________
*NEW* http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/zampognaridifiladelfia2

http://www.folkworld.eu/51/e/cds2.html#sylv
http://itunes.apple.com/album/sylvia-pl ... mpt=uo%3D1


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:10 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:50 am
Posts: 54
Thanks for the advice also pancelticpiper. Thus far my biggest problem has been with lip mussel strength and not being able to hold a good seal, but starting to get over that hurdle.

Good luck Anyanka, I'm also learning on a swayne set in G.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:41 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 4599
Location: WV to the OC
You're very welcome!

I've been starting new Highland pipers on the road now for over 30 years and one sees beginners struggle with the same specific things over and over.

About lip muscle strength, Highland pipers start out with a thing called a Practice Chanter. They usually play on that for six months to a year before they start on the pipes.

Traditional Practice Chanters have extremely high backpressure/impedance/resistance (far more than is required for the output, which is rather soft) and my theory has long been that the chanters were designed that way in order to build up the lip strength of the tyro in preparation to playing the actual pipes.

But that's always a challenge. Just last week I had a gig where I had to play and play and play (on Highland pipes) while marching a mob of people around a hospital (for a Memorial Walk). My reed is a bit on the stiff side and I was huffing and puffing, lips leaking around the edges, by the time I was done. Now if I played an hour a day like I did when I was a teenager it would be no problem! When I was around 20 I played for four hours straight at one gig. Nowdays, in my 50s, I'm finished after 30 minutes.

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:59 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:50 am
Posts: 54
Ah, can totally relate to how you felt, the weirdest feeling was having the mussel that holds the 'nose valve' closed wairing out and having air blowing past down my nose...

Is there such a thing as a low volume practice chanter with the same fingering/range as the swayne pipes?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.147s | 13 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)