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Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:18 pm
by ausdag
So now that I have the Bulgarian bug, I found myself wanting a djura gaida in a higher pitch so I took another chance and purchaced this gaida:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Vtg-Antique- ... true&rt=nc

It arrived the other day and I must say, the tone and playability is remarkable. The scale is spot on - even noodling around having no idea what I'm doing sounds like a Bulgarian tune, the marmorka works beautifully on just about all accidentals even down in the low notes, and the tone is bright and clear.

The bag is supple and the set is airtight - I could play it all day!! Not sure how 'antique' it is, but that was never a deciding factor in the purchace anyway.

Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:00 pm
by MichaelLoos
You've been very lucky indeed - most usually, instruments sold by antique dealers are far from playing condition, and I wouldn't advice anyone to buy such an instrument, unless they are able to make reeds, replace the bag and do general repairs.
It seems as if this gaida has been in the hands of an accomplished player until recently.
The chanter and blowpipe seem to be from the same maker, and look considerably older than the drone. If the chanter is in modern pitch (three finger tone D, lowest tone G), it is certainly not older than from the 1950ies. If the chanter has an eyelet on its back side (for attaching a small chain), it could be from the 50ies or first half of the 60ies, if it hasn't, it's probably younger. What is the white material, it doesn't look like bone or antler?
The drone is pretty standard and could have been made any time between 1990 and now, from the look of it.

Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:07 pm
by ausdag
Yes, the chanter is in Sol (three finger tone D, lowest tone G) - no eyelet. Seems to be made from a darker and denser wood than the drone. The drone seems to have been oiled too. Not sure what the white material is. But I haven't looked close enough at it to try and determine.
Here's a vid of me playing about on it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTLIbXXkMCs

Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:17 am
by MichaelLoos
Sounds great!
Low A will need a bit of tuning wax, it is a tiny bit sharp, but that's fairly normal, most of my chanters need that, too.
In bulgarian music, vibrato goes up, sharpening the tone, instead of going down flattening it as in Irish music - in case of the djura gaida, it is done by rocking the forefinger on the marmorka (without actually opening the hole!), rather than shading the lower holes as you would do on uilleann pipes or tin whistle. When playing Fnat, you have to rock the middle finger, when playing high G, rock the thumb very carefully, in order to not overdo the effect.
The drone is made from a wood called dryan (dogwood or cornelian cherry, Cornus mas L.) which is the favourite wood for gaidas and kavals. The chanter and blowpipe may well be from the same wood, it looks as if it had the characteristic two-tone colour at its back side, darkened through age (and dirt, probably...). Maybe my eyes deceive me, but I think I can see on the back of the chanter, opposite the lowest fingerhole, a little bump with a hole though it, that's what I meant by "eyelet" - is it there?

Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:37 am
by ausdag
Ahh yes, there is indeed an eyelet, but the outside of the chanter has been coated in a shellac-type coating and obscured the eyelet hole. The bell looks to be aluminium or pewter.

As for the white stuff, on close inspection it looks to be bone of some sort. There is a white band around the top of the chanter just above the thumb hole that is cracked and yellow...could be ivory :o

So I'm very pleased with the purchase, and I think it is worthy of measuring up and trying to replicate...once I finish a backlog of Uilleann orders.

Re: Djura Gaida question

Posted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:03 am
by ausdag
So just to update, thanks to my copy of Timothy Rice's book with CD and transcripts and a couple of other CDs that I've been listening to intensely, I have been able to slow down a number of tracks on Audacity to get my head around the ornamentation. I've been doing the 'noodling' that he talks about, trying to come to terms with the ornamentation and timing before getting to tunes - something that seems contrary to the way we learn Irish pipes - and learning to play a few 'licks' (persenk). Being able to slow down the tracks on Audacity really gives an invaluable insight into how they use ornamentation and already I'm starting to get quite a decent, but still very rudimentary, tune rendition of 'Gergebunarsko Horo' (p52) plus a feel for the different modes.