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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:44 am 
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Hi,

Receiving Concert chanter with only C key, I was wondering if I will be able to play the F natural with the same effect like here:
https://youtu.be/w4s_x2lG_Sg The note is played at 0.29 using the key!

Any kind of secret cross fingering out there or half holing with off the knee chanter is the only way?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:00 am 
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Eric F. wrote:
Hi,

Receiving Concert chanter with only C key, I was wondering if I will be able to play the F natural with the same effect like here:
https://youtu.be/w4s_x2lG_Sg The note is played at 0.29 using the key!

Any kind of secret cross fingering out there or half holing with off the knee chanter is the only way?

Thanks!


No secret, only practice is needed. Bottom two (E) fingers lifted off the chanter, chanter off the knee, and straighten the lower-hand middle finger to shade or barely "half-hole" the F tone hole until you get the pitch you want. You can get all kinds of nuance, colour, and slides into the note, that you cannot get when you use a key. I have F-natural keys on two or three of my chanters, but almost never use them.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:19 am 
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*Some* chanters will give a convincing Fnat by just playing the upper E and lifting the chanter off the leg. I had a Burke/O'Dowd that did this. Cutting into the note gave it a little more presence.
An Draighean's technique should work. Some fingers perform this better by sliding upward, some by curling over to the far side of the chanter. YMMV.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:14 am 
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I remember being in a class with Mick O'Brien where he taught us a tune that used F natural, and his view was that F keys are for flute players; pipers should never use them! It's true that the note is far more expressive and flexible on the pipes when fingered rather than using the key, although I could see plenty of situations where a key is handy--mainly when F is only a passing note instead of one you want to emphasize. I also find the key can be helpful when descending to an F (coming down the scale); I've always found it harder to hit cross-fingered/shaded notes correctly when coming down to them than when going up to them, but maybe that's just me. I have the same problem on the whistle: I have no trouble half-holing an F nat if I'm coming up to it, but if I'm going down to it I always seem to play it too sharp or too flat.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:32 pm 
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F natural can be got by using a key, half-holing, or by playing two-finger E off the knee. I use all three, depending on the tune and the desired tone colour. I find half-holing is usually easier in dance tunes. I mostly use the key in airs (for its mournful sound and its stability). I play the raised E-fingering sometimes for effect. I vividly remember Geoff Wooff playing The Ace and Deuce of Pipering with raised E for the F naturals in the B-part. It was a revelation … and tricky to boot … and I have never got it to work in that tune.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:21 am 
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I wholeheartedly agree with Mick, and that is what I did and taught for 25 years.
Then I got my C set.
In general I hate the way many players use the key, but it is perfectly possible to get nuance and slide etc etc with a key. Most of the technique involves using the hard off-the-knee top E as your starting pitch, and then just learning how to finesse it, and (sometimes) incorporate a cut in the middle. Like everything it just takes exploration and practise.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:43 pm 
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One more thing. I play a flat set, so the small tone holes are not so amenable to half-holing. It works, but when the likes of Messers Harrington, Egan, and Coyne put F natural keys on their chanters, they had a very good reason. A ring key works like a tone hole. Slide your bottom-hand ring finger up to the key. One of the beauties of narrow bore is that you can do lots with it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:54 pm 
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PCL wrote:
One more thing. I play a flat set, so the small tone holes are not so amenable to half-holing. It works, but when the likes of Messers Harrington, Egan, and Coyne put F natural keys on their chanters, they had a very good reason. A ring key works like a tone hole. Slide your bottom-hand ring finger up to the key. One of the beauties of narrow bore is that you can do lots with it.


Just for another data point, I play two flat sets, and have no problem half-holing on either - but it does take practice. Just my experience, YMMV.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:10 pm 
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An Draighean wrote:
Just for another data point, I play two flat sets, and have no problem half-holing on either - but it does take practice. Just my experience, YMMV.


Indeed, mileage does vary. On the Bb set I play, the key gives me a flatter F natural, especially in the 2nd octave. (I can't comment on wide bore D; I don't have one of those.) Choosing to use the key depends on the mood, on the tune, on what notes precede and pursue the F natural. Isn't it nice to have a handful of possibilities? One must pity the player of a mere Steinway.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:18 am 
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Thank you for all the help ! Now I just need miles of practice :)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:08 pm 
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This is why I love this forum! Thanks all of you. Off to practise Lament for Limerick...


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