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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:07 am 
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Anyone who can explain the pros and cons of both, LONG F natural key and RING type F natural key? THX


Last edited by Oldpiping on Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:33 am 
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Long or short is not going to limit speed or expressiveness. Look how long some keys on the clarinet (or bassoon :shock: ) are, and then listen to a concerto played on those instruments.
Length of throw/travel (how far do you need to depress/release the key to get it where you want it) when taken to extremes may limit you, somewhat. A key with a very long throw may limit fast playing, but if you're executing a fast run or otherwise short note, no one will notice if the note is a hair flat.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:55 am 
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For me a ring F feels like a wedgie. No good!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:48 am 
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So ask for the key block to be located on the outboard side.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:45 pm 
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I've had chanters with both, and personally I prefer a straight key. Very easy to access with my top-hand little finger.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:34 am 
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Throughout the period when the wooden 8-key flute was the standard orchestral flute, flutes had both F natural keys, long and short.

With good reason: there were some things that the Short F was best at, other things that the Long F was best at.

In general Short F is more facile to use. But you can't play legato F to D without an instrusive E in between. Well it's possible, and Nicholson did it, but it's tricky. That's why the Long F was invented, for going from F to Eb and F to D, legato.

In my opinion if I'm only going to have one F key it would be the long. Why? Because there are no passages it can't do, due to being operated by a digit that's not occupied on a hole, though yes it's a hair more clumsy than the Short F in general. I've been playing a chanter with only the Long F for so long that it's second nature.

BTW on my chanter (a fully keyed Quinn from the 1970s) F natural in both octaves is only in tune if the chanter is lifted off the leg. That seems like it would be a problem but it's actually a good thing, making F natural a very expressive note.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:55 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:57 pm 
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for me it depends whether your pinkie finger is hanging down or is naturally at a higher position at rest, I can't play a straight F key , too awkward to get the pinkie into position.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:59 am 
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Depending on the chanter sometimes the long f of awkward for me.
The last keyed chanter I owned had an awkward pinky F.
I used to curl my right index finger to hit it. It worked fine for me that way but was unusual.
It was also a very long unusual bent shaped touch.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:35 pm 
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I have the same problem with mine. My current chanter was apparently the first 4-keyed chanter that particular maker had made, and I think partly to make room for the Bb key, he bent the touch of the F nat key in a funny way so that it was juuuust out of comfortable reach. I can usually reach it OK when playing slower tunes, but I don't like trying to use it for faster tunes. Sometimes I'll reach around and play it with my bottom hand thumb, or I'll just approximate a 2nd octave F nat by playing E off the knee à la John McSherry, which works OK as long as you don't overdo it, but if I ever get another concert D chanter, I think I would prefer a short ring key.

I vaguely recall that Cillian Ó Briain used to do (maybe still does?) 2-keyed chanters with both the C and F natural keys accessible to the bottom hand thumb along the back of the chanter. Any other makers doing something similar?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Mark Donohoe does a trap door style F key.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:10 pm 
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So you get a flash, a big bang, and a puff of smoke every time you play the Dark Slender Boy?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:15 am 
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I got message from my maker that only ring key is possible due to blocks on the chanter so it is already decided.

pancelticpiper wrote:
But you can't play legato F to D without an instrusive E in between


Thanks Richard for this explanation and the other one as well!

So you are trying to say that every time I will play the F key, I will raise the ring finger off the hole and that will produce the E note between the notes I want to play. So thats why it is hard to play legato.

Anyone else who can explain how to play legato with ring F key - you need that when you want to play slower tunes.

THX :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:49 pm 
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All he's saying is that you can't go directly from D to F natural without an E sounding briefly in between. By the nature of the key action coupled with the fingering technique on the chanter, you can't really play keyed notes staccato all that well. Well, I suppose you could try, but that's not really what the uilleann pipe chanter is meant to do. At that point, you'd be verging on Andy Conroy wannabe induced madness, and you'd be better off taking up the Northumbrian pipes.

There are very few situations where you'd want to go from D directly to F natural anyway, so it's not really a problem.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:57 pm 
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If you know how to play an off-the-knee E, you will have no problem. Same idea. I have no problem playing, say A Fnat D legato.


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