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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 9:07 pm 
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Over the years of watching Liam O'Flynn playing both live and on recordings I have been aware of him playing some notes where his bottom hand is index finger down, middle up, ring down, pinky up. I have assumed this was to get a lower note, probably F, in tune but today while watching the 1971 Philadelphia recording I noticed this lower finger was being used while the upper ring finger was off indicating that he was playing A as x|xxo|xoxo.
Does anyone have any information on the fingering the Liam used (and if it deviated from the normally accepted scale , why).

Ian Lawther


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 9:38 pm 
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I've seen that fingering often used for F# in the 2nd octave. My only guess is that it's more in tune.

What was apparent watching him and other "famous" pipers in person (a relative rarity for us here in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s) is how often they use open fingering, and have the chanter off the leg, on G, F#, and E in the low octave. I've seen these pipers use the open and off-the-leg fingering for 1st octave G as their standard fingering for that note.

It would be interesting if a piper could examine a number of Liam's videos and compile his most common fingerings (which of course must vary by context).

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 2:12 am 
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I think the great beauty of the pipes is the way you can manipulate the chanter, use different fingerings, to achieve colourings and variations in pitch and influence the blend of the chanter and the drones.

The basic scale, taking off the minimum of fingers to achieve the note, is just that: basic. A starting point. Any piper with a bit of sense and a pair of ears will vary the fingerings to not only get the best out of their chanter but also to make their music shine. That's exactly what Liam O'Flynn is doing and it is no surprise as he learned from Ennis, who really was the master at this. Terry Moylan summarised it so lovely when he said that there are many pipers who give you notes but listening to Ennis, you're given range of colours.

And ofcourse some notes just sound better when you open them up a bit.

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 6:47 pm 
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John Murphy (who i never knew but happened to speak to a few times at clancy week) used this same technique when playing an a roll in the lower octave and stated that he'd got it from Liam whom I understand he was quite friendly with, having on occasion been invited to his home to play tunes.


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 7:36 pm 
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The late Bill Ochs closely studied LOF’s piping and had picked out many of the techniques which LOF employed to get the tone or effect he was looking for. From what Bill shared with me, LOF seemed to have many ways of playing each note, venting and different fingering as required. Bill used many of these techniques in his own playing. Whenever I asked Bill how to approach a particular tune, his first instinct was to see ho LOF played it.

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