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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:24 am 
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Hi,
I am more or less seriously learning the pipes for half a year of 3/4 of a year now and still have problems with my triplets (Garret Harrys jig in Heather Clarks tutor still isn't where it should be...). A couple of other tunes are going well, although playing the g-f-e triplet is often the most problematic part for me. I already visited one piping workshop weekend but have no teacher.

Do you think I should expand my repertoire although this basic technique is still a problem for me, or should I concentrate on these triplets?


Thanks for your help!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:14 am 
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You won't go far wrong by making the triplets a priority. I certainly wish I had!

If you're desperate to learn new tunes then you can look for ones with good triplet practising opportunities, just so they don't become overly connected to the melody of Garret Barry's. The idea is to get fluent enough to vary them a bit rather than using the same ornaments in the same place every time.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:55 am 
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I don't think it's really a matter of the one or the other.

You can introduce a new technique/triplet in every tune you learn and perhaps retro fit them into the tunes you already have. It is probably a good idea to take a few minutes each time to play to practice your triplets in isolation, take them as slow as you need to, to get your fingers do them correctly. Then speed up and work into tunes.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:46 am 
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IMO you will *never* be completely happy with your technique. There will always be a triplet or something you would prefer to be tighter or better. You need to focus on both. Learning tunes and technique. They're both important, and both never ending!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:51 am 
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I agree with Mr. Gumby on taking a bit of each practice session and working on triplets and such, in isolation. After committing triplets, crans (and variations) to muscle memory you will be able to focus more on making music. If you find a bit of a tune gives you trouble, take it to "the woodshed", and make an exercise of it.

dave boling

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:21 am 
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Both, but you can retro fit the clever stuff in as you progress.

Practicing the clever stuff in isolation is very useful, I think. But speed at the beginning is counter productive. Its accuracy you want to achieve, no matter how slowly you play them.

I suggest playing a long starting note, and then putting in the staccato notes at the appropriate tempo. The important thing is to ensure that when the chanter is closed ALL fingers are completely relaxed before the next note is sounded. As and when you think that has been achieved, up the tempo a little.

Its all part of the fun! New tunes test the fingers in different ways, even though the clever stuff is the same. New tunes develop technique, and keep you sane.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:37 pm 
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thanks for the suggestions! I will more deliberately divide my practice sessions in repertoire and technique learning! I have been playing the flute for some years.
I once heard a really good piper say, that he sometimes notices that pipers who come from a flute background play the pipes like a flute. Back then I didn't understand what he meant, but now I think he probably meant a lack of staccato ornamentation that you don't find on the flute...it often is really tempting to rush through tunes I already now from the flute on the pipes without those triplets!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:44 am 
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Back then I didn't understand what he meant, but now I think he probably meant a lack of staccato ornamentation that you don't find on the flute...it often is really tempting to rush through tunes I already now from the flute on the pipes without those triplets!


It can be a challenge for flute and whistleplayers to learn how to think like a piper. And, it's not just the 'staccato ornamentation' either. :P

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:45 am 
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The more tunes you learn (i.e., the more listening you do), the more you learn about the tunes. Your fingers become more relaxed and the triplets will come. It's worth taking time to learn the common triplets: B-c#-d, A-c#-A, g-e-f, f-g-f, F#-G-A. And learn off-the-knee E.

The main thing is to articulate. Whistlers and flute players can use their breath, fiddlers can use their bows. Learning to play like a piper is learning to use the qualities of staccato, legato, on-the-knee, and off-the-knee to do the same and bring voice to your playing. Voice is the right word. Sing the tune. What did you do with it while singing it? Now try to get the pipes to sound like that. It's not about technique, it's about music. Let the tune do the work. You don't have to add much.

And lots and lots of listening. Listen widely to all the instruments, not just pipes. Especially listen to singers, to good sean-nós singers.

Ádh mór!


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