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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:11 pm 
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Location: Sea Bright, NJ
It all came about because I heard a recording of Paddy Moloney playing "Taimse 'im Chodladh" on the pipes. Apart from what got mixed into various band recordings I--relatively new to Irish music--had never really been knowingly exposed to the uilleann pipes. I listened to that dirge over and over on the train from New York down to central Jersey. Where has this been all my life, this sound like a human voice and unlike anything I'd ever heard before? Since then, I've been listening to Britton, to other guys on those Rounder CDs from Chicago...I found the Drones and Chanters recording...now a Seamus Ennis and Rowsome Tradition CD. And I've got to tell you, this is getting bad. I took up the Irish flute not all that long ago and now there's THIS.
<p>
One of the piping websites advises after all is said and done to be sensible and get a saxophone and play <i>real</i> music. Right. So there's me, who's done the opposite and put up a Buescher alto and bunch of mouthpieces for sale via eBay, not to mention a Selmer Boehm flute, all the name of front money for practice pipes. And all the while I'm staggering around in the dark with my tinwhistles and Irish flute trying to figure out why the hell I'm doing this to myself at the tender age of 57. And not having the slightest idea of what type of thing to look for in pipes except the one bit of advice everyone gives--buy from someone local. And the other bit of advice: don't buy a set made in Pakistan because you'll pay for it later. Unless <i>that's</i> bad advice too. I have no idea.
<p>
Except I'm in love with that sound to the point where, having played musical instruments of one kind or another since I was about 9, it's impossible for me <i>not</i> to hear a sound so haunting without wanting to grab the instrument from which it came and try to get within a thousand yards of being able to reproduce it.
<p>
Did someone ever equate love with insanity?...


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: KenWolman on 2001-11-23 20:14 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 8:49 pm 
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Location: Surlyville
Ken,
In the last 4 or 5 years I've spent close to $10,000 (not including computers) on musical instruments, amplifiers and accessories. A good portion of that was spent on Uilleann pipes. I don't see an end to this madness either. Tonight, I bought a Casio keyboard to actually 'help' me along my musical way.
In the world of technology, it is possible to sample the sound of Uilleann pipes and play the digitized sound on any MIDI compatable instrument, including your computer keyboard via software. I would estimate you could only be 50-60% accurate on the Uilleann sound but severely lacking on the Uilleann 'technique' like popping sounds that is really the heart of the pipes and makes it so unique to other reeded instruments like oboes, clarinets and saxophones.
This may be sufficient for a studio musician, club musician or recording artist to do on a live performance when it isn't practical to hire a Uilleann piper but I wouldn't consider showing up at a traditional session with your keyboard unless you want beer 'accidentally' poured into the keys when you go to the restroom!
Pipes are pipes... and you probably won't find another substitute. I know whistles didn't do it for me. I'm considering an insulated case to keep a spare set of pipes in my car so I can get a musical 'fix' when on the road working.
------
Before you get addicted, I suggest you seek some professional help. Call your physician... better yet call a preist, I'm sure there's still time to turn back. Have you considered cancelling that alto sax eBay auction ??

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tony on 2001-11-23 21:51 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 9:30 pm 
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Quote:
Before you get addicted, I suggest you seek some professional help. Call your physician... better yet call a preist, I'm sure there's still time to turn back. Have you considered cancelling that alto sax eBay auction ??

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tony on 2001-11-23 21:51 ]</font>

With my luck the priest will be sitting there with a set of pipes across his lap. In my worst fantasies, he's telling me that my penance is to listen to recordings of myself after two weeks. "No practice pipes for you, my son, you start with the full set, and if the devil don't getcha, then everyone at the local tionol will rip yer resonators to bits and turn the keys into ear-bobs for their wives and significant others!":-)
<p>
Not so many years ago I used to work up near West 48th Street in Manhattan, and I could wander into the few remaining music stores (a sorry remainder) on what used to be called <i>Music Street</i>. The various synthesizers, keyboards, and other faux-this-and-that instruments were pretty amazing...except you could never get an electric Casio to really sound <b>like</b> the organ of the Cathedral of Chartres or a highland bagpiper. If they had uilleann pipes on the menu I missed it...yet I've discovered that those pipes, in the right hands, sound awfully like a violin or an organ or a keening voice on a dark night or just about anything the player wants them to sound like. There's a soul in there. I've been playing music long enough and listening to music long enough to be crazy enough to know it when I hear it.
<p>
As for calling back my bid, hell no. I withdrew one bid from eBay already because the bids were laughable and I ended up selling a very nice Kueng plumwood recorder in a private sale, but got socked with eBay's listing fee anyway. I suppose I crossed some sort of Rubicon this afternoon, even if the first stop on the other bank is a practice set.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2001 11:25 pm 
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Allright Ken, we've got you now...
As far as the low end keyboard units making pseudo instrument sounds, who could complain for under $400 ? it's the $2,000 and up high performance synthesizer workstations with sampling ability that can give a talented keyboard player some awesome power and make a believer out of you. I would expect a keyboard player in a group backing someone like Celine Dion to already have sampled pipes in his arsenal.

Back to the real thing... where do you want to go with Uilleann pipes ??


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2001 6:45 am 
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Quote:
On 2001-11-24 00:25, Tony wrote:
Allright Ken, we've got you now...
...
Back to the real thing... where do you want to go with Uilleann pipes ??


Ha...got me now...I'm having visions of Uilleann pipers perched on telephone poles like Hitchcock's birds:-).
<p>
Where do I want to go with this? I don't know if that's a reasonable question when it comes to <i>any</i> musical instrument, but it's also one I need to answer if only for myself.
<dl>
<li>
To play the thing for its own sake, for the sound, as a way to feed myself.
<li>
At some point, sooner rather than later, to do something I've avoided with other instruments, take formal instruction from someone who can play the pipes. With the flute, I've acquired the MadforTrad tutorial worked up by Seamus Egan. I know one exists for the pipes as well, but I suspect that with the pipes, more hands-on instruction would be required. Or at least I'd want it.
<li>
Play with other musicians? I suppose that's the object of any instrument. That's the real gray area: I don't know where I'd play, with whom, at what level. With other people who are learning, with a teacher, as a doubler on flute (most certainly). At what point does <i>anyone</i> announce to the world <i>I play instrument X</i> and then wait to be asked to prove it?
<li>
In the meantime I keep on with the flute and whistle and wait to see what happens. But yes...the pipes have got me.
</bl>


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: kenwolman on 2001-11-24 16:43 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2001 2:41 pm 
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Quote:
On 2001-11-24 00:25, Tony wrote:
Back to the real thing... where do you want to go with Uilleann pipes ??


Afraid I have to answer this question again and in a rather less desirable way.
<p>
Who said life is what happens while you're making other plans? He or she spoke the truth. I was given notice at my job this morning. Subway Musician doesn't quite fit my overall occupational profile or I'd take an instrument I can actually play reasonably well--the bass clarinet--into the subway, leave the case open, and see what I could put together at the end of a day. The subways are full of guys who think they can play the saxophone and trumpet. I've never seen anyone working it out on a bass clarinet. At least I'd be unique.
<p>
Then again, I've never seen a bagpiper of any sort in the subway either. "Where do you want to go with the Uilleann pipes?" Into the train to Far Rockaway? I've never seen bagpipers of any description down in the subway, and I grew up in New York. Probably the humidity and temperature extremes would do awful things to the wood and reeds if thieves didn't get the pipes first.
<p>
Well, nothing lasts forever.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2001 7:04 pm 
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I've seen some old pictures (on the internet) of street pipers in Ireland. I suppose they still keep the tradition, probably fewer in number these days.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2001 3:43 am 
[quote]
On 2001-11-23 21:49, Tony wrote:
I wouldn't consider showing up at a traditional session with your keyboard

It's not quite as uncommon to do that actually. I have sat in session with Geraldine Cotter, George Byrt and Ita Crehan, all bringing their keyboard into whereever we were playing. Not a bother.

And on that other issue: why should the pipes need to take you anywhere when you enjoy playing them?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 2:44 am 
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I'll keep it short: DM Quinn, Alain Froment, Andreas Rogge, Seth Gallagher. These makers are all freaking geniuses... and you'll wait a bit and pay for it...you will never regret trying to get the best when you buy uilleanns. I own a DM Quinn chanter in D, as well as a Gallagher 1/2 set in C, and both of them siiiinnnnggg.......


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 6:22 am 
Geniuses, hm. Some could be up for discussion there I think.

Maybe not so relevant at starting level, opinions are at least devided on some of these maker's pipes and with reason.

Enough said.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2001-12-02 07:50 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 7:33 am 
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How we got to the question of who makes the good stuff I don't know, but I guess we're there. I put a musical instrument--an alto sax--up on eBay in hopes of raising enough money to acquire an O'Grady practice set. Why O'Grady?--because his reputation is good and Song of the Sea always has a few in stock. Well, the sale flopped. However, I find that David Daye has something exactly along the same lines for far, far less money: as in $340 + shipping...and he's at work designing drones that will sell at about the same price. The price I <i>was</i> offered for the horn will more that cover Daye's set. So maybe a little voice is whispering in my ear "Go for it."
<p>
Now, for all I know Daye's a member of this group, so be careful what you say:-). But he and I had a long conversation the other day in which he praised Seth Gallagher to the skies. I still hope to get up to Cold Spring this week or next to hear his pipes. But at a time of financial uncertainty...well, I suppose the question is whether it's worth waiting 18 months for a Gallagher set on the assumption that I'll be productively employed again by then (I'd damned well better be) or simply roll the sale price of the sax into the Daye some-assembly-required set. If I opt to wait, what do I do in the meantime. I know: "Play the whistle." I do. But as I've said, the pipes have got me. And hearing Paddy Keenan's <i>Long Grazing Acre</i> was just plain torture:-).


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2001 8:43 am 
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I say buy the David Daye set now...
Sometime early next year you'll have saved up some deposit money to place an order with Gallagher. This way, you'll have a good time learning on the Daye chanter and not have to wait some 18+ months just to get started.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 5:14 pm 
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Long time, no post.
<p>
The Daye practice set is on order. The money order went out today. Oh, not that I'm back to work full-time...this job market is the worst I've seen it in 18 years. But the money was there and I decided to go for it. Sometimes you just make your own luck.
<p>
David hand-held me through the process. Hearing the mp3 of his new in-development drones did it. I can wait six weeks and do Some Assembly Required, work with a customized reed, do my own varnishing and connecting according to directions.
<p>
I also--wisely, I think--ordered the NPU instructional video until such time as I can hook up with a teacher. The teaching I'll be doing part-time over at College of New Jersey will be in Rhetoric, not music...unless one of the students wants to trade uilleann pipe lessons:-).

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: KenWolman on 2002-01-14 18:15 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2002 8:21 pm 
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Location: Roswell, GA USA
Ken, good luck with the job search. We've been told that we will be cutting back on jobs in the next two months. I'm not sure which is worse, knowing that jobs will be cut and having to wait for it to happen...or having the cuts made without warning.

Anyway, I have started playing the whistle with the thought that I would like to learn the Upipes..but didn't have that kind of money to invest in an instrument I might not be able to play. Therefore, I have been toying with the idea of getting a Daye set to try this out before putting serious money into it.

Please post once you get your set and let us know how it goes.
-gary


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2002 1:53 am 
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Now wait, Kevin.... you can't just make such a vague statement and wander away! I've played Quinn and Gallagher sets and thought that all were wonderful. I've seen and talked to Rogge and am thoroughly impressed with his workmanship if nothing else. Froment's work is beyond reproach, especially after listening to Eric Rigler boogie on his set during a Bad Haggis gig. I own a 1985 DMQ chanter as well as a Gallagher 1/2 set in C and both are superb, in my opinion. In fact, when he closed his waiting list to further orders, DMQ told people to look at Gallagher pipes. I'm not contesting your opinion, I just want more detail.


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