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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 4:36 am 
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Hi all,

I wonder what effect the transition from a concert set to flat pipes has on the playing. When playing flat sets on a regular basis, can one "unlearn" to handle a concert set? Does one have to readjust the bag/bellows work? Or is it likely 'never' to return to the concert set?
Inquiring mind needs to know
Christian


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 5:03 am 
When playing a really nice flat set(I could expand on that but won't do so for now)makes you not as much 'un-learn' the concert pitch pipes. It makes you realise how horrible they actually sound, what the faults and in the wide bore chanter design are and which limitations they impose on your music. I never touched a concert set since I started on the flat set. They just don't do the job for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 5:57 am 
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Peter,
please elaborate on that a bit. What do you mean by a "decent" flat set? Does it depend on the key (I think I remember you play a C set)? Or on the maker? Are flat sets easier to play? Would they even make a better "beginner" instrument than the concert practice sets? By the way, I remember you teach pupils. Do you do that with a flat chanter?
And, most interesting: In which way does the design of a concert set limit your playing?
Christian

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ChristianRo on 2002-01-29 06:59 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 7:02 am 
a good flat chanter allows you far greater control over tone of each note than the large hole, wide bore concert set. When I play a concert chanter I find I can't do half the things I usually do.
Different pitches have different voices and some makers certainly make them better than others.
As I find the flat chanter easier to play, has more stabitliy and lacks a few problems associated with the concert chanter, I would think they suit the beginner well.

One of my pupils has a Willie Rowsome D with a Leo chanter, I spent a lot of time setting up the drones for her last week and it is going well now but I would not sit down and play it if I was going to enjoy myself. I don't envy her for it anyway, sometimes I even feel sorry for her when I see her struggling with it.
I only have the C set and teach the tunes on the whistle. Which works fine.

As for limitation: a lot of the things I do on the flat chanter just won't work on the concert chanter which lacks the voice.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2002-01-29 08:03 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 7:37 am 
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Christian,
I have D, C & B chanters and I find faster response on the D, perhaps because my hands are more accustomed to the feel. I also think I get better pitch bending and stronger vibrato on my D.
The differences aren't excessive but I feel it plays a small part in actual playing style. Similar to the way a guitarist would change style playing steel strings versus nylon. The feel of the neck, shape of the instrument has a factor to the outcome.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 9:16 am 
Theres little point I think describing how each of us perceives his chanter compared to the next one. I was just trying how many distinctly different sounds I could give lower octave A. 8-10 I ould think, all useful in some way or other and that was before lifting the chanter off the knee or applying any of the possible ways of play a vibrato on it. I have never come across a concert chanter that could even remotely match that. I have come across many flat chanter though that couldn't do it either.
Have I a point? I don't know, I can't go back to cocnert pitch and often find it hard to listen to them too. And that was the question we started out with.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 9:28 am 
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Peter... where would you place a narrow bore D? I haven't tried one, but I would hope it plays more like a flat pitch chanter.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 9:31 am 
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So it's all a matter of taste, again? From the one or two occasions I had the opportunity to play flat chanters I had the impression they lend themselves a bit more to subtleties than concert chanters. The latter, in my opinion, demand a bit more tension or "aggression". This impression led me to my first question. I'm a bit afraid to lose this mentioned tension when I start to fool around with my new b chanter, which should be due for delivery this spring. Think I'll have to find out for myself.
By the way, CD recordings of flat sets never appealed very much to me. They seem to lose during the recording process. Whereas when played or listened to live, they are pure magic!
Christian


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2002 10:45 am 
No Christian it's not a matter of taste, not completely anyway. A good flat chanter more possibilities and a wider tonal spectrum you can actually measure it.
You can do everything on a flat that you can do on a concert pitch one and more and there is no need to loose anything. In fact you gain a lot because you make more musical noises.

Unless you get a bad flat set ofcourse.

I edit in an example to aid my argument:
Listen to Liam O Flynn's tracks on the CD The Drones and the chanters. First he plays the air Maire Ni Mhongain o nSeamus Ennis' pipes and admitidly he does a fine job, he comes very close to Ennis' version and if I were to pick my favourite Flynn piece this would probably be it. He continues on with a set of reels on his concert set (and I think I can guess at the chanter he is using) The moment he starts the D set I cringe in disgust every time I hear it, after the flat piping it sound really really horrible.
Listen to it.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2002-01-29 13:55 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 1:48 am 
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Thanks Peter, I'll do my duty. I have the CD but I don't expect myself to cringe. By the way, I think I had the opportunity to look at Liam's Ennis set a couple of years ago when Andreas Rogge had it for restoration. It did not look as if it was to make "musical noises" ever again.
Christian


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 3:20 am 
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On 2002-01-30 02:48, ChristianRo wrote:
Thanks Peter, I'll do my duty. I have the CD but I don't expect myself to cringe. By the way, I think I had the opportunity to look at Liam's Ennis set a couple of years ago when Andreas Rogge had it for restoration. It did not look as if it was to make "musical noises" ever again.
Christian


the concert pitch track itself is fine, I was just saying that coming from the flat set the D is really yukkie.

What happened to the set while it was there and the whole ethics of the matter has been discussed extensively I suggest we better leave that can of worms where it is.
Suffice to say I saw Flynn play the set duting the early 90s after another restoration, I played it myself and it was going well then.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2002-01-30 05:25 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 5:02 am 
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All I know is that there seems to have been quite an uproar on that matter. I do not know details and I don't want to know. I only want to add that I am very fond of Andreas and his craftsmanship.
Christian


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 10:30 am 
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Location: Sacramento, California
I have a 20 + year old Dave Williams concert pitch half set (with a Benedict Kohler reed) and a one year old Quinn C 3/4 set, also with a Benedict reed

I only play the concert pitch when going to session. it is fussier about everything, it is harder to blow, will drop octaves easier and doesn't have the sweetness to satisfy my musical desires.It wears me out in about 45 minutes of play, though on some special nights I can go almost 90 minutes with it.

At ninety minutes on the C, I am still happily playing along.I usually run out of time before that set tires me. the pressure required seems as though it could be about half. I need to apply little more pressure than the weight of my arm to get it singing happily along. The chanter is sweet and wonderful to listen to. Three of my fiddler friends happily change their fiddle to C tuning to play with me.

The first time we did this, we started giggling it was so much fun. The best way I could think to describe it is in Concert Pitch the music bounces frantically off the walls, like a fly trying to get out the closed window. When we switched to C, it was more like the music filled the room, gently rolling around like an ocean wave on a beautiful sandy beach. it was everything we had, for 5 years, been trying to get out of Irish music.

IMNSHO There is only one reason to own a concert pitch chanter, to play with other folks in a session that won't tune down for you.


Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 6:10 pm 
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Jeez, guys, you're leaving me in the dust here. I consider myself lucky to even have a practice set. Never thought I'd get that far. I've never heard a flat set so I have no idea what you're all talking about, but I'll go out and get that Flynn CD you've mentioned. I feel like a hacker reading your posts.

On the rare occasion when I actually get something like singing out of my set I feel like I've accomplished something, actually played some music for a change, which makes it all worthwhile.

The chanter/reed combo I have requires some strength to get it to play, and if I take a couple of days off I find my arm and shoulder get sore quite quickly. So here's my question; how many hours per day/week do you put in?

Mark


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2002 6:54 pm 
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Mark,
A 'concert pitch' chanter is a wide bore D chanter, where your lowest note (D) is tuned to D on a piano. This is your most commonly produced Uilleann chanter.
'Flat pitch' refers to any narrow bore chanter that is tuned below D. Generally, it's C or B but I use this loosely as there are some older sets (or reproductions of older sets) that were made before A=440 was established as a standard. Some of these older chanters tune somewhere between piano tuning, as much as a half step up or down from a standard key. Many pipers will perform solo on their favorite flat sets and switch to a concert set when performing with other (non-tunable) instruments like a concertina.


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