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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:31 am 
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Location: Éire / Cymru
Hi,

I would like to learn to play the Renaissance small pipes. I have seen a set http://www.earlymusicshop.com/product.a ... ll-pipes-d

My budget is approx £500.00

Question is that I have never played the pipes; so what would be the best method to learn?

Would I need to learn on a practice chanter first?

I would be playing on my own and probably learning renaissance music.

Totally newbie to the pipes.

Any advice welcome.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:45 am 
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I would want to try before buying. Or at least know who made them and not buy them if they are made in Pakistan.

I would think the way to learn them would be just buy a set and start. It says they're in D, but doesn't explain the scale. It might or might not be the same as some other sort of bagpipes. It says it's based on a hummelchen. You might go for one of those instead, since there is bound to be more support. I found one maker via google with attractive instruments in your price range. Youtube video of him playing one too.

http://www.bagpipesonoda.eu/EN-Huemmelchen.html


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:44 pm 
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that set is undoubtedly made in Pakistan.
I bought one oh about 15, 16, years ago.
The bag will be stiff and leaky: pipe bags *should* be pliant and airtight.
The blowpipe valve, which normally claps cleanly shut to keep air from coming back out of the bag, will not seal, and make an impolite farting noise as it tries to seal.
The drone reeds will be these tiny useless pieces of cane that only an expert will be able to adjust so they make some semblance of a steady drone tone.
The Chanter reed will be composite (plastic) held together with a poorly tied brass wire and transparent scotchtape.
Blowing it, the drones will shut off because the chanter takes too much air pressure to sound, adjusting the chanter reed will throw the scale of the chanter entirely out of tune.
As far as manufacture goes, there may be burrs/splinters of wood inside the bores of the pipes,
any fittings (drone end decorations) will shortly become unglued and fall off;
the drone bores themselves are (in places) rolled brass tubes that will leak air along their badly welded seams,
the chanter fingerholes will be nearly impossible to feel and require great stretching of some fingers.
Haveing said all this, it is possible to make music on the thing, if one has sufficent reed knowledge and prior bagpipe experience, is willing to do a bit of woodwork, and invest further in such things as blowpipe valves, a new bag, etc., which would likely amount to more than the sum in mention on the link. My "medieval smallpipe" makes an appearance in daylight only when i have to do a programme on the evolution of pipes, or some such thing. It goes squeek, and i put it down & move on the next example :D

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:12 am 
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DON'T BUY THIS!!!
Like CHasR wrote, these are made in Pakistan, and the workmanship is unbelievably bad.
While it is possible to get the drones going (need new reeds, of course), it's very hard to get a steady tone at the desired pitch.
The chanter needs total workover, which is definitely not worth it. I've had two of these in my workshop, and I'll never again do any work on another one.
Besides, the price is absolutely ridiculous.
For your budget you definitely can get a high quality instrument - maybe not the very fanciest models, but a well-made, good-sounding and definitely working instrument from a renowned maker.
In Germany, there are the afore-mentioned Toru Sonoda, also Jürgen Ross (http://dudelsackbau.de/), Andreas Rogge (http://uilleann-pipes.de/), Alexander Tille (http://tille.de/), Jens Güntzel (http://www.dudelsackwerkstatt.de/), Mario Siegismund (http://www.musikshop-siegismund.de/) [in random order] and some more. Most makers offer both renaissance recorder fingering and half-closed french bagpipe fingering as options. Some makers' sites are in German only, if you need help, contact me.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:56 am 
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Thank you for the warning about the pipes from Pakistan, and also for those links.

So I should order a set and no need for a practice chanter?

Much obliged. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:11 am 
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Jürgen Ross does offer practice chanters (recorder fingering only) but IMHO they don't make that much sense - the Hümmelchen is not much louder than a pc anyway, and the pressure and air requirements of the instruments are very low - you should easily be able to handle this.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:04 am 
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Hi,

I have sent an inquiry to Jens Güntzel at http://www.dudelsackwerkstatt.de/renais ... emmelchen/ about their Hümmelchen in g°/a°


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:04 am 
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Celtaidd wrote:
Hi,

I have sent an inquiry to Jens Güntzel at http://www.dudelsackwerkstatt.de/renais ... emmelchen/ about their Hümmelchen in g°/a°


Wow those look fantastic!

I don't know much German but it seems that more or less similar bagpipes are being offered in a range of keys/pitches. I don't know what he means by a set being in g/a or c/d. Which is the 'six finger note'? Which is the note played by putting down the little finger?

What fingerings do these use?

Towards the bottom of the page, would that be a large chanter that plays in Low D, the same as the low octave of a D uilleann chanter? That would be fantastic! (Or does it play in low C?)

And I like the drone shutoff switches and tuning collars (that's what they look like to me, I would have no clue how to say those things in German).

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:39 am 
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My two cents

A guy in our medieval band plays the Hummelchen. The sound is very quiet, comparable in volume to a tin whistle played in the first octave (actually my susato is slightly louder).

For those asking: the fingering is open, pretty much the same of a recorder. An Hummelchen in c/d means that you can play it in c major or d minor (you can tune the drones in c and g to play in c major or in d and a to play in d minor).


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:16 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Celtaidd wrote:
Hi,

I have sent an inquiry to Jens Güntzel at http://www.dudelsackwerkstatt.de/renais ... emmelchen/ about their Hümmelchen in g°/a°


Wow those look fantastic!

I don't know much German but it se


In the upper left is a drop down for "language" and you can switch the page to English.

Unfortunately some of it doesn't translate.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:10 pm 
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lucky141 wrote:
the fingering is open, pretty much the same of a recorder.

An Hummelchen in c/d means that you can play it in c major or d minor (you can tune the drones in c and g to play in c major or in d and a to play in d minor).


Thanks!

I'm still wondering about the connexion between the notes and the fingering.

So, on the c/d chanter, is it

x xxx xxxx c
x xxx xxxo d

?

Using the 'six finger note' approach to chanter keys, it would be considered to be a chanter in d, on which the flat leading tone could be used to construct a c major scale (using the crossfingered f natural).

Thanks for the tip about the translator. I usually try to figure out things in the native language first, because sometimes the translators come up with strange and incorrect things.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:18 am 
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You're right about the fingering, all fingers down = C, six finger note D.
The scale would be C major, or starting on D, D dorian. B/Bb and C/C# usually work with crossfingering.
On some chanters cross fingered F# works, on others it doesn't.
Interestingly, when the Hümmelchen was revived in the 1970ies, it had been designed to play a plagal scale in F mostly (suitable for many Renaissance tunes), with drones tuned to F and C. Over the years it apparently has become more popular to play tunes in an authentic C scale instead (probably because the instrument has been picked up by folk players) and during the last 12 years or so, use it for D dorian/aeolian (as the instrument has been adopted by pseudo-medieval-neo pagan-metal punk-whatever players). Therefore, the drone configuration has changed, instead of the F drone you will mostly find a G drone which can be tuned to A, plus the C drone which can be tuned to D.
For a six finger note approach I would recommend to get an instrument with half-closed French bagpipe fingering, on these you can play major and minor on the same fundamental (in most cases, D).


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:10 am 
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Interesting to have the Major scale based upon the seven finger note, like the Boehm flute.

It's an old thing in Highland piping though, tunes based on the seven finger note, however in the Lydian mode.

The most famous is Cabar Feidh, which went to Ireland as Rakish Paddy. The uilleann pipes lack the low flat leading tone the tune requires.

Here it is, though in a modern Pipe Band setting, with transitional segue and gimmicky ending, but very well played

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQKtaUULiZs

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:48 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Interesting to have the Major scale based upon the seven finger note, like the Boehm flute.

There is no historical background to this. Praetorius' "Syntagma musicum" clearly gives the six finger note as the base of the scale, with a lower leading tone.
The first reconstructions in the 1970ies however were based on recorder fingering, probably with respect to classically trained players, so they don't have to learn a different fingering.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:07 am 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
Praetorius' "Syntagma musicum" clearly gives the six finger note as the base of the scale, with a lower leading tone.


Yes that's what one would expect, given how Spanish and French and Scottish pipes are made.

Bulgarian pipes are based on the three-finger note. But French and Scottish and uilleann pipers will play loads of tunes based on the three-finger note, and Bulgarian pipers will play tunes based on the six-finger note; in other words there appears to be a shared fingering approach somewhat.

Both Scottish and Bulgarian pipers will play tunes based on the seven-finger note. Obviously this works better drone-wise on the Bulgarian pipes! All the Highland pipe tunes in G Lydian sound a bit odd against the drones. It would be handy to have Highland drones adjustable to play G, in fact I rigged up a set of Highland drones to play in G to use with some G tunes, just to hear what it would sound like.

Here's what would be, on any 'normal' instrument, a straightforward tune in G Major, The Campbells Are Coming. (Due to the pitch of the pipes, A flat Major rather than G Major, actually.)

But with the drones in A (concert B flat) the tune has a strange effect, like all the 'seven finger note' tunes on the Highland pipes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Ftkjv5NvA

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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