Legato playing

A forum about Uilleann (Irish) pipes and the surly people who play them.
Post Reply
Flake Brown
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:17 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: I am new to uillean piping but am keen to learn more. I am a big fan of the playing of Johnny Doran!

Legato playing

Post by Flake Brown »

Hi there. Just a quick question from a beginner. Ive just started learning on a half set, having been playing whistle for about 20 years. I find im kind of instinctively transfering the legato style of whistle fingering onto the pipes, and im pleased with the results, BUT...im finding im pumping away at the bellows so much im exhausted after about half an hour! Is this purely a fault of my technique so far, or, if i adopted a tighter style of playing, would i find the bag would require less pumping?
chaos97
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:49 pm
antispam: No

Re: Legato playing

Post by chaos97 »

No, the difference of air needed between the two styles wouldn't be significant. I would guess the two biggest possibilities would be either bad technique or your set is needing too much air to play properly. If it is just a practice set you should be loosing next to no air while putting pressure on a full bag with all the tone holes covered. If you are feeling the bag deflating try to find where the leak is happening. work your way down or up assessing each component. How do the bellows work with your hand over the outlet? What about with the blowpipe? The bellows & bag without the chanter? etc.
There's also a probability that the reed is too open and requiring too much pressure to sound properly. Can you reach the g or a in the 2nd octave at all? This is a difficult area to discern for new pipers especially those that get 2nd hand sets or without the help of the maker & nearby pipers. Is your set made by a reputable maker or does it have Pakistani origins? Frequently prospective pipers end up going with brands like Geoffrey because the cost is so comparatively low & they are easily available. Unfortunately, these sets are borderline non-functioning.
Flake Brown
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:17 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: I am new to uillean piping but am keen to learn more. I am a big fan of the playing of Johnny Doran!

Re: Legato playing

Post by Flake Brown »

Thanks for your advice! Yes, unfortunatly i am one of those gullible players that fell for a cheap pakistani set! However, ive managed so far to hit a high G. Im pretty sure that pipes are not leaking. The manufacturers were good enough to completely refund me! So i have decided to persevere in the hopes that one day i will be able to afford a full set! This morning i managed to squeeze out 'the job of journeywork' and im hoping in time i will find a way round the limutations of my particular pipes. I will try closing off thd reed a bit and see how i get on....
User avatar
rorybbellows
Posts: 3117
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:50 am
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 10
Location: the cutting edge

Re: Legato playing

Post by rorybbellows »

As a beginner you're doing well to be able to play for a half hour before getting tired. So the makers of your pipes gave you a refund but let you keep the pipes, is that right?
RORY
..
I'm Spartacus .
Flake Brown
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:17 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: I am new to uillean piping but am keen to learn more. I am a big fan of the playing of Johnny Doran!

Re: Legato playing

Post by Flake Brown »

Thats right! Lucky me huh? I take it as a sign from the cosmos that im learning the right instrument☺
User avatar
rorybbellows
Posts: 3117
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:50 am
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 10
Location: the cutting edge

Re: Legato playing

Post by rorybbellows »

Geez that was indeed lucky, so just wondering if you are now playing the instrument on what basis did you request and receive a refund. Could be some useful information for others who have fallen into the Pakistani pipes vortex of despair.
RORY
I'm Spartacus .
Flake Brown
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:17 pm
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: I am new to uillean piping but am keen to learn more. I am a big fan of the playing of Johnny Doran!

Re: Legato playing

Post by Flake Brown »

Hi, yes to answer your question, i just requested a refund on the basis that the b an a notes sounded very flat, and the drones only worked intermittently....
reedmasters
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 7:16 pm
antispam: No

Re: Legato playing

Post by reedmasters »

That doesn't always work. Don't run off and buy a set thinking you'll get them for free. I bought a set off eBay. When I complained about the several things wrong with the set, they promised me the world! They said they'd replace them or give me a refund. They strung me along until the deadline for complaining was past and gave me nothing. Now I'm left with a set that has multiple issues including a leaky mainstock with an elliptical shaped stock among other things.
User avatar
pancelticpiper
Posts: 5106
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
antispam: No
Please enter the next number in sequence: 8
Tell us something.: Playing Scottish and Irish music in California for 45 years.
These days many discussions are migrating to Facebook but I prefer the online chat forum format.
Location: WV to the OC

Re: Legato playing

Post by pancelticpiper »

It's obvious to state that a beginner needs an actual instrument to learn on.

You can't learn to play the uilleann pipes on a non-uilleann pipe. These non-instruments are what a music-repair-person I know calls ISO's (Instrument-Shaped Objects) which is an apt description of things that have the specs of instruments on the outside, but don't have the specs of instruments on the inside.

About requiring too much effort, there are so many causes for this

1) leaking or poorly-designed bellows
2) leaking bag and/or stocks
3) leaking connector
4) reed that's too stiff (either made too stiff, or not adjusted correctly)
5) incorrect technique (pumping the bellows, operating the bag, sealing the holes, etc.)

It's why fixing the issues a beginner has can't be done over the internet. An experienced player has to play your instrument to discover what's going on.

Ditto with all the little squeaks and squawks beginners usually have. Only by playing the beginner's pipes can the experienced player know how each sound is being made.
Richard Cook
c1980 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle
Post Reply