HomeForumShopResourcesEvents
 
 
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
Welcome to the Kunena forum!

Tell us and our members who you are, what you like and why you became a member of this site.
We welcome all new members and hope to see you around a lot!
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2

TOPIC: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter

Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 11 months ago #142

  • Kasie
  • Kasie's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
Hello there!

I want to get started learning the scottish smallpipes. (I'm not too interested in the great highland pipes yet, because they seem really unweildy for my small size.) I heard I should start with a practice chanter. Is there a "scottish smallpipe practice chanter", or should I be shopping for a highland bagpipes practice chanter?

Also, if I want to get a set in the key of D, would I get a "long" or "regular" length practice chanter? I might also get the key of A, so for that, which length would you recommend?

THANKS!

~Kasie (Monterey Bay area, California, USA)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 10 months ago #144

  • ggreig
  • ggreig's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Junior Boarder
  • Posts: 31
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 1
Hi,

Great to hear that you want to take up such a wonderful instrument! I would go for a regular practice chanter. When you get round to buying smallpipes you will have to try out the chanters to see if your hands are big enough to manage the stretch of an A smallpipe chanter. The D is at the small end of the size range while the A is at the other. Given time, you will probably manage them all but it is best to start with something you find comfortable. Also, you will need to decide what sort of playing you are going to do; it is to be just for your own enjoyment or the fun of playing with others? That may influence which key you chose. I suggest that you take your time in chosing which key. Likewise it is good to hear and even try various makes before deciding which is right for you.

George.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 10 months ago #145

  • Kasie
  • Kasie's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
Thank you sincerely for your reply George!

By regular practice chanter, I think you mean 'regular length', rather than 'the standard kind people get when learning great highland pipes'?

Last night I went to a concert given by a local piper, and asked him a few questions:

"Is there a 'smallpipe' practice chanter, or do you get the same one a person would get who's learning the great highland pipes?"

He said something like, "It's the same one. There isn't a special one for the smallpipes.

Then I asked, "If I want to play in sessions, shouldn't I get a chanter in the key of D? (Most tunes in our tunebook are D.)

He said the key of A is what I'd want for sessions because with the A chanter you also get the key of D, and the D chanter is in a higher range of the D scale, which won't match up with other instruments as well.

"Which length would you recommend?"

He said he recommends the long because the extra length, while it doesn't change the pitch of the notes, is helpful for resting on a table, which lets your fingers relax a little, like they would be if the chanter was hanging from the air bag.

Then I asked whether he prefers the Scottish smallpipes, or the Irish Uilleann pipes.

He said he very much prefers the smallpipes because there is a lot of maintenance that goes with keeping the uilleann pipes in good shape, and they are more of a lifestyle than just an instrument you play.

So I'm going with his recommendation and ordering a long one in A. Now I just have to decide which brand and poly versus wood!

Do you think it's worth the extra money to go with wood (gibson long cocobolo wood ~$129) or just the a polypenco one ($60 - $100)?

THANKS!

Kasie
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 10 months ago #146

  • ggreig
  • ggreig's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Junior Boarder
  • Posts: 31
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 1
Hi Kasie,

You would be surprised about how casual many pipers are about their practice chanters - put half a dozen together and it will be a miracle if any two are tuned the same! That said, it is more pleasing to hear a decent well tuned one. It is unusual for a beginner to spend the extra money getting a wooden PC tho' I do believe that they sound a little better. If you do go for a wooden one, make sure that it has a plastic top since the moisture may crack a wooden top. I think that most wooden ones are supplied with plastic tops nowadays.

Your piper friend is right about the benefit of placing the PC on a table and having relaxed fingers - it also allows a tutor to see your fingers - but you can place a normal length one on a table as well. You refer to your 'small size'; you may find it uncomfortable placing a long chanter on a table. I have both but never use the long one. The main benefit of a long one is that the finger spacing is closer to that of a highland chanter and a smallpipes chanter in A. As a beginner, possibly with small hands, you may find this a problem. You will definitely find it easier with a normal length chanter.

The best course of action is to find a tutor and get his / her advice or see and put your hands on both sizes of chanter. Then you decide which is the more comfortable. If you can't do that, I suggest that you buy a poly normal length chanter and you will not have spent too much money. A normal length chanter will not be the wrong choice, a long one might be and you will only know by trying one.

I would also not rush into chosing which key to go for; wait until you are playing a bit. I have A, C and D and enjoy playing them all and can produce arguments in favour of each. You may not be aware that some makers produce combination sets which allow you to play A and D just by changing the chanters and altering the tuning of the drones. But I would wait before deciding if that extra complexity and expense is what you really want.

Hope that helps but, if you have more questions, just ask.

George.
Last Edit: 2 years 10 months ago by ggreig.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 10 months ago #150

  • Kasie
  • Kasie's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
Hello George,

Thank you for your reply. The comfortable spread of my left-hand fingers from index (behind first joint) to pinkie (pad) is about 3 1/2 inches but I can stretch up to about 4 1/4 inches. Do you know how far apart the bottom four holes are on a long chanter?

Thanks!

~Kasie T.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: Scottish Smallpipes Practice Chanter 2 years 10 months ago #154

  • ggreig
  • ggreig's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Junior Boarder
  • Posts: 31
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 1
Hi Kasie,

Your left hand is the top one, the right hand is the lower one.

The spread between the bottom four holes on my long PC is 3 3/8 inches, while my normal one is 3 1/8 inches and my (Hamish Moore) A smallpipes chanter is 3 1/2 inches. The differences don't seem much but youi need to be able to move your pinkie comfortably.

Possibly more significant is the overall length of the two PCs; my normal one is 17 1/2 inches long while the long one is 20 inches. I would be surprised if you find it comfortable sitting at a table with something 20 inches long between your mouth and the table. - obviously this depends on the height of both chair and table. Why not cut a piece of rod of something fairly rigid and try for yourself? I have just tried my long one and find my hands are too far away to be comfortable for me - maybe it is just that I have become accustomed to the other.

It is not that there is anything wrong with buying a long PC, it is just that you should have a positive reason for doing so; if not, why spend the extra money? I have never taught anyone starting with a long PC and I don't know anyone who has done so. I am currently teaching an adult learner and he is using a normal PC. At a later stage a long PC can be useful to Highland pipers; I suspect that players of smallpipes become less concerned with their PC and practice on the pipes themselves.

You haven't said whether you plan to be self taught or hope to find a tutor. If the latter, be guided by him or her - and I would encourage you to find a tutor if possible. Even if you plan never to touch Highland pipes, good basic technique is very important.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have fun.

George.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
  • 2
Time to create page: 0.923 seconds