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Piper Mac
11-02-07, 05:27 PM
Still trying to clear up some things in my mind about pitch, etc. If your stand of pipes with chanter pitching at say 474 and it tunes right about at the hemp lines; what would happen if you only switched chanters for one that pitches at around 480? Would the drones then tune higher or lower on the pins, all else remainng the same?

Stormy
11-02-07, 05:48 PM
I have said before and make no apologies for saying again......forget numbers.

Your question however is pretty basic. If you change the pitch of the reed in the chanter - ie, raise or lower the reed, then you will need to move the drones accordingly.
If you change chanters with or without the same reed, you would need to retune the drones. Very seldom if ever will you get the same pitch from the same reed in a different chanter immediately, although I have experienced this in the past.

The longer the drone is then the flatter the pitch is.
Long = flatter (Not necessarily flat in pitch)
Short = sharper (Not necessarily sharp in pitch)

Does this help?


BTW - What is a "stand" of pipes? I've always had a "set" of pipes!!!

PowerBoozer007
12-02-07, 12:32 AM
yep, Stormy nailed it! :bgt:

Piper Mac
12-02-07, 01:52 AM
So, if I put in a higher pitched chanter, the drones would tune lower?

A. Shack
12-02-07, 03:06 AM
Yes, your drones would tune lower on the pins.

UpstatePiper
16-02-07, 11:43 PM
I have said before and make no apologies for saying again......forget numbers.



Why??

Stormy
17-02-07, 02:50 AM
Why??

Simple example.......
You play your pipes in the house for 30 mins and are happy with the sound and the meter tells you they are tuning at "X".
The next day you go and play at a wedding. You are outside and the weather has taken a dive, it is 2 degees colder.
Are you still going to tune your pipes to "X"???
No, you are not.
You SHOULD be tuning your pipes to what sounds the best for the conditions you are playing in. The meter in this case may read "Y"!!!

Any meter reading does not take into account any differences in temperature, humidity, warmth, cold......etc, etc.

Tune your pipes to "X" in the warmth of your house, wait 10 mins then go outside and try again in the cold. You will not tune to "X".
The human ear is be better able to tell whether you are in tune or not.

Bobby
19-02-07, 01:30 PM
Stormy is absolutely correct. Chanter pitch goes up...and drones will tune lower on the pins.

I agree that too many people seem obsessed with frequency's for chanter pitch. Set it in tune and don't worry about it. If you're talking about a band situation, choose the best setup chanter in the group and tune the others to it. Use a tuning meter if necessary, but provided everyone is blowing correctly, your ears should be all you need.

UpstatePiper
19-02-07, 03:55 PM
That seems to make sense.

I'm still pretty new at piping. From what I can tell, my band always tunes to the same frequency. It seems like an easy system to implement at band practice (tuning to the meter).

How much difference does it make to tone? I always have earplugs in and those drums are loud.

Werepiper
19-02-07, 04:01 PM
If I even mention using mechanical means to set my pipes my PM would knock my head off. He says learn to do it properly by ear.
He proved this at the weekend when one of our young lads was competing - he set his drones by ear and then another PM ( a friend of his) checked it with his tuner - absolutely spot on. My PMs comment was my ears cost nowt but years of practice, that bloody thing just makes you lazy and costs a fortune.

Bobby
19-02-07, 04:09 PM
Tone and Pitch are independant of each other. If you look at a score sheet from the EUSPBA or the PPBSO ( should be some band members that have some), you will notice that they have boxes to indicate: sharp, flat, ful, thin, bright, dull. Pitch is simply sharp or flat (influenced in the judges ears by the prevailing pitch of the day and and who played immediately before and after you) and for each note of the chanter. The others refer to tone, and experience will help you to recognize the differences.

It would seem easy enough to simply tune to the meter, however most people will tell you that unless everyone is blowing steady, the pitch of each chanter will waver, and many people blow differently from tuning to playing, and according to the difficulty of the tune they are playing as well as their nervous state. These are natural reactions that we all must train ourselves to overcome in order to produce a steady bagpipe in tune with every other pipe in the band. Quite frankly, that's one of the biggest differences between grade 5 and grade 1.

Don Robertson
19-02-07, 09:09 PM
Ok, so correct me if I'm wrong here. As I understand it, and this my just be saying what others have said, but in another way. In tune, is in tune. Your chanter is made to pitch at a certain point to give the Low A and the High A a balance. That "balance" has to also run the entire scale of your chanter, if someone wants to pitch up a bit more, then the pitch has to still balance. As far as using a tuner, I agree, it's best to learn how to tune by ear, but, when SFU came here to perform several years ago, they had a guy tuning with a tuner to finely adjust chanters and drones. That, I think is what makes a grade one band sound so together.

Oh, the "stand of pipes" if my memory serves me correctly, is referred to in the COP's green book.

Stormy
19-02-07, 11:46 PM
......In tune, is in tune. Your chanter is made to pitch at a certain point to give the Low A and the High A a balance. That "balance" has to also run the entire scale of your chanter, if someone wants to pitch up a bit more, then the pitch has to still balance.

Bingo, you've got it in one!
The GHB traditionally tune between A and Bflat, a semitone of a difference.
Two pipers can be in perfect tune....one being perfectly to A and the other to Bflat.....they are not together in tune. They are a semitone apart!!!
The LowA to High A on each of the chanters may be perfection but the difference is still there.

As long as the LowA and HighA on your pipes are correct and an octave apart (between A and Bflat) and the notes between are in tune with these notes then your chanter is correctly in tune. The piper next to you however could be a semitone out from yourself and yet his pipes are also in perfect tune.
Does this help in any way or confuse you more?

The BIG secret held by G1 PM's is sorting out the semitone of difference between the 15 - 20 correctly tuned individual sets of pipes!!!!!!!

Piper06
20-02-07, 12:47 AM
I will chime in here too. I have both a tuner and a set of ears. I will rely on my ears more often. I have played around with my tuner. Great tool for letting you know if you are blowing steady. When it comes to tuning my pipes, I will go by ear. They will always be with me. For the past two months at practice, when it comes time to tune, I am always right on with my PM. I seem to know what is right, and can tell if my high A is out. I am not so good on the lower notes, but the high ones sound really bad when off.

I have only been playing the pipes since last June. There are others in the band that always seem to take longer in the tuning part. I guess I am lucky to have an ear for them. :Ceith:

Werepiper
20-02-07, 10:32 AM
I will chime in here too. I have both a tuner and a set of ears. I will rely on my ears more often.
I have only been playing the pipes since last June. There are others in the band that always seem to take longer in the tuning part. I guess I am lucky to have an ear for them. :Ceith:


Always wear a hat so you don't lose them. :rotf:

UpstatePiper
20-02-07, 08:25 PM
If I even mention using mechanical means to set my pipes my PM would knock my head off. He says learn to do it properly by ear.
He proved this at the weekend when one of our young lads was competing - he set his drones by ear and then another PM ( a friend of his) checked it with his tuner - absolutely spot on. My PMs comment was my ears cost nowt but years of practice, that bloody thing just makes you lazy and costs a fortune.

A fortune? Hopefully that's hyperbole -- mine cost all of us$19.

:)

If I assume that the band's practice hall is the same temperature as my living room (which it seems to be), then I can set the tuning point of my chanter by my tuner, and tune the various tone holes accordingly (with tape), and be ready to play when I get to practice, knowing that I will be pretty close to in tune with everyone else from the start.

If everyone else does similar, then we can spend the entire practice session practicing, which seems like a good thing, no? It seems like it's not really so much about lazy or energetic but about efficiency. It seems like a very efficient way to get everyone tuned to the same frequency, because each piper can tune his own pipes. It seems like it would take a good bit more time to tune all of our chanter notes to someone's "reference chanter."

Bob

UpstatePiper
20-02-07, 08:32 PM
Tone and Pitch are independant of each other.
[snip]

It would seem easy enough to simply tune to the meter, however most people will tell you that unless everyone is blowing steady, the pitch of each chanter will waver, and many people blow differently from tuning to playing, and according to the difficulty of the tune they are playing as well as their nervous state.

I thought Stormy was saying that if I move the pitch of my chanter around "against it's will" then my tone will suffer. Example: If my chanter would "naturally" tune to 476, and I put some tape on the holes to bring it down to 474. If that's not the case then that would seem to argue against his point?

How is the 2nd issue related to using a tuner? If I can't blow steady I don't think tuning by ear will necessarily help... ;)

Bob

Bobby
20-02-07, 08:33 PM
The flaw in your comment is that it presupposes that everyone practices in identical conditions for the same amount of time, with an identical setup including reed strength, and how wet or dry they blow? This is very rarely the case.

I would very much prefer people to arrive at practice ready to go( this was the case when I played in Niagara, but the skill level was very high), and I would only have to make minor adjustments to the tuning of individual chanters. However with wildly different experience and skillsets among the players, it's better for them to leave them alone as much as possible and let me do the setup for them.

Werepiper
20-02-07, 08:37 PM
A fortune? Hopefully that's hyperbole -- mine cost all of us$19.

UpstatePiper you don't know my PM - if it costs anything it's a fortune. :rotf:

phyx
20-02-07, 09:42 PM
FWIW, I didn't read the whole thread (too lazy right now), but I did read the last few posts. If this is totally unrelated, ignore it, if not, feel free to comment.

I tune my chanter reed according to what the PM says. After that, it STAYS PUT. If at home, my chanter and drones don't jive, I tune my drones to my chanter--no tuner necessary. If the chanter sounds like hell while at home, I leave it alone because when I get to band practice, the sound will be back to the way the PM wants it. If it sounds so bad because of different humidity/temperature levels, I just pop in my solo chanter and fiddle with the reed until it sounds good to me from top to bottom, adjust drones accordingly, leave the band chanter in the case, and play on...

Again, if this is totally unrelated, ignore it. I'm going to read the beginning of this thread soon...and I'll know if I'm off the mark or not. :bg:

phyx
20-02-07, 10:01 PM
, but, when SFU came here to perform several years ago, they had a guy tuning with a tuner to finely adjust chanters and drones.

Rather, I bet you the tuner was to get people's instruments as close to "together" as possible before the fine tuning is done by ear. Most tuners on the market only come within I believe it's +/- 4 cents where the human ear (not mine, mind you) is much more precise.

I've seen our PM, after everyone has been tuned by an electronic tuner, stop playing in the middle of a set, put her pipes down, walk over to someone and adjust their drone by a hair or 2, and/or walk around the inside of the circle, listening to chanters. If your chanter's not right, out it comes and adjustments are made until it perfect. The tuner will get you "in the ball park" but the human ear will be more precise.

I remember at a workshop Andrew Hayes was listening to what equated to massed band performance of some tune. He was going around listening to everyone play, pulled chanters out stripped hemp off the reeds when needed, added more when needed, tuned up and down the scale quickly, and had about 20 or so pipers in tune with each other in about 5 minutes--no electronic tuner required.

I guess that's partly why his pipes sounded good enough to win the gold at Maxville this past year--he's got the ear.

UpstatePiper
21-02-07, 01:12 AM
That's related Phyx!

There seem to be a wide range of approaches that different P/M's and bands take.

Mine told me I needed to learn to tune my chanter using the tuner -- But the tuner isn't the "end-all" in the band -- P/M will certainly fine tune when necessary.

It's kind of freeing in a way: I can experiment as much as I like with the chanter at home (as far as reed seating and taping go -- no carving), because I have a simple to use tool to get me back to where I need to be before heading off to practice.

I do practice critical listening, and I try to tune by ear, but as of yet my ear isn't really good enough to tune my chanter because I don't fully know what I'm listening for. I'm clearly not listening for what sounds good to me in this this regard because what sounds really, really good to me might not be the same as how the band tunes. Band tuning, I gather, is not necessarily optimized for solo playing. I always think my high G sounds wicked flat -- some day I'm going to try out that (archaic) sharp G, sharp D tuning that I've read about.

Bob

UpstatePiper
21-02-07, 01:48 AM
Rather, I bet you the tuner was to get people's instruments as close to "together" as possible before the fine tuning is done by ear. Most tuners on the market only come within I believe it's +/- 4 cents where the human ear (not mine, mind you) is much more precise.


You'd be amazed at how much they've improved. I think my cheap tuner is claiming +/- 1.5 cents.

But for $200 (which certainly an org. like SFU could easily afford) you can get a Peterson digital strobe tuner that's accurate to 1/10 of a cent. That's the difference between 237 and 237.01369. To put that in perspective, if those are your tenor drones, you know how as they start to get into tune they start to beat, and the closer they get the slower the beating? Well, at 0.01369 Hz apart, the beat will be a 73 second interval.

2 cents off on the same drones would give you a beat at about every 4 seconds, which we'd probably all agree was out of tune.

Bob