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Old 29-11-11, 05:42 PM   #1
hkinsont
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Default uilleann pipes or Irish pipes

i was wondering how transferable my skills would be from bagpipes to the uilleann pipes or Irish pipes. i was lucky enough to start the bagpipes when i was 8 when i was at school so tuition was easy i am now a lot older and don't necessarily have time to take lessons would i be able to pick it up and is the sheet music similar or the same?
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Old 29-11-11, 06:22 PM   #2
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Default Uilleann pipes!

I'm not a very good piper, but I have the Scottish Bagpipe fingering in my fingers. I started on the Irish pipes about one and a half year ago. It took me about a fortnight before I could manage the fingering on the UP, without falling back to the Scottish Bagpipe fingering by accident. It might have helped that I sometime in the seventies fingered a little bit on the tin whistle as this fingering resembles that of the UP. I called the fingering on the UP "logic", though this is something that I believe to be individual..
The sheet music may not contain that many grace notes as in the Scottish bagpipe notation, but they exist. I would recommend you to get hold of the Teaching DVDs of Na Piobairi Uilleann to start with. http://www.pipers.ie
I wish you good luck with your pipe playing!

Last edited by Silent Piper; 29-11-11 at 06:24 PM..
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Old 29-11-11, 08:49 PM   #3
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are the practice sets any use? don't want to spend too much straight off and there are some around the 60 to 100 mark, would i be wise to steer clear of them or are they ok?
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Old 30-11-11, 09:46 PM   #4
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are the practice sets any use? don't want to spend too much straight off and there are some around the 60 to 100 mark, would i be wise to steer clear of them or are they ok?
At that price I believe they could Pakistani, and if they are, they are no good. You will end up with trouble, having thrown your money out of the window. A real good practice set costs around GBP 6 - 700.00.
I have seen practice chanters for mouth blowing that were of Pakistani make, and they are no good either. You should perhaps get a practice set from a real Irish Uilleann Pipe Maker that can get the rest of the pipe added to it by time, so that you start to practice on the practice set that is the start of your half set/full set. If you go to http://www.pipers.ie you will find a list over pipe makers. If you are in doubt, you could also write Pat d'Arcy for advice. He is the owner of the page: http://www.uilleannobsession.com . He also gives lesson by way of Skype, and is even more into this than I am, as I'm just a beginner. But this is the kind of advice I have received from others over the years. The Uilleannobsession page also has a 'classifieds'-list covering pipes for sale from individuals who have posted their ads there. Maybe you can find something there to your liking?
I actually found my pipes there at a discount, and bought it second hand from a lady in Midwest USA, - the set made some years earlier by Bruce Childress. I have good contact with him today, and he has added extra keys to my chanter, as well as helping me with a new tube connection between bag and bellows these days. He makes fine instruments too.
I hope this will help you!
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Old 05-12-11, 12:44 PM   #5
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have you heard of Geoffrey Uilleann Pipes?
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Old 05-12-11, 07:15 PM   #6
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Sort of in the same vein... how about Northumbrian pipes? Don't they have keys as well as chanter holes and is it possible to transfer GHB fingering to them? Does Kathryn Tickell feel like answering?
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Old 14-12-11, 05:55 PM   #7
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Default Pakistani Uilleann Pipes

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have you heard of Geoffrey Uilleann Pipes?
Geoffrey Uilleann Pipes are manufactured in Pakistan. The name is: M.H.Geoffrey & Co, Sialkot, Pakistan. I have found them on ebay, and they are sold at the price of GBB 60.00. Here is a "nice" clip showing what Pakistani Uilleann Pipes may sound like. I can personally not say if these are Geoffrey's or not. Please do understand the fact that Pakistani manufacturers take on British names to sound more true. Here is the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QArIMYzCiPQ

It seems that Pakistani pipes can take the happiness out of practicing!

This Uilleann pipe maker has been recommended too: http://mysite.verizon.net/nwhitmer/index.htm

I hope this helps!

Last edited by Silent Piper; 14-12-11 at 06:24 PM.. Reason: I had to add something more
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Old 14-12-11, 06:15 PM   #8
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Default Northumbrian pipes

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how about Northumbrian pipes? Don't they have keys as well as chanter holes and is it possible to transfer GHB fingering to them?
Northumbrian pipes are played so that when one hole is uncovered, you will get one note. When all holes are covered, there will not be any sound as the chanter is closed at the bottom. The keys will extend the range of notes. The total range of keys that can be put on to a Northumbrian Pipes' chanter is 17, though the most common is 7 or 9. The fingering of the GHB can therefore not be transferred to a set of Northumbrians. But nobody stops you from trying! Why not try a set of Lowland Pipes or Scottish Smallpipes instead?
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Old 15-12-11, 01:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkinsont View Post
i was wondering how transferable my skills would be from bagpipes to the uilleann pipes or Irish pipes. i was lucky enough to start the bagpipes when i was 8 when i was at school so tuition was easy i am now a lot older and don't necessarily have time to take lessons would i be able to pick it up and is the sheet music similar or the same?
I have, over the last 30 years, started many a Highland piper on his first steps towards learning the uilleann pipes, so I've seen all the issues that Highland pipers have to deal with.

In truth very little of your Highland piping skills will translate over to the uilleann pipes. A short list of the differences:

Fingering: Only two notes of the entire scale have the same fingering, and they are called different things anyhow. (The Highland pipes' Low G is fingered the same as the uilleann pipes' Bottom D, and the Highland pipes' B is fingered the same as the uilleann pipes' E. That's all, unless you include the Highland pipes' Low A being the same as the uilleann pipes' "Ghost D".)

And the uilleann pipes have many more fingerings to learn! There are two registers or octaves, not one as on the Highland pipes, and oftentimes notes are fingered differently depending on the octave. Besides, there are many alternate fingerings for various purposes so that a single note, let us say G, is fingered four or five different ways.

Besides the fingering per se, the finger posture or hand position of the upper hand on the uilleann pipes is rather different than the way most Highland pipers hold the chanter.

And the fingers, when playing uilleann pipes, are often lifted in a different way, not sharply straight off, but gliding off in a subtle way to give a smoother attack to the notes.

Bag pressure: On the Highland pipes the aim is to maintain a constant air pressure, but the uilleann pipes are utterly different, because as you play through the two octaves the bag pressure must vary quite a bit. There's no octave key as on the saxophone, so the octave switching must be done by bag pressure alone.

Ornamentation: The uilleann approach to ornamentation is completely different. Nothing sounds worse than a Highland piper trying to play his Highland ornaments on the uilleann pipes. They just won't work. So you'll have to learn a completely different style of playing, if you're going to sound like an uilleann piper.

Relationship with printed music: Highland pipers learn tunes from printed music. Uilleann pipers do not. There are, in the true sense, no published books of uilleann pipe music which print the music as it's actually played, nor would such a book serve any purpose. For, uilleann pipers learn by ear. You would have to develop your ear to the point where you can hear a tune and play it. All Irish musicians learn their music that way.

The bottom line is, picking up the uilleann pipes will be as different as picking up the saxophone or bassoon, to a Highland piper. You will be a complete beginner once again, and will have to set aside all of your Highland piping skills, notions, and preconceptions.

About 'practice sets' of uilleann pipes: They have NOTHING WHATEVER to do with Highland 'practice chanters'. An uilleann 'practice set' is, in fact, an actual uilleann chanter, with bag and bellows, but simply missing the drones and regulators. The Highland pipe equivalent would be taking your set of Highland pipes and corking off the drones. That is all.

A mouthblown practice chanter would be useless for learning the uilleann pipes, because the control of the bag is crucial to playing.

The best uilleann practice sets to get, because of their low price, great playing, and good availability, are those by David Daye.

BTW, unlike Highland pipes, there is no place on earth where you can go and buy a new set of uilleann pipes (non-Pakistani ones, that is). You have to get on a maker's wait list. Some of these wait lists are up to ten years.

I've been waiting for a set of drones for three years now.
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Old 02-04-12, 10:08 PM   #10
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"Geoffrey" = crap

in fact, ebay searches are now done with a "-GEOFFREY" in the search string...

:)
...............Double post automerged..............
oh also, whenever I get to talking to folk who ask about my uilleanns and ask about the difference twixt GHB & Irish...
Aside from key/chromatic/bellows etc things, I tend to talk about the culture a bit..
where I might stand outside and "play" a GHB tune, and a real, proper trained GHB piper (painfully)listening might say "doode, you didn't even put the birl,d-throw or whatever in?!"

whereaas in the Irish world, things get a bit more...relaxed
more open to personal interpretation of a tune, despite there being several very well defined ornamentations that have been passed down for general usage as one sees fit on any particular tune

I surely love that freedom, as a 99.9% play-by ear fellow...

I love em both!
my .02
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Last edited by celticpiping; 02-04-12 at 10:16 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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