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Old 21-03-07, 05:47 PM   #1
selpiper
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Default Tuning tenor drums

Hi,

My band has just received a complete new set of drums.
Premier 700HTS snares and Hosbilt/Premier tenor and bass drums.

We got 3 tenor drums, sized 15, 16 and 18". To which pipe chanter notes
would one tune the 3 different tenor drums to?

Thanks,
Søren.
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Old 21-03-07, 06:33 PM   #2
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I can get you started. I think you tune your bass drum to B-flat, then the lowest tenor to one octave above that. I think those notes coincide to the bass-drone of the pipes.
Someone else may wish to elaborate and continue from here.
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Old 21-03-07, 06:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM Bill View Post
I can get you started. I think you tune your bass drum to B-flat, then the lowest tenor to one octave above that. I think those notes coincide to the bass-drone of the pipes.
Someone else may wish to elaborate and continue from here.
We just tuned our bass and tenors (15" and 18") on the weekend. They are all tuned to B-flat an octave apart. I'm not sure where you'd fit in the 16" though.
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Old 21-03-07, 07:15 PM   #4
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Little time to give full answer - maybe later 2day...

quick n dirty method - Major Triad... if the bass drone is "bagpipe A" or roughly concert Bb - up two steps to D, then up two more to F (concert scale) So, Bass is Bb - and bottom tenor if you have an 18 or 20 inch drum, next one up is D, next one up is F...

Drum sizes make a difference. 30 or 32 inch bass can get to concert F below the drones' Bb nicely... heads make a difference...

For many bands this is a starting point. It is possible to use a tuner and get precise matches with the corresponding notes on the pipe chanter but that takes practice...

more l8r
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Old 21-03-07, 11:25 PM   #5
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OK - Got a couple minutes....

What to tune tenors to depends entirely on what you intend to use them for. For many bands starting out and experimenting with what they can do, if they have tenors of different sizes (diameters) the tones I gave above are fairly standard starting points.

As experience grows and develops, both for the tenor players themselves and the band as a whole, you can move away from those "starter tones".

If the band mostly plays parades, these tones will generally work. They are based around the Bb Major Triad, adjusted slightly to fit the "almost" factor of bagpipes. To most Western ears, the 1-3-5 configuration seems "right", even if it does not quite fit precisely to the tones on the chanter (except for the root - 1.)

In competition or concert settings, depending on the music being performed, the tuning can be altered to fit what complements the music best. Inverting the chord, leaving a suspended note in it, all sorts of cool music theory things can be applied.

If you have a monster bass drum, or carefull head selection, you can tune the bass drum to the concert-ish F below where most people would tune it (the 5 in the triad) - then tune the bottom tenor (18 or 20 inch) to the Bb (root - 1) that corresponds to the pipe chanter A (or bass drone A). (Using an electronic tuner will make sure you're where you want to be.) This gives a really deep-throated punch on the bass - Checkout Boghall for an example. Its not for everyone, but it can be extremely effective.

OK - to sum up - Tuning the drums is fairly straight-forward. Tune them to what sounds good to you - individually, all tenors together, tenors and bass together, tenors and bass together with the pipes. Splitting voices and "too much/not enough/pop-corn" discussions depend on the experience and ability of the section and what you want to accomplish musically.
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Old 22-03-07, 04:19 AM   #6
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Tuning can be tricky!

I think Pete gave a good setup. I just want to touch on one of his points. The notes that he gave are concert notes, not chanter notes. Don't confuse the two or you'll have major (or minor HAHA) problems!
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Old 22-03-07, 12:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Morgan View Post
Tuning can be tricky!

I think Pete gave a good setup. I just want to touch on one of his points. The notes that he gave are concert notes, not chanter notes. Don't confuse the two or you'll have major (or minor HAHA) problems!
To be precise, in one case, the problem will be diminished....
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Old 22-03-07, 10:13 PM   #8
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Pete, or anyone
what do the chanter notes translate to in chanter pitch (roughly) ?

AND
Can you elaborate on the tuning of the bass drum to F ?
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Old 22-03-07, 10:42 PM   #9
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I screw this up a lot but I believe it's A, C, And E. Pete can correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 23-03-07, 03:45 PM   #10
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Matt -

Re "pitch": If you're asking what I THINK you're asking, as in what bagpipe notes correspond to what concert notes, Brian is spot on. If you're asking what you should set your tuning meter to to get these notes - I'll kick ya the next time I see ya. You should know better - the numbers will change basedo n what the conditions are and numbers for my band pro'lly won't work for your band (if you're luck.)

Use an electronic tuner you can calibrate to establish A/Bb from the PM or the tune/tone meister (some bands have a player or two or three who are rock solid on sound and are spot on when they strike up and stay there all day.) Get a reading off of them if you have one.

If you don't have a meter you can calibrate, BUY ONE. Korg makes a couple that are fantastic. There's the incredibly precise (but rather bulky) one I use on games day, and the wee tiny one that works for parades and tuning tweaks coming up to the line. The big one is expensive - 50 to 75 USD. The smaller one costs less - 30 to 40 USD.

The reading will change given the local conditions - However, you can set the tuner to read "A" as any tone you give it. Then compare the chanter's C and E with what the tuner says - and set the drums there. You can also use a tuner without calibrating by getting a reading directly from the tone meister and seeing what the tune reads for all three pitches in question A, C, E on the pipes (or almost Bb, D, F concert scale). Set the tenors to read the same as the pipe chanter and away ya go.

Check the readings regularly on games day.

k?
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