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Old 03-31-2010, 09:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Better explanation of a bagpipe?

So I got a practice chanter because I want to learn how to play bagpipes. I am a senior in high school and have been in music since 5th grade. So I have a good understanding of music already. The thing I don't understand is the tuning basics of the bagpipes. Like, I play trumpet and french horn. Trumpet is keyed in Bb while horn is in F. I can play chromatics and scales in different keys on both.

But with bagpipes, is there only one key? If so what is it? I mean, its range is octave Gs. Can you play chromatics on it? I've also looked at some fingering charts but I can't link it so if you know the notes you could follow me:
If you look at the fingering for C natural, it's the first 5 holes covered, open the 6th, cover 7th, open on 8th. Now, wouldn't you still just be playing C#? Because as long as the 6th is open, it doesn't matter if the 7th is covered right? At least that's how my chanter is working. If I played a C#, then covered the 7th hole, I would still be playing a c#. The note doesn't change. But that's just an issue I was having and confused about.

Sorry this post is so long I'm just so confused about how the notes work.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there,

I'm no expert on bagpipes but I did live in Scotland for nine years and our next door neighbour was quite an expert. Apparently, there are some notes that can't be had on a trad bagpipe which is why certain notes that crop up in certain tunes, 'Flower Of Scotland' is one I remember where the correct note as to be replaced with the next nearest note so it does make you cringe sometimes.

Gordon.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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haha, not really advice. but i have bagpipes. i really wish i could play them more than anything. but i dont have time or patience to learn unfortunately .
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jkman View Post
So I got a practice chanter because I want to learn how to play bagpipes...
Sorry this post is so long I'm just so confused about how the notes work.
A chanter is chromatic, although they do make a chromatic chanter with keys (like on a clarinet)
here's something I hope answers your qeustion about tuning and notes: Bag PipeTuning

This guy on youtube, SvenskPiper, is pretty amazing if you watch him you can see how/when he does "circular breathing" I think it's amazing he can play almost 4:45 minutes without stopping.

YouTube - collection of jigs
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Weren't bagpipes originally for scaring away the enemy as you marched to war? why anyone would want to listen to them for recreation is beyond me, cant stand the things.

EDIT - I may be wrong about them used to scare the enemy, but I'm sure I heard that somewhere, and it's too late for googling now.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Weren't bagpipes originally for scaring away the enemy as you marched to war? why anyone would want to listen to them for recreation is beyond me, cant stand the things.

EDIT - I may be wrong about them used to scare the enemy, but I'm sure I heard that somewhere, and it's too late for googling now.
There is the Piper to the Sovereign so evidently the Queen has her own special personal piper. And the Pipes and Drums are used in funeral ceremony for Police and Firefighters. I think they sound have an awesome sound, and have the same engery as Punk when they are played very fast.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote: "Weren't bagpipes originally for scaring away the enemy as you marched to war?"

I believe this is partly true. The combination of a bunch of angry Scots marching towards you, the stirring sound of the pipes and drums and the guys wearing kilts. If the sound of the pipes and drums didn't get them, they would stop, put down their pipes, turn around and moon the enemy in unison by lifting their kilts. I lived in Scotland for nine years and I know for a fact that there is nothing worn underneath the kilts and a long line of mooning pipers would scare me off anyway...

One of the most moving musical experiences of my life was when reaching the top of a mountain in the Trossachs, we sat down to eat our egg butties and looked down at the amazing view of the loch way down below. At this point, a pleasure boat was setting out on the loch and stood on the prow of the boat was a single piper playing 'Flower of Scotland'. The sound of the pipes drifted up to us at the top of the mountain and it was a case of the music and the view absolutely in harmony. I will never hear bagpipes sound that good ever again. A great moment....

Gordon.
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