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  1. #1
    Join Date
    7th April 07
    Minneapolis, MN

    Modified bagpipe?

    Please don't hate me for even asking about this!.

    Would it be total heresy to make something to play that would not use a bagepipe chanter but still have a "chanter" and "drones"? Would I be chased down and stoned?

    My beloved has tried to get me to learn the fingering on a bagpipe chanter but my fingers just do NOT like playing straight. They cramp, ALOT!
    I have some background in playing a recorder, and when playing around with youtube I came across several references to people creating bagpipe like instruments with recorders as the chanter and drone(s). Perhaps a tin whistle would work. I also saw some that made them with straws as the chanter and drones! to my untrained ear they did not sound so bad.

    My other problem is I take 3 deep breaths and I get light headed. May need to get a bellows system going.

    What do you think? Would it be possible? Would it even sound good? If I DO manage to make one, what key should it be in?


    P.S. he does not know I am even trying to make this thing yet. I wanted to supprise him.
    Last edited by LadyGriffin; 31st January 10 at 08:21 PM. Reason: re-wording text
    "Life happens."
    All you can control about a situation is how you react to it.

    Co-Convener, House of Gordon, Minnesota Division

  2. #2
    Join Date
    2nd September 09
    I would think that it would be way too difficult to control the air pressure with a recorder since it has a much easier air flow than a bagpipe reed. you wouldn't hardly have to touch the bag to set it off whistling. You're probably better off leaving the bags to the reed instruments.

    (unless of course you want recorder drones... but I really don't know why you would want recorder drones...)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    23rd August 06
    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America
    I think that such an instrument is viable. Remember that the Great Highland bagpipe is only one kind of bagpipe in the world. The recorder and tin whistle would need significant modification in order to be fitted into a bagpipe. http://www.hotpipes.com.
    [FONT=Lucida Sans Unicode][SIZE=2][COLOR=Navy]View [URL="http://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanmcgilvray"]My Linked In Profile[/URL] and [URL="http://www.jordanmcgilvray.net"]My Blog[/URL]
    [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Lucida Sans Unicode][COLOR=DarkGreen] ...And strangers dwell where those people used to live
    --John MacGillivray

  4. #4
    Join Date
    5th September 05
    I have been searching the internet in vain for a page that I found some time ago wherein someone produced and was selling a d-whistle bagpipe...that was a d whistle as a chanter with a couple of other whistles as drones. He included a sound sample and I must say that it was absolutely unique...and SHRILL!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    17th March 07
    Harbor Springs, MI
    This would take you down an expensive path with probably a steep learning curve but have you considered the Northumbrian Small Pipes? I'm seriously considering learning to play the NSP and so have been reading as much as I can and trading emails with many players over the last few weeks.

    They have a closed cylindrical chanter played with curved fingers and are a low pressure bellows blown system. If you are unfamiliar with the instrument, check out Ian Lawther, Andy May, Pauline Cato and many others playing on YouTube and elsewhere on the net.

    I've never tried to play any kind of a whistle attached to a bag but am doubtful of this arrangement too. I'm just not aware of any successful bagpipe that doesn't use reeds.


    Saw the above post come up after mine. I guess it can be done but I wonder how pleasing the sound is?
    Last edited by HarborSpringsPiper; 31st January 10 at 09:16 PM. Reason: addition

    "The best things written about the bagpipe are written on five lines of the great staff" - Pipe Major Donald MacLeod, MBE

  6. #6
    Join Date
    18th October 09
    Orange County California
    First, I have to say that Highland bagpipes don't have to be played with "straight fingers" and many top pipers don't.

    Many good bagpipe teachers would prefer that a student's fingers be relaxed, not held stiff in an artificially straight way.

    BUT... that doesn't mean playing with the fingertips!

    Many if not all orchestral woodwinds are played using the end-pads of each finger.

    Each finger has three fleshy pads, the end, middle, and the one closest to the knuckle.

    On the Highland pipes (as well as the uilleann pipes and many other types of bagpipes) it's crucial that the MIDDLE pads be used on the lower-hand's index, middle, and ring finger.

    Hold your hand out with fingers fairly straight, palm up, and you'll see that the end-pad of the pinkie/little finger is in line with the middle pads of the other three fingers. That fact, and the fact that the lower hand approaches the chanter from above at an angle, is why those three middle pads must be used.

    But that doesn't mean that the lower-hand fingers must be held stiff and straight! They can have a relaxed, natural curve to them.

    Here's the wonderful piper and reedmaker Steve Megarity. Note the complete relaxation of his hands. No stiff fingers! (It's hard to tell on this video, but I played in a band with him for two years and I can tell you that his lower-hand fingers are quite curved.)


    The upper hand of the Highland pipes can be played with the end-joint pads.

    But... if you MUST play with your very fingertips on both hands you can investigate the Northumbrian Smallpipes as Harbour Springs Piper says, or check out Scottish Smallpipes in the key of D.
    D SSP chanters are notoriously small and often the fingerholes are too close together for Highland pipers to comfortably use their normal way of fingering.
    But they're an ideal candidate for fingertip-playing.

    BTW larger bagpipe chanters and Irish Low Whistles are difficult/impossible to play with the fingertips because of their widely-spaced holes. People can comfortably cover more widely-spaced holes with flatter fingers and using the mid-joint pads than they can with arched fingers and using the fingertips.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    24th January 08
    Oxford/London UK
    or try these practice pipes which you can play with a standard (small) practice chanter.

  8. #8

  9. #9
    Join Date
    7th April 07
    Minneapolis, MN
    Quote Originally Posted by thatcelticband View Post
    Your link does not work. What are you trying to link me to?

    "Life happens."
    All you can control about a situation is how you react to it.

    Co-Convener, House of Gordon, Minnesota Division

  10. #10
    Join Date
    4th September 05
    He was trying to link to this: http://www.redpipes.eu/Seiten_engl/index_engl.html. It's an electronic bagpipe which has gotten some interesting reviews.
    "MacDonald the piper stood up in the pulpit,
    He made the pipes skirl out the music divine."

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