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Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:48 pm
by pipemakermike
I have been pondering the layout of the keys lately. I have had a 16key Barlow set to sort out recently and looking at the key layout it seems that there has been a change in the thinking since I last made a long set. Nigel has the bottom C# paired with the bottom D and the bottom D# paired with the bottom E. I assume that this is also the normal layout for a Ross chanter. My normal practice is to pair the D & D# and the E & C#. Now I can see good practical reasons from a making point of view why the Ross/Barlow layout has much to commend it as it makes the pivoting and spring of the keys much more even. I was wondering if there were any implications from a playing viewpoint. I can't remember what directed my key layout although I was much guided by Colin when I started (as were most of us). I have revisited the 17 keyed chanter in the C&B (second edition) and can see a possible explanation, although viewing it again with more experience, I find some confusion. C&B shows a chanter with a key pattern devised by Tom Clough and Fred Picknell and this shows that the bottom D & D# are paired and the bottom C# and E are also paired but the text under the chanter says the opposite "This arrangement of keys differs from that used by the Reid's in that the C# is paired with the low D".
There is another difference that may be more important from a players viewpoint and that is that I normally have the bottom B key touch piece on the right hand side of the chanter and the bottom C on the left side. The C&B Clough/Picknell layout is also this way round.

mrn_16K_bottom.jpg
mrn_16K_bottom.jpg (34.21 KiB) Viewed 2622 times

The Barlow chanter I am rereeding is the other way round so that a player needs to reach across the C key to reach the bottom B key. I have found this a bit awkward but the may due to my lack of practice with this layout. Do any players have an opinion

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:08 am
by Richard Evans
I don't think there are any easy answers to the layout of low keys. On my own long chanter, I have D with C#, E with C natural, and A/B at the back. Obviously no E flat. I find this the best layout I have tried.

BTW, I think there is a lot to be said in favour of simpler/shorter chanters- I have never wanted to fit extra keys just because it is possible.

cheers
Richard

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:49 am
by pipemakermike
Hi Richard

I think that one of the interesting things that I would like to know is if the bottom B key touchpiece should be on the side of the bottom hand (as shown in the picture) or on the other side as some examples I have seen. My thinking is that, as the bottom B is used more often than the bottom C then is should be easier to reach. I found that when the layout is reversed it is very easy to inadvertently touch the bottom C and compromise the bottom B.

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:05 pm
by Barry Say
This question has been extensively discussed in another place.

Try

http://www.mail-archive.com/nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu/

and search on key question. A mere 69 matches not all of which are relevant. Imust go through and summarise them sometime.

Barry

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:23 pm
by Richard Evans
pipemakermike wrote:Hi Richard

I think that one of the interesting things that I would like to know is if the bottom B key touchpiece should be on the side of the bottom hand (as shown in the picture) or on the other side as some examples I have seen. My thinking is that, as the bottom B is used more often than the bottom C then is should be easier to reach. I found that when the layout is reversed it is very easy to inadvertently touch the bottom C and compromise the bottom B.


The B is on the right (at the back) on my own chanter with the rarely used low A on the left. I like having the C under the left little finger so with that layout D-C-B and D-B are both as easy as they can be, although E-C is obviously more awkward. I'd like to know what Andy May thinks on this- are you out there Andy?

Richard

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:40 am
by pipemakermike
Thanks for those comments Richard.

I have a 16 keyed chanter currently waiting for keys (it has been waiting for about 10 years). It will havethe bottom C# and E paired and I will also make it CB at the bottom (rather than BC). If/when I make another 16key chanter I will most probably pair the C# with the D and the d# with the E as that does seem to be a sensible layout from a mechanical viewpoint although I will wait until I have the currrent chanter keyed up and play it for a bit to see if there is any benefit to my playing from the C#/E layout.

Re: Cocks & Bryan & key layout

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:48 pm
by Barry Say
Information has recently come to light which may cast doubt on the veracity of the drawing of the Clough 17 key chanter in Cocks and Bryan. Jim Bryan left a Clough chanter which bore a great similarity to the drawing, but it actually went down to low A. I have since seen another, similar Clough chanter which went down to low A the A being on the back bending to the right (thumb) side, the B on the back bending left towards the little finger. The C on the little finger side has a hockey stick end, as in C&B and in my opinion it was intended to be played with the thumb by reaching across, giving C, B, A left to right.

Additionally, there is the long-recognised anomaly that the b' and a are paired at the top of the chanter on the thumb side and the b flat and g# are placed on the little finger side.

I think this drawing must be taken cum grarno salis.

Barry