Tuning chart for pipes

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Tuning chart for pipes

Postby edric » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:35 pm

Here's a chart that I made for myself when checking the tuning of my chanter reeds, inspired by a recent conversation with Mike Nelson. It's currently set up for a chanter tuned to concert F - but if anyone wants a "live" copy I think I can export an Excel version out of google docs which ought to let you plug in a different value in Hz for the "G".

The aim is to show the required pitch for each note, and the difference between equal and just temperament in both the keys of G and D.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... 50/pubhtml
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby Richard Evans » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:11 pm

Interesting... one of the problem notes is the E - low E needsto sound good against G drones but high E needs to play a good fifth against A drones. So I tune them differently. Then low E sounds flat against E drones and needs to be squeezed up for Em tunes. It's all a compromise.

Richard
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby pipemakermike » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:37 am

Yes I do the same as Richard. The Low e needs to sound good with the key of G esp when playing slow airs. I haven't measures any exact tweaks I do but I would guess that I am not far from Richards tuning.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby workers and drones » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:24 pm

Workers and drones here!
This chart is all well and good and may be a very accurate mathematical process - however the bag pressure when playing is all important I feel - you can add or subtract so many cents sharp or flat without really being aware. I tweaked my own pipes as searching for the knowledge through this site proved too difficult - see my post "how do you reed it". Rightly or wrongly I've got my set sounding the way I like them - in tune! + or - a few cents. If you sample the sounds as you are playing tunes you get a more accurate picture of how "in tune" you are and the tweaks that need to be made; its not perfect but even those top babies are now sounding fairly good!.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby Richard Evans » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:53 pm

workers and drones wrote:Workers and drones here!
This chart is all well and good and may be a very accurate mathematical process - however the bag pressure when playing is all important I feel - you can add or subtract so many cents sharp or flat


You can certainly affect the tuning with bag pressure, but you shouldn't need to. All the notes should be in tune at the same pressure, although on our chanters you would need to squeeze the low E up a bit when playing in Em, as explained above.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby workers and drones » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:54 pm

Workers and drones again!

Roger that about the chanter needing to be in tune when each note is played at the same pressure - is it 16inches of pressure!? on a manometer? I'm not sure. However when playing it rarely happens that the bag pressure is exactly the same for the duration of the play and unless a professional it could be argued that there is a lot of fluctuation in bag pressure during a tune. I tried to do this with a manometer on one of the drones and found it nigh on impossible to maintain an even pressure whilst playing a tune. I'm not talking about the player watching the meter here but an observer whilst you are trying to play a tune in the normal way. I have for 3+years tried to get some expert guidance on this sort of thing i.e. techniques of piping including bag and bellows techniques without success and have found the only way to learn is to find what works for you. I have on the subject of tuning altered very slightly some of the holes on my pipes in order to bring them in tune using pva! - by gradually painting a thin crescent to the upper portion of the hole you can gradually flatten a note and when done with this it is easily peeled off again. With care it is possible to graduate the tuning of each note to within so many cents. The benefits of this are that you can look at each sampled note as you play naturally and the bag pressure issue becomes less so. I have to say it is through this forum and some of the feedback that I've had that I've managed to get to my current playing level; it is rare when attending many groups that you find out anything as the focus is so weighted towards the repititious playing of old favourites.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby Richard Evans » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:54 am

workers and drones wrote:Workers and drones again!

Roger that about the chanter needing to be in tune when each note is played at the same pressure - is it 16inches of pressure!? on a manometer? I'm not sure.


It depends how the pipes are set up. 16" is quite usual, I personally prefer a lower pressure of about 14" which is less effort. A small number of payers use a very low pressure down to 11" or so, or maybe less(?).
Playing with a manometer is very difficult, really you should use it for example to check the octaves or fifths rather than play complete tunes.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby workers and drones » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:57 pm

Workers and drones again!
Thanks for that info. - I thought I'd heard somewhere along the road that it 16" but I've now learned that some play at a much lower pressure 11" wow is that possible? - is this because of thinner blades on the reed and drones? I'll perhaps experiment with this!. My own playing is much more than 16" but I suspect I don't have a completely air tight system ( is it supposed to be?)
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby pipemakermike » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:02 am

I have always aimed to have my pipes intune at 16"WG. I have set pipes up to play in tune at 12" to suit a player but that is, for me, unusual. I use a proper water manometer when I am setting up pipes as I find the digital one I have is too sensitive and I aim to be better than ± ½" WG. For the School Pipes I aim for 14"wg although I also have some set at 15" that we use for the hands on event at the cambridge folk festival.
Regarding tuning. Some players require subtle tweaks to what the electronic tuner offers as "in tune" even when the difference between "just" and "even" temprement. One famous player has the C set about 10cents sharp to the "perfect" value and I think that this is because of the colouration to the pitch from the vibrato and may differ from chanter to chanter.
Regarding playing pressure. One observation is that it is easier to maintain an even pressure when the pressure is higher (within reason) than lower because the slight changes that are inevitable when playing have an effect relative to the pressure. In engineering terms, it is easier to influence a small number than a big number.
Have you read my more complete thoughts and methods of chanter tuning? If not go to
http://www.machineconcepts.co.uk/smallpipes/tuning.htm
I have just re-read these notes and they still represent what I do today.
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Re: Tuning chart for pipes

Postby workers and drones » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:10 am

W&D
I'm now totally confused - as a beginner and asking people about tuning, the stock answer seems to be -"oh its somewhere about 20cents sharp of F".
Having just read your linked passage has confused me even more! - thats not difficult to do!. It reads;-
"There was a time when the pipes were tuned this way" (i.e. to the drones) "and the normal pitch of a g note was set at some indeterminate amount above concert f (usually a bit under a semitone sharp of f). Nowadays the standard pitch set plays a g note exactly a tone below concert g thus sounding a standard f note".
So is it concert pitched F or is it F+20cents?
My own set (2012) I'm fairly sure are F+20cents but if you are saying that there are pipes out there playing at F+20cents and others playing at F its no wonder that a large group sounds horribly out of tune!
If I had all the information I've gleaned from my involvement with northumbrian pipes over the last few years (not many) I would not have bought my current set and instead opted for a Concert pitched G fully chromatic set. Anybody up for an exchange?.
Its really quite sad that the makers and professionals can't get together and bring the NSP into the 21st centuary by standardising the pitch of these things. Perhaps a recall to retune!!.
Its no surprise that the popularity of the instrument seems to have fluctuated over the years - resigning the instrument to a life in the F+20cents league is one of isolation which can't be great!.
All in all the message I seem to be getting here is when it comes to pitch, there are lots of singers all with different hymn sheets!
So what was the point of this fantastically accurate chart again?. :?
W&D
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