A cry for help

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A cry for help

Postby Eric » Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:43 pm

OK cry for help time has arrived. Two main problems. First is using bellows rather than mouth to keep bag inflated (no problems with Gaita or GHB). If just paying the drones or just holding one note I can get a good rhythm going with the bellows. As soon as I try to play a tune though, that all goes out the window and I end up with an empty bag and emergency rapid pumping of the bellows to try and recover. Second is the closed fingering. I am fine with the open fingering on the Gaita and the semi closed GHB fingering. My main problem is getting the A (ring) finger of my right (bottom) hand to move off the chanter without partly dragging the little pinkie finger with it. Playing D with the ringer finger of my left (top) had is no problem. My left pinkie moves with it but it doesn't matter as it is off the chanter. So how do I talk my right ring finger into moving on its own when the little finger is anchored on the chanter? Apart from practice, practice, practice, any specific help for these particular problems appreciated.

Thanks in advance, Eric.
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Re: Introduction

Postby Barry Say » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:33 pm

Eric wrote:As soon as I try to play a tune though, that all goes out the window and I end up with an empty bag and emergency rapid pumping of the bellows to try and recover.


My own attitude to this situation is to suggest that it is not yet time to try playing a tune. Try instead try playing single notes long or short, repeated notes or change pitch, but play each note separately. Do this until using the bellows starts to become instinctive. I realize I may sound like a killjoy, but good technique at the beginning will reap dividends later. To quote Joe Hutton, 'Yeh can aalwes tell them as weren't set away properly, they're forever snatchin' at their bellasis.'

Eric wrote: Second is the closed fingering. .... My main problem is getting the A (ring) finger of my right (bottom) hand to move off the chanter without partly dragging the little pinkie finger with it.


This is a common difficulty with NSP and also with touch-typing, particularly in former times when typewriters were manual. One of the exercises which typists were encouraged to use to get the fingers moving independently was to place the finger tips on a table and tap the table with each of the fingers in turn, while keeping the others in contact with the table. You can then go on to tapping the table repeatedly with each finger. Alternatively you can finger a pencil as you would a chanter. Both of these can be done while attending meetings or ...

Hope this helps.

Barry
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Re: Introduction

Postby Eric » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:55 pm

Thank you Barry, that is brilliant help :) Don't think you are being a killjoy, I will do as you say with playing separated notes until the bellows becomes instinctive. I will also be doing those finger exercises at all available opportunities. Thank you again Barry, I really appreciate your advice here and will be following it :)
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Re: Introduction

Postby John Gibbons » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:48 pm

Another warning is not to 'try and get a good rhythm going with the bellows' -
rhythm is nothing to do with how much air you are using.

How your right elbow goes depends on how little air is left in the bag - nothing else.

John
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Re: Introduction

Postby Eric » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:54 am

Thank you John, when I mentioned rhythm with the bellows I wasn't referring to rhythm as in a tune, but just to replacing the air when needed in a steady way to keep the sound constant, which seems to be working now thanks to Barry's advice. Another problem I had was squeaking low notes which was fixed by oiling the pads, thanks to the pipemaker for that easy fix.
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Re: A cry for help

Postby adrian » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:56 pm

How do you use the bellows on their own?
1st Put on the bellows. 2nd Put the bag under your left arm; this is difficult, because one has to grasp the chanter and drone stock with your right hand.Then you push the drone-stock and chanter towards your left armpit and the bag goes under your left arm, making sure the bag goes into the pit of the arm.

It is difficult to describe how to put the bag under ones arm!
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Re: A cry for help

Postby Eric » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:00 pm

I think it was Francis Wood that made the comment about using the bellows on their own to help people get started.

I do need to remember to hold on to the chanter whilst pushing the bag under the left arm, your instructions were clear, thanks.
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Re: A cry for help

Postby adrian » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:57 am

My insructions could be more clear. The top of the chanter is grasped between the left thumb and first finger. Then one goes for the drone-stock. This is also grabbed by the thumb and first finger, letting the 1st finger slide from the chanter to the drone-stock. More later....
Last edited by adrian on Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A cry for help

Postby Eric » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:46 pm

Richard Butler's diagram in his Basic Tutor, gives a good idea of how to "put on the pipes"
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Re: A cry for help

Postby adrian » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:46 pm

Eric wrote:Richard Butler's diagram in his Basic Tutor, gives a good idea of how to "put on the pipes"

No tutor on how to play the NSP's is good as person-to-person.
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