Bagpipe Help

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by nickjones, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    I am the proud owner of a set of bagpipes , now it's all a bit new and weird.
    Looking at the instrument , it's got reeds and different things going on.
    I don't know if we have a resident piper here on tmp , or one of our celtic reletives north of the border know how to play bagpipes , am going to give it a really good go and try and learn the pipes , don't know how long it will take but am interested in any helpful suggestions on here....
    so please give me a hand and see what sort of noise I can make.
    ta for everyone's help.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2006
  2. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    Please don't do it. There are too many Agony Bag players already! ;-)

    As far as advice goes, don't leave them on the back seat of your car, as there might be another set there when you return!
  3. MarkGillatt

    MarkGillatt Member

    If you can break them up into little pieces I have a great build it yourself set of instructions to make something useful like a boat for mice! :biggrin:
  4. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Helpful suggestions please.
  5. Big Gav

    Big Gav Member

    You having a laugh Jonesie???!!! Keep it quiet or it might appear in a Euro test-piece one day........" cornet section take bagpipes at letter D"!!!!
  6. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    I have a set big man. I am think of a career change, got sick of the glory days on the one lung tubamaphone sitting next to you damaging mouthpieces on your kneecap. want a challange again..
  7. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Initially, forget the bag and drones, just play the chanter.

    (And that's all I know about learning the pipes... except that it apparently takes seven years.)
  8. Big Gav

    Big Gav Member

    Can't you ask the guy who plays at all the Scotland rugby internationals for a lesson?!
  9. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    I could but I am not living in the Edinborough area..gawd saynor you are a tart sometimes..give me strength..there used to be a guy who played the pipes at the British Hotel in Bangor ( for Burns night) , and I am trying to get hold of a number for him..
    thanks for the suggestions Seven years seems about right to learn an instrument to some sort of competence...
  10. euphfanhan

    euphfanhan Member

    Wow, you're learning bagpipes??? Fantastic! I used to hate them until I heard this and then I wanted to learn! They looked a bit too difficult for my very small brain though :tongue:
    Good luck!!
  11. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Aye gonna give it a good go , will give regular updates on progress / failiure etc...hey if I can get a note out of it am sure anyone can , it does look complicated but am sure any sort of musician can have a go and make it work :)
    so any useful links or names and numbers of teachers will be appriciated ....
  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The basic scale on the bagpipes is straightforward enough, but to do it properly you'll have to master all the grace notes they use when moving from one note to the next - often involving four or five separate notes, all dispatched at lightning speed.

    The other strange thing is getting into the habit of not breathing according to the phrases you are playing, but breathing enouh so as to keep sufficient air in the bag at all times. From what was quoted in another thread, you might have got yourself a lucrative little earner, particular at Hogmanay and on Burns Night!
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Even more so when I get round to arranging Orkney Wedding with Sunrise for brass band. You'll be beating off gigs with a pooey stick. You'll need the full highland regalia of course - is there a Jones tartan?

    Slightly more seriously, Peter's right about the breathing. I worked for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a while and we used to do gigs (burns night etc.) with a superb Highland piper called George MacIlwham. Great guy, but insisted on warming up next to the stage during the first half and you simply can't warm bagpipes up quietly. We used to despatch him to the furthest room in the building with a "minder" to stop him wandering about. He let me have a go on a set of spare pipes once and I couldn't get my head round the breathing at all. It doesn't matter what the melody is doing, if the bag need air - you blow. Having been taught to breath with phrases since I was 8 it was impossible!

    The Scottish National Piping Centre do 5 residential courses a year (link) and cater for absolute beginners up to degree level :eek: . You could start there. They may know some local tutors as well.
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member


    TIMBONE Active Member

    Well, being a lover of thinks cultural, historical and traditional, I think you are pursuing a worthwhile enterprise - well done. To have the courage to admit it is very brave indeed, as there are people who hate bagpipes more than big brother, and that is saying something. I had a pupil when I was teaching once, who played in the Salford Pipe Band. As has been said earlier, he told me that he started on the chanter. I always remember that the enemy in times of war were terrified by the Scottish regiments, who were always led into battle by pipers in kilts, they were known as the "Ladies from Hell", (or was it Glasgow)! Anyway, maybe this can be transferred to North Wales. :biggrin:
  16. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

    A bit OT, but that has just reminded me of a concert I went to featuring Evelyn Glennie. The talented percussionist appeared at the appropriate moment, in the above piece, playing the bagpipes!

    The concert also featured Ms Glennie playing 'Veni Emmanuel' as used by the percussion finalist in this years Young Musician. As she made the long, slow, silent walk to play the tubular bells at the end of the piece one of the orchestra members dropped something with a loud clatter! :-? How we all cringed.
  17. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Don't forget, A Gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes, but doesn't. ;)
  18. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    What do you know of Gentlemen?:tongue:
    I like bagpipes! There. I'm out of the closet. I say go for it and take no notice of these uncouth Sassenach types. I always wanted to learn the pipes but haven't got the time, the energy or the money now. I do have a penny whistle though, and I do a good Strip The Willow if I do say so myself.
  19. Harold.Wells

    Harold.Wells Active Member

    Hi Nick!

    I play the bagpipes. The best way, as Tim said earlier, is to start with a practice chanter. Learn the fingerings for all 9 notes, then you're ready to start learning the gracings - the way they're played is the main way you can differentiate between a good player and a bad player!

    Once you've got the hang of all that, you have to master blowing the full set!

    I have played bagpipe solos with several bands accompanying. I have arranged Amizing Grace and Highland Cathedral for Pipes and Band. Both of these always go down well!

    If you want any more detail/advice, just give me a shout!

    Good luck!
  20. nickjones

    nickjones Active Member

    Thanks Harold , some great suggestions here...really appriciated :)

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