[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Christopher.Birch
the special quality of the smallpipes is that they can be played in tune

But unfortunately often aren't, even by respected players! If the cap fits...
csirz 



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Christopher.Birch
what 
Northumbrian pipes can do better than any other; that precise 
delivery of detached notes with duration and silences perfectly timed.


But unfortunately the obsession with detaching the notes sometimes lead to the 
durations and silences being somewhat random - thus destroying the rhythmic 
flow. This combined with poor intonation (and possibly cheap electronic echo 
effects, which I gather to my amazement would appear to be compatible with 
proper piping) can lead to a result that is unlistenable.
I do not wish to be unkind or discourteous, but if the cap fits 
c



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Francis Wood
I think the discussion was really about the best that can be heard in 
Northumbrian piping. 
Random timing and poor intonation can be heard in abundance whatever the 
instrument and has nothing to do with NSPs in particular.

Rather than dwelling any further on mediocre musicality, I'd rather repeat what 
Inky Adrian recently said:

 Expression is emphasised in precision

Carve that in stone above the entrance to the Academy of Smallpiping!

And yes it also works for harpsichord playing so thanks to Paul Gretton for 
that thought.

Francis




On 21 Dec 2010, at 09:22, christopher.bi...@ec.europa.eu wrote:

 what 
 Northumbrian pipes can do better than any other; that precise 
 delivery of detached notes with duration and silences perfectly timed.
 
 
 But unfortunately the obsession with detaching the notes sometimes lead to 
 the durations and silences being somewhat random - thus destroying the 
 rhythmic flow. This combined with poor intonation (and possibly cheap 
 electronic echo effects, which I gather to my amazement would appear to be 
 compatible with proper piping) can lead to a result that is unlistenable.
 I do not wish to be unkind or discourteous, but if the cap fits 
 c
 
 
 
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 http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html





[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Dave S

Hello inky-adrian,

This is interesting and thought provoking, but I would like to have your 
insight on where, and how, the precision can be found and appreciated. 
At my level of fumbling I need all the help I can get to begin to feel 
the phrases the composer unconsciously put together to make the pipes 
express his wishes.


Thanks (we have winter here as well!)

Dave S




On 12/6/2010 2:14 AM, inky-adrian wrote:

Hello all
this instrument does not lack ability, it lacks players who can't play 
in the correct method; not many can do that. Expression is emphasised 
in precision. I'm not here to delineate. There is no more expression 
in those who can play the detached method with feeling. 




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Christopher.Birch
There is no more expression in those who can play the detached method with 
feeling. 

This seems an odd statement from one such as Adrian. Is there a word missing? 
E.g. than ... (... in those who can play the detached method with feeling)? 
Or shouldn't the word no be there?
c




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Jim McGillivray
Talking about expression outwith the context of tone, technique and rhythm is 
like talking about tone as detached from tuning. The most moving performances 
are always a combination of all three. One may play the greatest expression in 
the world, but if it is on an instrument the is not well tuned, it ain't music. 
If the rhythm is pushed -- as dance tunes often are from players with limited 
technique -- then it ain't music. Tone and technique are pre-requisites for 
playing good expression. 

As someone coming originally from the Highland tradition, all elements of NSP 
came fairly quickly to me -- except for the silences. I was struck very quickly 
by how well the clever players can use these to inject rhythm, feeling and 
humour into their tunes. But this ability is very much dependent on their 
mastery of technique. Without technique, expression can't get past the fingers 
and out the chanter. 

I've always been a believer, with any bagpipe, that if you want to improve your 
ability to play expressively, you do well to work on your technique. 

Jim McGillivray

MCGILLIVRAY PIPING
www.piping.on.ca
www.pipetunes.ca

On 2010-12-21, at 5:41 AM, christopher.bi...@ec.europa.eu wrote:

 There is no more expression in those who can play the detached method with 
 feeling. 
 
 This seems an odd statement from one such as Adrian. Is there a word missing? 
 E.g. than ... (... in those who can play the detached method with feeling)? 
 Or shouldn't the word no be there?
 c
 
 
 
 
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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread GibbonsSoinne


   only one finger off at a time

   is usually read as being about open-fingered ornaments,
   or the horrible slurred playing some people go in for.

   No need to make a fetish of it, avoiding vibrato too.
   I've heard at least 3 excellent close fingered pipers advising using
   vibrato in places,
   and never any saying it was a Bad Thing!

   John







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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Richard York
   We've been at risk of straying onto the which instrument is best?
   territory here, methinks, but Jim's points are right, to my mind.
   And they bring me a few more thoughts which I hope are useful and not
   merely pompous!
   Some instruments are easier to make an acceptable sound on than others,
   (OK, acceptable to whom?) though I believe most to be equally hard to
   make play real music.
   Generalisations:
   Some, like harps, make a magic sound which attracts many people even if
   the player isn't that good, and can lure the player into thinking
   they're wonderful.
   Some, like the hurdy gurdy, are so fascinating that they attract people
   even when they aren't making a particularly nice noise: see above.
   Some, like squeeze boxes, easily fool the player into thinking they're
   doing a great job, because they are powerful: see above.
   Pipes, like fiddles, are hard even to get a decent sound from, but then
   need longer by far to turn that nice noise into music, and nsp's need
   more precision playing, I feel, than open-ended pipes, because of the
   very possibility of silence which Jim also mentioned as so important.
   And on all of these, making real music is then much harder, and tuning
   and setting up are both of prime importance. (Margaret Watchorn's
   article in the latest Journal is very much to the point.)
   On instruments like squeeze boxes it doesn't even occur to many players
   that adjustments are possible - it's tuned when you buy it, and that's
   it, sadly.
   String instruments may be hard to tune, but with the aid of ears.., or
   sadly, more often now, the electric tuner... they can be put into tune.
   Smallpipes, like hurdy-gurdies, depend a whole lot on the player to
   maintain the voice, and to go on doing so, and I suspect they're more
   demanding of constant attention than most instruments.
   And that's a skill which a lot of players need more confidence, and
   help, with.
   I know when mine sound right, (and thanks, Nigel, they do!!) but
   despite being very well shown by experts, I'm still not a reed maker, I
   hesitate to fiddle with a reed in case I make it worse, and I surely
   hesitate before adjusting a hole with a bit of shellac. And I wouldn't
   dare take any wood away.
   And yes, a really good player can make a poorer [insert instrument name
   here] sound better, and a music-less player is never going to make
   anything sound wonderful, but I do feel there are too many instruments
   of all sorts out there - whether  harps, gurdies, squeeze boxes,
   fiddles or smallpipes, sold as a beginner's instrument to people who
   don't get the reward they deserve for lots of hard work, and may not
   even realise why.
And that does perturb me on their behalf.
   Dunno if this helps at all.
   Regards,
   Richard.
   On 21/12/2010 11:09, Jim McGillivray wrote:

Talking about expression outwith the context of tone, technique and rhythm is
like talking about tone as detached from tuning. The most moving performances ar
e always a combination of all three. One may play the greatest expression in the
 world, but if it is on an instrument the is not well tuned, it ain't music.

   and more of wisdom too, here edited
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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Anthony Robb

Richard York wrote a very thoughtful posting ending:

   And yes, a really good player can make a poorer [insert instrument name
  here] sound better, and a music-less player is never going to make
  anything sound wonderful, but I do feel there are too many
   instruments
  of all sorts out there - whether  harps, gurdies, squeeze boxes,
  fiddles or smallpipes, sold as a beginner's instrument to people
   who
  don't get the reward they deserve for lots of hard work, and may not
  even realise why.
   And that does perturb me on their behalf.
  Dunno if this helps at all.
  Regards,
  Richard.

   Thank you Richard for some calm common sense. I too often take the bait
   and get stuck in before giving real thought to my relpies. I did make
   sure that people knew on this occasion if they should be deleting at
   source so to speak but I give postings the benefit of the doubt, take
   them seriously and give full replies if I have time.
   I rose to the bait in a knee-jerk fashion re the Blackbird comparison
   from John Gibbons.

   I should have simply replied: don't be daft, I heard Greg's Blackbird
   15 years before Chris Ormston's. Was I supposed to think don't
   be seduced by this music because: a) it is not being played on pipes
   and b) in 15 years time a Northumbrian  piper might offer a (much less
   interesting) version of it?

   It would have saved us all, you especially, a huge chunk of time.

   Warmest  best
   Anthony



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-21 Thread Richard York

 Na - keep it up! Far better than a boring silence and complacency :)

All this reminds me of a sermon we once heard preached at a massed 
Morris event, by Father Kenneth Loveless, the concertina (previously 
owned by Wm Kimber) playing Rector.
The essence of it was that Spirit was the most important thing. Without 
it, we were wasting our time.


Keep it up!

R.

On 21/12/2010 21:01, Anthony Robb wrote:

..

It would have saved us all, you especially, a huge chunk of time.

Warmest  best
Anthony



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-20 Thread Paul Gretton

I hope Francis won't mind if I add some food for thought by sending a
slightly altered version of his message:

There are many things the harpsichord can't do. No dynamics. ... Limited
opportunities for the player to adjust intonation. So an expert
concentrates on what the harpsichord can do better than many other
instruments; that precise delivery of notes of a multitude of durations
and silences perfectly timed.

Theres a lot to be said for artificial limitations, and a lot of great
art has come about because of writers' and performers' observation of
them.


You might also substitute organ for harpsichord (although both
instruments can change their registration, which in a sense is changing the
dynamics, i.e. terraced dynamics). 


Cheers,

Paul Gretton



-Original Message-
From: lute-...@cs.dartmouth.edu [mailto:lute-...@cs.dartmouth.edu] On Behalf
Of Francis Wood
Sent: 20 December 2010 07:21
To: inky-adrian
Cc: Dartmouth NPS
Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday


On 6 Dec 2010, at 01:14, inky-adrian wrote:

 Expression is emphasised in precision.

Well, I think that says it perfectly, really.

There are many things the pipes can't do. No dynamics. A relatively limited
range. Limited opportunities for the player to adjust intonation. So an
expert concentrates on what Northumbrian pipes can do better than any other;
that precise delivery of detached notes with duration and silences perfectly
timed.

Theres a lot to be said for artificial limitations, and a lot of great art
has come about because of writers' and performers' observation of them.

Francis




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday et al

2010-12-19 Thread Richard York
 (I've missed a day on this, while I was daft enough to honour a gig in 
Hampstead: 1 hr 40 there, 7 hours 20 back. The joys of the soft south!)


You're absolutely right, John.
It is, to adapt an earlier comment, pointless comparing apples and potatoes.
But since we've mentioned it
I was going to write and comment that it's all down to so many elements 
of time, place, mood, etc.
And before seeing yours below, was going to say that for me hearing 
Billy Pigg (interesting how often his name crops up in this) playing the 
Wild Hills of Wannie just Did It when I when I was about 18,  had never 
even heard of Northumbrian smallpipes or any pipes other than GHB's, (as 
played by buskers when crossing the border on Scottish holidays) ... a 
seed was set, and ever since then I wanted to play these things. (Pity 
it took until I was in my mid 50's before actually pursuing them!)


And it is enormously subjective. It's like foods, tastes vary so widely.
 I'm not surprised that Paddy Keenan's Blackbird is John Gibbons' 
defining one (quite agree!) Irish pipes, Irish tune  (yes I know 
they're an English invention).


We could go off topic and discuss which instruments do different jobs 
for different people - for me a one row melodeon does a fantastic job 
with some dance tunes, but is 'orrible even when played by a great Irish 
master for a slow air.
 But that's another big discussion, and I've take us off topic too 
often recently, so I won't suggest it :)


It would be interesting to know how many people, either within the North 
Eastern fold or out of it, were first inspired by hearing Mr Pigg's 
playing, though.


Best wishes,
Richard.


On 18/12/2010 17:51, John Dally wrote:

Thanks to everyone for the edifying discussion. To me Doubleday seems
to be saying, the NSP are a rude, wee thing with enough charm to make
them worth preserving, and within its narrowest scope in its own way
it's quite nice, really.  Another way of looking at it is that he's
saying fa\g a phiob bhochd, leave the poor pipes alone, which
makes good sense to me too.  All that is fair enough.  Contrast that
with George Sand's novel, The Bagpipers, which is truly inspired by
the rude sounds of peasant instruments.  I think she wrote about the
same time as Doubleday.

The discussion lost me when it took on the topic of most expressive
instrument.  Whatever gets you through the night, as the late, great
Liverpudlian once sang.  All music is nostalgic and so much depends on
your frame of reference.  When I first heard the NSP when I was about
fifteen I was drinking tea in a close corner by a wood stove after a
cold, wet day of scavaging fire wood from a logged off patch where
alder and madrona were left to rot.  My friend, Sandy Ross (somehow
related to Colin), put a recording of Billy Pigg on the record player
and I was hooked.  If he had put a recording of the best violinist in
the world I would have hurried out the door without finishing my tea.
There is much more to the context of that moment, social and personal,
that made it so important to me.  But suffice it to say that for all
it's many flaws and short comings the NSP are the only thing that
works to express some things for me, and every time I hear and play
them that moment of contentment and happiness shines through.  Of
course, I have many flaws and shortcomings, which explains a lot!



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday et al

2010-12-19 Thread Matt Seattle
   On Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 12:55 PM, Richard York
   [1]rich...@lizards.force9.co.uk wrote:


 for me hearing Billy Pigg (interesting how often his name crops up
 in this) playing the Wild Hills of Wannie just Did It  ... a seed
 was set

   Yes

   --

References

   1. mailto:rich...@lizards.force9.co.uk


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[NSP] Re: Doubleday et al

2010-12-19 Thread Francis Wood

On 19 Dec 2010, at 12:55, Richard York wrote:

 It would be interesting to know how many people, either within the North 
 Eastern fold or out of it, were first inspired by hearing Mr Pigg's playing, 
 though.

Well, me for a start.

Knowing almost nothing about traditional music, and never having heard of 
Northumbrian pipes,  I came across the Billy Pigg LP on Leader Records in a 
record shop in Colchester. I liked the scholarly presentation with excellent 
illustrations and notes by Colin Ross and bought it immediately, thinking I'd 
got something fascinating and totally obscure. On the way home, I met the 
vicar's wife who said  Oh, I see you've got the Billy Pigg LP!

I immediately played it to my flat-mate who after a couple of minutes, said  
Do we have to have this on?

But by then, I was hooked.  

Francis




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday et al

2010-12-19 Thread Colin
I did mention earlier that Billy Pigg was my first introduction to the pipes 
(although I was familiar with the Irish pipes but not through playing).
1968, Corries TV program and a very unassuming gentleman was being asked by 
them regarding the pipes and giving answers like yes and no.
He played Bill Charlton's Fancy and, from that moment, I wanted to play. 
(Still have the audio of that ob reel-to-reel somewhere).
Took until C1973 when the LP Wild Hills etc came out (or until I found it in 
the record shop) and it had the NPS details on it to actually go about 
getting a set. Phoning Ray (Fisher) Ross put me in touch will Bill Hedworth 
who had just completed a simple set which he could send me in a matter of 
weeks.
If I remember, it cost around £30 and he provided me (on loan - I did send 
it back after copying it longhand - no scanners then) a booklet on how to 
play, a set of reeds at various stages of completion and a sketch on how to 
adjust the bridle. A lifetime membership to the NPS followed (that was 
nearly a whole month's salary)  and, about a year later, a conversion to a 7 
key set which I still play. Conversion (new 7 key chanter, new drone stock 
with extra hole and low D drone) cost £36. I did have to drill a hole in the 
G drone to use the  A as the cover was there but Bill hadn't drilled the 
actual hole under it).
I then made my first (and last) visit to the AGM (by rail) and gawped at the 
likes of Colin Ross and Forster Charlton being there (and suddenly realised 
who Ray Ross was).
Also heard Colin playing border pipes but couldn't persuade my wife to let 
me have a set of them as well!

Happy memories.

Colin Hill

- Original Message - 
From: Francis Wood oatenp...@googlemail.com

To: Richard York rich...@lizards.force9.co.uk
Cc: NSP group nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu
Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2010 2:55 PM
Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday et al





On 19 Dec 2010, at 12:55, Richard York wrote:

It would be interesting to know how many people, either within the North 
Eastern fold or out of it, were first inspired by hearing Mr Pigg's 
playing, though.


Well, me for a start.

Knowing almost nothing about traditional music, and never having heard of 
Northumbrian pipes,  I came across the Billy Pigg LP on Leader Records in 
a record shop in Colchester. I liked the scholarly presentation with 
excellent illustrations and notes by Colin Ross and bought it immediately, 
thinking I'd got something fascinating and totally obscure. On the way 
home, I met the vicar's wife who said  Oh, I see you've got the Billy 
Pigg LP!


I immediately played it to my flat-mate who after a couple of minutes, 
said  Do we have to have this on?


But by then, I was hooked.

Francis




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday et al

2010-12-19 Thread brimor
What really got me interested was the gift of Kathryn's first cassette, On 
Kielder Side.   Wonderful music!  It was given to me by friends who live on 
Orkney and heard her at the Orkney festival.  At that point I was trying to 
learn to play the Highland chanter.   The teacher had just received a notice 
from Alan Jones about the North Hero weekend (the 2nd, I think).   I phoned 
Alan forthwith to enquire whether I would be able to borrow and try the NSP if 
I went.  He assured me that I would - but in actual fact that did not happen!   
However I was so impressed by Richard Butler's playing and teaching that I 
ordered a set right away.  


Sheila


-Original Message-
From: Richard York rich...@lizards.force9.co.uk
To: John Dally dir...@gmail.com; NSP group nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu
Sent: Sun, Dec 19, 2010 7:55 am
Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday et al


(I've missed a day on this, while I was daft enough to honour a gig in 
Hampstead: 1 hr 40 there, 7 hours 20 back. The joys of the soft south!) 
 
You're absolutely right, John. 
It is, to adapt an earlier comment, pointless comparing apples and potatoes. 
But since we've mentioned it 
I was going to write and comment that it's all down to so many elements of 
time, place, mood, etc. 
And before seeing yours below, was going to say that for me hearing Billy Pigg 
(interesting how often his name crops up in this) playing the Wild Hills of 
Wannie just Did It when I when I was about 18, had never even heard of 
Northumbrian smallpipes or any pipes other than GHB's, (as played by buskers 
when crossing the border on Scottish holidays) ... a seed was set, and ever 
since then I wanted to play these things. (Pity it took until I was in my mid 
50's before actually pursuing them!) 
 
And it is enormously subjective. It's like foods, tastes vary so widely. 
 I'm not surprised that Paddy Keenan's Blackbird is John Gibbons' defining one 
(quite agree!) Irish pipes, Irish tune (yes I know they're an English 
invention). 
 
We could go off topic and discuss which instruments do different jobs for 
different people - for me a one row melodeon does a fantastic job with some 
dance tunes, but is 'orrible even when played by a great Irish master for a 
slow air. 
 But that's another big discussion, and I've take us off topic too often 
recently, so I won't suggest it :) 
 
It would be interesting to know how many people, either within the North 
Eastern fold or out of it, were first inspired by hearing Mr Pigg's playing, 
though. 
 
Best wishes, 
Richard. 
 
On 18/12/2010 17:51, John Dally wrote: 
 Thanks to everyone for the edifying discussion. To me Doubleday seems 
 to be saying, the NSP are a rude, wee thing with enough charm to make 
 them worth preserving, and within its narrowest scope in its own way 
 it's quite nice, really. Another way of looking at it is that he's 
 saying fa\g a phiob bhochd, leave the poor pipes alone, which 
 makes good sense to me too. All that is fair enough. Contrast that 
 with George Sand's novel, The Bagpipers, which is truly inspired by 
 the rude sounds of peasant instruments. I think she wrote about the 
 same time as Doubleday. 
 
 The discussion lost me when it took on the topic of most expressive 
 instrument. Whatever gets you through the night, as the late, great 
 Liverpudlian once sang. All music is nostalgic and so much depends on 
 your frame of reference. When I first heard the NSP when I was about 
 fifteen I was drinking tea in a close corner by a wood stove after a 
 cold, wet day of scavaging fire wood from a logged off patch where 
 alder and madrona were left to rot. My friend, Sandy Ross (somehow 
 related to Colin), put a recording of Billy Pigg on the record player 
 and I was hooked. If he had put a recording of the best violinist in 
 the world I would have hurried out the door without finishing my tea. 
 There is much more to the context of that moment, social and personal, 
 that made it so important to me. But suffice it to say that for all 
 it's many flaws and short comings the NSP are the only thing that 
 works to express some things for me, and every time I hear and play 
 them that moment of contentment and happiness shines through. Of 
 course, I have many flaws and shortcomings, which explains a lot! 
 
 
 
 To get on or off this list see list information at 
 http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html 
 
 


--


[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-19 Thread Helen Capes
The  pipes are a brilliant but not capable of the highest level of 
expressiveness.


Anthony, go wash your mouth out with soap!!
Helen 




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-19 Thread inky-adrian


Hello all
this instrument does not lack ability, it lacks players who can't play in 
the correct method; not many can do that. Expression is emphasised in 
precision. I'm not here to delineate. There is no more expression in those 
who can play the detached method with feeling.




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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-18 Thread GibbonsSoinne
   One thing I like about NSP is the way vibrato alters the colour, rather
   than the volume of a note.

   You can emphasise higher harmonics this way, and Billy Pigg seemed to
   use this a lot in The Lark in the Clear Air, for example.



   As for apples and potatoes - in Cologne they have 'Himmel un Aed' -
   Heaven and Earth, meaning apple kompott and mashed potatoes served
   together with eg, Bratwurst. There's a place for both - not necessarily
   far apart.



   John



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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-18 Thread Anthony Robb

   John, I know what you mean. I also think that fiddle and pipes in duet
   are a Northumbrian version of 'Himmel un Aed'.
   If I may rewind the discussion and with particular reference to the
   Chris Ormston's Blackbird, I have to say it is a far superior track
   to anything I managed to offer on that album (or indeed in the 10
   years either side of it - that was a dreadful period for me stuck in
   the music doldrums).
   The thing about the Blackbird was that in about 1985 Greg Smith
   recorded it for me (with his own variations) on my trusty old Dansette
   tape recorder. It was breathtaking. Visits over subsequent years
   produced more recordings of the same tune with yet more mesmerising
   oramentation/tune development. This piece with its rises and falls,
   embellishments and softness of song going into harshness of the alarm
   call had everything and had been firmly implanted on my brain for years
   before I heard Chris tackle it. When he did, he made a fine job of it
   but even in a master's hands the pipes failed to touch me as the
   fiddle version had.
   I did listen to that track again this morning and I can understand its
   appeal. I also had the misfortune to hear the embarrassingly
   unsuccessful attempt at trying to play two lovely Northumbrian Rants
   after it.
   So, it's apologies all round for the rubbish perpetrated in the name of
   piping by yours truly during the years '85-'05
   As aye
   Anthony

   --- On Sat, 18/12/10, gibbonssoi...@aol.com gibbonssoi...@aol.com
   wrote:

 From: gibbonssoi...@aol.com gibbonssoi...@aol.com
 Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday
 To: cwh...@santa-fe.freeserve.co.uk, nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu
 Date: Saturday, 18 December, 2010, 12:35

  One thing I like about NSP is the way vibrato alters the colour,
   rather
  than the volume of a note.
  You can emphasise higher harmonics this way, and Billy Pigg seemed
   to
  use this a lot in The Lark in the Clear Air, for example.
  As for apples and potatoes - in Cologne they have 'Himmel un Aed' -
  Heaven and Earth, meaning apple kompott and mashed potatoes served
  together with eg, Bratwurst. There's a place for both - not
   necessarily
  far apart.
  John
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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-18 Thread Gibbons, John
The defining performance of the Blackbird for me (both the air and the set 
dance) was Paddy Keenan's on his solo UP album.
That probably owed a bit to Johnny Doran's famous recording.

But Chris achieved a tremendous lot on his recording of the air - proving that 
NSP can be powerfully expressive, 
if you know how to play them,  and respect their limitations. Less is more...




From: lute-...@cs.dartmouth.edu [lute-...@cs.dartmouth.edu] On Behalf Of 
Anthony Robb [anth...@robbpipes.com]
Sent: 18 December 2010 14:04
To: nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu; gibbonssoi...@aol.com
Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday

   John, I know what you mean. I also think that fiddle and pipes in duet
   are a Northumbrian version of 'Himmel un Aed'.
   If I may rewind the discussion and with particular reference to the
   Chris Ormston's Blackbird, I have to say it is a far superior track
   to anything I managed to offer on that album (or indeed in the 10
   years either side of it - that was a dreadful period for me stuck in
   the music doldrums).
   The thing about the Blackbird was that in about 1985 Greg Smith
   recorded it for me (with his own variations) on my trusty old Dansette
   tape recorder. It was breathtaking. Visits over subsequent years
   produced more recordings of the same tune with yet more mesmerising
   oramentation/tune development. This piece with its rises and falls,
   embellishments and softness of song going into harshness of the alarm
   call had everything and had been firmly implanted on my brain for years
   before I heard Chris tackle it. When he did, he made a fine job of it
   but even in a master's hands the pipes failed to touch me as the
   fiddle version had.
   I did listen to that track again this morning and I can understand its
   appeal. I also had the misfortune to hear the embarrassingly
   unsuccessful attempt at trying to play two lovely Northumbrian Rants
   after it.
   So, it's apologies all round for the rubbish perpetrated in the name of
   piping by yours truly during the years '85-'05
   As aye
   Anthony

   --- On Sat, 18/12/10, gibbonssoi...@aol.com gibbonssoi...@aol.com
   wrote:

 From: gibbonssoi...@aol.com gibbonssoi...@aol.com
 Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday
 To: cwh...@santa-fe.freeserve.co.uk, nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu
 Date: Saturday, 18 December, 2010, 12:35

  One thing I like about NSP is the way vibrato alters the colour,
   rather
  than the volume of a note.
  You can emphasise higher harmonics this way, and Billy Pigg seemed
   to
  use this a lot in The Lark in the Clear Air, for example.
  As for apples and potatoes - in Cologne they have 'Himmel un Aed' -
  Heaven and Earth, meaning apple kompott and mashed potatoes served
  together with eg, Bratwurst. There's a place for both - not
   necessarily
  far apart.
  John
  --
   To get on or off this list see list information at
   [1]http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html

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   1. http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html





[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-17 Thread Richard York

 I'll think more on what he meant  when I have more time!

For expression - I quite agree with you on fiddle tunes.
On the other hand, there are expressive tunes written primarily for 
pipes, surely, where they sound superbly best on pipes?
And it is truly hard for anyone to make them work with these, because of 
the very dynamic limitations you mention.


When I had some lessons with Jean-Pierre Rasle on my first Swayne pipes, 
he rightly said that the old pipers (in France in his case) rated it 
much harder to make a good job of a slow air than a dance tune.


And it's all subjective, ain't it!
For me, I find the nsp's far more expressive than my very nice toned 
piano accordion, which has any amount of dynamic control.


All best wishes,
Richard.

On 17/12/2010 22:46, Anthony Robb wrote:


Hello Richard

Doubleday wrote:

The Northumberland small-pipe is fitted up upon the plan of
construction common to all bagpipes aEUR that is to say, aEUR it
consists of a pipe with stops, by means of which the melody is played,
and of three longer pipes sounding different musical intervals in such
a way as to produce a rude and imperfect accompaniment to the melody.

Taking this in the context of his whole argument he seems to be saying
that common forms of bagpipe have chanters which aren't in tune over
their range and therefore clash with the constant reference point of
the drones. But he then goes on to say that the special quality of the
smallpipes is that they can be played in tune and make a melodious
sound.
It's interesting how we arrive at two contrasting interpretations of
his words. For me he delights in the sound of the small-pipes.

On the point of expression I've been moved to tears as much by the
pipes as the fiddle. The question is, can they match the fiddle when
playing the big fiddle tunes? I have to say after 45 years involvement
at all levels in this music I have yet to find a single example.
I would dearly love to as the pipes are my heritage.
I heard them as a school boy and loved them more than any other
instrument in the world, but loving them more than any other instrument
is one thing, convincing myself they are the most expressive instrument
in the world is another.
As aye
Anthony


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[NSP] Re: Doubleday

2010-12-17 Thread Colin

Ooh, need to take care with words like expressive, I think.
In an attempt to get more expression, isn't that what choyting is all about?
We need to be careful when comparing different instruments. I have found a 
great deal of expressiveness listening to some pipers but in the way they 
play and their technique rather than the sound produced (which, on the 
pipes, would be pretty consistent, I hope).
A fiddle player can alter the pressure, the speed of bowing etc - things 
that are just not possible to the same extent on the pipes, I would have 
thought.
One of the beauties (to me) of the pipes is that the sound produced remains 
more or less the same (unlike many instruments when all sorts of wails and 
vibrato can be added) but the WAY they are played can vary so much between 
pipers (and I mean good pipers, of course).
Many instruments with fixed reeds can be made to be more expressive of 
course (thinking things like concertina and volume/tremolo etc) but I just 
don't see that for the pipes.

Maybe that's why they are such an important instrument.
I may, of course, just be waffling in the breeze (oh, good name for a tune 
there - must write it) and, if so, ignore me but I just can't see a point in 
comparing apples and potatoes (you choose which is which).


Colin Hill
- Original Message - 
From: Richard York rich...@lizards.force9.co.uk
To: Anthony Robb anth...@robbpipes.com; NSP group 
nsp@cs.dartmouth.edu

Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 11:28 PM
Subject: [NSP] Re: Doubleday




 I'll think more on what he meant  when I have more time!

For expression - I quite agree with you on fiddle tunes.
On the other hand, there are expressive tunes written primarily for pipes, 
surely, where they sound superbly best on pipes?
And it is truly hard for anyone to make them work with these, because of 
the very dynamic limitations you mention.


When I had some lessons with Jean-Pierre Rasle on my first Swayne pipes, 
he rightly said that the old pipers (in France in his case) rated it much 
harder to make a good job of a slow air than a dance tune.


And it's all subjective, ain't it!
For me, I find the nsp's far more expressive than my very nice toned piano 
accordion, which has any amount of dynamic control.


All best wishes,
Richard.

On 17/12/2010 22:46, Anthony Robb wrote:


Hello Richard

Doubleday wrote:

The Northumberland small-pipe is fitted up upon the plan of
construction common to all bagpipes aEUR that is to say, aEUR it
consists of a pipe with stops, by means of which the melody is 
played,
and of three longer pipes sounding different musical intervals in 
such

a way as to produce a rude and imperfect accompaniment to the melody.

Taking this in the context of his whole argument he seems to be 
saying

that common forms of bagpipe have chanters which aren't in tune over
their range and therefore clash with the constant reference point of
the drones. But he then goes on to say that the special quality of 
the

smallpipes is that they can be played in tune and make a melodious
sound.
It's interesting how we arrive at two contrasting interpretations of
his words. For me he delights in the sound of the small-pipes.

On the point of expression I've been moved to tears as much by the
pipes as the fiddle. The question is, can they match the fiddle when
playing the big fiddle tunes? I have to say after 45 years 
involvement

at all levels in this music I have yet to find a single example.
I would dearly love to as the pipes are my heritage.
I heard them as a school boy and loved them more than any other
instrument in the world, but loving them more than any other 
instrument
is one thing, convincing myself they are the most expressive 
instrument

in the world is another.
As aye
Anthony


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