Teach Yourself Bagpipes by Lindsay Davidsonbringing quality 'piping instruction to you for free
Intermediate Exercise 23
This exercise is intended to help with F doublings and crossing sounds.
The initial gracenote and cutting gracenote here are diferent in length but in a simple proportionate relationship. The relative 'strength', or effect for emphasis, of a doubling is partially established by the length of the initial G gracenote. This is a really big heavy F doubling. It is also set up to make sure that you don't have any crossing sounds coming from D, as this is often a stumbling block in tunes.
It helps in this by crafting your timing of high G gracenotes in two situations which commonly appear near to each other.
Watch out for the crossing sound trick - that moment when very few fingers are holding the chanter. If you can remember that sensation of few fingers it cold also help you with the times when we start to hold on to the chanter too tightly...
How to practise
Solid bagpipe technique is not about being able to squeeze more wiggly bits into an ever smaller space of time. Solid bagpipe technique means that you can choose how long or short every finger movement will be (and why, according to your physical situation and musical interpretation), and the actions come out as exactly you want. These exercises are designed to make this happen, to give you total awareness and control over your embellishment rhythm by helping establish patterns in your brain.
The Magic Maxim:
"If you can play slowly you can play quickly, but the converse isn't necessarily true..."
This means exactly what it says - the better you become the more exactly you should be able to control what you are doing, and so to test ourselves, we shouldn't practise more quickly, but more slowly.
To think like computers - a sampling rate for a recording is a measure of how many times a second the computer will measure what is happening in the sound. A higher sampling rate makes for a higher quality of recording, up to a point beyond which it doesn't make much difference. It is the same with piping - the more times in a beat you can say exactly what is happening, the better your piping, up to a point..
Playing exactly with the midi files at a quarter speed is a fairly good test for a group, and this extra secret can dramatically affect the strength of playing within a band, and the confidence. It is true that using this approach, you can bring about a positive revolution in your band's playing and attitude.
So to repeat, as you get better and your finger and rhythmical control become more exact, you should go from the fastest videos...to the slowest.
Please be aware that youtube will allow you to change the playback speed, which means you can train your rhythmical skill with more subtelty.
Videos to play along with (start with the fastest and gradually move to the slowest)
Low pitch normal speed
Low pitch half speedHigh pitch normal speed
Low pitch quarter speed
High pitch half speed
High pitch quarter speed
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