Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Hi all,

My brother and I are new to fiddle and pipes but have a dream to play them together one day (corny, I know, but true). Except we are so green we have no idea if we can read and play the same sheet music or if we have different music we read and play?

I guess the question is, can I pull a piece of music I am practicing on fiddle and can he use it for his pipe music?

Thanks so much for your comments.

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

sheet music?? gabh mo leisceal??

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

I had to read the initial post twice to see where s/he said Scottish Small Pipes. Still can’t see it.
So, which pipes? Scottish/Uillean? not sure if it matters though.

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

small pipes will likely be in Bb or A. [or D]
if they are in A you should have no problem playing together. However, you will need to spend a year or many just getting to grips with your own instrument..
With both instruments you need to learn to handle the instrument itself befor advancing to playing together. or even playing tunes.
Good luck.
get a teacher.

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

There is nothing corny in the idea by the way. that is quite a normal and admirable goal, but it will take a few years.

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Possibly Dolobran is wondering if the situation is like, for example, fiddle and clarinet, where clarinet music (for some reason I have never understood) is written in a different key but sounds the same - a tune in D will be written out in some other key but sound in D. Clarinet players either have to have special music or learn to transpose in their heads.

If the pipes are not a transposing instrument, then yes, you can both play from the same music.

However learning to play by ear would be better.

(Is llig on holiday?)

Posted by .

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Learning to play Scottish small pipes by ear is NOT better. In fact it’s one of the few folk instruments that really does need the dots (unless you were brought up with canterachd - the sung way of teaching/learning pipes. The doublings (crans) are too complex on GHB related instruments to learn by ear properly. The ear is fine once the rudiments are learned.

But to get back to the question - Small pipes are great with the fiddle, though they are a bit quieter than the fiddle so I use mine mainly for recording and use Scottish Border pipes for gigs and sessions. Initially the fiddle player would be better learning some tunes written for the pipes as the scale is only from G up to A (nine notes) but once you are up and running you can generally substitute notes outwith that scale. The Small pipes are not chromatic while decent Border Pipes are. Look for tunes within that nine note range in the keys of A, Bm, D and Em. Other keys are possible but you really need Nigel Richard, Hamish Moores or Fred Morrison pipes for that.

You can check out youtubes of pipe/fiddle combinations for ideas. Anyway, you will easily be able to play together with practise. Good luck

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Interesting, Fred Morrisons small pipes, what is different?

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Many thanks for all your posts. I realize I am a little premature in expecting to play together but what the heck. It’s winter, we have single malt scotch, and a fireplace. What could be better?

Thanks all and happy holidays!

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

Jig, Fred pipes I think are actually made by MacCallum with his guidance and seem very good. All the serious players I know play one of these three makes. I play Moore smallpipes which have a beautiful sound but I chose Nigel Richard’s Border pipes as I think they have the best Border tone and tuning is reliable. They are very sensitive to what’s known as crossing noises (unwanted notes between e.g. c and an e) but are great for your technique as they are unforgiving. Best purchase I ever made.

Re: Playing fiddle and small pipes together

At first I thought you were talking about the proper small pipes ….
Cheers ;-)
Ged