Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

I am going to start individual voice lessons fairly soon. My teacher is willing to let me sing whatever I want. Many of the folk songs I like are from the Northeast of England and, as such, are played with Northumbrian smallpipes. I currently don’t really read music and mostly listen by ear. Would my teacher be able to modify the music for piano just by seeing the original sheet music, bearing in mind that she is not very familiar with smallpipes?
Thanks,
TW

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Just to clarify, she would be playing piano accompinment.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

I doubt that the sheet music would need modifying at all, unless it has been heavily ‘ornamented’ with symbols for the pipes. But a decent pianist should be able to handle it no matter what melody instrument the music is written for.

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Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Thanks Gobby. She is a great pianist.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

I’d agree: but probably best not to have too much ornamentation in the accompaniment, and let the voice part shine through. Another example of "less is more" where accompaniment is concerned, unless the accompanist plays an instrumental break between verses of a song, in which case they can let fly!

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Are the pipes widely used for song accompaniment?

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Can’t think of many instances of that at all. I would refer you to "The Throwback" by Tom Sharpe, and "The Ballad Of Prick ‘Em Dry" :).

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Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

They may not be widely used still most groups, but two which I like, Canny Fettle and High Level Ranters, do sometimes use them in the background of singing.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

In, not still

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Pauline Cato: sings while she plays her Northumbrian pipes.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

The Northumbrian pipes may sometimes be used to accompany singing but I would be surprised if there were many (or any) publications of songs arranged for voice and pipes - voice and piano would be a much more likely combination. I would suggest searching around for piano arrangements of the songs you want to sing, as they might well already exist.

In answer to the original question: Music written for the Northumbian pipes will only be a melody line (possibly with chord symbols in some modern publications). It can certainly be adapted for the piano, but your teacher would need to arrange or extemporise her own accompaniment, which she may or may not be competent at doing.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

> Would my teacher be able to modify the music for piano just by seeing the original sheet music

Yes, she will be absolutely fine with that. You might want to provide her with 3-4 exemplar tracks of the kind of people you enjoy as traditional singing isn’t something a lot of vocal tutors are familiar with to any degree.

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Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Piano is one of the most versatile instruments, in skilled hands. There is not a note on the Northumbrian pipes that the piano can not reproduce. Northumbrian pipe ornamentation is not like highland pipe ornamentation either and many Northumbrian pipe tunes ornament by variation not finger gymnastics in arcane patterns. The tunes you are looking to sing, by the simple fact they exist as songs will be well within reach.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

I like playing Northumbrian Small Pipes tunes on my Sobell Octave Mandolin. The challenge was trying to incorporate the essence of the drones (usually open strings on the OM) while working the melody. Being a closed chanter the NSP sound tends to be staccato unlike other pipes and so I would try for a more staccato melody in my OM playing. If I were to accompany vocals on my OM with NSP style elements I would probably concentrate more on the drones and contrapuntal elements letting the vocals cover the melody. I imagine something like that would work for piano. You really have free reign though. I hope your pianist is inventive.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

I’d have to disagree strongly with Steve T !! The piano can not drone and it is tuned so every note is a bit out , equal temperament while pipes are tuned justly . The reality is that the piano can approximate the melody of a tune and no more .

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Thank you for all the replies. I think I’ll start off by seeing if I can find the versions of the songs for piano.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

What was the question again?

Tunes (or songs?) from the Northumbrian tradition + piano accompaniment? I can’t see any problem with this, provided the piano player has the skills.

Re: Can music for Northumbrian smallpipes be modified to be used for piano?

Yes Jeff, that was the question in a nutshell. I wanted to know if music from Northumbrian smallpipes can be translated for piano.