Seems Like Cheating on the Uillean Pipes
Ok, I’m a long time lurker prodded out of my silence by the Great Lurker Uprising thread (i.e., encouraged to not just read), so here goes - something I’ve never seen addressed in other discussions but which has really bugged me about the Irish music scene since I started.
I’m a novice Uillean piper (about 3 years), but one of the reasons why I was drawn to the Uillean pipes is the wonderful SOUND of the Uillean chanter I’ve heard on contemporary recordings by artists such as John McSherry, Cillian Vallely, Calum Stewart, Davey Spillane, Chris McMullan, to name a few. Their chanters were so clear and bright and full-volumed. I’m not talking about technique or expression (which are top notch on these pipers, as you would expect), but just the sound.
I find from actual play, though, that the Concert D chanter (at least mine and my teacher’s) is nowhere near that clear and bright in person, and my teacher has told me these artists probably use reverb and other acoustic engineering tricks in their recordings to produce that quality of sound. This has left me a bit disappointed (not enough to quit though) and I feel a bit as though I was sold a "bill of goods" by these modern recordings.
Has anyone else noticed this disparity between the instrument played in person with no electronic amplification or manipulation and a modern recording? What to make of it? Is it even honest?