Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

I assume the issue would be the drones and regulators.
I guess the reg’s would not work so well, but maybe the drones could be ok.

I was wondering if I could buy a D set, and then play a C chanter sometimes (hopefully using at least drones).

If you have experience please comment.

Posted by .

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

In general you can use any full set and plug in any key chanter to the bag, with some caveats:
1. The chanter inlet tube size and the stock (the part in the bag’s neck that the chanter plugs into) have to be of a compatible size
2. The bag neck of a set may be too short for longer chanters or too long for shorter chanters (D set may be too short for C and B chanters, and vice versa, for example)
3. In general the drones and regs are only going to be set up for the normal chanter. That’s both in terms of pitch *and* playing pressure.

I have a C chanter that I play using either by D set (with an extension tube) or with my B set (no extension tube, but I also replace the gooseneck top of the chanter top that includes the inlet tub as well). I never use the D set drones with the C chanter, but I can retune by B drones (well, three of four) to match the C chanter, and do that sometimes.

Posted by .

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Maybe the same thing Nico is saying, but my D chanter has a short tube that comes out of the side of the chanter headstock, while I used to have a C chanter that had a long swan-neck tube that came out of the the top of the chanter headstock.

That allowed the same bag to work for both.

I have turned on the D drones while I’m playing tunes in D minor on the C chanter (the same fingering as E minor tunes on the D chanter).

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

"If you have experience, please comment."

You didn’t say "If you don’t have experience, please don’t comment", so…

In theory, I can see no reason why the drones could not be made with valves to change their pitch from C to D (or even for a whole range of pitches from B♭ to E♭), but I don’t know whether any pipemakers do this. Transposing regulators would obviously be less practical; perhaps some of the notes on D regulators could still be used with a C chanter.

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

A long time ago, there was a time when I had a wonderful C chanter, but no C drones or regs. I was able to get the drones on my D set down to C with some little pieces of heat shrink tubing inserted in the drone tips.

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Andreas Rogge offers C-Drone-Slides for his D-Drones

i like the other way and be able to tune my b flat set drones up to c with a shorter bass drone endpiece to play in c minor…

Posted by .

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Although having drones that play over a tone range obviously works for some sets, drones typically are optimized (and stable) for a particular length and bore diameter, so in general it shouldn’t be expected that drones will work at a flatter or sharper pitch in a stable manner. Never mind that different pitches of chanters often take different pressure requirements (in general narrow-bore or flat pitch instruments require less pressure than wide-bore or concert pitch instruments).

Of course if it works, great! Or if the pipemaker is specifically designing them to work, great. But just don’t expect that from all pipemakers.

Posted by .

Re: Can an uilleann pipe play chanters in D and C keys?

Generally altering length doesn’t seem to do much to the stability of a drone as long as the steps in the bore remain the same. There is a US maker of smallpipes who makes a set of drones that can be tuned over the range of a fourth to accommodate chanters of different keys, and the Northumbrians of course often make their drones with tuning beads that accommodate several different pitches. The problem here is the drones simply aren’t designed to accommodate it, which is understandable. They’re not exactly the most mix and match of machines.

Posted by .