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Bagpipes: irritating?

Acorn4 11 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM
Declan 11 Jun 08 - 02:07 PM
Peace 11 Jun 08 - 02:07 PM
Jack Campin 11 Jun 08 - 02:08 PM
Bill D 11 Jun 08 - 02:10 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Jun 08 - 02:13 PM
Big Mick 11 Jun 08 - 02:24 PM
PoppaGator 11 Jun 08 - 02:26 PM
irishenglish 11 Jun 08 - 02:26 PM
Big Mick 11 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Jun 08 - 02:35 PM
Peace 11 Jun 08 - 02:36 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Jun 08 - 02:37 PM
beardedbruce 11 Jun 08 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,songster 11 Jun 08 - 02:41 PM
Dave Earl 11 Jun 08 - 02:45 PM
irishenglish 11 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM
Jack Campin 11 Jun 08 - 02:52 PM
Ed T 11 Jun 08 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,songster 11 Jun 08 - 03:12 PM
gnomad 11 Jun 08 - 03:22 PM
Highlandman 11 Jun 08 - 03:28 PM
Don Firth 11 Jun 08 - 04:03 PM
Big Mick 11 Jun 08 - 04:12 PM
trevek 11 Jun 08 - 04:15 PM
Don Firth 11 Jun 08 - 04:26 PM
Ruth Archer 11 Jun 08 - 04:27 PM
Big Mick 11 Jun 08 - 04:29 PM
irishenglish 11 Jun 08 - 04:32 PM
Zen 11 Jun 08 - 04:42 PM
Leadfingers 11 Jun 08 - 05:05 PM
Def Shepard 11 Jun 08 - 05:45 PM
Bernard 11 Jun 08 - 06:55 PM
Acorn4 11 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,Dave MacKenzie 11 Jun 08 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC 12 Jun 08 - 04:09 AM
banjoman 12 Jun 08 - 07:27 AM
trevek 12 Jun 08 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Joe 12 Jun 08 - 07:41 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 12 Jun 08 - 07:54 AM
topical tom 12 Jun 08 - 08:17 AM
Leadfingers 12 Jun 08 - 09:28 AM
Jess A 12 Jun 08 - 09:46 AM
Highlandman 12 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Timo_Tuokkola 12 Jun 08 - 12:33 PM
Leadfingers 12 Jun 08 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Wolfhound person 12 Jun 08 - 01:40 PM
Marc Bernier 12 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin (at work) 12 Jun 08 - 02:30 PM
Effsee 12 Jun 08 - 03:03 PM
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Subject: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Acorn4
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM

This weekend sees the "Big Session" Festival in Leicester, and I've just been reading through the General info: I quote:

"You are welcome to bring acoustic instruments with you for informal sessions, but please don't bring anything really loud that other people may find irritating like bagpipes for example."

Arise council for the defence?


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Declan
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:07 PM

Bagpipes were made loud so the English woulod find them irritating.

Whoever wrote that doesn't have much of a clue really.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:07 PM

WHAT?


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:08 PM

Try this:

Leicestershire smallpipes


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:10 PM

The keyword is "informal" sessions. Pipes in a small gathering may be overwhelming. Context is important.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:13 PM

How can you defend bagpipes? Bapgpipes are the only instrument that takes the heat off the banjo.   At it's best, the bagpipe can replicate the sound of someone passing a large stone.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:24 PM

I am taking names of all youse louts that are defaming this gentle instrument. I will be asking friends of mine to bring their warpipes to your collective homes at half two in the morning to give youse all a special concert to teach you proper respect for this fine instrument.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:26 PM

James Rivers is a modern jazz reed player (tenor sax, mostly) who doubles on bagpipes. He's a New Orleans guy who has been around forever and is not a young man ~ 75 at least ~ but has always been a very modern-style player, not a Preservation Hall traditional-jazz type.

I've seen/heard him play his jazz bagpipes many times; I think he makes it a point to use 'em at least once during his annual Jazz Festival set. I'm not absolutely sure I can remember any specific songs he's performed on that unlikely instrument, but I think John Coltrane's arrangement of "My Favorite Things" might be one. Some of you might be able to imagine how that might sound: interesting, and not bad at all.

Loud and honking, yes; but irritating ~ no way! Or, at least, not necessarily...


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: irishenglish
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:26 PM

Well, the Oysterband have no dislike of pipes, they have used Kathryn Tickell and James O'Grady on record and on tour, I would say they just want to keep it simple!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:31 PM

Just listen to anything done by Brian MacNeil, or Ed Miller. They use the pipes played in the Gaelic manner which is much more freeform than the military tattoos that are one more remnant of the usurpation of all things Gaelic. That is not to say that I don't find the military stuff as enjoyable, but I really love hearing what is being done with these instruments during this latest "golden age". Seems as though we are getting back to letting the pipes be an expression of the soul of the Gaels.

BTW, Ed Miller did a Brian MacNeil song titled "Song of the Hammer". I love the pipes in that one.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:35 PM

Gentle instrument?   When was the last time you had a hearing test?


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:36 PM

WHAT ??


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:37 PM

just teasing - I actually love the sound of the bagpipe and play it on my shows frequently.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:37 PM

Ron,

Try squeezing a LIVE goat. Yes, the bagpipe is gentle. And a lot less messy.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,songster
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:41 PM

Almost every country has their own form of bagpipes, England has three (I think) Scotland has three (I think) Ireland has two, Wales has one. Spain, Poland, France (to mention a few) has (wait for it . . . fifty two varieties) now some are very similar but each have something that no other has. (quotes book) if this beautiful instrument (in the right hands) is not allowed to play along with other instruments then they might form a complex and never play again!
Please let the 'wee' timid bagpipe come out to play.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:45 PM

Hm "are bagpipes irritating?"

Yes


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: irishenglish
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:47 PM

Arc Records has a 2CD set called Global Bagpipes,with pictures and detailed descriptions of the differences of each type from many, many countries, including Iran, Malta and Germany. If you like pipes, and hearing the diffference, I would recommend that set.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:52 PM

The Leicestershire bagpipe that Julian Goodacre makes is a reconstruction of a traditional English pipe. It has a similar volume and timbre to a melodeon, and plays in D or G (range C#-d) so it can do a large proportion of the English session tune repertoire. It's very widely used by early music groups and almost anybody interested in English instrumental traditions or mediaeval music will have heard it.

It was also once the standard type of bagpipe in Scotland - see Pete Stewart's recent book.

There isn't much excuse for somebody running a Leicester folk club not to know about it.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Ed T
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 02:55 PM

A mournful sounding instrument that reminds me of the sound of a cat in heat. Did the infantry not put the players upfront, to eat the first shots?


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,songster
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 03:12 PM

Listen to the Uilleann pipes in masterful hands, Liam O'Flynn, Ronan Browne, Dickie Deegan, Jarleth Henderson, Paddy Keenan to name but a few! How can you NOT like the 'bagpipe' sound?
songster


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: gnomad
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 03:22 PM

The quote actually asks folks coming to the informal sessions "but please don't bring anything really loud that other people may find irritating", the bagpipes (presumably highland warpipes) are just an example (maybe even a humorous one?)

In some contexts I enjoy the really noisy pipes, but not in most informal sessions; I need a bit of space, or maybe those pipes do.

Some pipes, such as the Northumbrian small pipes, I would welcome in any session that wasn't devoted to some single, other, music.

So, "Bagpipes: irritating?" No.

But, "Very loud instruments at any session:iritating? Hell, yes!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Highlandman
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 03:28 PM

Well, as a Great Highland Bagpipe player myself, I have to admit that all the jabs and digs are at least a bit justified. Honestly, if I bring my GHB into an acoustic session it would tend to drown out the other instruments.... whether the pipes were being played or not.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:03 PM

During the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, a number of pubs in the vicinity of the fairgrounds offered some form of entertainment in hopes of dragging some of the fairgoers in and partaking of the vast influx of tourist money. A member of the Keith Pipe Band was hired to play pipes in one of them.

It occurred to him that if he was playing somewhere and getting paid for it, he should probably join the American Federation of Musicians. He went to the local office to sign up. When the dude behind the desk (who hadn't played anything musical for years except a squeaky chair) asked him what instrument or instruments he played and heard the answer, he guffawed uproariously and said that the pipes were not a musical instrument, they were an abomination to the ear. The piper left, understandably miffed at the guy, but muttering that at least he didn't have to pay union dues.

A couple of weeks later, some other officious official from the musician's union hears the piper playing at the pub and asks to see his union card. The piper said that he doesn't have one, nor, was he told, did he need one. They exchanged harsh words, and subsequently the pub found itself under pressure to fire the piper and hire a union musician—maybe a piano player.

The piper wrote to Scotland to get a ruling on an actual designation of the bagpipe and shortly thereafter received a definitive answer, which he was able to present to the musicians union and anyone else who tried to give him grief. He continued playing at the pub and getting paid for it, thenceforth unmolested by musicians union flacks.

The bagpipe, the ruling said, is not a musical instrument; it is an "implement of war."

True story. Actually happened.

My father told me that during World War I, the Scottish troops in the battlefield were particularly ferocious, and as a result, the sound of the pipes off in the distance, but coming their way, used to scare the crap out of German soldiers.

Don Firth

P. S. The claim is that the Scots have the slowest sense of humor in the world. The Irish invented the bagpipe (untrue, of course), gave it to the Scots, telling them it was a musical instrument, and the Scots haven't caught onto the joke yet.   [Vile slander!!]

P. P. S. I love the pipes!! I hear the sound of the pipes and I want to hike up my kilts and run down the hillside, screaming like a madman and hacking to the right of me and the left of me with my claymore!

P. P. P. S. Yeah, well, maybe bagpipes at an informal session might not be a good idea. . . .


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:12 PM

Don, I don't recall anyone EVER saying that the Irish invented the pipes, but we do claim to have given them to the Scots.

I have many friends who are AFM members as pipers. I don't list myself that way, even though I play the Uilleann pipes, as I don't consider myself good enough to claim to be a pro.

As to pipes at a session, one thing that is important for others to remember about certain pipes is that they were not really an ensemble instrument. As time has gone on, there has been a bit more standardization but many of them, especially the UP's, are very touchy and cannot always be brought to concert tuning. If a piper has been invited to a session, often the tunable instruments will have to tune to the pipes.

I might bring my pipes to a session, but I would never try and use them beyond a tune or two, unless asked to. This really boils down to mutual courtesy and respect. Boorish behaviour, whether from a piper or a singer who horns in every other song, is bad form.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: trevek
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:15 PM

It's the player more than th pipes. I recall singing in a session and some guy decided to accompany me on pipes... and upped the key drastically to one which I needed stilts to sing.

Of course, he realised it wasn't a good idea and stopped playing... just as I was scraping the ceiling on a high note... made me look great... NOT!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:26 PM

Mick, I thought I made the fact that I am aware of that fairly clear in my parenthetical phrase--in the hope that no one would feel impelled to "correct" me on it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:27 PM

is it possible that the venue has had bad experiences in the past with intrusive highland pipes at sessions, and are trying to avoid similar problems in future?

Jack, it's not a Leicester folk club - it's the annual festival programmed by the Oysterband.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:29 PM

Dammit, Don, you can't expect me to read for friggin' comprehension on a hot summer day!!!

I will be back, I have to go pry this foot out of my mouth, and this tongue out of my cheek..........

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: irishenglish
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:32 PM

Ruth, I think that since Ian Telfer is a Scot, he is responsible for the no pipes rule! Just kidding, I think everyone's right regarding this specific point, they just don't want an overpowering instrument like pipes there. Now as for bodhran players.......


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Zen
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 04:42 PM

The Scottish smallpipes are no more irritating than the banjo (I play both!).

Zen


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 05:05 PM

The Scottish War Pipes (G S B )are NOT an ondoor instrument in ANY circumstances for a venue smaller than Earls Court's main hall - The last place I played pipes indoors !
And when you get three Uillean pipers at a session taking turns to do Four Part reels in D Major for an hour it doesnt exactly improve the session either !


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Def Shepard
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 05:45 PM

the bag pipes an irritant? I don't think so! The Peat Bog Faeries and that late, great ensemble, Croft No.5 attest to how intersting the pipes can be.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 06:55 PM

Nobody's mentioned the Red Hot Chilli Pipers yet...!!

Their 'Bagrock to the Masses' album is brilliant!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Acorn4
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 06:56 PM

I've just heard a rumour that a panzer division of melodeons is on its way to Leicester to see off any potential bagpipe threat!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 08 - 07:00 PM

The banjo not irritating? Actually the most irritating thing about the banjo is certain well-known female singers who make frailing seem easy.

Seriously though, I've plaid in sessions with Highland Great Pipes, Northumberland Pipes, Uillean Pipes, and various other forms, and the only problem is usually whether the piper is listening to the other instruments, and name aninstrument where this doesn't apply.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 04:09 AM

Big Mick - If a piper has been invited to a session .....

Dream on :-)


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: banjoman
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 07:27 AM

This may sound strange comming from a banjo player/maker but I think that there is nothing better than the sound of the pipes, especially the Scottish Pipes, and I would back any movement to see them more accepted at festivals and smaller venues. Any sensitive player of any instrument should be able to vary the volume and tone to fit in with the venue and other musicians.(this is not intended to generate even more banjo jokes and insults)

Pete


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: trevek
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 07:34 AM

"This may sound strange comming from a banjo player/maker but I think that there is nothing better than the sound of the pipes,"

I agree... especially because thy cover up the sound of the banjo. (says Trev-the-Bodhran-Player)


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 07:41 AM

"Any sensitive player of any instrument should be able to vary the volume and tone to fit in with the venue and other musicians."

I wish there were a lot more sensitive pipe players then!


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 07:54 AM

Lumping all varieties of pipes together is like lumping all varieties of guitar together. We don't consider a 00 Martin and a Les Paul connected to a Marshall stack to be the same thing, why should smallpipes and highland pipes be equated? Blanket statements about instruments usually indicate ignorance on the part of the speaker.

Anyway, it's the player, not the instrument, that defines the sound. Any instrument can be irritating in the wrong hands or enthralling in the right hands.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: topical tom
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 08:17 AM

Bagpipe music I find stirring, moving. However, I cannot listen to them very long at a time.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 09:28 AM

The only possible way I know of altering the volume of a full set of War Pipes is to physically adjust EACH of the drones to make them operate at a lower bag pressure ! This would mean the pipes (IF set for Indoor Volume) would have to be rebuilt for the next out door gig - A Bit much to expect , I feel !


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Jess A
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 09:46 AM

you'd have to be an experienced pipe maker to adjust a set of pipes for lower pressure/volume and still make them play in tune - in fact I'm not sure it would be physically possible without replacing most of the instrument as the length & bore of the drones and chanter and the positioning of the finger holes all come into play.

All the pipers I know have two volumes - on or off. (mostly on English pipes which are not as loud and raucous as Highland Pipes but can still be pretty loud).


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Highlandman
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 12:12 PM

A competent piper (which I consider myself, just barely) should have the capability of adjusting the reeds within a range of volume, but the range is admittedly small.
I use synthetic drone reeds which are pretty amenable to tinkering, but haven't found anything other than cane reeds suitable for the chanter. With cane reeds most of us try to select one with the desired pressure and volume, because adjusting them physically does take some skill which only the most experienced pipers generally have.
Usually "lighter" reeds are quieter (relatively speaking) and the stiffer reeds are more stable. I generally keep a "good" (i.e. stiff) reed for outdoor playing (always used the good stiff one for competitions when I was doing that) and a soft, "quiet" one for indoor performances like churches and auditoriums.
Once the pipes are set up with a particular set of reeds though (and it takes a fair amount of time and tinkering to change the setup) there are only two volumes, "on" and "off." And the difference between a loud setup and a quiet one is really not very much.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Timo_Tuokkola
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 12:33 PM

The statement doesn't say that the sound of the bagpipes is what might irritate people, simply the volume. Even the staunchest supporter of the bagpipes would be forced to admit that they are usually deafeningly loud when heard close up.

Note: I love the sound of the pipes, but prefer to listen to them from at least 20 feet away.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 01:22 PM

IF you have to march any distance , its a LOT easier behind a Pipe Band , but anything THAT loud is no good at most sessions !


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Wolfhound person
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 01:40 PM

Seems like a good idea for all the available players of bagpipes other than Great Highland pipes to turn up to this session and explain (in excruciating and mind-numbing detail) to the person who perpetrated this sweeping inaccuracy (all bagpipes are GHB...not)why their instruments are vastly superior to said warpipe.

And, no there is no volume control on any bagpipe.

I make pipes and play them. Mine are an indoor instrument. In a session with one accordion, they'd lose.

Paws


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 01:49 PM

My biggest problem with pipers is most of them can't seem to count to one. Where as they may politely ask if you mind if they play a tune. Should you say yes. They will invariably play a reel into a jig into a strathspey into a march, 20 minutes and 5 or 6 tunes later I'v usually left the room for a cigarette.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: GUEST,Jack Campin (at work)
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 02:30 PM

As it happens there's a set of Julian Goodacre's Leicestershire smallpipes on EBay at the moment: item 290238278729.

Not cheap.


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Subject: RE: Bagpipes: irritating?
From: Effsee
Date: 12 Jun 08 - 03:03 PM

Guess it's official then!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7451328.stm


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