Here’s a hot topic! Do I buy a domestically made bagpipe...
Have you ever wondered how the best pipers and bands get the chanter perfectly in tune, note-for-note? The overall effect is one of greater clarity and greater volume, and refinement of the overall sound of drones and chanters. A perfectly tuned chanter is not easy to achieve however with guidence and practice you can become just as proficient as the masters of sound!
Chanters should be assessed according to specific qualities in sound and performance. Let’s try to make a list of what we should look and listen for.
1. Projection – Does the chanter “release” the sound or is it held close and muffled? Does the sound project evenly up and down the chanter? Is the top hand full or does the sound get thin and faint?
2. Pitch – Is the overall chanter bright and exciting to play and listen to? Don’t “force” the pitch by sinking the reed and distorting the balance between High A and Low A. Let the chanter play where it wants to. Overall the pitch should have spirit without being shrill.
3. Note-for-note is the chanter true? Are some notes excessively flat or sharp?
5. Harmonics – Is the sound rich with harmonics or is it bland? This is hard to explain however the chanter should produce a wide spectrum of harmonic frequencies that blend with the drone sound.
6. Stability – Notes should remain fairly stable with slight changes in blowing strength. Some chanters are less forgiving than others and notes may be inclined to change dramatically with small changes in blowing. Try to avoid these.