different regulator tunings

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Philipp
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different regulator tunings

Post by Philipp » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:18 am

hi folks,
i'd be very intrested to hear which intervals you use when tuning the different notes on your regs.
Why? Generally speaking, the uilleann pipes are a drone instrument, and so I'd tune just and not tempered. Now there's not THE just tuning out there and especially on the chanter, it depends on my mood and also on the key I'm playing in which pitch I select for a certain note. For example, the Cnat on my D chanter would be somewhat 30 cents below a temperedly tuned Cnat. BUT sometimes I just like it even a bit flatter... it gives colour.. lets the chanter 'sing'...
Or for example the G: When I play a set with a bass drone that is very rich in overtones, I think I get a good compromise when playing it on the spot, like a temperedly tuned 4th, but when the bass has a soundbox that takes away the higher overtones, it feels good when the G is just a tiny bit "sharp".
Now what about the regs? Gs and Ds and A go straight to where tempered notes would also be.. At least for me, keeping in mind that the G is a compromise... but where do you allocate the notes that make the difference in drone instruments? How do you tune your 3rd, 6th, 7th (F#, B, Cnat)?
I feel that cnat on the regs sounds quite right when equal to a tempered 7th, but I'm not yet satisfied, because then it only goes well with a G on the chanter... So, it would be great if some of you could give the deviations in cents they use for their reg notes compared to a tempered scale based on the drone note. Would be nice to compare some tunings in use and hear the people's ideas behind the tuning they use!

Cheers,
Philipp

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djm
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by djm » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:02 am

Since the tuning goes up and down with pressure, and is constantly being affected by temperature and humidity, it seems to me of little use to talk in terms of cents tuning. Also, you've got the ability to manipulate the tuning pin and the reg reed itself, so I would think wide variances in the shaping of the reg itself away from just temperament might prove to be counterproductive. UPs are hardly a set and forget type of instrument. Most players are constantly adjusting their playing to suit whatever mood the f*ing things happen to be in at any particular time.

djm
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outofthebox
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by outofthebox » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:52 am

Hi Phillip - The tuning of the uilleann pipes - even so-called concert pitch pipes - has never been standardised. So this leaves plenty of scope for individual players to experiment with the sound. The goal is simply to achieve the sweetest sound that you can get. On my D set I have found that my ear prefers an A=436 tuning for the chanter, so that's how I tune - simply using the tuner to get as close as I can to this reference note. Then I set the tuner aside and tune the drones by ear to the chanter. Again I'm looking for the best blend I can get with the chanter over both octaves and I have found that because of the eccentric intervals on the chanter it sounds better to have the bass drone a touch flat of the tenor drone. As for the regulators - again by ear. First the baritone to give as sweet a harmony as I can get against the chanter over both octaves and then the tenor and bass.

Apart from using the chanter A for my reference pitch - I have found that the note on the chanter which is most useful for tuning by ear is F#. So I will fine tune the drones to the best tuning I can get against F# in both octaves. With this instrument a perfect harmonic tuning will always be elusive - but sweet tuning is attainable.

Here is a link that I found interesting in discussion of tuning systems - and it gives some Just Intonation frequencies which you might find useful.

http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/scales.html

Philipp
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Philipp » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:02 pm

Thanks for your input, guys!
Reading your posts just makes me feel rated as a pipes beginner, because I do not see answers to my questions, but only suggestions on how to tune.
I already know that the UP is a tricky thing to tune, yes, and I also know that pressure and adjustment of pitch while playing play an important role. I may say that I am able to get a decent sound out of my pipes and I definitely know how to tune by ear, how to use a tuner and how to set up my chanter so that I do not need to adjust every note by chaninging the pressure. My drones are rock steady over a wide range of pressure. I know that a regulator has tuning pins and I think I know quite some options I have to achieve this or that tuning of a note. I even know that regs have f**ing reeds inside, thanks!!
So, since I know all this already, I was interested in getting some "data" for comparing different approaches. I am very confident that you can measure the pitch of a regulator note when it sounds "sweet" together with a range of chanter notes. Or at least report the mean pitch of that regulator note over the range of chanter notes you play it together with. I definitely know how to achieve a certain pitch, so no explanations on that needed. I can tune by ear and I have a picture in mind when a chord on a drone instrument sounds sweet an when it does not. The only thing is that I am not fully satisfied with the tuning of the C on the regs. And so I thought it would be nice to read which different tunings for this and other notes are out there. What is the measurable pitch at which you would be satisfied. Sorry if I did not formulate my question clear enough.

So, please, no further tuning instructions, but only things like "I tune the XY note on the regs at thisandthat pitch, because it sounds nice with the notes XYZ on the chanter. When I play thisandthat chord, the reg note goes up/down to pitch XY intentionally by pressure because I think then it sounds better." Or a list of pitch differences in cents compared to tempered tuning, as I suggested in the first place.

Cheers,
Philipp

outofthebox
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by outofthebox » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:37 am

Ok - I get you Philipp - but I can't help you 8) Maybe one of the pipemakers here does have a table of tuning frequencies for the uilleann pipes which they can share with you. Have you asked the maker of your set?

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Mr.Gumby
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Mr.Gumby » Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:36 am

Geoff Wooff's article in Ceol na hEireann 2 would go some way towards addressing the question. As does his article on regs that's linked on UilleanObsession.
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Philipp
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Philipp » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:20 pm

Thanks, I found the article on uilleannobsession and just started to read...
And thanks, outofthebox, for that suggestion. Yes, I'm going to have a talk with Andreas Rogge about his thoughts on reg tuning :-) He always has interesting things to tell, but since I talk to him ocasionally anyway, I thought of hearing what the piper community out there does. It's more a scientific interest... always good to have many different opinions.

Cheers,
Philipp

p.s.: Sorry for beeing a bit grumpy in the last post. I think I really just didn't say clearly enough what I wanted to know.

Philipp
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Philipp » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:00 am

Well, so I read the Wooff article yesterday, but actually I does not provide the things I'm looking for. He writes that everyone should find out a sweet, harmonic tuning on his own and therefore he does not provide pitches for the notes in question. I have done this, I have my own tuning that sounds mostly sweet for my ear, but again, I'd like to have the "numbers" others use, to get some new ideas, to experiment...

Cheers,
Philipp

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Mr.Gumby
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Mr.Gumby » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:46 pm

The numbers are in the chanter tuning article in Ceol na hEirreann vol 1.
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Philipp
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Philipp » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:05 am

Thanks Mr.Gumby! I can't find any information on that publication online except for a list of publications on the npu website where it pops up as a link that then in turn just redirects to the very same list.... Is it actually a printed journal?

Philipp

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Mr.Gumby
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Mr.Gumby » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:00 am

It is. NPU published three volumes between 1993 and 2001, some would assume as their reply to the publication of the Sean Reid Soc Journal.
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Driftwood
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Re: different regulator tunings

Post by Driftwood » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:53 am

Hi Phillip, I try to keep my regs tuned to the recommendations in the Dave Hegarty reedmaking book (and that's hard enough). In theory, I suppose we could all try and alter the fine tuning of the regs and chanter to suit the mode of the tune we are playing but that must be difficult. If you had some complex Taylor style regs (i.e. 1 note per tube) then maybe it could be done easier ...but a lot of time spent tuning up?

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