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How to play the bagpipes: Part 1 (Old version)

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all right congratulations you have

decided to start learning the most

awesome industry in the world that is a

scientific fact so you're probably

wondering how do I get started well I'm

going to show you okay we're going to go

through the basics of the instrument and

we're to begin all right so first and

foremost let's look at the instrument

itself by pipes

now here I have my own bagpipes they are

currently not inflated they're not

making any sound as a result but let's

look at the different components okay

the primary component in the bagpipe

hence what gives is named the bag okay

now don't eat this velvet exterior if I

fill this back this is the actual bag

itself this inflates with air the air

escapes from the bag passes through the

pipes makes the sound there you go no

mystery there the first step in this

process this is the blowpipe this goes

into your mouth okay you blow air in

inflates the bag right there's a valve

inside the blowpipe which allows air to

pass this way into the bag but it closes

shut when air tries to escape back out

again having said that of course I have

had a few issues of late where the valve

has not been doing this job and it makes

a rather amusing fart noise okay next

part these three pipes here these are

called the drones okay you have 210 on

drones and you have one bass drone okay

based on is enormous and that's it's

resting on your shoulder like that okay

they're all tuned to each other we're

not going to talk about tuning just now

but what the drones do is they create a

continuous what's called a pedal it's

just the noise assigned a continuous

chord in the background which provides

an accompaniment to the actual tune

that's coming into the instrument


and arguably the most important part of

the bagpipe this is the chanter this is

what actually creates the tune okay

never mind the drones they just create a

continuous accompanying tone in the

background this is where the actual

sound of the the melodies comes from


now I'm not going to go into how to play

the bagpipes in the morn because that's

something that's a bit beyond the court

the scope of this video but what you do

need to know is that that our there are

four Reed's in bike pipes

a reed is simply a device which vibrates

and that's what creates the sound okay

the the length of the pipes that come

through that actually changes the pitch

of the sound and certainly with the case

of the chanter you know where you place

your fingers on the stock is what

creates a particular note pitch right

when you play the bagpipes you have to

get the bag to a certain air pressure

before the drones will start to vibrate

and then again you have to achieve a

particular pressure for those drones to

actually play in tune okay if there's

not enough air passing over them they

just sound a bit funny okay and then

beyond that the the reed on the chanter

stock actually requires a much higher

air pressure beyond that before that

we'll start by bringing once you have

the air pressure correct and you can

continue the airflow through the

instrument that's when you get the

bagpipe sound okay don't worry about

that just yet but that's how the

mechanics of instrument work okay

the first thing you're going to need to

do if you want to learn this instrument

before you end up shelling out several

hundred pounds honestly bagpipes because

that's what they cost right for a good


never mind these these crappy little

shops that you're going to find on on

the Royal Mail and Edinburgh all these

little tourist traps and sell cheap

bagpipes okay

those aren't bagpipes okay those are

novelty items you want a proper

instrument go to a proper bike paper

maker get a decent set okay all right

first thing you're going to need to get

though before you begin your career in

playing bagpipes is this it's called a

practice chanter all right it's more or

less a scaled-down version of the

chanter from the actual bagpipes

themselves as you can see this is the

chanter from the bagpipe it's actually

quite considerably longer than the

practice chanter itself given the fact

that this part here this small area

between my fingers is the fingerboard

but over here this is the fingerboard

here okay okay the reason why you need

this is you learn to play tunes in this

okay what you do is you learn the tunes

and you commit them to muscle memory you

do that without looking at your fingers

okay it's just like learning to drive a

car once you know how to change gear

without looking or where everything else

is you can apply that to any vehicle

that doesn't matter who made it or what

kind of car it is it's going to be the

same principle right chanters come in

different shapes and sizes I'm not going

to recommend any particular brand mine

is it's a plastic chanter I've had it

for nearly 20 years it's still fantastic

so you know go and do some research you

get ones made of wood you get ones with

nice fancy trims and I'm really entirely

up to yourself but fundamentally you can

apply the same basic theory from chanter

to Chantay okay

a lot of people make the mistake of

thinking that like you graduate from

playing on the chanter to the bagpipes

and then you never have to worry about

this again that nonsense okay you're

going to have this for the rest of your

life and the reason being is because

doesn't matter whether you're a beginner

or an advanced player if you're going to

be learning a new and you tune all right

you're going to want to practice on this

first okay there's a few reasons for

this first and foremost is you

well we're bike Papes are extremely loud

okay there's no volume control on a

bagpipes right once they start playing

normally you can't turn them down and if

you're learning to play a brand-new

instrument and new tune you're not going

to want to do that with the bagpipes

okay because it's not practical another

reason is the fact that you know when

you're playing the bagpipes you want to

actually have the the tune memorized

because you've got so many other things

to think about you've got to think about

how much air you blowing in you've got

to think about synchronizing the the

gentle squeeze of the bag to keep the

airflow moving smoothly okay you don't

have to be rooting sheet music at a time

right that's why this is extremely

practical it's so much quieter and so

much more compact you can also get

electronic versions of these which I

don't recommend for beginners you know

you want to learn actually have to blow

the instrument properly you're going to

want to develop some muscular strength

aren't here which I'm going to come back

to but you know the option is available

so if you're travelling and you don't

want to disturb anyone you can just

simply plug a set of headphones and all

you have to do is actually just move

your fingers and play the tunes okay but

this is something that's going to stick

with you for life all right

now I just want to illustrate the

difference between the sound that these

make this sounds radically different to

the Sun coming over bagpipes chanter

which you know the practice gender

sounds like this

alright now compare that with the

chanter from the actual bagpipe

completely different