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] Date Posted:10:20:19 01/16/02 Wed
I'm not sure if this is a question, or more of an observation. But I'm thinking a lot about reed strength and how it affects the player. Now, I know we need to blow good solid tone, but at what expense. I labored for far too long with reeds that were just a hair too strong. The tone was bright and brilliant, but it came at the expense of my fingerwork. If I gave the reed a wee pinch, then it would loosen my fingerwork, and the tone didn't suffer at all.
What's my point? I don't know. I guess the important thing is being able to balance reed strength with tone. What's the sense of playing a perfectly bright balanced and crisp strong reed if you can't get through a set twice through without panting. The bagpipe is an instrument of finesse. The movements are fluid, methodical, balanced and most times works of complete grace and finesse. I can't see the sense in playing reeds that do nothing but destroy your fingerwork and distract you from the music. And most times, at least I found this to be the case with myself, the guy next to you is playing a lighter reed than you are. So don't feel bad. It's not a pissing contest out there. Some players play 2X4s for reeds, most don't. What matters is the tone. Think about that the next time you think you're reed is too strong. It just might be!
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Date Posted:20:57:55 01/18/02 Fri
Will: I really agree with your post. There is definately a point of dimishing returns with reed strength. I've spent plenty of time with reeds that didn't allow for the finger work. I've also spent some time with reeds that were simply too easily blown sharp.
For me, there is definately a "pocket" between too easy and too hard of a reed. Comfort and steadiness is paramount. It does take time to figure out what is best for each person. A PM is not going to have the time to do this. It's up to the individual.
Some folks think it is not necessary to have two chanters, but if someone is in a band, and wants to learn to blow tone without using 2x4s it would be wise to aquire a second chanter with which one can experiment. Leave the band chanter alone, it's for the band.
Purchasing a second chanter that I can experiment with was the start of my advancement in learning about reeds. I'm not knocking bands or PMs, I just mean that one cannot expect to recieve the necessary attention one needs to build embrasure, and tone, while maintaining steady fingerwork from a PM. It's more of a solo journey, unless one has a private instructor who will spend the needed time and attention on this aspect of one's piping.
A second chanter is an option one should consider. MHO.