Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Three Ways You Can Learn To Play The Uilleann Pipes

If you wish to learn how To play the Irish uilleann pipes
there are three avenues of tuition you can take. This is
assuming that you have already acquired a practice set of
Uilleann Pipes to play.

The first method of tuition is to get lessons from a teacher
in your area. This may sound logical but finding an
Uilleann Pipes teacher will depend on what part of the world
you live in. As Irish Traditional Music become popular
spreading all over the world there are now people interested
in and playing Irish music on the Uilleann Pipes in Japan,
Australia, Germany and the U.S.A to mention just a few.

If you live in Ireland where the pipes originate it is easy
enough to get lessons in Dublin, Cork or Galway. Yet even in
Ireland you may have trouble finding a teachers in Donegal,
Kerry, or Lietrum. The main Piping association in Ireland is
Na Piobairi Uilleann or N.P.U for short. They have a data
base of all their members who teach. They also run the
piping classes at the “Willie Clancy Summer School” which
has one full week week of teaching Uilleann pipes every
year. Classes in Dublin through the school term and organize
piping weekends around Ireland with the help of their
members. If you live outside Ireland and wish to get lessons
from an Uilleann Pipes teacher things get a lot harder. Your
best bet is to find out where the nearest pipes club is to
where you live. If you are in the Boston area of the U.S.A.
for instance there is a Boston pipers club you can go to for
lessons . But if you live in Idaho U.S.A. you may have to
travel hundreds of miles to find a teacher.

The second way to learn Uilleann Pipes is by purchasing a
tutor Book or CD/DVD tutor. For the piper who lives in an
area with no teachers this is their main method of teaching
themselves. There are now many self teach tutor books for
the Uilleann Pipes on the market, This shows how popular the
Uilleann Pipes have become in recent years. Some-tutors have
been around for many years and give basic to advanced
methods of playing the instrument with tunes for you to
play. The more modern tutor book have an audio c.d. included
in the package. This has the advantage of the pupil being
able to follow the music aurally as well as with the
notation. It also helps with tuning the pipes and keeping
the correct tempo. Some tutor books also have alternative
notation for pupils who can not read music. The tutor with
the c.d. included is therefore the one that most teachers
would recommend to pupils who have no way of face to face

DVD and Video tutors are now on the market and these have
the advantage of being able to see on the screen how the
tune is being played by the performing DVD teacher. As the
DVD and Video is recorded in real time you do not get as
many tunes to learn as you would from a printed book. You
must also be honest with yourself when deciding what level
of skill you have before you make your purchase. If you are
a beginner on the pipes and buy an intermediate DVD/Video
you will get a great shock as you may not be able to play
anything on it. It can take many years to get to an
intermediate level on the Uilleann Pipes so know you skill
level before you purchase. Most DVD/Vidio tutors for the
pipes come with notation and finger charts. Therefor you
have the advantage being able to see the tutor and read the
music. Piping DVD’s and Video’s are now as popular as the
tutor with audio books.

The third method that can help you is on the internet. This
can come in many forms such as - tutor and information web
sites, uilleann pipe blogs, piping audio and video links.
some sites are free while others want a fee. Video of
pipers is put up on myspace or Utube and there are many
piping club web sites from all around the world who chat and
swap tunes with each other over the internet. Some tutors
even teach by video conferencing.

With all this help available a budding piper should be able
to find a suitable method of tutorial to help them “Learn To
Play The Uilleann Pipes.

I am a tutor of the Uilleann Pipes who travels Europe, USA
and Canada teaching and playing Irish music.

Did you find those tips on Uilleann Piping useful? You can
learn a lot more about how my free web site tutor can help
you here.

Elvin Moynagh on Irish Uilleann Pipes at Fleadh Nua

Dublin uilleann pipes player Elvin Moynagh plays a set of reels, ending with "The Bucks of Oranmore". He was recorded at Fleadh Nua in 2005.

Leo Rowsome

SamRowsome.JPG (35625 bytes)

The following extract is taken from the book "Irish Minstrels and Musicians" written by Captain Francis O'Neill. The book was first published in 1913.

Murder will out, and so will music, and, though the days of fostering patronage and encouraging recognition are past, the divine art, whether begotten of nature's whim, or vitalised as a manifestation of the laws of heredity, may be relied on to find some outlet for expression, but it will be noticed that environment and opportunity have much to do with determining the favoured instrument.

To maintain the traditions of his family, what else could this promising scion be but an Irish piper, his father, and grandfather, before him having been worthy representatives of the class ? Had they been fiddlers, no doubt he would have followed in their footsteps. Still we must rejoice in his choice, for, while we are likely to have with us always raspers, fiddlers, and even violinists, we cannot but regret that performers on the Union or Irish pipes-the real national instrument of the people-are declining in numbers year by year and may eventually become extinct, like the harpers, their predecessors.

This young musical aspirant, on whom will depend to a considerable degree the preservation of his art, is the eldest son of William Rowsome, piper and pipemaker of Harolds Cross, Dublin, and grandson of Samuel Rowsome of Ballintore, Wexford, elsewhere mentioned.

Born September 25, 1895, he commenced his musical practice under his father's tuition when but twelve years of age. Such was his on both chanter and regulators that he won many prizes, and had been highly commended for taste and style by. the best judges of pipe music, though but a boy of only, sixteen birthdays.

If appearance counts for anything, we are justified in assuming that the future has no small distinction in store for him. The instrument on which he is represented as playing in the picture was manufactured by his father, and is of full tone and concert pitch, blending harmoniously with violin and piano.

Aidan Jefferies Pipes

Pipemaker Adrian Jefferies makes Mada Rua Irish Uilleann Pipes and Scottish Small Pipes. Originally from Carrickfergus County Antrim and with over 20 years experience Adrian has returned to County Antrim after being based in Australia for many years.

Mada Rua Uilleann Pipes are based on D & C pitched sets of traditional design made in Ebony. The internal dimensions of the concert pitch D sets follow those of contemporary wide bore concert pitch D, while the narrow bore D and C sets are built in the pattern of the narrow bore pipes of the 18th/19th century. The mounts and fittings are made from brass (with optional nickel plating) and Boxwood mounts. Bags are robust and made from quality chrome tanned leather fastened with rivets. The bag covers (unless otherwise requested) are made from velvet with an ornate trim. Likewise the bellows are made from high quality, heavy gauge leather and suitable hardwood boards with brass or nickel pins. All instruments are constructed to high standard, fitted with reeds, played and adjusted/tuned.

Mada Rua Small Pipes are based on contemporary designs of Scottish Small Pipes and pitched in A or D. These pipes are made in Ebony or Cocobolo with brass (optional nickel plating) and Boxwood mounts. The bellows use a similar but slightly smaller pattern to the Uilleann Pipe bellows described above.

Some Uilleann Pipe Makers

Saturday, February 14, 2009

John McSherry

John Mc Sherry is hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann piping in the world today - "a true master" - Irish Music Magazine. Coming from a Belfast family steeped in traditional music, John focused his energies on the pipes from an early age. By the time he reached fifteen he had two All Ireland Championship titles under his belt and at the age of eighteen he was the youngest ever winner of the senior 'Oireachtas' piping competition. Combining with his musical siblings, John formed the band 'Tamalin', bringing their unique blend of Irish, Breton, rock and eastern music to enthusiastic audiences around the world. By the age of 25, he had gained a reputation as a world class studio session musician, recording with the likes of Clannad, Nancy Griffiths, Shaun Davey, Dónal Lunny and Dan ar Braz to name but a few. Described as being "at the forefront of modern innovation" - Green Man Review, John has taken piping to new heights with his unique style. His sense for improvisation has even been compared to that of the great jazz legend John Coltrane. Always in constant demand, John has performed with nearly every artist you could think of, from Sinead O'Connor and Riverdance to Ornette Coleman and Secret Garden. He was a founding member of top trad band 'Lúnasa' as well as a lead instrumentalist with Dónal Lunny's ground-breaking super group 'Coolfin', which included Sharon Shannon and Nollaig Casey. John's last recording venture, teaming up with life long musical comrade Michael Mc Goldrick to release 'At First Light', received the award for Best traditional Album of the Year 2001 - Irish American News.

At First Light

Na Piobairi Uilleann

Aims of Na Píobairí Uilleann

By the 1960s very few people in Ireland were playing the pipes and far fewer, perhaps only five, were engaged in the making of the instrument. It was a matter of grave concern that the art would decline further and so The Society of Uilleann Pipers known as Na Píobairí Uilleann (The Uilleann Pipers) was founded in 1968 at grassroots level by pipers themselves.

The aims of the society are to perpetuate the spirit of the music, in particular the playing of the pipes and the production and maintenance of the instrument itself.

To achieve these aims the single most important facet of the Society’s activities is the teaching of the uilleann pipes, especially to young people, as it is through this that the playing of the instrument will increase, prosper and develop.

The degree to which the work of the Society has borne fruit is reflected in the number of pipemakers, many professional, now producing pipes - about forty throughout the world.


The Founding Constitution of Na Píobairí Uilleann

Constitution of Na Píobairí UilleannBunreacht Na Píobairí Uilleann
Na Píobairí Uilleann is the name of this association.Na Píobairí Uilleann an t-ainm atá ar an gcumann seo.
The main object of Na Píobairí Uilleann shall be the promotion generally of Irish music and the music of the uilleann pipes in particular.'Sé is príomhchuspóir do Na Píobairí Uilleann ceol dúchasach na hÉireann i gcoitinne agus ceol na píbe uilleann go sonrach a chur 'un chinn agus a chothú.

Towards that end the association may:

'Un na críche sin tig leis an gcumann:

(i) Collect and preserve music for these pipes in any manner considered feasible by the Council;

(i) Ceol na píbe seo a bhailiú agus a chaomhúint ar slí ar bith is cuí leis an gComhairle;

(ii) Assemble materials and carry out research on the history of the pipes and pipers;

(ii) Abhar i dtaobh stair na píbe agus na bpíobairí a bhailiú agus taighde a dhéanamh air;

(iii) Issue from time to time a publication about piping and the affairs of the association;

(iii) Foilseacháin i dtaobh na píobaireachta agus imeachtaí an chumainn a fhoilsiú ó uair go céile;

(iv) Spread a knowledge of reedmaking and promote the making of pipes.

(iv) Eolas ar dhéanamh rídeanna a chur ar fáil agus déantas na píbe a chur 'un tosaigh.

Full membership of Na Píobairí Uilleann is restricted to Uilleann Pipers. Associate membership is open to any person not a piper, provided a simple majority of the Council is in favour of his/her admission.

Píobairí uilleann amháin atá i dteideal a bheith ina lánbhaill den chumann. Is féidir le duine nach píobaire é bheith ina bhall caidrimh ar choinníoll go n-aontaíonn tromlucht na Comhairle lena leigint isteach sa gcumann.

A Council consisting of the following officers - Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer - and four other members shall be responsible for conducting the affairs of the association.

Comhairle arb iad na hoifigigh seo - Cathaoirleach, Rúnaí agus Cisteoir - agus ceathrar ball eile a líon a bhéas freagrathach as stiúrú agus riaradh Na Píobairí Uilleann.

An annual convention of the association shall be held at a venue to be decided by a majority of the members. The officers and other members of the Council shall be elected at this convention.

Beidh tionól bliantúil ann ar láthair a cheapfas tromlucht na mball. Ag an tionól seo freisin sea ceapfar na hoifigí agus baill eile na Comhairle don bhliain atá romhainn amach.

Only full members over eighteen years of age have a right to vote.

Ag lánbhaill amháin atá ós cionn 18 mbliana d'aois atá cead bhóta a chaitheamh.

Only such members shall be eligible to serve on the Council.

'Siad sin amháin a bhéas i dteideal fónamh ar an gComhairle.

The Secretary shall present to the convention in writing a report on the proceedings of the association during the year then concluding.

Cuirfidh an Rúnaí tuarascáil i scríbhinn ar imeachtaí na bliana atá caite i bhfianaise an tionóil.

The Treasurer shall place before the convention a financial statement setting out in detail the items of expenditure and receipts of the year together with an account of the financial position of the association.

Cuirfidh an Cisteoir i bhfianaise an tionóil ráiteas airgeadais a bhfuil mioneolas i dtaobh fáiltais agus caitheachais na bliana agus cúntas ar staid airgeadais an chumainn ann.

Full members over eighteen years shall pay an annual subscription of £20. Other members shall pay an annual subscription of £10. Associate members shall pay an annual subscription of £20.

Iochfaidh lánbhaill atá ós cionn 18 mbliana d'aois £20 mar tháille bhliantúil. Iochfaidh na lánbhaill eile £10 in aghaidh na bliana. £20 an táille bliantúil a bhéas le n-íoch ag na baill caidrimh.

Seth Gallagher, pipe maker

ABOUT  seth gallagher

In my workshop, on the banks of the Hudson River, just north of New York City, I make Uilleann bagpipes exclusively, selling to customers around the world.

Before taking up the Uilleann pipes I played Highland pipes, first with the Boston Fire Department Pipe Band and then with the Worcester Kiltie Band. After learning of the existence of Planxty and the Bothy Band, however, I realized I'd found the instrument for me: the Uilleann Pipes.

While living in Boston I worked at the Von Huene Workshop in Brookline, making baroque and renaissance recorders and flutes. Under the guidance of master instrument maker Friedrich Von Huene I learned all aspects of instrument making, from toolmaking to hand-turning to wood-finishing. After almost four years there, I moved to New York to be with Erika Wood (now my wife and webmaster) and to start my own business making Uilleann Pipes and now Wooden Flutes as well.

Seth Gallagher Workshop
10 Garden Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516