Uilleann intrument in A

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elbowpipe
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Uilleann intrument in A

Post by elbowpipe » Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:44 pm

I'm experimenting with different keys and (living in Scotland, surrounded by Scottish repertoire) I thought I would try out the key of A. Unfortunately I'm not having much success. I don't seem to be getting the scale of A across both octaves (btw I'm choosing the top A in the key selection panel - there's 2). The most significant thing to report is the bottom note makes a weird chord sound. Is there something I'm doing wrong? This is my 2nd instrument - I kept all the settings from the first instrument (Uilleann/D) which is fine.

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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by admin » Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:28 pm

This is with the Celtic Sounds app, correct? What you'll want to do is leave the WARBL key set to D in the Configuration Tool, and then change the key in Celtic Sounds using the "Transpose Semitones" slider near the top. You can use that to change the key up to 12 semitones higher or lower, and the drones will still be in tune with the chanter that way. That is generally the approach that works best with most apps, because they are expecting to receive MIDI commands within a certain range.

The chord-like sound that you're hearing at the bottom end is probably the drones and/or regulators that are built in to the app. Michael has it set up so that certain MIDI notes below the normal range of an uilleann chanter will trigger drones and regulators. There's a list of which commands trigger which drones/regulators in the info for the app (click "More..."): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/celtic-so ... 26032?ls=1

If you're interested in controlling the drones and regulators with WARBL, here's a suggested setup:https://warbl.xyz/img/Celtic_Sounds_dro ... lators.jpg

You would then change the MIDI commands to whichever regulators you want, using the info on the app page above.

The drones in this example setup are controlled by the "secret" button, which means you cover the right index finger tone hole while clicking button 1. That leaves the "normal" buttons for three regulator pairs or other uses.
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elbowpipe
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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by elbowpipe » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:54 pm

Okay, thanks for that. Just out of curiosity, under what circumstances would you use the key drop-down configurator successfully? Is it just the uilleann instrument that isn't appropriate?

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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by admin » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:48 pm

The main reason you would want to use it is for an app that expects to receive MIDI messages in a certain range. That's why I set the default key for tin whistle and uilleann pipes as D, because that what Celtic Sounds expects to receive. Similarly, the key of the GHB fingering is Bb, because many pipes apps expect to receive notes in the range of a standard GHB chanter. However, if you wanted to use GHB fingering with the Celtic Sounds app (or the ePipes app), you would change the key to D, because that's what those apps expect.

Some apps, like Roland Sound Canvas, don't really care what notes they receive, because they will play the whole range of MIDI notes for all melodic instruments. So, with that one you can change the key either in the WARBL Configuration Tool or in Sounds Canvas, and the effect will be the same. However,I usually recommend changing the key in the app only, unless you have a good reason to do otherwise.
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elbowpipe
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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by elbowpipe » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:14 am

But I guess the Roland Sound Canvas won't have 'uilleann' sounds? Hmmm, the trade-off here is the benefit of no battery needed with the WARBL against the reliance on midi apps. Not having the sounds 'in-house' is a bit of a constraint. My dream is an instrument that allows me uilleann fingering but the ability to play in any key at the touch of a button. Just so handy for a mix of repertoire Irish/Scottish. Also accompanying singers in different keys. (Although all this is severely predicated on finding sessioneers willing to tolerate an amplifier under the table). ;)

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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by admin » Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:48 pm

One of the reasons that apps like Celtic Sounds only respond to notes within a certain range is that each note is sampled from a real instrument, and those notes each have an individual character, for example the hard D sounds different from the rest, and likewise for the ghost E. So, the app is set up so that if it receives a low D it knows to play the sample for the hard D. If you shift the key on WARBL instead of in the app, then the hard D sample would be played on a different note, and you would lose some of the character of the instrument. If you change the key in the app instead, it knows to use the same sample, but just at a different pitch. It doesn't respond to anything lower than a D (if using tin whistle or uilleann sounds) because those notes don't exist on a real instrument to sample.

Some apps like Universal Piper (and possibly Sound Canvas, I'm not sure) can be set up to change the key when they receive a certain CC message, which WARBL can send with a button press. Unfortunately Celtic Sounds doesn't have that particular capability (though it does respond to some MIDI CC messages, like volume change).

Yes, I've had a few requests for built-in sounds and a battery, and while I won't rule out the possible of that happening someday, it would be a very different device (and more expensive) because of all chips and electronics necessary for storing and playing sounds, charging the battery, etc. My decision to go with MIDI only was mostly to keep the device itself as simple and inexpensive as possible, and offloading the sound production to an app gives more flexibility in terms of what you can do with it. I certainly see your point though, that relying on apps does add an inconvenience in some ways.
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Re: Uilleann intrument in A

Post by elbowpipe » Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:06 am

Yes, it's a trade-off in terms of what you want. Batteries can add another layer of malfunction. The transpose semi-tones on Celtic Sounds can be used fairly quickly so not having a button to press for a key change isn't that much of an issue. In the key of A the top note is quite 'tinny' so I've contacted Michael Eskin about that. Possibly I'm asking too much of the 'Uilleann' instrument and should just have GHB as my second, although the fingering might be a challenge. Would be nice to have GHB on Celtic Sounds too so it was all on one app. I'll raise that with him too.

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