Hey Misters and Missuses, (that was really funny, I haven't been called
mister, either respectfully or disrespectfully, in a long long time) I
propose that there is a reason that Koehler and Quinn and others like them
are doing it the way they do with regards to the stabilization and continued
use of hardwoods and other parts. They are simply attempting to give the
discriminating player and listener the closest thing to the long lost holy
grails of piping...the instruments crafted by the makers that you mention.
It works. Similar analogies exist for nearly every musical instrument.
Think of the Strad violin. Was it the seasoning of the wood, the resins in
the varnish, the relative softness of the varnish on his instruments, the
physiology of the trees prior to the pollution of the industrial revolution
that led to wood of a different character? Who knows...but despite the
modern techonological advances and the ability to craft abrasive "lord of
the dance"-styled electronic violins, most luthiers with any self-respect
still attempt to achieve the very best and get it as close as they can come
to a Strad or other great instrument. They may use tools that afford
considerable savings in time, but they still strive to copy instruments that
are several centuries of age old. The same is true of keyboarded
instruments. Makers of pianos that are digital have come close but are not
there as of yet. Discriminating players and listeners still seem to prefer
the harpsichord or piano that is well-crafted according to a great design
and in keeping with a planform that has existed for centuries. Hawkers of
the $199 electronic keyboards (my wife has one and its despicable), and
other similar cheapo imitations of real instruments designed to play out of
the box without any real maintenance, are indeed fulfilling a stated
consumer need (easy, cheap, reliable, quick to obtain)......but I don't see
them as providing any real advances in the science of development and
evolution or musicality of the instruments. There is no doubt they are
extending an opportunity to learn and play music to some who may not
otherwise be able to do so...and for that I'm grateful. Gosh...I just had
a flashback to the flutaphone of third grade. Remember those cheap plastic
things? Maybe if I'd paid attention then I'd be a better musician today.
Mister Doctor Lewis B
From: David Daye <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Friday, May 17, 2002 3:55 AM
Subject: Re: Dennis Quigley
>At 06:38 PM 5/16/02 -0500, Dr. Lewis Blevins wrote:
>>My comments on some silly statements......
>There can't be as many as 3 people reading this! ;)
>Mister, I've been having professional pipers critique my work
>to my face for over 35 years. I've earned the privilege of
>>I think it were the Irish who proved that "....cane and wood can be
>>a cool, damp island to play anywhere, including deserts, mountains and
>Certainly: Coyne, Harrington, Egan, numerous others, centuries ago.
>The problem is that when they died, Ireland's ability to do this
>level of work went with them. Argue this with the Sean Reid Society
>who have been outlining it in exhaustive detail.
>> .... geniuses. ... clearly at the forefront of reedmaking.
>Genius sure, but to be at the _fore_front requires doing
>I stood before the man's class mouthblowing 5 different stabilized
>cane reeds in an artificial construction chanter at a time when he
>was making neither.
>>I mention this as it is not only the
>>relatively new makers leading the way
>Look, today's best established makers succeed principally because
>they invest excrutiating amounts of setting time in their parts.
>Wonderful, but it's the _oldest_ method not the newest.
>The forefront is uncovering formerly mysterious processes going
>on in materials during those long settling times, to raise the
>quality of instruments that are actually available.
>Educational Uilleann & Highland Pipe Pages:
>Uilleann Pipes Home Building Page:
>Penny-Chanter and Sets Sold: