Northumbrian Smallpipes Tutor

John Liestman's Tutor is now available as a PDF download - in return for a donation of at least 12 GBP to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

Please contact us if you require more information, or for download instructions if you have already made your donation to the charity.

Playing 5-drone sets

Tuning 5 drones, from lowest to highest

Drone Number     Name               Note Sounded
1 Contra-Bass G-A-B (low octave
2 Bass D-E-Fsharp
3 Baritone G-A-B
4 Tenor d-e
5 Alto g-a

On all the drones, the second pitch is obtained by pushing the slide inwards. On the three lowest drones, the third pitch is obtained by opening the tuning bead with the slide pushed inwards.

With Northumbrian G Chanter

Drones 2-5 provide the same notes as a normal set of G drones. The F# on drone 2 is not required. In addition , drone 1 provides a contra-bass G (or A) which may also be used as appropriate.

With Northumbrian D Chanter

Drones 1-4 provide the same notes as a normal set of D drones. The low G on drone 1 is not normally required, unless playing in the key of G on the D chanter. In addition, drone 5 provides an alto 'a' which may be used as appropriate.

With Scottish Smallpipe Chanter in A

Use drones 1-3 tuned A/E/A (or A/D/A if desired). Many other combinations are available making use of drones 4 and 5, such as A/A/a or A/A/E, or A/E/A/e/a.

With Scottish Smallpipe Chanter in D

Use drones 2-4 tuned D/A/d (or D/G/d if desired). Experiment with contra-bass A and alto a.

With both SSP chanters, minor key drone tunings are also possible.

Richard & Anita Evans

Makers of Northumbrian and Scottish Smallpipes