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.