Instructables

Electronic bagpipes! Any ideas about how to make one?

I've tried making electronic bagpipes by gutting a cheap electronic keyboard, but it really doesn't seem to do the job. I only need a one octave scale (in the key of C the notes would be C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C) plus one or two drone notes tuned to C preferably one and/or two octaves lower than the first note of the "chanter". I even have a small keyboard with a bagpipe setting that might sound pretty good if I could figure out a way to set it up. If using the keyboard is not feasible, is there any other way to come up with what I'm looking for? My electronics skills are next to nil, but I'm willing to learn.

xulioc2 years ago
Hi!

I'm also playing with electronic bagpipes. Take a look at
http://xulioc.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/openpipe-breakout/
tmalcolm4 years ago
eChanter, an electronic bagpipe chanter based on the Arduino. Directions, code, etc. are on the web at:
www.4tone.org/echanter
Actually, I meant to say the drones are tuned to the 'A' on the chanter. The drones are tuned to the D on the concert pitch D Uilleann bagpipes.
I assume you are referencing the Great Highland Bagpipes as the type of pipes you are trying to model.

A couple of things need to be mentioned. First, GHPipes are not concert pitch and they do not have an equally tempered scale. The 'A' bagpipes is about 473 Hz opposed to the A=440 in a concert scale.

The chanter is tuned to a Key of D Justly tempered scale. Pentonic, mixolydian (flatted 7th). Therefore the drones are not tuned to C, but instead are tuned to match the 'D' on the chanter. Tenor drones are one octave below the chanter and the bass drone is two octaves down.

Happy Building.

orksecurity5 years ago
They're already available off-the-shelf, marketed mostly as electronic practice chanters (so you can practice without the whole neighborhood listening in). If you really want to build your own, there are lots of plans/kits for homebrew MIDI instruments on the web, usually built around one of the microcontroller chips. If you can design the mechanical end of it -- find the right switches and arrange them on a suitable body -- modifying one of those kits to use this as input should be easy. Have fun. My own pending MIDI project is waiting both to find the right switches and to resolve how I'm going to handle aftertouch volume control.
caitlinsdad5 years ago
Sounds like a fun idea. Great for annoying the neighbors. I've never played bagpipes but it is a wind instrument so I would think you might need some breath control like the Yamaha EWI synthesizer controller ideas. To make it realistic you need something to simulate what the bladder does to the sound when it is filled and lets the air out. You can always wire up remotely the switches to the exact keys corresponding to the keyboard to simulate the flute looking thing. Mount some momentary switches on a stick and wire it back to the keyboard key. Should only be two wires each. A bigger switch like on a spring loaded "wah pedal" held under your elbow may work for the drone notes. Good luck.