I haven’t been playing my Sinclair pipes at all recently because for a time they were converted to C drones for my gaita chanter as the Sinclair chanter stock was a perfect fit for the cork on the gaita chanter’s tenon.
But, I’ve been curious what the Ackland drone reeds would sound like in them so I set them up as highland pipes again with the original chanter and put in the Ackland 466 reeds. I have just a few short recordings as the bag wasn’t very airtight, but I think what I did get is representative. Enjoy!
Lament for the Old Volunteers (74th’s Slow March) – I’ve listened to Gavin Stoddart play this tune hundreds of times on the Royal Highland Fusilier’s Proud Heritage album and I think Gavin plays Sinclair pipes, so it seemed like a great tune to play.
The Merry Blacksmith is an Irish tune requiring low F# and low D. Some smallpipe chanters can play low F# if they have tone holes and you tape over one them and close the other on your leg when you want low F# instead of low G. This also requires the remaining length of the chanter below the tone holes to be just right to give an in tune low F# once both tone holes are closed (my Hamon chanter does this). Of course, there’s still low D to contended with so I just play our normal “high” F# and “high” D in the ending phrases and use birls on low A for the low F# elsewhere, as seen in the arrangement given here. The Irish setting will also tie the low As together across the bar lines, without a gracenote were applicable. I utilized this pause in the first part between the first and second bars, but inserted a gracenote between the second and thirds bars.