10.- How to check if we have to close or open the "Ronco". Group's Refining
Naturally it's not easy for the beginner to achieve a precise tuning between the "ronco" "ronqueta" and "punteiro". To facilitate this operation we offer the following advice.
We will make the "ronco" and "ronqueta" sound separately, together with the "punteiro" in the A position; listening to both sounds we will slowly slide the middle finger of the left hand up, so that we are slowly and progressively opening the upper hole, thereby indicating if the "ronco" is sharper than the "punteiro", and so we have to open (separate) the pieces of the "ronco". If we don't achieve a balance of sound like this, we must reverse the operation, closing, by sliding over the "punteiro", or the corresponding lower "burato", with the ring finger of the left hand. If after this operation we still have a disparity in sound, it means that the "ronco" is flat in relation to the "punteiro", so that we can proceed to proportionally joining to the second and "cup" until we reach the desired point.
The same operation should be realised to tune in the D position.
If we don't achieve a tuned instrument like this, it is possible that the "pallon" is inadequate; or that the tone of the "punteiro" doesn't correspond to that of the "ronco".
We should also take care that the pieces of the "ronco" aren't left excessively separated, or that they air through the middle in which case the "ronco" will tend to make octaves.
However there is nothing better than the inquisitive nature of the piper who is prepared to study the quirks of his instrument.
Tuning of the "punteiro"
As we have said it is impossible to tune the "ronco", if the notes of the "punteiro" are not tonally perfect. There is no better way to measure the proportions of the notes of the "punteiro", than if it is in tune with the "ronco". If the "punteiro" is in tune with the "ronco" in D, the rest of the notes must be tuned,in which we will see if the pipes are in tune, and if it is out of tune we must go back to the note D.
We can have deficient notes for various reasons.
a) Defective construction.
b) An excessive appeture in the lamina of the reeds.
c) A reed that is to far out from the point of the "punteiro"
d) A damaged, rotten or excessively wet reed.
e) Irregular temperature. We must make sure that the air blown on the reed is on the strong side.
f) The lamina of the reed is too smooth.
Tuning the Pipes in a Group.
The first rule that we must establish for the effective tuning of the pipes in a group, is the consistent pressure maintained the bags; listening to the overall sound of the pipes together. In the case of the pipe sounding flat in relation to the rest, you should increase the pressure on the bag, or decrease the pressure in the opposite context.
To tune the "punteiros" into themselves we must adjust the reeds in the point of the "punteiro" by pushing them in or pulling them out, bearing in mind that the further in the reed the higher the pitch of the "punteiro", and of course vive versa.
This delicate operation plays a very important role in the experience, and of course the tuning, of the instrument.
Things to remember when tuning in a group.
1.- The pipes are very sensitive to changes in temperature or humidity. These can quickly result in variations in the tuning.
2.- When the reed is new or dry, the tone will change, once it has been humidified. If the pipes are left out in the open air for any length of time, they will deform, and it will be difficult to get back to the original position. With leather bags, it is advisable to play every day until the reed has stabilised.
3.- The piper should make absolutely sure that the reed isn't exposed to humidity, and should therefore not introduce saliva whilst blowing.
4.- To play a D in the second octave, we advise two things: (see 1), it has been demonstrated that it is easier to achieve its exact intonation, being on the other hand less sensitive to the pressure and humidity of the reeds
5.- Pressure is the secret to the great piper.
We must consider as a grand artistic merit, the simultaneous, starting, of the pipe pedals, the "ronco" "ronqueta", before starting the sound of the "punteiro", as long as this invariably emmits from the start, the same intonation that must be maintained throughout the melody. This method was common amongst previous generations of pipers, as it was considered an aesthetically valuable prelude. If it's not done in this way, the best thing is to start with the "roncos" and "punteiros" at the same time.
In order to keep the pipes in tune, they should never be exposed to humidity, and because of this we consider it wrong to humidify the reed, so that it plays more smoothly. Humidity is the worse enemy for the permanent tuning of the pipes. To test the tuning of the pipes you should blow into the "punteiro", (whilst it is in the pipes) without blowing directly onto the reed.