F Session (Next Session: 20th June 2021)
Join by clicking on this link when the session is live OR use this meeting ID: 876 6436 9517 (the passcode is 2005)
We’re currently running online tunes session in “Northumbrian Pipes key” on the 3rd Sunday of each month, 6pm – 7.30pm (UK time), on Zoom. The next session will take place on Sunday 18th July 2021.
These sessions are open to players of all instruments, not just Northumbrian pipes.
Tunes will be lead on fiddle & guitar, but we will be playing in a tuning compatible with the Northumbrian Pipes. We’ll be playing popular repertoire (see below to download the tunebook), and will add in some harmony like we did last time. All of the tunes are traditionally played in the key of G, but we will be playing them in the key of F instead, and we’ll have our instruments tuned a little sharp. There’s more information below to help you tune up for the session.
Our online sessions are open to all and you’re very welcome to turn up and join in. Donations via our ‘tip jar’ are much appreciated (but entirely voluntary) and can be made using this button. Thank you!
Tunebook & What to Expect at the Session
We’ve selected 29 tunes (18 tune sets) from our regular online session tunebook that are also common to the Northumbrian Pipers repertoire. We’ll lead all of the tunes, working through the list in order, so that you can join in at home. All participants will be ‘muted’, which means that you will only hear the tune leaders (fiddle & guitar) and your own instrument, so it will feel a bit like playing in a mixed instrument trio. You won’t hear other participants, and nobody will hear you. Scroll down to hear some audio from a previous F-session, which will give you an idea of what to expect.
You can download the sheet music here (see below for guidance about which tunebook to use):
We’ve been running online tune sessions twice a week since April 2020, alongside other online rehearsals, and we’ve invested significant time and resource into getting the best possible sound quality through Zoom. Our tune sessions are relaxed and open to all.
Tuning your instrument to join in
The note G on the Northumbrian Pipes is typically pitched 20 cents sharp of F. You will therefore need to tune your instrument accordingly. Please aim to tune up in advance of the session, using the guidance below.
You can also use the video to the left to test your tuning. The audio was recorded straight from Zoom in our first F-session, so this is a good indicator of what you will be playing along to in the session.
Pipers: You can use the guide pitch on the right to tune your drones in advance of the session, and use the sheet music in G as usual.
G drone (F + 20 cents)
Fiddle players: You have a choice! Either of the following will work.
- Tune all of your strings down almost a whole tone (so that your G becomes an F, and so on) and follow the sheet music in G. Your fiddle will sound a little different, but it means you can play the tunes just as you normally do. Use the sheet music in G.
- Tune all of your strings just a little sharp (20 cents) and play the tunes in the key of F (one flat) instead of G (one sharp). Use the sheet music that has been transposed into F.
Use the guide pitches at the bottom this page to tune your fiddle.
Guitar players: Tune all of your strings 20 cents sharp (use the guide pitches below). This will make your F (first string, first fret) the same pitch as the “G drone” in the box above. Follow the sheet music in F, and use a capo at the 3rd fret and play D shapes, or a capo at the 5th fret and play C shapes.
Whistle players: If you have an F whistle, then you can use that to play the sheet music in F. Alternatively, you can play the tunes on a C whistle using the fingering you would on a D whistle (so that a G is pitched at F, and so on) and use the sheet music in G.
Other tuneable instruments: Tune your instrument 20 cents sharp and follow the sheet music in F. You can use the guide pitches below.
Other non-tuneable instruments: Follow the sheet music in F. You may find your instrument sounds a little flat against the accompaniment, but over Zoom it may not be too uncomfortable.
Guide pitches if you are tuning 20 cents sharp
(If you use this tuning, you can follow the sheet music in F)
Guide pitches for fiddles if you are re-tuning down to pipes pitch
(If you use this tuning, you can follow the sheet music in G)
E becomes just sharp of D
A becomes just sharp of G
D becomes just sharp of E
G becomes just sharp of F