MIDIPipes - Uilleann/Highland Bagpipes CoreMIDI Control Surface
By Michael Eskin
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MIDIPipes is a Uilleann/Highland Bagpipes chanter and drones CoreMIDI control surface for the iPad.
The chanter fingerings are based on those used for the Irish Uilleann or Scottish Highland bagpipes.
MIDIPipes supports two independent MIDI channels, emulating the operation of the drones and chanter of a half set of Uilleann pipes.
MIDIPipes doesn't produce any sound on its own, it is designed for playing hardware and software VST-style MIDI synthesizers via a CoreMIDI compatible interface connected to the dock connector or virtual MIDI instruments like IK Multimedia SampleTank® for iOS or Sonosaurus ThumbJam running on your iPad.
You first absolutely must turn off "Multitasking Gestures" in your iPad Settings to use this app. When they are turned on, when you put four fingers on the screen, Apple takes over the system, stops all the sounds, and assumes you want to start switching between apps.
Please visit the app support website to see some amazing live demo videos and for the settings you will need to enable in the synth app you are using to have it work with the control surface.
Select between Uilleann and Highland chanter fingerings using the selector below the drone puck.
For Uilleann fingerings, you can select whether the back-D note plays when the Back-D switch is touched (Open mode) or released (Closed mode). Closed mode matches the real Uilleann chanter.
To get started, make sure that the orientation lock switch on your iPad (just above the volume controls on the side) is in the off position, then rotate the iPad to landscape orientation to play.
Touch the drone puck to start/stop the drones. For the Highland pipes, you'll want to set the drone transposition two semitones higher than the chanter
Using Uilleann Chanter Fingering
To play the chanter, touch the three holes of the left side of the chanter starting with the tips of your left index, middle, and ring fingers.
Next, touch the four holes on the right side of the chanter with the tips of your right index, middle, ring, and little fingers.
Touch the green bar on the left side with your left little finger to play the notes one octave higher.
Optional finger vibrato may be done by touching holes below the main closed holes used for a note.
Using Highland Chanter Fingering
Touch the bar at the bottom of the screen with your left thumb. It represents the hole on the back of the chanter for the highest note and must be covered for other lower notes to play.
The app uses chanter fingerings based on those for the Highland pipes.
Next, touch the left half of the chanter starting with the tips of your left index, middle, and ring fingers.
Finally, touch the right half of the chanter with the tips of your right index, middle, ring, and little fingers.
Touch the blue bar at the bottom left center with your left thumb to play the second octave "Back-D" selectable on either a press or release. (Uilleann chanter mode only)
Touch the red bar at the bottom right center with your right thumb to stop the chanter sound for staccato techniques. (Uilleann chanter mode only)
Touch the purple bar on the lower right with your right little finger to bend the pitch or play finger vibrato. (Uilleann chanter mode only)
Rotate the iPad to Portrait orientation to see the fingering chart for the current chanter mode. Rotate back to Landscape orientation to play.
You may select the MIDI channel, attack velocity and volume for the chanter and drones independently using the sliders at the top of the screen.
The entire range may be transposed up or down up to one octaves (zero transpose is "C") in semitone increments using the chanter and drone transpose sliders.
All MIDI settings are saved when MIDIPipes quits and restored the next time it is run.
Touch the '!' icon at the lower left to quiet any "stuck" notes if they occur.
Chanter based on my Kirk Lynch concert pitch chanter. Drone puck image courtesy of Mike DeSmidt.
What's New in Version 3.1
For Uilleann fingerings, you can select whether the Back-D note plays when the Back-D switch is touched (Open mode) or released (Closed mode). Closed mode matches the real Uilleann chanter.