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Uilleann - Play the Irish Bagpipes

By Michael Eskin

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Note - iOS 8.3 caused the sliders in this app to become transparent. Will issue an update as soon as possible. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Play the Irish Bagpipes on your iPad!

Uilleann is an authentic sounding concert pitch set of Irish bagpipes in the key of D that is played like the real instrument.

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.

Completely new version 3.x adds four new stereo reverb options for a huge, full sound: (iOS 5.0 or later required for reverb features)

The chanter fingerings are based on those used for the Uilleann pipes and will also be immediately familiar to Irish pennywhistle and flute players.

The Uilleann (pronounced "ill-in") pipes are a bellows driven set of bagpipes with a two octave range. They are most commonly used for playing traditional Irish dance music and slow airs. In recent years they have been made popular by shows such as Riverdance, as well as many motion picture soundtracks such as "Waking Ned Devine", "Titanic", and "Braveheart".

This app emulates the three drones and chanter of a half set of a "concert" pitch Uilleann pipes in the key of D.

The chanter fingerings are essentially identical to the actual instrument.

How to Play:

Start/stop the drones playing by touching the drone puck.

To play the chanter, touch the bar at the top left with your left thumb. This bar is the "Back D" hole on the back of a real chanter and must be covered for the lower notes to play.

Next, touch the top three holes of the chanter starting with the tips of your left index, middle, and ring fingers.

Finally, touch the bottom four holes of the chanter with the tips of your right index, middle, ring, and little fingers.

Touch the grey block next to the chanter with your left little finger to play the notes one octave higher.

Touch the grey block under the drone with your right thumb to stop the chanter sound. This may be used to play repeated or separated notes.

Touch the "i" to bring up the volume and reverb controls. All values are saved for next time the app is run.

Touch the Tradlessons logo at the bottom of the chanter to visit my website.

Touch the "?" for on-screen help.

Optional finger vibrato may be done by touching holes below the main closed holes used for a note. Set the depth of the vibrato with the "Vibrato Depth" slider.

Optional upward note bending is done by sliding the finger right or left very slightly from the root tone hole. The sensitivity to pitch be set using the "Note Bend Null Zone" slider.

Play along with tunes in your iPad's music library by starting a track using the iPad iTunes app, then launching Uilleann.

Sound is based on high quality per-note chanter and drone recordings from my personal concert pitch set of Uilleann pipes.

Chanter image based on my Kirk Lynch concert pitch chanter. Drone puck image courtesy of Mike DeSmidt. Crowley drone sample courtesy of Vinnie Kilduff.

Q: I have an iPad with iOS5 and the sound stops when I put four fingers on the screen.

A: Go into the iPad Settings app, and disable the "Multitasking Gestures" feature. This feature creates issues for all apps like mine that use more than 3 fingers on the screen at a time.

Q: I'm not hearing any sound, help!

A: Make sure that the mute switch on your device is turned off.

Still on iOS4? Uilleann will run exactly the same as the 2.x version, only the new reverb settings won't be available to you.

Prefer to play with the iPad in your lap instead of vertical, check out my Uilleann Classic app!

What's New in Version 3.1

Minor default settings change from 3.0.

Completely new version 3.x adds four new stereo reverb options for a huge, full sound: (iOS 5.0 or later required for reverb features)

Uilleann Classic supports individual reverb send level sliders for the drone and chanter as well as a slider overall reverb levels.

All reverb settings are saved/restored.

Still running iOS4? This version of Uilleann will run exactly the same as the 2.x version, only the new stereo reverb settings won't be available to you.

Be sure to visit the app website to check out the new demo videos!

iPad Screenshots

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Customer Reviews

Pretty Good, But ...

So, hats off to the developer for the sound, which is quite good, the straightforward layout, and the thoughtful feature of having a couple of timbres for the drones as options. However, as an uilleann piper, I find the stop button unintuitive for tight piping. Actuating the stop button to play the opening passage of, for instance, "Up and About in the Morning" or "Sean Bui" in a tight style is, to my fingers, very strange and difficult.

Better would be a knee button that is held with a thumb that allows all notes save bottom D to sound when chanter holes are opened. Then, when bottom D is desired, the knee button would be released. This would be more analogous to how a real chanter is played. Perhaps this could be addressed in an update? If so, this app would rate higher in my book.

Fantastic Reproduction of the Real Thing

I listen to Celtic music all the time, and I play piano and the great highland bagpipes. With those credentials, I can tell you that this is a fantastic app. I love the sound of uilleann pipes, and this app excellently reproduces their sound (and is a good deal cheeper than an actual set of pipes) with lots you can do to customize the sound. I can hardly put the iPad down. Thank you Mr. Eskin, I look forward to more of your apps.

Great App

This App is great! And I'm a little confused about the change in the interface from the split chanter to the single piece chanter. On the single piece I am not able to access the blue or purple buttons to go to back-D or vibrato. Am I missing something? Did I download an older version of the app? I am running on iOS 5.1.1.

Uilleann - Play the Irish Bagpipes
View In iTunes
  • $2.99
  • Category: Music
  • Updated:
  • Version: 3.1
  • Size: 16.8 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPad.

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