Practice Chanters / Article
A smaller, quieter instrument, the practice chanter, with a smaller, plastic reed than the GHB, and lacking a bag or drones, is used to practice in settings where a great volume of sound would be inappropriate.
It is used by beginning pipers to learn basic notes and movements before adding the complication of a bag and drones. It is not uncommon for a beginner to use only the practice chanter for a year or two before progressing onto pipes. Even after a piper progresses to the pipes, they will usually continue to use the practice chanter to learn new tunes, polish their skills, and practice without the volume and complication of the pipes. Another practice instrument, called a goose, has a bag, with the practice chanter or sometimes a regular pipe chanter, but lacks drones, and allows a student to practice "winding" the pipe with the proper mix of breath and bag pressure. Practice chanters are often used by bands in order to work on technique or other issues where frequent stopping and starting is required, or where music is being used. Modern practice chanters usually use plastic reeds, unlike the cane reeds of the GHB chanter.
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