Chromatic Keys for Penny-Chanters
November 2008

Copyright 2008 David C. Daye - all rights reserved

Questions, special order questions email David Daye at: this email address

About Uilleann Chanter Chromatic Keys

Uilleann chanters are sometimes outfitted with chromatic or "accidental" note keys to increase their utility for some of the Irish airs and for other types of music.

Historically these are not the familiar Boehm system keys we know from clarinets, saxophones etc. which make it easy to play in a great many different musical keys. They are simple system keys intended to be used occasionally. Another reason uilleann pipes don't usually use advanced key systems is the need for notes to blend with the drones. This means that the main intervals are tuned away from the equal temperament of concert instruments. So while it can be physically possible to build an uilleann chanter that played easily in as many of the 13 possible keys as a clarinet for example, musically there'd be little point, unless the chanter were re-tuned for conventional music playing closer to an equal temperament.

Kits for You to Add Keys to Your Existing Penny-Chanter

Each key ordered consists of the finished simple brass lever with flattened touch area and leather pad already glued to the metal pad mount; spring already mounted and adjusted; chanter bore adjustment insert if needed; a brass mounting bracket to be screwed onto the chanter body; annealed brass axle rod; and illustrated instructions for positioning and attaching each key. We sell the special drill bit and tap for the mounting brackets separately. You will need to obtain drill bits of the exact size specified for the toneholes (note holes).

The G# note tunes better across both octaves if a small brass piece is inserted below the A hole. It's built-in to chanters ordered with G# keys and included in the kits if G# is ordered.

Click here for a photograph of 3 partly finished chromatic keys and mounting brackets.

Click here for a photograph of the back of a Penny-Chanter with the black exterior upgrade and 4 chromatic keys installed

Click here for a photograph of optional specialty #0-80 drill bit and tap bit for making and threading the holes for the mounting bracket screws.

To E-mail David Daye click here
Telephone Whidbey Island, Washington USA 360-579-UILL [8455]
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