by Maetion Software

Getting Started

I assume you already have a chanter and that you have experimented with the fingering positions to make the nine basic note.  The fingering positions are not hard to learn (see the 'Scale' view or search the internet), but the chanter reed and the positioning of the reed in the chanter can be very tricky.  Find an experienced friend if you need help with this.


Calibrating ChanterMaeven

ChanterMaeven has to get a clear reading of each note on your chanter to understand how it is tuned.  To accomplish this you need to go through the calibration process using the 'Calibrate' view. 

Your microphone must be good and your processor fast.  To measure how your device performs, 'touch-swipe' the screen somewhere below the red threshold bar.  After about 5 seconds the system will display the precise number of samples per second that it achieves on your system.  It should be about 16 samples per second.  Touch the screen again to make the display go away.

When the room is quiet the green bars should bubble at the bottom.  When you make a sound the bars should jump up.   If the sound is loud enough it will cross the red threshold bar and the leading frequency, the left-most peak frequency, will be displayed in the threshold bar.  If it is near one of the nine note frequencies, the Note Circle will be highlighted with a red outline.

Calibrating Input Gain

At the bottom of the Calibration view there is a slider bar labeled 'Input Gain'.  Move the slider control all the way to the left.  When the room is quiet the green frequency bars should be hugging the bottom.  Play a low G on your chanter.  Ideally you want a single column to spike and cross the red threshold bar. 

If to many frequency bars cross the threshold then your room is not quiet enough.  If no frequency bars cross the threshold, then increase the Input Gain.  Do this with each of the nine notes and try to find the sweet spot setting for Input Gain.

Your Input Gain setting is automatically saved to disk.  As long as you practice in the same room, or one with similar ambient noise, you probably will not have to adjust this setting again.

Calibrating Note Frequencies

The holes in the chanter are drilled to get you close to the proper note, but depending on how hard you blow and how stiff and wet the reed is, the resulting note/frequency will vary.  Furthermore, as you practice, you get tired of blowing so hard and also the reed gets wetter, so the tuning is going to drift.  You might have to re-calibrate the tuning once or twice during a practice session.

Play each chanter note and observe the Frequency Bars and the Note Circles at the top of the display.  If the corresponding Note Circle gets the red highlight, then you are good; move on to the next note.

If the Note Circle does not become highlighted, then you have to modify the associated frequency.  Start by touching the Note Circle.  It should turn white and some editing controls should appear on the top control bar.  The 'Assign' box is a text editable control for entering the desired frequency number. 

If you know the number/frequency you want to set it to, just tap the box and the editing keyboard will appear.  Once a legitimate number appears in the box, the 'Do It' button will become enabled.  Pressing the 'Do It' will accept the new value, and the Note Circle will be repositioned to reflect that.

Alternatively, while you are in editing mode, you can just play the note again on your chanter and the Assign box will be filled in with the most recent threshold frequency number.  If many bars cross the threshold, then you may be blowing to hard or your Input Gain is to high. 

The note frequency settings are also automatically saved to disk, although as was mentioned above, when you start a new practice session, your reeds will most likely have dried out and you will have to re-Calibrate the note frequencies.

Learn to Play

If you are a raw beginner, then you will need to spend some time developing your sight reading skills and training your fingers to find the holes and work in unison.  Spend some time on the 'Scale' view.  Use the 'Keep Score' feature to help keep things interesting.  You should be able to get your time under 3 seconds with no errors or pauses.

When you get bored with that, switch over to the 'Flash Cards' view.  This is just a game to help you improve the quality of playing.  The goal here is to get the quickest playing time with no errors and no pauses.  Start slow and don't speed up until the errors are eliminated (otherwise you are practicing "how to do it wrong!").

The 'Embellishments' view lists all the embellishments that occur in the recital tunes.  For this application the embellishments have been eliminated or simplified to grace-notes.  You should know, the fingering for grace-notes is different than for melody notes, so make sure you understand the correct way to play them.  Verify your finger positions with the 'Instructions' box checked.

Finally practice playing the tunes.  As with everything else, start slow and do it right.  You will be building muscle memory; don't confuse your fingers by playing it wrong!

If you are good at solving puzzles, you can probably figure out everything else you need to know.  Otherwise, read the 'User's Guide' for more information.