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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:29 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Kade1301 wrote:
I'm happy for you - you are obviously a better musician than I am.

I was offering advice based on experience, not bragging!


I didn't think you were. But I am thinking that your experience is based on you having more talent for music than I have which means that my experience - and the strategies to adopt based on it - will necessarily be different from yours.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:32 am 
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Kade1301 wrote:
I have a fairly automatized eye-finger connection for notes on the staff to baroque recorder fingerings, which I don't want to unlearn.


It reminds me of the woman I know who plays viola in a symphony orchestra, and Irish fiddle.

She said the two are completely different instruments to her, completely disconnected in her brain.

She said she is incapable of playing Irish fiddle music (learned by ear, BTW) on the viola, and is equally incapable of playing symphonic music on the fiddle.

So it makes a fair amount of sense for you to do likewise, and keep a complete seperation in fingering, style, and learning modality between Baroque recorder and Irish whistle.

I approached things differently. My first instrument was Highland pipes which is usually taught through staff notation, and when I later picked up uilleann pipes and Irish flute and whistle I learned to sightread that music from the get-go.

At University I studied Baroque flute for a time, and I played Boehm flute in church for a time, and I played at various times Northumbrian pipes, Gaita Galega, and Gaida, each having a differnet fingering system, and each having the written notes with a different relationship to the fingerings. (The "three finger note" is D on the Highland pipes, G on Irish woodwinds, C on the Northumbrian pipes, F on the Gaita Galega, and A on the orchestral Gaitunitsa.)

About playing tunes on the whistle by ear, I think the obvious answer is to learn by doing.

Put on a recording of a slow tune, make sure you have the correct size whistle, and just toot along. It doesn't sound scientific but you'll soon be able to play along.

Personally I can play along much more quickly if I can see the fingers of the other person, so a YouTube video of somebody playing flute, whistles, or uilleann pipes in the same key as your whistle is ideal. I think watching the fingers of an uilleann piper is best due to Middle D having a dedicated hole, the thumb-hole, so you know for sure whether it's a middle D or bottom D (which on flute and whistle can be fingered the same).

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:08 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
...

At University I studied Baroque flute for a time, and I played Boehm flute in church for a time, and I played at various times Northumbrian pipes, Gaita Galega, and Gaida, each having a differnet fingering system, and each having the written notes with a different relationship to the fingerings. (The "three finger note" is D on the Highland pipes, G on Irish woodwinds, C on the Northumbrian pipes, F on the Gaita Galega, and A on the orchestral Gaitunitsa.)

......

Personally I can play along much more quickly if I can see the fingers of the other person, so a YouTube video of somebody playing flute, whistles, or uilleann pipes in the same key as your whistle is ideal. ...


Ah, but is it still learning by ear when one can see the fingers? Just wondering... At the moment I'm working through the free beginner lessons on OAIM (to JTU - where have you gone? I wasn't my intention to highjack your thread, just to contribute -: It's worth creating a free account, there's much more on the OAIM.ie website than on YouTube) and it works fine. (Except now I can't get the Rattling Bog out of my head... I suppose the solution is to start on the next tune.) Actually, I find playing by ear on the whistle much easier than on the recorder - possibilities are limited (until proven otherwise I'll assume that there's no half-holing required for Irish standard tin whistle tunes) and fingering more intuitive.

Do I understand correctly, you know two different flutes and three different bagpipes, each requiring different fingerings? My deepest admiration, because I've found that the more similar two instruments are, the more "interference" there is and the more difficult it is at least for me to keep them apart. Guitar and recorder - not a problem. Two different recorders - BIG problem...

Btw, how do people deal with whistles in different keys? Not think about it, just play - like putting a capo on a guitar?


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:23 am 
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Kade1301 wrote:
Btw, how do people deal with whistles in different keys? Not think about it, just play - like putting a capo on a guitar?
Yep. Want to play in a different key? Grab another whistle and play as usual (and from the same sheet if you play from the dots). Just play as if every whistle is a "D" whistle.
Well, for most people at least.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:44 am 
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Kade1301 wrote:
Ah, but is it still learning by ear when one can see the fingers?


It isn't, it's a combination of sight and sound. My goal sitting at an Irish session is to pick up the tunes as quickly as possible- I can have nearly a whole jig or reel by the third time through- and anything that helps is welcome.

Kade1301 wrote:
I'll assume that there's no half-holing required for Irish standard tin whistle tunes...


Reading between the lines this might imply that in ITM there's a body of "whistle tunes" and separate bodies of "flute tunes" "uilleann tunes" "fiddle tunes" "box tunes" etc but this isn't really the case. The basis of ITM is the session, and sessions are most often a group of mixed instruments all playing the same tunes in unison. So the same tunes will be played together on whistle, flute, fiddle, banjo, box, concertina, pipes, etc.

Yes there's a very large number of these tunes- perhaps the great majority- which only require one alternating note C/C#, for which on pipes, flute, and whistle there are standard traditional cross-fingerings.

But there are plenty of tunes which fall outside the one-sharp & two-sharp scales. The tradition has long been based on keyless whistles, flutes, and uilleann pipes and on these instruments F natural (for example) is idiomatically done by bending the note, the actual pitch often being somewhere between F and F#.

And then there are plenty of tunes, many favourites on box, fiddle, and banjo, which fall outside the ordinary gamut of whistle, flute, and pipes (by range, key, or both). Many of these can be more easily played on a different-keyed whistle, say a C whistle, than on the standard D whistle.

Kade1301 wrote:
Do I understand correctly, you know two different flutes and three different bagpipes, each requiring different fingerings?


At the height of my craziness it was 5 species of flutes and 6 species of bagpipes each with unique fingering systems, systems of ornamentation, and relationship of fingering to sheet music. That's nothing compared to what Sean Folsom does!

Somehow the brain has no difficulty separating all this stuff. If I have an uilleann chanter in my hands I could not for a moment accidentally play a GHB, NSP, Gaita, Gaida, or Cornish doublepipe fingering, much less a flute fingering from Boehm flute, Irish flute, Baroque flute, kaval, or quena.

Kade1301 wrote:
how do people deal with whistles in different keys? Not think about it, just play - like putting a capo on a guitar?

Yes exactly. On whistle it's standard to read music assuming that a D whistle is being played regardless of the actual size of the whistle.

It's necessary when doing 'legit' gigs though to be aware of the Concert Pitch notes that come out of each size of whistle, so if the conductor says something about an Eb and you're playing a Bb whistle you know it's your "G".

I know people who are really good at keeping straight the Concert notes coming out of each size whistle and can fluently sight-read at pitch sheet music on any whistle. Give them sheet music to a tune in F and they can sight-read it at Concert Pitch on a D whistle, C whistle, or F whistle. That stuff is way beyond me.

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Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:39 am 
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][quote="pancelticpiper"]...

(to JTU - where have you gone? I wasn't my intention to highjack your thread, just to contribute -: It's worth creating a free account, there's much more on the OAIM.ie website than on YouTube)

I have simply been absorbing the various views. You haven’t highjacked my thread just extended an interesting topic. I have actually been trying to play bits and pieces by ear - I might not be quite as bad as I thought but it will take a long time and a lot of work - I hope my wife’s sanity stays intact. I have also joined the OAIM site.
Cheers and thanks everyone for your thoughts


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:43 am 
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Quote:
The basis of ITM is the session


That's a bit of a limited view isn't it? I don't believe that to be true at all. Session is an aspect of the whole thing, not the basis.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:23 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
....

At the height of my craziness it was 5 species of flutes and 6 species of bagpipes each with unique fingering systems, systems of ornamentation, and relationship of fingering to sheet music. That's nothing compared to what Sean Folsom does!

Somehow the brain has no difficulty separating all this stuff. ......




I think you should have written "my brain..." because I'm beginning to think that people brains' work in fundamentally different ways. Which would explain why students "click" with different teachers or books. For me it's completely inconceivable to keep that many similar things apart. (But I'm reasonably good at doing very many completely different things - from tiling floors to cooking ;) ).

JTU wrote:
I have actually been trying to play bits and pieces by ear - I might not be quite as bad as I thought but it will take a long time and a lot of work - I hope my wife’s sanity stays intact. I have also joined the OAIM site.


Nice to see that you are still around! And good to hear that you are making progress. Unfortunately getting good at anything takes time and effort - the only "way out" is learning what we love so that we are having fun while doing the work... (Do you know Pablo de Sarasate's quote: ""For 37 years I've practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!" ?)

Could you practice while your wife is out (I'm assuming you don't want to practice for 14 hours a day - makes me wonder how he escaped RSI...)? (My dad used to practice the viola for hours - just exercises to overcome his handicap of being naturally left-handed - so I can sympathize.)

Alternatively (Mr. Gumby will probably contradict me) you could try a Clarke Sweetone - I find it very quiet and its breathiness takes the edge off the high notes so that it's a lot more bearable for me (and my cat) than a soprano recorder (or my Feadog whistle). Though I may simply have been lucky in getting one that's in tune!


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:32 am 
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Thanks pancelticpiper.
Do not
be too concerned about my wife. That’s mostly me being tongue-in-cheek. We have a laugh together when we are both home and she hears me playing the whistle when I am actually not playing it. I play often and hard so it sort of rings in her ears even when I’m not playing.
I do have a sweetone being one of my earlier purchases. It was not a great whistle in my humble opinion until I superglued a small square of thin black plastic on to the ramp which seemed to mellow the upper octave a bit. I didn’t keep playing it for long. I also had a traditional Clarke D at the time which I though was more air than sound. I stuffed up that one trying to make it sound okay by flattening the roof to the extent where the wooden ripple is loose and is threatening to drop out. I don’t think much of cheap whistles although I have no doubt good players can make them sound great.
Being Australian I thought I should support Australian makers hence I now concentrate on Syn’s. When and If I ever think I can play okay I’ll up the price bracket to an oz whistle but that is some way off.
I have become a bit of a fan of the OAIM. I particularly like the play along with tracks that are helping my timing.
Cheers


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