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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:24 am 
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MichelleRH wrote:
Are you saying you wouldn't articulate with tonguing but have a continuous flow of air with the ornaments (if you will) functioning to articulate the notes?


Exactly, and pipers do the same thing. Highland pipers out of necessity, because inserting gracenotes is the only way they have of articulating notes. Uilleann pipers and ITM whistle and flute players out of choice.

So that beginning of The Kesh Jig

|GGG GAB|

my autopilot default way to play it would be

|G'G,G 'GAB|

where the blip above is some upper gracenote and the blip below is some lower gracenote. I might play the whole bar on a single breath with no tongued articulation at all, or I might tongue the 4th G, getting rid of the gracenote the preceeds it.

These gracenotes are too quick to be heard as distinct notes, but sound almost like near-instantaneous pops.

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:18 pm 
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I'm with Richard Cook with regard to the preference of calling them articulations. (Even though I couldn't give two whits about the correctness of labeling songs vs tunes.) Specific to this discussion, the OP was asking about when to add ornamentations, and as Richard says, articulation is essential, not ornamental. Using that language makes it easy for a newcomer to understand.

Two reasons, as previously stated:
- Separating notes.
- Rhythmic drive
Thirdly, articulations add dynamics (loudness variation), as the whistle without articulations is relatively level.
Fourthly, if you think articulation, then tonguing is a sensible option.

In any case, I do second the recommendation for Brother Steve's (Staimh's) website as a great introduction.


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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:39 am 
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I'm with Richard Cook with regard to the preference of calling them articulations.


I was trying to avoid taking this discussion into the reply to the OP's question and my point was that Richard should perhaps not have done so either, the whole 'I can play you an entire flute or whistle album where there's not an ornament to be heard' Is not helpful answering the OP's question. We know what she meant to ask.

As you can see I suggested in my initial post that Michelle should learn the tunes with the basic 'things that help the tune aliong' these would be the cuts and taps (which Richard would probably call 'pats') that emphasise and separate notes of equal pitch. Note I avoided the use of 'articulation' and my main reason for doing so was that I have yet to meet a traditional musician who uses the term. 'Ornamentation' is well understood in the context, even if you could go all pedantic and pick holes in the use of the term. I fully agree with Richard removing these 'bits' creates artifice.

Older musicians more often used 'embellishment', which was supplanted by 'ornamentation' some decades ago. 'Embellishment' encompasses a wider spectrum of things you can do with (or to, depending on your execution) a tune.

Terminology in traditional music is not set in stone, across the board there's a relatively wide variety of terms used for the same thing and the internet has added more layers to this,. It's confusing at times. I can live with that, last thing we need is formalising how we describe the music we play.

I have known older musicians who'd say 'just put a twiddle on that note, that makes it nicer' it's a crude term perhaps but they'd give you an example how it should sound. Terms like 'articulation' and 'ornamentation' and above all trying to differentiate between them will codify things. The 'twiddle' could mean many things to many people but it would encompass various uses of whatever you 'put on' the note in question.

Because that's the thing, the distinction between 'ornament' and 'articulation' is not always as clear-cut as the terms suggest. At a basic level things can be clear but once you get to a more advanced level of playing, or listening, boundaries get blurred and the placement of a simple cut, relative to the note, can make it take on a different or additional function. The 'delayed' cut can alter the perception of a phrase quite significantly to the experienced listener and when it does it has well and truly transcended being a mere 'articulation'.

Same for Richard's example of saying the Kesh jig starts on 'four Gs'. It certainly starts on G but what you do with that G decides the next step. If you'd ask me there are many ways to start the tune and you may vary it with each return to the phrase.

There are different way of looking at rolls. If you look a for example Bro Steve's use of rolls, the da blah blah roll, you can even say there are three equally spaced Gs (followed by another G) in the roll. Paddy Keenan uses that type of roll and Richard regularly cites Keenan as an inspiration so I can see where he is coming from. But many, perhaps even more, players do not use the equally spaced roll but use one that employs what Breathnach descripes as the rhythm of a free hopping ball. If you use the latter approach to the roll (and I would 99% of the time) the roll can be taken, no longer an 'articulation' of three Gs but an ornamental overlay on a Long G. To be honest I would hear in my mind the start of the Kesh as a lilter dwelling on the long note Daaahh dadadee doodledeedum... never as four Gs. I would not normally think of a roll as 'articulation' in that context. Perhaps I had my ear bent by a lovely old style concertinaplayer I used to play with who cherished her long notes. But there's always more than one way, I have certainly also heard concertina players, for a particular effect, tap out four plain unadorned Gs in that context.

I know, it's a matter of style and approaches. Ambiguity is the order of the day in this music, very few things are as clear cut as we like beginners to believe. Some room for interpretation in the terminology won't do any harm, can even be useful, when used in general terms (used to describe particular instances may be a different matter).

I' ll leave it at that, probably rambled along too long. Too early in the day. Time for coffee, get the day started, get the lockdown brain in gear.

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 5:17 am 
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My point wasn't to nitpick (having studied linguistics nothing is more useless than haggling over word usage) but to make a useful, practical, and necessary distinction between the use of finger articulation in ITM and the use of ornamentation in ITM.

I know there are outliers like Micho Russel, but in the main ITM whistle players and flute players use rolls as an integral articulatory and rhythmic part of their reel and jig playing.

Integral is the essential point- organic to the style.

Ornaments don't grow on Christmas trees, they're not an organic part of the tree. Put some ornaments on a tree you find growing in the forest and the tree doesn't care- it will grow just the same with or without baubles hanging here and there from its branches.

If you play a reel putting the rolls in the places most people put rolls the reel will live pretty much the same whether or not you put in an ornamental device like a trill here or there.

About word use, I prefer to use "ornament" in it's wider meaning both in English in general and in music in particular.

Which leaves us with the class of things that are rhythmic and articulatory devices, but not ornamental per se, which ITM people generally call "ornaments".

Obviously using the same word for two different things can cause confusion to people new to the idiom.

I don't care a bit if someone was to call them "Class A Ornaments" and "Class B Ornaments" or any other thing.

But "finger articulation" though cumbersome has the advantage of being unambiguous.

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:42 am 
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I know Richard. And I am not trying to set up an argument. Intersting enough a bit of to and fro shows that once again we aren't so far apart, even if perhaps taking different angles.

But it can't be overstated that rolls are elements of style, stylistic choices a player makes by using them (or not) and that they may be part of the tune to the individual who plays it, and has made their choices, but they are not necessarily part of the tune itself.

During my time with this music I have met many players from a generation that has now left us. Enjoyed their company and music and shared music with them. And their approach to 'ornamentation (and let's use that for now), was different from the current crop of players. More organic perhaps, more natural. Maybe it is being taught music in a more formal way (which a lot, most even, of the old generation weren't) but a lot of current musicians are always aware and deliberate to put this or that in when they can. There was a different aethetic maybe: I even met one or two old fiddleplayers who thought using rolls in jigs was 'vulgar' (their words).

There were plenty of musicians who didn't use rolls at all and played very powerful music. There are still a few top class traditional musicians who don't use rolls in their playing. Outlyers? I don't know. Over time I come to re-think these things a great extend.

It is probably only natural for a beginner making their way to absorb and learn as much as they can, and then use as much as they can, flex their muscles if you like. Been there, done that. I have more or less arrived at a point where that need is gone. In fact I think stripping back a tune and pass through it shunning rolls and more elaborate stuff can make a listener sit up and pay attention as much as a 'great shower of fingers' may.

But your first port of call, what you do need to get right is the rhythm and the phrasing of the tune. Play it and give it a clear structure and that would be, again, as above, my advice to a beginner: play your tune with the correct 'lift' or whatever you want to call it, using the basic 'ornamentation' to keep that going, for articulation and emphasis, and once you have that sorted and know what you're about, start adding more layers of stuff if you're so inclined and make the tunes your own. Bearing in mind what you do should serve the tune, to make it shine, not your ego.

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:22 am 
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Thank you for this discussion! I asked something similar a while back comparing tongued articulation and cuts and taps. I play around with both to see which I like in a tune and it comes down to speed and effect. I think if you come from the woodwind world you're more likely to reply on tongued articulation and stoppage of air flow. If you come from piping you are used to a steady stream of air that needs fingered articulation to break apart sound into smaller notes. When I listen carefully to world-class whistle players I hear both and I suspect they are thinking of the emphasis and rhythm they want, then subconsciously choosing one technique or another.

In responding to the OP I think it helps to understand the rhythm of the tune. If you can tap it out with your fingers you can transition to whistle.

-Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:00 am 
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Quote:
If you come from piping you are used to a steady stream of air that needs fingered articulation to break apart sound into smaller notes.


That one comes up with some regularity and I always point out that doesn't really apply to Irish piping, which has a broad spectrum of legatop, non-legato and staccato notes at its disposal.

Scottish pipers coming to the whistle may feel differently, I can't speak to that.

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:05 pm 
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Thank you everyone for all of the great discussion! I find that alot of jigs and reels seem excessive in their ornamentation and it seems like they want to be really showy rather than following a natural rhythm. I always imagine that, as jigs and reels are dances, if the speed and ornamentation make it hard to dance to then it may be too much. I do tend to favor rolls, but as a former flute player that is more familiar to my fingers and I still am working on a rhythm to put cuts and taps in places.

Michelle


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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:43 am 
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I don't know about that, ornamentation becomes part of your playing and most of it is there without giving it a second thought, I would suggest you watch good dancers dancing and take note of the speeds they prefer, in my experience dancers demand higher speeds than I would probably play at for my own amusement.

Here are a few clips hat go at a fair, albeit not excessive, clip. Very fine dancers all and ones I have played for on occasion:

Aidan Vaughan demonstrating Clare Battering steps

Clare set dancing

And, for the fun of it, one filmed in the house just over the hill from where I am writing this: West clare set 1972

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 Post subject: Re: Ornamentation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:27 pm 
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MichelleRH wrote:
Thank you everyone for all of the great discussion! I find that alot of jigs and reels seem excessive in their ornamentation and it seems like they want to be really showy rather than following a natural rhythm. I always imagine that, as jigs and reels are dances, if the speed and ornamentation make it hard to dance to then it may be too much. I do tend to favor rolls, but as a former flute player that is more familiar to my fingers and I still am working on a rhythm to put cuts and taps in places.

Michelle


You may want to check these video series for tin whistle ornamentation basics and a couple of exercises:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aRfNth ... hY&index=7


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