What exactly is a “casadh”?

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mamakash
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Post by mamakash »

Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask for some time . . .

What exactly is a “casadh”? It’s one of the ornaments in Geraldine Cotter’s “Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor,” but I’m not exactly sure what she’s trying to show. She notes “The casadh is similar to the cut except the principal note is also part of the ornament, e.g.”

And while I’m here, let me also get your opinions, as well. For example, must I always cut the note D with the A finger? Can I just cut D using E, instead? My fingers get all tongue tied when trying to cut using only these notes. I think that dexterity is something to strive for, but I also enjoy playing. I never learned to play to become amazingly proficient. I guess I’m looking for a way to fudge it a bit, and still sound good. Any thoughts on this?
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Post by gordontait »

I'm not absolutely sure, but I think a "casadh" is a bit like the classical mordent, and should be played:
(on an E)
xxx xxo, xxo xxo, xxx xxo
(very quickly)

I don't always cut with my 3rd finger, the piper that showed me how to play ornaments uses all sorts of cut.
This is a really cool ornamented long D:
xxo xxx, xxx xxx, xxx oxx, xxx xxx, xxx xox, xxx xxx.
The reason most people cut with the 3rd finger (G finger on a D whistle) is because this normally works in the context of the tune.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong - ornamentation is not my strong point!
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Post by Bloomfield »

On 2002-05-29 17:40, mamakash wrote:
Here’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask for some time . . .

What exactly is a “casadh”? It’s one of the ornaments in Geraldine Cotter’s “Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor,” but I’m not exactly sure what she’s trying to show. She notes “The casadh is similar to the cut except the principal note is also part of the ornament, e.g.”

And while I’m here, let me also get your opinions, as well. For example, must I always cut the note D with the A finger? Can I just cut D using E, instead? My fingers get all tongue tied when trying to cut using only these notes. I think that dexterity is something to strive for, but I also enjoy playing. I never learned to play to become amazingly proficient. I guess I’m looking for a way to fudge it a bit, and still sound good. Any thoughts on this?


From your quote of Cotter's book (which I don't know) it sounds like a casadh is the same as a double-cut in piping. Basically you sound the main note before cutting. For a double-cut A, you would play two grace notes, A B, and then the A. Here is how you could finger it:

xxx ooo (note before)
xxo ooo
oxo ooo
xxo ooo (main note)

A regular cut, in contrast, would look like this:

xxx ooo (note before)
oxo ooo
xxo ooo (main note)

The grace notes have to be really really short, of course, like blips. Brother Steve, on his page, states that done at proper speed the difference between a cut and a double cut is negligible. I find that double cuts are a bit easier because you're not jumping into the ultra-short grace note, but they are also harder in a way because if you play the grace notes too long, it gets muddy and tripletty sounding.

As for your second question, I know that Brother Steve and Bill Ochs and many others suggest cutting using your first and third finger of the left (or upper) hand only. I've seen it like this:

D cut: xxo xxx
E cut: xxo xxo
F# cut: xxo xoo
G cut: xxo ooo
A cut: oxo ooo
B cut: ooo ooo

As you can see, G and B are exceptions to the rule that you should not cut with the finger that "plays" the note, but with a finger above it. I find that this system doesn't work so well in the second octave, where I like to cut closer to note (to get a blip rather than a squawk). I have different ways of cutting notes, which is either a sign of my versitality or of my incompetence.

But I do think that as long as you try to not cut with the finger that "plays" the note, but with one above it, you are fine. L.E. McCullough, IIRC, suggests the following fingerings for cuts, which sounds like what you want to do:

D cut xxx xox
E cut xxx oxo (or xxo xxo, can't remember, I do both)
F# cut xxo xoo
G cut xox ooo
A cut oxo ooo
B cut ooo ooo (no other choice here).

Generally, I would try not to feel too contrained by technical things (but don't let me catch you playing mushy rolls :wink: ). Good luck.

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/bloomfield

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Bloomfield on 2002-05-30 09:30 ]</font>
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Post by Mark_J »

On 2002-05-29 17:40, mamakash wrote:

What exactly is a “casadh”? It’s one of the ornaments in Geraldine Cotter’s “Traditional Irish Tin Whistle Tutor,” but I’m not exactly sure what she’s trying to show. She notes “The casadh is similar to the cut except the principal note is also part of the ornament, e.g.”

Let me start by saying I don't think I can explain the ornament properly in words, and that my words will be a gross simplification of the real thing.

What she described in the book is very similar to a tripplet but within the lenght of a single quarternote, if I remember right. Kathleen Conneely who taught beginner tinwhistle at East Durham last summer taught cuts that were very similar to Geraldine's casadh. She had me perform a cut (as she did, everyone in the class). I had learned cuts from a half-dozen other professionally recorded artists. I learned a cut to be a grace note before the principal note. I played this for Kathleen. She kept telling me that I was only playing the principal note. I was confused until I payed closer attention to what she was doing. Kathleen called it a cut and was doing what Geraldine called the casadh. Kathleen can call it a potato if she wants because it sounds great in her music. She is a great instructor, to boot. Many in the class could not even do a scale on day one, and most everybody had learned two jigs, a reel, a hornpipe, and a march by the end of the week.

I would feel save to learn both methods and think of the casadh as an alternative to the garden variety cut. It put's a nice little twist in you play.
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Post by gordontait »

Thanks for correcting me there guys.
I know ornamentation's not my strong point - I really will have to get a book on it or something!
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Post by Seanduine »

As Mark_J says, "It puts a nice little twist in your play." He is bang on as casadh simply means "turning" or "twisting" in Gaelic.
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Post by Whistlepeg »

You can cut or double cut a note, sometimes called single grace and double grace. The double cut is the casadh Geraldine is talking about.
A single cut/grace is where you place a very quick "grace note" before the principle note giving a * b'dum * rhythm.
A double cut/casadh is where you play the principle note briefly, then the grace note, then the principle note giving a
* d'b'dum * rhythm
The difference between the short roll and the long roll is that the short roll involves the single cut/grace, and the long roll involves the double cut/grace.
Traditional Irish Musicians sometimes use different names for the same ornaments.
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Post by Bloomfield »

On 2002-05-30 10:27, Whistlepeg wrote:

The difference between the short roll and the long roll is that the short roll involves the single cut/grace, and the long roll involves the double cut/grace.
Traditional Irish Musicians sometimes use different names for the same ornaments.

My understaning was that the difference between a short roll and long roll is first of all the length: A short roll takes the space of two eight-notes, the long roll the space of three. A simple long roll goes note-cut-note-tap-note, whereas a short roll goes (cut-note-tap)-note. I put parenthesis to show that the cut-note-tap part sound more like a sixteenth-triplet of grace notes before the main note.

To confuse matters, pipers (and some whistlers like L.E. McC) will use double-cut rolls or even triple-cut rolls. (which I can't even fathom). A double-cut long roll would go: note-doublecute-note-tape-note and it would still take the space of three eigth notes.

Did I ever tell you the one about the blind leading the lame? :smile:
/Bloomfield
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Post by brian_k »

"Casadh" means a turn, or a twist, in Irish. E.g., "casadh na taoide" would mean the turning of the tide (referring to the tide in the ocean); "casadh na téide" would be the twist of a rope (of the 3 strand, manila type).

Referring to music, it would mean a sudden "twist" or reversal of musical direction; and that is what a "cut" is, when properly performed on the pipes or a tinwhistle.
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Post by mamakash »

Thanks for all the information! I saved it to my computer and then re-read the Tutor, and yep, you're right! What she call a cut is a quick cut to the note, and what she calls a casadh is a cut to seperate two notes, or seperate two notes of the same pitch. Bill Oach's doesn't make a difference between the two, which is why I found it confusing.
I propose that proper latin names be used when discussing music terminology. Then we'll all be able to classify our ornaments!
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Post by Whistlepeg »

Bloomfield,
Yes, what you said is what I said, I do believe....:smile: Rhythmically:
dum-b'dum-b'dum - a long roll
b'dum-b'dum - a short roll.
A long roll replaces 3 eighth notes and a short roll replaces 2 eighth notes.
The confusion comes when different musicians call things by different names. Even the tunes can go by half a dozen diffent names!
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Post by Bloomfield »

On 2002-05-30 20:48, Whistlepeg wrote:
Bloomfield,
Yes, what you said is what I said, I do believe....:smile: Rhythmically:
dum-b'dum-b'dum - a long roll
b'dum-b'dum - a short roll.
A long roll replaces 3 eighth notes and a short roll replaces 2 eighth notes.
The confusion comes when different musicians call things by different names. Even the tunes can go by half a dozen diffent names!

We agree, although to me a long roll sounds more like
dum-bl'um-bl'um or
boy-dl'oy-dl'oy.
(the "b'dum" puts two stops where I hear one.)

And I'd like to add two pedantic points (as is my wont):
First, the short roll is often played with a slightly different rhythm. Instead of
bl'um-bl'um
it goes
bliddi-um
which I would notate in ABC as
L::1/8
... E ({BAG}A2) G ....
(those curly brackets {} designate grace notes)
I've heard it say that the long roll (including the off-beat roll in Brother Steve's terminology) is a rhythmic ornament, where as the short roll isn't: It's melodic.

Second point: You've probably discovered my delight in taxonomy and technical terms at this point, so you'll forgive me for pointing out that cut vs double-cut doesn't relate to short vs. long roll. A double-cut is not two cut eight-notes but one note with two grace notes in front of it.
Cut: {B}G
Double-cut: {GB}G
Long roll: G{B}G{F}G
And just to confuse you... :smile:
Double-cut roll: G{BGA}G{F}G

All right, I'll stop now before I am rounded up by the Techno-Crap Police. :grin: Best,
/Bloomfield
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Re: What exactly is a “casadh”?

Post by learn2turn »

[Thread revival. - Mod]

Old thread. I have the same book. Googled "casadh whistle ornament" and ended up here.

I'm a novice a got likewise confused. Other resources I've seen called a "cut" a three sequence ornament-- start on the main note, very quickly raise and lower a finger back to the main note. So for D, it would be--

xxx xxx (for just an instant)
xx0 xxx (for just and instant)
xxx xxx (main note)

That book calls the above a "casadh" and calls a "cut" simply --

xx0 xxx (for just an instant)
xxx xxx (main note)

I guess that is what folk styles are all about; there must not be any strict definitions.

What I do, practice both, not worry what they are called. If I'm lucky enough to get either one in a tune somewhere sounding good, I count my blessing.

What I do like "cuts" or whatever you call it for is if a note repeats in a phrase and I'm trying to play the phrase or a portion of the phrase legato. Then to separate them with a cut. In that sense, either definition works as I'm already on the main note. I'll use a tap for the same thing, and which I choose depends on the note after.


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Re: What exactly is a “casadh”?

Post by Narzog »

I guess it makes sense to have different names. But to me its just cutting to separate notes, or cutting to start a note. Different use of the same cut. But having different names does have its place. Like someone could say to 'cut and strike quickly', instead of a roll, but saying a roll is much easier haha.
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