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PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:09 am 
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Hello,

I've been using Grey Larsen's cut fingering (and hence roll fingering), but watching videos of great players closely, I can't seem to find any that actually use it. Seamus Tansey, for example, cuts a note using the same finger he uses to play it. As far as I could tell from watching Matt Molloy--although it was harder to follow his finger movements--he does the same thing. Is that what more seasoned players have observed as well?

Also, when doing the strike part of the roll, at least on a G, Tansey and others seem to use both B1 and B2. Is this a common thing, perhaps for more pop? Maybe flute-dependent?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:21 am 
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Also, when doing the strike part of the roll, at least on a G, Tansey and others seem to use both B1 and B2. Is this a common thing, perhaps for more pop? Maybe flute-dependent?


Ornamentation and cutting in particular is a far more intricate and varied subject than that projected by Larsen's simplified thinking on the subject. Reality is much less codified and infinitely more varied, and at times more nuanced, considered and expressive, than the book will have you believe.

The late Bill Ochs wrote a nice demolition of Larsen's cutting system when the book was first published.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:39 am 
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Oooh, got out of bed on the wrong side again this morning, Mr Gumby? I don't think that airing your well-established antipathy to Grey and his works really adds much to the discussion. Feel free to come out with your own series of books on the topic.

I don't think it generally matters much which fingers you cut with, DD_flute. Taking a G note for example (xxx ooo), I find I can and probably do cut on either L2 or L3 (you can cut on L1 but it can introduce a funny partial). Remember that we don't actually want to hear the pitch of the note you are cutting to, the cut should be too short to discern that.

In terms of the strike (which I learned to call the tip, probably from Mary Bergin?), I'd normally only use the finger directly below (R1 in this case). Maybe some players do use two fingers to amplify the effect. But it's quite possible also that their fingers tend to move together when unsupported. I think you should feel free to use whatever works for you. Let the sound be your guide more than the videos!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:29 am 
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Oooh, got out of bed on the wrong side again this morning, Mr Gumby? I don't think that airing your well-established antipathy to Grey and his works really adds much to the discussion. Feel free to come out with your own series of books on the topic.


And that's you addressing the issues at hand? :lol:

Now please point out which points in my post above were not relevant to the discussion.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:49 am 
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Geez, the guy sells a guide to learning to play. No need to tear him down for his pains. No need to "demolish" him, is there?

I think if you live in Ireland surrounded by people who play ITM, it's easy to lose sight of the fact than in other parts of the world, interest in ITM Is rare and highly specialized. There is no local pub where I can go learn; there is no neighbor down the street who plays ITM. The closest flute lessons are half an hour at best away, likely much more in heavy traffic, and expensive. An Irish bar in town is doing something rare on thursday night: having actual irish music with "Paraic Keane and friends." It's a closed session. It's not like gathering at the pub during Willie Week.

I have the book and found it useful, although I pretty quickly figured out there were multiple ways to cut a note and even I, beginner that I am, do it differently depending on the tune and the effect I'm struggling to get. I guess a method book could say "cut it any old way" or "do whatever works best," but as a teacher for a living I've found that "just keep doing it till you figure it out" is not exactly the most effective approach. I mean, eventually you have to figure things out for yourself in all fields, but the point of teaching is guidance on the way.

The stakes here are relatively low. It's not a case "see that poor guy, swilling cheap wine and sleeping in an alley? He learned to cut from the gray Larsen book, and now look at him!" Demolition seems like overkill.

I do much prefer Conal O'Grada's book, BTW


Last edited by PB+J on Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:27 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
Also, when doing the strike part of the roll, at least on a G, Tansey and others seem to use both B1 and B2. Is this a common thing, perhaps for more pop? Maybe flute-dependent?


Ornamentation and cutting in particular is a far more intricate and varied subject than that projected by Larsen's simplified thinking on the subject. Reality is much less codified and infinitely more varied, and at times more nuanced, considered and expressive, than the book will have you believe.

The late Bill Ochs wrote a nice demolition of Larsen's cutting system when the book was first published.



I agree with you. But then that is the case with pretty much all tutor books. Their descriptions can always be read as overly proscriptive or 'simplified'. They're usually only a starting point.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of one for learning music from books but I have read the chapters of Larsen's book on ornamentation. One useful example he gets across is how ornamentation is often misleadingly notated. Personally I found that helped me to better understand the basic dynamics of cuts and rolls i.e. the basics of what I should be aiming for. And when we get the basic dynamics it frees us when we are listening to variations and replicating more easily to go in a more expressive and nuanced direction without being hampered by misperceptions and misinformation.

Sometimes being shown what not to do is worth taking on board. If it works, it doesn't matter to me where that guidance comes from.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:29 am 
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I did a workshop on ornamentation with Grey years ago at the St. Louis Tional. I've taken a number of workshops from good people, e.g. Catherine McEvoy, Mike Rafferty et al. FWIW, I found Grey's workshop exceedingly helpful.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:47 am 
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I did 3 summers with Grey (and Cindy) some years ago when I was starting out. They are great, IMHO, especially for beginners. FWIW, I still do cuts and rolls “the Grey way”.

Pat

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:06 pm 
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I see a lot of people piling on Mr Grumpy here, but at the risk of taking some flack myself, I want to
say that I think his post summed up the situation quite accurately.

I own and have read Grey's book and I started out trying to follow his method closely. Much later I found
out more about how other players approach ornaments (especially cuts) and I found that the approach Grey
proposes is quite unusual, in the sense that it doesn't seem to match what a lot of top players do. After trying
some other approaches I also came to the conclusion that, for me at least, Grey's approach was much
more difficult to execute well. I honestly feel that it held me back a bit ... which is not to say that its a
bad book, just that in that particular regard it didn't work well for me.

If you take a look at Conal O'Grada's book he outlines how he fingers various ornaments and gives
good justification for his own choices. His approach is quite different to Grey's. He doesn't say that
you should do it his way, but the rhythmic effects become quite apparent.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:46 pm 
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My sense of this is that 1) there are numerous ways to cut and pat, 2) there are numerous styles of playing and 3) that individual flutes vary in their response to ornamentation. Consequently, the concept that there is "one way" is pretty meaningless. More, it's gaining experience with your flute and developing a sense of how you want it to sound and then learning what works best for you. Taking advice is one thing, treating it as gospel may be counterproductive. (And no, I don't use Grey's style and my own is a work in progress.)

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:45 pm 
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"Tansey, for example, cuts a note using the same finger he uses to play it. " - Could you explain that, please ?
My flute class were looking at a Conal O'Grada transcription last night. He separated 2 lower octave G notes in a jig by striking with all 3 fingers on the bottom hand, in effect playing a "D" as the lower grace note. I have heard him discuss this at Ballyvourney "Cruinniu" classes. It may be a feature of his own style of playing, but he certainly makes it work.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:44 pm 
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I attended a piping class with Mick O'Brien this summer, and was very struck by how often he varied fingerings of notes and ornaments. Each time he explained that he made a given choice because he felt it was right for the given spot in the tune. So fingering was not hard and fast, but rather choices among possibilities.

To relate this to this thread, at one point when discussing an F# roll in a tune, he said he cut with the first finger of his bottom hand so that the roll was there, but not obtrusive. He went on to say that he normally cut with the third finger of the top hand, and sometimes used more than one finger. Same thing with taps-sometimes he used one finger immediately below the note, and sometimes more than one, but the point was the degree of articulation he thought was best at a given point, and the fingering that allowed him to achieve what he wanted.

I don't think it is just a piping thing to use multiple fingerings for the "same" thing (e.g. an F# roll). As an former baroque flute player, it is striking how many alternative fingerings there are, some for tone colour, some for trills, some for tuning. I suspect that the belief of the time that different keys had different qualities, and that it was the musician's job to bring these out had something to do with the number of alternatives. Even Rockstro's fingering charts from the 1800's for simple system flutes show multiple possibilities for fingerings, so it seems possible to me the idea of multiple ways to play things has lingered on.

Ear opening for me.

Hugh

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:05 am 
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Among traditional musicians there is a lot of attention to very minute little things that may not be obvious to listeners not well versed in the idiom or to new comers. The whole thing of playing on cut first time around and using another in a repeat to change texture, the placement of cuts and graces relative to the note being cut and all the other stuff that makes minute little changes in the overall sound and texture are an important part of this music. Perhaps there's a strong piping influence there, on the pipes there are endless ways of changing sound and colour, but they are important on flute and even whislte as well. And a lot of players will weigh and consider carefully how the various cuts and other ornaments influence the music. To an experienced listener these things are an important part of the musical 'language'. Reducing this to a mere one size fits all mechanical action without further importance ignores an important aspect of this music. That's my experience and how I see it anyway. But if you sit regularly with listeners who respond to these minute changes as the tune goes along, you realise the importance of attention to detail.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:30 am 
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In the days that I was in need of a flute tutor/book I'd make my choice based on authors flute playing. So I chose June McCormack over Grey Larsen because I much preferred her playing and think she's a better player.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:05 am 
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I think that we are often too quick to denigrate the efforts of those that have taken the trouble to try to fill a gap they perceive. In just my memory, O'Neill, Bulmer & Sharpley, Miles Krassen, Grey Larsen, Breandán Breathnach, and probably every other collector, compiler or tutor-writer have copped it over the years. The inference seems to be: "I'm so good that nobody else's work meets my high standards". Even though these alleged standards have not been established in any measurable form. Talk is cheap.

We all know that this is an aural tradition, and is difficult if not impossible to convey adequately in notation form. We all know that there is nothing like a real live tutor (formal or informal) compared to a book or tutor-tape. We all know that a real live tutor is a luxury unavailable in many if not most parts of the world. We all know that regional variation plus the realities of informal traditional transmission allows an infinity of outcomes in style. We all know that a full description of decoration in Irish music is more the realm of a PhD dissertation than a how-to introduction tutor. Yet when someone has a go at filling an obvious gap, they cop flack for trying.

Let's show respect for those that have attempted to fill the gap. That doesn't mean we should limit ourselves to that level of achievement. If a later tutor, for instance, seems to cover the ground better, then we should feel free to applaud that. But that doesn't mean we should denigrate what went before. It doesn't make us any taller.


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