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Tone - attacking the note
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Author:  PJ [ Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Tone - attacking the note

I've heard a few people refer to how certain musicians (not just pipers) "attack" notes, as a way of getting their unique tone. I take this to mean how they start, sustain or end a particular note (or sequence of notes).

I'm curious to know what people think of how pipers get good tone. Any particular examples for common recordings would be helpful.

Author:  Mr.Gumby [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

I would understand 'attack' as how you start a note. That aside, the issue of tone and colour to achieve a typical or personal sound is a rather vast area of discussion involving pressure, open/closed playing, which fingers to take off for each note or to open up while playing the note, to lift the chanter or not and when and how fast to lift it when you do, where you place your cuts and graces, the amount of vibrato (if any) and again which finger(s) used to apply it (and which holes to open below the note played) and what have you.

Talking with Pat Mitchell over the christmas about start of the Lark in the Morning (AFA AFA B..) he arrived at in excess of eight different ways of tackling even the first bar alone. And that was before considering rolls and triplets.

What you do and how you do it, it all makes a difference.

I liked what Terry Moylan said in one of these documentaries (paraphrasing here:) how some pipers would offer you a string of notes while Ennis gave you a range of colours. That's what it's about isn't it?

Author:  Seanie [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

It is one of those strange aural experiences. I would recognise Ennis' playing or Clancy's playing from the first two or three notes of their playing. Even if they were not playing their usual pipes.

It also helps if you are playing a good chanter with a good reed.


Speaking of the Lark in the Morning, Sean Talty, on a recent NPU upload of lunch time concerts, played that tune with Jimmy Ward's Jig. Beautiful playing of two fairly standard (and in some cases hackneyed) tunes. Well worth the effort to listen to it. Very musical.

John

Author:  Mr.Gumby [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

I probably don't get to hear him as much as I could/should but last time I saw Seán play (some time during the winter) he was in great form, playing extremely well. I do often see him, out and about fixing the fence or spraying roundup on the weeds outside the house. :wink:

Author:  PJ [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

I don't think enough attention is given to the "attack". I've learned tunes from listening to MOB, LOF, etc., and while I can copy the ornamentation they use, there is always something missing. I could never put my finger on it before, but which I now think is more about how they "attach" certain important notes.

I read an interview with Itzhak Perlman in which he discussed this. Apparently, when he first began to play, his teacher remarked that he naturally had an ability to get a great tone from the violin. It was innate: he couldn't explain it but it felt right to him, how he struck certain notes. I've heard other musicians say similar things.

Author:  myles [ Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

Attack is a really important part of how we perceive the tone quality or timbre of the following sound. I think the pipes are particularly interesting in that attack must largely be determined by fingering - perhaps this is how the same set of pipes can seem to sound a bit tonally different in different players' hands.

Author:  myles [ Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

I suppose one example might be early Robbie Hannan - he has very clean articulation, a lot of staccato stuff going on and crisp ornamentation which to my ears gives a particularly resonant sort of sound overall. Some of that is the chanter and reed but I think the attack and closure of each note contributes too.

Author:  PJ [ Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

Any suggestions for articles which discuss accents on/accentuating notes for the UP chanter?

Author:  Mr.Gumby [ Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

Quote:
Any suggestions for articles which discuss accents on/accentuating notes for the UP chanter?


Pat Mitchell 'Rhythm and style' articles in the SRS journal?

Author:  PJ [ Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

Thank you sir. I'll scan through the back issues of An Piobaire to see if there's anything else on the subject and I'll post references to anything I find.

I used to bounce questions like this off Bill Ochs (RIP). He would delight in showing examples of how different pipers approached the same phrase, and would always end with Liam O'Flynn. I once threatened to send him a t-shirt embroidered with "WWLOFD".

Author:  Ceann Cromtha [ Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

PJ wrote:
Thank you sir. I'll scan through the back issues of An Piobaire to see if there's anything else on the subject and I'll post references to anything I find.

I used to bounce questions like this off Bill Ochs (RIP). He would delight in showing examples of how different pipers approached the same phrase, and would always end with Liam O'Flynn. I once threatened to send him a t-shirt embroidered with "WWLOFD".


Amen, Patrick. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t miss communicating with Bill about something like this. RIP, Bill.

Author:  truckley_howler [ Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

Mr.Gumby wrote:
Quote:
Any suggestions for articles which discuss accents on/accentuating notes for the UP chanter?


Pat Mitchell 'Rhythm and style' articles in the SRS journal?



This must be the one you're referring to? http://www.seanreidsociety.org/SRSJ1/Rh ... 0music.PDF. (Slightly different title, but must be the one.)

I had no idea these were all available online....thank you!

Author:  jon1908 [ Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tone - attacking the note

I remember being in a workshop with Mick O’Brien and we were discussing this.

He was saying that you have to make the top hand notes as strong as possible.

I think his expression was ‘lean onto the note’, in other words, keep as much pressure on the bag as possible to make the note sound true and strong. No weak ‘B’s or C’s.

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