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 Post subject: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:08 pm 
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Suggestions for useful exercises to get rid of crossing noises?

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:14 pm 
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Question: what does "crossing noise" refer to ?

trill


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:24 pm 
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trill wrote:
Question: what does "crossing noise" refer to ?

trill

Crossing noises are those unpleasant sounds one gets when fingers are not lifted or put down accurately. An example might be playing a G and in going to B get a squawk of an unwanted A. I find this occurs more while learning a tune than with playing a familiar tune. It sounds sloppy, a sort of musical fumble.

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:44 pm 
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Essentially? Practice. Slowly, until you have the muscle memory of where the fingers go, of playing different finger combinations, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:53 am 
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I've taught Highland pipes for many years, on that instrument "crossing notes" or "crossing noises" (they're called either) is a big problem with some beginners.

It's odd because some people never do them, some people do them on every note and it takes specific exercises to get rid of them.

Crossing notes, at least the most obvious ones, are the byproduct of two fingerings in sequence that require some fingers to be lifted and some fingers to be put down. Instruments with more "open" fingering systems have less opportunities for crossing notes than instruments with half-open fingering systems like the Highland pipes. Which is why with beginning whistle and flute students the issue of crossing notes is rare.

Add to that the fact that oftentimes crossing notes are regarded as good things! On the uilleann pipes, on Irish flute and whistle, and on woodwinds in some other traditions certain crossing notes are welcome and/or specifically practiced.

Here's one of the few crossing notes I often hear on the flute, whistle, and uilleann pipes, going from B to C natural.

On flute/whistle it might be fingered

xoo ooo
oxx ooo

So all three upperhand fingers are crossing, the so-called "scissors motion" as some bagpipe teachers call it.

Now what if you put down U2 and U3 a hair earlier than you lift U1?

xoo ooo
xxx ooo
oxx ooo

You get a G in between B and C. That's a crossing note.

But many players think that sounds fine. Some do it accidentally, some hear it and like it and do it intentionally.

It's a critical part of Matt Molloy's lovely /B c d/ triplet.

Many whistle and flute players do that triplet open, listen to Mary Bergin to hear her open /B c# d/ triplets

xoo ooo
ooo ooo
oxx xxx

Matt Molloy does it closed

xoo ooo
oxx ooo
oxx xxx

with a C natural BUT he also has a G crossing note in between the /B/ and the /c/

xoo ooo
xxx ooo
oxx ooo
oxx xxx

That gives it a lovely popping or rippling sound sort of like an uilleann pipers' "tight" /B c# d/ triplet.

About practice, as they say "practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

In other words if you're doing something wrong all practice does is ingrain bad habits into your muscle memory.

So the first step is knowing what to practice.

On the Highland pipes how you get rid of ingrained habitual crossing notes, or any other bad habit, is to practice the reverse of what you're doing wrong.

A big crossing noise problem on the GHB is going from D to E, which involves 5 fingers crossing:

x | xxx | ooox (D)
x | xxo | xxxo (E)

As you see the entire lower hand switches.

Some beginners get a crossing note low G thus:

x | xxx | ooox (D)
x | xxx | xxxx (G)
x | xxo | xxxo (E)

The problem is that they're putting down the lower-hand fingers too early.

The solution is having them practice putting down the lower-hand fingers too late:

x | xxx | ooox
x | xxo | ooox
x | xxo | xxxo

In other words, have them not put down the fingers that need to go down until the finger(s) that need to go up are clear.

Due to the half-open/half-closed nature of GHB fingerings there are crossing note dangers with nearly every note change.

I had a student with the worst crossing-note habit I'd ever heard. With him I had to break down every possible note-change on the GHB chanter, write out each note-change as three separate steps, and have him practice it slowly.

After a couple month practice all his crossing notes, which he had been doing for years, all went away and he's been a clean player ever since. I don't know why his first teacher let him get away with playing all the note-changes sloppy.

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


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:03 pm 
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Richard, this is an amazing bit of instruction, thank you! Crossing noises are a huge challenge for pipers, and you can get away with much more with whistles. In fact I've been so cautious on whistle that it's taken a while to find shortcuts where I can keep a finger or fingers down to switch notes and suffer no change in tuning. This is especially helpful jumping octaves or playing between C and D--you can keep the lower hand down and avoid a five-finger shift in position.

-Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing Noise
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:03 am 
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Location: Mercia
Katharine wrote:
Essentially? Practice. Slowly, until you have the muscle memory of where the fingers go, of playing different finger combinations, etc.
I found Grey Larsen's exercises useful. They cost a bit of money, and are really boring, but playing along with the recordings could help intonation, timing and music reading as well.

https://greylarsen.com/shop/product/exercises-for-finger-coordination-for-tin-whistle-and-irish-flute/


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