Developing your playing style

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Gary90
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Developing your playing style

Post by Gary90 »

Hi guys,
I have been playing a few months now and i am starting to play around with the songs I have learned, using ornaments.
I know that everyone says listen to good tin whistle players to see when they would use ornamentation and articulation to help with developing your own playing better.

What I am wondering is. Is it possible to over do it with ornamentation in songs or, playing a song and you only use a cut or tap or roll once throughout the whole song?

Sorry if I haven't worded this correctly I have difficulty sometimes wording my thoughts.
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Mr.Gumby »

They are questions that cover a multitude. And a proper reply would be a long one.

First of all, someone will come along and muddle the discussion by declaring there's no such thing as ornaments, they are articulations! Ignore that sort of thing. It's semantics. However, there are things you can put into a tune to help it along and there arte things that make a tune more florid, decorate, ornament it if you like so there's certainly that. And yes you can overdo it, badly.

Don't worry about it too much at this stage, start from the bottom and work your way along, get the basics going and keep adding the things you hear and enjoy. You'll arrive at a style in time.

So the advice to listen to as many players as you can is sound, learn to recognise what's going on in their playing and think about why these things are there, what their function in the tune is. Read Bro Steve's thoughts and while there visit the transcription page (it shows it's age badly but you may get something from it).

I'd suggest to start with simple enough tunes, do the basic stuff that helps the tune along. Last week someone on the television was playing the Promenade, on hearing it I ran through it a few tmes and couldn't help thinking a simple hop jig like that only takes the basics for emphasis, nothing florid. But that's perhaps something for another day.
Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Gary90 »

Thanks Mr.Gumby, I will have a look at that link you posted.
I read comments before in the conversation off "it's not ornaments it's embellishments" and so on, but as long as people know what I mean when I say ornaments they can argue away :P
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"The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity."
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by fiddlerwill »

"The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity."

To be frank, it takes years , so if youve just been playing a few months, relax, forget about style, ornaments , just learn to play tunes, simply and rhythmically.
Dont skip over a mistake, go back to the begining and repeat slower and more carefully. Once you can get through atune once, without mistakes then repeat this three times.
Vary a tune as a singer would, with breaths and phraseing .this is a universal musical skill.
Repeat for about 7 years. And listen to lots of pure drop old players ( and new) even the modern high level players cut their teeth on this kind of thing....
eventually your ear undersanding and ability will develope naturally and organically.
"With one eye on the destination you have only one eye for the road"
Have fun, but dont be afraid of hard work
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Heres a few tunes round a table, first three sets;

http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/werty
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs-willie
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by ytliek »

I was just having this conversation with a well flute player about ornaments, or whatever you call them, and the best comment to me was getting the rhythm and phrasing correctly. Also mentioned was that some tunes just sound better bare bones, simple and clear. So don't worry about the fancy stuff for now as it may come in time when you're ready. Be well.
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Gary90 »

fiddlerwill wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:00 am "The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity."

To be frank, it takes years , so if youve just been playing a few months, relax, forget about style, ornaments , just learn to play tunes, simply and rhythmically.
Dont skip over a mistake, go back to the begining and repeat slower and more carefully. Once you can get through atune once, without mistakes then repeat this three times.
Vary a tune as a singer would, with breaths and phraseing .this is a universal musical skill.
Repeat for about 7 years. And listen to lots of pure drop old players ( and new) even the modern high level players cut their teeth on this kind of thing....
eventually your ear undersanding and ability will develope naturally and organically.
"With one eye on the destination you have only one eye for the road"
Have fun, but dont be afraid of hard work
That's awesome advice Fiddler, I can be impatient at times and I promised myself that I would not rush learning this instrument because iv wanted to learn it for a few years now. That's a few years I could of had under my belt already lol. Sometimes keeping things simple is better, I have a few songs I can play at the minute that I know off by heart, I was playing around with ornaments in them to see what it would sound like. And I said to myself, that where I am putting the ornaments in, it doesn't sound right. That's when it came into my head, is there a such thing as too much ornaments killing a song off. Thanks for advice Fiddler, I am playing around with cuts and taps, my rolls aren't fluid yet but I'm sure I will get there with plenty of practice.
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Gary90 »

ytliek wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:25 am I was just having this conversation with a well flute player about ornaments, or whatever you call them, and the best comment to me was getting the rhythm and phrasing correctly. Also mentioned was that some tunes just sound better bare bones, simple and clear. So don't worry about the fancy stuff for now as it may come in time when you're ready. Be well.

Yes Ytliek, I was wondering if there are songs that should be left bare. Slow airs come to mind when I say about being left alone (obviously not all slow airs)
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Narzog »

I know saying to imitate your favorite player is musical sin, and that your 'supposed to be your own musical person' but. Just find who's playing you like the most and try to sound like it. From there later on you can tweak it if you want.

I do think a lot of players over do it on the ornaments to try and sound as tryhard as possible but sometimes it does take away a little.

But heres two examples of different styles on the same song that immediately come to mind. I personally like the style of the first the most. the second in my opinion is just too much ornamentation combined with I don't care for the style. But some people will think its perfect that way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Gn6UEB4og
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hix0yIYwGU
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by pancelticpiper »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:52 am someone will come along and muddle the discussion by declaring there's no such thing as ornaments, they are articulations! Ignore that sort of thing.
Ha! That someone would be me :)

That aside, I think it's common for people to go through different stages, something like this:

1) You latch onto a particular player. They become your hero. You learn their tunes and imitate their style as best you can. (For most people, this first hero plays the same instrument you do.)

2) After you've saturated yourself with the music of your initial hero you discover a new hero and go through the same process of assimilating their repertoire and style.

3) Next your field broadens and you find yourself acquiring tunes and stylistic nuances from an ever-larger number of players, including players of an ever-greater variety of instruments. In my own case I was initially obsessed with pipers and fluters, then went through several years of only listening to fiddlers. Later this broadened to include other instruments especially box.

4) Finally all of these various influences become so integrated that, unbeknownst to you, you're not quite playing like anyone else! And lo and behold you play like you.
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Ha! That someone would be me :)
Quite possibly, you're certainly one of the usual suspects in this sort of discussions. But it is not productive to derail a thread like this with differing opinions on terminology. We all know what the OP is talking about and the usage is pretty standard among traditional musicians.

As you say, personal style is the result of one's life experiences, encounters with other players and other players' music. These things are far less standardised than a lot of people on the interwebs like to believe. You pcik up things along the way and work them into your music.

On the subject of listening to favourite players, and assuming we're still in the realms of Irish Traditional music, take your directions from the music of players rooted in the tradition, recognised stylists, perhaps not random people on youtube who may lack the essential grounding. That's really behind the advice to listen to good players. :tomato:
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"The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity."
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by fiddlerwill »

Couldnt agree morewith Mr Gumby , listen to root sources , and feel free to learn from other instruments so i would recomend the fiddling of Bobby Casey for example , playing along after many hours listening maybe slowing down, newcomers todsy have no idea how hard it was 30 yrs ago learning/ picking ip tunes by ear! technology makes it so much easier!!
A friend of mine learnt every tune of every bothy band album whrn he was beginning as a kid ! Amongst others !
And theres a point to this statement .... pick an album and listen over and over, just one album ..... by focusing your listening and not sweeping too broadly will help.

Much as I love the Bothies I recomend the older generation, that those guys will have heard as kids .... go to the pure drop source.
If i get permission I will link to an awesome resource .
The mind is like a parachute; it only works when it is open.


Heres a few tunes round a table, first three sets;

http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/werty
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs-willie
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by RoberTunes »

Ornamentation/tricks/articulations/spice/hippy jazz waa-waa/alterations/fingery-didgery/note lichen/harmonic evolution/playing around/mystical brass magic/Montezuma's Spasms, they are all part of exploring what's possible in the music being played. During the time of trying things out and exploring, you'll hopefully go out of bounds quite often, develop your use of the instrument and see what can be suitable and then how to adjust possibilities. Play around with it all! But the final judgment is more than likely, for a musician playing live music, is based on whether the options you're exploring are suitable to the music when it comes time to present it. Does the music seem right? Does the phrasing or lead line or harmonics feel suited to what's going on, when you stray from the original in any way? In some cases, the whistle player has to consider blending what they do with other instruments or a vocalist. Sometimes it's more of a lead solo action going on. Be considerate!

The best players I've seen will have found ways that the above mentioned behavior is blended into the song at the right places, so that there is essentially no detected division between the core notes to be played as defined by the original "song", and the variations in notes/effects also played. It's one identity, one feel, one song, one composition. The taps, cuts, trills, rolls, vibrato, whatever, all feel appropriate and ARE the song. I'm sure everyone in a forum like this has found quite a few players they admire, who can do that. I have found some.

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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Gary90 »

fiddlerwill wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:06 pm Couldnt agree morewith Mr Gumby , listen to root sources , and feel free to learn from other instruments so i would recomend the fiddling of Bobby Casey for example , playing along after many hours listening maybe slowing down, newcomers todsy have no idea how hard it was 30 yrs ago learning/ picking ip tunes by ear! technology makes it so much easier!!
A friend of mine learnt every tune of every bothy band album whrn he was beginning as a kid ! Amongst others !
And theres a point to this statement .... pick an album and listen over and over, just one album ..... by focusing your listening and not sweeping too broadly will help.

Much as I love the Bothies I recomend the older generation, that those guys will have heard as kids .... go to the pure drop source.
If i get permission I will link to an awesome resource .
Fiddler I do think of how hard it was for people starting out years ago before, internet and maybe even longer again when people may not of had money for books either. How hard it would of been to pick an instrument up and learn by ear from day one if you did not have a friend or relative to teach you. Hats off to all the people who have done this.
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"The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style — all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity."
Location: Miltown Malbay

Re: Developing your playing style

Post by fiddlerwill »

Permission granted :-) this is a selection of vinyl digitised . I foond out about it because i bid against them on an album and lost. So i mailed them.
As a whistler this is a classic . https://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download ... 0Woman.mp3

This guy was a big influence on me as a whistler .
https://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download ... l%20Dwyer/

The first half is album/ track you can directly play in browser the second is the zips of them all.

https://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/
The mind is like a parachute; it only works when it is open.


Heres a few tunes round a table, first three sets;

http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/werty
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs-willie
http://soundcloud.com/fiddlerwill/jigs
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Re: Developing your playing style

Post by Alaskamike »

fiddlerwill wrote: Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:00 am "so if youve just been playing a few months, relax, forget about style, ornaments , just learn to play tunes, simply and rhythmically.
Are cuts and taps considered ornaments? Most texts that I've read consider them as such, but I think they're a basic part of playing. I can't play a cran to save myself, but I try to use cuts and taps to split up repeated notes.

Mike
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