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Noel Hill Ornament

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A few years ago when I was starting with the concertina, I met someone who had been to several Noel Hill workshops. She was trying to teach me an "ornament" (more of a trick, really) for playing DEF# triplets, or was it F#ED triplets? It seems to me that she was just playing GED instead (or DEG...). Does that make sense to anyone who has learned from Noel Hill? I can't really hear NH doing this on records, but it might be one of those things that you'd have to see him do.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Greg

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Hi Greg,

 

If in fact the triplet is D,E, F# then the next question is "in which octave." It might help greatly if you happen to know what song this "ornament" was featured in?

 

Without those answers, we can try to at least work out the different combinations for that three note triplet. In the higher octave, it would start with a press D on the top button in the G row, followed by the E (same button on the draw), and finished with the draw F# which is the first button on the G row right hand. This triplet frequently is followed by the press G, so you could have thought you heard or saw D,E, G -- and just didn't hear the draw F# clearly in that combination. This is frequently used by Noel and others. Another possibility that I doubt is what you are seeking could start from the draw D on the C row, right side, second button, move to draw E on the G row left side and finish on the draw F# on the G row right side, 1st button. A 3 draw note triplet strikes me as unlikely but stranger things I'm sure have happened.

 

The lower octave triplet would have two possible normal combinations with the more likely one starting with the press D on the 4th button down on the G row, followed by the E press on the C row second button, and finished with the draw F# on the left side 4th button G row. IMHO the other alternative is less likely to be used and the only change from the first one is to start with the draw D on the C row. Where a finger may be needed next often controls the starting point to avoid things like having to use a single finger to jump two quick notes in a row.

 

My above examples all focused on the D, E, F# triplet but Noel uses so many other triplets and ornaments that it is nearly impossible to give you good advice without knowing the context. Also, I have to acknowledge that Noel does have some rather wild ornaments used in his tunes like the one that appears at the beginning of the A part in the March of the Kings Laois (sp?). I've been struggling with many of them since my first class with him in 1996, the 17 years hence at the NHICS and again this August. But if you have an idea of the tune where it was used, I have a full collection of the assigned tunes for all those years and could probably locate the fingering in my notes.

 

Regards,

 

Ross Schlabach

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Thanks Ross. My question wasn't particularly clear and I've had a chance to think about it a it more. I did mean the F#ED triplet on the left hand C row, and it might have been better to call it a subsitution. Now I'm thinking maybe it was GEC. Definitely one of those things where you play a bunch of notes that work in an interesting way even if they're not "right", especially if you're Noel Hill. Thanks for your advice about the lower octave triplets - that's helpful. I didn't have a tune in mind, but we could well have been playing Trip to Durrow.

 

Cheers!

 

Greg

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Hi Greg,

 

First off, there is no way to do an F#, E, D on the C row because there is no F# on the C row -- the F# is on the G row. Using both rows, it can be done but the fingering (draw, press, draw on the pinkie, second finger, third finger) is not the easiest. But let's look at Trip to Durrow to see if we can't find what you are really looking for. Looking at my notes and listening to the tune, I wonder if instead the ornament you are searching for is D, E, C#, D. That shows up in "Trip.." in the A part, and is played:

 

D LH G row, E RH C row, C# RH accidental row, D LH G row (all on the press)

 

Even if this is not the ornament you are seeking, it is a fun one to learn and use.

 

Ross Schlabach

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Hi once more Greg,

 

Just reviewed another tune, the Templehouse Reel, and it has the F#, E, D triplet we discussed last -- in the A part. In this tune, it is integral and not an ornament added by Noel. As I mentioned yesterday, it is not fun as a pinkie, 2nd finger, 3rd finger triplet, but it is a basic part of the tune. You might want to check it out - again even if it is not the one you were seeking.

 

Ross Schlabach

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the Templehouse Reel, and it has the F#, E, D triplet we discussed last -- in the A part. In this tune, it is integral

I think it could be argued very easily this triplet is an embellishment not integral to the tune at all. It is a (as one of several) way(s) to approach a particular phrase of the tune.

 

EFGA BFAF|D2FD ADFD|EFGA BE~E2|dBAc BEE

Edited by Peter Laban

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Peter is of course correct. My choice of the word "integral" implied too much and I should have said it was an "as written" part of the tune rather that an alternative way of playing that part of the passage. However, after looking at various other transcriptions of this tune, the triplet only showed up in the one source I had originally consulted, so it is apparently just a variation as Peter pointed out. Mea culpa!

 

But it still gives you a context for one of the triplet combinations we were discussing. Now search out the alternate transcriptions, and you will also see the ways you can avoid that triplet if you -- like me -- have a rough time with the fingering!!

 

Ross Schlabach

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the Templehouse Reel, and it has the F#, E, D triplet we discussed last -- in the A part. In this tune, it is integral

I think it could be argued very easily this triplet is an embellishment not integral to the tune at all. It is a (as one of several) way(s) to approach a particular phrase of the tune.

 

EFGA BFAF|D2FD ADFD|EFGA BE~E2|dBAc BEE

 

 

A genuine question here: can any triplet be an integral part of any tune? Can you compose a tune with a triplet at a specific place, and will this triplet be considered part of the tune?

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A genuine question here: can any triplet be an integral part of any tune? Can you compose a tune with a triplet at a specific place, and will this triplet be considered part of the tune?

I suppose you could argue the case either way but if you look for example at tunes like Pat Ward's jig or hornpipes like the Independent you're looking at tunes that depend very much on triplets for their impact. They just wouldn't be the same without them. Integral? Maybe, maybe not, but more than just ornamentation/embellishment (filling in a third interval) like the one in the Templehouse above.

 

But it still gives you a context for one of the triplet combinations we were discussing. Now search out the alternate transcriptions, and you will also see the ways you can avoid that triplet if you -- like me -- have a rough time with the fingering!!

Yes, I am not sure that one sits as well on the concertina as it does on fiddle, flute, whistle or even pipes. The concertina is possibly better off with another solution for that particular bit. Edited by Peter Laban

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A genuine question here: can any triplet be an integral part of any tune? Can you compose a tune with a triplet at a specific place, and will this triplet be considered part of the tune?

I suppose you could argue the case either way but if you look for example at tunes like Pat Ward's jig or hornpipes like the Independent you're looking at tunes that depend very much on triplets for their impact. They just wouldn't be the same without them. Integral? Maybe, maybe not, but more than just ornamentation/embellishment (filling in a third interval) like the one in the Templehouse above.

 

Thanks, it makes sense to me. I could not imagine starting Alexander's Hornpipe without a triplet, for example.

Edited by Azalin

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I could not imagine starting Alexander's Hornpipe without a triplet, for example

 

Interesting enough, and making my point you could argue it either way, I could. Easily.

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