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Gail_Smith

Fiddle tunes that "bounce" off one string between other notes

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Posted (edited)

Quite a few traditional tunes that fiddlers like have sequences that  "bounce" between a descending (or ascending) sequence of notes and a single string position on a fiddle .  A very polite gentleman fiddler recently told me that the problem with my playing is that "you should only just touch" the  intermediate (static) string for his style of irish playing.... rather than playing them at a similar volume to the other - main tune - notes. He was oblivious to the lack of strings in a concertina!  However, try as i might I cant get anywhere near the sort of bellows control that enables me to do this as part of a fast sequence of notes.  Can anyone point me at a video of someone who DOES manage this ? or  give me some advice  please? Thanks , Gail

p.s. i should have said that this is for an English concertina but i am guessing that its a similar thing for other systems

 

Edited by Gail_Smith
clarification

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Daniel - how would you describe what you do  please? And is it a different thing that you do on the anglo to the duet  when trying to get this effect  - or the same sort of thing?

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it‘s Cormac Begley who‘s playing...

 

awesome technique and tone, I totally love it!

 

however, it might be straining reeds and bellows I reckon...

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Gail,

 

perhaps you could suggest  a couple of tunes  where you want to use  this  ' string rocking'  effect.

 

There are a  couple of  techniques  I  try  to use on the English , so    to  suggest that it could  either be done  with timing;  by playing  the  notes    that are to be    quieter   as short a duration as possible    or    changing the volume by    opening  the  button  a tiny amount  for the  quiet notes  whilst depressing  buttons further  for the louder notes.

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the classicImage result for irish washerwoman pdf tune that everyone (?) knows is the irish washerwoman. The type of thing I'm trying to explain is in  bars 5 and 6 of the B music, where i would want to only "just touch the string" for the repeated g. Its easier to do when the "light touch" note is higher then the melody (as here)  because  the higher notes do not sound as loud as the lower ones with similar pressure. But other tunes (or indeed this one, if you use the G an octave lower) have the repeated note lower than the melody line - often requiring  changes of which finger you have to use on the button to accommodate the rest of the tune.   

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I tend to think of the repeated notes as 'drones' (like bagpipes) and accent (push or pull harder) on the melodic, moving notes.

 

Maybe that will help.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Aldon Sanders said:

I tend to think of the repeated notes as 'drones' (like bagpipes) and accent (push or pull harder) on the melodic, moving notes.

 

Maybe that will help.

 

 

I agree that accenting the non-repeated notes is the way to approach this, especially since the repeated notes are on the off-beats, so they should generally not be accented anyway.  More pressure on the on-beats, less pressure on the off-beats.  To refine it further, in an Irish jig (such as Irish Washerwoman) there should be more accenting/pressure on the third note of the triplet than on the second.  So put the most pressure on the first note of the triplet, second-most on the third note, and least on the second note.

 

Cormac Begley's playing is a good illustration of the effects you can get with changes in bellows pressure.  Here's a jig from him, played on what I think is a bass Anglo concertina.

 

Edited by Daniel Hersh
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the classicImage result for irish washerwoman pdf tune that everyone (?) knows is the irish washerwoman. The type of thing I'm trying to explain is in  bars 5 and 6 of the B music, where i would want to only "just touch the string" for the repeated g. Its easier to do when the "light touch" note is higher then the melody (as here)  because  the higher notes do not sound as loud as the lower ones with similar pressure. But other tunes (or indeed this one, if you use the G an octave lower) have the repeated note lower than the melody line - often requiring  changes of which finger you have to use on the button to accommodate the rest of the tune.   

 

 

I do use the "drone" approach a bit when the repeated notes are higher than the melody (I like drone music- i play the hurdy-gurdy - badly- as well as the concertina)  but i think they overpower the melody if used for lower notes. 

I can manage different volumes with the repeat notes, using bellows pressure,  when playing slowly - but slowly isn't how these tunes are played in the Liverpool/UK part of the world. Too fast for me to exchange fingers for them, never mind getting different emphasis on the second and third notes.

I will experiment with shortening notes/not opening the valve fully and see if i can get that to work.

More practice needed (as always).

Thank you for comments so far.  Gail 

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however, it might be straining reeds and bellows I reckon...

 

More than a few of us present on the occasion were wondering if we'd see the concertina explode before the end of the tune.  It was a bit much.

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And then, sometimes one has to accept that the fiddle and concertina are very different instruments with different properties and different kinds of magic. That's why they can sound so good together.

 

Daniel, I often listen to that that video of Cormac Begley playing Master Crowley's on a loop as I work. I love how the music grows and grows!

Best,

Christine

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On 4/17/2019 at 10:40 PM, Wolf Molkentin said:

awesome technique and tone, I totally love it!

 

however, it might be straining reeds and bellows I reckon...

Remember that (according to Wim Wakker) Anglos have "stouter" bellows than ECs!

 

Another point: On the Anglo, one often has the options to play the next note in the same or the opposite bellows direction. So you can put your "drone" note on a button where it's in the opposite direction, and just apply less force.

I know that EC players are free to choose when to reverse the bellows and when not to - but don't the tenuous grip via thumb-strap and pinkie-rest and the softer bellows make the bellows changes less emphatic?

And, BTW, I couldn't help noticing the circumference of Cormac's biceps. Muscles like an uillean piper!

Cheers,

John

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On 4/17/2019 at 8:28 PM, Daniel Hersh said:

 

I agree that accenting the non-repeated notes is the way to approach this, especially since the repeated notes are on the off-beats, so they should generally not be accented anyway.  More pressure on the on-beats, less pressure on the off-beats.  To refine it further, in an Irish jig (such as Irish Washerwoman) there should be more accenting/pressure on the third note of the triplet than on the second.  So put the most pressure on the first note of the triplet, second-most on the third note, and least on the second note.

 

Cormac Begley's playing is a good illustration of the effects you can get with changes in bellows pressure.  Here's a jig from him, played on what I think is a bass Anglo concertina.

 

This is driving me crazy. What is this tune?

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4 hours ago, mathhag said:

This is driving me crazy. What is this tune?

 

I hear him playing three tunes, one after the other.  I believe I've heard the first tune called both Give Us a Drink of Water and The Swaggering Jig.  I don't know the name of the second one.  I think the third one is Bean Pháidín (which has words in Irish).

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Could it be Na Ceannabháin Bhána?

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The second tune is known as the caravan

 

 

No it isn't. Don't believe everything you read on the session.org, especially mishearings of misnamed tunes..  Usually it's referred to as 'the Connemara version of Páidín Ó Raifeartaigh'

 

All three tunes played in the video have words sung to them.

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