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off-beat rolls


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When I first heard the term 'off beat rolls' I thought it should have butter on it... or it may be stale bread.. but then I realised, when you think about it that "off beat roll" thing is a bit like if when humming a note, you then tap your chest or sternum, as it creates a similar interruption to the notes!! Or is someone pats you on the back in the process!!! 😁

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6 hours ago, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

Another way to do those repeated single notes more quickly in succession is to very slightly shake, or more quiver, the bellows as you hold on the note. If done rapidly it can also make an effective series of fast repeated single notes!

I'm not sure if you have ever played the Silver Spear for a Céilí.

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@John, Wexford how would you play those three As? The default way...not the fancy variation.

What I aim for is getting it crisp, punchy and with correct rhythm. Silver spear mightn't be the best example - there are tunes that ask for a bit more of an 'off-beat' swing but it's often three As or three Es. 

On Flute I'd do: Note, glottal stop, short roll. 

On concertina playing three As with alternating fingers isn't very fancy but gets them easily the same length at speed. Not mashing it up seems a good place to start. 

But what's a good one to progress to? 


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Sorry Irina,


I'm only seeing this now.


Coming from a flute perspective, you're never going to be able to get exactly the same sort of rolls on the concertina, as you could get previously on the concert flute. In some cases the rolls will not be as good as those on the flute, but in other cases the rolls can be very much better.


Have a bash at this one, it might be a little bit different to what you'd expect, and see how you get on.


I like to use my 2nd playing finger for the first B, and glance it upwards, to replace it with your 1st playing finger, again on B. (You could do it the other way around, but at least, this way, your fingers are back in the "home" position.)


Regards, John.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Also learning the roll...So hard to have a proper sound. Lots of practice needed...

I prefer to use the same technique for all notes...But it is different if playing on the left side or right side (but not the short roll...).

Caitlin distinguish the Long roll (on the beat) and the Short roll (not on the beat). 

But I see lots of player use the long roll also if the first note is not on the beat (Jack Talty, Charles Monod,...).

The Short roll is practically the same but with bellow jerk (I find it very hard).


Here is an example of the long roll on the off-beat note : (slow it down to see what she is doing 😉)





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