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Rolls On The Concertina


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i agree that micheál would probably never do a A{cB}A crann.

 

unfortunately i have a lot of work to do right now, so i can't do a full exposition on ornamentation, but i would say that in irish concertina playing, there are four types of ornamentation which are standared: the cut, the crann, the triplet, and the chord. there are very fixed systems of how to do cuts, depending on what fingering system you use to play--a cut is a note above the note you are playing, but noel hill for example will cut with the note below in the key of D while playing a second octave D, while in the key of G he does something different. a crann is basically an extended cut, composed of 4 to 5 notes: the root note, and several notes above. again, there are very fixed ways of doing cranns, though some people of course have their own variations. some people do cranns with notes above AND below, which is to simulate a roll, but it is NOT a roll, e.g. A{BG}A, as opposed to a normal crann of A{DB}A. i would consider there to be two schools of cranns based on the rhythm behind them, which i consider differentiated beyond differences in notes. compare gearóid oHallmhuráin and noel hill's cranns to hear the difference (again, i dont have time to do a full write up of how they different, note by note).

 

Sorry for jumping in, I haven't been on c-net for a while (Just had a baby that is keeping us rather busy). Anyway, I would humbly submit that you missed one basic type of ornamentation... the octave. Particularly common among those who play in the older style... sometimes they would highlight a note with an octave, sometimes they would play a whole passage... it depends.

 

 

--

Bill

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i agree that micheál would probably never do a A{cB}A crann.

 

unfortunately i have a lot of work to do right now, so i can't do a full exposition on ornamentation, but i would say that in irish concertina playing, there are four types of ornamentation which are standared: the cut, the crann, the triplet, and the chord. there are very fixed systems of how to do cuts, depending on what fingering system you use to play--a cut is a note above the note you are playing, but noel hill for example will cut with the note below in the key of D while playing a second octave D, while in the key of G he does something different. a crann is basically an extended cut, composed of 4 to 5 notes: the root note, and several notes above. again, there are very fixed ways of doing cranns, though some people of course have their own variations. some people do cranns with notes above AND below, which is to simulate a roll, but it is NOT a roll, e.g. A{BG}A, as opposed to a normal crann of A{DB}A. i would consider there to be two schools of cranns based on the rhythm behind them, which i consider differentiated beyond differences in notes. compare gearóid oHallmhuráin and noel hill's cranns to hear the difference (again, i dont have time to do a full write up of how they different, note by note).

 

Sorry for jumping in, I haven't been on c-net for a while (Just had a baby that is keeping us rather busy). Anyway, I would humbly submit that you missed one basic type of ornamentation... the octave. Particularly common among those who play in the older style... sometimes they would highlight a note with an octave, sometimes they would play a whole passage... it depends.

 

 

--

Bill

 

of course! you are right. normally i view the octave to be a type of chord, which is why i didn't think of it, but it is definitely used in a way very distinct from chords, and is thus its own method of ornamentation.

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I do not care whether you like my playing of hornpipes,I like my playing and that is what is important,I imagine I probably would not like your playing either,but then if we all liked the same thing life would be boring.

 

Well, I could not agree more :-) We're not robots after all.

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I tagged along a workshop by Frank Edgely on ornamentation for the anglo. Playing on the english I wasn't sure if I would get anything out of it but I've found it very helpful. As Dick has said, the ornamentation notes typically come from the opposite side. For example a role on A could be played as A{B}A{G}A. Interesting alternatives though would be to play A{d}A{B}A or A{G}A{E}A. I have been doing the same with short rolls: A{B}{G}A, A{d}{B}A or A{G}{E}A. After listening to Sport on the Nervous Man CD by Micheal O Ralghallaigh, his short rolls are often of the form A{c}{B}A

 

Ok, sorry for jumping into this thread so late, but I just spent the week taking lessons from Micheál Ó Raghallaigh, Gearóid ÓhAllmhuràin and Chris Droney at the Catskills Irish Arts Week (Chris taught a master's class that was an absolute delight... and played wonderfully well). From Micheál's class we spent a fair bit of time discussing rolls.. or rather what to do instead of a roll. According to him, there are basically two things he does where a roll would be called for. Either Note, cut, Note, Note (GCGG for example or even EGEE) or a cran, which is the ADBA (or ADBAA). From discussions in the class, i doubt he would ever use a C, B in a cran. He was very clear about how it should be done, so it would usually be either a D,B or a E,C (depending if the note being ornamented is a push or a pull note). He might also use the high B,F# or the A,G.

 

Considering you play English Concertina, you can probably get away just fine with the other ornaments you mentioned, the cut notes should be so short that no one should really be able to figure them out anyway.

 

--

Bill

 

i agree that micheál would probably never do a A{cB}A crann.

 

unfortunately i have a lot of work to do right now, so i can't do a full exposition on ornamentation, but i would say that in irish concertina playing, there are four types of ornamentation which are standared: the cut, the crann, the triplet, and the chord. there are very fixed systems of how to do cuts, depending on what fingering system you use to play--a cut is a note above the note you are playing, but noel hill for example will cut with the note below in the key of D while playing a second octave D, while in the key of G he does something different. a crann is basically an extended cut, composed of 4 to 5 notes: the root note, and several notes above. again, there are very fixed ways of doing cranns, though some people of course have their own variations. some people do cranns with notes above AND below, which is to simulate a roll, but it is NOT a roll, e.g. A{BG}A, as opposed to a normal crann of A{DB}A. i would consider there to be two schools of cranns based on the rhythm behind them, which i consider differentiated beyond differences in notes. compare gearóid oHallmhuráin and noel hill's cranns to hear the difference (again, i dont have time to do a full write up of how they different, note by note).

 

triplets are self explanatory--they are used just the same as on other instruments, where if you have two notes, you add an extra between them (and are not mathematically actually triplets according to normal music theory), e.g. EGE becomes {EFG}E (which is not standard abc notation, but it demonstrates more clearly i think). i do not consider accordion triplets a standard ornamentation on the concertina. normally, if you want to play three notes in a row like a fiddler, you'd hit them all with the same finger--to use two fingers on the same note is an accordion triplet. nothing wrong with doing it, but i would not consider it standard.

 

chords are exactly what they sound like: playing harmonic notes below the melody. i consider this an ornamentation, because the way irish players use chords is different than players in other styles. we treat them as ornamentation, which is why oftentimes they can be very sparse and random sounding to the unaccustomed ear. if we do extensive chording, it is considered and outgrowth of that, not necessary but still icing on the cake. contrast this with british playing, where chords are almost constant and definitely consistent.

 

now to talk about rolls--rolls are not a standard ornamentation in irish concertina playing. if you could not do cuts and cranns perfectly and seamlessly and effortlessly, i would not recommend trying too hard to get rolls. they just dont work well in all the same situations as cranns and cuts do. to be honest, cuts are usually good enough for most situations--it is very easy to overdo it on cranns. listen to people considered highly ornamented, e.g. noel hill, and you will notice that he uses cuts all over the place where a fiddler or flute player would do rolls, and cranns are used as a variation on those, and not as the de facto way of dressing up a long note. i've taken lessons for 5 years from noel hill at his camp (which totals 45 lessons, which is at least 45 songs i have learned from him in class, not including supplementary tunes he gives us), and i can only think of maybe 3 or 5 places where he taught us rolls, and only one of them is a roll in the same way a flute player does it--the others may be the same notes, but they are actually grace notes within a melody that end up mimicking roll (again, i dont have time to explain what that means).

 

as a final note on rolls, i would like to say that although a roll on the concertina may have the same notes as a roll on the fiddle etc, it is not rhythmically the same. this is due to the fact that fiddles, flutes, whistles and pipes all have a different sort of energy system (harmonically speaking) than the concertina and accordion. in the fiddle etc all when you do a roll, you are changing the length of the harmonic system (whether it be a string or vibrating air) quickly to produce the notes in the rhythm you want. on a free reed instrument, you have a separate energy system for every note (violins have four, but you only use one string at a time for a roll, etc.), which means if you do a five note roll, you must start and stop 5 different reeds, which means that there is a period of time at the beginning of ever note where the harmonic system has not reached resonance (i.e. is not fully speaking). on a fiddle etc. when you go from note to note in the roll, there is already energy in the harmonic system, and the notes speak very quickly (compare the sound a violin makes when you start a note cold, and when you are playing a note on a string and lift up a finger or even switch strings: the lead in note has a noticeable time delay before full resonance is achieved). this is why concertina players do cranns instead of rolls--rolls do not sound very crisp on the concertina, because you cannot get the same tone on the "home note" (i.e. A in A{B}A{F}A), all 3 times in the roll, and instead it just sounds muffled in the middle, because there is not time enough for the home note to reach full resonance in the middle. when you do a crann, you get cuts (which sound the same as on a flute etc., which is quick and indiscernible in tone and pitch) and then strong home notes at the beginning and end, each with a nice bell shape.

 

to do a roll, then, you have to change the length of the notes. making the center note shorter (note #3/5) makes it a "turn," not a roll, and does not have the same rhythm as you would on a fiddle etc. the other thing to do is change the length of other notes can make it sound better (and not flat and dead), but then it's still a different rhythm than a roll. how to do this is complicated, subtle, and honestly not really worth your time, as it still doesnt sound right as a mainstay or substitution for cranns.

Yes, in one of my you tube clips [when I talk about the legacy jig]I suggest playing the g which is a dotted crotchet thus; grace note A,then g,then grace note F#, then g.

SO, i am suggesting something slightly different to you,because one of my grace notes is at the beginning,and one in the middle,but to my ears it still works.

I agree Cranns[as you describe them] can also sound good.

furthermore, trills work very well on the english concertina, uilleann pipers use this ornament

to decorate the high G A and B, since if these notes are being played staccato it is extremely dificult to sustain the octave,the trill overcomes this difficulty.

so on the high G dotted crotchet in the LEGACY JIG an EC player might use a trill, which would be g [A grace note]g[Agrace note]g, imitating a pipers ornament.

in fact I see a lot of similarities between the uillean pipes and the EC.

I would only use trills as pipers do on the three high notes g a b[but again it is a matter of personal taste].

 

i do a 5 note trills all the time, but would not consider this to be "standard."

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I gave up ten posts ago. It's too thick for me.

 

I'd love to see sexy-Dave post something on YouTube demonstrating the ornaments he's referring to. Please....?

 

You were joking, right? ...unfortunately i have a lot of work to do right now, so i can't do a full exposition...

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Right on, Bill.

 

 

Thanks Frank. Heck, most of what I know about Octave playing I learned from your tutor.. I knew something was going on when I would listen to recordings of some of the older players, but I wasn't sure what until you explained it :).

 

I have never managed to play octave passages, but using an octave on a long note as become a pretty common alternative for me to a roll (depending where in the tune of course :)).

 

--

Bill

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