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Double Noting


tombilly
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I'd like to find out more about the idea of double noting or double octaving in relation to Irish Trad on anglo. Where you play the melody in two octaves simultaneously - fattens out the sound etc. Takes a bit of coordination and using say the B/C and D/E on the inside row, left hand where it might fall more easily on the right hand. Seems to work well I think, for a phrase or passage of a tune to add a bit of variation or emphasis. I think Micheal O'Raghallaigh may use it quite a lot, perhaps for longer sections:

1) so, where does it work best, do you think? Does anyone use it for a full tune?

2) are there limitations? I can see that if the part of the tune is mostly in the lower octave, you can easily enough double note using the upper octave and vice versa, but where the tune jumps around between the octaves, can it work?

3) can anyone suggest recordings of players who use it clearly and in good style in terms of Irish trad.

 

thanks

tombilly

Edited by tombilly
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I'd like to find out more about the idea of double noting or double octaving in relation to Irish Trad on anglo. Where you play the melody in two octaves simultaneously - fattens out the sound etc. Takes a bit of coordination and using say the B/C and D/E on the inside row, left hand where it might fall more easily on the right hand. Seems to work well I think, for a phrase or passage of a tune to add a bit of variation or emphasis. I think Micheal O'Raghallaigh may use it quite a lot, perhaps for longer sections:

1) so, where does it work best, do you think? Does anyone use it for a full tune?

2) are there limitations? I can see that if the part of the tune is mostly in the lower octave, you can easily enough double note using the upper octave and vice versa, but where the tune jumps around between the octaves, can it work?

3) can anyone suggest recordings of players who use it clearly and in good style in terms of Irish trad.

 

thanks

tombilly

 

I think all players of any acclaim use it time to time. There is no one that particularly "uses" them or "not". It doesn't take much coordination, uless you are approaching Anglo playing in rudimentary manner (like playing only on one row in C), but it doesn't sound like you do. The important question, I think, is the tone of your instrument.

I, for example, found that my new Tenor actually sounds better when played melody only. Harmonies and esp. octaves compromize the tone. My previous instrument, Morse Albion Treble, had less refined tone, but sounded better in harmonies (to my opinion). Esp. octaves sounded particularly impressive.

So it depends. Octaves may indeed, "fatten" the sound, but kill the tone.

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I'd like to find out more about the idea of double noting or double octaving in relation to Irish Trad on anglo. Where you play the melody in two octaves simultaneously - fattens out the sound etc. Takes a bit of coordination and using say the B/C and D/E on the inside row, left hand where it might fall more easily on the right hand. Seems to work well I think, for a phrase or passage of a tune to add a bit of variation or emphasis. I think Micheal O'Raghallaigh may use it quite a lot, perhaps for longer sections:

1) so, where does it work best, do you think? Does anyone use it for a full tune?

2) are there limitations? I can see that if the part of the tune is mostly in the lower octave, you can easily enough double note using the upper octave and vice versa, but where the tune jumps around between the octaves, can it work?

3) can anyone suggest recordings of players who use it clearly and in good style in terms of Irish trad.

 

thanks

tombilly

 

I think all players of any acclaim use it time to time. There is no one that particularly "uses" them or "not". It doesn't take much coordination, uless you are approaching Anglo playing in rudimentary manner (like playing only on one row in C), but it doesn't sound like you do. The important question, I think, is the tone of your instrument.

I, for example, found that my new Tenor actually sounds better when played melody only. Harmonies and esp. octaves compromize the tone. My previous instrument, Morse Albion Treble, had less refined tone, but sounded better in harmonies (to my opinion). Esp. octaves sounded particularly impressive.

So it depends. Octaves may indeed, "fatten" the sound, but kill the tone.

 

yes, you must be careful on listening to your instrument. noel hill told us once, "do a D chord, unless your D chord is out of tune, then please, dont do it."

 

i find chords sound much better on traditionally reeded concertinas. they have a character to them that is missing. this is to the point, that someone will pull a D against an A, for example, and you'll think it's a different note they are pulling, because its just got so much life compared to your own, if it has accordion reeds.

 

i dont do very much octaves playing. it sounds nice, but i concentrated on other things. as i have more familiarity with the keyboard, i might be able to manager it, but it just doesnt interest me.

 

doing it for a whole tune might be tiring, because you mightnt notice. i would say that if you could practice and learn to do it in the whole tune, then do that, but when you perform it, only use it 25% of the time in any given tune. that way you can phase it in and out, and put the double octaves where people would not expect it. i find the upper notes difficult on an accordion reeded concertina, because they do not speak at the same pressure as the lower pitched notes on the right hand side. so again, listen to your concertina. dont make something gaudy just because it would work on someone else's. in general, people do it, as far as i know, when the notes of the melody are not in the second octave. it adds lift.

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yes, you must be careful on listening to your instrument.

 

Yes, that's the point. I also might add, that if you work on your own phrazes, so they make sense, you would think less of the tricks.

I'm disassembling my pieces now and record myself playing phraze by phraze, measure by measure - it's hell.

But I have creeping suspicion, that it's the way. No wonder those pros look crazy, when they play.

I like the effect of keeping the lower note constand and depressing the octave high button repeatedly, like Cajuns do. It means your higher reed must speak clearly though, and yes, I found too, that accordion reeded nstruments I tried, don't really support such a shtick. Perhaps they have built-in disciplinary tools.

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Thanks for your replies - I'm playing a standard c/g Lachenal. I did a week at this year's Willie Clancy and our tutor showed us a few phrases where we could apply double noting but they are not limited to one octave or the other. I was too busy trying to catch the technique at the time to ask further about it in relation to other tunes. I did see Micheal O'Raghallaigh play live recently and I'm not sure what he does - but it's very busy. Not quite sure if I liked it - maybe a bit overdone? But then I've figured out before that it takes time for your ear to adjust to different ways of playing and to come to appreciate them.

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But then I've figured out before that it takes time for your ear to adjust to different ways of playing and to come to appreciate them.

 

yeah! it seems like a lot of pop music is designed so that you have no adjustment time. some of my favorite cd's now are ones i did not like when i bought them. like tommy potts, for example! the first couple times i listened to sound clips, i couldnt even stomach it--it made me feel queasy. now i think he's the bee's knees.

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  • 1 month later...
I did see Micheal O'Raghallaigh play live recently and I'm not sure what he does - but it's very busy. Not quite sure if I liked it - maybe a bit overdone?

 

Hi Tombilly, do you have any of Micheal's albums? His playing may sound "very busy" to you listening to him first time. Micheal is probably the most technically able musician on the Irish music scene. What he does is incomprehensible for a lot of beginner musicians. As you grow as a musician and get a better understanding of the music and the rhythm you will gain a greater appreciation for what he can do and soon it won't seem so busy. As for overdone.....not in the slightest. His ornamentation is perfect, chording excellent and you will not find better rhythm. I would recommend getting his first CD, "the Nervous man" and listen to this a few times as this is how the Anglo should be played in Irish music.

 

As for the question of double noting, This is all down to personal style; some musicians use it very seldom while more include it throughout their playing. Sometimes it can be used for 2 or 3 notes at a time; it can even sound great for a whole bar all depending on the tune, anymore than that is usually too much. Another important factor is the tuning of your concertina. If your concertina has "in tune" concertina reeds it will sound great. If your octaves are out of tune I would not recommend it as it sounds terrible. This is the same for chording, if the concertina is not in tune; leave the "out of tune" note out of the chord.

 

For those of you with accordian reeds, i'm afraid your just going to have to make do with what you have and hope that what your doing now will sound great once you get a real reeded concertina! :)

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Yes Skins, I have the Nervous Man recording and it will probably repay more listening to. But I still think Micheal is at the Joe Burke end of things if you know what I mean. It's an acquired taste!! There's a lot in there. But more isn't always better. I think I have a recording of Micheal double noting entire Connaughtmans Rambles or some jig like that (by way of demo) - must dig it out and see if I can post it here.

Edited by tombilly
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It's all down to personal taste Tom; Joe Burke would be one of my favourite box players. :D I have heard Micheal playing live also and at times he can let loose, I personally think this is him at this best and having a bit of fun with the music but I can certainly understand that it's not for everyone. Both his CD's are him playing very traditional without any of his "letting loose" so to speak, the more you listen to them the more you will appreciate and pick up on what he is doing.

 

Would be nice to hear that recording if you can source it.

Edited by skinsegan
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michealconnaughtmansrambles.mp3

 

here it is, a bit rough & ready as it was recorded at a talk.

 

edited to add: this take a bit of doing!! As far as I can see, Micheal is initially playing the melody in both octaves but switching from high to low as required. This is tricky enough but he then goes on to throw the whole shop at it, playing in ocatves but with chords and triplets thrown in. Total control...

Edited by tombilly
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Thanks for that Tombilly. It is possible to double octave every tune for the whole tune, in order to do this you will have to switch between lower and upper octaves. Again this is all down to personal taste but I would really reccommend against, it is nice to maybe do one part all double octave if you are playing the tune a good few times for a bit of variation. How much you want to octave is all up to you and how it sounds in the tune. The thing is, when double octaving you will have to sacrifice some chording.

 

You can hear this the second time Michael plays it, if there are chords introduced you get very little double octaving. Its nice to mix it up every now and then but not to wear it out by doing it in the same place everytime. Just mess around with it, if you having trouble doing it, slow it right down, do each hand individually and then together, it will become second nature eventually and you wont even realise your doing it.

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