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Beginner to ornaments


rich59
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Hi,

 

I have been gently learning by myself for about a year now. So much to learn! But, I occasionally hear about ornaments - cuts, taps, crans, rolls. Can someone explain them in a simple way with some examples I could try?

 

I'll try to give a simple fiddle explanation since I can actually do them on there, then maybe someone much more versed on the concertina can explain the difference.

 

There are two classes of ornaments, melodic and percussive. The melodic ornaments, cuts and taps, are meant for the note being used to be heard. The percussive ornaments, crans and rolls, are meant to break up the rhythmic pulse by striking the notes such that the notes are not heard but that the rhythm is broken by striking those notes.

 

Cuts involve playing the note directly below the desired note. Taps are played by tapping the note either directly above or a third above the desired note. They're not played exactly like a sixteenth note or such, it's more of a short sounding of the note above or below.

 

A roll is a single note played with the rhythm broken up by a percussive cut and tap (the note you want, cut from the note below back to the same note, then a tap to the note above and back to the original note). For example b-a-b-c-b where the notes a and c are played without sounding the note long enough for the tone to be heard, it's more a percussive motion. It's hard to explain but easy to demonstrate.

 

Cran's involve percussively playing the note a third above the note you want, then the note above, then the note itself. Some play the note you want, then a third above, the note you want, the note directly above, then the original note. For example, a-c-b-a or a-c-a-b-a. Again, the c and b are played like the roll with the tapped notes played percussively.

 

As I said, I don't know how this is done on concertina but if you listen to Noel Hill you'll get the idea much more effectively than I could ever explain.

 

Good luck and keep squeezin'!

 

--jeff

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The melodic ornaments, cuts and taps, are meant for the note being used to be heard.

 

Not sure, I'd entirely agree with that. Purpose of these is usually to separate 2 notes of the same pitch or to accentuate/ lift a note. e.g. suppose on an Anglo you had to play two G's on the LHS C row, you might separate them with a very quick C on the RHS C row. The cutting note, C in this case borrows a little time from the second G. But it doesn't have to be a C, it could be any convenient higher note going the same bellows direction. You shouldn't hear what pitch the cutting note is

 

As to ornamentation in general, as my daughter would put it, 'it's those twiddly bits you put in'.

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The melodic ornaments, cuts and taps, are meant for the note being used to be heard.

 

Not sure, I'd entirely agree with that. Purpose of these is usually to separate 2 notes of the same pitch or to accentuate/ lift a note. e.g. suppose on an Anglo you had to play two G's on the LHS C row, you might separate them with a very quick C on the RHS C row. The cutting note, C in this case borrows a little time from the second G. But it doesn't have to be a C, it could be any convenient higher note going the same bellows direction. You shouldn't hear what pitch the cutting note is

 

As to ornamentation in general, as my daughter would put it, 'it's those twiddly bits you put in'.

 

Thanks for the correction. Now that I think about it more I believe you're right. A cut or tap can be a percussive ornament, it's more what we could call grace notes are melodic ornaments.

 

When I was taught to play fiddle ornaments that separate two of the same notes, the cut/tap borrows from the end of the first note, not the beginning of the second. I find myself doing the ornament right before I'd do a bow change on the beat, not after the beat or right where I would do a bow change. Again, that's a fiddle explanation thing and I don't know how it would be done on a concertina but I sure want to learn.

 

NHICS can't come too soon!

Edited by jlfinkels
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