Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Hi,

After trying to learn cuts and taps on the whistle I have to resort to my last place of help (I don’t know any whistle players in the area I live in). Does anyone have any tips on how to learn to pesky things?

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

I’d have to see you play to make a better guess, but here’s what I suspect:

Bring the instrument to you, don’t hunch over it, trying to bring yourself to the instrument.

Being able to do taps and get that nice bubbly sound requires a lack of tension in the forearms and hands.

When you play does your chest feel tight (as in your pectoral muscles)? Well, no two people are alike and some people who have terrible technique can make amazing music, but if you’re struggling then I’d suggest that you need to look at the way your whole body interacts with the instrument, not just your fingers.

Allow your forearms to bring the whistle up to your lips; don’t hunch over it. The whistle should feel very lite - because it is lite. In my experience, this will free up your fingers and allow them to naturally flop on the instrument, making ornamentation much more natural.

In my opinion, you can spend years practicing a technique like taps or cuts and never get as far as you could with a month of just trying to reduce tension in the way you play. A lot of ornamentation will come more naturally by producing less tension.

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Hi Ams.
These ornamentation patterns are played very quickly, so what you have to do is to teach your "finger memory" how to play them. The way to do this is to practice them very slowly and very often, and then speed them up.
When playing slowly try to keep all the notes of the pattern the same length, not just the fingered ones.
For a short Role say on A

xxoooo
oxoooo
xxoooo
xxxooo
xxoooo

Keep the C# cut on A, the pause on A, and the tap on G the same length.
I personally would not bother trying to put them in to tunes until you’ve tamed them a bit.
If you want to get really proficient practice doing individual cuts and taps from every note to every other note and do the same with short and long Roles.
If you do this regularly (say 10 minutes a day) you will soon master them, and they make playing the tunes so much more rewarding.
Good luck
PP

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

I was waiting for someone to mention this, since no one did I’ll chime in. To tap first put the whistle down & tap your desk like your druming. As soon as it comes down & makes contact your pretty much bringing it back up. Now take the whistle & don’t put it to your mouth but hold it as if you were going to play. Finger a G (XXX OOO) then tap an F# (XXX XOO) you should hear the F# "popping" even though your not blowing into the whistle. You don’t want your finger down to long. It should be a quick tap. Now try it while your blowing it & you shouldn’t even really hear the tap, it pretty much just breaks up the note into two notes. A cut should be just long enough to disrupt the note your playing. People get crazy about which note to cut with, some people say the note above & none other (cut a D with an E, G wit A etc) others borrow from various piping traditions & either ape it outright or come up with their own system based parts of all of the above. This is the way I generally cut…
D F#
E F#
F# B
G B
A B
B c#
It all depends on the tune & what sounds best/what’s easiest etc. I picked up these cuts from a u-piper & like the sound & feel i get from them.

Hope I wasn’t too long winded, good luck Brad

Re: Long roll / short roll

Pied Piper - isn’t what you’ve posted a long A roll -not a short A roll? There’s a difference. A "short" roll wouldn’t sound the A note first.

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps…. Rolly Poly

A short roll takes the time of a quater note & a long roll is the same amount of time as a dotted quarter note. They both have the note/note above/note/note below/note structure but the long roll holds the first note longer. In ABC a whistle short roll is sort of
((3G{B}G{F}G) & a Long roll is sort of (G(3G{B}G{F}G). I say sort of because it’s kind of impossible to notate the exact timing & the exact timing is a matter of taste from one player to the next. But I think it’s a good rough outline that most people can agree on

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

So the UK whistle workshop page says: "the short roll which is as the name implies, a long roll with the first note omitted."

But Brother Steve says a short roll "is a roll executed in the space of just one quarter note. Short rolls (in his definition) fall normally on the on beat. The technique for playing short rolls is similar to that for long and off-beat rolls, except that everything is compressed." (His ‘off-beat roll’ may be what the other peeps are calling a short roll…)

I haven’t been able to load the sessioneer for a few weeks now, don’t know why, so I can’t confirm what they say, but I’m pretty sure I’m practicing my short rolls Brad’s way. Sounds like a personal choice at this point, but would enjoy hearing what more experienced players have to say. Feel free to post links to past threads! ;)

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

I realize that the timing of rolls tends to vary amongst and between fiddlers and fluters (and whistle players), but most of the experienced players I’ve heard talk about this say that short rolls fall in the space of a quarter note, and long rolls cover a dotted quarter note. Otherwise, they are the same sequence of notes. Listening carefully to a number of fiddlers, the difference that I hear between long and short rolls is how long that first root note is held. Another way to say the same thing is that in a short roll, there is no delay in playing the cuts and taps on top of the root note, and in a long roll, the "grace notes" are delayed while sustaining the root note a bit. (Think back to earlier threads and the analogy of the long locomotive pulling four short, equal length cars—the long roll—versus the locomotive and four cars all being the same length—the short roll.)

I’ve aslo noticed that short and long rolls can be played on or off the beat.

So that’s how I play ‘em. Emily, I too went to the UK whistle site but didn’t stay long. I prefer whistle rolls the way Brother Steve teaches them—they sound more "authentic," whatever that means….

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

P.S. Emily, click on http://www.thesession.org/discussions/428 for more than you ever wanted to know about how rolls work on fiddle. Lost in there somewhere are some comments on long versus short rolls.

Comparing that old thread to this one, it might help to clarify that some players think of short rolls as putting the grace notes "on top of the beat" and long rolls leaving the ornaments slightly "behind" the beat. That’s probably true, except when it isn’t. I’ve heard this more in jigs than other types of tunes, when players roll on a dotted quarter note (half a bar) and either sustain the first root note (long roll) or jump right into the roll (short roll) but it fills the dotted quarter space anyway.

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Couple of things to add to all the sound advice given above - I find the difficulty with cuts and taps quite a few beginners have lies in not executing them quickly enough.

With cuts the most common problem I see is lifting the cutting finger too high above the tone hole - it should be raised as little as possible. And taps need to be a quick flick that barely touches the tone hole and bounces off immediately - sounds obvious, but a lot of students don’t seem to want to do it that way without constant harping on the subject from their teacher. Keeping tension out of the hands and the rest of the body as mentioned earlier is also v. important.

Regarding short rolls (on an on-beat quarter note), I confess that Brother Steve’s pages don’t address them properly. It is correct to say, as Dave’s site does, that short rolls omit the first component of a long roll and start with a cut. I’d like to to correct this and expand on my somewhat unhelpful sentence about short rolls which Emily quoted, but time is a little tight just now.

My rolls pages could also do with addressing the timing issues raised by Brad and Will,,, but I figure it’s not a bad idea to leave people to use their ears and work some things out for themselves!

Cheers
Steve

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Yay it’s Brother Steve!!! :)

I read through your pages & found them educational, hilarious & very easy to follow! The daah-blaah-blaah was actually sort of helpful! I admit I like the idea of a short roll including a grace note just before the downbeat on occasion that Will was describing. I wonder if this fits in your paradigm anywhere or if it’s just plain cheating. Good luck renovating, but don’t change too much!

PS who’s Dave? oh I think I know, also a very funny whistle page guy, the sessioneer guy? If so, ask him why his site crashes my browser every time I load it.

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Well, looks like I have something to work on over the summer vacation! Thanks for the replies.

Now to makes even more noise. :-)

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

emily_az

re: who’s Dave?

A few words of justification although I know you didn

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Hi Twiz/Dave :)

Well it is possible that you are geographically further away from actual face-to-face whistle teaching than me, but it is highly unlikely. For that reason, I think it’s incredible that you spend time putting together a website at all, & on behalf of everyone who has ever used it as a distance learning tool, to say thanks! I think your website is also very well put together, I’m sorry if you got any other impression! I was only comparing the teachings of what is out there to see what, if any consensus, there is in terms of short rolls specifically.

I also very much enjoy your postings here on the session, & your site never crashes my browser. :)

Keep up the great work on the website!

Cheers,
Emily

Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

Hi Emily,

I said all that because Will mentioned authentic sounding rolls
and me being a sensitive git needed to justify my position for not playing rolls with that certain something :)

Ta for your comments,

Dave.

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts

Hi, ams - Mary Bergin came over to Scotland two weeks ago to do a week-end masterclass in whistle. The cuts she uses are as follows : D,E , F# are all cut with the "A" finger. G may be cut using the A or C finger. A and B notes are cut with the C finger.
I was surprised by how much of her ornamentation comes from the "top" hand , and particularly that top C note, but you can’t deny that it works. It’s given me a lot to think about , which is never a bad thing with music. For anyone who might read this in the USA, she said she is going over to the States this summer. If she’s doing a workshop in your area, don’t miss her, and ask for her whistle version of "The Bucks Of Oranmore" - made me look at the tune in an entirely different light!

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Re: Tin whistle: cuts and taps….

I wonder if she’s left-handed! I’ll keep my eyes open, thanks Kenny. :)