Ornaments on the Session

Ornaments on the Session

I’ve just posted my first tune but the ornaments in it didn’t all come out and those that did didn’t work as I expected. Can you tell me what abc notation for cuts, rolls and slides works on this website?

?

I assume you mean this:

"A Breton In Paris"
http://thesession.org/tunes/12500

Others will come in, as I’m out of here as I type, to do a bit of music, but, for starters:

!roll!B / ~B
{cut}ed / {f/}ed - - - that is if that’s the cut you’re wanting to show…
And !slide!gede - - - from what note?
|az c’B’B’A’gA’ | / makes no sense, but maybe you mean to take it up to the next octave, so /
|az c’b’b’a’ga’ | - - - ?

Whew! ~ you’ve done this quite a lot in a short period of time

Kushka’s Reel
http://thesession.org/tunes/7437

Tyrell’s Pass - Jig
http://thesession.org/tunes/4304

The Trip To Ireland - Reel
http://thesession.org/tunes/8462

Learn ABC! ~ the current standards for computer use, as an ascii code. And don’t trust the various software programs, they all have their quirky individual natures, despite a lot of talk and work to get everyone to accept some basics - which most have, in general…

P.S. This website takes the current ‘standard’ form of ABC, and has for years…

Re: Ornaments on the Session… a side note

By the way… I wouldn’t write out too many ornaments anyway, if at all. On every instrument these things are done more or less differently; e.g. a banjo player would maybe play a triplet where a flute player would play a roll, and a roll on the flute would not necessarily involve the same grace notes as a roll on the fiddle. Usually the musician knows where and how to play an ornament anyway, without having to think about it. I think the only really universal notation is the tilde as an indication for some ornamentation, usually for a roll.

So you don’t need to bother yourself about this stuff too much…

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Thanks for your replies. To address megapop first, I write in the ornaments because I’m a beginner and want to try and play what I’ve heard a particular musician play so it’s mainly for myself that I try to transcribe in detail. Others can choose to ignore the ornaments but some of them are important to the way the msuic is played.

Ceolachan, I’ve been working on learning abc notation for some time but don’t have the time to study it all in one go. I’ve been learning as I go along. The links I’ve already been to but I haven’t found my answers there. Sorry, I don’t understand your specific comments relating to my ornamentation.

!slide! doesn’t show up in Session’s transcriptions. By it I mean sliding up to a note, a bend if you like. So what is the right notation to use for example when sliding up to B, usually from the note before?

And how do I show a "cut" as a mark over a note rather than as a grace note attached the note as I have done in this current tune?

Many thanks.

ABC notation ~ ain’t rocket science! :-D

({A/}B) - - - one possibility…

A cut is on a specific note, you do it as I’ve shown above, choosing which note you want to cut on, for example, cutting before an E using an A ~ {A/}E - or any other note you might like to cut on, depending on your instrument and the effect you want to make. BUT, I’m with megapop on this, especially if you can’t bother to learn ABC notation. Keep it simple then. All the answers you could want are in those links, but it takes some effort, but not a lot. However, some folks have very little their willing to give. In which case, to repeat ~ keep it simple and leave the ornaments out. What you’ve added so far is just so much gobble-de-goop, useless, not a help to anyone, though maybe it makes sense to you, your own individual way with ABC notation, but, please, keep it to yourself, or learn the standards ~ or ~ keep it simple, without the ornamentation. We had some pipers that used to add notations here that were constipated with competition ornamentation, pretty much useless to the rest of us. The ‘excess’ can be kept for ‘alternate’ takes, or in the comments. The first and basic contribution should be just the melody, in my opinion, and a lot of others are in agreement about that. But I do understand wanting to raise ones understanding of a given musicians individual way with a tune, and I too find that interesting ~ when it makes sense…

"I’ve been working on learning abc notation for some time" ~ generally, if you already have an understanding of normal notation, the dots, it doesn’t take a lot of time to pick up ABC notation. I learned old school, which didn’t take any time, and then I had to learn the new ascii code standards, which also didn’t take any time. It makes sense, and usually that means less fuss and bother, an easy acquisition. However, sometimes our own preconceptions get in the way. If you’re not having success doing it on your own, ask someone for help, person to person. If it is causing this kind of results and confusion, there’s obviously a failure of understanding, and some face-to-face help could clear it all up quickly, hopefully.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

I haven’t tried it here, but isn’t +slide+ the current standard for ornaments, rather than !slide!? Actually, looking at the various standards have just left me more confused on this detail, but the other form is worth a try, I reckon.

(Ah, I see !roll! does indeed work, so it’s probably just ignoring !slide!.)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

There’s a lot to be said for keeping your ABC representation of a tune as simple as possible. It’s easier to write out and it’s not prescriptive, it ‘allows’ people to play their own versions of a tune according to the instrument they play.

It’s impossible anyway to fully represent most tunes in staff notation/ ABC etc., so don’t waste your time trying to transcribe every little nuance. That sort of thing is best left to people writing academic studies of a particular musicians style etc.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Thanks Sol for pointing out +slide+. I’ll try that even though I think !slide! is listed as standard notation. Ceolachan, contrary to what you may think, I do want to get abc notation right but get a little confused because I’m also used to a more comprehensive system for ITM by Grey Larsen which doesn’t require you to put in "grace notes" for cuts and which has symbols for crans, long and short rolls. While I also agree that many people may just want the basic tune, there will also be many who would like to know how the writers of the tunes, or famous players of the tunes play it and that’s been my aspiration, to know how e.g. Davy Spillane plays "A Breton In Paris." I transcribe tunes for myself that way and in including them here just want to be helpful to those who also want to play what Davy plays.. Looking back at the few tunes I have done I realise that I didn’t preview them properly and will go back and remove the "gobble-de-goop" that went in.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Sol, I tried +slide+ too but that’s not picked up by Session so how do I put that in? Davy plays a prounced slide in several places that is an important part of the tune so I would like to be able to include it.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Well, Grey Larsen’s attempt was to write a tutor for a specific instrument, whereas thesession wants to provide a tune database for any instrument. There’s of course nothing wrong with transcribing a particular rendition in detail, but I second ceolachan’s point that this is a nice thing for additional settings and/or comments; still, the priority should be a very basic setting for everyone.
In particular, if you want to copy the stuff to your favourite ABC software - as it has been said before, some support notation nuances that others don’t. With a basic setting you’re always on the safe side. (And if you don’t get it working anyway…?!)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Point taken. When I’ve time, I will edit those tunes I’ve already put up with a basic tune first and an ornamented tune second. Still don’t understand why !slide! doesn’t work when this is a part of standard notation.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Hm… the converter on mandolintab.net does support this as well as the one on concertina.net (which is used here, too)… weird indeed.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Yes, I’d noticed taht too megapop… :-D Mad! It all depends on ones choice of software, and there are a few and each has it’s own interpretations and accepted standards.


"looking at the various standards have just left me more confused on this detail" ~ Sol Foster

:-D

Good one cboody, glad someone added that link..

Not familiar with Grey’s take on ABCs, but there are, unfortunately, as Sol knows, a lot of ‘personal’ versions, and that includes a load of quirky ways with it for each individual program developed for ABC notation, if the programmers particular bent on it.

I remain with ‘the wounded hussar’ and ‘megapop’ on this, BUT ~ I also enjoy exploring things in more detail, as specific to a given musician and his instrument. That said, I still think that any initial submission here is best kept simple, possibly following that up, if wanted, by a second entry with the details.

Grey Larson’s ways with it may be limited to him and his students? I really don’t know. In a sense I’m old school, ABCs and dots. There are a few people on site here who do quite a lot of experimenting and exploring of the finer details of ABCs. I’ll try to chase them up and give them a shake and see if they can help you better with your wants.

Hey, don’t give up the goble-de-goop all together, you could add it in the ‘comments’ or as a second entry where it doesn’t necessarily need to properly transform into dots via the software the webmaster is using. Or, you could just comment on where these ornaments occur and how. I’d be interested, as I know would others, in your understanding of it.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Sorry in anything seemed at all short above. I was running around getting ready to go out when I stumbled across this. I’d also intended to let some other members know about it too, as mentioned, but haven’t been able to do that yet… Glad you’re going to clear up your transcriptions, but, add them the way you’d like as a second entry, it doesn’t have to agree with the software here, or just add them in comment… Don’t scrap them. I was interested! ;-)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Thanks for those comments. I would be interested to know how to transcribe slides (sliding up to a note from the note below) in a way that Session can read. They do make a difference to the tune in a subtantial way? I won’t give up on what I’ve done but, as you say, add them as a second entry.

Grey Larsen originally created a system of symbols for use in his own writing and teaching and also for transcribing ITM (whistles and flutes mainly but they also apply to other ITM instruments) in Sibelius software, I think. The symbols can be seen at http://www.blaynechastain.com/legend.pdf and their advantage apart from their comprehensive nature is that they don’t interfere with the music, being written above the stave. I got interested in these symbols when using his books and, after e-mailing Grey, we both contacted Chris at abcnotation to see whether he thought the system would be worth bringing into standard abcnotation when it is next upgraded. Whether that will happen remains to be seen but Chris was at least interested in the idea.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

I’m glad you will be posting simple versions. It’s fun to see an accurate transcription of a fully ornamented tune setting but as a general rule I find simpler transcriptions easier to read and use.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

The wonderful thing about Grey’s symbols if they ever get incorporated into standard notation is that an accurate ornamented tune and a simple transcription are the same thing in so far as the symbols sit above the stave and so don’t interfere at all with the notes. You can simply choose to read the symbols or not!

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Worth saying again—

"I’m glad you will be posting simple versions. It’s fun to see an accurate transcription of a fully ornamented tune setting but as a general rule I find simpler transcriptions easier to read and use."

Ornamentation is something a player develops over time, as one becomes more sensitive to the nuance (the nyah) of the music. Ornaments vary from instrument to instrument. A long A roll on a flute is normal practice. On a fiddle this would be much more difficult. There is a huge difference between playing a long roll A note (effortless for the flute) and playing the same note as a dotted triplet on the fiddle’s A string. How could you notate for both? Why would you want to?

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Wouldn’t one need to notate the ornaments for each repeat of a tune ? It’s hard enough deciding how to note down a simple version (as an aid memoir) from someone who plays it differently each time round without having to worry about which of the alternative twiddly bits are most representative.

cboody’s link above was timely for me as I am just attempting to work out how to make strathespeys sound vaguely right on a flute, by listening to recordings by different instruments and making notes on what seems to have a similar effect on the flute. A big list of marks to use (and miss-use !) in ABC was very handy.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

First, of course I recognise that certain ornaments are easier on some instruments than others. My ornamented transcriptions, I’m providing for whistle players who want to know how e.g. Davy Spillane played "A Breton In Paris" on the Live in Dublin CD, or at least get as close as I can. Playing from it, one doesn’t need to play it exactly the same way. I’m just providing a guide as to how he might play it for those who want to know. And yes, if you look at the transcription, you will see that I have included the variations I’ve been able to hear.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Worth saying again—"

No. It’s a weak argument. It’s more than "fun" to see an accurately transcribed tune with ornamentation. It’s an effort to capture the nuance of a player (however futile that may be). If readers need bland unornamented transcriptions in order to play the tune on any instrument, it doesn’t say much for their skills.
After all, do you need to hear a recording of a player of a different instrument without ornamentaion in order to pick up the tune on your own instrument?
It shouldn’t make any difference. If you can pick up a tune played on the pipes to play on your fiddle, you should be able to do the same from pipe notation (let’s not this sink into a dots v ear argumant - it’s assumed that you are savvy enough to be able to distinguish the difference).
In my experience, tunes where the transcriber has taken the trouble to notate ornamentation tend to be closer to the tune than "barebones" transcriptions. For example, I find it easier to take in a tune from Pat Mitchell’s book on Willie Clancy’s music than a "barebones" transcription elsewhwere - even though I might be playing it on the fiddle.
The point about the player ornamenting differently each time round is valid - but experienced players would surely ornament their own way, anyhow.
The notation could never hope to capture the live sound, but for me, it doesn’t matter if there is ornamentation in the transcription. You can take it or leave it, and, if it’s done well, it doesn’t detract from the transcription.
Mind you, if the transcriber has made a hash of it……

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Yes, one can simply ignore the ornamentation notated. Nonetheless, I’d say that the more in detail a tune is transcribed, the more may it be prone to be misleading. For example, some flute players tend to roll virtually every note, even resolving half notes, which others wouldn’t ornament at all. A very basic tune setting leaves most room for interpretation, regarding your instrument and style. It is doubtlessly very interesting to have an accurate transcription of a particular rendition on a particular instrument, with all ornamentation and variation, and be it only the first time round. As for myself, being a flute learner, I find it helpful to write down what I hear. But still, if you want the sheet music as an impression/reminder of the tune "itself" and not of the particular playing (if this is possible at all…), I think a very basic setting is most helpful.

Take O’Neill’s*. They notate every roll, say on a G note, like {A}(3GFG - of course, you can ignore this. For a quick glance, wouldn’t be a simple ~G2 or even just G2 be much handier though?

*(their way of notating ornaments, not the settings themselves!)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"I’d say that the more in detail a tune is transcribed, the more may it be prone to be misleading. For example, some flute players tend to roll virtually every note, even resolving half notes, which others wouldn’t ornament at all."

Sure, and some pipers play tight and some play open. But you’d be presented with the same "misleading" information if you heard a flute player playing the tune. It shouldn’t be a huge task to transfer the tune to another instrument having heard it. I can’t see the difference in learning from a tune transcription (I don’t mean notes v ear - I mean for those who can pick up a tune from notation - if you can’t then this argument is void anyway).

" For a quick glance, wouldn’t be a simple ~G2 or even just G2 be much handier though?"

Not really. First of all, many of those supposed rolls in O’Neill’s should be ignored on any instrument, because they are often in the wrong place owing to the poor notation (compare with Ceol rince na hÉireann, for example). Even if they were placed as a ~G2 or a G2 they would be suspect (that’s why I said "’if the transcriber has made a hash of it").
I prefer to notate music as I hear it, not dumb it down to suit some preconceived notion that "barebones" is better. I don’t think it is - this comes from historic examples of "dumbing down", when there wasn’t much in the way of alternatives for staff notation to record music. The transcriber felt that any nuances, be it "accidental" notes or "ornamentation" were superfluous, and would omit them. Some going as far as to put the melody into a "recognised" key, instead of the mode they were rendered in.
Ok, I don’t have a problem with these "barebones" tunes, because I’ve been playing long enough to be able to turn them into diddley, but that doesn’t mean they are sufficient.
It isn’t Irish music, but I prefer to learn written GHB tunes (to play on the fiddle, or uilleann pipes, whatever) from GHB notation, where there are lots of tiny tadpoles in with the bigger ones. this is because those tiny tadpoles tell you how a piper might render it (yes, it is generally stricter than diddley diddley) and that information helps in the transfer to the other instrument. I don’t need to dumb it down in order to read it (you know that the the C# and F# are not put on the stave, but are there for example). What is unplayable, say on the fiddle, can be substituted - and it helps to know that a substitute is called for, rather than being given a tune full of crotchets etc.
It may not suit everybody, and some may really need dumbed down transcriptions, but the argument that a particular tuned is set for a flute, and not suitable for a fiddle, and therefore "inferior" or somehow "wrong" is weak to say the least. I have submitted some tunes here with ornamentation and will continue to do so. If a player is put off because the setting doesn’t suit their instrument, I would suggest that they either move on to another tune, or think about how they might adapt it. I’m not going to dumb it down.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Weejie, we don’t all have good sight reading skills of music notation whether in staff or ABC form. A simply notated, bare bones tune is easier to read and make sense of - you don’t get lost in the noise of a transcription that includes a lot of ancillary notes.

Of course, you can then argue that this is a deficiency but like many people interested in trad music, sight reading skills are not particularly important to me.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

If I may refer you back to previous comments of mine about Grey Larsen’s ornamentation system (http://www.blaynechastain.com/legend.pdf). If these symbols are incorporated into standard abc notation which is a possibility, then you can have your cake and eat it, so to speak, an unadorned tune free from grace notes and note-for-note ways of showing rolls, but with ornaments shown above for those who want them. For an example of what it looks like see http://www.greylarsen.com/services/tunebank/vault.php#freetunes and download one of the free sample tunes. It’s a great system which maximises information for those that want it while allowing others to ignore it because it’s not written in the music itself.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

" A simply notated, bare bones tune is easier to read and make sense of - you don’t get lost in the noise of a transcription that includes a lot of ancillary notes."

I’m taking that on board. Conversely, don’t expect everyone to dumb down their transcriptions to suit - which is basically what they seem to be getting at.

If ornamentation is written as wee tadpoles, or if symbols are used, they are still relatively easy to omit - they are distinct. On the other hand, if there are none, and all you have is barebones, then you have the work putting them in. There are arguments for both sides, but I’d wager there are far more punters playing those barebones tunes on their kazoos verbatim than there are trying to put in crans.
I go with the argument that ornamentation is part of the structure, and not an addition. It’s why you have to listen to good players rather than someone playing the skeleton of the tune in order to understand it. If someone wants to try and notate the structure more accurately, even if they can only get somewhere near it, then it makes more sense (to me) than spoon feeding dumbed down versions.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

I wonder how many people are sight reading Grey Larsen’s notation ? Why would one want to ? Why would one *need* to sight read the more detailed transcriptions Weejie is arguing in favour of ?

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Hold on, Weejie! I said that I didn’t argue for O’Neill’s settings - these are very… special. And changing the very mode of a tune is a another matter altogether than just omitting ornamentation. I just wanted to make the point that some attempts to notate ornaments are less discreet than others.

I also said that for some purposes (or likings, for that matter), fully written out settings may be help- and useful. But a KISS setting is the most universal approach to transcribe a tune I think, and, as hussar pointed out, the easiest way to just quickly grasp a tune. A Larsenish system might ba a good compromise indeed (with some further symbols for non-flute-specific ornaments).

(Edit: triggered to slowly - I meant your previous commt!)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Why would one *need* to sight read the more detailed transcriptions Weejie is arguing in favour of ?"

I’m not necessarily talking about sight reading. If sight reading was the issue, then there is more to be said against "barebones" transcriptions. Far too many people seem to think the "barebones" is the tune and they do just that - sight read it - sometimes even in "performance".
What I’m in favour of, is transcriptions that reflect the tune - as heard. I wouldn’t advocate that every tune is written as a note for note transcription of a particular player, but when it is, it’s not a bad thing, and it’s not "a fun" thing either. Certainly not something to pooh-pooh. Even if it does put off a beginner, at least it might make them think that there is more to it than a basic tune.
Are all the tune submissions on here aimed at beginners? Are they there for sight reading?
If that is the case, I take back everything. My belief is that they are here for all standards, and if one transcription is too daunting because it’s full of tiny tadpoles swimming with the bigger ones (or lots of letters in { }) then give it a miss and move on to another. It’s not a big deal to remove the gracing, and the very removal might make you realise why they were there in the first place.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"A Larsenish system might ba a good compromise indeed (with some further symbols for non-flute-specific ornaments)."

It’s not a new system. Similar systems have been on the go for some time - specific to many instruments as well as more general. What might be new is having them available in ABC.

"But a KISS setting is the most universal approach to transcribe a tune I think, "

I don’t believe in "universal" here. The best approach is one that can be understood and gets the message across. It’s why I don’t have a problem with "barebones" in general. It does have a side-effect in that so many people think it is "the tune", though. That’s why there is room for a lot more detailed transcriptions alongside the "barebones".

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"I said that I didn’t argue for O’Neill’s settings -"

No, but it wasn’t a good choice to illustrate your point!

"And changing the very mode of a tune is a another matter altogether than just omitting ornamentation."

They went hand in hand with some of those "collectors", however - and that’s where the folly becomes apparent. Leaving out "ornamentation" should be done with some thought on the consequences, and should carry a health warning in the light of past effects.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Sorry Weejie, that started off as a response to THW’s post about sight reading.

I suspect that many ‘bare bones’ transcriptions are not really that, that they have variations left in in places. Either ‘to be different’ or when someone making manuscript notes for themselves has included a slightly less obvious way because they don’t need a note of the obvious. So good that we can now have different settings in the database here.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Leaving out "ornamentation" should be done with some thought on the consequences, and should carry a health warning in the light of past effects."

You mean things like, when a whistle or flute player plays a (3Bcd thing in a G major tune, and lazily plays the transition c as a c sharp (no cross fingering)? Sometimes a mode shift seems to be actually intended, sometimes not…

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"I go with the argument that ornamentation is part of the structure, and not an addition."

I totally agree with that but having the ornaments notated above the music makes it no less part of the structure … or no less valid, indeed more so. Attempts to include ornaments within the music, using the symbols of classical music, has created inaccuracies in the way ornaments are perceived. Cuts and taps and the resultant rolls are not grace notes. By making a cut into a grace note, you are giving it life as a separate note with its own finite time however brief. A cut is NOT like the classical grace note. It has no time value or tone in so far as a separate tone should not be heard. Larsen argues this strongly. Therefore placing a symbol for cut or tap or roll above a note gives more credibility than the misuse of classical notation within the music. ITM deserves its own written language and symbols but this cannot easily be achieved through trying to express it within the notes themselves. Larsen’s system, so something akin, provides an authentically ITM way of expressing ITM music. It also allows the "bare bones" of the tune to be accessible for those that prefer it.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Attempts to include ornaments within the music, using the symbols of classical music, has created inaccuracies in the way ornaments are perceived." Since we are repeatedly told that playing from notation using the conventions of classical music creates inaccuracies I don’t see that using little tadpoles for cuts and taps is any more of a problem. We just have to remember that they don’t have a time value (except when out ears tell us that they do) and that the pitch is not heard (except when out ears tell us that it is).

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"ITM deserves its own written language and symbols …"

Therein lies your problem - Irish trad music, whilst it might have grown in popularity in recent decades, is a minority interest in the world of music genres as a whole. If standard music notation and standard ABC code is a means of expressing the general, well you may stick to that standard, instead of going down side avenues. That’s to say, I’m quite sure you could come up with some ABC coding to cope with your requirements but the majority of software that might handle ABC wouldn’t recognise your sub dialect, so no point..

Re: Ornaments on the Session

But any ABC software will want to update with any changes made to the standard ABC notation so new symbols like Larsen’s would be incorporated anyway. Besides which you are inaccurate. ABC grew up around traditional music, which is why Chris Walshaw expressed a keen interest in incorporating Grey Larsen’s symbols into the next version of ABC. This isn’t a side avenue, and ABC wasn’t designed to express the general though it can. It was and is rooted in traditional and folk music. Outside those genres, generally speaking, nobody uses it.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"You mean things like, when a whistle or flute player plays a (3Bcd thing in a G major tune, and lazily plays the transition c as a c sharp (no cross fingering)?"

No.

I mean things like when someone publishes a volumes of books containing supposed "Songs of the Hebrides" and from those volumes a "song" like "An Eriskay Love Lilt" gets adopted by the masses. There was never such a song title until that book "put it on the map", and the actual song that has just about stayed in the tradition is as far apart from that published version as sans twiddly versions of "diddley" that are doing the rounds. I’ve heard people proclaim that the song (as it appeared in the book) is "ancient" and "traditional" and couldn’t accept that it is a relatively modern fabrication. Listen to the late Ishbel MacAskill singing "Gradh Geal Mo Chridh" here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfDtTHC8BoY


The subtle ornamentation combined with a very different melody is what I’m getting at.

This happened with "collectors" in Ireland too. There’s a lot to be said for (reasonably) accurate transcriptions- even if the player you are transcribing from plays something that you think might be an "error".

The "health warning" should explain that it ain’t the tune, just a "skellington", and that it may cause death from drunken belief that it’s the tune.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Oh yes, sure. I was mainly referring to that mode thing (I should have quoted your previous sentence as well, to clarify the context… sorry!). I still don’t think that confusing melody and ornamentation notes or the tune with its skeleton is a mistake on the same level as failing the entire mode*. Like: Oh what, G major resolving to an A? Must be A major! However, in O’Neill’s you see both kinds of mistakes all the time.

*(Therefore I wondered, how one mistake could cause the other - and construed of this transition thing as a possibility. But I see that you meant something entirely different.)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Weejie. I think a non-instrumental example from past practice is unhelpful (also leaving me feeling discomfited because, like many, I learned the ‘collected’ version at school). These days we have recordings so with any transcription we have to ask "What’s it for ?"

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Sorry Mikethebook, I’d still be uncomfortable with the idea that you can or even should try to capture every little nuance of one particular rendition of a tune.

I might have thought like that once but I gave up on the idea, as it became irrelevant.. for example, I was trying to pick up a tune a while back and it was confusing because I soon realised that every time it was played for me, it was different. Like trying to count moving sheep or shifting sands, better just to give up on the idea and play along.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Like trying to count moving sheep or shifting sands, better just to give up on the idea and play along."

This is a brilliant analogy!
I think it can be helpful for the understanding of a style (and fun and interesting) to see it fully written out though. But you don’t really learn the ornamentation of every single tune this way. You see it a few times and the rest is listening, of course, and then you just got it.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Weejie. I think a non-instrumental example from past practice is unhelpful (also leaving me feeling discomfited because, like many, I learned the ‘collected’ version at school). These days we have recordings so with any transcription we have to ask "What’s it for ?""

Ok, so you want an instrumental example, and a more recent one?

Well, this is one example as to where the "barebones" (instrumental) setting can be taken out of context:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzIehI_P3TY


It’s collections like "Allan’s Irish Fiddler" that has misled - and that’s with recordings available forby.

The example of "Bheir mi o" was quite valid. It doesn’t matter that it is a song example. The principle is the same. If you feel discomfited, I can only say that many people might be. The "collected" version is the one that most people would be familiar with. It’s actually a fairly good tune, and the likes of Roy Williamson made it into a fairly good song. However, it’s an example of how the "collected" version of a tune, as well as the lyrics can mislead. As I originally pointed out, the argument that an ornamented transcription is less preferable than a "barebones" version because it is set for a particular instrument is weak, as a "barebones" version is set for no instrument, and can mislead far more, as can be seen in the clip above.

There is room for both. I don’t see that submitting an ornamented version on this site should be discouraged.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"I’d still be uncomfortable with the idea that you can or even should try to capture every little nuance of one particular rendition of a tune."

I don’t think it can be done in full. However, if you learn from a recording or better still live, you are still learning from a particular rendition. Nobody would expect a player to play a barebones version (though some might oblige, and some teachers do). An ornamented version can complement the "barebones" settings. I don’t ever see it as "fun".

Re: Ornaments on the Session

OK fine, thanks. I could quibble that what has happened there is as much to do with the needs of massed unison playing as it is to taking a bare bones transcription literally and in ignorance. A four-part SATB arrangement of "Bheir mi o" by an English community choir may be analogous. Some people in that orchestra must be familiar enough with other renderings of their Scottish repertoire to know what is going on and be prepared to have fun rather than cringe.

I am not disagreeing with your main point.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Weejie-what’s wrong with FUN? Three times during this thread you have used the word as a pejorative. Don’t you have fun playing music? Don’t you have fun adding you own ornaments to a tune?

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Weejie-what’s wrong with FUN?"

There’s nothing wrong with fun, but the context in which the word was used it was demeaning. Writing out transcriptions with ornamentation is hard work. I would argue that it is harder than sifting out a barebones of the tune. If all that work is going to end up described as "fun", but not as useful as the skeleton then I would point out that "fun" isn’t usually the exercise. It’s aiming toward accuracy.
What I find amusing (and therefore containing an element of "fun") is in all these dots v ear arguments that spring up every five minutes, the anti-dot brigade hark on about "dots only being the skeleton" (of course, any attempt at lifting them beyond that is taboo) and they cannot be used to learn "this music" because there is more to it than that skeleton etc. Yet someone mentions putting ornaments and transcribing an actual rendition of a player, and it’s a no-no. It’s one of those "damned if you do" situations.

"Don’t you have fun adding you own ornaments to a tune?"
There’s a difference between "fun" and "satisfaction". When writing, I’m reasonably satisfied if I get anywhere near capturing some of a player’s rendition of a tune. It’s more fun to play the tunes.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"A four-part SATB arrangement of "Bheir mi o" by an English community choir may be analogous. Some people in that orchestra must be familiar enough with other renderings of their Scottish repertoire to know what is going on and be prepared to have fun rather than cringe."

I’ve encountered some people in the SFO (some come from other S&R societies, and are well kent friends) who take it all quite seriously and some who are just there for the fun of it. McCusker played with the Glasgow Callie for a while. As for "Bheir mi o", there are some Scottish choirs who take that "collected" version to be "traditional" - before it even gets to harmonising it. They don’t take kindly to the notion that some biddy (or her cohort) tweaked it beyond any semblance of traditional and ventured out conning the populus that it was the voice of the island people. But that’s basically what happened. That "Kishmul’s Galley" is an even bigger con.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

No one said that it’s wrong to transcribe an actual rendition of a player in detail?
Some (like myself) just find a basic barebones setting most useful to work with (and therefore argued for their advantages), while fully written out transcriptions are still welcome for various reasons (including fun).
I’m having a lot of fun transcribing tunes.
(I don’t bother about where and with which notes one cuts and the like, though…)

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"No one said that it’s wrong to transcribe an actual rendition of a player in detail?"

Not in those words, but it has been said here that detailed transcriptions are "best left to people writing academic studies" and the general reaction has been negative throughout - one of discouragement ("why would you want to" etc).

"Some (like myself) just find a basic barebones setting most useful to work with (and argued for their advantages), while fully written out transcriptions are still welcome for various reasons (including fun)."

Yes, you argued for their advantages for you, and probably many others, but I didn’t pick up any encouragement for detailed transcriptions. I argued for their advantages, but never advocated their exclusive use here.
A point is (and I mentioned it earlier) that it’s relatively simple to remove the ornamentation (involving a bit of copying, pasting and editing), but it’s not so easy to add them.

Bringing up the example of Pat Mitchell’s book on Willie Clancy’s music (which I do because it’s excellent), it isn’t an"academic study", it’s a good working book - and not too cluttered. There’s certainly room for transcriptions like that on this site (IMO), and Pat uses symbols effectively. There may be some value in extra ABC symbols.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"the general reaction has been negative throughout - one of discouragement"

I can readily appreciate your point Weejie and I’ve no problem at all if people want to go to the trouble of painstakingly writing out the ornamentation they hear in a tune. There’s pros and cons on both sides of the point.

However, as far as I’m concerned I was trying to address the OP, Mikethebook and his query. I didn’t and don’t wish at all to come across as patronising but I did recognise that he was a relative beginner as regards this music and I also recognised that phase/ inclination to try and capture all the detail. I was pointing out, in a roundabout way, that it’s ‘gilding the lily’ and not really necessary to do this. I’d be guessing that Mikethebook has a good background in other musical genres and is trying to apply that here? Nothing wrong with that but sometimes things are the way they are, for good reason.

When I started putting a few tunes here, my early attempts at ABC looked pretty untidy. Then I looked at the efforts of other people, partic Ceolachan and I saw how simple and elegant much of that coding was. Easy to read and captured the essential basic essence of the tune.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"sometimes things are the way they are, for good reason."

Aye, and sometimes it’s purely convention.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

BTW, clearly this is not a ‘dots versus the ears’ thread - normally I avoid those like the plague..

Re: Ornaments on the Session

No wish to labour the point but I couldn’t help but be struck by the contrast in these two transcriptions of the same tune. Little doubt for me which I’d find easier to read and ‘play off the sheet’. By way, is this named after the village of Tyrellspass in Co.Westmeath?

X: 1
T: Tyrell’s Pass
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:B3 edB | edB AGE | B2e edB | edB A3 |
B2e edB | edB AGE | ABG AGE | DGF G3 :|
|:B2g ged | ged BAG | GBd g2e | edB A3 |
B3 ged | ged BAG | ABG AGE | DGF G3 :|
# Added by JACKB 7 years ago.


X: 2
T: Tyrell’s Pass
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:B2 e {a/}edB | edB {c/}AGE | !roll!B2e {a/}edB | edB !roll!A3 |
!roll!B3 edB | edB {c/}AGE | ABG{c/}AGE | DGF {c/}G2 A|
Bz e {a/}edB | edB{c/}AGE | !roll!B2e {a/}edB | edB !roll!A3 |
B z e{a/}edB | edB {c/}AGE | ABG {c/}AGE | DGF {c/}G2 A|
B zg {c’/}ged | {c’/}ged {c/}BAG | {c/}G (3Bcd !slide!g2e | {a/}edB !roll!A3 |
!roll!B3 gzf | ged {c/}BAG | A{c/}BG {c/}AGE | DGF {c/}G2 A|
B zg {c’/}ged | {c’/}ged {c/}BAG | {c/}G (3Bcd ged | {a/}edB !roll!A3 |
!roll!B3 ged | ged {c/}BAG | A{c/}BG {c/}AGE | DGF {c/}G2 A:|
# Added by Mikethebook 3 months ago.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

"Little doubt for me which I’d find easier to read and ‘play off the sheet’"

ABC is rather messy with ornamentation. The stave looks prettier, and doesn’t cause me any problems. This does give credence to the suggestion of symbols.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

I’m saying it looks prettier, but it doesn’t transfer well using the site’s facility.
Skink gives a better rendition, but some tweaks are needed. Once done, it’s quite neat and the ornamentation is unobtrusive. I would have used two semiquavers and a quaver instead of those triplets, however.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

No I’m not trying to apply other musical genres to this, just wanting to provide accuracy about the way the author e.g. Brendan Ring, or particular musician intended the tune to be played. I’m not happy about Tyrell’s Pass either but that’s mainly down to showing the cuts as grace notes. Sorry to labour the point but symbols such as Larsen’s would enable accurate transcriptions to be done without messing up the bare bones transcription. Everyone is happy then!!

Re: Ornaments on the Session

By the way, to answer wounded hussar’s question, yes, Tyrell’s Pass was written by Brendan Ring in the village of the same name. Very nice guy, Brendan. We’ve chatted on Facebook and I love his album.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

The problem I have is when I’m searching for a tune, when I have it partially known from memory, and do a search with melody fragments.

The problem starts with the nature of Irish dance music, where there’s a large number of equivalent ways of playing a given passage, and in fact at a session several players could be playing several different approaches but they all blend just fine.

So in a particular beat of a jig one player might be doing a long roll on G, one might play two Gs with a breath in between, one might play a quarternote G with a breath after, one might play GF#G, one might play F#GG, one might play GDG, one might play GAG, etc etc.

So though you can play the tune and it blends with the session, you could conceivably type in searches with the same little passage done in a dozen different ways and never get a match. I know- I’ve done it! Typed in a fragment of a melody I know to be what was played and get no match, then try several variants and still no match. Eventually when I find the tune, the given passage was notated in some way that I would never have thought of.

The search engine isn’t "smart" as regards Irish music. It ought to be set up so as to recognize musically equivalent passages as being the same, for the purpose of a search. Though I’m no computer programmer and I don’t know how this would be done. Perhaps it would be extremely difficult. But computers can do facial recognition now so recognizing a tune shouldn’t be impossible.

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Thanks for the link Megapop. I just read that thread… I can’t say that I understand much of it though! Not being a computer programmer.

I guess what I was getting at that, say in a particular jig the melody more or less "parks" on G for a beat. All the players playing the tune might be in agreement with this general principle (though perhaps not conscious of it) some playing a long roll on G, or a short roll on G with some other note or a breath after it, or some sort of figure that begins and ends on G such as GAG, GF#G, GEG, GDG, G(breath)G, etc.

I suppose a program could be designed to recognize Irish dance tunes by beats, so that in a bar of double jig there would be two beats, and to recognize as equivalent a long roll, short roll, quarternote, dotted quarternote, or the appearance twice, of the same note. Reels would be trickier due to having four possible eighthnotes per beat, and oftentimes an equivalent phrase might only have two being the note that, to the ear, the phrase "parks" on (say, a beat of a reel that many players would play GGGB using a G roll but another player might play GABG, GDGB, etc).

It would probably be extremely difficult to refine the search enough so as to not have a vast number of "false hits" but at the same time give true equivalents as "hits".

Re: Ornaments on the Session

A very, very late post and this is just to agree with megapop. I generally also keep ornamentation down to the bare minimum in my notations. Different instruments have different styles and as a rule (and I know a lot of people have different opinions about this) flourishes and ornaments should be left to the individual player to insert according to their preferences/styles/instruments/etc.

Maybe you’re trying to put up a variation of a tune which is a different story.

ABC is easy to learn, just takes a bit of time. ABCexplorer is a good program to see what you’re typing out in ABC lingo right away in notation form as you’re typing it.

Posted by .

Re: Finding tunes on the Session - regular expressions

"I suppose a program could be designed to recognize Irish dance tunes by beats […]"

Well… a nice and implementable feature for the search function would be to allow regular expressions - like, when you search for something that can be played like G2G, GGG, GFG, GAG, GDG… etc., you simply search for G.G (where the dot means "any symbol"). This would be so great!

Re: Ornaments on the Session

Richard, what you ask for is more or less what the Rev’s ABCTuneSearch does or Bryan Duggan’s Tunepal for that matter. You enter a phrase or two of a tune in ABC - ideally a phrase that is characteristic of that tune rather than any other. The software then does a ‘fuzzy’ logic fit to tunes in ABC databases and gives you a list of possible tunes with an indication of closeness of match. It works well - try it on some tunes you know first. As an aid to identifying tunes that you don’t have names for, I’m often amazed at the ease of searching.

I haven’t used Tunepal but I understand it’s even simpler when run as a phone app etc - you play the tune into the device and it searches.