Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

I was polishing up up a tune recently, and thought a roll would sound interesting on one of the low D’s in the tune. I am lousy on rolls, and trying to correct this deficiency. But how do you roll a low D when that is your lowest note on the whistle? I fooled around, and came up with a way that I cut it with the E finger and then with the G finger that sounds kind of roll-ish. Is there a preferred method for this?

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

It’s called a cran and usually goes:
XXXXXX
XXXOXX
XXXXXX
XXXXOX
XXXXXX
XXOXXX
XXXXXX

Though there are many variations.

See the master at work:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SHcDY76a_eY

Posted .

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

A cran, proper, is four notes where there would normally be three. However you can also do a semi-cran with the normal three notes, in effect a roll on bottom D (or middle D).
For this roll or semi-cran, you play three bottom D’s seperated by any two cuts. Usually the cuts are done with any of the following three fingers: the upper ring finger, the lower index finger, or the lower middle finger. This could go:
xxx xxx
xxo xxx
xxx xxx
xxx oxx
xxx xxx
or any other sequence.
For a full cran you need four bottom D’s. They could be like in the post above, or any other sequence of those three cuts. The "rule" in a cran is that you’re not supposed to play any cut twice in a row (which would be a trill). I do:
xxx xxx
xxx xox
xxx xxx
xxx oxx
xxx xxx
xxo xxx
xxx xxx
In effect, rising cuts f, g, a.
Now, most flute players in the old days didn’t do crans or cran-like figures on bottom D. Instead, the old-school way was to play a distinctive flute-player’s imitation cran which is:
xxx xxx
xxx xoo
xxx xxo
xxx xxx
This seems simple, but in the hand of good players and played with the right rythm, generations of Irish fluteplayers made do with it.

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

If I cran, I cran like this:

XXXXXX
XXOXXX
XXXXXX
XXXOXX
XXXXXX
XXXXOX
XXXXXX

As leahciM says, there are many variations. Pipers will often squeeze in four cuts instead of three. Al - The ornament you describe sounds like a ‘short cran’.

There are other types of ornamentation that might work, depending on the type of tune, the position and length of the note etc. On a dotted crotchet in a jig, you could play:

What type of tune is it, where does the note occur and how long is it?

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Richard - we’ve X-posted

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

The main difference between cran and roll is the rythm:
Basically
a roll is DDD
a cran is D (3DDD or (3DDD D

What notes you use to cut between the Ds is less important and depends on what fits better to your finger actions and the reaction of the flute.
On the flute it is possible to stop the flow by tonguing and I would say that’s the the way to start the cran. Probably it ispossible to ‘cran’ with the tongue by triple tonguing, but I doubt that’s part of the Irish tradition!
Does anybody use the C to roll the D??

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

‘A cran, proper, is four notes where there would normally be three.’

I have seen you air this on C&F before and don’t agree. It’s a matter of terminology but cranns can take different rhythms and forms. Tommy Reck starting Sean Bui, would you really argue against him playing a crann there, would you really?

Posted .

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

The tune was Chief O’Neills Hornpipe, which I always "kind of knew" enough to bluff through, but didn’t really know the way I should. I was looking to put the roll into the third measure where it drops to a D. Although, when I looked at the tune archive, there is a way to play it without lingering on that low D. But even though I found a version that allows you to play it without the ornament, I still thought the question was worth asking.

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Yeah, cran that note. Also cran the last D in the first part

Posted .

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Yes to me, for a cran to have the cran rythm, it needs to have four bottom D’s (or even five for the "long cran"). If it has only three bottom D’s I would call it a semi-cran or long roll on D. But, it’s sure true that it all depends on the rythm. If you do three bottom D’s and the first bottom D is dotted (held) and the middle bottom D is cut, it would sound like a roll on D. I use this a lot on bottom D and middle D, and it just sounds like a roll on any other note. Now, if you were to reverse the timing and cut the first bottom D and hold the middle bottom D, it wouldn’t sound like a roll at all, it would sound cran-like.
Strange that the traditional "fluteplayer’s cran" (which I explained above) does sound cran-like, simple though it is.
Now, about your tune Chief O Neill’s Favourite, yes I would always do a true four-note cran there, because in hornpipes it’s common to through in triplets, and the rythm I do there is really a triplet on bottom D preceeded by bottom D, these four bottom D’s seperated by the same gracenote pattern I use for crans. The timing is different from the timing I would use for a cran in a reel or jig, as to get the triplet sound the gracenotes are clearly seperated so those bottom D’s are well seperated.

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Now, Kilfarboy challenged my assertion that crans have four notes where there would normally be three. Let’s see where I might have got such an idea: perhaps from Leo Rowsome, who writes: "It usually has the same time value as the Roll, but comprises more notes…In pipe playing it is called Cranning and it consists of four notes of the same name which are quickly interlinked by notes of shorter duration than Grace Notes that are produced with lightning rapidity."
Or I might have got the idea from Dennis Brooks who writes: "the regular cran consists of three cuts and is used in a reel or hornpipe to make three notes of one crotchet or two quavers; the long cran consists of four cuts and is used in a jig to makde four notes where there would otherwise be three quavers."
Or I might have got my crazy from Pat Mitchell, who in "The Piping Of Patsy Touhey" writes: "A full cran, in the time of a dotted crotchet, consists of a triplet of quavers and a quaver, and a short cran, in the time of a crotchet, of a triplet of quavers."
Or perhaps from the diagram called "Crans and Rolls" which appears in "The Dance Music Of Willie Clancy" which clearly shows rolls with three main notes, and crans with four.

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Thanks guys, lots of good ideas!

Re: Whistle Rolls on Low D (or on a flute for that matter)

Good thread. The way I usually play Chief O’Neill’s that first D is too short, but I do the cran on the final D’s of A and B part.