symbol to indicate trebling?

symbol to indicate trebling?

Anyone have a book that uses a symbol for "treble this quarter note?" (The equivalent of a turn’s ~ or mordent’s /\/\/ ) It’d clean up my written transcriptions — all those triplets distract from the nature of the tune. For my own use I can just invent something, of course, but it’d be nice to know if someone’s already proposed a symbol.

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Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

sorry, thought it said "trembling"

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

In my personal abc notation I’ve used !uppermordent! to indicate ¼-note triplets (visually reminds me of a triplet, somehow), or show them as grace notes {BB}B2 or just use the tilde-ish thingy ~ . I could be very much mistaken but I think the roll symbol ~ often means ANY sort of ornament/embellishment/articulation, not just a roll – and it’s best to refer to an actual person or recording if it’s really important to you to recreate a particular setting of a tune as exactly as possible.

Lately, though, when I’m writing out tunes I’d like to learn, or don’t want to forget, I don’t put any ornament symbols at all. It’s just understood (by me – it’s my personal notation, after all!)) that I can try to do something interesting to a ¼-note if I want, a scratch or a cut or a slide or a roll.

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

I would think that using tilde (~) is sufficient.

If I see a tilde I general treat it as "do something ornamental" — which could be a triplet (treble), roll, or something else like a double stop or a microtonal tweakerino or a staccato-ish whatjamajigger. It’s really just a hint. I might also do nothing at all.

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

I’ve seen the classical turn symbol (sideways S) used sometimes - which is fine, so long as it’s not being read by a classical musician. Another one that is sometimes used is a simple curved line, like a broad, upside-down U - or a classical ‘fermata’ (pause) symbol, minus the dot.

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

While a draft proposal includes the idea of using a dollar sign for a treble ~ $ ~

I’ve used "tr" in the past, which places tr above the note being trebbled ~

|: "tr"B3 e edBG | ~

And I know some folks that are very fond of trebbling, to the detriment of this music, in my opinion, which seems to have general agreement amongst those musicians that have had to suffer the trebbling, and more than double the nuisance when it is in stereo… It is seldom used well… :-(

~ but as with all things, there are usually exceptions…

Tr ~

"The trill is gone?"

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Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

All good suggestions. I’m not a classical musician myself, and I certainly don’t have any problem with others’ redefining them… but for myself I like to follow the classical definitions since then when I forget what I meant I can grab any music instruction book.

For the record (again, by all means use these however you want) the Classical defs are: @Peat— Turn (sideways backwards S) is e.g. 2-3-2-1-2; @ceol— tr (for "trill") is a rapid e.g. 21212121. @fid— Definitely, upper mordents look to me like a illustration of the bow hand’s movement in trebling, but the (modern) classical definition is closer to a flicked A{B}A.

@Peat— I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen the roll (fermata minus dot) in printed Irish music, but read several things that say it’s the trad way of writing the Classical turn. So using that for something else could potentially be more dangerous than using the sideways backwards S — somewhere there’s a nest of trad musicians who’ll read that as 23212.

@timmy, fid— I personally use ~ to mean "ornament this some way or other." @timmy, fid, ceol— I’m thinking here specifically about detailed transcriptions from recordings, where I want to document where a musician flicked, rolled, pseudo-cranned, trebled (whether or not it’s a "good" ornament — far too many Session threads devolve into arguments about whether trebling’s awful, and from there to whether we should outlaw Tommy Peoples, and I’m really hoping that doesn’t have to happen here too)

@ceol, ABC 2 Draft makes no mention of trebling, and no mention of $ other than the set-font switching used by abcm2ps.

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Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

It’s been a trill for me too… :-/ With the aide of strong ciderrrrr…

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

We cross posted yrneH ~ Yes! It took a little time for the senses to work past through the influences of pear cider and other fog. ‘tr’ for trill, not treblin’…

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~ And a false link/lead to the abc-draft. I was sure I had notes here from a meeting discussing the draft where something was suggested for trebbling, but I’ve just reread the above linked to draft, it ain’t there, and I’ve just gone through my ABC files and I can’t find it there either…

I’m in the slog of editing a slew of audio files, while enjoying strong cider, and not quite completely sane, as audio editing has a worse numbing effect than the cider. Sorry yrneH. I’ll keep looking and if I find something, other than just repeating the notes, I’ll get back to you on it. Apologies for my confusion… :-/ Back to the editing, and then a long soak…

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

hey, no problem. how about passing that cider around? ;) —Henry

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Trebling ~ treble ~ tebled ~ triplet ~ bowed triplets

Now I’m trebled, it’s still early morning here, and to make up for my sins I did some checking, but will not include the Scottish and North American references. All of the following chose simple means for describing this magic ~

"Traditional Music in Ireland" by Tomás Ó Canainn
Routledge & KEgan Paul Ltd., 1978, page 94


This is a form of decoration which uses the bow only and consists of a very fast triplet on the note to be decorated. It is shown in Fig. 7.4.

uBG (3vGuGvG || uBG (5vG/uG/vG/uG/vG/ (= double treble)

(‘c’ ~ u = up bow / v = down bow, the reverse of dotted notation where a V is an up bow… I would have thought ‘v’ & ‘n’ would have been closer to the visual roots. ;-) )

Traditional fiddlers tend to do all their trebles with the same bowing and few of them are able to treble with equal facility up and down. It should be pointed out that even through bowing signs are inidicated in the figure, the traditional player does not think of it in this way but ratehr imparts a quick flick to the bow with slight wrist action, and the restoring action of the hand completes the treble. It is all done so quickly aand with so little bow movement that it is barely perceptible in performance: one merely hears the marked rhythmic lift that it gives to the music. Trebling can be done on all notes, including those on open strings, making it a very versatile decoration.
~ Tomás Ó Canainn

‘c’ ~ It is fair to say that the possibilities of finer definition within a ‘triplet’ or similar run of notes is not limited to the above, using the forward slash, as in B/B/B, including within the triplet itself, (3B/BB, and using the staccato marker, or .B/.B/B, and these are only some possibilities of further definition. However, for our own use on this site we’ve generally tended to keep things simple, leaving the specifics of technique to the ear and tuition / tradition, rather than trying to offer notation that is overly complex. That said, it’s a kick to see such things offered in the ‘comments’ for a tune and in ‘discussions’ here. I love the potential madness of notation systems, including things like the graphic representation of movement, dance, through Laban notation, but it will never replace ears, hands on, and feet first…

"The Companion to Irish Traditional Music" ~ edited by Fintan Vallely
Cork University Press, 1999, page 405, short and sweet…

treble. A treble is an ornament which involves the division of a long note (usually a crotchet) into three shorter note vaalues of the same pitch.
(3G/G/G (the illustration offered)
It is a technique particularly favoured by Northern-style fiddle players, and executed using short, accented bow strokes. It has however increasingly been adopted by players of other instruments. (LID = Liz Doherty)

‘c’ ~ It has related forms in winds and bellows, two examples being the whistle and concertina…

Other approaches to notating a ‘treble’ ~

Matt Cranitch in "The Irish Fiddle Book"
~ who regularly reminds us that a rolls and trebles are often interchangeable…

(3vDuDvD || (3vEuEvE || (3vFuFvF || (3vGuGvG || (3vAuAvA || ~ vfd (3vdudvd

Kathleen Nesbitt in her "Irish Fiddle Tutorial"
cA (3AAA

Peter Cooper in "Mel Bay’s Complete Irish Fiddle Player"
eA (3uAvAuA ~ & in jig time ~ | FA/A/A dA/A/A |

Paul McNevin in "A Complete Guide to Learning The Irish Fiddle"
~ exactly the same as Tomás Ó Canainn & Pete Cooper ~
uBG (3vGuGvG || uBG (5vG/uG/vG/uG/vG/
& in jig time ~ | FA/A/A dA/A/A |

With a note: "The starting bow direction of a treble or double trreble is totally up to the individual."

Philip John Berthoud in "Mel Bay Presents Learn to Play Irish Fiddle"
vcuA (3vAuAvA

& from "A Trip to Sligo" by Tony DeMarco & Miles Krassen
uFD (3vDuDvD || cA (3vAuAvA

English ~
Geoff Bowen in "How to Play the Folk Fiddle"
| eA A/A/A fA A/A/A |

‘c’ ~ Why all the above? They have all, without exception, chosen an easy way to notate the treble, leaving the finer details of thier individual ways with it to the ears, their accompanying recordings. The highest recommendation ~ as ears are king, is for anyone interested in mastering this bit of varied magic to go out into the world and seek, by whatever means, to take it in firsthand, from someone direct, an education for the ears and the eyes, the body, the mind and the spirit ~ traditionally…

Yes, I know, this was about notation, but as you can see, it seems most folks choose to do it simply, though some will write sentences and paragraphs outlining the ‘how to’ of it, and dedicate time to it as part of their accompanying recordings. I would like to add one point of warning ~ against the want to standardize it in execution down to one option only.

Back to ABC notation and another previous suggestion made in my less than fully conscious state at the time. The use of parenthesis could do the trick ,as for the trill mentioned previously, instead of "tr" try "tb"…

If you were here I’d have gladly cracked open more of our stock of choice ciders here to share with you, apple and pear, and you could help me iron out the troubles with my trebling…

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

Another point to note that further hampers the desire to notate a treble is that the specifics of the subdivision of timing often depend on how fast you are playing the tune. It would be possible to notate it exactly for one speed of the tune, but when playing it, you wouldn’t necessarily speed up or slow down that particular articulation for different speeds of tune.

If you are going at a nice slow pace a treble can act as a percussive accent to a down beat. Or maybe a way back in from a short rest on the off beat, as after you use your bow to immitate a flute player taking a breath. But the exact same treble could be a more even semiquaver/quaver if you are playing faster, a kin to what a banjo player calls a triplet (though it’s not a true triplet as it doesn’t equally subdivide into three, like runs of triplets in hornpipes do)

And, of course, all the areas in between these extremes.

And exactly the same is true of rolls. Long rolling rolls and short snappy ones, etc. You quite often see notation where the classic short roll is distinguished from the classic long roll, and often this is a fair and specific distinction. But it doesn’t come anywhere near the flexibility and colour that a really good player can get out off the variety of the timings and placings of rolls. James Kelly for example.

There’s much much more to this music, of course, but a large chunk of it when played on the fiddle is about the variety of the timings and placings of rolls and their interchangeability with the variety of the timings and placings of trebles. And, of course, the interchangeability of these articulations with all the other stuff you can do, from grand sweeping variation through mere subtle cuts and taps and all the way to just leaving gaps.

To cover it all you would require an infinite number of symbols and each one would have an infinite number of further symbols to act as caveats.

It’s chaos.

Not in the common usage of the word that suggests randomness. But in the specific scientific definition of the word with regards to chaos theory. In that the music is a system with so many variables, that any attempt to model it successfully (in this case, the model is a transcription) would result in a model as complex as the system itself.

(and it’s worth noting that this music displays one of the fundamental characteristics chaotic systems in that just a small change in just one of the many variables can have a profound effect on the whole system further down the line.)

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Treble, roll ~ convenient terms but representing so many things ~

" ~ the flexibility and colour that a really good player can get out off the variety of the timings and placings of rolls. ~ the variety of the timings and placings of rolls and their interchangeability with the variety of the timings and placings of trebles."

~ and the rest, well said…

It is a bit like ‘snow’ to the natives of the far North of North America. I think it was 36 different terms, not counting potential modifiers to the noun, or context… You become more aware of such things and subtleties the more you associate with them or depend on them or use them. The other area of variation on these ornaments are context too, what tune form you execute your trebling in ~ swung or straight ~ reel, jig, hornpipe, etc., the many rhythmic possibilities, on a primary beat or a secondary one, the potentials of emphasis and articulation… What a joy, eh?

Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

Yep, what a joy.

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Re: symbol to indicate trebling?

ceolachan— can I trouble you to share what your scottish and north am books have on trebling? I’m interested you have anythng american on it, since it wasn’t until branching out from my new england / quebecois roots that I even heard of particular trad ornaments’ having individual names… and then traveling through Ireland they seemed in common use.

@llig re variation— I’m not convinced that most musicians do have that big a vocabulary of ornaments. certainly, as McNevin implies in that quote above, there’s variation from fiddler/etc to fiddler/etc. I don’t want to estimate how many "not a lot" is. and sure it’ll change from mood to mood, speed, etc — but even there I’d hypothesize that most single trad musicians (those trained in jazz don’t count ;), whether they think about it or not, have a limited set of ornaments they play (as opposed to ornaments they’re technically able to play). that’s not bad — it’s part of why the greats have identifiable styles, and part of why we each have our favorites.

@llig re rolls/trebling/etc— yes, but: I’ve heard more than one fiddler who’s stayed in the backcountry enough to still have a strong accent not only in their speech but in their music say "ah no! no, around these parts you wouldn’t hear that ornament used in this tune" or "…this part of the tune." so it’s worth making a note about what sort of ornament was used, even if you don’t transcribe it fully

@ceol&llig— the individual touch and variation is exactly why I think a symbol is more appropriate than notating "first time through, (5n-nn>.nn, second time through (3.nnn".

@ceol’s books’ authors: surely you don’t say to yourself "now I will play a triplet on a single note, with a broken rhythm." at least for me, trebling is very much about the bow hand, not in the simple sense that the the other hand doesn’t have to do anything, but in the sense that the ornament is as much (or more) about the movement I’m making with the bow hand as it is about the sound produced. doesn’t it then seem more sensible to write it "trebled n2" than "triplet on n, but have some fun with the rhythm"?

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