Short roll articulation
(I have searched the discussions and I can’t find coverage of this topic. My apologies if it has been covered already.)
Just to put baggage on the table here, in case a flaw in my facts/assumptions is leading me to ask a nonsensical or misguided question.
My understanding is that there are basically 2 kinds of rolls, long and short.
A long roll is a way of rhythmically decorating a dotted quarter note that starts on a beat.
A short roll is a way of rhythmically decorating a quarter note.
Sometimes a short roll comes at the start of a phrase. For example, you might play one right at the start of Drowsy Maggie.
But often, a short roll is preceded by two eighth notes, so that the combination of these two “lead in” notes plus the short roll fills the space of a half note which starts on either the 1 or the 3 (assuming you are playing a reel, and assuming you are considering each measure to have 4 beats). The second of these lead in notes is generally of the same pitch as the note being decorated with the short roll. An example of this usage would be the opening phrase of Sweeney’s Buttermilk.
When I listen to recordings of traditional music which use the latter short roll construct mentioned above, there is very often some kind of articulated “gap” at the point that falls after the second lead in eight note and before the actual short roll.
For example, when I listen to pipers, it often sounds to me like the pitch very briefly dips and then rises, which I am guessing is a common piping idiom to separate two notes of the same pitch.When I listen to fiddlers, I sometimes hear this same type of effect – like a cut, but the pitch goes _down_ not up. But then sometimes I hear what sounds like a change of bow direction or perhaps a momentary slow down or pause of the bow without a change of direction. For example, it seems like Kevin Burke’s playing does this a lot. And then sometimes I hear a volume accent right on the start of the short roll, with or without an actual interruption in the sound. And when I listen to whistle, flute, or accordion, I hear other various sorts of little “blurps” (articulations) at the instant after the second lead in note near when the short roll starts.
Through my experience of taking lessons and classes, reading books, watching DVDs and online videos, etc, I have never to the best of my knowledge come across any mention of the need to articulate this gap before short rolls. And in fact when you see these kinds of phrases notated in books, they often will have the second lead in note with a a tie (slur) to the note that is being short-rolled. This notation, to me, would imply that there is no articulated “gap” there – that the start of the note being rolled is really just a continuation of the note before it. But it is very clear to my ears when I listen to experienced players that they do articulate this gap in a number of ways as mentioned above.
So what I want to ask is:
- Am I just confused? 🙂
- Fiddlers – do you articulate the gap before short rolls that I am talking about? If so, in what way(s) do you achieve this articulation?