Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

There be baubles. Whether it’s good or not there are ornamental tunes being played by traditional players which are essentially what classical musicians do when ornamenting a piece of music. Each note can be heard, so it is embellishment, not articulation of the melody rhythmically; but ‘pitched’ notes.

I’m down with this. Sh!t happens.

That out of the way; what else is there for playing a tune with lift? As if dancers care about your baubles.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Rhythm?

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~

"If we talk about swing first, it makes the explanation of lift easier. Swing is about accenting certain notes that are placed in specific places in bars. Every bar .."

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Well , When its come to Rhythm and Swing, This guy I think, is the Dog’s Bo||ox as they say
in Belfast - LOL…
This might help with Ornamentation, Embellishment-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDrjWcRzUR0

And listen to the swing in the playing of one of his own Composition’s-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Kx2LtClMFQ

And the lift in his music here-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWX4cDxN_a4

And Rolls etc, -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anjF_tjU-A4


Hope this helps a bit -
jim,,,

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Dynamics. Phrasing. Underlying structure. Rubato. And (thanks Mr Gill) … Torque!

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

“what else is there for playing a tune with lift?” …Elevator music!

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*"If we talk about swing first, it makes the explanation of lift easier. Swing is about accenting certain notes that are placed in specific places in bars. Every bar .."*]

We all know what you mean, but just to be pedantic, ‘swing’ is about stretching and squeezing the time value of notes for effect. Accents on notes can enhance that effect.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

But, as Mr Gill has pointed out, dynamics can changed the *perceived* time values.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

.. change the *perceived* …

(forgot why I was editing !)

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*But, as Mr Gill has pointed out, dynamics can changed the *perceived* time values.*]

Anyone have that link, please?

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I happened to be looking at paul de graes how to play irish guitar for a tune, and i noticed he taught several tunes Plain first, and then taught them with ornaments.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I’ve just had a déjà vu.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"there are ornamental tunes being played by traditional players which are essentially what classical musicians do when ornamenting a piece of music."

To the extent that I understand what this sentence means, I completely disagree with it.

What is an "ornamental tune"?

In traditional music there is very little "ornamentation" in the "classical" sense of the word.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"Anyone have that link, please?" https://thesession.org/discussions/19861#comment416069

It has come up several times though. On one thread there was debate about how ‘dotted’ a hornpipe was being played on a particular recording. I measured the times on the recording and although it had a pronounced hornpipe rhythm it was, as one member had suggested, very ‘straight’ in terms of the actual timing.

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[*I’ve just had a déjà vu.*]

No, you’ve just had a Na éisc. It’s this gentleman’s way of making sure people will contribute to a new thread when they can’t be arsed to contribute to the old thread (which was pretty much the same subject matter 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

(I just added a paragraph Jim)

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I was referring to the contribution of Dick Miles, Jim, who, for some reason best known to himself, had seen fit to post the same thing on two different threads.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Ihave no idea about classical terminology, none, but in trad they are referred to as ornaments. there is no connection as far as I am aware, when teaching a high level student with classical guitar technique his ornaments were just wrong, I got him to strip them all out, play at half time with an extra heavy dose of swing. A La east Clare. all of a sudden he sounded great.

get down to the fundamentals of music before trying to incorporate advanced aspects IMO
its pointless trying to run before you can walk or you get tunes played full of ornaments but with no rhythm or lift , no nyah , nothing bar some fluttery sounds .

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"How does the tune turn? Where does the line play through the bar lines? Where does the line interrupt. And, of course, how can you personally nudge the tune into playing through bar lines and pause it in interesting percussive places?"

"(an important point to note is that it’s not just about the relative timing of notes, but also the dynamics of notes. It’s about the subtlety of the illusion that playing a note ahead of the beat can sound the same as playing a note louder)"

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

More rolls than a demented baker!

Re: Demented Baker Rolls! 😀

True enough, Minerva. It takes a bit of madness that happens with some musicians who play, drink & eat music every moment of their life. It’s the nature of the beast.

Jim McAuley, I think you may appreciate this clip from the above Pure Drop episode;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4SwyZEifvY ~ Liz Carroll

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

It really comes down to loosening yourself up and playing with rhythm and swing, feel the tune in yourself and enjoy your playing🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"Ihave no idea about classical terminology, none, but in trad they are referred to as ornaments. there is no connection as far as I am aware, when teaching a high level student with classical guitar technique his ornaments were just wrong, I got him to strip them all out, play at half time with an extra heavy dose of swing. A La east Clare. all of a sudden he sounded great.

get down to the fundamentals of music before trying to incorporate advanced aspects IMO
its pointless trying to run before you can walk or you get tunes played full of ornaments but with no rhythm or lift , no nyah , nothing bar some fluttery sounds ."

I don’t believe a word of this. Sorry, old chap.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Well in my experience part of getting the rhythm is slowing down enough that I can get the ornaments in, because properly used, a decoration should really drive home the rhythm. Double stops sometimes when they occur can be metronomic, if only for only a few beats in a row, or perhaps once per measure you hit a chord, or any other pattern you can think of. Rolls are on the main beats of a tune, the part we are emphasizing. A roll has a center(what is wrong with how I spelled center?) and is almost like a microcosmic tune of it’s own within the greater tune. I like to thinks of tunes as made up of these chunks of rhythm and melody. Each chunk can have an ornament or you can change it up and break the chunks differently so the ornaments overlap when you really want to make things interesting.

I find it hard to play rhythmically without using some type of ornamentation, without sounding totally bland. It’s often useful to ask to hear a tune played without ornamentation, if the ornamentation is distracting you from hearing the underlying tune, but for most purposes I would never recommend somebody "play" without it because to me it is the essence of playing.

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Last night I tried playing Out on the Ocean without any ornaments. It reminded me of that part of Catch-22 where Yossarian is redacting letters and one week he decides to redact all the verbs, the next the week, the definite articles, and so on.

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It depends on your regional style if you incorporate ornaments or not. It might surprise people but Irish music is played in Scotland, cape Breton etc all in various styles. Yes it’s hard to play in a simple fashion and still make great music , but. Lots of people do it so you can too, requires practice. And a lot of Scottish tunes are in our repertoire . Are we playing them wrong then if we use rolls etc in these tunes ? of course not , these are regional variations. Just as Irish music is not ‘wrong’ when played without rolls etc.


Well done dr SS for how many hours?

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Sometimes (habitual and ingrained) ornamentation can work against you if you need to play something plainly and cleanly (ie non-Irish music - which many players do ). QUALIFIER : by ‘cleanly’ I mean with just the bare notes - it’s not meant pejoratively.

I found this out : https://thesession.org/discussions/29973

I was prompted to re-refer to it after reading Doc’s post, which I took to mean it felt odd playing a normally-ornamented tune completely bare.

Correct me if I’m wrong - it’s just my interpretation, and I am treading carefully 🙂

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Not for very long. I got bored.

Just to illustrate a different perspective, I had a piping teacher, David Power, who told me that one thing about the pipes was that you had to do something to most of the notes to make the tune sound good. He had the view that if you didn’t embellish the tune in order to articulate the phrasing, it would sound rubbish because the pipes have no other sort of dynamics. Of course, he didn’t ask or expect me, a beginner at the time, to start sound like Seamus Ennis (who’s playing was a great influence on him) or himself and fill a tune with as much fancy stuff as one could. That would have been daft. But he certainly taught me the easier ornaments, ones that I could manage, and expected me to place them in the tune.

Had the same sort of lesson from Mick O’Brien, who doesn’t go as wild with the ornamentation as a lot of people, but he will highlight that you use them to bring out the melody and wouldn’t play without. And yes, he had a beginner class adding the odd roll, cut, and tap.

Re: Scottish and Cape Breton players. Have you heard many? You think they play plain, unornamented versions of tunes? I suggest you listen to more Scottish and Cape Breton players. Lots going on in their playing.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*Not for very long. I got bored. *]

That brings in a side-issue too - so maybe there’s real need for ornamentation on narrow-dynamic instruments like pipes, whereas there may not be with instruments like fiddle or accordion, where it’s easy to vary the volume and tone to a large degree (if one so wishes), without the need for the twiddly bits. Well, every instrument has its own character, I guess.

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I think Scots players (Aly Bain and Alasdair Fraser spring to mind) use ornaments less frequently than most Irish players (whose playing is sometimes liberally peppered with them), and the Scots cuts and birls etc are more pronounced and clearly articulated (ie you can hear all the notes). There’s a wide range for preferences for listeners in there.

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Really, Scottish regional styles vary as much as Irish. There is no one "Scots" style. For instance, West Highland players use a lot of ornamentation, lots taken from Highland piping. Northeast players, different yet again, and well, in Shetland, they do their own thing.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Not to mention people who can do all of the above!

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Aly Bain and Alasdair Fraser often employ a large amount of quite intricate melodic variation in their playing. I suppose that if that were combined with an abundance of ornamentation it might all sound a bit cluttered. They are men of remarkable good taste. You won’t catch them coming along here arguing the theoretical toss!

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I wish you hadn’t said that, Steve. Now you’re going to get me into a lot of trubbl, because imo they are a cut above the rest, technically and musically.

What the hell - I’m buggered if I say it, buggered if I don’t 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

what about lilt, very important and yet it has nothing to do with embellishment.
embellishment is important but so is dynamics and lilt

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

" if that were combined with an abundance of ornamentation it might all sound a bit cluttered". But Steve, the ornaments are part of the tune ! I’m not picking an argument, I think I follow what you mean. But doesn’t it show that the terminology does not support this sort of yellow board going round and round the houses over a subject ?

(currently playing Out on the Ocean ‘without any ornaments’. I will report back.)

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*what about lilt, very important and yet it has nothing to do with embellishment.
embellishment is important but so is dynamics and lilt*]

I’d say ‘lilt’ is just another word for ‘dynamics’ .

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Terms specific to Fiddle/Folk Violin
Vivian Wagner

http://beststudentviolins.com/terms.html#fiddle

"NOTE: Musicians can argue endlessly about these meanings; many definitions are dependant on the stylistic practices of any given era, or even a specific composer."

Worldfiddler > > >

"Lilt (or "swing"): Irish Traditional term for playing in a way that inspires dancers."

..

"Lilting: synonymous with swing (i.e. swung rhythm) but which may refer also to syncopation or other subtle ways of interpreting and shaping musical time."

"Dynamics: varying degrees of loudness or softness; if the effect is produced by changing the number of players playing each part the correct term is then ‘terraced dynamics’. While these terms are standard in classical music, and appear as instructions in sheet music, they are not frequently used yet in traditional genres, with the notable exception of jazz works by such composers as Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (1890-1941)."

http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheorydefs.htm

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

But nothing is set in stone, David. And the ornaments are not part of the tune, they are the tune, and we are free to exercise flexibility and personal taste in this music. This is a version-free zone, remember!

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

‘Nothing is set in stone’, which makes music music. Each time a tune is played there are several possibilities worth exploring.
"It really comes down to loosening yourself up and playing with rhythm and swing, feel the tune in yourself and enjoy your playing 🙂"
Cheers, Mollie!

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

OK, lilt = dynamics + swing. We all know what it is, vocally and instrumentally, but it’s a bugger to put into an agreeable definition. So it’s easier just to say ‘lilt’ … hehe.

Some good definitions on there, btw : http://beststudentviolins.com/terms.html#fiddle :

"Slurring: important in Irish trad, a "rocking" phrase where the melody comes back to a pedal note (EX: E2BE dEBE)."

"Dragging the bow: the common technique of keeping the hair on the strings while playing. "

"Cuts - a percussive, very short grace note which stops the strings vibration. "

OK, come back Expert Village - all is forgiven.

Meanwhile, I’m off to don my boxing gloves to see if it helps improve my golf swing.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

One of the big reasons i suggest playing a tune like out in the ocean with no ornamentals , is its much much harder to make sound good, or brilliant thats why its such a good idea, because the process will open your potential up exponentially .
Play this way for a few hours/days, try a few tunes this way, but really think about what else you can do, perhaps take a bar and experiment with melodic variations, experiment with rhythmic variations. little snaps and twists will start to emerge from the tune.
Once you can take a tune, just the bones and build interest and excitement and imagination [the body] in you will find that is still there when you reincorporate or incorporate the ornaments.
id like to pull a few more holes in steves argument, I know its like shooting fish in a barrell but , well its a site about trad so He reckons we shouldn’t let bad advice past and despite his denials Steve has offered some very clear and IMO atrocious advice .
So which ornaments are part of the tune?
Specifically, which ornaments do you use Steve? seeing as how your so clear about the ornaments not being ornaments and the tune not being the tune unless it has these ‘ornaments’ . ?
Which ornaments are required before the music can sound ‘authentic’ and who here tries Search to sound’ authentic’ ?
Do you crann on pipe tunessteve? ? if not, you cant play pipe tunes properly, because the ornaments, are part of the tune…. is that clear? because they are ‘required’ in the tune…. .see what I mean about a weak argument? that the tunes somehow require ornamentation to stop them sounding ‘bland ’ lol….
The tunes are not by any means bland and the tune is still the tune if a harmonica or banjo or fiddle plays them without ornaments.!!!!!!
I really wonder sometimes at this site, it can maintain a gestalt due to the vociferous postings of a couple of middle aged middle of the road players with huge egos and combative tendencies when with the application of just a modicum of intelligence and clear thought the argument falls far short of a full house.

Of course pipe and fiddle ornaments are not ‘required’ for mandolin players. in fact the mandolin has relatively no ornamental possibilities and yes I play mandolin . and no I dont consider double stops ornaments.
You see its the blandness, the boring oneself to death, that is what im suggesting you avoid, search for your own music and originality. Its our responsibility to make the music we play sound good, not bland or boring unless one aspires to be a bland boring player…. 😎
Its this simple, if what you play sounds bland or boring to you , without ornaments, what makes you think its sounds any better With ornaments? its still bland and boring but ornamented bland and boring because its not the ornaments that add excitement, its you, the player.

The the tricks and techniques , rolls cranns etc etc etc etc etc are like the spice in a meal, If the meal is exquisitely prepared with fresh organic ingredients by a master it need no spices , dull cooks prepare uninteresting boring food then add lots of spices to , in some fashion , attempt to make it sound good. Dont, learn to cook exciting food. What master chef will rely on spices to make their food sound good? 😉 none. they are build in and upon an interesting , exciting, body which the player has created with real musical skill.

if your playing sans ornaments sound dull, then you have plenty to work on before adding spices….
@Jim, yes a good boxing instructor might help your golf swing a lot, the physic mechanics of the human body in the application of power and force, are universal, just some people dont have the right mechanics so they cant punch or swing and that includes a lot of amateur boxers and martial artists! its just applied physics.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"I really wonder sometimes at this site, it can maintain a gestalt due to the vociferous postings of a couple of middle aged middle of the road players with huge egos and combative tendencies when with the application of just a modicum of intelligence and clear thought the argument falls far short of a full house. "

LOL

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"The the tricks and techniques , rolls cranns etc etc etc etc etc are like the spice in a meal, If the meal is exquisitely prepared with fresh organic ingredients by a master it need no spices ,"

You might find entire countries and cuisines objecting to you there Will. One word, for example,

"Masala"

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Hey Smash, I thought you were done arguing? Oh, that was on the other thread 🙂

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Not at all STW, my dad was born in India, as was my grandfather and great grandad, I was raised on Indian food . Spices are not by any means the secret behind good Indian cooking, anyone can pile in Chilli and what-have you, its the subtle interactions between the components that deliver a good ‘Curry’ its all the ingredients and the way they are cooked and combined. If you think all one needs to do to make good Indian food is add ’ curry powder’ ……LOL , the spices are ingredients that are added in type and quantity in relation to the bones and body of the meal. the art in Indian cooking is not adding loads of spices 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I didn’t say "just add curry powder" - the spices are ingredients just as much as the rest.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Jim, I’m not arguing, I’m making observations on the "content" of Will’s argument.

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oh nonsense STW, do you not have a clue about Indian food? Thats what this place is like actually, People is going on about curry and the best curry powder for curry and how to make an authentic curry. some people say you must follow this recipe or its not curry anymore. that curry must have spices etc etc 🙂 LOL

Of course a Rogan Josh needs certain ingrediants to be complete , just as Irish pipe music needs certain ingredients. What Im suggesting is that people first learn to cook good simple food that fills a mans belly and satisfy needs.
First people learn to play good simple exciting music, then start building in the finer techniques and methods .

How much Chilli does a Rogan Josh need? what sort of chilli? any chilli? is it still Rogan josh with no Chilli?
How many ornaments does a piece need before its’ authentic’ ? The joke of this argument is that we could have master Indian chefs prepare an exquisite meals but some eejits say, well there is no curry powder in it, so it cant possibly be a curry , ie an authentic Indian meal. not realising that there is no such thing as a ‘curry ‘apart from in the minds of westerners who know no better.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

In her wonderful book ‘Eastern Vegetarian Cooking’, Madhur Jaffrey has this to say, after discussing the cross-fertilization of recipes from places as far apart as the Punjab, Palestine and the Philippines and whether they can be reconciled within one menu, ‘Use your judgment and put together what *you* think goes together’.

I think that says a lot more than Will’s ramblings about curry powder!

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I already advanced this spicy food analogy on a previous thread and my point was (as STW just said) ‘the spices are ingredients just as much as the rest’, It’s largely a matter of taste as to what you put into either your food or your tune, but added spices are not separate to the meal just as so-called ‘ornamentation’ is not separate to the tune. As for how people should go about learning (e.g., to play without ornamentation first), I guess that must depend on the individual. When I first began playing the fiddle I just listened and copied what I heard (mainly Sligo style). This music was mostly already in my head. It was just fiddling that was new to me, and until I actually read about it on the internet I didn’t even know I was playing so-called ornamentation (well I don’t get out much). It just came naturally to me to play like that and struggle if I try and do it without. It’s just all the tune to my ears and fingers. And I like to have salt in my porridge.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Following up my previous comment, On another current discussion (What is this technique called ?) Jeeves Jones gave the following advice:- ‘How about getting the player to listen to what you mean and telling them that’s what you want? If you give it a name they’ll do what they think that name means, which will probably not be what you want at all!’. This was dittoed by Gam.
Now, in agreement with this, I realise that terminology is important for learning purposes, so we must talk of ‘ornamentation’ and such, but a proficient player should throw away that ladder once they have climbed it. We argue so much about words and definitions, but in the playing we should consider the motto of The Royal Society to be more appropriate;- i.e., ‘Nothing in word alone’. It’s all just how your fingers (etc.) play the tune. Ornamentation my arse!

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

One of the big reasons i suggest playing a tune like out in the ocean with no ornamentals , is its much much harder to make sound good, or brilliant thats why its such a good idea, because the process will open your potential up exponentially" .
this is very true, get rid of the ornaments and start thinking about dynamics, phrasing and lilt. comhaltas are obsessed with ornamentation, and turn out players playing prescribed ornamentation, who are oblivious to everything else that makes up music, including feeling.

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The ornaments are not the tune.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

When I first head Irish music as a kid I thought it was nothing short of magical stuff. All I heard was a complex tune. I knew or cared nothing of the technique of ornamentation because all I heard was a tune. It’s still the same for me. Dick when you say that ornaments are not the tune you are analysing,- i.e. reducing the tune into conceptual components. That’s fine for leaning (for some people), but a properly played tune is a holistic synthesis and all I know when I either listen to or play a tune is the tune. I can’t separate it into ornaments or otherwise and it robs the soul to even try.

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Re: Adding: Dynamics + Swing = X

"OK, lilt = dynamics + swing. We all know what it is, vocally and instrumentally, but it’s a bugger to put into an agreeable definition*. So it’s easier just to say ‘lilt’ … hehe." ~ Jim Dorans

* Dolmetsch online, et. al. > > >

"Lilting: synonymous with swing (i.e. swung rhythm) .."

"Dynamics: varying degrees of loudness or softness; .. "

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Dick, as long as ornamentation is only considered in the context of something one adds to the melody then subtle, nuanced articulations will become ignored until eventually no one misses them. So, rather than thinking of ‘additions’ into the melody (ornamentation) why not something complete & whole itself ~ articulation of the melody; the lilt, phrasing, pulse, variation .. all played as one.

Not separate bits added each one onto to the other.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Can everyone offering advice and opinions on this thread please post an mp3 or YouTube of themselves playing so we can get an idea of how they employ these musical ideas?

Re: mp3ing your personal take on ornamentation, embellishment, rolls, etc.

I imagine everyone "can", Jack. But as this is primarily a text-based forum, why not allow everyone to continue in the medium most of them have become accustomed to?

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Those who insist in the one "right way" ought to take the time to watch this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDCIKxL-hEY


Beyond this I’m not going to bother commenting on what I think (with the exception of the curry issues) might be a horse that has been dead for years.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"Can everyone offering advice and opinions on this thread please post an mp3 or YouTube of themselves playing so we can get an idea of how they employ these musical ideas?"
Speaking only for myself, I only ever play for myself (and my donkey) and have nothing to prove to anybody about my playing ability. And that’s not a cop-out because (A) I don’t care, and (b) in relation to this particular discussion, playing ability is not a measure of logical opinion. A person could come to the same conclusions as me just by listening to the music. I can’t yodel, but I’d make the same claims about that as I made here about ornementation (cept I hate yodeling… and who the feck writes those awful lyrics?).

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And yes, Cboody, you are right, but dead horses have an irritating way of keep rising. I wish I could stop myself jumping on their backs when they do. Somebody please shoot the bastard (i.e., either me or the horse) once and for all.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*Can everyone offering advice and opinions on this thread please post an mp3 or YouTube of themselves playing so we can get an idea of how they employ these musical ideas?*]

OK Jack, you go first. 🙂

Seriously though, (as you know) in the past, members submitted their playing to my ‘Mighty Craic’ project, put up their playing here in public for all to hear, either as individuals or within a group setting. There were some pretty good players, yourself included, and the whole thing was done in the spirit of sharing and positiveness and I think the majority agreed that it was a good idea, and something good came out of it.

Things are a lot different on this site now. I can guarantee that if people start posting clips, the debate will just degenerate to un-constructive and unjustified criticism by those who had opposing viewpoints. I’ve already been hung, drawn and quartered for my own playing on Youtube, without even having drawn attention to it in the first place. Just a few individuals trying to use it against me.

I fully understand your way of thinking (I’ve called out for the ‘put up and explain’) before, but it only caused more bad feeling.

If you really think about it, one could quite easily demo (regardless of the quality of their playing) a tune like Out of the Ocean, plain and bare, and then with ornaments. What would be the benefit? It wouldn’t be of any value in this current debate. It would just start another sub-debate, imo.

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I can’t believe that you’ve ever been canned for your playing ability Jim. I have total respect for both your knowledge and playing. If YOU get canned then there’s no way I will ever go public in cyberspace. I just enjoy what I do and who cares what anybody else thinks (I don’t want to know). But talent levels surely don’t discount people from having an opinion on such an irritating topic as this one. (sadly my ego compels me to add that this is not a confession that I’m not a proficient player. I just value my privacy).

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Thanks, Gobby. Actually, it was one of those things that just went haywire, and it really should never have happened. In ensuing debate at the time, there was (I believe) unfair and unwarranted criticism levelled at me, and to be honest I handled it very badly, which is one of the reasons things went the way they did. Anyway, it’s all in the past now.

That said, it would be interesting to hear examples of different ways of playing / baring / ornamenting, on different instruments, purely for enlightenment purposes, but realistically it’s not going to happen with members here.

If you think about it, there are enough clips of the ‘big boys’ playing in both of these styles on Youtube and the like. Finding them can be time-consuming, though 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I guess what I’m getting at is that these debates are too semantical and the dysfunction becomes painful. I wonder if anything is gained when you’re describing something that can only truly be conveyed by example. If one isn’t ready to record their own playing, why not peruse YouTube and places like that for examples of what they’re talking about. Jeremy has now facilitated the inclusion of videos, so it can work nicely. I’m sure you’d even find examples of accordion rolls. 😉

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"How much Chilli does a Rogan Josh need? what sort of chilli? any chilli? is it still Rogan josh with no Chilli? "

Rogan Josh isn’t Indian. The name itself is Farsi. My father and grandfather (and their parents before them, going back for centuries) were born in India too. They weren’t there because of the Raj, however. It doesn’t make me an authority on Indian cooking either.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I see that people are ignoring that clip linked by cboody. It was likewise ignored when I linked it in the precursor discussion to this one (except by Steve who I directed to it).

I’m wondering if some people only see ‘the tune’ through green-tinted glasses. Fine, if that’s not a loss to ‘the music’.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

we all agree that some embellishment is generally used, some of us think its ok to play the tune occasionally unembellished, others do not agree, why do we not leave it at that it is after all a matter of personal opinion, as is the kind of embellishment and the amount.

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*I see that people are ignoring that clip linked by cboody. It was likewise ignored when I linked it in the precursor discussion to this one (except by Steve who I directed to it).*]

Yes we did. But now, I just watched it, and it pretty much answers a lot of questions. Thanks 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Well spotted Weejie; Persian. buts its a tune that is commonly played in Indian Curry houses .🙂

Yeah Dick, well said. Its just that beginners are sent so far adrift on this site IMO that these issues are fundamental to the ethos of the site. Poor novices go off thinking that playing scales in anathema, playing without ornaments is a sin etc etc etc Even the words of, Patsy Touhey, Kevin Burke or Micheal Gorman are discarded in preference to that of a few vocal ‘internet experts’.

Let me be really clear . I recommend anyone trying to learn the music not to judge the words of these guys in relation to their own understanding and experience , because they have none. Neither do it in relation to a few’internet experts’ postings here.
If, PT, MG or Mr B offer advice, listen and learn. Unless your ego is so full of your own genius that they have nothing to offer you in which case you already know it all , move along, nothing to learn here.

Embellishments have nothing to do with lilt? In what sense?

I learned something about how embellishments contribute to lilt when thinking about how a triplet(not a bowed triplet, but a regular 3-note triplet) sounded in a 4/4 time signature. It gives a bounce to it that wouldn’t normally exist in 4/4.

You can fit two measures of 6/8 into one measure of 4/4 by turning the quarter notes into triplets. This changes the rhythmic quality of the phrases of course. You still have 4 distinct beats, but you hear them in 3’s instead of ones.

Now to look closer in; Adding a bowed-triplet, or a cut, or roll, subtly changes the rhythmic quality of the phrase. Since many of these phrases have these ornaments in them, it changes the rhythmic quality of the tune as a whole, though individually the ornaments are only subtle. In one place you’re putting three notes where two notes would normally be, and in another you’re putting five notes where three(or one) would normally be. So many different ways to do it. Not to mention the even more subtle ways to influence the rhythm using different embellishments in the same places, and the intensity you put into them.

So, instead of getting a straight-forward, possibly monotonous rhythm, you get an ever-changing, consistently interesting rhythm.

The rhythmic liveliness of this music is what gives it life. The embellishments influence this liveliness very much. I hope this makes sense.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"Unless your ego is so full of your own genius that they have nothing to offer you in which case you already know it all , move along, nothing to learn here."

I left out a small detail…

…And with all of these subtle changes to the rhythm, the beat is still steady and the tempo doesn’t change(with skilled players). Now that’s some crazy mind-tricking. It’s jumping, and bouncing, and sliding; Dancing all around, but it is still steady ;)

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Exactly Jerone,. t the basic melody can be stated in a thousand different ways without ever so much as a cut. the ornaments, back to back cranns etc are built upon this over a lifetime of study/playing who on earth thinks they can copy a masters external form and be a master !
With a player like yourself jerone you have a solid musical pedigree with skill and determination very evident, but stil,l if you can add interest excitement etc to simple tunes with simple settings in the way you play, then your ornamented settings will have real meat on them , unlike the vapid empty stuff ive heard from [ex]’reigning experts’ here….

thats not done by speed, play half speed , swing the melody, sing the tune through your fiddle, the fiddle is an extension of your body, find your self in the instrument and music .

The tune is never played the same way , its fluid, changing , flexible….
As regards a new comer to the fiddle…. ”What I would recommend to anybody who wants to learn is scales, scales, scales, scales. Over and over and over and over and over again until you go mad.” kevin Burke.

-then play the tunes well , then incorporate the flourishes and rolls.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"if you can add interest excitement etc to simple tunes with simple settings in the way you play"

How do you go about doing so? For example, on a fiddle, what would you recommend? Are there any good examples out there, since learning by example is much easier!

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

From a previous OP on the same topic;
"Whenever I try to do it, it sounds out of place and way too slow in the song, but if I do it too fast it’s just muddled and sounds even stranger."

One of the responses;
~ "you have identified the most important point about all this, the timing."

"What so many people (including a good many here) get hung up on in this is the notes. It’s not about notes, it’s about rhythmic phrasing. It’s not difficult, but it does take a bit of practice. Where you are ahead of the crowd is in your realisation that your first attempts are not right. Keep it up, you’ll have it in no time."

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[**"Whenever I try to do it, it sounds out of place and way too slow in the song, but if I do it too fast it’s just muddled and sounds even stranger."

One of the responses;
~ "you have identified the most important point about all this, the timing."**]

I don’t know where this came from, so I don’t know the context, but from reading the above it could equally mean that it’s someone having trouble playing the instrument rather than understanding the music. Sometimes that’s the trouble with isolated quotes.

Given the use of the word ‘song’ I’d guess it’s from someone on the west side of the pond 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*As regards a new comer to the fiddle…. ”What I would recommend to anybody who wants to learn is scales, scales, scales, scales. Over and over and over and over and over again until you go mad.” kevin Burke. *]

Interesting. I wonder what the response would have been if I’d said that on here? ;)

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Will-I like how you took Jerone’s posts and took them to mean the exact opposite

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

lol Jim, I did, and still do. !! go to the archives, some of the biggest rows were exactly over this ..I simply had no idea such basic common sense recommendation would in any way be controversial… only here LOL

Jerone had some very valid points regarding ornamentation . They can be great for variation and all the other points he made , but they can also be plastered on with nary a musical thought .

The ability to play tunes well does not require ornaments, they are above and beyond that. The ability to make the music lively etc is a basic musical skill that in no way revolved around ornaments. IMO they are the ‘icing on the cake’ , First learn to cook a decent cake before plastering the icing etc on .

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"What I would recommend to anybody who wants to learn is scales, scales, scales, scales. Over and over and over and over and over again until you go mad.” kevin Burke"

Did Kevin Burke genuinely say that?

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"IMO they are the ‘icing on the cake’ , First learn to cook a decent cake before plastering the icing etc on ."

As opposed to the spice in a curry, which was a short-lived analogy!

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

I have never heard any playing of Irish trad by its luminaries either in person or recorded that only plays the melody sans any decoration, i.e., ornamentation. If people leave it out, it is intentional as either an exercise or a demonstration. If anyone can produce recorded samples of Irish trad dance tunes played sans ornamentation as the music and not an exercise or demonstration… I’d be interested to hear it. But if it can even be found… it would be an anomaly and hardly represent the state of the music.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

well smash, I could have gone on… but thats an old analogy and you can probably find the thread if your interested..
Why not ask him… I did. he was very friendly and accommodating, a gentleman. WE discussed metronomes, scales etc and were firmly in agreement. in fact he encouraged me to stand my ground and was quite amazed, as was I, at the scale of the virulence and aggression I encountered when I recommended the metronome, scales,and arpeggios.

Jack, Im not suggesting that people play without ornaments unless they want to , apart from this process I describe. Its a temporary approach, just as you wont find Kevin Burke recording his scales…. doesnt mean he didnt practice them…. .

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Like Phantom Button, I think it would be instructive to hear examples of unornamented tunes.
To me, this whole argument of whether or not ornaments are part of a tune is silly. Like many of the issues that folks argue about ad nauseum, it is not a go/no go proposition. Ornamentation, or articulation, is not a fixed or permanent part of a tune, it can be used in different ways and different places, with the tune still maintaining its integrity. But, it is part of a tune’s essential nature—strip it all away, and the tune loses some of its essence as part of the tradition. Heck, even many of the individual notes are not always a fixed or permanent part of the tune. In fact, it is an interesting and valuable lesson to play around with tunes to determine how much they can change before they become unrecognizable. Especially in an aural tradition like this, things are never hard and fast. Arguing about something fluid as if it is something concrete is an exercise in futility.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Oh, and hi, Jerone, haven’t heard much from you lately, but good to hear from you again! I always enjoy your contributions.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"It’s a sad day when you cannot trust everything you read on the internet" ~ Oscar Wilde

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Actually, it was Thomas Jefferson who said that. The man down the pub told me. He proved it by showing it to me on his laptop LOL

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"It’s a sad day when you cannot trust everything you read on the internet" ~ Oscar Wilde


"These Morris Marinas are utter shite"~ Geoffrey Of Monmouth

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Will Evans writes: "Jack, Im not suggesting that people play without ornaments unless they want to , apart from this process I describe. Its a temporary approach, just as you wont find Kevin Burke recording his scales…. doesnt mean he didnt practice them…. ."

First of all, I never mentioned or even discussed scales one way or the other, so I don’t know why you said that. The issue is ornaments and their importance in the music. Correct me if I’m wrong about your position, but you seem to be saying that their importance is marginal and they can be left out. I have been arguing that they are always present and in fact a critical part of what gives Irish trad its style and identity. I understand how they can be left out as an exercise, but you seemed to be suggesting they weren’t necessary… extra as it were.

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Sorry, I don’t want to weigh in much on the argument (though I have learned a bit from the back-and-forth) other than thirding Na éisc’s seconding of Mollie’s post up at the top. Well said. 🙂

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

"And yes, Cboody, you are right, but dead horses have an irritating way of keep rising. I wish I could stop myself jumping on their backs when they do. Somebody please shoot the bastard (i.e., either me or the horse) once and for all."

OK, so I posted again just to ask where you live. I’ll be happy to help out 🙂

Thanks for the giggle!

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Hey Al, I’ve been out of practice for the last several months. Had to change priorities until things get settled. I haven’t forgotten about the music though. I’ll be back soon enough 🙂

Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

Jim Dorans, sorry I didn’t provide sufficient context for the quotes further up the page.
Hope this helps ~ by ‘same topic’ I meant it to indicate playing ornamentation; i.e. "From a previous OP on the same topic;"

Here’s more from the O.P.
"What I’m asking, I suppose if for some advice/resources to help me get a handle on ornamentation. I’ve head people suggest listening to more music, and I am, but it doesn’t really connect with the playing aspect to me."

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Re: Adding in Ornamentation, Embellishment, Rolls, etc.

[*Jim Dorans, sorry I didn’t provide sufficient context for the quotes further up the page.
Hope this helps ~ by ‘same topic’ I meant it to indicate playing ornamentation; i.e. "From a previous OP on the same topic;"

Here’s more from the O.P.
"What I’m asking, I suppose if for some advice/resources to help me get a handle on ornamentation. I’ve head people suggest listening to more music, and I am, but it doesn’t really connect with the playing aspect to me."*]

OK, thanks … it makes more sense now 🙂