About steady rythm and hesitations

About steady rythm and hesitations

Hi everyone,

I’ve noticed lately some members of the forum were brave enough to post here some of their own recordings seeking for advices. As I don’t have any flute teachers in my area I’ve decided I’ll give it a try :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fao7yo6bzsphkez/2014-06-13_18-29-00_152.wav

So first a bit of self-criticism. I’ve noticed how difficult it can be to keep a steady rythm when you play alone. I guess my lack of embouchure has an impact on my rythm. But there is worse, I feel I’ve done lots of mistakes while playing altough I play the two first reels in unusual keys. It can be tricky to play tunes in a different key but I think it could be a good exercice plus I try to focus on the embouchure rather than learning new tunes.

So what do you think about my playing ? I am not scared to read harsh commentaries. I am deeply fond of Irish music and I am always eager to learn more especially from the native of this music or the veterans around the world.

What kind of exercices would you recommand to improve my rythm ?
How do you gain self confidence while playing ?
What should I improve in my playing ?

Thx for your advices,
Alex

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Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

I apologize in advance for the sound quality as I’ve made this recording in my kitchen :(

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Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

"What kind of exercices would you recommand to improve my rythm ?"

Before anyone jumps in with the word "metronome", try and find some good videos of people playing for dancers, or better still, find a local dance and head on down to see how it’s done. Playing for dancers, or dancing yourself to get an idea of what a jig/reel/hornpipe* "feels" like, is a great way to do it.

*especially a hornpipe.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

I think my rythm is ok (but still not so steady though) when I play along with someone else, my problem is more about being able to play alone with a correct tempo and it’s another matter. I sometimes use the metronome but I don’t notice much progress. I’ve read somewhere you have to internalise the tempo… but it’s a bit abstract to and what does that really mean … ?
I played once for dancers but I was playing with a fiddler and I could count on her to drive the rythm.

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Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Regarding rhythm: Tap your foot as you play. When you tap your foot, create a strong pulse so that the music does not travel a seamless linear pathway that has no lilt or lift. Find a recording of the tunes you play and play along with it. You have the ability to play at tempo and your fundamental technique is fine, but as you already know, your rhythm needs to improve. I don’t think playing alone is the issue; you’re just not hearing, or at least not heeding, the pulse of the tune.

Regarding hesitations: Quite simply, never stop. You can’t correct once you’ve started a tune, so just muddle on and keep going until you get back on track. Stopping to recalibrate destroys everything, whereas if you muff up a part of the tune and just plod forward, you and everyone else will forget about the problem spot almost immediately. It’s a hard habit to break, those hesitations, but you are not so far off the mark that there is any need to stop or pause, thus acknowledging the mistake. Everything you play will be part of the tune, so make the most of it and keep going!

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1. Slow down.

2. Metronome.

3. Play with good players.

4. Slow down.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

I don’t think your timing would improve using a metronome (although one would help) so much as by sorting out in your mind what note the beat falls on. You have a constant dumty dumty sort of rhythm going, with a strong emphasis on the first beat of every four. Try evening out the rhythm to more of a da da da da, and stress each third beat — da da DA da, da da DA da; but really *wait* until the absolute last nano-second before playing that third note. Try to hit is right on the beat, not before and not after — razor-blade accuracy. The other notes will fall into place if you get that third one spot on; but, as I say, you have to know in your mind what the note is in order to ‘hold it back’ so that the timing is accurate. to that end, try playing a tune as quietly as possible, but each third note as loudly as possible, until you build up a sort of mental record of what the notes are. Look for patterns of rhythm in individual tunes, rather than a whole genre. Not all reels follow the same prescribed formula, and the best tunes will seem to tell you how they want to be played.

The other thing is — don’t stop. If you make a mistake, keep going. It might take you a couple of bars, or even, heaven forfend, a whole section. But the better you know the tune the easier it is to get back into it. Try to adopt a commanding frame of mind, and don’t let the tune take charge.

The way to ‘gain confidence’ while playing is not to look for *self*-confidence, but to develop confidence in your ability. Once you know you can play reasonably well, the fluffs and bum notes lose their importance. You have no-one to impress but yourself.
Otherwise, you have a good sound and a nice easy style. I’m not a flute player, so I’ll leave that bit to others better qualified; but I enjoyed the download.

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Ye regarding keeping going i suck at it still on tunes i dont know well but getting better. thing is i think ill know a tune well but as soon as i start recording i realise i screw up even a few times. that is moainly cos im trying to add extra things in that throw me off tho. the tiniest distraciton screws up my whole flow! its like juggling plates in that respect. i think its just a matter of internalising one thing at a time so that you dont have to think about it.

my expert opinion. £25 a lesson if interested. cheers.

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Arthur, you’re a headcase, but you’ve got a point there … :)

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Thx for the good advices you all. Arthur i have decided to post one of my own recording because of you and all the good advices you got. Some people give really good advices here and they are very helpful imo. I’ll try to improve my playing based on what gam and ailin said.

Thx again

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Good to know I am a trend setter :) and yes i think the more that show their recordings the merrier to make it more the norm than the exception.

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Only just listened to it now as didnt work before. sounds great apart from the little pauses…what were you complaining about :P? i imagine its easy to fix those pauses if you take a bit more time.

Youve inspired me to upload another one soon now :)

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I think if you played a simpler tune that you know better, and maybe cut down on the ornamentation, you would play with a steady rhythm. I think you have already internalised the rhythm of the tunes you recorded, but unfortunately the rhythm you have internalised isn’t the right one. But up to the point where you make a mistake, and stop, you are playing that wrong rhythm ok.

Using a metronome doesn’t make sense to me, it’s trying to get an outside aid to do something you need to do yourself.

How did you initially learn to play the tunes? I would suggest that the first step in internalising the correct rhythm would be to listen to a good performance of the tune repeatedly, after a few times through you can try to sing along (silently is ok), and eventually try singing the tune solo.

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It’s not just about those pauses it’s about self confidence and how to fix hesitations which happen spontanously. I don’t think it’s about not knowing the tune but it occurs sometimes I end up loosing track of what I play and it’s pretty annoying. There are days where I cannot play fluently at all and others where everything seems to work smoothly. I really want to fix that and also how to emphasis correctly the rythm of a reel. I think I am nearly there but I know that in ITM a small step is years of long term endeavor ! But I still have faith

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@bernie

I’ve learned those tunes from a friend and here is the source (learned by ear from those recordings) :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qvuo1y6tcabld1w/Mills%20are%20grinding%201.MP3
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gqqtw4zsb0f6gb9/Reel%20The%20trip%20to%20Cullenstown.MP3
https://www.dropbox.com/s/2wttk1jk9sr1glb/Street%20player%20-Brumley%20braes%203.MP3

What I play : Good morning for your nightcap/trip to cullenstown/mills are grinding/the street player

The first tune I learned it from a tape of a crowdy session which i could barely hear something

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Anyone more experienced correct me if im wrong but sounds to me like your friend isnt emphasising either on the recordings so your trying to copy a bad copy like chinese whispers.

This pointing the finger i see is really easy when its not your own music on display :P. i try to avoid it cos i know what its like all too well :) but i suppose is good for feedback

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Here are two things that I think would help you based on listening to your playing.

Pay attention to you’re thoughts. When you mess up and pause, ask yourself what were you thinking about? You might find yourself balancing your check book or putting together a grocery list. Or you might be in a spiral of self criticism like this:
http://youtu.be/aeE60psLrI8?t=1m3s


And maybe think about downloading at least some of this album:

http://www.emusic.com/album/mark-stone/the-bodhran/10936638/

I’ve gotten a lot of milage out of some of those tracks. Better than a metronome for sure! I have a program on my phone to change the tempos.

I think you’re sounding good now and just need a little more rhythm and confidence, but don’t we all? :-)

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@cheeky elf
Haha funny video it’s true that sometimes our brain can be a mess while playing. It’s hard to reach the state where you are completly focus on the tune and away at the same time. It’s a kind of hypnotic feeling. Surprisingly when you reach this state the tune become fluent.

@arthur
Well maybe my musical model is not a good one. I’ve started ITM thanks to this friend which was as the time and still his imo the best flutist in the world "sigh". He is like a spiritual father to me please don’t demystyfy my father figure as I still am a new born child in ITM :-) I would lost all my points of references …

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Seems like you haven’t got your head around every bit of the melody on Morning Dew. From personal experience I tend to make more mistakes when I haven’t thoroughly studied, learned, and practiced a tune. At the point you hesitate, that’s not really the problem, but in the seconds leading up to that point you must have been panicked to remember a note or turn of phrase causing you to shut down for a second. Practice just the measures surrounding the mistake in isolation, on a loop. Also if your goal is to get better recordings, or to improve public performance, just recording yourself more will get you aware of your mistakes so you can correct them.

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I’ll add you’ve already done a fine job of internalizing the tempo. At no point did I think your rhythm was off, though it did have a different feel than I am used to for those tunes. You are not struggling with a rhythm issue but a practice issue. Delve into the parts of the phrases that right now you are simplifying with skeleton phrasing. It’s fine to hold a quarter note, but make sure you know what that note represents, how it could be embellished, what it means to the tune.

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I play alone and find foot taping to be a good steady way to keep tempo. I also listen and play along with recorded tunes.

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I don’t understand that "da da DA da" thing. It’s not what I hear in reels.

@Ralex: it sounds pretty good to me. To be able to keep going throughout the tunes rather than stopping, I think you need to do the usual thing, which is to slow it right down and play each tune through a lot of times, but at very slow, steady pace. I do agree that you should iron out your playing - lose a bit of the dotted rhythm effect and make it a bit straighter. But I think you’ve got a decent feel to what you’re doing.

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… oh, and by the way, Good Morning to my Nightcap has long been one of my favourite tunes. :-)

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Actually to give a tip one of my classical teachers said which Ben reminded me of she said that you should play a tune so slowly that you don’t make even one error, if you do make an error then you’re playing it too fast.

This makes things alot ismpler imo, its binary, either you are playing too fast and making errors or playing at just the right speed for your present knowledge of the tune and not making errors.

Hmm this thread has been good for me too as it reminded me of some important things Id forgotten and stopping and starting is also a sticking point of mine.

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@Ben Hall — I’m not suggesting that the OP should play reels like that, I’m suggesting it as an exercise in sorting out on precisely which note the beat falls. You could equally well stress the second or fourth notes, but the result sounds unnaturally syncopated. The first beat has already been stressed; so only the third remains.

There are plenty of people who play reels with the third beat emphasised by cutting it short, i.e. stopping it dead rather than changing its time allocation. A rapid down-bow on the third beat and a slurred 4,1 and 2 is, if I read them correctly, suggested in several ‘how to’ books. But as I said, not all reels are the same, and formulaic bowing is not recommended be me.

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@ gam: Ah OK. I don’t know what’s recommended in books. I just play ‘em. ;-)

I still don’t think I’m really getting what you mean, though. "A rapid down-bow on the third beat and a slurred 4,1 and 2" can be read (by me, at any rate) either as an up bow over six quavers (counting crotchets in the bar), or as an up bow over three quavers (counting quavers in each half bar), in which case, your "third beat" must be what I would call "the offbeat to the first beat", ie the start of the second crotchet in the bar (and the fourth?). I would have thought it would be unusual to recommend using up bows over 6 quavers, at least as a regular thing. I really don’t know anyone who does that all that much - only rarely, for special effect. So I’m left still puzzling over what you mean by the third beat. :-/

On balance, I think you must be using the word "beat" to mean "note", ie each quaver in a reel, and to be counting in half bars rather than full bars. Is that right?

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Yes, beat as in note, count, quaver or whatever you call the four things the first of which is the one you tap your foot to.

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Yes, but my point is that there are two beats in a bar for a reel, but there are eight quavers, and I can’t work out which you mean, because it looks like you’re using both at the same time. If "the first […] is the one you tap your feet to", then there are two of them in the space of a bar. But there are eight quavers. "Beat", "note", "count" and "quaver" mean four different things. They’re not the same at all.

So I’ll have to ask again, because it’s still not clear to me what you mean: do you mean beat or note?

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Tell me if I’m wrong but in a reel I generally try to emphasize the 1st, the 3rd, the 5th ans the 7th beats. Someone told me once reels were about playing in a "triple-beat way " on a binary rythm (according Gilles Poutoux I think).
My mentor (I’ve posted some of his recording above and also below) has a very unique style imo and emphasizes the rythm over the melody.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/p3xgldudjewnc5b/Baltimore%20Salute%20%23.mp3
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s2s2dhbdzyd9djw/The%20Boys%20of%20the%20Lough%20fast%26%20Slow%20.MP3

It is as if he was always a bit late but always catch up his delay…
What do you think ? Am I wrong here ?

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Ah but Ben , Most Reels have 4 beats in a bar . 8-) It was merely an 18th C Classical misunderstanding; an erroneous assumption that because many Scottish Reels are in 2/2 that therefor all reels are! but in fact Most Irish and Scottish Reels are 4/4 , common time, not cut time . The books are full of misunderstandings , wrong chords, stupid lyrics, awful settings , settings with the wrong sharps and flats, wrong time signatures , its all there in print for the unwary.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

<Tell me if I’m wrong but in a reel I generally try to emphasize the 1st, the 3rd, the 5th ans the 7th beats. Someone told me once reels were about playing in a "triple-beat way " on a binary rythm (according Gilles Poutoux I think). >

I have no idea about the triple beat on binary rhythm idea, but "trying to emphasise" certain beats suggests a very analytical way of approaching the music, which I cannot help feeling is misguided because it can give a very unmusical result. Don’t lose sight of the fact that every tune is a tune, a melody, and not an exercise in producing any particular rhythmic formula. So different tunes will want different emphases in different places. Have a clear idea, a clear model, of the tune in your head, and play it the way it wants to be played, or how you hear it, or how it suggests itself to you.

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@Will: I know I was stating something open to question, but that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s not clear. Say, there’s four beats in a bar for a reel (not the way I hear it, but it doesn’t matter for these purposes), would you emphasise the third beat? I wouldn’t. But I don’t think (although I’m not sure) that that was what gam meant.

I understand what Stiamh has just said. That’s how I approach it. :-)

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It seems to me that Ben and Stiamh are getting to the heart of what playing Irish music is about-expressing the melody while still keeping a dance rhythm.

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"I sometimes use the metronome but I don’t notice much progress. I’ve read somewhere you have to internalise the tempo… but it’s a bit abstract to and what does that really mean … ?"

A technique I used is I would record myself practicing(fiddle), then try to sync my metronome with the recording. It’s pretty suspenseful and dramatic to me, waiting to see if my playing is in sync with a specific bpm. You’ll be impressed with yourself when you notice your rhythm getting steadier.

You can also learn the places where you lose the steady rhythm. I’m sure it’s much harder for you flute players, having to breath and all.

As for internalizing, it simply means you can feel a steady rhythm in your body. What I did was found bpms I felt comfortable playing at for certain tunes then I practiced at those bpms with the metronome. Sometimes i’ll also listen to a certain bpm and just tap my foot(my metronome makes different sounds).

I’m not sure how others do it, but that’s the way I was taught and it’s been working for me.

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@Ben — By ‘beat’ I mean ‘value of one quaver’. Given that not all notes are quavers, the ‘beat’ may coincide with a crotchet or other longer note, but the bit that would lie at the third quaver if the longer note were written as tied quavers, if you see what I mean, would still be stressed dynamically.
If you were tapping out the rhythm of a reel with drumsticks, each tap would represent a quaver. Unfortunately ‘tap’, ‘stroke’ or ‘hit’ are even more confusing than ‘beat’. Maybe we need a new word :)

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"Maybe we need a new word"

I think you may be right. ;-)

Still, I understand you now. I don’t like the offbeat emphasis produced though, when people consistently put that emphasis on the 3rd and 7th quaver of the bar, as I now understand you to suggest (purely as a practice technique, I know). The trouble is, people get into the habit of doing it - it’s something that you hear quite a lot in English players of a certain vintage, and, to my ears at least, sounds horrible. I think you simply *have* to do what Stiamh suggested, and get to know the particular tune you’re playing, and where its phrases and natural points of emphasis lie. How the tune goes, in other words.

Every now and then, for fun, I play a passage with that dreadful insistent offbeat, before changing it up and putting the emphases all over the place. I only do that in gigs though, not sessions, and only with guitarists who know me and can follow along when I start to get ‘stupid’, as one of them at least would put it. :-)

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If I were to play a reel as a drummer in 4/4 the stress is on 1 and secondary stress on 3 ; 1+2+3+4 if I were playing in 2/2 it would be 1e+a 2e+a stress on 1 and secondary on 2.
But the reality of course is that its all music and the job is to emphasize the tune , the melodic phrasing.
The groupings of tunes into rhythmic categories is of little importance unless the dancers want a reel and ye give em a jig :-)
The essence of music is the interplay of predictability and unpredictability. ( hmm not sure how that got in there but it sounds right :-) )
I dare not listen to the uploaded file ;-) but my advice to everyone, universally is to train with a metronome, slowly.
Ornaments ; I say it again and again; until you can play the tune well, simply in a vivacious and lively style with lift and verve they will get in the way.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

From my initial response to the OP —
"Look for patterns of rhythm in individual tunes, rather than a whole genre. Not all reels follow the same prescribed formula, and the best tunes will seem to tell you how they want to be played."

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Thats it in a nutshell Gam. What intrigues me is a tune ‘everyone’ plays in a certain manner , you know , typical euro-trad ;-) then playing it differently , so A fast reel in D play slowly in C or a slow Am reel play it lively in Bm all sorts of possibilities, etc etc ok … some dont work as well as others .
Its all very well aiming to achieve a certain sound or style , to emulate but everyone has to progress beyond that or stay at a certain level. Its in our personal development through our choices of ,. instruments, tunes and manners of playing etc etc that lead on to a very personal almost idiosyncratic style as in the case of many , infact come on , all of the top players , they are immediately identifiable by some characteristics like the instrument choice ie pipes in B or a particular fiddle sound or a stylistic twist etc etc etc .Everyone carves out a particular style as an expression of their personality through the choices they made. Unless we intend to be a very good clone of a particular player, or good copies of a number , at some point we will need to advance beyond that. So how? well same story , simplification, stripping out the superfluous opening up space and they the more space we find the more opportunities will develop for our own expression . The master and the beginner come from the same place in many ways that those all caught up in the middle can forget.
Thats why IMO its a good place to start out; simple and keep it simple , let complexity develop as a natural response to boredom :-)

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Loads of good advice for the OP here.. start slow, get pulse, tap foot, play on, etc.
A recurring theme in all of the rhythm thread discussions relates to the time sig of reels… 4/4 or 2/2?
This can create problems for musicians from other genres wanting to learn to learn ITM. I’ll use one example to illustrate. A classically trained violinist comes wanting to learn how to play Irish reels. We start with something simple which she has the sheet music for, "The Concertina Reel". We start slowly and she’s tapping her foot in 4/4 time… OK, but as we build up to speed, the foot becomes a blur distracting to others accompanying and becoming an obstacle to her ever getting there. STOP the music! Reels are two beats to bar, NOT four.

As an exercise for students to get the proper pulse, I sometimes have them listen to a recorded reel at speed and clap along with the music. They almost always get the 2 claps per bar right away. Then I’ll have them clap 4 claps to the bar to see how distracting it sounds. Finally, I’ll slow the recording down to the point where 4 claps sounds OK but ask them to stay with the 2 claps. It’s harder for some to practice slowly without reverting to 4 beats to the bar but if they can practice tapping 2 to the bar at slow speed it will go a long way to helping them achieve their goal of playing at speed.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Thx road to home i ll try to tap twice in bar now

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The stuff about 4/4 vs 2/2 is only relevant if you think in terms of written music. Better to forget all that, listen to tunes played correctly, and just learn to play what you hear.

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I find with tune players that the problems do often come from one of three things:

1) I know a fair few players who seem to practice the tune until the first time they get it right rather than the last time they get it wrong.

2) People who practice the wrong way, i.e. you need to strike the right balance between playing the stuff you already play well and working at the bits you need to tighten up on.

3) The main issue with tune players in my own experience is that many of them spend too much time playing alone. Because of this, they do get into bad habits like stopping when they make a mistake, speeding up or slowing down, rushing when the last note of a bar is a longer duration or when a bar ends in a rest (i.e. getting to the next note as soon as possible - as someone said above).

This is simple to correct. As unenjoyable as it can be, you must spend some time going over the more tricky parts of a tune or the parts where you make the most mistakes. The time will pay off in the long run when you can play and enjoy the whole tune.

Most importantly, even if it is only playing quietly at the back of a larger group or if it is only you and a friend playing in your house, you must get used to playing with other musicians, you WILL improve.

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"There’s no point in practicing playing things wrong!"- but nearly everyone does it.

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I don’t agree that "The stuff about 4/4 vs 2/2 is only relevant if you think in terms of written music." The thing is, do you think of reels as having a duple or a quadruple beat? In sound terms, not in terms of notation. And that, in my opinion, is very relevant. It affects how you make a tune sound.

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If you learn it from somebody playing it, the notion of duple or quadruple beat doesn’t come into it.

It’s a logical error you’re making Ben, I think. And not an uncommon one.

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A double "amen" to that Ben.
It’s especially of concern to someone trying to learn the music.
They practice a tune slowly tapping 4 to the bar then trot off to their local session thinking they have the tune down pat and get blown away. I’ve observed at our own session time and again. A newbie comes in, can’t keep up and leaves discouraged never to return and not really understanding what happened.

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Sorry Bernie,
I don’t think Ben is one making the "logical error".

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The difference between 2/2 and 4/4 is the difference between reggae and ska, big difference :-)

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Right Will, so if you listened to a piece of ska and tried to play it, would you have to think about whether it was in 2/2 or 4/4?

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Not till i came online :-) for me reels have always been in 4/4 bar the odd exception like St Annes Reel. The difference isnt so much in the melody, a band can slip between 2/2 and 4/4 backing exactly the same melody. Its in the pulse. So a reel needs to have no melody as long as the beat is right we can dance a reel. The rhythm is independent of the melody, but not the other way round.

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Perhaps you would like to explain my logical error then Roads.

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@ Bernie 29: "Perhaps you would like to explain my logical error then Roads."
OK. Honest question and I’ll try to answer as best I can.
For starters, I don’t see how the term "logical error" can be applied to anything in Ben’s post. Most "errors" (I would prefer "missteps" here,) in the musical rhythmic sense are ones of "pulse" and "feel" and have little to do with logic. From your earlier post, I got the impression that you think time signature is only important to sheet readers and has little or no aural implication for the player. IMO that’s where the "error" lies.

As I suggested in an earlier post (https://thesession.org/discussions/33318#comment711839) the most common forms of Irish music (reels, jigs, hornpipes,) are all duple-meter.. two beats to the bar. How that beat, or "pulse", is rendered in a tune can be highly nuanced using various techniques to give emphasis to the pulse. Another poster mentioned the importance of playing with others. In doing so, you should be able to "tune in" to how your key melody players nuance the pulse, establish a common "groove" and give the tune "lift". It doesn’t always happen but you know when it does.

I like the "clapping" exercise I described earlier to teach newbies how to zone-in on the pulse but I’ll use another illustration from gams post above. A typical reel might go like this:

DAH da-da-da DAH da-da-da with the pulse (emphasis,) coming on the first and fifth quavers.
If you want to hear the lift go right out of the tune just have someone emphasize it this way:
DAH-da DAH-da DAH-da DAH-da.

I didn’t mean to question your logic Bernie but I hope I’ve managed to explain my comment satisfactorily.

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” the most common forms of Irish music (reels, jigs, hornpipes,) are all duple-meter.. two beats to the bar.” Id have to strongly disagree there; Bar the odd exception Most reels are in common time and they are our most common form of music, Polkas are in 2 /4.
Jigs are compound duple 6/8 or compound triple9/8 or compound quadruple.12/8
Hornpipes are in cut time and common time depending on how they are played.
Martin Hayes is a prime example of someone who plays them(reels) right; in common time four to the floor. Everyone plays them 4/4 ! A reel played in 2/2 is like a ska tune played in a reggae style,it can work ,as can the other way round , but one is not the other .

Could someone upload an example of a reel being played in 2/2?

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Roads: you are talking and thinking about musical notation and the associated conventions. You don’t need to talk and think about those things to explain what you are trying to explain. You don’t need to explain bars and time signatures to a beginner, you don’t need to clap or say DAH-da-da-da etc. You just need to say "this reel goes like this", and play it, or lilt it.

You can teach and learn traditional music that way, without reference to notation. You can’t do it purely from the notation. So the music itself has a sort of priority over the notation and the conventions. It isn’t quite correct to say that the music is in duple time, because whether it is in duple time or not is a matter of convention. Notice that reels are often written in 4/4, whereupon competent players apply a different convention!

The actual sound of the music is not a matter of convention, it is a specific physical state of affairs, one we we can all share through experience, directly, immediately. Thinking in terms of notation and conventions gets in the way of this natural process.

Notation is great once you know how to use it. Using it without understanding it is what leads to the beginner errors you have been talking about. I don’t think they would have made those errors if they hadn’t been learning from written music.

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@ Will, I agree with your time sigs on everything except reels and I guess we’ll continue to disagree on that.
If you want to call then 4/4 and emphasize the 1st and 3rd beats I’d be OK with that since a single bar would contain the same set of eight quavers (1/8 notes,) whether 2/2 or 4/4. But I would still say that I hear that as played in "twos" with emphasis on each set of four quavers.

As to examples of reels played in 2/2 (cut-time,) I would simply refer you to any of the reels in the Comhaltas collection. They are all notated in cut-time and played that way on their recordings. At least that’s the way I hear them… two strong pulses per bar… watch the foot tap of anyone playing them at speed or just clap along.

My concern again is for those trying to learn. It’s fine to start slowly and count, "ONE and TWO and THREE and FOUR and" for the 8 quavers in a bar but that bogs down rather quickly when they try to come up to speed. I suppose it’s possible that we hear the same thing but interpret differently?

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

One other point on the time sig. It’s fairly accepted knowledge that a good brisk reel tempo is somewhere between 100 and 110 bpm. But that’s if you count in duple-meter or cut-time. If you’re counting in 4/4 time you’ll need to up that tempo to 200-220 bpm to achieve the same speed.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

I have a tune , 8 /8 its rhythm is 123 123 12, 123 123 12, how many beats to the bar? 8-)
How something is notated does not equate with how its played and whist I agree that reels are often notated in cut time they are generally played in 4/4 despite this . The lift of a reel comes from the fact that its fast dance music, fast 200 t0 240BPM and up for the flash young uns. this is one reason why rock drummers make such an abysmal hash of trad music, its faster than usual and in 4/4 , they often slip into 2/2 which ruins the tunes IMO . Remember the difference in the manner of playing 2/2 and 4/4 on fiddle or pipes etc is relatively minor compared to that of a drummer or backer.
I accept common practice is to use metronome markings at 2/2 so reels 100 to 120 and up but this is done because metronomes generally don’t go up to 250!
I have a fast 7/8 piece that i cant play with a metronome because they don’t go fast enough!
I have to say also that this misunderstanding is worst of all when applied to backing guitarists. There is nothing worse than a backer playing half time, well ok im exaggerating :-)here are many issues with backers but the lift and excitement in a lively reel comes from the fact that its a driving four to the floor beat . By its very definition common time is the most common form of music ; in trad thats reels…..

I think of Scottish county dance Ceilli bands when i think of 2/2 but even though they will have a strong humpty dumpty feel for their reels they r still played in 4/4 with a smattering of 2/2 leanings The drummer is the man who gives the feel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W-N8JeVTM0

counts in with 2 then proceeds to play 4 to the floor :-) just to confirm that wait till you can see his leg moving.

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[*I have a tune , 8 /8 its rhythm is 123 123 12, 123 123 12, how many beats to the bar?*]

By definition, 8.

And - that happens to be the rhythm for ‘Zabadak’, by Dave, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch :)

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Oh, there are eight notes but 3 beats, its a staggering rhythm . should i write the time sig 6/8+2/8? or even 3/8+3/8/+2/8?

:-)

its definitely not 2 or 4 its 3 but it can be played along with 2 or 4…..

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@ Ralex , sounds good to me , some really nice touches.

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[*I have a tune , 8 /8 its rhythm is 123 123 12, 123 123 12, how many beats to the bar?*]

I’m afraid I would have to change one of the last two quavers to a crotchet and play it in 9/8 as a slip jig, three to the bar… But I have a feeling that’s not what you had in mind ;-)

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The time signature does not tell you anything about the rhythm: it tells you the number of *notes* in a bar, and the length of each note.
Harking back to what I said earlier about needing another word — the number of notes is not the number of ‘beats’ in the sense of how many times you would tap your foot in a bar, or whatever means you have of determining the rhythm. Arguing about whether it is 4/4 or 2/2 is may be an interesting academic exercise but, as Bernie29 says, it tells you nothing about how to play the tune.

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It’s not an interesting academic exercise, it’s a tedious journey up the wrong road.

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Do people who think of reels as being in 4/4 regard those 4 as being evenly spaced in time ? Do they play their 3 and 4 at the same time as people who think of reels as being in 2/2 ? That’s not an ‘academic question’, it’s relevant to what might be meant by "a steady rhythm".

It’s music for styles of dancing in which some things are usually evenly spaced in time.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

… usually *perceived* as being evenly spaced in time.

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David50,
People who think reels are in 4/4 and people who think they are in 2/2 are equally mistaken, as I tried to explain above. 4/4 and 2/2 are merely conventions of notation, you can use either to notate the basics of a tune, neither convention captures what is actually played, they are just guidelines and require informed interpretation. Why should we care what these people have to say about their confused ideas?

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OK, let’s try it a different way. Some people tap their feet 16 times each time through the A or B part of a reel. Some people tap their feet (maybe more than one foot, maybe heel and toe) 32 times each time through the A or B part of a reel. Do the people who tap their feet 32 times do so at evenly spaced time intervals and do the people who tap their feet 16 times think that 32 timers should be doing it evenly ?

People who (rightly or wrongly) don’t think dance music usually has a regular pulse need not answer.

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Jeez guys, just play the tunes and enjoy the music.

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[The time signature does not tell you anything about the rhythm]

Yes and no gam. It can get complex because there are simple meters, compound meters, mixed, etc. Check out wikis link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_signature#Beat_and_time and decide for yourself whether there is, or is not, a relationship between time sig and beat.

Anyway, I’m not trying to make a case for notation over how the tune is actually played. If you take an ABC file and run it thru a midi player it will sound exactly the same whether you do it in 2/2 or 4/4 (assuming you double the tempo for the 4/4.) But in either case that would NOT be the way you would want to play it. It’s the little nuances and emphases that keep the tune from sounding "metronomic" and those may be different depending on whether you’re thinking duple-time or quadruple-time. So I think I understand Bernie’s point : Play it like you hear it.. you don’t need to know anything about time sig. My only point is that I hear reels as duple-meter, 2 to the bar, and that’s the way I play them. And, although Will makes a strong point with his guitar backup comment, I will stick with my opinion.

As one only recently come to this board, I would like to apologize to those who’ve labored through discussions like this time and again. Had I thought, I would have searched prior discussions before opening this "can-of-worms" and stepping on the hardened opinions of others. I would like to think though that should we ever play a session together these "differences of opinion" would waft away in the craic.

In the meantime, I would like to slip away under cover of the following diversion:
"Der Himmel ist blau!" Debate on!!
Auf Wiedersehen.. 8-)

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And not even a single f…k was given to the recordings i’ve just posted above lol

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Ah thx Will ;-)

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I think Roads to Home made a good point about the relationship between time sigs and rhythm. Yes, if you put different time sigs of the same family into a music notation tool, they will sound identical in perceived rhythm. In that respect, music players are 100% accurate - no argument there - it’s humans who mess it all up, then start arguing about it :)

I’d agree that you don’t really need to know the time sig of what you are listening to at the time, although you ought to know which family it belongs to (eg ‘regular even’ like 4/4, ‘regular odd’ like 6/8 or 9/8). To me, not knowing that is a bit like not knowing which key you are playing the tune in.

In a way, time sigs are academic and very arithmetical. They in themselves, do nothing to even remotely suggest a rhythm, let alone a time sig. It’s we silly musicians who have molded the notes, phrases and bars, put in diddly bits, pulses, accents and lifts to suit what we want to hear, and our listening to and playing of oft-repeated and similar patterns have made very good use of our brain plasticity. It’s the notes themselves, and their sequences that really determine what time sig we like a tune to be in (then we agree on that time sig).

Look at the pic and listen to the tune, and you’ll see what I mean. Exact same tune, isn’t it? Regardless of whether it’s in 4/4 or 6/8? :)

http://worldfiddlemusic.com/guest/wtf-is-going-on-here.jpg

http://worldfiddlemusic.com/guest/wtf-is-going-on-here.mp3

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How would you describe the rhythm of that tune Jim ?

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[*How would you describe the rhythm of that tune Jim ?*]

Sounds like a jig rhythm to me, as it probably does to everyone else - but as you can see it’s just an aural illusion. Like the bariolage in Bach’s Violin Sontata No 6. It trips a lot of folk up, because the whole rhythm / time sig appears to change during it. Of course, it doesn’t, but you’d swear it did :)

It’s just the notes, and their arrangement and sequence, like I said before. That’s how the brain decides.

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So far as I am concerned if it sounds "like a jig" is "like a jig"

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[*So far as I am concerned if it sounds "like a jig" is "like a jig"*]

That’s my point, exactly.

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So its not "just an aural illusion". It’s how a jig sounds like a jig. People dance to sounds, not to notation of sounds.

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In that example I gave, I wonder what it would sound like if you gave the 4/4 version to someone who had never heard Irish music before, and just played it as written. Would it sound like a reel or a jig? How close to the sound of the music playing software would it be? I wonder.

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Time to wheel out the infamous Drowsy Maggie video, Jim?

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"I think I understand Bernie’s point : Play it like you hear it.. you don’t need to know anything about time sig. My only point is that I hear reels as duple-meter, 2 to the bar, and that’s the way I play them."

But that means you really don’t understand my point. Do you want to understand?

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[*So far as I am concerned if it sounds "like a jig" is "like a jig"*]

That’s my point, exactly.

………………………………………………………………..

Really?

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"you ought to know which family it belongs to (eg ‘regular even’ like 4/4, ‘regular odd’ like 6/8 or 9/8). To me, not knowing that is a bit like not knowing which key you are playing the tune in."

You don’t need to know what key you are playing the tune in. This is the same mistake in a different guise.

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[*You don’t need to know what key you are playing the tune in*]

Yes, that would explain an awful lot. Keep ‘em coming!

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What do you think it explains?

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[*What do you think it explains?*]

This response to "You don’t need to know what key you are playing the tune in" seems quite a ridiculous concept to me. I don’t really have the words to explain why, any more than argue that you don’t need shoes to be able to walk. If you’re serious and not trolling, why not start a new and serious thread on the subject? You’re well off the track of this thread, as am I.

@Ralex - is your Dropbox submission still current? I don’t feel qualified to comment (I’m not a flute player), but I couldn’t get link to play anyway. It opens up, but there’s no sound. My PC has sound when playing Youtube, Audacity, etc …

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I can’t really untangle your last post Jim, it makes as much sense as "So far as I am concerned if it sounds "like a jig" is "like a jig", although apparently that did make sense to you.

You don’t need shoes to walk. You don’t need to know what key you are in to play Irish music on the fiddle. You evidently don’t understand that. I don’t care.

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You can sing ‘Happy Birthday’ without knowing the time signature or the key. All you do is reproduce, to the best of your ability (or at least as well as you want to) what you hear other people doing. Knowing the key of a tune might help if—
1) You know what the notes in that key are
2) You know where those notes are on your instrument.
3) The sounds you are trying to reproduce are actually in a key to start with.

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You don’t need to know which key a tune is in. You don’t even need to know the names of the notes you are playing. I can testify to that as I am just a couple of weeks into playing the BC box and I couldn’t tell you which note is which without stopping to consult the chart. You just put your finger on the right button and move the bellows in the right direction (on a good day).

You could make the argument that a bit of basic music theory helps, but ‘need’ doesn’t come into it.

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That’s it John, Gam.

I can read music, I can play Bach pieces on the piano from music for example, but that isn’t how I learned fiddle, I learned by ear, the way you learn to sing Happy Birthday. I’ve been playing fiddle for decades, but I don’t know the names of the notes I am playing. I can work it out if I need to, but mostly I don’t need to.

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I have sympathy for the views you are putting forward in this topic Bernie. There a loads of great practitioners of this music and other types of music that don’t know the names of the notes they are playing or the keys of tunes they are playing, and I am quite sure that knowing the most musicologically correct time signature for notating a reel, for example, bears no relation at all at all to one’s ability to play one decently.

But «I can read music, I can play Bach pieces on the piano from music for example… I’ve been playing fiddle for decades, but I don’t know the names of the notes I am playing» suggests a triumph of wilful compartmentalization.

Playing different instruments, playing with others (esp. in bands) and teaching are three aspects of the music where I find what knowledge I have of keys and harmony to be really useful, and where not having it would be a considerable hindrance.

I can’t fathom why, if you already have enough practical or theoretical knowledge to play Bach, you would exclude it from, or refrain from making the connections with, your Irish music and your fiddle playing. Are you playing dumb for the sake of winding up the theorists (I mean, you know what note your open A string sounds - are you really telling us that you don’t know when you are playing an A an octave higher or lower)? Or is it a case of good old-fashioned inverted snobbery (look how many notes/tunes I can play, and I don’t know the names of any of them) ? :-)

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I’m sure Bernie 29 can answer for himself — but I think you’ve missed the point he is making, Stiamh.
You can "find the knowledge of keys and harmony really useful" without knowing what the names are that someone else has gave the notes for a different purpose. There is no difference between playing ‘the note that is called this’ and ‘the note that sounds like this’.

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Hi Stiamh,

I was taught to play piano (to grade 1) using sheet music, but I taught myself to play Irish fiddle by ear. I never needed to learn the names of the notes on the fiddle, so I didn’t learn them. I’m not a teacher, I’m not in a band, I just play at home and at sessions. The only time I need to know the names of notes at a session is if an accompanist asks what key it’s in. I usually let somebody else answer, but if necessary I can work it out. But really I think that is the accompanist’s job. I do know what the notes of the open strings are, with the other ones I have to think about it.

It’s not something I set out to do, it just happened, so it’s not really "wilful".

I’m not playing dumb to wind up the theorists here, I’m using my own experience to challenge mistaken beliefs and statements by people I regard as bad teachers with faulty knowledge of the underlying theory.

It would take a fair bit of time and effort to learn to read notation and apply it to the fiddle, and there’s a serious risk of ending up dependent on the dots and playing in the way people play when they learn from the dots and not by listening. I don’t like to see beginners sent off on the wrong road.

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Fair enough Bernie. I suppose I find it surprising that knowledge of the names of the notes didn’t "just happen", though.

Point taken gam. But if people do know their notes, it’s handy to be able to say - while riding home on the bus with your session friend - "that g sharp you keep putting in that tune stinks" without having to get out the fiddle and demonstrate which note you mean… :-D

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[*I’m not playing dumb to wind up the theorists here, I’m using my own experience to challenge mistaken beliefs and statements by people I regard as bad teachers with faulty knowledge of the underlying theory. *]

Bernie, it’s good and quite refreshing that you have been honest, but you simply cannot use ignorance to challenge knowledge.

How can you, as an untutored and self-taught fiddle player, who does not even know the names of the notes you are playing, possibly have any credibility in a debate with an experienced fiddle player and teacher, who has far more knowledge and experience than you?

In past discussions (one along the lines of ‘How do I improve my intonation?), you have argued against isolation exercises as a possible help to improve intonation, instead simply advocating playing more tunes (which will still contain the intonation problems), and say things like ‘just put your finger in right place’.

I really do think you have a problem in trying to reduce complexity to simplicity, without actually understanding the complexity (or even acknowledging that it exists).

[*"that g sharp you keep putting in that tune stinks" without having to get out the fiddle and demonstrate which note you mean… :-D*]

…or even the key the tune is in. OK, so it’s not important to know what key you are playing. Or the names of the notes. But what if your musical partner forgets what key the Star of Herman Munster is in? He says,

"What key is it in?"

"You know, that one."

"What one?"

"That one. The one we always play it in."

"So what key is that? Is it G, or the other one?"

"Jeezuz, it’s this one. For someone who knows 200 tunes, you’re got a crap memory! It’s this one : "

http://worldfiddlemusic.com/guest/this-one-img-6839.jpg

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Jim - RE: What key is it in? For instance is the singer going to sing Parting Glass in A sharp minor with7 sharps likeMuireann Nic Amhlaoibth or C Minor like the Clancy Brothers or perhaps D minor like Pierce Brosnan
- the versions on my iPhone are all over the Circle of Fifths. Knowing the tune well in say G major, I find it most useful to just to hear the first note and let the brain remember the intervals between the subsequent notes at some level below consciousness - irrespective of knowing the key.

I like to learn theory (kind of like a hobby) and find it interesting but do agree with
the position of Bernie29. I think I did not do myself any favors in my first few thousand hours of learning the fiddle by fitting the tune to key signature and time and note duration value. I find it much more natural and learning progresses more rapidly by ignoring all that as much as possible and playing the tune as it sounds on a recording - slowed at first until it is burned in. But then, I play mostly solo. But I would think that at some level of proficiency giving those who are playing with the first few notes of a tune should be worth more than knowing the key sig and timing. But the fiddle is not my day job and I am far from the professional musician. Just the personal observations of this adult fiddle learner. I have been keeping notes of these observation for the last 4500 hours of fiddle playing (4500 out of 5500 life time).

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Looks like endless argument time on thesession.org again. Music theory can be quite useful in any musical endeavor, including the playing of The Music. You don’t need to know any music theory to play The Music—you can do it all by ear. Those two positions are not mutually exclusive—both can be true at the same time—so an argument that pits these two positions against each other can easily go on endlessly, and ultimately be futile.
But I would also submit that those who play The Music well have come to understand quite a bit of music theory intuitively—even if they don’t know how to express what they know in words or on paper.
And sometimes in these discussions I get the impression that some folks think that formal musical knowledge is to the playing of The Music as kryptonite is to Superman—it saps your strength, and hampers your abilities. This implies that ignorance is a strength. While I certainly agree that there are people who are bound by formal or classical musical rules or styles who cannot adapt to playing The Music, that indicates a lack of flexibility, not a surplus of knowledge. It is not knowledge that holds them back—ignorance is never better than knowledge.

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"an experienced fiddle player and teacher, who has far more knowledge and experience than you"

Jim the impression that I have of you, based on what you post here, what is on your youtube channel and even from the tag that you give yourself is of a technically able generic fiddler who has some Irish tunes in his repertoire. That’s a perfectly good thing to be and it commands respect in its own right.

However, for me a knowledgeable and experienced teacher of specifically Irish music would be someone who plays Irish music very well and who is steeped in the tradition. Sorry, but that’s not the impression that I have. If that is mistaken then I would be very pleased for you to prove otherwise, but it would take more than words.

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Let’s stop for a moment to give AlBrown a round of applause for what is possibly as good a summation as we are likely to read for awhile. A cogent statement, artfully expressed, sez I.

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Yes, a series of good posts. My take is that music theory and notation should follow rather than lead. If I know a tune and my instrument well enough then given a starting note my fingers should fall on the the next notes without me having to conciously direct them. So I don’t need to know what the key is.

Theory becomes handy when puzzling over why this usually works on some starting notes but not others - quite lot of others. For knowing that (on flute) my fingers are pretty good at the notes of the D and G major scale (and related modes), not too bad at A major, sometimes find their way in C, but could pick up a few tricks by practicing simple tunes (and - horror - scales & arpeggios) with one or two flats.

But the theory supports rather than directs. Also handy to know, when trying to scribble down something to remind me of a tune that, if something sounds like a jig, jotting it down with bar lines (and maybe beaming) as for 6/8 might be a good start.

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and, back to the OP, no-one has yet explained, in words, what is meant by a "steady rhythm".

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I’ve been struggling with non regular, non constant tempo, non even tempo (that is what I meant) lately. So I was seeking for advices and someone told me in this thread (thx again @cheeky elf)to play along with this bodhran album. I’ve already noticed some improvements in my playing.

http://www.emusic.com/album/mark-stone/the-bodhran/10936638/

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Good Ralex! They have certainly helped me a lot. Even though the album was designed to teach people to play the bodhran it’s good that it can be used for less nefarious purposes too.

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That’s great Cheeky Elf. I just downloaded it too. I paid €30 for a metronome over a year ago and used it a handful of times… what’s worse is its wind up and only goes for about 5 minutes at a time, then you have to wind it up again, and again, and again.

Anyway I listened to a couple of the tracks there and hummed along a few tunes in my head and it’s perfect - particularly for the hornpipes, slip jigs and slides. I think the reels may be just a tad on the slow side.

Great link thanks.

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Oh, man! At 112 bpm those reels are still a little fast for me. Someday!

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Actually I hadn’t realised that they’re 112 bpm - and now that I listen again and hum along (eg "The Banshee", or "Lucy Campbells") they seem a good pace, but for some reason trying to hum "The Gravel Walks" along to the patterns I seem to somehow unconsciously half the pace, what’s that about? Oh actually, I’ve sorted it. Just need to lead in a with a tune that suits the accents better and then the part of my brain that tends to hear the slower pattern of accents switches off. Phew!

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I don’t know. Maybe you are hearing it at 61 bpm instead of 112? Maybe you tend to play some reels faster than others? For me it’s 112 and I can’t intentionally ‘half it’. I use software to slow it down. The jigs, slipjig, slide, and polka tempos work for me though and are about how we play them at our session.

Edit: I’m glad you got it sorted. It’s not completely one size fits all, but it sure beats a metronome.

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I have to slow it down too… The rythm is pretty fast indeed ! I use amazing slow downer on my iPad

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[That’s great Cheeky Elf. I just downloaded it too. I paid €30 for a metronome over a year ago and used it a handful of times… what’s worse is its wind up and only goes for about 5 minutes at a time, then you have to wind it up again, and again, and again.]

Lol same here. It was pretty irritating when you are just starting to get into the swing of practicing something and it would wind down again.

Stupidly before i bought it i didnt think that i could have so easily gotten a free metronome off the net and played thru the speakers.

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Looks class on the shelf though donnit? ;-)

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The clockwork ones are even more irritating when not on a perfectly level surface so the ticks are uneven.

If you notice …

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Yeah in fairness it does look pretty professional. Next time I’m at a session and I’m asked to play a tune, I might say "Hang-on a sec!" *wind up the metronome, and place it on the table*

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Anyhow, since the M word has come up. I also had/have a problem with reels sounding uneven and distinctly ragged and rushed as they got towards ‘session tempo’.

I found that setting a metronome to 4 ticks per bar (no ‘accents’), tapping my foot two to the bar and then paying attention to my foot rather than the metronome was helpful. The metronome ticking ‘in the background’ seemed to help. I am not sure whether the ‘2’ and ‘4’ of the 4 ticks are ‘in the right place’ in time or not (which is why I was asking above) but having them there *as part of an excercise* was helpful.

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Ha crossed with Oirish !

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

I liked those bodhran tracks as well (thanks, Cheeky). I too have an old wind-up Wittner metronome, and a Seiko digital one as well, but I prefer working with a good rhythm track, be it bodran, or one produced on a drumkit. Arthur - you mentioned online metronomes - you can get online drum patterns too, more accurate than a wind-up metro on a sloping shelf :)

Of course the other good thing with rhythm backing tracks is that you can hear all the in-between beats which a tick-tock or click-click metronome cannot reproduce, and see where your own notes are in relation to them. You can pulse, lift, accent, swing, push and pull the time, constantly seeing just how accurate you are, and where your timing slips are (if any).

Responding to johndsamuel’s comment about me earlier :

[*"an experienced fiddle player and teacher, who has far more knowledge and experience than you"

Jim the impression that I have of you, based on what you post here, what is on your youtube channel and even from the tag that you give yourself is of a technically able generic fiddler who has some Irish tunes in his repertoire. That’s a perfectly good thing to be and it commands respect in its own right.

However, for me a knowledgeable and experienced teacher of specifically Irish music would be someone who plays Irish music very well and who is steeped in the tradition. Sorry, but that’s not the impression that I have. If that is mistaken then I would be very pleased for you to prove otherwise, but it would take more than words.*]

@johndsamuels - your first quote there did come from me, and it was in response to what I perceived to be the promotion of ignorance over knowledge and experience. Of course you are right - who better than a good fiddle player / teacher of specifically Irish music to teach you to play Irish fiddle? That would work well, assuming that the student was competent and comfortable enough with the instrument to concentrate entirely on learning the music.

However, many of the fiddle questions and peripheral issues asked and discussed on this board appear to about playing Irish fiddle music (and on the surface they are), but in reality their essence is more often concerned with root level basics of playing the instrument, fingering / bowing issues etc. Many of the answers, however well-intentioned, miss this point repeatedly. So, who better to deal with these questions than an experienced player and teacher of the instrument, regardless of the genre, who has repeatedly seen the same early learning mistakes being made, and has the wherewithall firstly to highlight them, then correct them?

You can’t offer a working solution until you first understand the problem - and more often than not its core has got nothing specifically to do with Irish fiddling, and everything to do with the very basics of fiddle playing. Or you can call it ‘violin’ if you like - the core basic requirements are the same, regardless of the genre.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Oh the thread is still active ! I am going to read the posts above but first here is an update of my own recording… what do you think about it ? A bit better nah ?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ocoqqqo5mtakbd/Reelax.wav

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Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Yes, I definitely hear a much stronger rhythm this time around. Nine minutes of reels? Is that sound at the end you collapsing on the floor? :-)

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Haha maybe…it’s a goood exercice imo to play random reels though. By the way I try to focus on reel lately

Posted by .

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

the first mark Stone reel track is clearly 4/4 even thoughe calls it cut time. the second is 2/2 can you hear the difference?

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

No Will, I can’t hear the difference, and you can’t hear the difference either. Writing a reel out in 2/2 and 4/4 is rather like writing something in capital letters, and then writing it in small letters:

YOU CAN’T HEAR THE DIFFERENCE

you can’t hear the difference

Get it?

Posted .

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

You cant hear the fundamental difference between 2/2 and 4/4 ? ! no wonder people get so confused with this issue then . Try tapping your foot to it.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Sorry Will, but it’s you who is confused.

You can’t hear the fundamental difference between 2/2 and 4/4 in the same way you can’t hear the fundamental difference between STUFF WRITTEN IN CAPITALS and stuff written in small letters.

2/2 and 4/4 are different ways of writing down the same thing.

The same reel can be written down in 2/2 or 4/4. When somebody plays the reel, it will sound the same.

Get it?

Posted .

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

2 beats a bar is totally different to four beats , whether you call it 2 or 4, half time or double time or reel -hornpipe, whatever the rhythms are different, the beat and pulse are in different places. the 2/2 above can be used as a variation to the basic 4/4 just as syncopation , could be used where the emphasis changes from say 2/2 to 6/8 or 6/8 to 3/4 momentarily . But were the 2/2 variation the main beat the first reel beat in 4/4 would give the feel of doubling up the time very noticeable and a huge effect .
I agree that no one needs to know the names of anything they do, unless they wish to communicate verbally or online. To discuss music , in an electronic media with the written word, requires that people understand the basic language and in this case the basic language that describes a more subtle , yet fundamental, distinction.

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Will, you can measure a table in feet, you can measure it in inches, and you can measure it in centimetres. The three sheets of paper you give to three separate carpenters in order to have a copies made will result (it is hoped) in tables of the same size. Measuring it in centimetres does not make it a continental table, or feet an English table. The same goes with music notation. Take away the conventions that are sometimes — erroneously — applied, such as stressing the first note of each bar (try that with reggae and see how it sounds), and nothing remains but the notes.

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Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

Just to be clear, for the sake of my own sanity, there is no information in a time signature regarding what notes to emphasize, correct?

Re: About steady rythm and hesitations

[*Just to be clear, for the sake of my own sanity, there is no information in a time signature regarding what notes to emphasize, correct?*]

100% correct, Sir :)

I think that Bernie and Will are talking at cross-purposes. Bernie is right in that, notationally, 2/2 and 4/4 are identical. You can prove it by using a decent musical transcription program (eg Harmony Assistant).
Using the same tune, set the time sig to 2/2, then 4/4, and it will sound identical.

Notation is dumb, and has no voice, and a limited amount of meaning - but HA, Sibelius or similar is the proof positive of what is really meant by it. The software interprets time sigs and note lengths literally - and so is the best vehicle to sort out disputes / misunderstanding of what the written stuff is all about.

Will is 100% correct that in practice, a tune in 2/2 as interpreted and played by a human is very different than the same tune in 4/4, played by the same warm body. It’s this difference that Bernie seems not to understand.

If you look at my previous links, you’ll see just exactly what happens when you put the same notes into HA and then set them to totally different time sigs - 6/8, then 4/4. There’s no difference. No efn difference at all.

Primarily, it’s the notes of a tune, and their sequence, that really determines what the tune will sound like.

Going back to Cheeky’s question, it’s us silly humans who decide to put accents, pulse, emphasis into music in a given signature that makes warm body music sound the way it does, and also sound totally different when we decide it’s to be a jig, and not a reel.