Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

not this tune again.

he’s using his bow to create a pulse, first an off beat pulse then on beat rhythm when he does the long rolls

try and use your bow to mimic an off beat, it will lift your playing

carbon copying slurring patterns off a player with a completely different style to your playing is a bit pointless and could impede your own development

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Sounds like D-U-U-U D-U-U-U on notes F#-D-A-D F#-D-A-D using fingering of 2-0-4-0 2-0-4-0 … but it’s hard to say for sure because you can see the bowing.

The above would work …

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I mean *can’t* see the bowing …

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

clearly playing an open A,

very rarely would you use 4th finger to play a full note other than high B!

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"very rarely would you use 4th finger to play a full note other than high B!"

Really?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

in Irish fiddling yes,

been told otherwise timmy?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

[*clearly playing an open A, *]

On a fresh listening, I agree.

In that case, the bowing could be D-D-U-U …. D-D-U-U on F#-D-A-D …. F#-D-A-D using fingering of 2-0-0-0 …. 2-0-0-0

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Ye I was thinking it was DD-UU as well which is why I asked since I thought it would be good if a ‘pro’ player was also doing it for corroborative evidence :). I had actually been using this quit a bit recently. I find it sounds good when there is a run up or down notes as I find it creates a nice stepping up/down sort of sound.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I mean for 1234; DD on 12, UU on 34.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Regarding what timmy says, contrary to common advice Ive actually made it a point to use my fourth as much as I can when there is an opportunity for the open or the fourth on the previous string. My rational is that the more you use the fourth the stronger it will get/the better it will sound.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I think you mean rationale, Arthur.

Posted by .

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

More of an irrationale. If you want to strengthen your little finger then do isolation exercises. If you want to sound like an Irish fiddler then do what d>j<f says.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Yeah - the fourth finger is used in classical playing to allow for vibrato - it’s not used in Trad - using it would be poor technique - you’d be missing vital string crossings.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

There are only a handful of tunes where in certain parts using a fourth finger instead of an open string is necessary when the sequence of notes makes it too awkward to use the open. For instance i think I use it at the beginning of the Dublin Reel (anyone else?). But you should certainly aim to not use it as opposed to use it.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Playing cuts and rolls on the third finger notes also gives your fourth finger plenty of exercise.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Well Arthur wants to play Donegal style as I understand it. Listen or watch James Byrne, Danny Meehan and all the rest for more than a minute and you’ll see they use their fourth finger very frequently. Not to avoid string-crossing I wouldn’t think, but to play two As and two Ds or to use a drone of D or A against a higher melody. Many players from other parts of the country also play 2 As or Ds - especially but not only to end a tune. (And sometimes they do this using the third finger.) Fourth finger is also used to play a slightly flat A or E (or very sharp G or D) in certain tunes or to dip out of and back to the main note of A or E.

I’m not arguing for the use of the fourth finger to avoid open strings. I’m not arguing for anything in fact. But to say that the fourth finger is used very rarely strikes me as very misleading not to say wrong. In my Irish fiddling universe anyway.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I agree with Stiamh - although in fiddling you don’t need to actively avoid open strings as classical players do, neither should you actively avoid using your pinkie. Your fourth finger should be as proficient as all the others and used wherever the music dictates - for double stops, to avoid single note string changes, in cuts and rolls, and to allow slurring so that your fingering doesn’t dictate what you can do with the bow.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I’d say Tommy Peoples used the fourth finger extensively on the green fields of Glentown - I think such is obvious from the sound of the tune.

I can’t speak for what happens in Donegal, I can only say that here in Munster in my experience the fourth finger is used by the expert players very very very rarely indeed.

There are other styles of course - I can only comment on my own experience - which is in keeping with all the fiddle tutorial books and tune books I’ve seen also.

A player should be able to use the fourth finger when required or desired - after all there are four fingers on the hand - but Arthur’s saying he uses instead of open strings and that he has decided to do that to help progress it - the trouble with that approach is he’s choosing to disregard a fundamental technique - i.e. String crossing - if he wants to progress the fourth fingers ability as was suggested he should do exercises to do so - not ignore a fundamental technique of the music.

Expert players may choose to utilise the fourth finger for emphasis or accent in substitution for the open string in places, and if course that’s down to personal choice and style but I’ve yet to meet an expert player who can’t do the fundamentals expertly before developing on them.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I do do string crossings as well recently. Since ive been slurring more.

And recently I havent been too bothered about sticking to donegal any more since im enjoying slurring now im interested in looking at other styles. Alot of my favorite contemporary players probably wouldnt be known to be playing a particular style anyhow so.

I might even dare to take a look at my previously banned player list such as martin hayes.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"I might even dare to take a look at my previously banned player list such as martin hayes."

Martin’s a handy little player, you might want to listen to him…

Using fourth finger? Of course.

"Your fourth finger should be as proficient as all the others and used wherever the music dictates …" Absolutely!

"I’ve yet to meet an expert player who can’t do the fundamentals expertly before developing on them." I don’t know what this means. Is it more "fundamental" to execute string crossings or to use the fourth finger to smooth out a phrase? A player should be able to choose either technique when the music demands it, and develop both techniques.

Thanks to Mark M and others: "…to say that the fourth finger is used very rarely strikes me as very misleading not to say wrong. In my Irish fiddling universe anyway."

"Go not to the elves for council, for they will say both yes and no."

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Never mind this fourth finger malarky.

Is it generally ok to do UU-DD on a 1234 creating like a teepee effect in sound.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Play what you have to (or what you want), but if you play UUDD UUDD (or DDUU DDUU) for repeated measures, chances are that it won’t be close to the sound you want (which may be an "Irish" sound).

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"But to say that the fourth finger is used very rarely strikes me as very misleading not to say wrong"

I’ll clarify my comment:

very rarely - not never, just not very often because you would use open strings unless you play the handful of tunes mentioned that require fourth finger as part of a phrase - would you use 4th finger to play a full note - ornaments are not full notes, they are rhythmic sounds - other than high B!

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I still disagree. I think it is more a case of only a handful of tunes where your pinky DOESN’T come in handy.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"Your fourth finger should be as proficient as all the others and used wherever the music dictates - for double stops, to avoid single note string changes, in cuts and rolls, so that your fingering doesn’t dictate what you can do with the bow."

4th finger double stops in Irish trad? you sure you are not meaning Scandi or Scottish fiddle playing here?

in cuts and rolls (they are not whole notes, not even close)

and to allow slurring - explain this please?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"4th finger double stops in Irish trad? you sure you are not meaning Scandi or Scottish fiddle playing here?"

Depends on your definition of double stops - people often use the term loosely to mean droning an open string while playing the melody on another string.

But I think you could argue that Donegal style playing does use true double stops involving the fourth finger. Playing a short passage of the melody on the D string while holding down a D on the G string or on the A string while holding A on the D string. I can find many examples in recorded music I have lying around - Gavin, Sean Keane, Peoples, James Byrne, Vincent Campbell, Danny Meehan… in the Oak Tree, the various Jackson’s reels, and lesser-known tunes.

Have you not heard this device? Perhaps you will contend that drones are not "full notes…" They won’t appear on the sheet music, granted. But in fact I have recordings of both Sean Keane and Tommy Peoples where they play the A in the phrase of the Oak Tree that is the subject of Arthur’s question with the fourth finger at times, while sounding the open A string throughout the phrase.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Yes the Donegal style has that double stopping a lot, whether you regard that as being part of the melody of the tune or an ornament that you decide to add in is a moot point I suppose.

I’ve already mentioned a couple of times that ornaments are a separate area to the phrase "whole notes" that was deliberately used in my initial post.

Granted I should’ve made it clearer by saying "but you will use your 4th finger for ornaments a lot" but I thought other posters would assume that anyway.

I was mainly countering the advocacy of this sort of stuff:

"notes F#-D-A-D F#-D-A-D using fingering of 2-0-4-0 2-0-4-0"

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

[Play what you have to (or what you want), but if you play UUDD UUDD (or DDUU DDUU) for repeated measures, chances are that it won’t be close to the sound you want (which may be an "Irish" sound).]

I know not to do it all the time but do you guys ever use it now and then? That guy clearly did. Ofc if used all the time I think it would make it sound ‘boxy’ but as I mentioned Ive been liking doing it when there is a long run from high to low or vice versa to create a stepping kind of sound.

I guess my quesiton is- is it proper irish form?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

As since I dont have a teacher i dont wanna get into bad habits.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"and to allow slurring - explain this please?"

You have a triplet c d e. You want to slur it, it’s going to sound really naff played across strings, so you use your pinkie for the e. Even bowed separately those ascending triplets don’t sound right played across strings, it puts an emphasis onto the third note where it almost certainly isn’t needed.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

@ djf: "notes F#-D-A-D F#-D-A-D using fingering of 2-0-4-0 2-0-4-0"

Quite clearly the player in the clip Arthur wishes we would all talk about instead of this fourth finger malarky :-) is not doing that, no argument there.

But, as I just mentioned, Tommy Peoples and Sean Keane do choose to do exactly that, with an open A string as a drone, for variation. Yes, they do.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

@Stiamh,

Part of the fun with Arthur’s posts is having them go in a dozen different directions. Thanks, Arthur!

Posted by .

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"Part of the fun with Arthur’s posts is having them go in a dozen different directions."

It’s good to question stuff, especially if you learn something new along the way re Tommy and Sean Keane’s techniques

"You have a triplet c d e. You want to slur it" wouldn’t separate bows work and sound better and crisper than a slur in that situation though? What tune do you use that for?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

[*Never mind this fourth finger malarky.
Is it generally ok to do UU-DD on a 1234 creating like a teepee effect in sound.*]

Yes, of course it is generally, but it would obviously need to be put it the context of a particular tune, and not execute it every single time in the same tune. You’d have to evaluate the results yourself and trust your own ears.

This 4th finger subject comes up from time to time on here (and on other forums too). In some ways it has a parallel with the debates on "is holding the bow 1/3 way up the stick OK?", and "is it OK to play with a pancaked wrist?"

[*Regarding what timmy says, contrary to common advice Ive actually made it a point to use my fourth as much as I can when there is an opportunity for the open or the fourth on the previous string. My rational is that the more you use the fourth the stronger it will get/the better it will sound.*]

I agree entirely, Arthur. A strong 4th finger is an asset for any fiddle music. My hat-tip too, to Mark M’s earlier post on the use of the 4th finger. It makes a lot of sense.

Stiamh mentioned earlier on about players using their 4th finger regularly. My own favourite example of this is Frankie Gavin on the "Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn, Irish Traditional Music" (title from memory), but it’s one of those landmark recordings. I think Frankie was a teenager at the time. Anyway, there’s a track called "Jackson’s" (two separate tunes) where there is extensive droning on the G string with the 4th finger, while he is continually playing the melody on the D string with fingers 1,2,3 (of course this is very common in old-time and bluegrass). You simply *could not* do that if your 4th finger was under-developed.

As for the use of the 4th finger in cuts and rolls, there are enough players who produce such different sounds that it’s hardly worth arguing about. It’s often heard as just a rhythmic device, where the grace notes have an indeterminate pitch (if any pitch at all). Then there are those who clearly sound the all the notes in a 5-note roll (again, wee Spankie playing Tom Billy’s Jig, they are clear as a bell. You might miss them if you don’t listen closely - but they all there, true pitches and all).

Still on the 4th finger, there are some phrases which require a very quick D-E-D, starting the D on the 2nd string. You could cross to the open E, and cross back again, or you could use your 4th finger and stay on the 2nd string. Subtle change in sound, but it’s there - and you expend less effort. Just another option …

Going back to my original post where I said "D-U-U-U D-U-U-U on notes F#-D-A-D F#-D-A-D using fingering of 2-0-4-0 2-0-4-0 " … now that has a sound of its own, and simply cannot be replicated without the use of the 4th finger, no matter how you attack it. A bit like trying to play a tune in standard tuning, when it is actually a tune for alternate tuning (eg AEAE on a 4-string fiddle).

[*Play what you have to (or what you want), but if you play UUDD UUDD (or DDUU DDUU) for repeated measures, chances are that it won’t be close to the sound you want (which may be an "Irish" sound).
I know not to do it all the time but do you guys ever use it now and then?*]

I do sometimes, and it sounds just fine, but again - it depends on the tune.

An ex-member of this site, who appeared to know what he was talking about, once said about Irish music, "… it’s a music of small effects."

Using the 4th finger effectively is one of them.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Nice post Jim.

Now Im slurring more I see what people meant about there being no rules. It was useful to get me off the ground but I found a new interest in just playing the tunes I know over and over with different slurring patterns till I find a groove. Ill find a certain few little slurs that stick out in my mind and just work around them. Its good fun, alot more fun than when I wasnt doing any slurring :) things flow alot more.

Maybe Ill drop them out more in future for more contrast but for now this is my main area of focus.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I agree with many above. A strong 4th finger is good. I sometimes use it instead of open strings (the opening bars of the C part of Boys Malin comes to mind: Aece Aece|Aece dcBc), sometimes just for d/e/d-like trebles, for double stops, rolls on the 3rd finger, tunes a semi-tone above… (heaven forbid!)

Same with DDUU (or vice versa), or any other pattern.

A martial arts instructor once told us:
It’s a rule of thumb. And in combat, rules and thumbs must be broken.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Arthur- congratulations, it seems like you’ve had a major break-through. Though it will take some time to assimilate, if you keep working (and thinking) like this good things will happen.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

[Play what you have to (or what you want), but if you play UUDD UUDD (or DDUU DDUU) for repeated measures, chances are that it won’t be close to the sound you want (which may be an "Irish" sound).]

Hey Jeff, I just realized that the DdUu DdUu pattern is used a lot in gypsy jazz (with the accent on 1,3,5,7), although it will hardly sound like gypsy jazz when playing Irish tunes!

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Ironically Im finding that the ones i learned slurring patterns on im the most constricted wiht since I only have those patterns i learned in my head so find it hard to break out of them

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

@Arthur — that’s why there are always big warning signs around the word "pattern." It’s too easy to get locked in once you’ve got something that sort of works.

You should be able to play any two or more notes with either single bows or slurs. I’m guessing you’re close to doing that now. If you can’t do it for a given phrase or tune, then I advise slowing down until you can. And I don’t mean slowing down just enough to get it done, but slowing down enough to get it done comfortably, without tightening up.

It’s easy to develop bad habits when you’re learning, and it can be very hard to undo those habits without getting bored or frustrated when you try for corrections. In that case, leave the old tune alone and apply yourself to a new tune. Then when you’re more developed you’ll be able to go back and make fixes more easily.

Posted by .

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I think a good exercise is playing the same tune using different bowing patterns (which I suppose is what Ergo is saying here).

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

I doubt they are deeply ingrained so i guess i could shake off the patterns in a day.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Indeed - the worst thing for a fiddle player is to become pattern-locked (left-hand or right-hand).

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Mikiemax says "I can’t speak for what happens in Donegal, I can only say that here in Munster in my experience the fourth finger is used by the expert players very very very rarely indeed."

Munster fiddler John Kelly Sr. used his pinky on the G string to double the D at 0:47 and again at 1:23 in this classic tidbit:

https://youtu.be/Ga4qocQkH0A

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

A cited instance does not refute a claim that something is rare, no matter how many times "very" modifies it. More examples, please!

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Also stated as the exceptiopn does not prove the rule :) (merely playing devils advocate)

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

[*More examples, please!*]

What you see on Youtube etc is not representative of Irish fiddling in general (it’s only a small selection, often cherry-picked at peoples’ whims). So, it’s extremely difficult to be statistically correct about "the pinkie is used a lot" or "the pinky is rarely used".

If an experienced player who has spent many years in the game, travelled a lot and sessioned a lot, and has lost count of how many fiddlers he’s played with, I’d say listen to what he has to say on the subject ;)

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

whoever ever said that the pinkie is rarely used?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

but does that mean the pinkie is rarely used full stop or does it mean rarely used to play full notes other than high B?

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

"What you see on Youtube etc is not representative of Irish fiddling in general (it’s only a small selection, often cherry-picked at peoples’ whims)."

A ridiculous statement.

Posted by .

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

Ha yeah I was going to move onto that statement later but the guy didn’t bite, John Kelly Sr. and James Kelly not representative of Irish fiddling, first time I’ve heard that!

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

What you posted was perfectly clear to me Dan, it almost seems like folks are going out of their way to misunderstand you.

Re: Can you tell me the slurring for this first couple of seconds of oak tree?

There certainly is some bluster and puffery going on here. Thanks, leoj and d>j<f, for your comments.

Bobby Casey was another Munster fiddler who made frequent use of the pinky to double another note. There are many instances of this on his stellar recording Casey in the Cowhouse, recorded in 1959 in Junior Crehan’s shed. Listen in particular to his rendering of the jigs Scully Casey’s/The Banks of Lough Gowna/Brian O’Lynn, where he repeatedly plays an A on the D string to double the open A.

The Cowhouse recording is here: http://ceolalainn.breqwas.net/download/Casey%20in%20the%20Cowhouse/
Listen to Track 05; Scully Casey’s begins around 3:00.