Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I know you all don’t like to give ‘rules’ of any kind but generally things will happen more than others so generally where is it good to do a rest in the tunes.

So far I figured it seems to be the start and end of a phrase is it called? The end of a block of notes anyway or the start.

Is that it? Any other places to sneak them in because I am needing to catch all the breaths I can!

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Or any other tricks of the trade to work in those breaths.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Alos how many notes can they be. Some audio examples of different places they are used well would be great.

I am of course doing my own listening but it helps if people know some exemplary cases as my knowledge is very limited of players names and styles etc so it is just chance when I come across things.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Since we’re speaking in generalities I’ll just add this. In another thread I mention two excellent player/instructors. Off the top of my head I can think of 4 others. They all, in general, said the same thing. Breathe (most important) and ornament (almost as important) in a place where it doesn’t break up the tune, where it adds to the lift and the spirit of the tune. Breathe where the tune wants to breathe and only a lot of listening can tell you where that is. Also make an effort not to always breathe or ornament in the same place every time. Conal O’Grada’s tutorial is a great illustration.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Sorry Arthur, There are no easy rules, here.

You’ll have to practice and listen.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Oh brother steve to the rescue again! Forgot to check that site; I shall remember to make that my goto in futue.

So brother steve totally fabricated everything he said on that page Tom?

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Thanks other too I will look into those links also.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I used to wonder that too, then forgot about it and found myself doing it unconsciously after a long time. I still have a little trouble on the fast tunes though.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Brother steve said you should never put a rest note breath at the end of the part since it will mess it up because he says there are linking notes at the end. Also he says you shouldnt NOT leave notes out because it would also interrupt the flow

But mary bergin seems to be doing it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXuGAjaae3M


Thoughts?

Things got even MORE tight when I read that. So am I not ‘allowed’ to breath at the end of a part? and only ever breath by leaving notes out?

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I think that is a great video for understanding typical breathing patterns for a jig, and it demonstrates all four of Brother Steve’s guidelines.

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

So you can breath at the ends of sections just don’t do it all the time?

I mean can you breath without having to lose a note or never do that?

Its hard to tell what is going on where on reels at full speed when I dont know them.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

As long as you keep time, you can breathe wherever you like.
The only way to find out is give it a go and see what sounds/feels right.

The only rule is that there are no rules (apart from keeping the rhythm steady).

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I know but I am asking can you keep time if you arent dropping notes? doesnt that meant that if its the same amount of notes the they would get pushed out of time with the breath?

I guess Ill just keep listening with an ear now for the breathing and just copy what the good players do once i get a better idea of what they are doing.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Arthur…that last sentence sums it all up. Listening to good players truly is the best way. Don’t forget to listen to yourself too so you can tell that you’re actually doing the things you’re listening to in others. Everybody has rules for when and where to breath….hard fast rules…until they’re not! When you listen to a tune you can hear when it wants to breathe. The tune dictates the rules. Once you learn where to breath, you’ll find out that you do have enough air. Seems to me that you kinda answered your own question.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

It is not dropping notes. It is replacing notes with breaths. The same way one might replace a long note with a roll. Think of it as a variation. Nothing is lost.

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

What Aaron said^

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Two general principles I’ve found helpful:
1. don’t breathe when you need to — breathe *before* you need to. Keep air in your lungs, as much as possible. Snatching little breaths here and there is preferable and more controllable than sucking in a big gasp at the end of a section
2. don’t draw breath on the downbeat, try to keep those pulsing. Look for places in the offbeat to breathe.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Dance music has natural places to breath which fit with the need of the dancers to change direction. The breath is where the dancers have space to move and the dancers’ space to move is where you can breath and those tiny pauses give shape to the music. Singing also imposes breathing space on music. Other kinds of instruments often do not allow that space to dancers and breathers and they are rushed. In performance and session music where there are no dancers the shape is often squeezed out and Irish music is the worst because the notes just never stop and all structure can be lost. The only option then is to practice alone and find the shape of the music and put the tiny breathing spaces back where they should be. If there are words to the tune or if there is a dance then those things can help to show you the shape.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Breath - noun.
Breathe - vetb.
Breathy - adjective.
Please retain the differences.

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I bet it really chafes when you write a snarky, pedantic comment and misspell "verb"! :-P

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

My tuppence-worth (which will no doubt be ignored as always) is that fitting breathing naturally and rhythmically into a tune is one of the hardest things.

The two things that come uppermost in mind are to learn versions of tunes from good players or by ear from recordings, phrase-by-phrase, slowly. (Off other flute/whistle players). The seasoned players will understand, better than any hard-or-fast rule-of thumb somebody gives you what the natural breaks in a tune are. Playing it slow, you will have to breathe more frequently and thus will integrate the process naturally. A lot of ‘unconscious work’ - no quick fix. In so doing, you’ll pick up a feel for e.g. finding different places to breathe if you’re playing the tune through 2-3 times, which adds unexpected life. Eventually, this awareness will take root, and you’ll find you’re doing it in new tunes you learn (even if you learn them from a fiddle player, piper etc). i.e. practice with a mind to concentrate upon where the breathing happens, and let the unconscious part of the process happen over time.

The second thing, and people might hate me for saying it, (I’m not practising what i preach i admit, and my playing is the poorer for it), is working on my fitness. e.g. go running. I end up sitting around noodling, working on snatches of tunes, but not playing sets when i’m in my house alone, because it’s exhausting on the low whistle tbh. Especially if you play something big like a low Bb. or if you play wooden flute. Brian Finnegan was among my teachers, and he said being physically fit helps a lot. It gives you more scope. Listen to e.g. mike mcgoldrick playing glens of aherlow on the Morning Rory cd. There’s a section where he plays almost 1.5 times through the reel without a breath (i think - been a while since i last listened to the cd). If you have better lung capacity, stands to reason it takes the pressure off you to finish a phrase so you can gasp for air. Not all great players are physically fit…. for sure! But it’s something that isn’t technically demanding, and makes your life easier. worth thinking about.

This is an aspect of my own playing i’m working on and unsatisfied with (hint: if you ever are satisfied, you’ve become too bloody complacent lol) there’s a tune i’ve learnt recently from a breton player that has become a big challenge for lung capacity and phrasing. good luck.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Yes the happy camper has some excellent points, breath control! How little air can you achieve your sound with and how much lung capacity.
Also rather than thinking of leaving notes out, think about making them smaller, thereby creating gaps , which is phrasing ! Singers have this all to work out to. Think about the different verses of a song, some longer words some shorter , same with tunes. Vary your playing by resting in different places and by using shorter notes.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

In regards to the shorter notes do they have to be strictly either a quarter note or a crotchet or could they be anything in between and more up to no note at all?

Just so long as you hit the next note on cue.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

They have to be strictly a quarter or eight note.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Arthur, stop worrying, do a lot of listening and it will eventually happen

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

To be precise be it a quarter or eight note they have to *start* on the beat but no one’s to stop you from making them shorter and fit in a breath. and that’s what I hear whistlers doing. all wind instruments basically. Arthur should just listen.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

[

Arthur, stop worrying, do a lot of listening and it will eventually happen
]

That’s what they said about losing my virginity. Still hopeful.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

True. An experienced partner helps.
I think they’re called ‘teachers’ in the musical world.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Everyone says that you should vary where you breath but at the moment that is just one more thing to worry about. Is it so shameful to breathe in the same place every time as long as you are playing steadily?

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Not shameful just…dull. Arthur don’t think, listen. Don’t think, absorb. You can make it really hard. It’s not. Sometimes I guess that if something isn’t overthought it’s not thought about at all.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

I don’t think this has been mentioned yet, but don’t spend too much time worrying about where to breathe, until you have the tune up to dance tempo. Or whatever final tempo you’re aiming for. Your need for air is a constant, while the number of notes per breath varies with tempo. This means you’ll be breathing in different parts of the tune when you’re first learning it at a slower tempo, and then changing where you breathe when the tune is up to full speed.

Seems obvious I know, but it took me a while to figure that out on flute. So now, when learning a new tune, I just breath a little ahead of where I need to, without worrying about where in the tune structure I’m breathing. I work out the fingering and ornaments. Then after I have a tune up to full speed, I can start thinking about where I want to take a breath, avoiding the breaks between phrases or tune sections, and so on. No point in doing that until the tune is up to speed, and I can tell how long each phrase will last.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

^Yes I had this in mind somewhat. So I had been trying at different speeds to see the difference.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

"I bet it really chafes when you write a snarky, pedantic comment and misspell "verb"! :-P"
Not fair play, Joe. Perhaps you’ve never posted something without double-checking your spelling. Though I think you may be the snarkier one in this situation. Yes, Gonzo was pedantic but he posted useful information. Personally I think there is virtue in his post; nothing snarky.

Your post though seems snarky and less useful. I don’t intend to offend you, Joe. I’m considering what I think is fair and useful.

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Learning where to breathe so as to not detract from the flow—or even to accentuate the flow—takes time. At least it did for me. At first, I had to map out musically sensible places to breathe in a tune, and it was pretty formulaic for quite a while. Eventually, I started to play around with taking breaths at different places the first and second time through the A part, for instance, or I consciously avoided breathing between the A and B part. That sort of thing. It just takes time.

The ‘Further study’ section of Brother Steve’s site is also a good resource: http://www.rogermillington.com/tunetoc/index.html
You can listen and look at a transcription at the same time, and really hone in on where the breathing is happening.

Grey Larsen also has a good treatise on breathing in his instructional books for flute and whistle.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Why am I running out of breath so fast on the bag of spuds part A? I cant understand how I will run out of breath after only the first measure on it yet on the second part I can play like 3/4 of it without needing to take a breath.

The first part seems to exhaust my breath really fast more than any other tune I learned so far. Why?

I have been learning from this recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pkRcISJ9bM

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Mcswiss I am not sure how bro steves transcriptions would be any more helpfule than looking at any transcription on here to any youtube recording?

Just saying? not sure why you would mention it as particularly good vs the method above unless I missed something about the transcriptions of his.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Because "Bro Steve" and the other contributers to those transcriptions know what they are talking about.

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

There is more than just Brother Steve on those pages. For example Peter Laban describes ornamentation and breathing with the transcription of Brid Donohue’s playing of "Steampacket"
~ " As the first few bars of the recording are missing, the second playing of the tune is transcribed here.

One of the features here is Brid’s use of rolls to create a sense of rhythmic flow in the tune. It is worth noting the G rolls in the second half of the tune in bars 9, 10, 11 &13. The second half of bar 9 would normally be ag g2; Brid however takes a breathing space after the a, playing two g’s separated by a tap using two fingers, so effectively tapping e. In the other bars mentioned above she plays the G rolls in a such a way that the rhythm is not exactly what you may expect of a roll. She plays three g’s of roughly the same length separated by a cut and tap. This rhythmic approach echoes some of the rolls Johnny Doran used in his piping and they must have come down to Brid through the playing of Willie Clancy."

http://www.rogermillington.com/tunetoc/steampacket_brid.html

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Thanks, ye the bro has some great stuff on that site.

I will have to take time to correlate what is being said in the transcription to put to the very faint audio.

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Arthur, I was only using Brid Donohue as an example. You probably need to listen to the recordings from Brother Steve’s site which are in a key matching your whistle. "The Steampacket" is played on an Eb. But this one is on a D whistle; http://www.rogermillington.com/tunetoc/blackbird.html

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

Doctor, oh doctor, oh dear doctor John
Your cod liver oil is so pure and so strong

Posted by .

Re: Generally where should the ornamented/breath spaces go when whistling?

AB what does the key matter when we are talking about when to breath?