# Ornaments on the back of a note?

### Ornaments on the back of a note?

In abc notation, is it possible to add ornaments/grace notes to the back of a note? Probably not but I thought I’d ask the question. I recently tried to transcribe An Raibh Tú Ag An GCarraig as played by Patrick D’Arcy on his CD Wallop the Spot, amazed at the sounds and "ornaments" (using the word loosely) he manages to draw out of his low whistle, really adding to the anguish of the piece. One thing he does is change octave in the midst of a single note or in sliding up to that note. For example he plays second octave E by starting very briefly at first octave D. And that can be written {D}e with no problem. But when he does the opposite (i.e. dropping from second octave E to first octave D) is there any corresponding way of writing it like e{D}? It’s not quite the same thing as a slide but a rising slide can be written !slide! whereas there is no symbol at all for a falling slide … not that I know of anyway.

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

Look here: http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=32302 for a discussion of ‘back-stitching’,
which is what you are hearing. Patrick himself is referenced in the discussion and a link to his own thoughts are included there. Dunno about ‘ABC’ notation, but if you can find a copy of "The Piping of Patsy Touhey" you can see the various ‘figures’ written out in full.

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

Thanks for the reply and the resources. I only glanced through since we have friends staying this weekend but what I saw looked more complicated than I expected. Just to clarify, are we talking about starting a note in the first octave but quickly moving to the second octave? Or is it dropping off a second octave note to a first?

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

No backstiching in this air performance. Backstiching is when two notes of equal pitch or near each other are separated by two staccato notes. Not sure how to notate it but
f c#Af , ec#Ae , d f#gd are examples. Most often used in jigs.

Mike it sounds to me that Pat is playing "on the edge " between the octaves, getting that buzzy sound. Every once in a while he lets it sort of drop to the lower octave as you describe but not sure how to notate it. As it’s an expressive choice. I’m not sure it would help me in an abc transcription. In fact I find it would get in the way. I would add such things after really internalising the air and put them in my own places rather than in Pat’s.

Posted by .

e>>D?

Posted by .

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

Nice to know it’s nothing as complicated as backstitching … though that has me now curious and I will check into it more. I understand Patrick’s technique as playing "on the edge" as you call it, dunnp. And I take your point about transcribing it but I would like to be able to record such nuances for myself as part of the learning process. Calum, unfortunately that doesn’t do it. I can’t see any easy way to show e.g. the high E falling to the bottom D.

Out of curiosity, does anyone who can listen to this air by Patrick recognise any other unofficial "ornaments" he uses in it. There are sounds here and there, perhaps percussive effects, that I don’t understand how he makes. In places I wonder whether he uses a wah pedal or moves between microphones. I would to learn how to play such a piece with all the added nuances he gives it.

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

Yet another reason ordinary musical notation is superior to ABC: you can notate gracenotes at the end of notes just as easily as ornaments anywhere else.

BTW playing gracenotes at the end of notes is common in Native American fluteplaying and Bulgarian bagpipe playing, in addition to Irish airs.

### Re: Ornaments on the back of a note?

Thanks, Richard. I looked at MuseScore but decided is was too fiddly for me and that the learning curve was not worth the effort when ABC is so easy to input and works well for most things. I’m interested to hear that you consider gracenotes at the end of notes to be common in Irish Airs. Can you give me any examples because it is the first I’ve heard of such a statement?