When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I learn from recordings when they are available. I originally thought I would try and emulate as accurately/closely as I could what was being played because even if I play the ornaments badly it is best to start sooner than later is it not because practice makes perfect and if you practice from the very start you are getting more practice in than if you skipped them to come back to later.

If you do the latter then you sort of have to learn the tune twice don’t you. First without the ornaments then go back and learn with.

I ask because someone said in my initial critique thread that I ‘don’t understand rolls and what they are used for’. I don’t see why they would say that. Sure I may not play them properly but I that doesn’t mean I don’t understand what they are for. It is self evident- rolls are a type of ornament and ornaments, as the name implies, spruce up the tune, like ornaments on furniture.

Anyway whether that be true or no, it is better to practice them from the get go is it not? I think even more so learning from a specific player’s recording, because if you want to emulate a model player, if you leave out the ornaments then you aren’t really modelling their playing, or at least leaving out a large chunk of it.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

One of our older and more "distinguished" members always used to argue that ornaments were "part of the tune" and that these should be learned at the same time.

On the other hand, if you just want to learn the basic tune I don’t see a problem with that either. They will often just end up in my own style, such as that is, anyway.

Of course, we all have our favourite players too and will want to pick up some ideas from them if nothing else. I don’t know if it’s necessary to emulate or slavishly copy everything they do though but we should, at least, try to see from where they are coming.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

It’s not really a binary question I think. You need to do both. Learn the barebones of a tune and learn the ornaments

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Ornaments in this music aren’t anything like ornaments on furniture. They aren’t decorations, particularly on the Uilleann pipes, they are an integral part of what is physically required to play the music.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

If you can’t do both, what would you rather do? Learn the basics tune well, or learn the tune with ornaments not very well. I know what I’d rather hear in a session. My self taught journey started with the first.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I would suggest in the beginning to pick recordings that are not too heavy on ornamented style, to practice your learning of tunes by ear. As you get more confident then compare versions of the tune. For example, you could use some of the session book recordings on the Comhaltas website to get the shape of some popular tunes. Then try playing along with Bobby Casey’s version or whoever you want to emulate, to see what they’re doing with the tune. But longer term, you just need to work in those ornaments so you can easily recognise and reproduce them when you hear them.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

If you pick up the tunes including the rolls, I would think that you would still want to know how the phrase goes without the roll so that you have options. I’ve always thought it was good policy to practice the stuff that’s beyond your grasp, but to know how to dial it back when playing with others. Crisp and clean wins the day every time.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

At a risk of being boring - rhythm and pulse are absolutely crucial, far more important than individual notes. There’s no point in playing a version that is too complicated to have good rhythm.

As the great Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson may have said "You should never learn a tune you don’t know!"
One needs to internalise the tune, get the overall shape of it, be able to hum it or sing it in your head. Then you have the flexibility to include more or less notes, which includes ornamentation and variation.

When you’re going on a journey, (without a SatNav) it’s much better to think, "I go through W, then I get on the motorway at X then when I see the signs for Y I turn off and look for Z," rather than trying to memorise "After 200 yards turn left then take the second right, continue for three miles then…."

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice make you able to repeat easily, if you practice the wrong way of doing something, it will take 5 to 10 times longer to undo the bad habit, because you have perfected a bad habit.

But it all depends, if your ornamentation isn’t great but you just need to practice what is the basis of a good habit of ornamentation then include them, but if the basis of your technique is wrong then you would probably cause more damage than good, eg if for example on a box you were using the wrong fingering, and you kept practising the wrong fingering, you would get reasonably good at the wrong way of doing it, but you would get stuck when you need to up the speed, and it will take a long time to undo the bad habit

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

No.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I’d say learn the tunes first.

There are two "learnings" going on - the tune and the ornamentation. Simplify BOTH challenges by separating. You’ll likely end up with a good playable tune sooner and a better appreciation for how and when to ornament too with greater conscious control.

Especially if the "can’t play them well yet" refers to the ornaments. There’s enough work in learning the base tune well - and even an un-decorated tune played as an honest rendition with reasonable pace, phrasing will be a fine accomplishment.

The ornamentation is neither fixed nor an essential "part of" the tune. Two musicians might choose to put ornaments in different places or to omit. Or to vary the ornamentation between times over the tune. a given musician might even ornament a tune differently on two different playing depending on the accompaniment, speed or humour.

I have a particularly bad ornamentation habit I’m now trying to break which is one of excessive or unconscious ornamentation which just happens (habitual) on certain notes, sequences or phrases. It’s a legacy of a peculiar (unguided) learning journey. The ornaments are a vital, beautiful and essential aspect of playing ITM - but just like salt and pepper - to be used sparingly once you’ve tasted the dish fully to appreciate the natural flavours.

The ornaments are worthy of specific and very conscious and reflective practice so that they stand apart and understood as a technical skill which can be applied (or held back!) to enhance a tune.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I would say leave out all the ornaments, and learn the tunes.

I define, in music, an ornament as a purely decorative device, superfluous to the melody, which is added for ornamental effect.

There are few ornaments played in Irish dance music. Many players never do any. (I’m talking about trad Irish flute and whistle.)

What Irish dance music as generally played on flute and whistle does have is what I call finger articulation.

Separating notes would be done on orchestral flute or recorder by tonguing, on Irish flute and whistle with cuts and pats.

These cuts and pats aren’t ornaments, aren’t superfluous to the melody, but are the basic gears that keep the melody churning along.

So I have people learn cuts and pats, and how to combine cuts and pats into rolls, as basic essential beginning technique.

For sure it’s possible, with practically any reel or jig, to create a version lacking rolls. Sometimes these sound acceptably traditional, sometimes they sound odd and artificial, artificial because the roll-less version isn’t something that you’re likely to hear a trad fluteplayer or whistleplayer play. (Leaving aside the fifing tradition.)

Perhaps better to play polkas. Many of the ones I learned and play don’t really have any places that rolls need to be.

About practice, they say "practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

In other words practice is worse than useless if you’re practicing your mistakes. Once ingrained, bad habits are extremely difficult to fix.

Slow things down as much as you need to, to play everything perfectly. Speed will come in time if you practice slowly and perfectly.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Absolutely not, its Counter productive. Ornaments are rhythmic devices, learn them as technical exercises and perfect them in isolation , then they can , in time be incorporated as a natural expression of how you play the tune , but its pointless to attempt them within a tune unless you can do them proficiently.
This is dance music , so the primary secondary and tertiary essentials are rhythm , rhythm and rhythm.
Anything that interferes with this, forget about.

Emulating a 7th dan blackbelt as a white belt beginner is not an effective course of action. You would need to go through the stages , then eventually as a 5th dan you will have a much better chance of emulating the 7th.

Ornaments or articulations are instrument specific, focus on the basics common to all the instruments, the tune.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I began playing traditional music on mandolin and, not having many recordings of mandolin players to refer to, learned most of my tunes from other instruments. As Will Evans says, ornaments are instrument specific, so it would have been a pointless exercise trying to replicate note-for-note ornaments from recordings. The most important thing, in my view, is not the execution of specific ornaments but the *placement* of ornamentation. (Of course, there is always plenty of room for variation and individual interpretation, but copying [more or less] recordings of good players is an effective way to develop your own sense of where to place ornaments). This need not be any different if you are learning from a recording of the same instrument that you play. Whilst learning particular ornamentation techniques is a worthwhile pursuit, it is musically detrimental to incorporate ornaments that you have not yet learned to execute properly; it is better to play the tune using some simplified form of ornamentation (e.g. mordants instead of rolls) or omitting ornaments altogether where they are not important to the rhythm. This way you can still play the tune in a musical way, with the proper rhythmic feel; once you have rolls etc. under your fingers, you can substitute them for the simpler ornamentation.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

The funny thing is; I am not really a fan of ornaments at all myself. I just felt I wasn’t learning a recording properly if I didn’t add the ornaments.

My favorite players are the ones with least ornamentation; the likes of Micho Russel.

So good to hear I could drop them and no1 would think worse of me 🙂 and to know that the general consensus is a tune can be full bodied without ornamentation is a weight off; although Mr Mike Eskins above said that ornamentation is absolutely essential and instrumental to the proper playing of trad? so I supposed there is room for contention there?

Makes my practice a lot simpler to drop it for sure but I didn’t want to feel I was watering myself down by doing so. I also like quite a few contemporary tunes which only have the one audio recording I can find since often they are written by quite young players and as we know the younger ‘comhaltas style’ is chock to the brim with ornaments every couple of notes.

I just felt I would not be really learning that player’s tune if I left out the ornaments, no matter how I may have butchered them. One instance springs to mind of where I felt ‘forced’ to learn the tongued triplets in one of Enda Seery’s own compositions :/.

But what about specifically ‘tutorial videos’ on youtube? Like Ryan Dunns ones. Presumably he is trying to play very basically in order to teach the tune to new players but he still adds quite a few ornaments; so in such cases should those ornaments be deemed ‘essential’? I suppose it is still their personal taste that the ornaments be left in as said greats like Micho held tunes very well with only minimal ornamentation.

"I began playing traditional music on mandolin and, not having many recordings of mandolin players to refer to, learned most of my tunes from other instruments. As Will Evans says, ornaments are instrument specific, so it would have been a pointless exercise trying to replicate note-for-note ornaments from recordings."

Funny you should say that. I have tried to do just that many times trying to learn more obscure reels from fiddle most times and realized these tunes I felt I made least progress on after trying to emulate every ornament to a T on whistle. I actually disliked playing them because I felt stuck with them because the ornamentation parts just didn’t fit but I carried on without dropping them just cos I felt ‘A great player put those ornaments there (cathal haydn recording for example) so it must be right.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Mordant? confusing to use classical terms for irish. I had never heard it before and just looked it up and seems a written music based term.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Ornamentation is important in the music we play, but is secondary to maintaining the beat, particularly when playing in session or for dancers. Session music is dance music and the beat is its backbone.

Too often I’ve seen players take a week of classes at the Swannanoa Gathering or other camps and play out of sync with the session because they’re trying to play all the ornamentation that Martin Hayes or some other teacher taught them. Their beat suffers causing them to play out of sync with the rest of the players.

Learning tunes and ornamentation are separate practices. It’s important to learn ornamentation properly for your instrument. They vary by type. Most of us don’t enjoy practicing scales, but they are stepping stones for learning by ear. Likewise, practicing ornamentations is important to playing them in tunes.

It’s more essential to develop your own sense of ornametation rather than copying bar for bar what is done on a recording. As a flute player, breaths become part of the ornnamentation and can feel artificial if it’s done the same for each repetition.

Learn the melody. Practice the tune at different speeds, with different ornamentation, in varied rhythms until the core of the tune is locked into your fingers and mind. If you have learned and practiced ornamentation for your instrument, it falls naturally into place as you play.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Richard said - "Slow things down as much as you need to, to play everything perfectly. Speed will come in time if you practice slowly and perfectly." Seconded; however slow that needs to be, then that is where you start and if you need to breathe (flute) far more often like that then do so properly and planned - it will help you have a choice of suitable alternative breathing points later when you have the tune up to speed.

The first few times for me are often so slow, that the tune is barely recognisable, but in spite of that, there is no point trying to go any faster until my fingers are sure of exactly what I want them to be doing. A reel at 60 crotchets a minute (30 BPM..) is not too slow if that lets you actually play what you think you should be playing. And my experience is that once finding the speed where you can do it properly then it is usually only a matter of a dozen times through or so, before you are up to maybe 2/3 of the target speed. The last third of the speed takes longer, but it will however you try to do it.

I think the ornaments should go in from the start, though there is a difference between trying to learn to play a tune properly and just trying to pick up enough to hang in with other people playing in a session. Practicing ornaments in isolation in little (one bar) clips of pseudo tunes is also a very good idea.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

On this question you will get as many opinions as there are players or teaches and all will be true for one student or another. Here’s my opinion at the moment.

If you can hear and understand the ornaments but are simply having difficulty executing them, then by all means set them aside while you internalize the metered notes, the tempo, and the lift or drive. By the same token, you can rest entire measures if that helps you get your head around the tune.

If possible, find a less-adorned recording to work from.

Since some ornaments are easier to play than others, and since some ornaments can actually facilitate reaching the next metered note, your approach could be different for different ornaments in any tune.

First learn the basic tune. Your jig should sound like a jig and not some bad, time-warped acid trip. Then work on playing the difficult ornaments with just a few lead-in notes. Eventually incorporate them into the whole.

You’ll quickly discover which ornaments break your stride. Your subsequent work to execute those ornaments without breaking stride is the hardest part of learning a tune, but it will really drive the tune into your bones.

As to learning a fully dressed tune at a very slow tempo and then picking up speed as you master the tune, I think that works best if one has already mastered the instrument. I do that with friends: we pick a tune, run it up to speed over the course of several minutes, and then work on rough spots.

With new players it’s different. I have seen new players fumble to execute every ornament and either they don’t get the tune up to speed ever or they decide they’ve had enough of playing slowly, so they speed up, do not play the ornaments well, and they lose the rhythm and lift of the rest of the tune - sometimes making it unrecognizable - like not seeing the forest for the trees. And they lose confidence in playing in front of others.

You’re not that musician on the recording. Many tunes can be played quite satisfyingly without ornaments, period. It’s a good rule to not play mangled ornaments and, sometimes, for the good of the whole, you may find you never will play certain ornaments. If someone takes you to task, just tell them "Sorry, I come from (insert name of county you’re not from) and that’s the way we always played it there." That leaves them only two choices: politely back off or insult your heritage.

My own teacher would record 3 versions of a tune: slowly without ornaments, up to speed without ornaments, and finally up to speed with ornaments. Version 2 was my assignment. Version 3 was aspirational and of course I would always try. At my next lesson, my first job was to demonstrate that I could play version 2, and then I could continue into version 3.

Take a look at this video of Kevin Burke teaching the Cliffs of Moher jig. I think it demonstrates the point in a combination of words and examples:

https://youtu.be/3zYlEPAkGek

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

You need to isolate and practice ornamentation on its own, in time and with perfect rhythm at the slowest tempo you can manage to do it correctly.

Example: many novice woodwind players cannot execute a short roll on an "A" crotchet (quarter note) on whistle, flute, or pipes, it doesn’t matter which instrument, because in all cases the novice is playing with too much tension and frankly, trying much too hard. Trying to play fast with ornamentation at this point is trying to run before you can walk.

Do not attempt to play a tune with ornamentation at speed without spending many hours playing deliberately and slowly with steady tempo and correct rhythm…integrate the ornamenation movements as part of that practice, maintaining tempo and rhythm in a disciplined, consistent manner. The more consistent and disciplined you are, the more rapid your progress will be. Deviate from this approach, though, I promise you that you will crash and burn. You just have to keep working until it isn’t work anymore.

I won’t lie, it is hard work at first, especially for an outsider that did not grow up in an Irish traditional music family and was not handed a tin whistle shortly after birth.

The speed will develop in time. You must put in the work.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Which instrument are you playing, WindMusic? Also, are there particular ornaments which you cannnot yet play well?

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Just to reiterate what a few people have said here, ornaments in this music are not there to doll up the tune and make it prettier. In this music, they are first and foremost rhythmic constructs, and they are part of what gives this music flow, lift, and drive. And they are used to articulate phrases in different ways.

I will also say that there are some ornaments that pretty much everyone is going to play. Take, for instance, any of the *numerous* D reels that start with:

dB|AF (3FFF

Pretty much everybody is going to ornament those F’s in one way or another, because it’s part of the drive of the melody.

But much of the ornamentation that you hear in a recording is going to be used to put a slightly different spin on different phrases, to give the listener a different perspective on what the melody is trying to say. So something you should do is take one of the recordings that you’re trying to emulate, and pay close attention to whether they do the ornaments the same each time through. That will give you a better idea of which ornaments are more baked into the tune, and which ones are more the player’s choice.

So, with these things in mind, my personal philosophy for my students is to get them to learn some ornamentation very early in the process, and have them just learn them as part of the tune. But when they get to a point where they can play those tunes cleanly, including the ornamentation, then we work on removing, changing, and adding different articulations. Every person learning to play gets to a point where they can play tunes relying heavily upon kinesthetic memory (often called "muscle memory"). It’s an important step in learning to play, and it’s great, because it’s a big boost to their ability to play. But once a player gets to that point, they will often get "lost" if they try to change anything, like removing or adding an ornament, simply because their linear pattern of finger movements has been interrupted. But conscious effort at that point can get a player through it, and their hands still use kinesthetic memory to be able to play the notes and fire off the ornaments, but at the direction of their conscious brain making the choice to play (or to not play) the ornaments.

So yes, having a solid rhythm is more important than being able to do fancy ornaments. But don’t shy away from them completely, because they are an integral part of the music, and the easiest path is rarely the best path.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

"If you do the latter then you sort of have to learn the tune twice don’t you. First without the ornaments then go back and learn with."

I’d never looked at it that way - if you have the tune in your head and under your fingers, you should be able to make adjustments to the way you play it without starting again from scratch. But even if you do have to learn the tune twice, so what? You get to learn it twice as well…

Ornamented vs. unornamented are not absolutes. You can be sparing with ornamentation (e.g Micho Russell) or liberal with it (e.g. Matt Molloy) - and everything in between.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

"Mordant? confusing to use classical terms for irish."

Yes, sorry. It’s just that there doesn’t seem to be an agreed term for it in Traditional Music - and it seemed a bit long-winded to try and explain it mid-post, since it was already parenthetic to the main topic.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

People much more knowledgeable and capable than I have already responded pretty well to this topic, so I’ll just add my quick 2 cents and keep it brief. I like to try to learn the basic melody first and then, having previously learned how and where in a tune generally certain ornaments can be used (and maybe these are somewhat instrument-specific), I try out different ornaments in different places and see what I think works. I don’t play with much ornamentation anyway, but it’s nice to try different things, and if you play a different instrument then the one you’re trying to learn from, it might have to be a little bit different. That being said, there are some tunes I’ve learned by ear that I almost can’t play without certain ornaments in particular places.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

My use of ornaments (mostly what Richard calls finger articulation) is very consistent. I vary it as I see fit. In short, I learn the techniques and then apply them spontaneously. I would not suggest playing like someone else.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Agree with Kenny: "No".
Learn the basic tune first.
And totally agree with PatrickJWK and Ailin one and 2 posts above about "instrument-specific" ornaments: have said the same myself on other threads.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Ornaments are indeed instrument specific, pipers have a wealth available to them that fiddlers dont have and fiddler have a wealth banjo dont have , have. Just as examples. Thats why it was so obvious to me that the proposition that the ornaments are part of the tune was and is false. Simply because were that the case, trad couldnt be played on banjo , box etc…… clearly and demonstrably false.
In fact, and i dont play box, what ornaments are available?! Even trebbles on a single note must be tricky!!

As such we should all learn from box players , because they show us that the music is not in tricks and fancy fingering, but it is in good solid playing and good solid tunes.

Yes i know whistlers and pipers etc all want to sound like their idols, but the route to that is not through the ornaments , it is in precise exciting exhilarating playing of the tunes.
Once this is managed , when you can get people up and dancing , without tricks , just with rhythm and melody , then is the time to consider how you can build upon those foundations and incorporate the little idiosyncratic ornaments you have available on your instrument .
How long ? How long is a piece of string! What i can say though is that IMO ornaments are introduced far too early in general .
Concentrate on musicality, timing ,phrasing rhythm, all the things that every player playing every type of music needs to be a noteworthy player , pun not intended , things that are universal .
Thats what differentiates the masters from the pseudos , they dont rely on tricks but on the essentials. The basics. Just done very very well.
And im including pipers in this ….. its not in the mechanics of fast fingeing , admirable and essentila though they are, its in the soul of the player. Take ten pipers all with the best fingering….. what differentiates them from each other( and please dont say nothing ) 🙂 its in the phraseing and how nd where these techniques are used.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I like to think of ornamentation as like an accent. If I speak with my normal accent, I don’t notice it - it sounds natural. Unlike if I try to speak with, say, a Cockney accent. I notice it and it doesn’t sound natural.
I remember once asking a local fiddler to play a tune without any ornamentation and he said, "What ornamentation?", the point being that he didn’t hear it because he did it without thinking, it was so natural.
So I would say that learning the notes of a tune is what is important - that’s what the tune is. Trying to learn someone else’s ornamentation will just make you sound like a poor imitation. If the ornamentation doesn’t come naturally then it will sound unnatural.
Ultimately, what we are talking about here is music. You should be striving to be musical. Adding ornamentation should add to the musicality, not detract from it. As you become more comfortable with your instrument you will discover how to enhance your playing of that instrument - in a natural way.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I am going to respectfully disagree with the people who are saying no. WindMusic has shown that they are not a complete beginner, and their threads have generally been about advice on how to get better. Giving them permission to completely ignore one of the fundamentals of the music at this point in their playing is going to be counterproductive.

I will agree, however, that trying to emulate every ornament that a highly skilled player uses when you’re just learning the tune (while being a good exercise in learning) is overkill. Learn the basic tune first and foremost. Try to emulate the rhythm and steadiness to begin with. But once you have the basic melody, it’s time to start articulating it nicely. Even though Micho Russell’s style was less ornamented than many other players, he still used them, and used them eloquently.

I think it’s OK to work on ornaments separately from learning tunes, but then do the work to combine them and get them to a point where the ornaments flow nicely in your rhythm and not detract from it. Do that as slowly as you need to to keep the rhythm flowing, and you will be able to bring them up to speed in time. The easiest way to do that at the beginning is to find a few strong ornaments in a tune, and learn to play them as part of the tune, so that you’re getting repeated practice on making them flow nicely.

I don’t really play whistle anymore, but I played some when I was first starting with this music. For me, the best whistle playing includes solid use of ornaments.

Take this piece from Mary Bergin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdJYbOkbetQ If you just take the first phrase of the A part, she starts by rolling on it, which really launches the tune off beautifully. Then on subsequent plays of that same phrase, she sometimes rolls, sometimes cuts, and sometimes breathes in that spot. And that’s just looking at a couple of notes of one phrase. The possibilities are nearly endless! The sooner you start working on being able to use ornaments like that, the sooner you will be able to do them well, even if you don’t play them as fluidly right now as you would like. The only way to get better at them is to work on them.


There’s also a difference between practicing on your own and playing with other people in a public setting. If you’re sitting in a session and you notice that trying to use ornaments is messing up your rhythm, you’re best off leaving them out in that situation, and then working on them more during practice…

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

WindMusic, I read your original post very carefully and I am going to offer a suggestion. But first
I want to say that the term "ornaments" in Irish session music covers everything from the example
Reverend gave in his first reply about "pretty much everybody plays"… to Matt Molloy crans &/or
Tommy Peoples’ triplets. Before going to the latter I want to dwell on why the former is so ubiquitous,
how integral it is to the tunes, why some players learn it from the beginning with little thought or practice,
why it is *always* about the timing, and yet even the most common of ornaments are
not mandatory each time through.

Okay let’s dwell. The former is ubiquitous but not mandatory, integral but always and only if the timing
isn’t messed up and while some players learn it from the beginning ~ no pressure if it takes more practice.

Now for the latter. These can be ornaments characteristic of a particular player’s style, ornaments which are very effective when played correctly but difficult to master, ornaments which may have originated on one instrument but get used by players on other instruments, and ornaments which can be played several different ways by players on similar instruments; sometimes to the same effect but sometimes with vastly different results.

I recommend not dwelling too much on the latter.

Here is my suggestion which I mentioned at the start of my post. If you have a particular musician you are drawn to you "can" study them labouriously and try to emulate their playing. Or you can find a player who has a tutorial created for the purpose of learning the tunes, style of playing and ornamention as they best know how to teach it. I recommend emulating ‘them’ in this way. I have no idea if this method will be useful for you, WindMusic. Though it has been great for me in learning to play this music by listening to & practicing with tutorials.

My main point is some recordings/tutorials/workshops/threads/etc. are more useful for you (than others) depending on where you are in the process and how well you progress within a given source.

Cheer,
AB

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans, the OP’s screen name is WindMusic. Lecturing about banjo and accordion and how other instruments use ornamentation specific to them completely misses the intention of the OP’s post.
I appreciate the tangential drifts for all they "add to" the threads. But perhaps some of the respect for
The Board’s regulars’ perspectives & insistence about how soon is *too soon to practice ornaments* can be considered equally for a relatively new player’s questions before simply ignoring and rejecting most of
what is in their OP.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

The point of my post is that ornaments are not the essence of the music , that is found in the tunes . Yes some ornaments are applicable to some instruments , but not to others ….. yes they are a part of the sound we , as whistle players aim for, but the route is via the common denominators .
If you can play a tune three times through , at session pace with no mistakes , and make it exciting enough and drive it allong with good rythmic playing so that its danceable then is a good time to progress to ornaments .
Walk before you run .

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote: if you can play a tune three times through , at session pace with no mistakes , and make it exciting enough and drive it allong with good rythmic playing so that its danceable then is a good time to progress to ornaments .
Walk before you run .

I don’t agree at all. This is the opposite of ‘walking before you run’. Are you really suggesting beginner fluteplayers should aim at getting say a reel up to session speed before incorporating cuts, taps and rolls? How will that not sound very plain and boring!? The ornamentation is not even that difficult if you practice it in isolation and apply it as is fitting. Better advice would be to listen to Irish music played in the appropriate style and as slowly as necessary emulate that example. As has been said many times before in this thread and others by players far more accomplished than me.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

“”How will that not sound very plain and boring!“”

Exactly the point im making, its up to the player to use their imagination, phraseing etc etc etc all the things that every player on every instrument needs to be noteworthy, relying on flicks of the fingers and tricks can get in the way of good solid tunes and good solid music with good solid rhythm . Its all in the phraseing and rhythm lift drive etc .
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fKW6uJk8B3o

Emulating masters is not a job for beginners …
Secondly , if you play well whos going to notice flicks of the fingers ? Other musicians … who do we play for? Ourselves ? The dancers? To impress other musicians with our fancy fingering? 🙂

Thats a rhetorical question , we all play for different reasons .

Playing slowly and emulating your role model is an important stage i agree , when to do do is the arguments…. im saying ‘ get your playing up to standard’ is the base line . This is your black belt, the coveted shodan . Its not the end result , merely the beginning. Saying that if thats what you achieve , thats enough , if the dancers can dance and they want to , if you can put the notes under their feet and help them fly , job done .
Trying to incorporate all the ornaments of a master , as a beginer, slowly …. how long before you can play for dancers ? The reason d’ etra ?
Dance music, not art music …..
and the real art music if thats what you aspire to, is based on the fundamentals of good playing and we arrive back at the begining.
Do yiu think a child at school or at home , will learn like you describe? And if they do , what will be the result? A rigid machine like conformity. Slowed down so as to be undanceable. Or the dance changed to suit the slow art music…. ie the music and dance both change to conform to a perceived required standard …..

Adult learners ought IMO take a leaf from the kids, which surprisingly enough is how your role models probably learnt as kids, not trying to model a master at age 6 with a whistle , but trying to play a simple tune well.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Apparently you can lead a hobbyhorse to water, but you can’t make him think.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Bobby Gardiner is a devil on that 4 stop!

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZuxbflyTsk


I’ll take a leaf from this stylish playing, or is it too ‘art music’ and ‘finger flicky’ for your taste, Will? ;) Cmon!

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Im not sure your point shaketree? You think he cant play in a simple driving style as well ?
Martin Hayes plays at that pace , lovely but that doesnt mean he cant play blindingly fast as well. Im not criticizing a stylistic choice , certainly easier listening, Paddy Canny is one of my favourite fiddlers , as a young man He won a few Competitions ….. they can all play fast if they desire …..

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I’m not sure if I’m following anymore, Will. I agree with you that adult learners can be inspired by the way children learn, hence the clip. I just think children learn to articulate the tunes in the proper style from their teacher from the very beginning. Even Ryan Duns starts you off on cuts and taps in week 5, right after learning Egan’s Polka 🙂 I don’t really see how your ‘simple, driving’ and (supposedly?) unornamented (?) way of playing fits in all of this. Was the Bobby Gardiner clip supposed to illustrate that way of playing? I’m lost…

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Here is an easy step that will help you learn tunes *and* ornaments at a healthy pace:

Use Michael Eskin’s tutorials.

They are probably the most direct way to learn tunes -

They cover the session standard tunes for playing with others - and the wide selection contains a healthy number of ornaments that means you’ll pick up techniques when building repertoire.

I think it might also help you get an articulated rhythm/pulse.

They are played full-speed and then slowly. Work on them a phrase at a time.

Here’s a good jig to get you going:

https://youtu.be/EoxLpgfrlWA

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Listening to your last recording - your reels are sounding good - particularly the pulse is very clear!

Here’s a Michael’s Cooley’s tutorial:

Use it to see ornamentation - practicing ornamentation in excercises to get it snappy is a great idea too!

https://youtu.be/vEC_SdTUE6c

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

@AB I play whistle.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

@choons Well that is a very funny coincidence that you say

"Listening to your last recording - your reels are sounding good - particularly the pulse is very clear!"

and recommended I learn from Mike Eskins because I learned that tune in the recording direct from one of his videos 🙂

Proof in the pudding.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

The ornaments are not the hard bit!! What is hard is to play tunes without them and to make it sound exciting and danceable.
If you learn tunes and use the same ornament in the same place then Its not a variation …..
just play the tune so many times and vary it every time with subtle variations in timing , breathing , phraseing etc. get up to speed with this simple setting.
Free your mind from the mechanics of the tune untill your mentally sitting above it and can watch yourself playing , then is the time to think where and what you might add or take away .
So that your playing is already musical and exciting before you even think about ornaments.
How long will this take ? Depends on many factors but 2 or three years is merely a blip in a lifelong journey. Why should that be in any way controversial?!
There are so many ways to vary a note and its a terrible shame IMO to focus on a few little tricks to the exclusion of the other myriad .

The trouble i think is people want to arrive, without taking the journey , just teleport themselves ideally !!! 🙂 but the truth is that copying all the things that you hear, the external form is not the same as having the music in you …..
internalise the tunes , become the tunes ! Before you start to mess with them and add stuff.
Adding every possible ornament to a tune wont make you a master! The music is there for all to find and its found all over the world in every culture , focusing on a small facet of A particular regional style it to the exclusion of this gamut …..
I say no, learn to play the tunes well before you mess with them.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

On a long drive yesterday I was listening to some of the Wooden Flute Obsession CDs. Plenty of variations to hear. Excellent CDs put together by fellow member kkrell.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Every tune I learnt from the recording with all the ornaments up front, I still play badly - even after 5-6 years of practicing they sound ‘plastic’. It’s a way better for the tunes learnt properly - bones first, then add stuff here and there.

Re rolls: only after the teacher made me play groups of three same notes as-is without rolls and recording myself, I found the rolls were actually ruining my rhythm. So, rhythm first, then add rolls and make sure they don’t make your playing blurry.

Know the principle of how ornaments are used in ITM, it’s not a rocket science. Cuts are essential, IMO. Everything else will come to you in due time. You play whistles, so tone and breathing patterns are much more important.

My 2 cents.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Dance music, not art music …..

I play pipes. There is no way to get around ornaments as they are primarily how the instrument speaks.

I prefer art music, btw. Dancers are a pain in the ass.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

As an experiment, I once learned a pair of jigs from Natalie MacMaster’s instructional video putting in her ornaments, bowing, etc. , from the get-go. I’ve never gotten really comfortable with those jigs, so I consider that experiment a ‘failure’; i.e., I would have been better off to have followed my usual practice of learning the basic tunes first. Much of my ornamentation is improvised, so it can seem unnatural to be placing a grace note, for example, at a specific spot because that’s where someone else put one. Having said that, I will, once in a long while, do precisely that - but not with an entire tune, end to end, and only after I’ve got the basic tune down.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Mp1996, but traditionally its not art music, its dance music….. you can change it to suit your instrument…..or the crowd or situation , but , speaking a s a piper myself, i disagree that factually your position is correct in that they are essential to playing tunes-or its ‘ how the instrument speak.’ Any ornaments are to clarify and emphasise the rhythm, if they get in the way of this driving rhythm as demonstrated by the Bobby Gardiner clip, then they are not adding, but subtracting…..
Now remember this is a stage in growth, not the end result which encompasses all the ornaments as and where you choose.
You could play an entire tune closed fingering as per NSP…… ec etc etc hard enough at pace……
Why on earth dont you like dancers?! Its the best thing since sliced bread getting a crowd up on their feet !!

In general I suggest people aim for simplicity and once this is achieved , then aim for complexity…..walk before you can run.
In stead of cuts ,elongate the first note of the bar, get up to speed with the absolute fundamentals, simply put… the tune, and nothing but….untill you can play for dancers ‘ (if need be) untill your rhythm is spot on, then its so much easier to use crans or whatever….
The repertoir is inherently rhythmic , there are basically no tunes that dont have a simple repetitive beat mapped out with the notes themselves. Its 1/8th notes all the way!! And if you find the occasional 1/4 just play it as it is……there will be time enough to work on that note once its in position.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will, you did realise there are two people playing in that Bobby Gardiner clip? 😉

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote: ‘Any ornaments are to clarify and emphasise the rhythm, if they get in the way of this driving rhythm as demonstrated by the Bobby Gardiner clip, then they are not adding, but subtracting…..’

Ah, you meant Bobby Gardiner has a driving rhythm without excess ornamentation… That makes more sense to me 🙂

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

To explain myself:

I love co-creating a moment with a dancer that’s going to work with me and treat me respectfully…you know, like a fellow artist instead of a juke box. Sean nos dancers are my favorite, but I never mind playing for step dancers who want to give it a go.

But I do not enjoy playing in ceili bands, although I have done it many, many times. I just got tired of the mistreatment by dancers and their cranky demands.

Also: sometimes I just want people to sit down, shut the hell up, and listen. Music is just as much an art form as dancing, and that still applies to dance music…at least the good stuff is : )

We all put a lot of time into our craft. We deserve our chances to be listened to and recognized for that effort.

As for the technique thing/ornaments vs fundamental approach. Sometimes I forget how much music I learned before taking up the pipes, and my fundamentals of rhythm, tuning, and pitch recognition were already well installed via prior experience with other instruments.

We don’t really disagree, Will. I was illustrating that installing ornamentation with focused, slow practice on keeping things rhythmic is the way to integrate ornamentation, assuming (and this is the part I left out) the student already has the fundamentals laid down. Peace.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Fair enough !!! Couldnt agree more !!

Yes i agree with that - focused slow practice with emphasis on rhythm .
Its a problem if the fundamentals are overlooked with too Much emphasis on the idiosyncrasies and not enough on the basics :
Solid rhythm , and variation in phrasing, so even though there are no ornaments , its not repetative because each time through its varied on a subtle level. Just as any good player does…. just because they use ornaments , which people focus on , doesnt mean they havent focused on melodic playing and subtlety….
As regards ornaments , i suggest practicing them in isolation , slowly , very slowly as trchnical exercises , so with a roll say the cuts are done” quickly “but the notes between are done long . As time progresses this all compresses , but it takes time so dont be in a hurry to arrive!!!!
Dont be in a hurry to incorperate them either, give your music space to breathe , be patient and persistent .
If you overlook these basics you might still have good rhythm and good onaments , but missing out the micro variations of tone, phraseing, breathing points .
Its something i hear in otherwise accomplished players , rolls upon rolls mask a vapid lack of actual musical understanding and it sounds mechanical and unoriginal .

Imo if a tune relys on idiosyncratic ornaments, spectacular though it might be , its not really such a good tune …

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Thanks for the comments guys. Been really taking them onboard and have for the first time lately been able to enjoy my practice again.

I have been playing all the tunes I was playing with bad ornamentation, without; and it feels much better, most notably because I learned a lot of them from other instruments like fiddle so the ornaments didn’t fit anyway let alone me playing them well.

I don’t think all that bad playing of ornaments was totally wasted though as I now have a much better idea of where they should go.

Breathnotes, which I seem to need to take quite often in order to stay feeling comfortable when playing, have the added benefit of also being variations so that keeps the tune interesting by varying where I take them.

"Ah, you meant Bobby Gardiner has a driving rhythm without excess ornamentation… That makes more sense to me"

Yes I was confused by that sentence too!

I actually liked the suggestion about listening to box players to learn how to play without ornaments. I really have never listened to them enough to know whether or not they have ornaments in their repertoire but I will do so now.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

"Breathnotes, which I seem to need to take quite often in order to stay feeling comfortable when playing, have
the added benefit of also being variations so that keeps the tune interesting by varying where I take them."

WindMusic, I noticed listening to your recordings since the Moving Cloud you have improved significantly.
The first one was a bit uncomfortable and that has gotten better with each recording. You are probably
better about breathing more regularly and starting to play phrases more easily. Cooley’s sounds good.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Great thats excellent if your happy with the direction.
Regarding box, there is much more melodic variation , in fact if you listen to Bobby lilting …. you will hear all sorts of stuff….. a master class in trad. No rolls no cuts ….. ok the voice is the most expressive instrument so we , as whistlers, have to use other approaches, but the general feel, the lilt, is spot on.
Its all about feel, not technique. Not to denigrate technique, but its a tool to attain musical mastery, its not an end in itself despite the myriads who think it is…..
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jQOFIYqjRh0


“Breathnotes, which I seem to need to take quite often in order to stay feeling comfortable when playing, have the added benefit of also being variations so that keeps the tune interesting by varying where I take them.”
Music to my ears….

Ps you have Brid O’Donohues whistle album?
Also id recomend Bobby Casey as a great source of tunes and style, fiddle.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

FYI, those tune videos I posted were from nearly 15 years ago, hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two or 10,000 in the years since. 🙂

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will, I’m never sure if you’re adamantly ** opposed to whistlers practicing cuts and pats in the first two years
of learning tinwhistle or not. Could you clarify your perspective on specifically those ornaments? I know
some here consider them articulations and point that out. I consider them articulations though often
these are referred to as ornamentation. Myself included.

Cheers!

** i.e. "In stead of cuts ,elongate the first note of the bar, get up to speed with the absolute fundamentals, simply put… the tune, and nothing but."

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

@AB Thanks, it is good to know I am on the right track. As I said I have gotten a lot out of the various feedback have I received on here once I was able to regroup and take things on board.

@Will No I haven’t heard heard album but I have heard the very scant recordings available online and I remember noting her down as one of my favorite players to look out for but couldn’t find anything easily available. Will have to look up her album, thanks.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

To answer Ben , as ive said , practice ornaments as technical exercises , seperate from the music. But can you sense any cuts or pats in the lilting or melodian i linked above?
To the OP , yes your investigations into ornaments was about listening . And thats the most important thing.
My point is about focus, what to focus on as beginners. So how do we define beginer? Intermediate advanced etc?
I suggest you stay a beginner all your life. …….
so what are the essential for good music….
a good tune
Good rhythm
Expression
Timing
Heart and soul
Individuality
Continue the list…….

Notice any ornaments ?

Now to define good piping
Or good whistling etc is a stage beyond this…… but first things first.

As regards how long to forget about the tricks and focus on the fundamentals …. how long is a piece of string?
How much do you practice?
I would think its more about how many tunes you have under your fingers , no mistakes , exciting and rhytmic playing with imagination and verve. So id suggest 30 tunes. Maybe 50 ….. maybe less …. but recall its fundamentaly dance mysic and traditionally served a social function .
Im not against ornaments!!! Far from it, im all for them, im more about pacing yourself and steady progress.
The art of music being the primary consideration , technique as a means to an end .
Im also all for studying transcriptions and recordingss of masters. Big time . Gotta be done.
In time ….
id also suggest playing a tune to an external beat, be in the dreaded controversial metronome or click track rtc
Take a leaf out of the drummers world , develop spot on timing .
Rhythmic fingerwork .
I would suggest focusing on melodic variation, universals .
A wise piece of advice i recieved was that , paraphrased. the ornaments are not to stand out, shouting look at me , arnt i clever 🙂 (certainly not to get in the way. ) to not be so noticeable ….. ostentatious…. rather subtle and understated.

Now of course we get well known players who , it seems to me , are all ornaments and no tune , yawn. Which in our day and age of earning a living, being on stage, TV you tube etc means musicians maybe feel like they have to compete and be flashy and ‘ progressive’ but is that really where the future is?! I hope not.
But even if that is your aspiration, work on the basics first and your playing will be all that much better for having ‘meat in the soup! And not just lots of MSG spices and salt.

https://ossianusa.com/products/01018-cd

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Thanks for the response, Will. It’s obvious you are emphasising the point playing with no cuts and pats is necessary on certain instruments and that these articulations (I’ll call them that for the sake of clarity on
this response) are not necessary for playing Irish music on whistle. You are spot on that listening to different instruments than your own can inform your musical style. If you’re saying whistle players should not be
using cuts or taps in tunes in the first two years of learning tinwhistle I do not agree. Of course it depends
on the player though I think it is a rare exception for a beginner to not be able to learn and play tinwhistle
cuts and taps in some tunes during the first year if they are playing regularly.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will, I’m just curious if you’re willing to put out there who these "well known players" who are "all ornaments and no tune" might be… There are certainly players who embellish the tunes more, but I’m not sure I can think of examples of well known players who are so over the top that the tune gets lost…

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Definitely not !! 🙂 but i didnt say that the tune gets lost , i said there isnt a tune as much , all rolls and no tune ….its all flash and no substance . Imo of course ! 😎
Ab your missing my point, is not that they cant do so, its a matter of focus. Same with rolls, even if they can get them well enough without detracting from the rhythm . Thats not my point , altjough its obvious enough if they cant and still use them . Again its a matter of focus. Im saying concentrate on fundamental musical skills that relate to every instrument in every genre, not the little idiosyncratic tricks . I e repeated myself enough!!

If people focus on the flashy bits. The flashy tunes even. Then mechanical virtuosity can over bear . Im saying play simple tunes in a simple fashion and make them sing , use the restrictions to explore depth and substance .

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote: But can you sense any cuts or pats in the lilting or melodian i linked above?

You don’t hear the ornamentation in Bobby’s melodeon playing? There might be no five note rolls, but sure enough there are cuts to be heard.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Really? How do you cut a melodian……hes a master but its not about technique, though he has that of course Its much more subtle than that….., his playing is full of verve, excitement, joy, melody, energy, lift , drive, bounce. To focus , once again on a little flick of the fingers ……. sigh.

How do you define a cut? He uses melodic triplets a lot, ‘dithery ‘. But cuts? Not as a whistler or fiddler or piper might think of them , as momentary , non pitched cuts in the sound of the main note. What instrument do you play shaketree?

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

The short roll as described is what i termed “dithery” a melodic triplet. The crann is a triplet, but again its besides the point im making. Which is not about ornaments, their use, or lack of, they are fairly insignificant in the greater scheme of things. , like a tool in a tool box, focus on musicality not technicality.
This clip puts it better than I .
https://youtu.be/gqoc4Kx6ToY

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote:
How do you define a cut? He uses melodic triplets a lot, ‘dithery ‘. But cuts? Not as a whistler or fiddler or piper might think of them , as momentary , non pitched cuts in the sound of the main note. What instrument do you play shaketree?

The box of course. And a cut is just a cut on the box. Different than on the pipes I guess, but that is also true for the flute.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Pipes whistle and flute all use the same technique , a momentary interuption of The airflow , Fiddle gets pretty close.
I hear the technique your useing the word cut for , but its not what i think of as a cut. A cut has a rhythmic purpose not a melodic purpose . It doesnt take time from another note, as the ‘cut ‘ on box which inevitably has to. So as fast as it can be done its still 2 notes , therefor melodic variation not rhythmic ;
Dee-yaa while on wind instruments its dyaa there is no separation , its one sound , the leading edge of a note or a seperation between notes .
Thats why i said there were no cuts, because we have a different understanding of cut .

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

From ‘The Companion to Irish Music’ , second edition, 2011, p. 178.

‘cut. A key form of ornamentation of melody which involves separating two like notes by momentarily playing a higher note.’

That’s indisputably three notes.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote: Thats why i said there were no cuts, because we have a different understanding of cut .

So no cuts possible on the box and the fiddle not quite? You understand you just use the next button on the box in the same push/pull direction? This is just as fast and rhythmic as lifting a finger on the flute… As you can hear on the clip of Gardiner you posted?!

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

I’m currently studying Bobby Gardiner’s "Complete Guide To The Irish Button Accordion". He deals with "cuts" on page 42, and they are included in many of the tune transcriptions following. They are also demonstrated - track #17 of the first of the 3 accompanying CDs.
Bobby Gardiner - according to his own accordion tutor book - plays "cuts", and denotes them by that name.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Yes I understand that shaktree and the definition of cut varies as to it being melodic or rhythmic depending on stylistic preference .
This is a thread about whistle ornaments , so that is the context of our discussion .
If it has time , is a note , then its a melodic variation, if it has no time , its a rhythmic variation. There is no generally agreed definition because it depends on the instrument .thats why there is argument as to it being an ornament or an articulation! It can be both ..depends on the player and instrument ……..

https://arrow.tudublin.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?pfilename=6&article=1050&context=appadoc&type=additional


The fiddle cut often does not have a pitch, the finger does not hit the board but just the string so its merely an interuption with a rhythmic effect . Again its a personal thing different players play differently!!
If the note can be discerned then its a melodic variation. if it cant , either due to shortness or that there is in fact no note Then it has no melodic purpose but rhythmic .

So here we are talking about whistle technique . Thats the context

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans wrote: and the definition of cut varies as to it being melodic or rhythmic depending on stylistic preference .

This does not make sense to me. Seems like a contradiction. I agree the context of the thread was whistle playing, but since you expanded it to box playing yourself, I hope you don’t mind me reacting to that.. especially since you are making quite sweeping statements about it.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Read the link , its pretty comprehensive! Im saying there is no universal definition, it depends on whos playing and what instrument!
So indeed within the context of box playing there is a cut , but its not what i call a cut! I dont call it an acciaccatura either ! I cant even say the word 🙂 But fair enough i can expand my definition of cut to include a melodic cut when talking about box players .

Still its an aside , im saying to the OP to focus on strong dynamic rhythmical playing that is inventive and interesting because the player is useing their imagination. To avoid the use of all ornaments so as to focus on danceability basically to bring about a hypnotic alpha trance state in player and audience.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Will Evans, are you saying playing ornaments makes one’s music not danceable? I doubt you are but when I listen to Paddy Jones discussing playing for dancers all I get is he is talking about being inventive. He doesn’t seem to ever say anything about avoiding anything. But you clearly say,"avoid the use of all ornaments so as to focus on danceability."

ps - the following link (as posted above) did not work for me. The only difference I can see is changing "pfilename" to "filename"

https://arrow.tudublin.ie/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?filename=6&article=1050&context=appadoc&type=additional

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

GW, Fintan Vallely has also discussed cuts using the terms ‘fleeting notes’ and ‘grace notes’ and in other descriptions of cuts he has written about cuts with a grace above vs. cuts with a grace below.
Your example may be *indisputable* in the context of the quotation but he did describe cuts & notes in
a variety of ways depending on his context.

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

Haha, Will’s moving definitions read very much like some Jordan Peterson chicanery.

I am enjoying the diversion nonetheless so don’t let it detract from any party.

Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

No lack of diversions on the board, WindMusic.

I do try to follow up on members suggestions. With a bit reading & sifting I often come up with something interesting, perhaps even relevant. Found the following in Mr. Evan’s link to Martin Tourish’s paper.
The work overall is very academic but it popped out for myself.

"It is only more recently that authors such as Liz Doherty and Fintan Vallely have begun
defining the cut as it applies to Irish traditional music, stating that it is either
‘predominantly melodic or rhythmic depending on the stylistic preferences of the
player’. " 29)

29) Vallely, Fintan; Doherty, Liz: ‘Ornamentation’, The Companion to Irish Traditional Music,
ed. Fintan Vallely, 2nd ed., (Cork: Cork University Press, 2011), 530.

https://arrow.tudublin.ie/appadoc/46/

"In Process and Practice: The Development of an Archive of Explicit Stylistic Data for Irish Traditional Instrumental Music" Chapter 9 - ‘Ornaments’ p.408

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Re: When learning from a recording should you practice the ornaments from the start if you can’t play them well yet?

@Mike, I like your recordings because they are straight to business, unadorned and with no preamble 🙂.