Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

At the start of the Lexie MacAskill, there are two E crotchets with a roll on the second - so "e2 ~e2". This pattern seems to come up a bit in pipe music. How would you ornament it on a whistle? And what is the intended ornamentation on the pipes? I can never seem to find a satisfying way to play it.

Later in the tune you have e2 e2 ~e2 which I find even trickier to play in a way that sounds smooth and natural.

The great tune in question: https://thesession.org/tunes/1093

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Depends on how much you want to clutter the tune up. The tune is the thing. I’d be happy playing the two or three crotchets straight with a single cut in between them and no tonguing. Or at most executing a short roll on the second one. Others will no doubt recommend more complex possibilities.

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

I do exactly as stiamh suggests, use the long notes as a motif nothing on the first note and a F#cut on the second
Second time i bend up to the First e and also. Later the 2nd
Then sometimes a role on the second
Also a high doubling , achievd on the whistle as an effect but dont over do it with the F and g but useing the f first so a bit crann like .
Then i bend down by half covering or less ,
For the pipe setting there is not much happening there, doubling is pretty much it

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

I would play both parts with short rolls.

1st part 1st bar:
e2 ~e2 deed
which translates to
e2 {a}e{d}e de{a}ed

3rd part 1st bar:
e2~e2 ~e2dB
which translates to
e2 {a}e{d}e {a}e{d}e dB

This is a tune that used to come up a lot at our Stockholm sessions when we had some Scottish fiddlers living here. Long time since I played it now.

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

It’s a Highland pipe tune (written by Dr John McAskill for his sister) and in the original Highland pipe setting there’s no roll or any sort of ornament on that second "e" note. There is a pat, to separate that "e" from the "e" before it. Little pats and cuts are necessary on the Highland pipes to separate notes, and aren’t ornaments per se.

So just play a plain "e" there.

The first "e" has a half-doubling on it, what in Baroque music is called a pralltriller, or upper mordent. It’s simply hitting that "e" and letting the finger right above, the lower-hand middle finger, bounce off and come back down:

xxx xxo
xxx xoo
xxx xxo

It’s a simple ornament that translates well to most instruments.

Actually, looking now at the sheet music to Lexy McAskill (not "MacAskill" by the way) there are hardly any ornaments in the entire tune. The exceptions are "doublings" on the long "e" in every Bar 4, and on certain other "e" notes. For those you can do the ornament I diagrammed above.

But the "e" you asked about is plain.

Now that I look over the various settings, the one further down (the fourth setting?) that has no ornaments is closest to the original tune.

It’s very strange to see those versions with, what, short rolls or triplets or whatever all over the place, which are completely lacking in the actual tune. It doesn’t make any sense from my standpoint, being a Highland piper who has played this tune for many years.

BTW I added a jig version there πŸ™‚ very common for Highland pipers to play reels as jigs and visa versa.

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

I didn’t know this tune till 5 minutes ago, so I can only throw a relatively ignorant opinion onto the table, but fwiw all that time spent on e at the beginning seems to me to be what gives the tune appeal and character. If we were to be afraid to let it speak, that could easily get lost. Some kind of cut would be needed for articulation, but I’d be wary of turning it into a warble. Is that what you meant Will by "as a motif"? A bit like a "hook" in other genres?

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

My short answer: a tap between two Es and if there are three, a short roll on the last one and tap between the first two as before. Other options are available but this should not offend anyone.

> written by Dr John McAskill for his sister

Mother! Don’t believe everything the Scots Guards tell you :D

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Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Kind of alex. I suppose what im saying is in this tune , like say the morning nightcap, the long Es are distinctive so to accentuate these would emphasise this so a fiddler could double stop this to make it stand out just as in the nightcap . Then as you go through the tune ornamenting it in different ways will emphasise them again.
So starting simple and then progressing in variations as you get into the tune will bring the listeners with you , which includes other players of course .
So i play with those notes rhythmically also break them into triplets with tonguing ta-ka- ta and snap them ta-ka β€” ta-kaβ€”- , not sure of the right term there .
Then i typically might put a rest to replace the second E and really the whole bar is just 4 E s so instead of the E2 E2DEED could play DE DE DEED then turn it around so DEED E2E2
Then easily join the first 2 Es into a really long note and bend it a bit .

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Calum LOL I was caught by a Scots Guards error yet again! BTW why don’t they play the versions in their own book? One of those mysteries.

Anyhow here’s Lexy McAskill played slowly and on chanter alone so you can hear the ornaments on "e", they’re "doublings" and "half-doublings" and any sort of simple ornament would be fine, on whistle I’d err on the side of simplicity.


Where there are big fat doublings is on certian "A"s in the 2nd part and 4th part. There, I would do a short roll on whistle because the ornament is important to the tune.

About actual rolls, the only one called for is on "A" in the 3rd part. The Highland pipes use a certain gracenote pattern unique to them, but an ordinary Irish long roll would be the equivalent there.

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

oxo eddee ooxx oooe cie esb rte etc.etc.

Posted .

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Wow, thanks everyone - never imagined I’d get this sort of response. Enjoying all the suggestions, thoughts and piping insights. Plenty of things to try out πŸ™‚

Re: Whistle players: How do you ornament this?

Yea I wish @Choons! Love that whole set of tunes.