(WARNING: please please don’t read this if you don’t like maths, and don’t read it if you have a low concentration span or if you didn’t enjoy reading “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time” by Mark Haddon.)

I was playing tunes with a musician friend Chris last night and we started talking about jig rhythm and how it’s not really like how you see it written down. I’m posting this thread so I can direct Chris to it and he can print out what we worked out last night, and also for the benefit of anyone else who’s geeky enough to be interested.

We challenged ourselves to come up with a solution for representing jig rhythm more accurately in abc, sheetmusic and midi files, in other words, representing the note values so that the rhythm sounds reasonable when you play the midi file.

Our thinking went like this:
In a straight 6/8 rhythm the ratio between any group of 3 quavers is 1:1:1. If you play it through a midi file the rhythm sounds robotic (cut & paste the abc into the box @ http://www.concertina.net/tunes_convert.html and play the midi file):

1:1:1 RATIO

X: 1
T: Kesh, The
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
Q: 333
R: jig
K: Gmaj
GAG GAB|ABA ABd|edd gdd|edB dBA|
GAG GAB|ABA ABd|edd gdB|1 AGF G3:|2 AGF G2A||
|:BAB dBd|ege dBG|BAB dBG|ABA AGA|
BAB dBd|ege dBd|gfg aga|1 bgf g2A:|2 bgf g3||

Basically the issue is with the 1st two notes of any group of three. We want the 1st to be slightly longer than the 2nd, but the 3rd to stay as it is. If you divide each quaver into 4, then the note value ratios of the straight rhythm would be 4:4:4, and the values of a dotted rhythm would be (6:2:4)/2 = 3:1:2. However, if you dot the rhythm with “>”, that makes the 1st note 3 times longer than the 2nd, and it’s a bit too much, and the rhythm limps too much and doesn’t flow as it should:

3:1:2 RATIO

X: 1
T: Kesh, The
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
Q: 333
R: jig
K: Gmaj
G>AG G>AB|A>BA A>Bd|e>dd g>dd|e>dB d>BA|
G>AG G>AB|A>BA A>Bd|e>dd g>dB|1 A>GF G3:|2 A>GF G2A||
|:B>AB d>Bd|e>ge d>BG|B>AB d>BG|A>BA A>GA|
B>AB d>Bd|e>ge d>Bd|g>fg a>ga|1 b>gf g2A:|2 b>gf g3||

So then we tried a ratio that was exactly halfway between the two. Again, if each quaver were divided into 4, then you can represent a “halfway inbetween” rhythm as 5:3:4. This sounds much better and flows nicely. Unfortunately, in order to be able to represent it properly in sheetmusic you have to write it in a time signature of 24/16 or 24/32, and the tunotron can’t cope with it, so you have to leave out the M and L fields from the headers so that it defaults to 4/4 and then just alter the Q field (tempo) so that it plays the midi ridiculously fast:

5:3:4 RATIO

X: 1
T: Kesh, The
Q: 1332
R: jig
K: Gmaj
G5A3G4 G5A3B4|A5B3A4 A5B3d4|e5d3d4 g5d3d4|e5d3B4 d5B3A4|
G5A3G4 G5A3B4|A5B3A4 A5B3d4|e5d3d4 g5d3B4|1 A5G3F4 G12:|2 A5G3F4 G8A4||
|:B5A3B4 d5B3d4|e5g3e4 d5B3G4|B5A3B4 d5B3G4|A5B3A4 A5G3A4|
B5A3B4 d5B3d4|e5g3e4 d5B3d4|g5f3g4 a5g3a4|1 b5g3f4 g8A4:|2 b5g3f4 g12||

That’s as far as Chris and I got with this last night, and then this morning I lay in bed thinking about it, and wondered what would happen if you made the ratio between the 1st two notes 2:1 instead of 1:1, 3:1 or 5:3. If you’re dividing each quaver into 4, then it’s basically (4*2)/3 = 2.666 recurring, so your ratio is 5.333:2.666:4 and if you multiply so that you get whole numbers for your ratio, you get 16:8:12 and then keep halving it you eventually get 4:2:3. This looks okay on a page of sheetmusic because it means that instead of a group of 3 quavers, you’d have a quaver followed by a semiquaver followed by a dotted semiquaver, or if you wanted twice the note values, a crotchet followed by a quaver followed by a dotted quaver. However, yet again, tunotron can’t cope with 18/16 or 18/32 so you have to default to 4/4 and up the tempo. The midi plays it okay, but it sounds slightly too limping for my ear, and I decided I preferred the 5:3:4. I altered the Q field appropriately so that it plays at the same speed as the others.

4:2:3 RATIO

X: 1
T: Kesh, The
Q: 999
R: jig
K: Gmaj
G4A2G3 G4A2B3|A4B2A3 A4B2d3|e4d2d3 g4d2d3|e4d2B3 d4B2A3|
G4A2G3 G4A2B3|A4B2A3 A4B2d3|e4d2d3 g4d2B3|1 A4G2F3 G6D3:|2 A4G2F3 G6A3||
|:B4A2B3 d4B2d3|e2f2g2e3 d4B2G3|B4A2B3 d4B2G3|A4B2A3 A4G2A3|
B4A2B3 d4B2d3|e2f2g2e3 d4B2d3|g4f2g3 a4g2a3|1 b4g2f3 g6A3:|2 b4g2f3 g9||

So after all that, my question is, which sounds right to your ear, 4:2:3 or 5:3:4?

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Experiment - just want to see if ornamentation still sounds crap:

X: 1
T: Kesh, The
Q: 1332
R: jig
K: Gmaj
G5{A}G3{F}G4 G5A3B4|A5B3A4 A5B3d4|e5d3d4 g5d3d4|e5d3B4 {e}d5B3A4|
G5{A}G3{F}G4 G5A3B4|A5B3A4 A5B3d4|e5d3d4 g5d3B4|1 {d}A5G3F4 G12:|2 {d}A5G3F4 G8A4||
|:B5A3B4 d5B3d4|e3f2g3e4 d5B3G4|B5{d}B3{A}B4 d5B3G4|A5B3A4 {d}A5G3A4|
B5A3B4 d5B3d4|e2f3g3e4 d5B3d4|g5f3g4 {b}a5g3a4|1 b5g3f4 g8A4:|2 b5g3f4 g12||

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Eugggh, yup, that’s horrible. The grace notes aren’t short enough…

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

At long last! A thread of interest! The geek in me is overwhelmed.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

I’m trying to write down the 5:3:4 on manuscript paper but it comes out as, wait for it, a quaver tied to a demi-semiquaver, followed by a dotted semiquaver, followed by a quaver, with a time signature of 24/32! Or if you want the much simpler (!) time signature of 24/16 you can write a crotchet tied to a semiquaver, followed by a dotted quaver, followed by a crotchet. The rhythm sounds lovely but if you write it down it’s impossible to read. No wonder jigs are always written in straight 6/8!

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

There are two variables in how a jig is played. One is the duration of the note that you have dealt with and the other is the sustain/staccato. This is very slightly different again from emphasis (see below).
If you have three different grades of emphasis on a note (1-3 with one being the heaviest and three the lightest) it goes:
2|312 312| etc
Now can we get seriously nerdy on this one or what 🙂

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

I can’t stand midi music. Music is for playing live, not by the artificiality of midi.
I either play music myself on the fiddle, listen to someone else playing it (preferably live), or read it from the dots (or ABC) and “hear” it in my head. What is “right” to my ear is what sounds right at any one time, and may not necessarily be the same the next time round. So it’s not possible for me to give a meaningful answer to the question.
I wonder if it possible for most people to deliberately play the rhythms 4:2:3 or 5:3:4 at normal playing speed and make it sound natural. Musicians I know just put a bit of swing into it and don’t worry about the fine detail.
The bottom line is that music played naturally cannot be notated to absolute accuracy in a readable “dots” format.

Trevor

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Sorry I got that wrong it should be:
2|132 132| etc

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Yes, Chris pointed that out last night too. Ideally you’d be able to change the volume of each note in the midi file for contrasting emphasis, but you CAN’T, and that annoys me,so I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and stop thinking about it for a while.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Oh come on Trevor this isn’t like you. You’ve changed! What’s the point in being a geek if you can’t talk about fine detail in pointless detail about the fine detail of it all?

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

The more playing I do the more practical my approach. Geekiness has its uses, e.g. in constructing a watertight proof in mathematics, or in working out exactly what an obscure word in a classical author really means, but not for me in working out to the nth degree the notation of swing in music. Life is too short.

Trevor

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

You’ve definitely changed Trevor, LOL!

I just managed to create a midi file of my version of The Frost Is All Over which is actually listenable to. It took a lot of trial and error, but I’ve managed to put some ornamentation and bass chords in and it sounds ok. Have a listen:

X: 1
T: The Frost Is All Over
Q: 1250
R: jig
K: Cmaj
[A,8E8c8]e4 g[F4d4]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e4 g[F4d4]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 f5e3d4||
[A,8E8c8]e4 g[F4d4]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e4 g[F4d4]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 f5e3d4||[C12G12c12]

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Or try this version - it’s better - I made some changes to the 1st line:

X: 1
T: The Frost Is All Over
Q: 1250
R: jig
K: Cmaj
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 gf4e3d4||
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3d4|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 gf4e3d4||[C24G24c24]

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

This is quite good fun to back to. Some extra bassnotes…

X: 1
T: The Frost Is All Over
Q: 1250
R: jig
K: Cmaj
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3 [G4d4]|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3e4 [C5G5g5]e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8][C4G4c4]|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3[G4d4]|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 gf4e3d4||
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|A5B3c4 [G,5D5d5]B3G4|
[A,8E8c8]e3g [F5d5]c3A4|[C5G5]c3E4 [G,7D7]E [G,4D4]|C5E3G4 [Ae]G4E3G4|1 A5c3B4 [C12G12c12]:|2 A5c3B4 [C8G8c8]d4||
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3 [G4d4]|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5c3e4 [C5G5g5]e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5g3f4|e2f2g4e4 gd4c3d4|e5c3B4 [C8G8c8][C4G4c4]|
e5c3[C4G4e4] g5e3[C4G4c4]|[F8f8][F4f4] a5f3[G4d4]|e5e2^de4 g5e3c4|gf4e3f4 d5e3f4|
e5f3g4 d5e3f4|ae4c3A4 cG4E3G4|A5B3c4 d5e3f4|e2f2g4e4 gf4e3d4||[C24G24c24]

OK I know this is silly!

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Admirable accomplishment, Dow! Well done! Really. [Secret geek handshake] If you refine it much further, you’ll be re-inventing the .wav file.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

I’m still not happy with some of the rhythm in the B-part. I might try and fiddle with it at a later date. I’ve noticed on some Scottish pipes websites they have .wav files that sound pretty good rhythmically and I’d like to know how they do it. There must be an easier way…

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Wow, I feel so not geeky now. I think I will go play some Flute alone.

Posted by .

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Fascinating! (If not a bit… ummm… maniacal?)

For my ABC needs, I use Phil Taylor’s fantastic program for Macintosh called Barfly. It has several very nice features, one of which is called “Stress Programming”, which automatically does what you’re talking about with a plain ABC file. (Edit -> Player Preferences -> Use Stress Programming)

It’s default ratio for jigs is 4:2:3. I recorded a couple of samples of it playing so you could hear if you like.

The first one is the Kesh directly from the ABC (1:1:1) in this thread. I removed the “R: jig” line from the ABC so that Barfly doesn’t know what Stress Programming to use. As you can hear - horrible midi music:

http://ntw.net/~reverend/kesh1.mp3

The second recording is that very same 1:1:1 ratio file played with Barfly knowing that it is a jig:

http://ntw.net/~reverend/kesh2.mp3

The sound produced by this is IDENTICAL to the 4:2:3 ratio file posted above.

The other cool thing about barfly is that it can use Sound Fonts. The one that you hear there is actually a sample of Phil Taylor’s Concertina, I believe.

Anyway, it’s not like I want to listen to it all day, but it is just fine for learning tunes and it doesn’t grate on my nerves the way that normal 1:1:1 stuff does.

Pete

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

See that sounds okay but I think I prefer it a bit more subtle with the 5:3:4. What’s the Barfly ratio for reels and hornpipes, just out of interest?

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

For my ear the 5:3:4 sounded better than 4:2:3. But every now and again my ear want to hear a grouping that is more 7:2:3 than 534. This variability is what makes live music more interesting than the even Midi version.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

*7*:2:3?! You like your swing heavy Donough!

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

My goodness Dow you really must have nothing to do at the moment. How long did it take you to do all these transcriptions. And what’s more amazing is that it actually worked in conversion to a midi file.
Maybe Barfly could be re-“jigged” to do it in a 5:3:4 ratio.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Maybe make that 6: 3.5 :4.5.
My point was just that the amount of “swing” usually varies from group (of notes) to group, depending on where the melody is going.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Pete, is it possible to alter the ratio settings on Barfly, or are they set in stone? If I can mess about with stuff like that I want a copy. Where can I get it?

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

6: 3.5 :4.5? Bloody hell I can’t even work out in my head whether that’s more or less. Arrrggghh!!! My head hurts. Time for another cup of tea…

Donough I do have lots to do but this is a good “displacement activity”. Anyway I think I deserve a rest because I’ve been working right through the weekend for a few weeks now and I just need some time to sit and play tunes and do stupid stuff like this.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Donough you can’t have 6: 3.5 :4.5 because the 1st two numbers added together have to be double the last number or the rhythm becomes un-jig-like. Oh dear I’ve suddenly bored myself! Time to get started on my next geek project.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

You could have 6:4:5.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

CLASS!!

CLAASSS!!!!

Listen up!

I am not geeky in the computer sense, I admit, and never listen to midi files of tunes. But I am very geeky indeed when it comes to thinking about jig rhythms. Well, here’s what I think -

As soon as you figure out the exact “right” rhythm for a jig, you realise it isn’t! Because in another jig it will be wrong. And as the speed changes the “comfortable” ratios change - yes, for the listener as well as the player. Then, of course, note length within a tune is a tool of expression. So a little more length here a little less there is a good thing, no?

Then there is the question of the true position of the 3rd and 6th notes in the bar. To my ear, in Irish music this is pretty much on the money. But in some very strongly dotted (or pointed, as we say here) Scots styles, that actually gets shunted over slightly, too - and of course this needs to be picked up by any rhythm players.

This is what you need to understand (and there is equivelant stuff for reels, hornpipes etc) when you try to play from the dots. If you can learn to simply feel it, you’ll be fine. Midi files are no different, except because of their audible nature we find it much harder to correct in our heads. When I look at the dots for a jig written in straight 6/8 I can translate it in my mind into whatever degree of swing I like. (I can also hear the ornaments, slurs etc how I want them.) I can see how that would be harder with a midi file - as for most trad musicians it’s “hearing is believing” not “seeing is believing”.

I suppose someone who is very well versed in the tradition, they might acquire the skill of listening to a midi file and instantly hearing the tune in the style they wish to play. That’s almost as hard for me to believe as it seems to be for many other to believe that I can look at a tune in a book and hear it “like a real tune”.

Posted by .

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

AHH!!! MATHS!!!

meeeeeeeeeellting…….

I shouldn’t have to put up with maths until next Monday!!

(only kidding 🙂 )

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Does anyone know Andy Cuttting’s Waiting for Janet? (great tune!!)
It is a jig, but because it starts 3 quavers before the 1st beat it gets twisted so that it doesn’t have the usual ‘jiggie’ rhythm.

I love tunes like that. 🙂

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Dow, if the ABCs you posted above were posted to the tune’s section, would we be able to listen to the midi veriosn via this site ? (I only have computer access at work & downloading sofware is a no-no).

- Chris

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

You can listen to the midi at www.concertina.net. As I said in my first post, simply copy the abcs including all the headers into the box at the link I quoted, and click on “submit”. Then click on “midi”. You don’t need to download software unless you haven’t got something like winamp or real player.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Chris, just go to the Concertina web site and use their conversion thingy. You don’t download the program it sits in their site. That will convert the abc to sheet music and then into a midi.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Kris, interesting what you said about the 3 and 6 in Scottish tunes. Are you talking about 6/8 marches? You must be particularly sensitive to rhythm.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Thanks Dow & Donough.

Sorry I misread the first post as I tried to get through the whole thread in the time available before I had to start working 🙁 I thought the converter had to be downloaded from the concertina site.- chris

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Yikes ! just listened to the lestest version that Dow posted & I’m really impressed. I can’t usually stand to listen to a midi all the way through.

Well done. When do you start coverting all the tunes in the database ? 😉

- Chris

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Dow - It’s quite evident in some march playing, for sure, but also in some Scots jig playing. My sensitivity probably comes from playing with Scottish dance bands/ceilidh bands. The lilt can differ a lot from one band to another and with so many dep pianists theses days it can be pretty unsettling sometimes. Fortunately most of us can give a bit of ground to get in time with each other, but it can be frustrating.

Posted by .

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Don’t you guys understand the principal of writen music?

Come on!

Surely this is yet another wind up?

You must know that It’s only a representation of a tune, a skeleton, so on the page we know that it isn’t the whole tune but just the bare bones, & each trad muso puts their own flesh on those bones.

It’s the same thing with the midi version of a tune. We all know that it aint the tune, but it gives us the manikin & we dress it as each of us sees fit. Chr*st that’s the whole point of it all!!!!!

Duh!
I can’t believe you guys wasted so much time on it.

If someone produced a tune book full of tunes with all ‘their’ ideas of where the ornamentation should go, I certainly wouldn’t even look at it & I’m convinced no serious ITM would bother with it either.

So it is with Midi files.
I just want the basic air of the tune from them.
Sorry, but I’m just not interested in how you think it should sound!!

Get a life geeks!

At the minute my face looks like I just licked pish off a nettle!! 🙁

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Nice one Dick - especially the last quaint turn of phrase - I’ll need to file that one for future use! 🙂

Posted by .

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Can’t claim it as my own, sadly.
It’s just part of that picturesque speech they call ‘Ulster Scots’ over here!
Has a ring to it though, I think!
Or is it a tang! 🙂

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Ptarmigan, I did warn you 🙂
I’m off to waste some time on reels now.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Well I think it’s a very interesting exercise which proves, if nothing else, that electronic music can only come so close to replicating the nuances of the stuff which we take for granted.

You can’t easily duplicate swing in a tune as it can vary within the tune itself. Great try though.

I used to think about this quite a bit myself. If you listen to the piping of Paddy Keenan, there’s not so much a swing as a swagger to his music. I often wondered how miniscule the differences in his timing and any other piper’s that give it that quality.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Have a reel nice time now Jim Bob, ye hear! 🙂

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

“…there’s not so much a swing as a swagger to his music.”

Yes, that’s exactly the word I came up with to describe the way I like to play jigs, with swagger. If I’m having trouble getting a handle on how to play a particular tune for some reason I’ll even picture myself walking down the street to it, with various degrees of swagger and it comes right together.

Then maybe I’ll throw in a skip or two.

I’ve found that this works well with people who are having a hard time breaking from playing the tunes straight as well. When they get that visual of the swaggering walk they can start to get jiggy wid it.

KFG

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### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Have done a reel - my version of Lad O’Beirne’s in F. Straight 1:1 sounds terrible:

1:1 RATIO

X: 1
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 400
R: Reel
K: Fmaj
[D2d2f2]cD [df]D[cdf]A|[CG]cA[CG] [CG]FDF|CFF/E/F CFAc|dcde fagf-|
[B,2d2f2]cA [df]A[cdf]A|[CG]cA[CG] [CG]FDF|CFF/E/F DFBd|1 cc’b/a/g [F3f3]c:|2 cc’b/a/g [F3f3]g||
[D3a3]g [B,2f2][B,f]c|dcfd [cf]AFD|CFF/E/F DFBd|cc’b/a/g [F3f3]c||
[D2d2f2]cD [df]D[cdf]A|[CG]cA[CG] [CG]FDF|CFF/E/F CFAc|dcde fagf-|
[B,2d2f2]cA [df]A[cdf]A|[CG]cA[CG] [CG]FDF|CFF/E/F DFBd|1 cc’b/a/g [F3f3]c:|2 cc’b/a/g [F3f3]g||
[D3a3]g [B,2f2][B,f]c|dcfd [cf]AFD|CFF/E/F DFBd|cc’b/a/g [F3f3]c||

Dotted 3:1 sounds even worse:

3:1 RATIO

X: 1
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 400
R: Reel
K: Fmaj
[D2d2f2]c>D [df]>D[cdf]>A|[CG]>cA>[CG] [CG]>FD>F|C>FF/E/F C>FA>c|d>cd>e f>ag>f-|
[B,2d2f2]c>A [df]>A[cdf]>A|[CG]>cA>[CG] [CG]>FD>F|C>FF/E/F D>FB>d|1 c>c’b/a/g [F2f2]z>c:|2 c>c’b/a/g [F2f2]z>g||
[D2a2]g>D a>Dg>f|[B, d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a [C2g2][Cg]>c’|
[D2a2]g>c’ a>fg>f|[B,d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a [F2f2]z>g|
[D2a2]g>D a>Dg>f|[B,d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a b>ag>f|
[D2a2]z>g [B,2f2][B,f]>c|d>cf>d [cf]>AF>D|C>FF/E/F D>FB>d|c>c’b/a/g [F2f2]z>c||
[D2d2f2]c>D [df]>D[cdf]>A|[CG]>cA>[CG] [CG]>FD>F|C>FF/E/F C>FA>c|d>cd>e f>ag>f-|
[B,2d2f2]c>A [df]>A[cdf]>A|[CG]>cA>[CG] [CG]>FD>F|C>FF/E/F D>FB>d|1 c>c’b/a/g [F2f2]z>c:|2 c>c’b/a/g [F2f2]z>g||
[D2a2]g>D a>Dg>f|[B, d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a [C2g2][Cg]>c’|
[D2a2]g>c’ a>fg>f|[B,d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a [F2f2]z>g|
[D2a2]g>D a>Dg>f|[B,d]>gf>d [cf]>FA>d|c/d/cA>d c>df>a|g>fg>a b>ag>f|
[D2a2]z>g [B,2f2][B,f]>c|d>cf>d [cf]>AF>D|C>FF/E/F D>FB>d|c>c’b/a/g [F4f4]||

2:1 sounds better but still a bit too bouncy:

2:1 RATIO

X: 1
M: 12/16
L: 1/16
Q: 600
R: Reel
K: Fmaj
[D3d3f3] c2D [d2f2]D [c2d2f2]A|[C2G2]c A2[CG] [C2G2]F D2F|C2F FEF C2F A2c|d2c d2e f2a g2f-|
[B,3d3f3] c2A [d2f2]A [c2d2f2]A|[C2G2]c A2[CG] [C2G2]F D2F|C2F FEF D2F B2d|1 c2c’ bag [F5f5]c:|2 c2c’ bag [F5f5]g||
[D3a3] g2D a2D g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a [C3g3] [C2g2]c’|
[D3a3] g2c’ a2f g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a [F5f5]g|
[D3a3] g2D a2D g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a b2a g2f|
[D5a5]g [B,3f3] [B,2f2]c|d2c f2d [c2f2]A F2D|C2F FEF D2F B2d|c2c’ bag [F5f5]c||
[D3d3f3] c2D [d2f2]D [c2d2f2]A|[C2G2]c A2[CG] [C2G2]F D2F|C2F FEF C2F A2c|d2c d2e f2a g2f-|
[B,3d3f3] c2A [d2f2]A [c2d2f2]A|[C2G2]c A2[CG] [C2G2]F D2F|C2F FEF D2F B2d|1 c2c’ bag [F5f5]c:|2 c2c’ bag [F5f5]g||
[D3a3] g2D a2D g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a [C3g3] [C2g2]c’|
[D3a3] g2c’ a2f g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a [F5f5]g|
[D3a3] g2D a2D g2f|[B,2d2]g f2d [c2f2]F A2d|cdc A2d c2d f2a|g2f g2a b2a g2f|
[D5a5]g [B,3f3] [B,2f2]c|d2c f2d [c2f2]A F2D|C2F FEF D2F B2d|c2c’ bag [F6f6]||

And 3:2 sounds best. Strange - I always thought I played reels 2:1 but this has shown me that I don’t. The following sounds very like how I play it:

3:2 RATIO

X: 1
Q: 1000
R: Reel
K: Fmaj
[D5d5f5] c3D2 [d3f3]D[df] c3A2|[C3G3]c2 A3[CG]A [C3G3]F2 D3F2|C3F2 FE2F2 C3F2 A3ce|d3c2 d3e2 f3a2 g3f2-|
[B,5d5f5] c3A2 [d3f3]A[df] c3A2|[C3G3]c2 A3[CG]A [C3G3]F2 D3F2|C3F2 FE2F2 D3F2 B3d2|1 c3c’2 ba2g2 [F8f8]c2:|2 c3c’2 ba2g2 [F8f8]g2||
[D5a5] g3D2 a3Da g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3a2 [C5g5] [C3g3]c’2|
[D5a5] g3c’2 a3fa g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3a2 [F8f8]g2|
[D5a5] g3D2 a3Da g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3ac’ b3a2 g3f2|
[D8a8]g2 [B,5f5] [B,3f3]ce|d3c2 f3df c3A2 F3D2|C3F2 FE2F2 D3F2 B3d2|c3c’2 ba2g2 [F8f8]c2||
[D5d5f5] c3D2 [d3f3]D[df] c3A2|[C3G3]c2 A3[CG]A [C3G3]F2 D3F2|C3F2 FE2F2 C3F2 A3ce|d3c2 d3e2 f3a2 g3f2-|
[B,5d5f5] c3A2 [d3f3]A[df] c3A2|[C3G3]c2 A3[CG]A [C3G3]F2 D3F2|C3F2 FE2F2 D3F2 B3d2|1 c3c’2 ba2g2 [F8f8]c2:|2 c3c’2 ba2g2 [F8f8]g2||
[D5a5] g3D2 a3Da g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3a2 [C5g5] [C3g3]c’2|
[D5a5] g3c’2 a3fa g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3a2 [F8f8]g2|
[D5a5] g3D2 a3Da g3f2|[B,3d3]g2 f3df c3F2 A3d2|cd2c2 A3d2 c3d2 f3a2|g3f2 g3ac’ b3a2 g3f2|
[D8a8]g2 [B,5f5] [B,3f3]ce|d3c2 f3df c3A2 F3D2|C3F2 FE2F2 D3F2 B3d2|c3c’2 ba2g2 [F10f10]||

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Aaaarrrrrgggggh!

I lost the will to live halfway through.

Have they finished yet?

Can I come out now?

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

I’ve just read the BarFly documentation about stress programming. It is user-changeable. The program comes with a text file called “Stress Programs” which contains the defaults for playing ordinary ABC files so that they sound ok on hornpipes, reels, double jigs, slip jigs, slides, marches, slow marches, polkas, strathspeys, waltzes, set dances, flings, and ragtime. If you want to add other rhythms, if ok isn’t good enough, or you just want to experiment, you can edit this file.

The way it works is you start with some header information so it knows what type of tune to apply the instructions to. You tell it what speed to play that type of tune. You tell it how many parts to divide each measure into. Then for each part, you tell it how loud and how long that part should be played. Loud is given as a percentage of “normal”, from a minimum of 0 (silent) to 127 (27% louder than normal). Long is given as a multiple from 0.1 (10% of normal duration) to 2.0 (double normal duration). Loudness numbers have to be integers, duration numbers are “real” numbers (not limited to one decimal place).

Here’s how jigs are handled by default:

* 9
Double Jig
6/8
3/8=130
6
110 1.2
70 0.7
80 1.1
110 1.2
70 0.7
80 1.1

The first line just says “The stress program I’m calling number 9 is about to begin”. The second and third lines say “use this program on ABC tunes where the R: field says ‘double jig’ and the M: field says ‘6/8’”. The fourth line says “play it at 130 half-measure beats per minute.”

The fifth line says “break each measure into 8 parts that would be considered equal if you stuck mechanically and slavishly to the notation, i.e. eighth notes.”

The sixth line says play the first eighth note 10% louder and hold it 20% longer than the notation indicates. The seventh line says play the second eighth note at 70% of normal volume and hold it 70% of normal length. The eighth line says play the third eighth note at 80% of normal volume and hold it 10% longer than normal. The last three lines say do the same for the last three eighth notes as you did for the first three.

A few more details.

1.2+.7+1.1=3, so there’s no extra time taken and no time unused in each beat. To compare to Dow’s ratios, this is 1.2:.7:1.1, which is 12:7:11.

If a note in the ABC file is longer than one segment of the measure (e.g. a quarter note in this example), the volume is taken from the segment in which the note starts and the duration is the sum of the durations of the segments it fills. For example, in a quarter note/eight note pair at the start of a measure, the quarter note would be played 10% louder than normal and the durations would be 1.9:1.1 (19:11) rather than 2:1.

Loudness is more complicated than just volume. It’s what’s called “velocity” in MIDI terminology. I don’t know the details, but it probably involves the duration of the attack portion of the synthesized wave as well as the amplitude.

You can change any of the stress programs that come with BarFly just by editing the Stress Programs text file, or you can add your own to it. It should work (I haven’t tried) as long as this file is in the same folder as the program and stress programming is turned on in the preferences.

There are also macros available for ornaments. Taylor provides macros for a bunch of different ways of playing rolls, including some that are based on something Paddy Canny does. These are also user-changeable. This way you easily (once you learn how to use macros!) write ABCs that will play pretty decent ornaments without explicitly writing out all the notes in the ABC, just a simple code that tells the player which ornament to use where.

### Re: Oops

Sorry. Line 5 says to break the measure into six parts, not eight. But you knew that.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Thanks Gary!

I have been meaning to look into how you play with the Stress Programming.

I haven’t had the time to dig into all the other stuff in Barfly yet either - like changing note lengths between normal, slurred, and staccato notes. And I haven’t played with the Fermata settings either.

The ornamentation macros are interesting, however. I tend to use it with the Clare fiddle rolls macro.

I guess it really doesn’t matter when you use it just for learning or remembering the odd tune here or there, but the technology is rather nicely done!

Pete

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

BTW, Dow,

Barfly’s default ratios are:

Hornpipe: 7:3
Double Hornpipe: 4:3:3
Reel: 11:9
Slip Jig: 14:5:11
Single and Double Jig: 12:7:11
Slide: 13:8:9
Jig: 12:7:11
Strathspey: 1:1
Fling & Set Dance: 7:3
Waltz: 52:49:49
March: 11:9
Polka 7:3

Anxiously awaiting your ABC notation of a Waltz in 52:49:49 😀

Pete

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Wow! Thanks for all that info lads. Looks like a lot of thought has been put into the making of Barfly. What a great program eh? From what I can tell it’s a mac program though, and I ain’t got a mac 🙁

Interesting, I would have said that the 1st 2 notes of a jig would have to add up to double the value of the 3rd note, but from your ratios it looks to be longer than that. Also interesting is the straightness of reels @ 11:9. It looks as though whoever wrote it has analysed recordings in detail and probably taken averages of all this stuff for the default settings.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Well, yes, certainly a LOT of thought has been put into Barfly. And yes, all us Mac snobs sneer at you poor lowly PC users…

But as kris pointed out, particular jigs sound better with different rhythms, and just because people have tried to analyze this stuff doesn’t mean that there’s a “right” way to play any of it…

I think that one day, I may play a particular jig at 12:7:11, and the next, I might play it at 12:8:10. But that’s the whole point! It’s HUMAN - you can’t quantify it accurately. And it depends on mood, energy, feeling, stress, whatever. And honestly, a great player may vary his rhythm somewhat during the playing of a single tune to add feeling and expression.

(And before I start a Mac/PC war… I have 8 computers… 6 of which get used, and only 3 of which are Macs… But Barfly is a wonderful piece of software) 😛

Pete

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Bless you, Revernd!

http//:www.barfly.dial.pipex.com

Barfly is the only reason I was doing that to my tape recorder last week.

Incidently (off topic, but still geeky) if anyone is interested. You can’t export Multivoice as AIFF, but a Quicktime Movie is just as droppable into iTunes, where it can be converted to MP3. But if yr on dialup, even a 1.7Mb file is gonna take the rest of yr life to upload.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

YCCCH!!!! dabnab colon slash,slash (mumblemumble mumble

http://barfly.dial/pipex/com

Also should be “Rever’nd”

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Keep it up, Dow! Bend that Techno! Make it work !

Think I’ll go home and crack a bottle of Old Screech Owl in yr honor.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Dow, that Lad O’Beirne’s ABC is amazing!. I’m still analyzing it. What does the Q field signify, it’s at 1000, also you didn’t post a default note length or Time signature. but it sounds right, It looks,,,hard to read.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Oh, that’s the tempo. The note length must be at some default value? That tempo is very fast, I cut it down to 500 and it sounds good.

### Re: The Geekiest Thread Ever

Earl,
I can well believe it took you five years to read this thread. 🙂
If you want to admire another piece of masterful abc’ing look for the Matt Molloy version of The Bucks of Oranmore. ISTR that was from the Dow keyboard too.

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