At 07:02 PM 3/15/2002 +0100, Henrik Norbeck wrote:
>Which fiddle players do you mean here? All fiddle players in Irish
>music that I know or know of play rolls the "proper" way, except
>maybe for some beginners.
There are thousands of beginners who have been playing for decades then,
and I hear them all the time. You're talking about noted Irish players,
which is a self-selecting group. They're noted because they play the
"proper" way. For each one of them there are a hundred in every American
pub for instance, faking their way through.
> > >Of course, exactly which grace
> > >notes are used differs, but the *timing* is the same, which is the
> > >most important thing. Short rolls and delayed rolls are also played
> > >the same way.
> > Can be. Should be. Have a look through the biggest collections and see if
> > they're notated at all, much less correctly.
>I agree that rolls are often not notated at all, and when they are
>they are often not correctly notated, in the big collections. But why
>should they be notated at all?
Now you're making a different argument, one that I've already dealt with in
another post. As a composer I'd prefer to notate my music as I play it
rather than crap out a bare skeleton of big blocky notes and rely on every
player who picks it up to flesh it out. Likewise, if I were preserving the
way a noted player executed embellishments I'd notate what they actually
played, not a general symbol that every future player would just play
whatever way the felt like.
Granted, players will just play what they want anyway, but there are so
many cases where traditional notation is just a load of dotted quarters or
quarters that really mean a load of other notes instead that unless you've
heard the tune already they're worthless for any real idea of how they play
> Most tune collections just have the
>"bare bones" of the tune, and players are free to add ornaments
>according to their instrument and style. This means that you
>cannot learn a tune from a collection without having already learnt
>a proper playing style.
Sounds like you've answered your own question here. If tunes are notated as
precisely as they could be notated instead of just giving up and blocking
them out, you would be learning a proper playing style, and not only that,
you've be learning the playing style of the composer or player who notated
them. That's the basic purpose of notation.
>Of course, if what you're looking for is descriptive (as opposed to
>prescriptive) notation, then you'd have to notate a number of times
>around on a tune, since most players vary their playing. I've seen
>some examples of this, for example in O'Cannain's and
That's true in history preservation of a specific player but it's not much
more bother to just notate a more precise version and then concede that
each player will vary from that. I hope nobody is making the assumption
that I'm saying whole standardized tune "versions" be locked in stone, just
that the generic base tune be more precisely represented than writing down
a dotted quarter and expecting every player to break that up into something
each one might executed differently and call differently along the lines of
a "long roll" etc. Have a look again, at the Willie Clancy collection or
even as far back as the Rowesome tutor for Uilleann pipes, or the Heather
Clarke UP tutor or the An Piobairi tutors etc, to get some idea what I'm
>When it comes to teaching the correct timing for rolls, the method I
>use is to play the correct version, but also a number of common
You've hit the heart of my commentary here, because first, you note that
there are several ways to play rolls, and there are lobotomized
equivalents. In standard notation, rather, standard non-notation, what
happens most often is a gravitation toward the most lobotomized way of
affecting that movement and no motivation from teachers or hearing other
peer-level players to even suspect there might be something more articulate
that really *is* being played by all those top players being idolized.
Years then are spent perfecting lobotomized embellishments and wondering
why they don't sound like Aly Bain or whoever. The reason, unapparent to
them, is that those guys aren't playing the same notes in the same way,
which would be blatantly obvious if notated correctly.
> > Again, don't make assumptions about my terminology.
>Sorry, I should have phrased it more clearly: Let's use the *usual*
>Irish terminology on this list.
I admit it isn't "usual" and have conceded to Phillippe, my chief
protagonist, that in the one exception my version is really a personal
clarification that allows me to describe all the common movements in all
the possible variations a little more consistently. (See the cut
roll/doublecut roll thread elsewhere.) I seriously object however, to this
"nudge-nudge, wink-wink, chuckle-chuckle" attitude that Phillippe and his
compatriots keep falling back on when they resort at every opportunity to
somehow lock in the notion that as a Highland piper I'm somehow in some
other world and couldn't possibly follow their lofty understanding of the
Irish music. Like I've said, I don't even really play Highland pipes any
more, and what playing I do is in an Irish pipe band. I've been taking my
terminology and style from Irish traditional music for 30 years and even my
Highland playing and band repertoir was referred to as "That Irish Shite"
by noted Scottish judges in the 80's and every Highland player that began
taking on the Irish style and ornamentation in those pioneering days was
liberally crapped upon by the established Scottish Order for decades till
if finally won out and has taken over the entire Highland piping and
drumming scene. Even the "Highland" side-drumming style was really taken
from a couple of noted Irish snare drummers (who's names excape me at the
moment) who began putting clog and bodhran rhythms into their jigs and
reels. True, Alex Duthart, noted Scottish drummer is credited with
inventing the "Highland" pipe band drum style via a mixture of Swiss tight
rudiments and jazz rhythms, but he also stole liberally from the Irish, and
more contemporary pipe band drum corps have just stolen outright the
bohdran styles in their bass/tenor section, and since jigs and reels are
now universally played in the Irish style in pipe bands, drum corps have
had to go to the clog/bodhran styles for the snare drums as well.
Pipe Major's Handbook Zetland Pipes Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band