Sign in to follow this  
altogirl7

in the darkest depths of . . . . . mordent? Fiddlers, help?

Recommended Posts

Hi, all! I am wondering if any fiddlers out there can help me out with those fabulous turns that I can't, for the life of me, do.

I understand a turn or mordent to be as follows: the original note, the note above, the original note, the note below, and the original note again. But I feel that can't be right for fiddling because I cannot make my fingers create the sound I hear in a fiddle turn. Is it just that I don't have the speed yet?

So here's my real question: would any fiddlers out there be willing to post an mp3 (or some kind of audio file) that shows, in slow motion, how to do one of those turns?

many thanks for that or any info that may help,

altogirl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem is, in slow motion the technique disappears. It is dependent on the sustain of the original note. You kind of "hammer on'with your finger tip to get the next note. It's more left hand producing the notes than the bow.

The faster it's done, the easier it is. To attempt it slowly, you run out of sustain.

Think of the four notes in the technique played in the time of just one note...squeeze them all in the same time pocket...keep trying that and it will eventually appear.Don't try it slowly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is possible to learn these slowly, and then build up tempo. You might start with an easier one, like just a simple hammer on. Without the bow, you should hear the second note pop when you place your finger quickly. The secret is quick fingers, even when you aren't playing quick notes! If you don't hear the notes when you place your finger, you just kill the sound in between and the fast notes are impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks to you both for your replies! I think I didn't explain fully--

So Bob, you are saying that a fiddle turn IS what I explained? I CAN do that turn. But it just sounds nothing like what fiddlers are doing. I guess I just don't know how to do it quickly enough. I can do it in the space of one note, though....?

Hm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Altogirl, yeh that's it. Try taping it while you play...it just might be there more than you realize. It needs to be a very subtle thing anyway...a little bit goes a long way.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The turn is a four note ornament, the mordent is a three note ornament. The turn is what your thinking of. the mordent is...original note - upper or lower neighbor note - original note. Done with a quick flip of the finger. The quick flip is what your looking for. Alot of Irish fiddlers do theirs so fast it does sound like a mordent but there is actually the five note turn...original - upper - original - lower - original notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

by the way, most fiddlers will call the mordent ornament a "cut". I believe the bagpipe and other wind name for it is a "cran" maybe. That turn is sometimes traded out for "trebling", the fast triplet bowing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Altogirl, To further muddy the waters of terminology... In Celtic the 5 note turn is called a roll, well exemplified by Kevin Burke and others. I was taught that even when the prime note is on the first finger, the upper note should be played (flicked) by the third finger. Note that a true roll cannot be played on an open string. Maybe Simon, our resident Irish guy can chime in here and clear things up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread, AltoGirl.

I really learned alot!

At first, I thought this was going to be some kind of Led Zepellin thread!

[This message has been edited by ecology (edited 06-05-2001).]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends where you are using it, if in an air it is melodic, if in Folk Dance rhythmic - these days - Strongly recommend buying a suitable Virtuoso in the Tradition of interest. Then slow the tunes down.

smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Park:

by the way, most fiddlers will call the mordent ornament a "cut". I believe the bagpipe and other wind name for it is a "cran" maybe. That turn is sometimes traded out for "trebling", the fast triplet bowing.

I've been learning fiddling for about 2 years now, after giving up 'violin' when I was in junior high. A really good book for learning these sorts of ornaments and bowing techniques is Mel Bay's "Complete Irish Fiddle Player".

It can be purchased with a 2CD set where the tunes and ornaments from the book are played at a moderate pace.

According to the book, the ornament she was describing is a "roll": original-above-original-below-original. There are 1st, 2nd, 3rd finger rolls as well as an open string roll; that I haven't gotten to, yet smile.gif

You can practice rolls slowly, but they don't start to sound right in a tune unless you can keep the beat -- all of the finger changes have to finish within the note length of the note being 'rolled' (if that's the proper term). A good thing about them is that they happen so fast you don't have to worry too much about accurate intonation; they over before anyone could notice a little high or a little low.... smile.gif

A "cut" is when you break a slur of two of the same notes with a quick touch of the third finger ... it's more of a rhythmic device rather than a melodic one.

Trebles, as you mention, is just bowing the same note three times in one beat. Natalie MacMaster does this, IMHO, better than any other fiddler. It's a 'crunchy', rhythmic sort of sound.

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by ecology:

At first, I thought this was going to be some kind of Led Zepellin thread!

...in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a paraphrase something I picked up from Dale Rusk (a wonderful Seattle-based Irish fiddler) when he was explaining cuts to a friend of mine:

Basically, the motion your fingers (particularly the ones playing the original and upper notes) make in fingering a cut isn't up-and-down so much as a small arc. Don't hammer on the strings to stop them: just flick them, rather like doing a really light left-hand pizzicato. Practicing cuts like that did wonders for my left-hand technique in general--and I don't even play Irish fiddle.

Hope this helps,

Trent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the older popular Trad Fiddlers including some of the Scottish use solid fingering, the emphasis employed is best shown in the playing of James Morrison a preWW2 Irish fiddler. Each note IS SOUNDED equally! It is after all a Turn not a grace note.

Modern players such a Kane and other Classcal trained Fiddlers are alomst mechanical in exactitude but their music is dead boring, including the wussie 'cuts' now so popular in the USA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right about the cuts. They are to be played as a flick. Basically they are they same thing as a mordent, but played quicker. A mordent would have equal timing on each note. (a Baroque thing) the cut is faster and lighter. I spent some time with a fiddler from Ireland and while I was playing cuts, he told me that I needed to use rolls or turns. They do them very fast. He did his so fast that it was both a rhythmic ornament and a melodic. On recording it can sound very much like trebling. For Irish fiddling the two main ornament are the trebling and the roll.

He also told me that on an open string roll you played...

Say on the A string

A-B-D-B-A

I've not gotten this very well when I try to do it, but sometimes hit it by mistake.

Again, go and download the program "Transcribe" from www.seventhstringsoftware.com ( Ithink that's it) it will slow those things down and you'll hear every note on a recording. Helps to understand alot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank You Sheila for the link - smile.gif

From an Irish manufactured Fiddle Book,

From the simple to the elaborate.

Grace

Cut

Triplet

Roll

Long Roll

Trill

Think that should do it lol

smile.gif

Be Well

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Trent_Hill:

Here's a paraphrase something I picked up from Dale Rusk (a wonderful Seattle-based Irish fiddler) when he was explaining cuts to a friend of mine:

Basically, the motion your fingers (particularly the ones playing the original and upper notes) make in fingering a cut isn't up-and-down so much as a small arc. Don't hammer on the strings to stop them: just flick them, rather like doing a really light left-hand pizzicato.

Thinking of the cut in terms of left hand pizz is a good way to get the timing. I think in terms of a whipping rather than a flicking motion. I invariably cut with my 4th finger, and really slap it across the string with a movement that starts in the wrist. That's just my style, it's certainly not the only way. The timing is the main thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I really missed that address! Oh well, I was close. Anyhow, it's really a good program. I went ahead and bought it. It's been the best piece of software I've ever bought. The new version $ let's you slow stuff down step by step, unlike the old one that only goes by half and qusrter speed. I've even recorded in session recordings into the little mic on the computer, it's a bit muddy, but you can still use it. Works best when you convert CD's to MP3's and use them that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for all the discussion, and thanks for the links, sheila and park. If any of you come to the reunion, would you be willing to give me a quick demonstration?

altogirl

tra la la la laaa, she turns

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite right too ff, there is something of a debate about that in some trad circles lol...

Simon, as you probably know, belongs to the Nothern School, very strong emphasis on certain beats, however in the West especially Clare that seems not to be the case, see O' Loughlin etc. Muted decorations being the order of the day ... lol

In Co Sligo - a tradition all to itself - decorations are emphasised and - enjoyed - big time. Listening to 'Polly Put The Kettle On' - rec 1930s the thing that most grabs the attention, the tune seems to 'swing' around long and short rolls smile.gif

Complications continue in Co Kerry,Cork etc, the Sliabh Luchra Tradition, where particular and illogical ( See J Roche 'Roche Collection' Pub Ossian Pub Cork Ire ) bowings exist in which the decorations feel as if they are an afterthought but if left out, tunes sound empty. ( BTW This tradition is most like Amercan Old Timey of all that survive in the Island )

A great source of direction, in O'Niell - Reel and Hornpipe - , the location of the embellishment; for example one eight on the Down Beat followed by a phrase equal to three eight, which is the embellishment. Now these can differ greatly in constuction, hence rhythm. However for the student making the Down Beat with the Down Bow is a great guide and passing Up Bow for the remainder of the Phrase is a simple if messy solution to keeping the rhythm intact.

So doing needs the Down Bow ( DB 1st 1/8th note ) to be deliberately whipped ( =fast long Down Bow ) thus using almost all of the Bow, since the next 3 - 1/8 - notes are in an Up Bow. This return Up the Bow now needs to be deliberately sllloooowwwww. It is very hard at first to keep good tempo. Use some kind of rhythm - keyboard midi drums etc - Metronome even lol smile.gif

This basic routine mastered a player can then begin to improve on the Up Bowed notes with - for example - a Bowed Triplet.

This interpetation is taken from slowed down performances of Sligo Fiddlers Coleman, Morrison etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.