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Music Discuss specific tunes, the writing of tunes, other questions, concerns, etc. related specifically to the music or music books.

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Old 09-19-2017, 09:55 AM   #51
el gaitero
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post


The silent majority may have the same opinion as your 'meh' answer, and if that is true nothing will ever change


-Matthew
Apparently so....and as from the 'beginning' ( entendre double?) .

Meanwhile, we soldier on ...Left, Right ,Left,Right..... ;

Good luck .....
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:19 AM   #52
Robin73
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Here's a first draft of a manifesto to get this sorted. I would welcome some input on the practical solutions section, where I mention starting the drum part or melody earlier or later, and omitting flams etc, as I don't have enough drumming knowledge to know the best approach. Also, any other constructive suggestions welcome. I am not however interested in comments to the effect of "don't bother" or "stop making a fuss."

Beyond that, would anyone be willing to support me in circulating this and claiming it as representing their own position when necessary? I predict this is going to take some time, but I'm thinking for example of band AGMs or other forums where it could be raised as an established "thing with a name" to give it more chance of being taken seriously.

Manifesto for the Correct Placement of Beatings in Highland Bagpipe Music

It has come to our attention that many bands are playing a portion of their repertoire with the drum part out of phase with the bagpipe melody. This results in some tunes not being presented in their fullest glory since the intended rhythmic emphasis is not adhered to.

The main place where this occurs is in tunes with a time signature of 3/4 or 9/8. In many of these tunes, there are notes preceding the first strong beat of the melody which form something called a “pick-up” or anacrusis. If the correct use of standard musical notation is adhered to, these initial notes should be written before the first bar-line, with the first strong beat of the melody placed directly after the bar-line.

For example, the first two bars of “The Green Hills of Tyrol” are often notated like this:



When in fact they should rightly be notated like this:



While the first version makes some sense in that the tune starts “at the beginning,” and appears to solve some problems with repeats (eliminating the need for second-time bars), there is the unfortunate downside that every melody note is in an incorrect position in relation the implied STRONG-weak-weak rhythm of the crotchet beats between each pair of bar-lines.

As a result of this, many bands have come to play their drum parts one beat ahead of the melody, such that rather than supporting its rhythmic structure, they instead give a strange syncopation with the strong beats never coinciding with the strong beats of the melody.

Once of the main sources of this now widespread habit is summarised below:

• In Army Manual Book 1, 1934, the pipe parts were notated correctly and the drum parts wrongly.
• In Army Manual Book 2, 1936, they kept the wrongly notated drum parts, and made the pipe parts wrong too to match.
• In the Preface to Book 2, the matter is referred to as a small mistake due to a misunderstanding.

As a result of this “small mistake,” the practice of playing the drum parts out of sync with the pipes has become so widespread that many people are not aware that it is happening and are not open to the possibility that there may be an issue here that needs addressing.

However, many of us do recognise the problem and would like to make a contribution to the wonderfulness of highland bagpiping by encouraging people to play these tunes with the correct emphasis and drum part synchronisation.

Once the issue is recognised, the solution is quite simple. It will require some communication between piping leaders and drumming leaders as to how they want to address it.

Perhaps the easiest way to address the immediate problem is to have the drum part begin one crotchet later than usual, or have the pipes begin one crotchet earlier.
(… by allowing the drummers to always start the score by omitting the first flam?)

Beyond the modification of performance within existing bands, there is also to issue of the widespread publication in print and online of scores with the incorrect notation. As a longer term goal, it would be good to see these replaced with the correct versions.

As a final note, please understand that the intention of this manifesto is note to attribute blame or to criticise. Trying to change long established habits within communities is not an easy task and is often not initially met with appreciation. Given that there is so little enjoyment to be had from the process, please consider that we embark on this because of a profound love and respect for the Highland piping tradition, and not for reasons of personal gain or need to be right. We invite you to explore the facts of the matter with an open mind and to draw your own conclusions.

Last edited by Robin73; 09-20-2017 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:30 AM   #53
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Here's a link to a PDF of the draft: http://robinandrews.uk/dev/Manifesto...pe%20Music.pdf
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:02 AM   #54
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

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Originally Posted by 3D Piper View Post
I've never heard that before. Calum, you teach piping for a living and I have a much respect for you. Is that what you teach your students? "start on whatever foot you want, there is nothing special about the left"..? What happens in a band situation?
You start on the left foot because you need to be in step in a band. You teach soloists to play on the left foot so they don't have to relearn it when they join a band. When you play a 3/4 or 9/8, the strong beat is shifting between beats anyway.

Quote:
I mostly hear that the bass drummer is beating heavy beats with the repeated dotted-eighth/sixteenth, which should be the anacrusis of (almost) each bar. When I want to hear the pulse of the band I listen to the midsection. I understand the snare's flams in the same place, and you correctly indicate that that IS the anacrusis.
The drum corps is certainly doing some complex work but the ensemble effect is very clearly delineating the phrasing correctly; grade 1 bands are somewhat beyond "hit the big drum harder on the first beat of the bar".

Quote:
many bands are playing a portion of their repertoire with the drum part out of phase with the bagpipe melody.
No, they aren't. Drum corps routinely and silently shift scores to sync up correctly with the pipers. How many people here have actually tried getting their band to play Green Hills with a "correct" anacrusis on the right foot? Take it from me, your drummers won't thank you for it.

Piping has a cultural tradition of reverence for the printed page that is completely misplaced. Most printed music is badly edited and proofread. As for typeset scores produced by individuals, they tend to be even worse. On top of that, if we actually wrote down what we play instead of a badly coded shorthand, scores would be unreadable. I'd prefer to see people taught to think intelligently about the idiom and written music, not imagine that we can fix bad playing by shifting a few barlines.

To be clear, I know there are bands out there getting this wrong - but they're getting everything else wrong too.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:01 AM   #55
3D Piper
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
You start on the left foot because you need to be in step in a band. You teach soloists to play on the left foot so they don't have to relearn it when they join a band. When you play a 3/4 or 9/8, the strong beat is shifting between beats anyway.
Ahh.. So the left foot IS important after all!
But the left has nothing to do with strong/heavy beating, especially in a 2/4?
After a 2/4 solo competition, has a judge ever said 'you got out of step'..?



Quote:
The drum corps is certainly doing some complex work but the ensemble effect is very clearly delineating the phrasing correctly; grade 1 bands are somewhat beyond "hit the big drum harder on the first beat of the bar".
I agree, but I distinctly hear double bass beats on what they are playing as beat 1 when it should be the anacrusis. I know this because I am playing bass currently (and play snare and tenor), and I have a very similar beating pattern for the retreat we are playing: double beats on the anacrusis (but played as beat 1). It drives me crazy. Literally.



Quote:
No, they aren't. Drum corps routinely and silently shift scores to sync up correctly with the pipers.
Please provide an example. In my (limited) experience, the drummers write scores for the music provided and may not understand that the music is written incorrectly. In the retreat we are currently playing, there is the heavy beat on beat 1 which should be an anacrusis. If the music we provided would have had an anacrusis (like Kilworth Hills), they would have wrote a similar score but had an anacrusis and a heavy beat on beat 1 of the first bar (as it should be).



Quote:
How many people here have actually tried getting their band to play Green Hills with a "correct" anacrusis on the right foot? Take it from me, your drummers won't thank you for it.
We play it this way. When we were learning the massed band tunes, the first thing I noticed was it was notated wrong. I re-wrote it and we learned it correctly with the anacrusis (the flam for the snares).


Quote:
Piping has a cultural tradition of reverence for the printed page that is completely misplaced. Most printed music is badly edited and proofread. As for typeset scores produced by individuals, they tend to be even worse. On top of that, if we actually wrote down what we play instead of a badly coded shorthand, scores would be unreadable. I'd prefer to see people taught to think intelligently about the idiom and written music, not imagine that we can fix bad playing by shifting a few barlines.
YES, thank you for that clear explanation! This exactly supports our view: there was an error early on with the way retreats were notated and it should be fixed.

As has been stated earlier, play a retreat in a ceiligh band and see where people clap: it will be on the quarter note, not the dotted eighth/sixteenth. You can naturally feel this rhythm.




-Matthew
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:05 AM   #56
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Okay..., to me part of the problem is that "strong beats" are somewhat foreign to instruments such as bagpipes which are incapable of accenting notes by playing them a bit more strongly, such as the way the rest of the musical world does. Another part it TRADITION, in that "We've always done it that way, which also dictates that the left foot always leads, no matter what time signature or whether it's a pick-op or a beat note. Somehow, that last bit doesn't seem to be a problem for dancers. ( as an aside, in Scottish Country Dancing the men's side starts on the right foot on the first beat).

There's absolutely no reason for it not to be done correctly other than hide-bound habit.
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:29 AM   #57
Robin73
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

It's slightly ironic that those who won't budge on this due to "adherence to tradition" aren't aware that what they are referring to actually a deviation from a much older tradition...
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:19 PM   #58
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

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...While the first version makes some sense in that the tune starts “at the beginning,” and appears to solve some problems with repeats (eliminating the need for second-time bars), ...
There is no need for second-time bars. The opening "repeat" bar-line is placed right at the beginning before the anacrusis, so that the first bar consists of one beat. Then the closing "repeat" bar-line is placed at the end of the part. The rule is that the last bar and the first bar together should have the requisite number of beats to make up a whole bar (3 beats in the case of Green Hills etc). The notation only gets messy if the first part has an anacrusis and the second part doesn't (or has an anacrusis of a different length).
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:53 PM   #59
el gaitero
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

I think you meant the last ( incomplete) bar of whatever part + the 'pick up' note(s) on its repeat ( or the following part) should tally up to a whole ( 3 beat) bar. Then the full first bar of the part moves ahead with its 'own' 3 beats.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:30 AM   #60
Robin73
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

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There is no need for second-time bars. The opening "repeat" bar-line is placed right at the beginning before the anacrusis, so that the first bar consists of one beat. Then the closing "repeat" bar-line is placed at the end of the part.
Hmm, I'm pretty sure that is a "folk hack," even if it is quite common.

As far as I know, and I am fairly well qualified to speak having studied music at college and published my own compositions, the approach used in this article is the correct one, with one exception - the last bar should only contain a minim, to offset the initial "dotted quaver, semi-quaver" as you suggest yourself. However, I don't believe that strict adherence to the rules would allow this off-setting to occur in the middle of a tune.
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