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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 05-22-2016, 11:39 PM   #1
Heatherbelle
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Default 3/4 issue revisited

We all know by now that many ignore upbeats and start 3/4 tunes with upbeats as if the upbeat were the first main beat of the tune. But even given that, the pipers retain the 3/4 time signature albeit the stresses are one-out.
But the drummers it seems, play from a score in 4/4 time. Is this really true?

And if it is true, how do the drummers explain that? And how does the PM explain it?

Why would half a band play in 3/4 while the other half is playing in 4/4?

As I've said before, in avant garde compositions playing in different time signatures can be brilliant, but in traditional pipe music what is the rationale?
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:28 AM   #2
redmond
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Drummers playing in 4/4 while the pipers play in 3/4 seems quite ridiculous, surely not. Having said that, it may be that in military bands, with an obsession of a strong beat on the left foot, that they might be tempted to have the bass drummer play a strong beat to correspond with the left foot each time (hopefully not). I don't see that marching to a 3/4 tune is all that difficult but if it is then don't do it. Stick to the 2/4's, 4/4's and 6/8's as opposed to destroying the music.
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Old 05-23-2016, 06:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Something I learned from my 9 year-old snare drummer: the 2/4 and 4/4 standard scores are essentially the same. I do know that his band's standard 3/4 is somewhat different.

Excuse the ignorance of a non-drummer!

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Old 05-23-2016, 06:11 AM   #4
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

The PPBSO Massed Bands 3 / 4, for example, can be played starting on the 3 or starting on the 1, and has 3 beats per bar. Starting on the 3 is referred to as a right footed tune, since after the second three pace roll the drummers have to jump in one beat ahead (on the right foot) of where they would usually start (on the left foot).

The bass drummer has to know that the tune is heavy, light, light and where to put the heavy beat (on the 3 or on the 1). Very often though, particularly in novice bands, no one tells the bass drummer this and they continue to play heavy, light, heavy, light as that is the easiest thing to do when marching.

Here is part 4 of the massed bands score,



We can start with the flam on the 3 or the 1. If on the 3 then the seven stroke roll will finish on the 1 and the flam of the next bar is on the 3. In fact we play the chips, 7, triplet flam, triplet flam, flam, as if this were always the case, whether we start on 3 or 1.

This anomaly has to be explained and taught when we teach the 3 / 4 score.

Also note that the massed band 2 /4 and 4 / 4 pulls out the 6, 5 roll phrase in measure one and quotes it measure one of the 2 / 4 and 4 / 4, and the 7, triplet flam, triplet flam and quotes it in measure 2 of the 2 / 4 and 4 / 4.

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Last edited by Tom MacKenzie; 05-23-2016 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 05-23-2016, 08:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
But the drummers it seems, play from a score in 4/4 time. Is this really true?
I have never heard this, it seems like this would totally screw up the phrasing of the tune the band is trying to play. The pipers would be at the end of the first part and repeating while the drummers are only 75% through the first part!

We play the EUSPBA 2/4-4/4 for duple tunes and the EUSPBA 3/4 for 3/4 tunes (we changed to adopt a pick-up note).

Like Tom says, there are probably phrases that are shared between scores (especially for massed band scores)..



-Matthew
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:17 PM   #6
Heatherbelle
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom MacKenzie View Post
The PPBSO Massed Bands 3 / 4, for example, can be played starting on the 3 or starting on the 1, and has 3 beats per bar. Starting on the 3 is referred to as a right footed tune, since after the second three pace roll the drummers have to jump in one beat ahead (on the right foot) of where they would usually start (on the left foot).

The bass drummer has to know that the tune is heavy, light, light and where to put the heavy beat (on the 3 or on the 1). Very often though, particularly in novice bands, no one tells the bass drummer this and they continue to play heavy, light, heavy, light as that is the easiest thing to do when marching.

Here is part 4 of the massed bands score,



We can start with the flam on the 3 or the 1. If on the 3 then the seven stroke roll will finish on the 1 and the flam of the next bar is on the 3. In fact we play the chips, 7, triplet flam, triplet flam, flam, as if this were always the case, whether we start on 3 or 1.

This anomaly has to be explained and taught when we teach the 3 / 4 score.

Also note that the massed band 2 /4 and 4 / 4 pulls out the 6, 5 roll phrase in measure one and quotes it measure one of the 2 / 4 and 4 / 4, and the 7, triplet flam, triplet flam and quotes it in measure 2 of the 2 / 4 and 4 / 4.

tomm
Thanks for this detailed score. Unfortunately I don't understand drum notation well enough to get the subtleties. Do drummers use the same score for different tunes, as long as they're the same time signature?
And are you saying that a drummer given a 3/4 score can roll that out starting either on beat 3 or beat 1? But musically the score wouldn't (shouldn't) work, as you can't just willy nilly decide to put strong drum accents on weak pipe beats surely?
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:01 AM   #7
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

The drum score for a tune is usually written to suit the specific tune that it is to be played to, by adding dynamics, and swing, as well as a rhythmic accompaniment, that complements and adds to the drama of the pipe tune.

A "busker" score, which is what the PPBSO massed bands scores are, are a formulaic drum score written to be played to any tune in that time signature in any circumstance, particularly when many drummers from many bands, and possibly many countries, are playing together.

By formulaic I mean there is a "call" phrase, unique to each part, played by the lead drummer, an "answer" phrase, that is the same in each part, that is played back by the lead and the corps players, a repeat of the "call" phrase by the lead, and an ending phrase, that is the same in each part, played by the lead and corps players. On the repeat of the part the lead and corps drummers play all phrases together, and then go on to the next part.

A "chip" is when the corps players play with the lead player. In a busker score the "chips" are the answer phrase and the ending phrase. In a non-busker score the chips are much more involved. The idea of chips comes from the horn players in a swing band playing short phrases to punch the melody. Alex Duthart was a swing band drummer.

There are lists of "call" phrases suitable for simple time and complex time marches that are well known and played universally.

The notation is mono-linear, invented by Dr. Fritx Berger, Basel, Switzerland, and adopted by Alex Duthart, with the right hand above the line. Rhythmic notation is identical to standard musical notation. Rolls are indicated by slurs and slashes through the notes, each slash divides the note value by 2. Embellishments are indicated by little graces on the notes and also indicate the hands that they are to played with. The roll number, e.g. 7, is derived from the underlying basic rhythm, e.g. a triplet, with each "slashed" note, in this case 3, counted as 2, and plus 1 for the ending tap. A 13 would have two triplets and a tap, 6 * 2 + 1 = 13. A 5 is based on two sixteenths and a tap, 2 * 2 + 1 = 5.

For a 3 / 4 score, because of nature of the history of this time signature, it has to be understood to be used in a right foot or a left foot context. However, since all that you are doing is changing where the 1 is, and not the melody and pulsing of the tune, the score works either way. Example of the right footed tune, The Bloody Fields of Flanders, and of a left footed tune, The Green Hills of Tyrol.

Left footed 3 / 4 marches will sound slightly odd because the heavy pulse is on the 3. But that is the way it has always been done.

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Last edited by Tom MacKenzie; 05-25-2016 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:14 PM   #8
Heatherbelle
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom MacKenzie View Post


For a 3 / 4 score, because of nature of the history of this time signature, it has to be understood to be used in a right foot or a left foot context. However, since all that you are doing is changing where the 1 is, and not the melody and pulsing of the tune, the score works either way. Example of the right footed tune, The Bloody Fields of Flanders, and of a left footed tune, The Green Hills of Tyrol.

Left footed 3 / 4 marches will sound slightly odd because the heavy pulse is on the 3. But that is the way it has always been done.

tomm
Many thanks for this explanation Tom.

In this day and age why do feet have anything to do with how to play a tune? Is that relevant any more?

Changing where the 1 is, changes the tune very much.

Imagine singing

1) 'happy BIRTH day to YOU - happy BIRTH day to YOU
happy BIRTH day dear TOm happy BIRTH day to YOU.

that's what we all do right? Now change where the 1 is and try singing this

2) HAPPY birth day TO you - HAPPY birth day TO you -
HAPPY birth day DEAR tom - HAPPY birth day TO you -

It's very different and rather unnatural. Everybody knows we want the big main stress to be on the person's name.

The strong beats in the second example are in a different place and that changes the flow of the melody, turning it from a naturally flowing lilting sort of affair, to an awkward, stilted clumsy effort.

And I can bet my bottom dollar that many people singing the second example above will think they're singing the second version but will actually be singing the first one!!

The two tunes you mention are both 3/4 tunes and both start with an upbeat so the first main stressed beat should be the third note of the tune, with the first two as upbeat.

As to 'that is the way it has always been done' is that really true? And even if true, and that is later found to be erroneous, what kind of attitude says 'och well, we've always done it wrong so we'll carry on doing it wrong thank you very much, and more than that we'll confuse a whole new generation of young musicians by teaching it wrong.'
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Old 05-25-2016, 03:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

If it sounds slightly odd then surely you would change it so it doesn't. Wouldn't you?
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:55 PM   #10
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: 3/4 issue revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heatherbelle View Post
what kind of attitude says 'och well, we've always done it wrong so we'll carry on doing it wrong thank you very much
Um, well, now that that problem is recognized, we could work on solving it by allowing the drummers to always start the score by omitting the first flam, just the one after the attack E only, and playing the first 7 to end on the left foot and a heavy bass drum beat, and then continue the play the score as written.

I would certainly make our lives easier, since then we don't have to memorize which tunes are right footed tunes.



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