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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 05-31-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
cavanpiper
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Default On the Beat?

I have recently heard that some pipe bands and players are starting tarloughs and other embellishments right on the beat, instead of putting the e gracenot on the beat. Is this truth? It seems like the most idiotic and unmusical thing I have heard of in bagpiping for a while now. It seems like these players are totally ignoring the off-beat which is something I find essential to pipe music.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
LloydB
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Default Re: On the Beat?

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Originally Posted by cavanpiper View Post
I have recently heard that some pipe bands and players are starting tarloughs and other embellishments right on the beat, instead of putting the e gracenot on the beat. Is this truth? It seems like the most idiotic and unmusical thing I have heard of in bagpiping for a while now. It seems like these players are totally ignoring the off-beat which is something I find essential to pipe music.
There's no law against playing the taorluath wrong
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Old 05-31-2009, 09:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: On the Beat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavanpiper View Post
I have recently heard that some pipe bands and players are starting tarloughs and other embellishments right on the beat, instead of putting the e gracenot on the beat. Is this truth? It seems like the most idiotic and unmusical thing I have heard of in bagpiping for a while now. It seems like these players are totally ignoring the off-beat which is something I find essential to pipe music.
I'm not sure where you are going here.....
With a few noteable exceptions like the tarlouaths in Lord Alexander Kennedy (and a lot of hornpipe embelishments) most simple time tunes are written with most of the embelishments right on the beat. This is not a new fad it is playing the music as written....
Maybe you are focusing on the increasing popularity of hornpipe playing ??????

As a suggestion though you could maybe offer a slightly less frivoulous location than "The Hand" and we could have a guess at what style of music you are hearing in your locale.......
I have listened to my hand at length and can find no evidence of mistimed tarluaths.
Mind you walking round with my hand over my ear did look pretty stupid so I stopped doing it.......
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Last edited by Wulls; 05-31-2009 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:04 AM   #4
Jim Roberts
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Default Re: On the Beat?

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... most simple time tunes are written with most of the embelishments right on the beat.
You're missing the point of the original post: Where is the beat in a taorluath -- on the first Low G in the movement or on the E gracenote at the end?

I was always taught to put the beat on the E gracenote at the end.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: On the Beat?

At a workshop I went to earlier this year, I also heard the 'everything on the beat' instruction.. When I asked about it, the instructor said it is easier to get everyone playing exactly together if they are starting the embelishments on the beat (even tars and grips and throws) as opposed to a random time before (some play a little more open or closed, making the embelishment sound fuzzy).. I was later told that most upper grade pipe bands do this..

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Old 06-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: On the Beat?

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Originally Posted by Jim Roberts View Post
You're missing the point of the original post: Where is the beat in a taorluath -- on the first Low G in the movement or on the E gracenote at the end?

I was always taught to put the beat on the E gracenote at the end.

The real question seems to be "what is the beat?"

It's not so easy to answer. I did some detailed statistical analysis of a 2/4 march and strathspey, which was discussed in this thread:

http://forums.bobdunsire.com/forums/...d.php?t=121473

The beat moves about. The amount that the beat moves is much larger than any embellishment. At least that's what happens when world-class pipers play.

So if the beat is a moving target, how can one tell which gracenote in a taorluath fell upon it, or even if any of them did?
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: On the Beat?

My PM actually takes the time to teach us properly, and to have the timing the same for everybody...the beat is on the E. He works extensively to make sure we all start the taorluath at the same time, play it at the same speed, and get the E on the beat.

When I was a horse trainer, my motto was "There's no substitute for proper training."
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:52 AM   #8
Brian Erbe
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Default Re: On the Beat?

We are starting to play all embellishments, at least in marches, on the beat, as in the first low G of toarluaths, grips and throws on the beat. This does three things.

1) It ensures everyone is starting the embellishment at the same time thus aiding in unison and thus musicality. Everyone is taught to play the embellishment as quickly (yet cleanly) as possible. Even if they can't play it perfectly clean, it is more musical to have the unison rather than everyone playing a perfectly clean movement but with timing all over the place.
2) It solves the dilemma of constantly being told to "hold the note before the <insert embellishment>".
3) As far as the off-beat, it shouldn't hurt the offbeat but accentuate it. If the note following the embellishment is on the off-beat than the movement will fall directly on the beat ensuring proper length of the beat note and placing a new tone directly on the offbeat as opposed to it falling somewhere in the middle of a movement as is the 'E' of a toarluath. If the following note is a cut note it should be played as short as possible anyway to accentuate the dotted note. Again, this helps accentuate the dotted note.

Our instructor I believe has a degree in music, was taught by Jim McGillivray, is a former SFU player and current GrI PM. I assume he knows what he is talking about.

After trying it for about two months it seems to work well. Two firsts in piping at Fair Hill shows we're doing something right.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: On the Beat?

Also, compare the grip and the birl. Where do we start the birl? On the beat. How is a grip any different from a birl? Piping music is different from other forms of music in it's espression. Full notes need to be given their full value, while dotted notes are played as long as possible and cut notes should be as short as possible. In order to maximize that push the embellishments as far back as possible.

Sorry if I'm not explaining it very well. Our instructor made it make a heck of alot more sense.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: On the Beat?

Buy Jim MacGillivary's book, Rhythmic Fingerwork. He goes into great detail regarding all movements. Great book for beginners, advanced players, and especially for pipers who think they know everything already!

To play a toarluath properly and musically, the e gracenote needs to be on the beat.
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