Welcome to
the forums at bobdunsire.com
bobdunsire.com forums bobdunsire.com forums
You can reset your password by going here. Be sure to try your current email and any email addresses you may have had in the past.
Otherwise please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the forums. In order to help you, please provide the following info: Your Display Name from the old forum and any possible email addresses you would have used before. Without that info we cannot locate your account.


Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Great Highland Bagpipe > Beginners, Intermediate, +
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Beginners, Intermediate, + Discuss issues, tackle problems, share experiences, ask questions, and look for specific help...

Platinum Sponsors
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-23-2014, 08:50 AM   #11
Rooklidge
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: CA
Posts: 1,487
Default Re: Reading Music.

[QUOTE=classicbagpipes;1270490]Last night I had a student who is musical and reads music very well already AND he taught himself the pipes. [QUOTE]

But this was not the case of the OP. He has heard the tunes for years and wanted advice on techniques to transition into reading. The suggestions below are how to use his hearing skills to enhance his reading skills. Flashcards are fine, but don't use what he already knows.

Once he's able to tap tempo and accurately spot the note positions and durations as he sings the tune, he will also find out where he's been singing it wrong. A win win for those that listen to his humming a tune incorrectly!

I don't think applying that skill to an unknown tune will be much of a stretch.
Rooklidge is offline   Reply With Quote
Gold Sponsor
Old 10-25-2014, 12:00 PM   #12
HighlandPark
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,112
Default Re: Reading Music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by classicbagpipes View Post
...Once you unlock the code there is usually no need to hear the tune first. You can play it in your head or with you hands and make it sound musical from the get go. Maybe not up to speed but the tune is there...
I would agree to a point, as my own experience suggests; I am getting better at reading the music as I work through new tunes. This is particularly true for difficult passages that I may not yet have memorized by listening to the tune.

It the straight reading without knowing the tune that, IMHO, sometimes leads to a dull and somewhat mechanical and lifeless version of the tune, particularly for a beginner - intermediate piper. I would extend this to experienced, classically-trained musicians attempting to sight read a traditional tune -- the tune will often sound almost nothing like how a trad-player would play it and be without the particular nuances that give the music it's inherent regional character (fiddle specifically).

That said, experienced pipers with a solid piping education would not likely have a problem lifting the music off the sheet as it should be played as they are well-versed in the idiom. Many beginners or even intermediates would not yet have developed this ability to express the nuances that cannot always be duplicated with notation. You have to listen to the music.
__________________
David Locky
Aim for the moon, you might hit an eagle ... Bagpipe Ecology
HighlandPark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2014, 05:43 PM   #13
Bob Gerard
Forum Regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 300
Default Re: Reading Music.

I started playing the Scottish Small Pipes four months ago and the way I am learning to read music is also by getting the sheet music, and following along with a tune I know. I recently discovered this after "deciphering" the music of "Highland Cathedral" and also listening to it on a MIDI file, over and over.
One member of a Pipe and Drum band that I am also joining told me that writes the notes (the Letters) under the music staff notes so he can read them that way, which I am doing also. (The Grace Notes are another story!)
Hope you have much success!

Last edited by Bob Gerard; 11-12-2014 at 05:46 PM.
Bob Gerard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2014, 06:16 PM   #14
el gaitero
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Estados Unidos
Posts: 6,479
Default Re: Reading Music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Gerard View Post
I started playing the Scottish Small Pipes four months ago and the way I am learning to read music is also by getting the sheet music, and following along with a tune I know. I recently discovered this after "deciphering" the music of "Highland Cathedral" and also listening to it on a MIDI file, over and over.
One member of a Pipe and Drum band that I am also joining told me that writes the notes (the Letters) under the music staff notes so he can read them that way, which I am doing also. (The Grace Notes are another story!)
Hope you have much success!

To answer the OP... learn new tunes bass ackwards.

When I pursue a new unknown tune .. because I heard it somewhere,liked it ..and hummed it a lot thereafter..likely all wrong...when I finally get the sheet music I start at the end of line 2 ,last note group of the last bar.

I focus on it .. the notes, cuts, holds, gracings ,embellishments...play it until solid/fluid...then advance 'backwards' to the preceding note group of the measure; ...keep it up this approach and before you realize...you will have self-taught yourself the common ending... normally a large part of the whole tune.
Don't be afraid to use a highlighter to annotate just those common endings throughout.... it reduces the daunting 'look' of the whole page of otherwise jumble.

Keep at each bar preceding the common ending... very quickly you'll appreciate the Question/Answer scheme and their similarities throughout the tune.... and viola...you've outdone yourself and self taught the whole tune.
el gaitero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2014, 01:31 PM   #15
Klondike Waldo
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Braintree MA USA
Posts: 8,349
Send a message via AIM to Klondike Waldo
Default Re: Reading Music.

I learned to read music long before I took up the pipes, and I learned Bass clef first
Later, I taught beginners to read music. Rather than start with pipe band tunes, which can be somewhat complicated, I'd recommend starting to read music the same way most of us learned to read text- short simple segments (words) then short phrases, then longer, more complex ones.
The closest thing in a Bagpipe tutor I've seen to the kind of beginner method books band and orchestral instrumentalists start with was written by Victoria Murgatroyd many years ago. I don't know if she's still involved with piping or if the book is available, but it was very easy for a beginner to follow and would be easy to use to work on reading skills as well.

Other than that, I'd encourage the OP to pick small segments of familiar tunes to start with- even easy ones like Happy Birthday.
__________________
Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron
Klondike Waldo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2014, 01:08 PM   #16
Randy Erickson
Forum Silver Medal
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Turlock, CA
Posts: 350
Default Re: Reading Music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
The closest thing in a Bagpipe tutor I've seen to the kind of beginner method books band and orchestral instrumentalists start with was written by Victoria Murgatroyd many years ago. I don't know if she's still involved with piping or if the book is available, but it was very easy for a beginner to follow and would be easy to use to work on reading skills as well.

http://www.thepiper.com/pipingtutor/index.html
Randy Erickson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2014, 07:53 PM   #17
David
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Haifa, ISRAEL
Posts: 4,363
Default Re: Reading Music.

My experience was, as a student, and is, as a teacher, to spend a fair amount of time early on with time signature and note values. It is far too key to be left catch-as-catch-can.

We have only 9 official notes, so our written music is not complicated comparatively speaking. That said, a single phrase may have notes of 4 or 5 or more different values. The setting of Heather Isle I use has seven different note values in the first bar. Daunting to those who have a hard time scanning.

When students go from, say, Scots Wha' ha'e on, they must learn the melody and be able to sing it. I use a combined ear and reading system. I sing it for them (while pointing out the notes with my PC), and most can sing it back with near-perfect expression very quickly. When on to the OC, with any errors, I stop them and ask, "What is the time signature? What is that note? Is it s downbeat?"

If it isn't clear, then that is how the tunes are all learned. Some get it down quickly, but need guidance in holding notes out fully, or how to cut a brief downbeat note, as opposed to an upbeat cut note.

But understand that there are still good pipers who need to hear a tune, even after 20 years playing, before picking it up off the sheet. It is not a guaranteed skill--or at least I just haven't seen this. Though most do get the scanning down to a degree.

BASIC:
Time signatures should be demystified early on, and taught contextually with the better-know and simpler pipe tunes. We have plenty of music in the pipe music world, and I am not a fan of actually teaching non-pipe tunes (or tunes accepted into the piping repertoire) very much. But demonstrating a time signature by singing a non-pipe tune that the student knows can help.

We're teaching Highland piping which has hard, crisp fingering, and I like early (simple) tunes to express that. Too many "soft" tunes just delay the intro to what we play. And too many pipers never really move solidly into pipe music, despite playing pipes. Excellent knowledge of note values, beat structure, and expression gives a student increasing independence the more very traditional pipe music is used as the basis for learning.

Tunes being learned would be sung well before playing on the PC.

Feets & Beats go together from day one, or nearly so. I like to get students playing their first tunes standing up, marking time. Much harder to go off the beat marching in place, then while sitting.

Note values with all cuttings and embellishments should be learned together--never just hit at the notes without regard to duration or gracing.

All first tunes should be very simple, and without tricky bits.

"Learning a tune" means learning notes, note values, beat and expression, gracing, and blowing reasonably well.

And I repeat: Learn to sing before you attempt on the PC, as you move along visually with the notes on the page. Phrase by phrase. Slowly.

Learning to read music is hard work at first, but the early it is tackled the better. It is a very logical language, and a hell of a lot easier than ancient Latin or Greek!
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 07:49 AM   #18
Leong
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,377
Default Re: Reading Music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Gerard View Post
One member of a Pipe and Drum band that I am also joining told me that writes the notes (the Letters) under the music staff notes so he can read them that way, which I am doing also. (The Grace Notes are another story!)
I was actually taken to task by my instructor over this - she'd only allow me to do this for the first few bars just so that I can get the motor to kick over (as it were). But no more than that because she says it will be a crutch for me to learn to read music fluently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
We're teaching Highland piping which has hard, crisp fingering, and I like early (simple) tunes to express that. Too many "soft" tunes just delay the intro to what we play.
David, what are some good "hard" beginner tunes for a neophyte to try?
Leong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 10:35 AM   #19
David
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Haifa, ISRAEL
Posts: 4,363
Default Re: Reading Music.

Well, if you've had your rudiments, and mastered the Scots Wha' Ha'e level, Highland Laddie (a nice pointed setting), and Bonnie Dundee are loaded with challenge, IF played and taught well. I often do not like the mediocre versions I see in basic tune collections.

Bonnie Dundee is great for taorluaths, and for that ending, the held Low A taorluth followed by a birl.

Atholl Highlanders is great as an anti-crossing noise workout, tachums, High A grip timing, and in general getting the feel of a rhythmical rather than melodic 6/8.

Teribus is great for training those lazy D-throws, and keeping a good, straight lower hand position.

Shoals of Herring is loaded with doublings that need to be open, and notes really needing holding.

Heather Isle is dead simple yet tough to make sound really pretty--lots of subtle duration differences.

Everywhere the fingers "stick" make an exercise out of the offending phrase to play slowly, in time, and perfectly. If not perfect, then slow it down more.

All of this is what I learned--not what I discovered. Most teachers do not enforce enough directed, organised practice with tonnes of repetitive practice, and perfection of rudiments. I am a fan of the total slow motion system (playing every note in an embellishment hyperslow to train the fingers in sequence), and the timed slow practice system (all the correct timing and feel of the embellishment, but quarter speed +-).

And don't pile on more and more tunes until a small, solid repertoire has been perfected. That kills the piping career of many a would-be piper.

Cheers!
David is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2014, 11:00 AM   #20
Leong
Holy smoking keyboard!
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,377
Default Re: Reading Music.

Thank you, kind sir. That'll be a good start (even found the music for March Teribus, a tune which was unknown to me before this).
Leong is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Silver Sponsor

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:23 PM.