Pedagogy - the art or profession of teaching

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Leaving out the gracenotes?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

    Originally posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
    One could play any bagpipe tune on the piano using only white notes-

    Without ornaments, there is neither, and the instrument would be only somewhat more musical than a tuneable vacuum cleaner
    My underlying analogy was that if leaving out the ornaments itís not playing bagpipes....

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

      Originally posted by el gaitero View Post
      My underlying analogy was that if leaving out the ornaments itís not playing bagpipes....
      Understood, but then other styles of bagpiping exist with fewer ornaments. to me it's about articulation and expression in an intrument that is toatlly legato and incapable of variations in volume.
      Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

        This thread has made me shake my head vigorously, nod agreeably and cry uncontrollably.

        Thanks, and its good to know that there are some true custodians out there of this instrument.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

          Why I would NEVER teach anyone without gracenotes:

          The dynamic of hand and wrist movement, the placement of notes, the clarity and vigour of technique so necessary in order to express the melody of Highland music, is heavily dependent on the cuttings and embellishments. Lifting up, jumping off, tachums, crisp reels, jigs, hornpipes, are essentially impossible without serious gracing. Are there simple tunes that need only a few? Of course. But taken as a whole, traditional Highland piping is absolutely gutted without those cuttings and embellishments.

          Could a musical fellow make something pleasant out of a tune with only a few basic single grace notes? Of course. Would it be Highland piping?

          Of course not. I would not therefore make any insulting remarks about such graceless piping, especially if the piper played with excellent tuning and expression. But the power and incredible crispness of Highland pipes set up properly, tuned beautifully, and played well would all be lost in such a style.

          Thus, I would not handicap a serious student by having them learn without the very important dynamic of gracing and hand/wrist/finger movement. Such a student would never "just add in" gracing to a memorized tune, and do ok. Yes, always exceptions. I have not encountered any no-grace memorizers who actually became serious or musical in technique. And they were frustrated endlessly by tunes that they could not navigate with their no or minimal-grace learning. I have had a few adult learners who assumed that all those little black notes were for arrogant competition sorts. Until they found that they could not learn most Highland pipe tunes. The two I have inherited, I could not teach. No hard feelings, but, they faded away into very unmusical piping, but great dress, and lots of "clan" stories.

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

            Gold Medalist Jimmy MacColl, when he was running a Grade Three band, never hesitated to simplify the settings.

            He stated that a Grade One band and a Grade Three band could play the same tunes, but with different settings.

            I don't think it was him who said it, but I heard it said, "there are no difficult tunes, only difficult settings".

            I'm of the opinion that most lower-level bands are playing settings unsuitable to the capabilities of their pipers.

            For sure you wouldn't leave out all the gracenotes! That's absurd. But for a sub-Grade 5 band to be playing heavily embellished settings intended for a Grade 2 band (like the Scots Guards book) is equally absurd.

            An ornament is supposed to embellish, decorate, make more attractive. There's nothing decorative about a sub-Grade 5 band hacking through higher-level settings, where all the taorluaths and doublings are meaningless blobs of noise.

            I think those bands need to have their music cleaned up, and only have the ornaments that the entire pipe corps can play cleanly. If it means changing most of the doublings to single gracenotes, so be it. A C doubling on a nice long C melody note, in a retreat or slow air where there's time to play it cleanly, sure. But why have a doubling on a 16th note, that not a single piper in the band can execute?
            Last edited by pancelticpiper; 12-17-2020, 01:11 PM.
            proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by Macswegan View Post
              In another thread, someone asked about a hypothetical student who "just wants to play the pipes for their own entertainment . . . without learning all the embellishments."

              If such a student came knocking at your door, what would you say?
              I'd say pay your fee and fill your boots!

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by pancelticpiper View Post
                Re: Leaving out the gracenotes?

                Gold Medalist Jimmy MacColl, when he was running a Grade Three band, never hesitated to simplify the settings.

                He stated that a Grade One band and a Grade Three band could play the same tunes, but with different settings.

                I don't think it was him who said it, but I heard it said, "there are no difficult tunes, only difficult settings".

                I'm of the opinion that most lower-level bands are playing settings unsuitable to the capabilities of their pipers.

                For sure you wouldn't leave out all the gracenotes! That's absurd. But for a sub-Grade 5 band to be playing heavily embellished settings intended for a Grade 2 band (like the Scots Guards book) is equally absurd.

                An ornament is supposed to embellish, decorate, make more attractive. There's nothing decorative about a sub-Grade 5 band hacking through higher-level settings, where all the taorluaths and doublings are meaningless blobs of noise.

                I think those bands need to have their music cleaned up, and only have the ornaments that the entire pipe corps can play cleanly. If it means changing most of the doublings to single gracenotes, so be it. A C doubling on a nice long C melody note, in a retreat or slow air where there's time to play it cleanly, sure. But why have a doubling on a 16th note, that not a single piper in the band can execute?
                I find this comment to be well reasoned..surprisingly, some of the finest Pipers will tell you they completely get the concept of making a tune your own...even if it's a tune they composed..it's not a sin..and that even includes changing some gracings etc to make it more musical.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Macswegan View Post
                  In another thread, someone asked about a hypothetical student who "just wants to play the pipes for their own entertainment . . . without learning all the embellishments."

                  If such a student came knocking at your door, what would you say?
                  I would tell him/her to take up the sax ... or maybe the trombone ... that's a cool instrument. Bagpipes have gracenotes and embellishments. That's not teaching the pipes - that's something else entirely. And to think ... that student would walk out the door and then play for someone. That someone then asks "who taught you to play?". Hah!!! Leave me out of that. I don't want my name associated with that. Aint happenin'.

                  Scot.
                  There's only nine notes ... how hard can it be?

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by griff View Post

                    I find this comment to be well reasoned..surprisingly, some of the finest Pipers will tell you they completely get the concept of making a tune your own...even if it's a tune they composed..it's not a sin..and that even includes changing some gracings etc to make it more musical.
                    Simplifying tunes by eliminating some grace notes, or changing the gracing in the setting-—as opposed to learning without grace notes—are two very different things. The issue here was never whether or not simplifying settings was ok, but learning and playing without grace notes. Durian and dragon fruit. Apples and oranges.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      warning some sarcasm follows:
                      You may as well just have the student do exercises to learn the notes, but not the nuance of the tune. Even a beginner's tune as Scots Wae Hae needs it grace notes. Amazing Grace becomes (more) souless (to those of us who play it too often). If the student find grace notes difficult, slow the entire tempo down to that of a dirge, then have him or her increase the speed of play on a practice chanter as they show they can play the notes, that might help. But the grace notes (even the ones I may occasionally drop or gloss over) are important.
                      Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X