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Thread: tremolo with tuplets

  1. #26
    Registered User Mark Robertson-Tessi's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by dobrek View Post
    Can you post a link to such an example? This sounds very interesting and I am always ready to change my mind in the light of new evidence.
    For example, Westphalia Waltz and Who at my Door is Standing from this CD:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bluegrass-Mand.../dp/B00000IIRY

    Maybe these could be considered metered with constant pushing and pulling of the tempo, but then I'd call that free tremolo!

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    I am not sure I can hear metered vs free tremolo. I have done a lot of listening since this thread and the other one on free vs metered, and in most cases I hear tremolo as a continuous extension and don't seem to do the mental trick to listening to the individual pulses to see if there are an even number.

    To be clear, I would not equate free tremolo with uneven tremolo - within a note I would agree the frequency of picking should be constant. Its just whether or not that frequency of picking has anything to do with the tempo of the piece.

    Also I don't want to make the mistake of equating metered tremolo with slow tremolo. Adam Steffey, and Ira Louvin, play a wonderful slower tremolo, but again I can't immediately tell if the number of strokes is guaged to the tempo of the piece.

    I suspect from this video, that they are both examples of metered tremolo.



    Most of the bluegrass examples I can find might well be metered. So perhaps there is a musical genre distinction to be aware of.

    Here is a blues example that to my ear is not metered.





    My favorite tremolo is Butch Baldasarri, and he seems to do both metered and free. His bluegrass sounds metered, but listen to this off his Romance in Venice album. Especially around 44 seconds. The tremolo of the extended notes is beautifully even, but to fast to be "in time".

    Last edited by JeffD; May-08-2012 at 9:40am.
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  3. #28
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    For a piece that uses both very rapidly plucked notes and tremolo and neither technique to excess try these ones by Marijke & Michiel Wisenekker

    Grave Assai / Fandango from: Quintet no.4 in D-minor Luigi Boccherini


    Tarantella “Napoli” Eduardo Mezzacapo



    and another fun one where the transitions are really smooth;
    From Amsterdam to Wuppertal M. & M. A. Wiesenekker

    or for some excellent contrast between the two techniques towards the end of this orchestral one where they just slip in and out of surfing the tremolo and the discipline of the strictly timed notes, one riding over the other in some bars for the effect:
    Hommagio a Giovanni Giovale M. & M. A. Wiesenekker

    Oh heck just use it as an excuse to listen to loads of their stuff anyway
    Last edited by Beanzy; May-08-2012 at 11:46am.
    Eoin



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  4. #29
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    I think we're having some problems with agreeing on our definitions here, so may I suggest:

    Metered tremolo is felt in relation to the underlying pulse. It may or may not be played metronomically, or it may rush or slow down for expressive effect. It may also use rhythmic displacement (as in Dawg's backup to Butch, described above). Unmetered (or unmeasured) tremolo has no relation to the underlying pulse.

    JeffD, have you tried slowing down those examples? I tried this with your examples above:

    - Butch - Tra Veglia
    - Hard Times
    - Adam Steffey

    Slowing these down 100%, they're all pretty clearly metered tremolo. Steffey gives the example of the way he'd play a tremolo, demonstrating four-to-the-beat, and then how some others would play it, six-to-the-beat -- which by the way was a favorite Bill Monroe device. Butch (at 0:44) tremolos very quietly so as to hide the effect, but when slowed down I can hear him playing six-to-the-beat: in time at first and slowing down a little. So Butch provides a good example of how a measured tremolo can be played out of time, and yet still felt in relation to the underlying pulse.

  5. #30
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    I think we're having some problems with agreeing on our definitions here, so may I suggest:

    Metered tremolo is felt in relation to the underlying pulse.
    What do you mean specifically by the underlying pulse. Would that be the beats per minute, or tempo of the piece? i.e. the pace of the quarter notes?
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    First, I would like to thank JeffD, Mark Robertson-Tessi and Beanzy for posting the examples. I didn't have time yet to listen to Beanzy's examples. But I listened to JeffD's and Mark Robertson-Tessi's examples and couldn't find an example of free tremolo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Robertson-Tessi View Post
    Maybe these could be considered metered with constant pushing and pulling of the tempo, but then I'd call that free tremolo!
    I would call that accelerando and ritardando. These phenomena are not tremolo-specific. As they are always options for composers and performers of music, I think the definition of metered vs. unmetered tremolo given above by August Watters is the only one that makes sense.

  7. #32
    Registered User Mark Robertson-Tessi's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Very well, it seems we have different definitions! I still think that there are very good examples of metered tremolo that is obviously consciously played as such. Most any of the tremolo by Bill Monroe (from the 40s/50s at least) is clearly metered, and if there is any push and pull, it's minimal and comes back to the beat right away. There are 12 notes per bar of waltz, and if he pushes slightly on beat one, he ends up still with 12 notes per bar. Every bar!

    In the examples I cited, there are often extra strokes in each bar. The tremolo is going faster than the pulse of the music. There is no compensation for accel with corresponding rit. If you accel in a piece of music without the rhythm following you, you have to rit. to get back on the beat. That's not what I hear in those examples. There are extra notes. The pace is consistently a bit quicker than the metered 4-stroke tremolo would sound like. The LH is changing the notes in time, but the RH is faster.

    If we allow rounding, then sure, everything is metered. He's playing ~4.3 strokes per bar, which is close to 4 per bar so it's metered... I'm not sure about that.

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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Robertson-Tessi View Post
    In the examples I cited, there are often extra strokes in each bar. The tremolo is going faster than the pulse of the music. There is no compensation for accel with corresponding rit. If you accel in a piece of music without the rhythm following you, you have to rit. to get back on the beat. That's not what I hear in those examples. There are extra notes. The pace is consistently a bit quicker than the metered 4-stroke tremolo would sound like. The LH is changing the notes in time, but the RH is faster.
    Cheers
    MRT
    If that is the case, then I would certainly not call it accelerando and ritardando.
    I couldn't hear the extra strokes in the given examples. Maybe I didn't listen thoroughly enough. It would be great to have a slowed-down version of such a piece. I don't know how to create such a version, but maybe I can find out this weekend.

    I didn't want to refer with "accelerando and ritardando" to the posted examples. I only wanted to refer to your description of free tremolo above.

  9. #34
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    What do you mean specifically by the underlying pulse. Would that be the beats per minute, or tempo of the piece? i.e. the pace of the quarter notes?
    By "underlying pulse" I mean the pace of the quarter notes (or half notes or eighths, depending on the time signature). If we agree that the Bill Monroe example mentioned above is measured tremolo, even though it briefly sped up or slowed down, there must be places where the number of strokes per beat does not work out evenly. They are still nonetheless felt in relation to the underlying quarter note.

    Butch's example, above, is similar: it creates a specific dramatic effect by being close to, but not quite, in tempo. Regardless of whether rit. or accel. is also used, there's an emotional dissonance created this way. I'm using this effect a lot lately, since I've been working with my quartet on Italian Romantic ensemble music. If anyone's close to southern New Hampshire, here's our next concert, with Carlo Aonzo:
    http://peterboroughhistory.org/conte...sical-mandolin


    I think the important distinction here between unmeasured and measured tremolo is not whether they work out to be mathematically even subdivisions of a beat, but the dramatic effect they create by being either related or unrelated to the beat. The difference between is subjective, so we might easily disagree on specific examples that illustrate the spectrum between two extremes.

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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    By "underlying pulse" I mean the pace of the quarter notes (or half notes or eighths, depending on the time signature). If we agree that the Bill Monroe example mentioned above is measured tremolo, even though it briefly sped up or slowed down, there must be places where the number of strokes per beat does not work out evenly. They are still nonetheless felt in relation to the underlying quarter note.
    Thanks for pointing this out. To come back to the topic of this thread: I would be very interested in your opinion about how to tremolo tuplets. Is there a convention? Are there several conventions for different types of music? Is tremolo never used for tuplets no matter how slowly they are played?

  11. #36
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    I love this discussion. But I can't say its clarified in my mind.

    August if I understand what you are getting at, metered tremolo doesn't have to be an integer number of strokes per quarter note, and doesn't even have to be the same number of strokes per quarter note for every quarter note. Have to be careful not to rule out free tremolo by definition only!

    But the gossimer thread of a distinction is that there is some deliberate relation between the strokes rate and the quarter note rate. It can be odd, it can change, and still be metered, but, (and this is what I think you are saying), it is deliberate. The player is in conscious control of the rate of the tremolo, and while perhaps modifying it for dramatic effect, is guaging it to the tempo (quarter note rate) of the piece.

    Because otherwise, it seems to my not yet caffeinated brain, you are defining away free tremolo. You have to be saying more than any controlled tremolo is metered tremolo.

    I think we can all agree that uncontrolled tremolo is poor technique. But I would not want to equate uncontroled tremolo with free tremolo.

    Using your distinction, free tremolo would be when the player intends only a continuation of the note, and is not deliberately guaging the rate of tremolo with the pace of the quarter notes.

    I can work with that. Its hard to measure someone's intent by their results, but not impossible.

    With Butch's Italian music, while there may be a relation between the tremolo rate and the quarter note rate (hey there is a relation between any measureable quantity and any other), it sounds to my ear that his intention and is merely an extension of the note. (I am refering to his tremolo on the last note of a phrase, some of the internal quicker notes are beautifully done with triplets and ornamentation but that is not tremolo.)

    My post here is awkwardly written, so I will stop here and let others respond before I go on.
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  12. #37
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    For me the confusion here seems to stem from people thinking you can have a something called a measured tremolo, when this is then nothing more than rapidly played notes, albeit 32nd or 64th notes. Although the tremolo needs to fit within the metre of the music the achievement of proper tremolo is when you rise above something which can be played in a calculated way. You still play the duration and give the correct emphasis while you're in that part of a bar or passage.

    But to think tremolo and calculate the actual number of impacts needed to fill the space smoothly is missing the point of tremolo. We are trying to make our plucked instrument do something we do with our bows with ease. While playing long notes on my cello I don't count the number of times the hairs grip the string as they pass over it, yet I can provide a beat within bowing a sustained note by the proper use of technique. Similarly on the mandolin we are trying to merge the impacts into one fluid and continuous sound. Once that is mastered, then we can begin to play with effects achieved within that tremolo. To set out thinking we should or can calculate the detail within the tremolo looses the point and reduces it to rapid notes palyed in a stream.

    The whole exercise seems to me like like trying to count the foam flecks or molecules of water on the wave you're surfing just because you can count the gaps between the waves (bars) or estimate their steepness and frequency (the inner pulse of the music and the emphasis within in the bar).
    Eoin



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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    For me the confusion here seems to stem from people thinking you can have a something called a measured tremolo, when this is then nothing more than rapidly played notes, albeit 32nd or 64th notes. Although the tremolo needs to fit within the metre of the music the achievement of proper tremolo is when you rise above something which can be played in a calculated way. You still play the duration and give the correct emphasis while you're in that part of a bar or passage.

    But to think tremolo and calculate the actual number of impacts needed to fill the space smoothly is missing the point of tremolo. We are trying to make our plucked instrument do something we do with our bows with ease.
    Thats what I thought too. I didn not know there was such a thing as metered tremolo.

    But now I learn that, at least in some cases, some might say in all cases, the tremolo is not to be considered just an extension of the note, but more like a whole big bunch of little notes, whose timing is important.
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  14. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by dobrek View Post
    Thanks for pointing this out. To come back to the topic of this thread: I would be very interested in your opinion about how to tremolo tuplets. Is there a convention? Are there several conventions for different types of music? Is tremolo never used for tuplets no matter how slowly they are played?
    I think the answer to this really hinges on this free or metered tremolo. Because with free tremolo, if I tremolo a note I don't care about its duration, I just tremolo for the appropriate length of time. But with metered tremolo this does need to be sorted out more thoroughly.
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  15. #40
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    But the gossimer thread of a distinction is that there is some deliberate relation between the strokes rate and the quarter note rate. It can be odd, it can change, and still be metered, but, (and this is what I think you are saying), it is deliberate. The player is in conscious control of the rate of the tremolo, and while perhaps modifying it for dramatic effect, is guaging it to the tempo (quarter note rate) of the piece.
    Yes - this is a good restatement of what I said. Unmeasured tremolo, however, can be equally deliberate. If we choose a tremolo tempo that's unrelated to the duration of the quarter note, that's a different effect, and an equally valid choice. I'm definitely NOT intending to define away free tremolo by saying any odd-number of strokes can be described in terms of its relation to the beat -- I'm just saying we choose a tremolo tempo that is either perceived in relation to the beat, or not. And in between the two extremes is a middle ground where the player's intention might be ambiguous.

  16. #41
    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: tremolo with tuplets

    This video has been linked to in at least one other thread, but I think it is salient to the OP's question. Apart from the preceding theoretical discussion, I like this vlogger's approach to building tremolo technique.

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