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Thread: Slurs

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    Language is a sensitive thing. You feel at home with your words and somebody comes along and changes their meaning on you. Bending language is bending thought, it's an act of power (consult Mr Orwell on the details).

    I would have put the answer to the OP like "I assume by "slur" you mean connecting 2 or more notes in one continuous sound. On the mandolin, this can be done with hammer-ons, pull-off, slides or combinations of those etc etc..."

    It's a great temptation to question the question by dissecting language, but it consumes time, and in the end nobody wins because everybody is kind of right.
    Bertram,

    Yes, you make an excellent point about language. I meant to communicate to the OP that she should look to doing a hammer-on, pull-off, or slide when faced with a pair or triplet of notes indicated by a ligature ("slur") in sheet music written for the violin. That is still the correct answer to her question, despite all the sturm und drang. In my part of the mandolin world, no one I know ever calls these things "slurs" when they refer to the technique that's used on a mandolin. But fiddlers sure do use this word, when talking about their bowing!

    My intention had been to draw a clear distinction between what the fiddlers play, and what they tend to call it, and what the mandolinists play, and what they tend to call it. And yes, there is a real difference in usage! The fact is that violins and mandolins do not have a one-to-one correspondence, neither in the sound that they produce nor in the method of playing.

    DavidKOS can choose to call these things "slurs" if he prefers, but recognize that he is porting the word over from the way it's used with the violin. It's technically a legato, not a slur. And yes, language can be a sensitive thing. But in my part of the mandolin world, no mando player I happen to know would be on board for calling them "slurs." Or legatos. Instead, they are quite happy to talk about "hammering-on" and "pulling-off." Interestingly enough, these two phrases were popularized in the modern folk era by Pete Seeger in his banjo instruction book, if I'm not mistaken.

    Classical mandolinists use different language, with things like like "legato phrase" and "left-hand pizzicato." Folk players rarely, if ever, use that language.

    Yup, nobody wins these kinds of disputes! Amen to that. But I was just trying to clarify for the OP, because she wanted to know what to do when faced with a "slur." And I told her. Hammer on. Pull off. Or slide. And please don't call it a "slur" if you're among folkies...

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    ...despite all the sturm und drang
    ...
    And please don't call it a "slur" if you're among folkies...
    There's Sturm und Drang for you:

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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post


    My intention had been to draw a clear distinction between what the fiddlers play, and what they tend to call it, and what the mandolinists play, and what they tend to call it. And yes, there is a real difference in usage! The fact is that violins and mandolins do not have a one-to-one correspondence, neither in the sound that they produce nor in the method of playing.

    DavidKOS can choose to call these things "slurs" if he prefers, but recognize that he is porting the word over from the way it's used with the violin. It's technically a legato, not a slur. And yes, language can be a sensitive thing. But in my part of the mandolin world, no mando player I happen to know would be on board for calling them "slurs." Or legatos. Instead, they are quite happy to talk about "hammering-on" and "pulling-off." Interestingly enough, these two phrases were popularized in the modern folk era by Pete Seeger in his banjo instruction book, if I'm not mistaken.

    Classical mandolinists use different language, with things like like "legato phrase" and "left-hand pizzicato." Folk players rarely, if ever, use that language.

    Yup, nobody wins these kinds of disputes! Amen to that. But I was just trying to clarify for the OP, because she wanted to know what to do when faced with a "slur." And I told her. Hammer on. Pull off. Or slide. And please don't call it a "slur" if you're among folkies...
    Now I get it.

    I am taking the classical position as well suited to a mandolin player with a grad degree in music, not a BG or folk player as a main thing, and as such I am not the only person to call these "things" a slur.

    "Classical mandolinists use different language, with things like like "legato phrase" and "left-hand pizzicato." Folk players rarely, if ever, use that language. "

    I am an Italian/Classical/Jazz mandolinist by nature and training so I do use those terms.

    Often

    "But in my part of the mandolin world, no mando player I happen to know would be on board for calling them "slurs."

    We do not belong to the same mandolin world, then!

    sblock is right about a few things:

    1. I have never heard any folk musician that did not have some classical training use the term "slur".

    2. No one wins.

    Why - it's not a contest.

    I think the issue is that folk musicians and classical players use the same instruments but not the same language to describe musical events.

    As a formally trained composer, orchestrator, and theorist, I use the commonly accepted professional music terms that I would use with symphony or jazz musicians. Among them are terms I rarely hear used among non-classically trained fiddlers, like "detache", "spiccato", "barriolage", etc.

    And Beanzy is right on about using tremolo as a part of sustained legato passages on mandolin.

    But that's another whole thread's worth.

  4. #29
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Yes, the language not only depends on the instrument, apparently, but also on genre.

    Why, my parents, both classical musicians, refused to even call anything music that's outside classical music, on one end of the spectrum.
    On the other end of the spectrum, when I joined my first Folk band, I discovered that they called all the triad chords "Major", and all the more complicated 4-note chords (7, sus4 etc) "Minor"

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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    On the other end of the spectrum, when I joined my first Folk band, I discovered that they called all the triad chords "Major", and all the more complicated 4-note chords (7, sus4 etc) "Minor"
    .
    I've seen unique usages of terms among certain folkies - and rock players too.

    It still does not make it correct. You can have your own opinions, not your own facts.

    In that case, the people that had their own opinion that any chord not a major triad was a "minor", that is certainly not a musical fact.

    Genre seems a big one, even in the mandolin world.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It still does not make it correct. You can have your own opinions, not your own facts.

    In that case, the people that had their own opinion that any chord not a major triad was a "minor", that is certainly not a musical fact.
    Absolutely, and I took the time there and then to explain what those chords are really called and why, sucessfully evading a diplomatic cataclysm while doing it.

    The ability to provide a clear explanation has always been essential for me. A striking experience has been the phenomenon of overtones:

    Scene 1, music room
    Classical teacher: the overtones is what you hear when I strike C on the piano and mute it and press the sustain pedal - you can hear the G and higher C ring on, though I never hit those.

    Me: awesome. How does it work?

    Classical teacher: I just strike C on the piano and mute it and press the sustain pedal

    Me: ????? I mean why do those notes ring on? And why don't others ring?

    Classical teacher (becoming nervous): because those are harmonics, the others aren't.

    Me: why are those harmonics? what's so special about them?

    Classical teacher (squirming): because they ring on...

    Scene 2, university physics lab

    Professor: an oscillation of any waveform can be expressed as a superposition of sinus waves whose frequencies are multiple integers of a base frequency. The amplitudes spectrum of those waves is the result of a Fourier transformation. Thus, since the oscillation contains many other oscillations, it can trigger other oscillators with those frequencies by resonance.

    Me (lights on): multiple integers of a base frequency? Why didn't that nut of a music teacher just say that? I was right - I always felt I shouldn't believe musician's talk.
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    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Slurs



    Here's another meaning of the word "slurs". This is Baron Collins-Hill teaching the Jig of Slurs.

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  11. #33

    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelsenbury View Post

    Here's another meaning of the word "slurs". This is Baron Collins-Hill teaching the Jig of Slurs.
    I like how he gets the phrasing effects, via (I think) carefully-applied volume differences on each note.

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  13. #35
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post

    Me (lights on): multiple integers of a base frequency? Why didn't that nut of a music teacher just say that? I was right - I always felt I shouldn't believe musician's talk.
    Because that "music teacher" had not read Hindemith's "Craft of Musical Composition" where it is all explained.

    https://noty.propovednik.com/Public/...n-Hindemit.pdf

    "General Considerations 14
    Overtones 15
    Nature of the Overtone Series 17
    The Triad "

    titles of the first chapters where he derives triads from the overtone series

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    Default Re: Slurs

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DocBrownSLUR.jpg 
Views:	17 
Size:	101.0 KB 
ID:	165192

    SCIENCE has spoken! (It's not as if music is even rocket or flux-capacitor science!)

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    Default Re: Slurs

    DavidKOS,

    Unless I am badly mistaken, the OP is not a classically trained musician, and she is not playing classical music. She is playing country and bluegrass, for the most part -- and not on a bowlback mandolin, either. Your answers here seemed tailored to a strictly classical audience, and terms like "detache", "spiccato", "barriolage", etc., which come directly from the classical violin world, have little import. Ditto for the Hindemith theory book. We have wandered way off course. (Not that that is so uncommon here on the MC! )

    It's perfectly OK to stick with what you know and love, but it's easier for all concerned here if you recognize that not all players on this forum have similar classical training or desire to play the classical repertoire. In fact, many are fairly accomplished musicians in their own right, in a different genre, and don't necessarily sight-read music (and don't need to).

    When they come across a "slur" in some sheet music, usually written for a different instrument (like a lead chart for a tune like "Crying in the Rain", recently mentioned by the OP), and want to know what to do about it, the best answer is likely to be the one I gave: hammer on, pull off, or slide! Arcane discussions about legato, articulation, are interesting to you and some others, but they are largely beside the point, and not especially helpful to a beginner.

    I guess we do disagree on the best type of advice to offer the OP, here. For my own part, I should have been more careful in advising her not to call them slurs, but instead simply advised her that "we don't tend to call them slurs" in folk and bluegrass circles. We use different terminology. Lesson learned! But I also hope, for your part, you will recognize that the language used in the classical world is not inviolate, not unique, and certainly not superior. Language is a malleable thing, and both meanings and usage change over time. Western classical musical training is not the only training, nor is it "the best," either. Most important of all, it does not get to define what is "correct" or "incorrect."

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    Default Re: Slurs

    Actually, going back to the OP's orignal question - it's a really great question if you're new to playing the mandolin, yet happen to be an experienced musician.

    I was playing the Vivaldi Concerto in A minor last night - something I know really well on the violn. But I came to the end of page one and wondered what exactly I should be doing with the slurred phrases. Hammer on's and pulls off don't really work (for me) to get the leagto feeling that those phrases require. I was going to ask here but a bit worried I might be told to go and get a lesson!

    Equally, I've just been playing the Flowers of Edinburgh (reel) on the violin, and slurring like mad (no alcohol involved) - that makes it a very different feel to the way I've been playing it on the mandolin, where hammer on's/pull offs are ornamental additives to this piece of music.

    I my now go back to lurking in the Newbies group.

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    Default Re: Slurs

    I don't know slurs from slides but once it's on the internet it true right:
    Discussion of slurs etc begins at 0:50 give or take

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  22. #40
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    DavidKOS,
    ....

    When they come across a "slur" in some sheet music, usually written for a different instrument (like a lead chart for a tune like "Crying in the Rain", recently mentioned by the OP), and want to know what to do about it, the best answer is likely to be the one I gave: hammer on, pull off, or slide!
    .....I guess we do disagree on the best type of advice to offer the OP, here. For my own part, I should have been more careful in advising her not to call them slurs, but instead simply advised her that "we don't tend to call them slurs" in folk and bluegrass circles.
    from my FIRST post on this thread

    "
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    and you just explained HOW to do a slur on mandolin

    I am with the others that think you CAN play a slur on mandolin.
    I just took it from there, and am sorry to have wandered so off base.

    To me, though, mandolin has an older history than folk and bluegrass music; I do realize am in the minority on this website and in the general folk and bluegrass oriented mandolin world.

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    Default Re: Slurs

    And then there''s the jazz guys,I think we do a lot of 'sliding'..

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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    And then there''s the jazz guys,I think we do a lot of 'sliding'..
    Yep, there are some genre considerations involved in whether to hammer/pull or slide, when you see a slur in notation.

    Someone playing "fiddle tunes" (Irish/Scottish, OldTime, whatever) on mandolin, will usually want to stay in first position for speed and efficiency. A notated slur would be mostly hammer-ons, pull-offs, or combinations of the two. It's actually possible to fake a fiddle roll with hammers and pulls around the core note on mandolin, although nobody will hear it if you're playing in a group of other instruments!

    If you use a slide instead, it can take the hand out of first position, slowing you down in a fast tune like a reel. Especially with something like a slur to the middle note of a triplet, where it could be moving a finger up and then back down again to regain first position fret coverage.

    So you will usually see mandolin players using hammers and pulls for legato phrasing and ornaments within the Irish/Scottish, OldTime, and related "fiddle tune" repertoire. Bluegrass players might get a little more expressive with slides on a fiddle tune when working up the neck, and then Blues, Jazz, or Classical players would have their own approach.

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  28. #43
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Can you play a 2 note slur on a mandolin by only plucking the first note, and, if so, how is it done?
    Wow! Never thought this post would generate this much interest! Still waiting for someone to say "no, sorry." Not that I don't want to learn to play hammer-ons, etc., but am still struggling with double stops and 3rd position.

    The question came up at my lesson yesterday and was posted at my teacher's request. I had played John Kelly's Birdfeeder Waltz for her and she wondered about playing the triplets without plucking 3 times.
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post

    Wind instruments can slur by changing key combinations without tonguing, but in practice they are casual about that, paying more attention to whether the result it smooth or choppy ("staccato").
    .
    As a trombone player, we cannot slur by changing keys without tonguing. You can slur by not tonguing by moving the slide out while go up in tone or the slide in while going down in tone. When that doesn't work one tongues softly. Not that any of this relevant to the discussion other than to point out a slur is most definitely more than a bowing technique.
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Technical note:

    A simple slur does NOT imply a portamento, slide, glissando, etc. It only means no added articulations.

    You need to write a slur between notes AND a small line to indicate portamento or glissando.



    simple slur






    examples of other articulation symbols

    also

    http://onlineguitarbooks.com/finger-...ed-techniques/

    "Hammer-ons and Pull-offs both fall into the category of ‘slurs’. While hammers and pulls are specific to guitar (and probably other stringed instruments), slurs are a more universal articulation. "
    absolutely agree there is a difference between slur and glissando on trombone.
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  34. #46
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by sportsnapper View Post
    Actually, going back to the OP's orignal question - it's a really great question if you're new to playing the mandolin, yet happen to be an experienced musician.

    I was playing the Vivaldi Concerto in A minor last night - something I know really well on the violn. But I came to the end of page one and wondered what exactly I should be doing with the slurred phrases. Hammer on's and pulls off don't really work (for me) to get the leagto feeling that those phrases require. I was going to ask here but a bit worried I might be told to go and get a lesson!
    bwahahahaha, Well played sir, well played.
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    Default Re: Slurs

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Wow! Never thought this post would generate this much interest! Still waiting for someone to say "no, sorry." Not that I don't want to learn to play hammer-ons, etc., but am still struggling with double stops and 3rd position.

    The question came up at my lesson yesterday and was posted at my teacher's request. I had played John Kelly's Birdfeeder Waltz for her and she wondered about playing the triplets without plucking 3 times.
    Sherry, thanks for clarifying your OP with more detail!

    I know that your mandolin teacher is actually a (classical?) violin player, and glad that she is pushing you to explore ornamentations as slurs on the mandolin!

    I, too, have spent the last couple weeks learning John Kelly's The Birdfeeder Waltz. I generally do not pick out individual notes of triplets, preferring to pull or hammer-on notes instead. This has been discussed by several of us in the Newbies group over the past year or so. My strong penchant for this is due to a lengthy guitar playing background, but there are many players who do the same, though not many of them evidently in the Newbies group or the SAW group.

    At any rate, on The Birdfeeder Waltz I start by picking the open D then hammer to the second fret followed by a hammer on the fifth fret to play that initial triplet. There is a split-string triplet in measure 20 (in the B part) where I pick downstroke the D string fifth fret followed by an upstroke open A string and hammer on A string second fret.

    In addition to the triplets in that song, there are several places where I feel that hammer-ons for a more legato feel work great, and I will use them or lose them at will in those places.

    That tune was a Song-a-week choice a few weeks ago. Eventually I'll upload a rendition there and point you to it via PM.
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    Default Re: Slurs

    No need to PM me on that vid, Mark. I love that piece so much I listen to all versions daily!
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    Default Re: Slurs

    In regards to my own playing, I really dislike the sound of every-note-with-a-pickstroke. (There are some exceptions..like on some hornpipes).

    But then again, my sonic influences and tastes have run to guitar players and fiddlers far more than mandolinists. Well I like sax and flute players a lot too. It's not uncommon in bar of 8 8th notes, that I will play only 3 or 4 with the pick. Slurring is what lets the tune "breathe". I'd much rather sound like Richard Thompson (or Dave Swarbrick or Knopfler, Hendrix, or a host of non-mandolin players and spent years going after those vibes, and every-note-with-the pick just doesn't cut it for me.

    Want to hear some mandolin player that really exploits the varieties of slurring? Top-of-the-line playing in my opinion! And the way the instrument ought to be played.




    For context...(as to what I want to hear in the "vocality" of an instrument, any instrument) below is my favorite track from one of my top favorite acoustic bands. Sublime. (The bodhran player is pretty good mandolin player too)



    NH

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    Default Re: Slurs

    If one has a mandolin with some good sustain, playing two or three notes in a row only picking the first is a really great technique. If you want to call it a "hammer on", that is fine, but equally it could naturally be call it a "slur".

    In tremolo playing I can see a "slur" more literally, where one connects the notes with one continuous tremolo, as opposed to stopping the tremolo at the end of each note.
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