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Thread: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Is pick direction for quarter notes in 3/2 time DDDDDD or DUDUDU?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Is pick direction for quarter notes in 3/2 time DDDDDD or DUDUDU?
    Well, I don't know if this is right or wrong and I'm certainly no expert, but I'd play it the same way I play everything else, whichever way works out the best. By that, I mean - if it's a fast tune I'd be inclined to (mostly) alternate pick direction just for efficiency and expediency. I typically make the first note of most (or at least the majority of) measures a downstroke, it helps me to keep the rhythm going right, but it's not a hard/fast rule, just depends on what else is going on in the tune.

    If it's a really slow tune, I wouldn't necessarily be as concerned with efficiency of motion because there would be more time between the notes, so I wouldn't necessarily feel inclined to alternate pick direction unless it was more convenient that way... I'd use whichever produces the sound that seemed most appropriate for that particular tune.

    I think it would also depend on whether you were just doing single note melody stuff, or melody notes mixed in with some chords or double-stops, etc.

    Just my two cents, FWIW.

    Might help to get a more accurate answer from other folks here, for your specific tune, if we knew what tune/song it was. If it's public domain music, seeing the written notes might be useful too.

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    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    I'll add my two cents, too. In 3/4, the quarter note gets a beat and the eighth note gets a half beat. In 3/4 we typically use DUDUDU for the eighths.

    In 3/2, the half note gets a beat and the quarter note gets a half beat. That leads me to think that most often we would use DUDUDU for quarter notes in 3/2.
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  6. #4
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    The tune name is "He Will Hold Me Fast," with a half note metronome speed of 66. Unfortunately, there is a copyright on the sheet music.

    DUDUDU seems a little more natural to me. If there's a more technically correct method, though, I'd prefer to use it, as I'm trying to develop good habits.

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Sherry, at that speed (half note = 66) a series of quarter notes would still be slow enough that you could go either way depending on how you want to emphasize them. DDDDDD would give a strong emphasis on each quarter note. DUDUDU could be used either for a smooth run or for a stronger downbeat and a less strong upbeat. Technically, I think either would be correct if it sounds good.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Is this the tune? It almost sounds like it is 4/4 not 3/2.



    Are you working from the sheet music? I think you just need to find out what pick pattern complements the phrasing of the melody. Experiment with it there is a swaying feeling that you can get into it. Make your mandolin sing.
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  11. #7

    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Is this the tune? It almost sounds like it is 4/4 not 3/2.

    Seems that there are two versions of this song:

    1. A modern copyrighted version composed by Matt Merker, as in the video Jim posted above. Looking at the sheet music right now, I see that the time signature keeps changing back and forth between 3/2 and 2/2 all throughout the song - a bar of 3/2 followed by a few bars of 2/2. (Reminds me of certain "crooked" fiddle tunes that have extra beats here and there.) The hymn's score seems even more confusing (to me anyway) since it does a thing I've seen in other published hymnal songs where they sometimes split *one* bar over *two* separate staff lines, for instance in the score that I'm looking at right now for this song, the last bar of the first line is 3/2 time signature *but* that bar continues on to the 2nd line, and then two notes later the score specifies changing to 2/2 time signature again... argh... I don't know why hymn writers split bars across lines (well I suppose they do it to fit more lyrics onto one page), but IMO it makes it hard to follow - especially in this case with all the designated time-signature swaps. Anyway... The Matt Merker webpage has free sheetmusic (bunch of links there, but for this song's full piano score with chord names click the "HYMN + CHORD" button - apparently the composer has chosen to make this sheet music available as a free download from his website). It *is* a pretty song, just a little hard to figure out (for me, anyway).

    2. An older, different, (now) Public Domain setting of the song by a different composer (Robert Harkness), straight 4/4 time, sheet music at Hymnary.org. Probably not the version the OP inquired about though, as there's no 3/2 in this version.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Are you working from the sheet music? I think you just need to find out what pick pattern complements the phrasing of the melody. Experiment with it there is a swaying feeling that you can get into it. Make your mandolin sing.
    Sounds like good advice. As to the phrasing, I suppose that this being a song (rather than an instrumental dance tune), it's the lyrics that would determine the phrasing - as Jim said, make the instrument sing.
    Last edited by JL277z; Jun-25-2019 at 3:56am. Reason: Clarification.

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  13. #8
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: 3/2 Time Pick Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    Seems that there are two versions of this song:

    1. A modern copyrighted version composed by Matt Merker, as in the video Jim posted above. Looking at the sheet music right now, I see that the time signature keeps changing back and forth between 3/2 and 2/2 all throughout the song - a bar of 3/2 followed by a few bars of 2/2. (Reminds me of certain "crooked" fiddle tunes that have extra beats here and there.) The hymn's score seems even more confusing (to me anyway) since it does a thing I've seen in other published hymnal songs where they sometimes split *one* bar over *two* separate staff lines, for instance in the score that I'm looking at right now for this song, the last bar of the first line is 3/2 time signature *but* that bar continues on to the 2nd line, and then two notes later the score specifies changing to 2/2 time signature again... argh... I don't know why hymn writers split bars across lines (well I suppose they do it to fit more lyrics onto one page), but IMO it makes it hard to follow - especially in this case with all the designated time-signature swaps. Anyway... The Matt Merker webpage has free sheetmusic (bunch of links there, but for this song's full piano score with chord names click the "HYMN + CHORD" button - apparently the composer has chosen to make this sheet music available as a free download from his website). It *is* a pretty song, just a little hard to figure out (for me, anyway).

    2. An older, different, (now) Public Domain setting of the song by a different composer (Robert Harkness), straight 4/4 time, sheet music at Hymnary.org. Probably not the version the OP inquired about though, as there's no 3/2 in this version.
    The arrangement I have is by Matt Merker - and the time signature keeps shifting, as you have said, JL. My teacher (who is a classical violinist, not a mandolinist) had me change all the 3/2s to 6/4s and 2/2s to 4/4s, along with a metronome setting of quarter note = 90 - 100. Doing that seems to help a lot, as I'm learning to play the piece. Going back to my original question, I noticed I'm naturally picking those quarter notes DDDDDD (or DDDD).

    The videos you posted, Jim, are blacked out on my desktop monitor. Have they been removed?

    JL, thanks for the music links.

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