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Thread: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

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    Default Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    When Duncan Chisholm plays Farley Bridge, he employs an embellishment that I haven't heard to this degree. I dont play fiddle, and I'm not sure how to describe it, so I am hoping some here may have heard it. Best I can say is that it is a semi-abrupt, single-tone-sounding note that feels like it is created by an amazingly fast triplet of "tone--note above tone--tone" done muted, so that one really only "hears" the "tone".

    Can anyone shed light on this, and tell me how it is done on the fiddle? I have been able to re-create many fiddle embellishments on the mandolin, but this is a tough one.

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    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    I hear grace notes from above and below and ricochet bowing with immediate vibratos.
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    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?


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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmuussiiccaall View Post
    I hear grace notes from above and below and ricochet bowing with immediate vibratos.
    Thanks-- I have slowed this down via Audacity, and have magnified a video of him performing it-- and I "hear" a grace note above and back, but not below. I put "hear" in quotes because the specific property I am getting is of actually NOT "hearing" the grace note, but rather having it sort of muted into the actual note-- Is that achieved by the ricochet bowing? What exactly IS ricochet bowing? Best I've been able to do on the mandolin to imitate this is a VERY quick, and somewhat dampened hamer on and pulloff, with another pickstroke at the very end of the pulloff to get additional tone, but not attack. I CANT do this fast enough--at least not yet.

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    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    I might be wrong, but I think it's just a bowed triplet. It has other names, and it's more like two sixteenth notes followed by an eighth instead of an actual triplet. It's used in Irish and Scottish fiddle. Here are a few explanations:
    Bruce MacGregor 'Bowing : Triplets' - Fiddle Lesson

    "The Cut" Gracenote: Scottish Fiddle Technique Tutorial

    The Bowed Triplet - Irish Fiddle Lesson by Kevin Burke

    I would play it as a fast Down-Up-Down triplet on mandolin.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    For your convenience, you can here it here. I agree with Peewee that it is a bowed triplet.

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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by jshane View Post
    When Duncan Chisholm plays Farley Bridge, he employs an embellishment that I haven't heard to this degree. I dont play fiddle, and I'm not sure how to describe it, so I am hoping some here may have heard it. Best I can say is that it is a semi-abrupt, single-tone-sounding note that feels like it is created by an amazingly fast triplet of "tone--note above tone--tone" done muted, so that one really only "hears" the "tone".

    Can anyone shed light on this, and tell me how it is done on the fiddle? I have been able to re-create many fiddle embellishments on the mandolin, but this is a tough one.
    I'm hearing a lot of different ornaments in there, with both the bow and the left hand. There are some bow triplets, but I think the most characteristic one -- and the hardest to emulate for a mandolinist -- is what's commonly called a "roll." Check out Hanneke Cassel explaining it:



    In addition to that, there are cuts, flicks, and all manner of left-hand techniques fiddlers use to ornament tunes.
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    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    mp3

    02 The Farley Bridge Copy.mp3

    IMO no rasp from bow changing direction just a light bouncing in one direction

  12. #10

    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    I'm hearing a lot of different ornaments in there, with both the bow and the left hand. There are some bow triplets, but I think the most characteristic one -- and the hardest to emulate for a mandolinist -- is what's commonly called a "roll." Check out Hanneke Cassel explaining it:
    THANKS! I agree there are a variety of ornaments in the tune, but the one I was referring to does, indeed, seem to be a roll--- but I think that Duncan Chisholm is doing it quite quickly, and is almost muting the ornament. In any case, I agree that it is hard to emulate on the mandolin. ANY SUGGESTIONS??

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    I had to go to my PC to open the example. I think you might mean the cran which is quite common in Irish playing & you'll probably find folks on TheSession agonising over ot on several threads there. There's also a similar ornament known as the mordent here's a link to Wiki on that https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordent
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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by jshane View Post
    THANKS! I agree there are a variety of ornaments in the tune, but the one I was referring to does, indeed, seem to be a roll--- but I think that Duncan Chisholm is doing it quite quickly, and is almost muting the ornament. In any case, I agree that it is hard to emulate on the mandolin. ANY SUGGESTIONS??
    Left-hand rolls and lots of other fiddle, pipes, and whistle ornaments that work well with continuous bow strokes or air flow are pretty tough to emulate on the mandolin, especially if you are using fairly heavy strings and higher action.

    The ornament happens in the space normally allotted a single note, so it's sounds a bit like a blur at full speed. To get that sound with a single pick stroke on the mandolin requires some pretty hard hammer-ons and pull-offs at speed.

    There are some great players who get a lot of left-hand ornaments to sound right on the mandolin and/or OM/bouzouki, and I think a lot of folks who are shooting for that approach opt for instruments with a lot of sustain, lighter setup, and lighter strings. On a good day I can get out decent-sounding rolls and cuts, but if things are flying fast and it's a noisy situation, I'm not sure how well they are coming through.

    I'd venture that most mandolinists playing traditional Irish and Scottish music tend to use articulated/picked triplets for most of those ornaments, though, and tenor-banjo players pretty much always use right-hand ornaments exclusively, since there is so little sustain out of a banjo.
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  15. #13

    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    ....

    I'd venture that most mandolinists playing traditional Irish and Scottish music tend to use articulated/picked triplets for most of those ornaments, though, and tenor-banjo players pretty much always use right-hand ornaments exclusively, since there is so little sustain out of a banjo.
    Agreed. But I never think these picked triplets sound as good. I've been messing with this for only a few days, but I'm going to keep trying to get a better facsimile.

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    The majority of the ornaments here are grace notes and cuts played in a Cape Breton or Scottish manner. (Not Irish...) The grace this way is right on the down beat, or it steals a little time from the note. The cuts are just that, they cut a note while it's playing. A technique from pipers and whistle players. There are a few bowed triplets in there as well. No rolls or crans however. Thoes are longer in duration.

    I play a lot of Irish fiddle tunes on the fiddle and sometimes amaze myself when they pop out on mandolin playing. But on mandolin, the simple stuff sounds cleaner and does not detract from the melody. It's the result that counts and this recording captures the mood well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    For your convenience, you can here it here. I agree with Peewee that it is a bowed triplet.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    The majority of the ornaments here are grace notes and cuts played in a Cape Breton or Scottish manner. (Not Irish...) The grace this way is right on the down beat, or it steals a little time from the note. The cuts are just that, they cut a note while it's playing.
    I agree it sounds more like Scottish/Cape Breton articulation than Irish. I don't hear any rolls or crans. What I hear are fingered cuts and what my fiddler S.O. would call a bowed "scratch triplet" with the last part of the triplet almost so quiet you can't hear it.

    In a dance tune like a strathspey or reel, a scratch triplet would be more aggressive. Because this is a sweet slow piece it's more subdued, but it still imparts that signature Scottish flavor.

    Bowed scratch triplets are difficult to emulate on mandolin unless you have a really tight treble ornament and can control the dynamics. If you're playing solo, you can use pull-offs to emulate the fingered cuts.

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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    Mandolins, having double string courses, can't do what a single string can do. That's why most players "keep it simple"
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    I went to a workshop given by Jenna Moynihan this past Saturday and she referred to these types of ornaments as an “interruption”. I’ve heard Kevin Burke say this also, but he was referring to rolls. We spent a fair bit of time practicing what Jenna referred to as a “flick”, which sounds very much like the recording referenced by the OP.
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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can Anyone Shed Light on this Fiddle Embellishment?

    It is interesting to see the terminology used by players of different instruments for the same sound. Also players from different backgrounds use their own words for techniques.
    BTW a cut IS an interruption. A 'flick' is how you do the cut. Kevin would call a bowed triplet a 'shake' because the bow hand kind of shakes to make the sound.

    It is the result that counts. After about 10 years you'll get good at it.
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