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Mountain Ocarinas Forum => Quick thoughts from Karl => Topic started by: Cliff on December 11, 2008, 11:43:26 pm



Title: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Cliff on December 11, 2008, 11:43:26 pm
Introduction to Finger Ornaments on Ocarina

Please note: our goal in making these videos is to help you to enjoy your ocarina and to grow as a musician. Unfortunately, the production quality is rather poor. Please feel free to post questions and to offer any feedback or suggestions that might increase the helpfulness of future videos. With your input, and as time and resources permit, we hope to get better and better.



Link to video on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/2500363

Please let us know what you think after you've watched it.


Title: Re: Introduction to Finger Ornaments on Ocarina
Post by: RW_eagle on December 12, 2008, 05:11:49 am
Thanks a bunch Karl for getting this info off and rolling. ;) (pun intended)  Coming from learning how to play the bagpipes, I've understood the necessity of adding finger ornamentation to music.  Adding it to ocarina playing opens up a lot of variation in the way you can play music.  I can't wait for the next in the series.

Rob W.


Title: Re: Introduction to Finger Ornaments on Ocarina
Post by: Laurent on December 12, 2008, 08:22:36 am
Thanks, that was a great introduction. Now I have to go practice this :)
By the way, is it only on my PC, or is the sound very very bad on this video?


Title: Re: Introduction to Finger Ornaments on Ocarina
Post by: Karl on December 13, 2008, 02:03:43 am
You're right, the recording volume is too low.  I'll try to improve that on upcoming videos.  Thank you for the feedback!


Title: Re: Introduction to Finger Ornaments on Ocarina
Post by: Secretagentdan on December 14, 2008, 02:58:57 am
I really liked the video Karl, thanks for posting it for us! Really helped me out, I intend on adding to my repertoire of tunes!


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Spatolo on December 16, 2008, 09:11:42 pm
Karl, this is a great video about the topic, thank you very much. It's so good that I think even whistle players could find it useful.
You dwelve into the roots of the ornamentations and that's very useful other than nice to know, and, I expecially loved that you didn't wanted to call the ornamentations "grace notes". You are right: they are NOT NOTES; only a mean to separate equal notes. No more than that. I think this is something one should have very clearly in it's mind to realize that SPEED is essential here. Play it slow, and you'll have an extra note. That's not what should be done in irish music. Speed is very difficult to achieve (I still suck at ornamentation, but I want to focus on rhythm and good time first; finding them by far more important) but is essential.
Congratulations for the video again.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: armisis on January 13, 2009, 10:27:04 pm
Sweet, Great Classes! thank you!!!!!!
Dave


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: thinkharder on March 15, 2009, 06:19:14 pm
Explaining the history of cuts and strikes really does help. Thank you, Karl. :-)

And now I must practice. Off I go.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on March 31, 2009, 08:33:56 pm
When Karl gets time, can we pls have a video explaining where/when (as opposed to how) to insert the various ornaments?  Thanks.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: ubizmo on April 01, 2009, 08:21:50 pm
When Karl gets time, can we pls have a video explaining where/when (as opposed to how) to insert the various ornaments?  Thanks.

While Karl is working on the next video... There's no one way to use ornaments.  Karl makes the point that in many cases, the word "ornament" is misleading, and these so-called ornaments function more like punctuation.  They separate notes from each other in a more emphatic way than just tonguing them.  So one thing to think about is this: When playing a tune that has two or more notes of the same pitch, played consecutively, would the addition of ornaments to some of those notes make them stand out from each other better?

Example: "America the Beautiful" begins with the words "Oh beautiful...", four syllables, four notes, two pitches.  If we were playing it in the key of C, it would begin with these four notes: G G E E.  This is not a Celtic tune by any means, but that doesn't matter.  As I hear this in my head, I would want to play a strike (from a half tone down, F#), but not a cut, between the first and second G.  Why?  Well...if I use a strike instead of tonguing to separate those notes, I don't stop the air flow, so I get a pretty smooth sound.  That particular song, as I would want to play it, should sound smooth and majestic, not too chopped up.  I would not use a cut, because even though a cut also doesn't stop the air flow, it's a more abrupt ornamentation, and I don't want abruptness, at least not here.

Karl explains that cuts can be more than a half tone, but a half tone is the minimum cut, and that's what I'd want.

Sometimes you may want to use a strike at the very beginning of a tune or phrase, not just to separate notes.  When you do this, it tends to give the phrasing a more jazz or blues feel.  The reason for this is that jazz and blues singers tend to "slide" into notes a bit, whereas classical singers are taught to hit a note dead on.  So by using strikes at the start of musical phrases, you emulate a certain kind of singer, and that style of singing gets infused into what you're playing.  Cuts, on the other hand, don't really have much of a vocal counterpart.  Because of their abruptness, they call attention to themselves and add an element of brightness, and even surprise, to the music.  Cuts separate notes more emphatically than tonguing does, as Karl points out, so tongued cuts are maximally emphatic.  Although cuts are typical in Celtic music, they can be used in other kinds of music too, but in some pieces they would be jarring.

So step 1 is to take a simple piece that you know well, and experiment with strikes and cuts, and see if you like the results.  Record yourself, if possible.  Gradually you get a feel for what you like, and how you like to use ornaments.  Everyone's style is different.  You might play "America the Beautiful" with plenty of cuts in there, and make it work.

Ubizmo


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 04, 2009, 06:11:05 pm
Thanks, Ubi.

I have been experimenting (with "Simple Gifts" - for my next political satire ;)).  I'm getting a feel for when I like rolls and cuts between notes of the same pitch, but I'm having more difficulty figuring out how to use the various ornaments when notes are not of the same pitch. 


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Karl on April 04, 2009, 11:17:26 pm
Thanks, Ubi! Very good input.  As you mentioned, as you experiment with cuts, strikes, rolls, etc., you very gradually develop a feel for how you might use them. These ornaments can add a lot of beauty and flowing expressiveness to slow hymns and songs.

Still, Hoodsmom, I think I know exactly how you feel.  Several years ago, when I first started learning about ornaments, or finger articulation, I felt the same frustration that you have expressed. After a lot of reading and experimentation, I felt that I understood (in theory) how to execute a cut or a roll, but I was clueless about how or when to use them in traditional music. Also, even though the mechanics of these ornaments are fairly easy to understand, it takes a long time before you can perform them cleanly, appropriately, and up to speed. So, I would say that your frustration is normal!

Here are a couple of concrete things I plan to do to help:

--Over time, I want to record a number of traditional dance tunes --jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, etc.-- and then break down each tune to give you some ideas about how to approach them.  I’ll probably start with jigs…  By the way, over the years I've picked out a large number of exciting traditional tunes that sound great on Mountain Ocarinas.

--I want to put together a Suggested Listening List. Listening to talented traditional musicians (on the accordion, fiddle, Irish flute, whistle, pipes, etc.) is one of the best ways to get a feel for the music. I have a huge collection of both written and recorded traditional music. Lest you feel overwhelmed, Irish dance music is great for listening to while exercising, doing yard or house work, etc., so it's not hard to fit into your schedule.

--I want to start a club within the forum for people who are serious about learning to play traditional music on the ocarina.  We would be helping one another to grow.  Traditional Irish dance music is not only exhilarating to play, but it also serves as a great medium for improving one’s skills and opens up a lot of opportunities for socializing and making music with others. (Irish seisiuns, folk dances, contra dance jam groups, etc., are very common around the U.S. and in many parts of the world.)

So, for now, just keep playing and experimenting.  We’ll hopefully have more guidance for you in the near future. Little by little…

Karl



Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: noahsummers on April 05, 2009, 02:40:03 am
Yes, pay much attention to the words in bold above!  I've been playing for a couple months now and I've only just begun to get a feel for where to throw in ornaments. ::)


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 06, 2009, 07:55:50 am
All great ideas, Karl.  Can you include some "slow" music in your lessons.  I'm still struggling to hear exactly where the ornaments are in faster pieces (not necessarily ocarina).


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 15, 2009, 02:33:46 am
I've been learning more about cuts and rolls from Grey Larsen's "Essential Tin Whistle Toolbox," and now I have a ?.  He plays the cut on the parent beat and the strike shortly afterwards (at least on the examples I've heard so far and as best I can tell from the reading), but is it "OK" to start the cut very early and end the roll with the strike on the parent beat?


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: ubizmo on April 15, 2009, 02:44:57 am
Why don't you try making a little audio file of a passage played both ways, so we can listen and see how they sound?  I think I know what you mean, but I'm not sure, and a few measures would make it clear.

Ubizmo


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: mannafromheaven on April 15, 2009, 04:57:39 pm
Thanks alot for doing this vid !! My playing is pretty clear sounding, but it's rather boring & i have been wondering how to add those interesting little "ornaments" in there.  Thanks again, this has been alot of help.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 15, 2009, 07:19:38 pm
Why don't you try making a little audio file of a passage played both ways, so we can listen and see how they sound?  I think I know what you mean, but I'm not sure, and a few measures would make it clear.

Ubizmo

OK, thanks.
http://sites.google.com/site/ocarinastuff/finale-notepad-files-1/RollQuestion.mp3?attredirects=0 (http://sites.google.com/site/ocarinastuff/finale-notepad-files-1/RollQuestion.mp3?attredirects=0)

B-A-G-B-A-G.  Using L1, L2, L3, R1, R2, R3 = left index, left middle, left ring, etc:

#1 - no ornaments
#2 - Cut A just after its parent beat using L2.  Then strike the G on its beat using R1.  I gather this is not a proper roll.  I kinda like the sound even though the G doesn't sound all that sharply percussed.
#3 - Cut the G on its beat using L1.  If I understand Mr. Larsen correctly, to cut the G as I descend from the A, I lift L1 and put it down a hair after L3, but such that the G sound arrives on time.  L2 stays down.  Then strike the G with R1 such that the strike lands exactly between the 2nd G and the first B.
#4 - same as #3 but exaggerating the cut G a bit more

To start the answer to my own question, I suppose #2 is "OK" - but not very Irish.  So I guess I'm asking a variation of my original ?, knowing what to do when.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: ubizmo on April 15, 2009, 07:52:50 pm
Thanks for doing that.  Here are my impressions:

#2 sounds more like a grace note than a cut.  It sounds like you are playing *B *(ABA) *G, putting a strike on the G.  This sounds like a perfectly good ornament, but it's not a classic Celtic roll.

#3 and #4 sound like regular rolls, but understated.  The reason is that if you're playing G on a standard D tin whistle, and you lift L1, you actually get a C, which is a fourth higher than the G.  That difference in pitch makes the cut stand out.  On the MO, when you play G and lift L1, you get A, a bit flat.  Cutting to a G from an A or Ab isn't much contrast, so the roll sounds a little thin.  G is easier to cut on the whistle than on the MO.  I would try doing the cut with L2 and L3 simultaneously, which isn't hard to to, or try using RT.

Ubizmo


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Amiable on April 16, 2009, 04:07:41 am
Thanks for the series of videos Karl.  I just finished watching all of the Celtic Ornamentations in a row.  The historical role of bagpipes helps make this all make sense!

I just found out why I couldn't register ocarinastuff on Google Sites ;)


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 17, 2009, 05:51:17 am
#2 sounds more like a grace note than a cut.  It sounds like you are playing *B *(ABA) *G, putting a strike on the G.  This sounds like a perfectly good ornament, but it's not a classic Celtic roll.

#3 and #4 sound like regular rolls, but understated. 

Ubi, thanks for the explanation, esp about why the cuts in #3 and #4 are understated.  I did a little reading in Grey Larsen's more advanced tin whistle book - what I was able to glean from Google Books - if I understand correctly, the cut I was doing in #2 is called a double cut.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on April 25, 2009, 08:54:05 pm
Grey Larsen sells these on his website:

What is a Tune Packet?

Three downloads, neatly wrapped together in virtual brown paper (actually an easy-to-download ZIP file):

   1. Grey's musical transcription of a traditional Irish tune (as a PDF file), with suggested ornamentation, variations, and breathing spots for flute and whistle players.
   2. A recording (an MP3 soundfile) of Grey playing that tune, exactly as transcribed.
   3. Grey's written commentary (as a PDF file) on the tune, including its background, and insights on how to play it well.


Karl, any chance of developing something similar for Mountain Ocarinas?


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Karl on May 10, 2009, 01:40:43 am
Sorry I haven't responded to this sooner! 

Yes, I do plan to introduce some traditional Irish dance tunes soon in more or less the following way.  I would perform a tune in a video and probably also include an audio recording of the performance at 1/2 speed.  Based on the video performance, I'd then like to make a series of SHORT videos to examine different aspects of the tune such the basic feel of a jig (for example), lilt, tempo, tonguing, taking breaths, where and how I performed certain ornaments, etc.

I could start within the next few weeks if there are several people who are interested.  I was even considering starting a club within the forum for folks who were particularly interested in this type of music.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: teidon on May 10, 2009, 10:23:14 am
Yes, I do plan to introduce some traditional Irish dance tunes soon in more or less the following way.  I would perform a tune in a video and probably also include an audio recording of the performance at 1/2 speed.
I think it would be a good idea to include both the normal speed and slower speed version in the same video. You could see and hear the song played in normal speed, and the slower speed version would allow you to see finger movement more clearly and also hear all the ornamentations and such more clearly.

Windows Movie Maker can do slow motion, but the version of WMM that comes with WinXP will lower audio's pitch. If you have Vista though, the version of WMM that comes with it can do slow motion while keeping the pitch normal. Or atleast that's what I've heard.


And I am interested of such videos. :)


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Laurent on May 10, 2009, 12:24:01 pm
For the audio slowdowns, there is an excellent tool which was discussed somewhere here in the forum I think: Amazing Slow Downer. The audio quality of the slowdowns is really amazing. OK, it's not free, but it's worth the price.

http://www.ronimusic.com/amsldowin.htm

Try the demo!


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: teidon on May 10, 2009, 12:47:26 pm
Audacity should be able to do the same thing too, and it's free. There's two ways to slowdown audio, Change Speed and Change Tempo, the latter will maintain pitch.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Laurent on May 10, 2009, 01:51:30 pm
I just posted samples of sounds on this thread:

http://www.ocarinaboard.com/bb/index.php?topic=727.msg6835#msg6835

Check them if you want to compare audacity to amazing slow downer on a Karl Ahrens performance :-)


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: hoodsmom on May 10, 2009, 07:27:29 pm
Audacity is less convenient b/c you have to slow the tempo, wait for processing, then check out the results.  Then do it all over again if it's too slow or not slow enough for your liking.  Amazing Slow Downer has a slider that'll do things for you "on the fly."

The demo will do the first 1/4 of a piece of music, up to 3 min of slowed-down music total. 

So (since most of what we amateurs are studying are short snippets), use Audacity to lengthen the mp3 by inserting silence, then use the Amazing Slow Downer demo to change the tempo.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Karl on May 11, 2009, 01:10:25 am
Thanks for the comparison, Laurent!  You add so much to this forum.

I actually love how that arrangement of Greensleeves turned out, but my performance is a bit sloppy, as the slowed version reveals. (Rick and I met once to talk about what I wanted to do and once more a couple weeks later to record. Rick is such an experienced musician that he doesn't need much in the way of rehearsal, but I could have benefitted from a lot more practicing together.) Whatever the case, recording and then listening to our own playing from time to time is another great technique for improving. 

So... in the next couple of weeks, I want to video record a well-known jig up to speed.  One way or another, I want to at least provide slowed audio.  Teidon makes a great point. It would be more helpful if we could slow both the audio and the VIDEO.  (Unfortunately, I don't have Vista.)  When the time comes, I might be asking for help on how to slow it down.


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: noahsummers on May 12, 2009, 12:22:22 am
If you need a video slowed down, I could do that.  You could slow the audio down first, and then I could stretch the video to the exact length of the audio using After Effects, and recombine them if wanted. :)  All free of charge of course. :P


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Karl on May 12, 2009, 02:42:28 am
Quote
If you need a video slowed down, I could do that.  You could slow the audio down first, and then I could stretch the video to the exact length of the audio using After Effects, and recombine them if wanted.   All free of charge of course.

Sounds like a lot of work, Noah!  But I think it would be a real service to people, so I may take you up on that generous offer if I'm unable to do it myself. Thanks!


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: noahsummers on May 13, 2009, 06:32:45 pm
Hehe, I'd actually only have to click the "time stretch" option and set the new length for the video. ;)  But yeah, if you need the help, send me a note whenever. :)


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Umm Hi Im Jack on June 29, 2009, 03:41:13 pm
Haha. 4:22-4:27 XD


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: Danny on August 27, 2011, 07:23:06 pm
Thanks for the great video!


Title: Re: Celtic ornaments on Mountain Ocarinas: Part 1
Post by: redrocketteer on January 26, 2014, 10:45:45 pm
Great Video! When I had my first set of Ocarina's (before they were absconded) I was doing a little bit of striking and rolling without knowing what I was doing. On the Ocarina it just seemed to come naturally. I await my new Mountain Ocarina's in the mail and I can't wait to float away in Ocarinaville... :)