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How do you roll an open string?
Irish music on The Session
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Uzi
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I'm looking at various reels, jigs and the like on the session and there are quite a few tunes marked (~) as having a roll on what would be the open A string on the fiddle. I realize the sheet music isn't specifically for the fiddle, but I think I've seen the same notation on sheet music that is. So, the question is: How does one roll an open string (or 4th finger note) in Irish music? 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Fiddlerman
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July 20, 2014 - 1:10 pm
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Uzi, I'm not sure I understand which note you want to roll. If it's a D on the G string you can use the open D and roll with your 1st finger or play in 2nd 3rd or 4th position on the G string. Depends on other factors as well.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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uncledave
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July 20, 2014 - 1:58 pm
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I'm ignorant. What is a roll?

Dave

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Uzi
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In this case, the note would either be the open A string or 4th finger on the D string, neither of which would be possible to roll in first position, while playing a reel or jig.  Perhaps, the symbol also represents a cut (since it's a quarter note and not a dotted quarter note), in this case, which of course would not be a problem and so that's what I've been playing. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Uzi
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uncledave said
I'm ignorant. What is a roll?

Dave

A roll, is an ornamentation in Celtic music, such as reels and jigs.  For example, if the primary note to be rolled is the first finger B on the A string then one plays B-D-B-A-B (for a long roll) very quickly in the same amount of time indicated by the B in the music.  The note for a "long" roll is usually a dotted quarter note. The other notes are not sounded as notes, but rather played in a muted or percussive manner to break up the primary note(B in this case) into three fast B's, similar to a treble. Here's an example:

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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uncledave
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Uzi said

uncledave said
I'm ignorant. What is a roll?

Dave

A roll, is an ornamentation in Celtic music, such as reels and jigs.  For example, if the primary note to be rolled is the first finger B on the A string then one plays B-D-B-A-B (for a long roll) very quickly in the same amount of time indicated by the B in the music.  The note for a "long" roll is usually a dotted quarter note. The other notes are not sounded as notes, but rather played in a muted or percussive manner to break up the primary note(B in this case) into three fast B's, similar to a treble. Here's an example:

Thank you! 

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Fiddlestix
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@Uzi: If you posted that video, are you still not clear on the roll ?

 

Ken.  dunno

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uncledave
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Uzi said
I'm looking at various reels, jigs and the like on the session and there are quite a few tunes marked (~) as having a roll on what would be the open A string on the fiddle. I realize the sheet music isn't specifically for the fiddle, but I think I've seen the same notation on sheet music that is. So, the question is: How does one roll an open string (or 4th finger note) in Irish music? 

Now that I know what a roll is, could you not shift? Instead of trying to roll an open E string, get E in 3rd position on the A string and roll it there. Would that work?

Dave

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Kiara
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July 20, 2014 - 9:39 pm
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I'm thinking the same thing as the others, that you'd probably have to shift positions to do the rolls... not sure how else you would do it.

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Feathers
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@Uzi,  Here's another good example of a roll, which you can apply to an open string.

Hope it helps somesmile

 

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Author Unknown

 

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Uzi
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Fiddlestix said
@Uzi: If you posted that video, are you still not clear on the roll ?

 

Ken.  dunno

Thanks Fiddlestix. Yes, I know what a roll is, and upon reflection I see that the answer is that it can't be done (on a fiddle)  and the question was rather simple-minded of me. Sometimes the answer really is, "You can't get there from here."  

In any event, ornamentation is a matter of artistic interpretation and the symbol may simply suggest -- do something cool here or do it on a different instrument.  One could do a cut, a double cut or a treble to achieve something similar, but since there is no note lower than the open string, one can't do an actual roll starting from an open string -- obviously.  Neither can a roll be done starting on the fourth finger (for those of us conventionally digited) as we've run out of fingers.  I'm not fast enough, nor accurate enough,  to make it to the third position and do a roll there without breaking the rhythm, so that's out. Solution:  do something else.  Oh and apparently there is such a thing as a stupid question -- I know because I asked one. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Uzi
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uncledave said

Uzi said
I'm looking at various reels, jigs and the like on the session and there are quite a few tunes marked (~) as having a roll on what would be the open A string on the fiddle. I realize the sheet music isn't specifically for the fiddle, but I think I've seen the same notation on sheet music that is. So, the question is: How does one roll an open string (or 4th finger note) in Irish music? 

Now that I know what a roll is, could you not shift? Instead of trying to roll an open E string, get E in 3rd position on the A string and roll it there. Would that work?

Dave

I wish I were fast enough to do that.  Maybe someday. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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suresh
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Hi Uzi! I learned a new thing ... how to do roll in Irish tunes.  I am sure some others would also have learnt this.   Thank you.  There is no such thing as a 'stupid question'.

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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RosinedUp
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Uzi said
Solution:  do something else. 

Maybe transpose the piece so that the notes you want to roll are not on open strings?

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Fiddlerman
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July 21, 2014 - 10:45 pm
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Uzi said
Oh and apparently there is such a thing as a stupid question -- I know because I asked one. 

Definitely not even close. That was a great question and in the process you probably brought the Irish roll to many members and non-members attention. I'm happy you brought it up.

However, it is possible. You only need on quick crossing and as long as your third finger is down while doing it, it can be done quite quickly as well. I would use 2nd or 3rd position. Although 2nd position is not as popular it's much closer to first. :)

Swing by someday and I'll show you in person.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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coolpinkone
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JEALOUS of "swing by and I  will show you in person."  😉  okay..sort of.. (NO, seriously jealous)  ha ha

I like the whole roll topic... it is all sort of new to me and I will be working on some rolls this year.   Back in the day when I picked a song WAY WAY out of my experience to play. The Theme from The Last of the Mohicans, I did watch Jenny Hot Violinist show some rolls and I learned one or two of five of them.  But that was a while ago. So I am kind of back at square one. 

When I started violin I didn't pay attention to rolls, trills, and most folk fiddle talk because I didn't think I would be playing those kinds of tunes... time has gone by and I am very much interested in that music also. 

The Gael/ The Kiss, that Theme song is still very very very much on my Bucket list songs.  

Great topic.  There are no such things as stupid questions.  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Uzi
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It looks like I'm not the only one who has ever asked this question.  It came up once on The Session and most likely the best answer of the lot was:

The original question was what do fiddles do when they see a roll on an open string note in sheet music and the answer is at least 99.9% of the time, a treble bow. A cran on a fiddle is so rare that I’ve only heard it on one recording...

There was considerable spirited debate on the subject, but as with all Irish discussions it quickly devolved into a heated argument about cream cheese danish, magnets and whammy bars for violins at which point I lost interest and wandered away.  

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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nedrebel
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February 11, 2016 - 5:58 pm
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Sorry to join this thread so late.  There is a such thing as an open string "roll", though its not quite the same as the "normal" roll.  You can see Kevin Burke do one on Fiddlevideo.com in The Orphan Advanced lesson at approximately 8:35 min.  From what I can discern, its the open e followed by a rapid g and a and then off.  Doing a roll in the third position is possible and not all that difficult unless really ripping along...which is often the case.  Anyway, hope this helps, if anyone is still wondering about this.

v/r NR

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nedrebel
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Update to the last entry of mine: according to a vid I just watched on another site with Kevin Burke, the open string roll is done by playing the open string, then lightly touching with the second finger (two whole steps up the fingerboard), then quickly off, then touching with the first finger (one whole step) then off. (All on the same bow.) If you are not clear on how to start with the roll, his video (had I seen it twenty years ago) would have saved me wondering how to do rolls all this time.  To hear the master's touch on the roll, listen to the Cowboy Jig, B part, on the cut "Calliope House/Cowboy Jig" by Alasdair Fraser, on the Road North Album. (Can be found on Youtube, I think.)

Cheers, NR

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