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Road to the Isles
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 6, 2019 - 3:49 am
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Here's a neat wee Scottish tune - interesting rhythm with plenty of "snaps" ( or cuts - I guess more like a grace-note, but heavily accented ) - and a video I found on YT that demonstrates the feel of the rhythm (and indeed a most unusual fiddle-hold)

 

EDIT : Bother - I posted the score in C ( I was messing with it on viola - better in D for fiddle  - score in D now attached as well...)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Peter
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December 6, 2019 - 5:23 am
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I have a shorter, simpler version in G (no staccato dots):

the-road-to-the-isles.pngImage Enlarger

Played in first position avoiding open strings, those D-D octaves are a stretch for us raw beginners; they jump the open D completely and give a good workout for the pinky.

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Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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AndrewH
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December 6, 2019 - 6:07 am
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Fiddlers would just play the open strings.

For that matter, if I were to play it in a more "classical" style, I'd most likely use the open D, and use a sympathetic vibrato (vibrato on the D an octave higher while playing on the open string) to round out the open string sound a bit.

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Peter
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December 6, 2019 - 6:42 am
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Thanks for the tips, @AndrewH.

I play it with no open strings to add effort to the practice; and it's comforting to know that I needn't cross two strings at once if I were to play the piece in performance rather than as a study in anguished early learning.

Do you recommend I just play as intended, or does it suit the purpose of learning if I make the exercise a little more difficult? Should I ask this as a separate topic question?

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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AndrewH
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December 6, 2019 - 7:07 am
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Just play the open string. This isn't a very good exercise in crossing two strings at once. It goes much faster than I've ever seen anyone have to do it, and the rhythm complicates things. Also, crossing over two strings from 4th finger on the low string is awkward and almost never done (at least I can't think of a single example of it being necessary).

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Peter
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December 6, 2019 - 7:23 am
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Thank you.

Without a teacher, I'm relying on instinct, reflection, ear and the kindness of others. Your words are appreciated.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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Mimi Aysha
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December 6, 2019 - 9:49 am
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Such a cute tune - thanks for this....I so need practice on timing, and pinky stretching.....actually need practice on everything! When learning myself, I can get so distracted, I tend to spend longer browsing to find a tune that I like, which can sometimes take longer than actually playing....not to mention the vid suggestions that pop up on YouTube after watching, which then take me on another journey!....so thanks for putting this tune in my head for tonights practice!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
December 6, 2019 - 12:03 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 14858

libraquarius said
I have a shorter, simpler version in G (no staccato dots):

the-road-to-the-isles.pngImage Enlarger

Played in first position avoiding open strings, those D-D octaves are a stretch for us raw beginners; they jump the open D completely and give a good workout for the pinky.

  

Thanks for sharing this tune with everyone.

Just for information, I don't know who wrote this and what software they used to do it, but it's way more difficult to read sheet music when beats are not grouped. This is the way it should be grouped. Just a few bars though because I'm lazy. LOL

Screen-Shot-2019-12-06-at-12.01.48-PM.pngImage Enlarger

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

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cid
December 6, 2019 - 12:33 pm
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Oh, wow, @Fiddlerman, I never knew that was the grouping! Do you know how much easier you just made it for me, and probably others here, to figure out timing issues! Man, I don’t recall that ever being mentioned in 7th grade music class. That was the only grade that had an actual music class every day. Loved it. It was probably not mentioned because we were not writing music, but we were reading music that was already written. I don’t recall that little ditty ever being pointed out, and I paid attention in that class every day. 😁 Thanks for that tip.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 6, 2019 - 1:47 pm
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? Confused .... dunno - I thought that was how I presented the score in the .pdf file in my opening post...   Also with the reference to the "Scottish snap" where the timing alters from the more common 3/16th + 1/16th form, to its sort of "inverse" in the "cut/traditional Scottish-snap (very very typical in bagpipe tunes)" form of 1/16th + 3/16ths - it is partly the basis of the Strathspey style of fiddle tune.

****EDIT****

OMG - LOL - apologies - yeah - it would help if I had read back - the updated notation from Pierre @Fiddlerman was I guess based on @Peter 's post - ooops -- all good D'Oh.  facepalm

[ Although - fair enough - @Peter - I do understand why initially, sure, a more in some way "simplified" (but at the same time, to others, possibly "obscure") form, it may make it easier... but I guess it lacks the "notational clarity" which give better hints at the overall timing....   Just an opinion.... ]

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Peter
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December 6, 2019 - 4:12 pm
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Heh!

The 'simplified' score was found in a Google image search for the tune's name; I can't recall the location, but I could dig through the history to find it if anyone's concerned.

Thanks, @Fiddlerman, I thought there was something odd about it.

For what it's worth, the big take-away from this thread for me is the revelation that I've wasted  lot of effort in playing open-string notes with my pinkie on the next lower string. Tonight's practice saw me re-learning some of my favourites with open string D, A and E; and they sounded great. Thank you.

The tune appeals to me because I remember it from my youth. My step-father was a Scot, and he had a collection of old 78 rpm records which I loved to listen to.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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AndrewH
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December 6, 2019 - 8:10 pm
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This isn't to say that you should always play on open strings. It's just that you should have a good reason for doing anything harder. Although it's true that classical players usually avoid open strings, it isn't done at the expense of making things inordinately difficult. Context matters. Always keep in mind where the music is going and how fast the notes are moving.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 7, 2019 - 4:35 am
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🙂 @Peter - other than investigating YT performances, my usual first-port-of-call to find out more about varying "interpretations" for a fiddle tune is http://www.thesession.org - I've just looked this one up - you'll find it at https://thesession.org/tunes/4190 - where there are in fact 6 variants (in minor detail and rhythm, but all recognizably the same tune).

Interestingly, as well as the score which is presented, the music is also presented in an "ABC" format - the ABC can be copied and pasted into MuseScore where it is then displayed as a standard notated score (using a plug-in) which gives the opportunity for local playback on your PC, and the ability to easily change key, tempo, the notated score if needs-be and so on.... MuseScore is GPL supported freeware...    May have mentioned that before (I forget where and to whom - but if it's news to you - both thesession.org and MuseScore - they can be a useful toolset to avail yourself of ! )

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Peter
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December 7, 2019 - 9:40 am
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Thanks for the extended clarification, @AndrewH, I spent a while yesterday evening experimenting with open strings, and it quickly became obvious how much easier fiddle tunes are played once the new fingering is learned. I practiced some more this afternoon (it's currently 1430 in UK) and I find I can switch between the two fingerings without too much trouble.

Thanks for the links, @BillyG, I'll check them out. I also have MuseScore installed on my Linux laptop, but I haven't taken the time to play with it yet. It looks a lot easier to compose on than the traditional pencil / rubber / piano method. My Scots stepfather had many recordings by popular artists such as Kenneth McKellar, Jimmy Shand etc, and recreating some of the tunes I remember from his old 78 rpm collection (long since gone) will be a labour of love. There was one particular tune which I'm certain was called "The Wind That Blows the Barley" (not "...Shakes...", the Irish rebel tune), and I cannot find any reference anywhere to it. Time will out.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 9, 2019 - 10:44 am
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🙂 OK, enough talking about it - just PLAY it Bill !

Here's a practice take on the piece.  Probably had somewhere in the region of 70 to 80 earlier play-throughs of different sections...  it's just getting them all tied together now that's the difficult bit.

[ Oh - for those with "well attuned ears" it may sound unusual - the fiddle is actually tuned a full tone down to F,C,G,D - so although I am fingering as I would to play in G, it actually ends up as FMaj.   There's a reason for this - nothing to do with the tune - the strings are Pirastro Chromcore steels, and I found them a tad "harsh" when tuned normally and the lower tension by dropping a full tone certainly softens them (on this instrument, at least) ]

Here's my attempt.  It is (as ever) much cleaner when I play it more slowly, but I'm trying to bring it up to a good, dashing, dance speed - and I lose the plot on bow direction change at times....   Still, relatively pleased with progress....

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Peter
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December 9, 2019 - 11:35 am
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Smashing, @BillyG

I'm still playing at ballad tempo!

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 9, 2019 - 11:47 am
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thumbs-up TY @Peter - still a tad "decoupled" from the actual overall structure of the tune (in terms of repetition of bars etc) but it contains all the major phrases and elements of the tune.

No issue playing at "ballad tempo" at all - it's the only real way that I know of to get a tune up to speed by starting slow and building up (and being prepared to accept that as one increases the tempo, the original bowing techniques may well require to be modified - well unless they were already well specified on a score - which is unlikely anyway for most fiddle tunes!)

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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GregW
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December 9, 2019 - 1:10 pm
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sounding good @Billyg !  I dont believe Ive seen/heard this one before.  thanks for the post and music link.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
December 9, 2019 - 1:18 pm
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^5s and TY @GregW - yeah - quite a popular tune over here - it's played in different forms, both on bagpipes in marching-time, and much faster on fiddle and accordion etc in Strathspey  timing as a fast, dashing dance tune in ceilidhs etc

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Christine (moonlitday)
PEI, Canada
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January 2, 2020 - 3:48 pm
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1st tune in this set is the PEI version. The tune following it is a good march as well. Natalie MacMaster has recorded both. 

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