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Grace Notes
The little added touches
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Pete_Violin
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July 15, 2019 - 4:13 pm
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There are a few songs I have learned to play that have grace notes or trills or both... and I was just wondering if there are some tips you guys have to play these little notes and make them sound good, and avoid stumbling over them like I do.  

One of these songs I play is called May It Be, written by Enya.  It is played in the movie, The Fellowship of the Ring.  It is a beautiful Celtic song and has a very melodic sound.  I love playing this on violin.  It is just beautiful.  My music does notate the grace notes, as well as some 16ths that precede certain notes.  But when I play some of these, I sometimes will hit them too hard or wrong or in bad timing and they don't sound like grace notes, but rather mistake notes... LOL.

I have brought this up with my teacher but she does not have a whole lot of advise for me on this.

Maybe I am just not at the skill level yet to start using these?  

Any advise on this style of playing and how to add these beautiful little notes to my music would be appreciated.

- Pete -

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GregW
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July 15, 2019 - 5:09 pm
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Is it possible the trill is supposed to be a roll?   Maybe this will help. 

Might be driving you off into the weeds though.  Any chance you could paste a picture of a measure over what your talking about?

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Pete_Violin
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July 15, 2019 - 5:17 pm
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oh sure!!! I just don't have my music in front of me at the moment.  I will try and do that soon!

- Pete -

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Pete_Violin
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July 16, 2019 - 10:40 am
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gracenotes2.jpgImage Enlarger

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GregW
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July 16, 2019 - 12:37 pm
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Thanks! Just looking at it without an instrument it seems like you'd have to not be in 1st position to play a couple of those.  Thinking of those C to E Grace notes.  I know for me I probably won't be able to do it..my technical bar isn't that high though. I still think some more traditional type cuts and rolls at the right spot would keep it sounding correct.  But then youd be deviating from the music and not helping with your original question. Anyway..I Appreciate you posting this and the question its an interesting thing to look at and something to try out when I get to my fiddle.

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Pete_Violin
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July 16, 2019 - 1:51 pm
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Oh....

Well, I don't know if you have played any Celtic music.  This is fairly typical.

I am glad to share.  Enya is well known for this kind of music, although they are not true Celtic.  They are more contemporary/popular.  

I do like this kind of music.  Although, I lean toward more classical style violin.  This is fun, and often very beautiful music.

Thanks for taking a look.  I would like your opinion on it as well when you get the chance to play it.

If you would like the full score, I can provide it.  This is only a screen shot of it.

- Pete -

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GregW
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July 16, 2019 - 3:03 pm
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If you would like the full score, I can provide it.  This is only a screen shot of it.

YES!  thanks.  As far as types of music..Ive pretty much stuck to old time and Irish trad type stuff.  We are learning cuts and rolls..ornaments.  Just don't recall having an ornament cross a string in the middle of playing it, but my list of tunes isn't that much. And,  with the exception of one tune Ive been in 1st position the whole time as well.  Without the ornaments it doesn't look too bad but even without them I'm thinking I would need some vibrato to really make it sound nice.  Not there yet.  Would still like to give it a go.  Heck..never know right?

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Pete_Violin
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July 16, 2019 - 4:12 pm
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Ok I have uploaded my copy of this piece.

Don't tell anyone, but this is my purchased copy of this piece.  Shhhhhhh......

LOL

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GregW
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July 16, 2019 - 4:58 pm
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Good point..i can spare a few for it over at music notes unless you know where you bought it.  Sorry wasn't thinkin about all that.  Glad you pointed it out.

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Pete_Violin
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July 16, 2019 - 5:03 pm
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No @GregW 

Just use mine

I may have picked it up from Sheetmusic Plus

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com.....c/20785715

- Pete -

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GregW
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Thanks.  The sheet music plus link worked and I just bought a copy.  Think it was 5.00 or something.  Yeah that one part with the c# to e probably better using pinky maybe.  How do you play it?  Are you crossing strings or shifting? 

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Pete_Violin
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July 17, 2019 - 10:48 am
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GregW said
Yeah that one part with the c# to e probably better using pinky maybe.  How do you play it?  Are you crossing strings or shifting? 

I have not figured that one out... and a few others.  Hence, my post on this topic.  Looking for tips on how to play grace notes 🙂

- Pete -

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AndrewH
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July 17, 2019 - 10:08 pm
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Is it necessarily a left-hand thing? When you're playing solo, there isn't one "right" timing for grace notes, it just needs to flow naturally. For me, learning to play natural-sounding grace notes was much more about bowing more than fingering. You might want to be aware of your right hand and see if you're unconsciously putting a heavy accent on the grace notes.

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GregW
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July 17, 2019 - 11:08 pm
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Took this to lesson tonight.  My teacher didn't think there was anything particular that would be difficult out of 1st pos..just something to practice.  So all my gobblety gook earlier was just that. 🙂 

Thanks Andrew for the pointers and for posting this pchoppin.  

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Pete_Violin
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July 18, 2019 - 12:41 pm
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So I have done some research and I have found a reference for a tip on how to play grace notes, or rather how to think of them.

It's something like this...

Imagine your finger has superglue on it and it is STUCK to the string and you are trying so hard to get it to come off and all of a sudden it 'snaps off'

So it is a light flick or brush almost of the grace note.  They are meant to be played quickly.

That's all I got right now.

@AndrewH   I am not sure how to do what you are talking about... at least, I do not know how to do that technique anymore than how the left hand is played.
EDIT: @AndrewH I just read that adding accent on the bow does, in fact, aid with playing trills and grace notes... so it is a thing.. thank you!

- Pete -

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BillyG
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July 18, 2019 - 1:14 pm
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pchoppin said
Ok I have uploaded my copy of this piece.

Don't tell anyone, but this is my purchased copy of this piece.  Shhhhhhh......

LOL

  

🙂 LOL TY Pete !  All good !

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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BillyG
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July 18, 2019 - 1:32 pm
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Hmmm, and sure - to just add to the discussion about how I go about it - 

Well, I tend to use notated sheet as a guideline only, and not cast-in-stone ( and OK, I'm talking fiddle, folk, pop, contemporary music, not classical - but I guess my feelings about this would be much the same for classical)

Also, because of the type of tunes I play, most of them I already know, and have ideas in my mind about how they might sound with ornamentation...  you all do it when you hum, or whistle a tune - you just know you want a little trill, a roll, or a slide, or whatever.....

Stay with me on this .... LOL

What I've found is that, even as I say, with pieces I know (the melody of, not necessarily able to play yet) - I'll ignore all these little grace notes (if I happen to have sheet for it, or equally, if I just "feel it needs it" in my mind) and get the basic tune/melody nailed-to-the-floor - to the point where I can play it blind-fold and effectively "without-thinking"

What I then find is that it is - well let's say - "relatively easy" to add these little excursions (like one or half note - depending on what's being played and what key and mode etc - notes ) followed by the note one or one-half step below and landing on the intended, scored note ( or even doing it twice )

I guess that makes little sense to anyone....  No matter - I have read, and read, and read, descriptions of this, and they probably are better than what I've written, but are just as difficult to understand !!!!

The only one thing I can definitely say is ( for me, here and now ) in almost all cases of using grace notes ( yeahhh, ALMOST all ) I have no bow direction change and the sound is generally a quick slur between notes - wellllll - ok - maybe I add bow weight - it depends what you want and just how here and now, you want ( or not ) to accentuate the return to the primary note.....

Hmmmm - yeah well - that probably just did not help at all....  No matter, I tried 🙂

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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AndrewH
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July 18, 2019 - 3:39 pm
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I actually wasn't saying to accent the grace notes -- I was trying to say the opposite. A slight accent can help with the grace notes, but I think the most common problem that people have is seeing extra notes, moving the bow too abruptly, and unintentionally putting a heavy accent on the grace notes. If you're putting too much on the note, it can feel awkward. (That's what I thought you meant by "hit them too hard.")

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Pete_Violin
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July 18, 2019 - 4:14 pm
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@AndrewH "Hit them too hard" meant literally hit the notes (left hand) too hard and the notes are too harsh and pronounced.  I have to use much more finesse...  then, perhaps, I can try accenting the bow?

- Pete -

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