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SynCoPAtiOn!
Rhythm
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (19 votes) 
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ELCBK
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May 25, 2023 - 1:52 pm
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OKAY... had to take a break from EVERYTHING, so here's a set the Tannahill Weaver's play.  I started working on them today, except I'll count myself lucky when I get these all clean at HALF this speed! 😵 ...seriously think these sound better slower, anyway!

Anyone feeling the syncopation here?  Free sheet music at thesession.org! 

"The Smokey Lum", "Maggie's Pancakes", "Dancing Feet", "The Mason's Apron"! 

I was a bit disheartened when I read, what felt like almost a consensus at The Session, that there's no place for syncopation in ITM (Irish Trad Music).  ...just finding that hard to swallow, given the maritime, even Scottish influences apparent in much of the music - besides, I've already found quite a few syncopated tunes on the site. 

...there's definitely syncopation history in the Nordic & European Folk music, too!

 

I did find another GREAT site that describes the different types of syncopation, GREAT examples in different genres (including Medieval, but MUCH more) - AND GREAT help with practicing syncopation! 

Get Rhythm: All About Syncopation - Music U

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ABitRusty
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May 25, 2023 - 3:17 pm
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Whats the context of the topic at the session you spoke of?  pertaining to syncopation.  

I think in general its less than say old time..but to flat out say it doesnt exists..not buying.  especially when alot of the time it will depend on the group or person playing.

couldnt listen to it all but somewhere around 1:10 yeah a bit there...especially the backing

 

this is my guess as far as why people would frown on ITM syncopation.  And this is session playing only.. if you have a group of people playing whats expected to be a straight or slightly swung tune..and someone starts syncopating phrases.. it could throw the whole set out of kilter.   this is just Me thinking of reasons.

or possibly one of those competetions where people play and are judged.. thats probably, and no experience here, expected to stick to some agreed upon tradition.   give it a few more years and that may change.

a performance group playing THEIR versions is different Id say.

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ELCBK
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May 25, 2023 - 4:08 pm
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@ABitRusty -

Wow, depending on if I search "syncopation" or "syncopated", I got different results at The Session!  ...looks like I have more to read.  😊

I think I just focused too much on the 1st reply here, but there were a few more comments that may have just been directed at the OP example there:

About syncopated tunes and 7th chords

The world of music is FULL of wonderful chord progressions and substitutions, wonderful melodic excursions, and rhythmic possibilities…your example is a great start, wonderful playing and delightful to hear. Just don’t try to call it Irish Traditional. Trad is, by most interpretations, rather limited to the major and minor chords, rarely uses Dom 7s or minor 7’s, even rarer 9th’s, diminished and augmented, suspended, or any of the other chords from the massive collection of possibilities. At least not on purpose. Heck, in some discussions I’ve read that some players even deny the existence of the C natural note. The closest it gets to syncopation might a little swing. Yeah I know you can find a few examples of something else but the operative word here is “traditional”.

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ABitRusty
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May 25, 2023 - 6:24 pm
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meh...that whole discussion was about his tune he composed.  To be honest...it doesnt sound like an irish jig to me either.   Its a great tune!   I think a group like Lunasa could really do something with it.. but doesnt sound Irish to me even if played on a flute in 6/8.  Im not even sure the OP said it was.  

 

As far as what is acceptable for syncopation and a backers choice of chords... kind of getting into a keepers of the faith kinda attitude maybe..  

 

BUT... I understand the point and heres why to ME

first

I really think alot of the discussions on thesession pertain to..surprise.. sessions.

For the most part I think from what Ive seen (youtube..shared videos by friends travelling) you can go any where in the world and visit a session and ask for them to play Cooleys reel and hear the same tune.. maybe a tad slower or faster but same.   THATS why tradition is important and why people play this music.  They like THAT tune..  or any of the 1000's of others...  If it starts being changed it becomes another tune and youll get pushback if you call it cooleys.  And if tried to play in a session all changed around maybe rightly so.  who am i to expect people to use my interpretation of a famous session tune in a visited session.

Context...theres a way people play in a session... outside of that could be anything.  make it great enough and have enough people play it that way and years from now it could be a traditional tune.

dont expect that overnight though no matter how good one thinks it is.   

what are we talking about again because i need to practice cooleys reel.

oh yeah syncopation. nevermind gonna practice Franks Reel

🤣😀

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ABitRusty
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May 25, 2023 - 6:46 pm
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This is a great tune

 

I bet at some point someine started changing the feel of the tune..tinkered here and there ...now we have this.  Not Irish..its part of the old time tradition now.

 

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

I couldn't hear any syncopation in "Over The Moor To Maggie" & I'm having a hard time picking out the syncopation in the Old Time version, "Waynesboro" - maybe in the last half? 

Can you help me out by telling me where you hear it in those tunes? 

 

Think I've been listening to too much of the Set from Tannahill Weavers, especially "Maggie's Pancakes" - found Altan plays it in a great Set, too! (lol) 

 

LOVE IT... up to my eyeballs in syncopation!

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ABitRusty
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ELCBK said
I couldn't hear any syncopation in "Over The Moor To Maggie" & I'm having a hard time picking out the syncopation in the Old Time version, "Waynesboro" - maybe in the last half? 

Can you help me out by telling me where you hear it in those tunes? 

never said they were/had...their post is related to the previous.  Ive heard waynesboro played with some sections that way though.   point was a tune being changed.

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ELCBK
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May 27, 2023 - 12:18 pm
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@ABitRusty - 

Geez, you have NO idea how hard I tried to find syncopation in those 🤨 only because I thought you were trying to show me some. 🤣

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ELCBK
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May 29, 2023 - 2:42 pm
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The more I dig into this set (back in post #41), "The Smokey Lum", "Maggie's Pancakes", "Dancing Feet", "The Mason's Apron", the more I want to learn ALL of it! 🤗  

I HATE EVEN LISTENING TO THIS AT THIS SPEED - could be happy anywhere from 124 to 160 BPM (I'll be lucky to make 100)!  Anyway, it will probably take me the rest of my life to learn even slow.  Guess it's a good thing I'm starting now! (lol) 

These syncopated tunes are Scottish in origin (from what I've read, various sources) - come to think of it, there really IS a lot of syncopation found in Scottish music - especially in Piper tunes & Strathspeys!

The 1st two tunes, "The Smokey Lum" & "Maggie's Pancakes", are composed by Stuart Morison (Scotland band,Tannahill Weaver's Fiddler), who also composed "The Unicorn Waltz" that I love to play.  "Dancing Feet" was composed by G.S. McLennan, a Highland Piper. 

"The Mason's Apron" (aka "Braes Of Glenorchy") is a traditional tune.  I've heard Kevin Burke mention he believes it's Scottish in origin.  John Sheehan played a version with The Dubliners (great close-up view) with many variations in different positions (VERY unusual for Irish tune playing!), I'm sure he learned it from Sean Maguire.  I like the Tannahill Weaver's version, BUT - Dezi Donnelly takes the prize, as far as I'm concerned - just fascinating! 

 

 

...without any syncopation - "The Mason's Apron" would be boring, no matter how many variations are played! 

The tutorial about Syncopated Emphasis For Reels (post #4) is a great place to start, if you want to add some syncopation to the reels you already play! 

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/36/bb/df/36bbdfac747ba45b91723df84c77087e.jpg

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ABitRusty
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May 29, 2023 - 8:24 pm
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...without any syncopation - "The Mason's Apron" would be boring, no matter how many variations are played! 

to you!  I mean kinda general right?  🤔😀

Thought that version while great, sounded like orange blossom special could be next in the set.  I think its a great performance though. dont misunderstand that..  it was very entertaining.  ill never be able to do that.

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ELCBK
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May 29, 2023 - 10:06 pm
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@ABitRusty - 

I get what you are saying - show tunes vs. session tunes & know your focus is on the latter.

😕 yeah, makes a good show tune & these guys are all just crazy, out to win the race! 

 

Hey, I still like it & everything is doable/learnable at a snail's pace, one phrase (or measure) at a time! 🤗 

Honestly, I have to test out/listen to tune prospects at about 80 BPM, to make sure they sound good, first - because I may never exceed much more than that speed.

...just call me 'tortoise'. 😁 

 

Btw, if anyone wants to learn to play the Orange Blossom Special, Fiddlerman has 1 tutorial and Lora, at Red Desert Violin, has a series of 8 tutorials - easy to follow.

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ABitRusty
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May 29, 2023 - 10:14 pm
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tortise..

Once you have orange blossom down..you can change the name of masons apron to devils dream and have yourself a set!!

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

facepalm

I've started on the Smokey Lum in the Tannahill Weaver's set - I may kick the bucket before I ever GET to the Mason's Apron!fainting-1344

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ABitRusty
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May 29, 2023 - 10:29 pm
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you and me both.. at least at branson, mo. speed 😉  

oh me..that was a fun hour or so.  

btw really like altan AND their video you shared up there.

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ELCBK
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Yes, I like that whole set, but especially Maggie's Pancakes. 

...I even like Kevin's pancakes.

My speed:

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ABitRusty
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@elcbk I like this speed up till the end.  and some syncopation fer yah too. 😀

havent you noticed there just some tunes that make that syncopated type bowing fall easier.  Not that its easy or i could play it like any of these...but sometimes the tune itself makes it easier.  Or maybe youre on to something.  Maybe its just so repetive that whoevers playing it solo has to do something different to make interesting.

Ok as a performance piece your right..its needs something to change it up. 🤔😄👌  But get a whole group playing together and masons as par of a larger set maybe not so much.  just play it and move on.

Another version Ive liked with a slightly different feel.

 

oh and BTW... dibs on THE_RUSTY_TURTLE screen name

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

That was cool!  

Yep, I was fine until they sped it up... darn professionals.  

I promise not to steal The Rusty Turtle moniker. 😊

Did you see the discussion at The Session - the comments about the Devil's Dream Hornpipe? 🤣  Pretty cool it's known in Scotland as "De’il Amang The Tailors"... and they don't let you forget it (see what else it's known as)! 

 

🤔... think I need an attitude adjustment. 

Got to stop thinking of myself as an amateur the rest of my life - it's humble, but depressing.  Rather think of myself as a Fiddle Fanatic... or Freak.

https://community.coreldraw.com/cfs-file/__key/communityserver-discussions-components-files/544/cat_5F00_and_5F00_the_5F00_fiddle_5F00_t_5F00_shirt_5F00_by_5F00_xd9x_2D00_d54ypi2.png

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ELCBK
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🤔... I was thinking, what about syncopation in 3/4 time?  

"Tango Waltz" play-along sheet music (Violin Time).

 

I've seen a lot about syncopated steps in waltz dancing - so why not in the music, too?  Kind of exciting to think they might be played with a little syncopation & swing in them - pushing some notes forward or back & accenting in unexpected places! 

"Midnight on The Water" (score link) by Luke Thomasson, and "Margaret's Waltz" (score link) by Pat Shuldham Shaw. 

 

 

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ELCBK
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Kinda backwards from what I usually do, but I've been playing "Glass Island" off The Session notation & decided to search for how others have played it on YT. 

Ran across another very syncopated Reel, in E minor - "Windbroke"!  The tune was composed by Michael McGoldrick, who associates with some of my favorite musicians (known for syncopation) and associated with some GREAT bands!

Here's the set that 1st caught my attention, but this does NOT have my favorite version of 'The Caribou' because the fiddler plays it too straight (I prefer Andy Dejarlis's Caribou Reel)! 

"Windbroke" - by Mike himself!  I think it's important to note the pulse, the groove he imparts on this Reel.

 

In "Windbroke" - all of the notated versions of at The Session (except for the 1st one), show an obvious 'sign', or 'signs' of syncopation:

  • 2nd version - 1st-beat rests & a 'tie' across the barline, both change the pulse to the 2nd beat.
  • 3rd version - ties across barlines & a few 2nd-beat quarter note emphasis.
  • 4th version - ties across barlines, 1st-beat rests AND some 2nd-beat emphasis (either a quarter note or bowed triplet). 
  • 5th version also - ties across barlines & 2nd-beat quarter note emphasis.
Without hearing the tune, these 'signs' help us imagine syncopation. 

 

I have read a little about 'Imaginary Barlines in Musical Notation' (Berklee Online Take Note) & how they can help show syncopation. 

The concept takes what we normally perceive as note 'groupings' (Imaginary Bars) in common Time Signatures & shows these can be 'crossed', using only: a whole note, a half note, or dotted half note - to see where syncopation is intended within a bar. 

Discussions of imaginary barlines tend to get very mathematical. It’s easier to think of them in terms of clarifying syncopation.

An imaginary barline is a notation convention designed to help the music reader know what’s syncopated—off the beat—and what’s not. It’s not an actual notation mark; it is an understanding and a notation convention.

In 4/4, the imaginary barline separates beats 1 and 2 from beats 3 and 4. Only whole notes and non-syncopated half and dotted half notes can be notated as “crossing the imaginary barline.” No other note durations can cross them. Rather, they must be rewritten as pairs of tied notes, with beat 3 being shown. This makes the notation much easier to read. 

So, these are acceptable:

 

Hope more people keep this option in mind if composing or transcribing syncopated folk music!  

I believe the more help given to musicians in folk music notation, the more freedom we have to add variation & improv without losing a sense of original intent.  As it stands right now, I always feel obligated to search for examples of how different musicians play traditional folk tunes (and some can be WAY OFF, because it's personal interpretation if the composer can't be found playing their music) - I rarely find notation I can trust. 

...but I think I see it's changing - at least noticing more discussion, like about "Windbroke", at The Session!

 

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/34/6f/5b/346f5b0a7c74f7395b1f4289da8621b4.jpg

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ABitRusty
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fused is an awesome album.  think i shared otters holt on here somewhere from it.

you may like this version of killarney boys of pleasure...1st track.

 

I think since thesession is or at least was started with session versions in mind is why youll see more straight up versions noted instead of all the nuiansces of performance versions.  plus from what i understand about it ABC notation may limit some of whats notated.   just my impression and not fact.  Ive never tried to notate with that tool.

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