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legato playing

Postby Cloyd on Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:45 pm

Along with my interest in the recorder, I have played with the pennywihstle quite a bit. Pennywhistle players encourage legato playing, and all possible articulation to be done with the fingers, and not with the tongue. When I read about recorde technique, everybody recomends tonguing . . .

I adappted a guitar arrangement for "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" for my recorder, and I noticed that the guitar arrangement said "Broadly" (or was it "Flowingly"?). Would I play this legato?

In another topic, I saw a bit about slurred playing, that to play a piece all in slurs w/o articulation would help improve technique because (I think) the tonguing covers up some lack of precision in fingering the notes. Am I right on this?

I've notice that much flute music that I hear seems to "flow" more than recorder music. Are they NOT articulating the musilc as much, or more, or differently? I'm really curious.
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Postby Florentin on Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:13 pm

there is a lot of articulation in recorder (and flute) music. Many different types of tonguing approaches, depending on the type of sound/attack you desire.

recorder players practice many, many different types of tonguing attacks:

- tah
- doo

... just to name a couple. There are many more.

if you do a search here on Recorder Haven, you will find many posts on this. You can use "tonguing" "attack" "doo" and other key words.



anybody else want to add to this?

thanks


Good question Cloyd


I would only add that when practicing [b]without tonguing whatsoever, it is probably done for techical reasons. I am real performance of a piece you would use many different types of attacks.
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Postby JerryW on Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:10 pm

In my opinion, "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" should be done legato to get the flowing effect. I try to use "Tee" or "Tu" on the beats and "Dee" or Du" on the other notes. (My version is 9/8 time so I consider Tee" or "Tu" every 3rd note). I say "try" because I still have trouble varying my articulation between notes -- call it a senior moment variation :D .

MY teacher has me do slur exercises to develop a constant air pressure using the diaphragm support and open air passages. After I'm sure I'm doing the slur at constant air flow/pressure, I then add articulation to the notes. The object is to develop a constant tone through the note length, not a louder start then droping off for the rest of the note. And yes, slurring should also help with developing precise finger movement and placement. Particularly when you are not just moving adjacent fingers.

One members opinion -- How about some others?
--Jerry

PS: VicDiesel excellently plays this piece in Recorder Haven Forum Index -> Play For Us! -> Little bit of Bach
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Postby MaW on Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:51 am

Excessive slurring as an exercise really does help with fingering precision, because you have to hit each new note dead on to avoid any transitiony noises which can be unpleasant. As others have said, though, for performance you'll be wanting a wide variety of articulation.

The recorder doesn't have much dynamic range available, so articulation is a massively important tool for creating the appropriate mood for the music, and retaining the audience's interest. Flute music may seem to flow more, and I suspect the reason why: have you seen their scores? Slurs everywhere.

I tend to go to the other extreme. My teacher often tells me to ignore slurs, or considers their only importance being the implied shortening of the last note in the slurred group. They can also influence one's phrasing decisions. I think the reason for ignoring some is because they've been added by modern editors and she disagrees with their placement (having an MPhil in the interpretation of baroque music, it seems prudent to agree with her). That said, in baroque music she's repeatedly stressed that gaps around the notes are at least as important as the notes themselves, which leads to a rather detached style of playing. Notes tend to be cut a little short, rests end up longer (although no note ever starts late - except when you can get away with it as part of your ornamentation of course) and total smoothness is not something which persists for very long, because to play an entire piece smoothly can be rather dull.

You might notice some of this in my most recent recording in the Play For Us! section of this forum. At least, I hope you would because I was certainly trying!
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Postby Cloyd on Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:52 pm

Thanks for all the replys. I do appreciate the answers. I appreciate Jerry's answer on "Jesu". I've been trying to play that peice at least "smoothly" for quite a while. I was getting the best results when I tried to play the first note in each group of 3 as a "ta" and slur the rest.

The other thing I need to do with this peice is work with a metronome. Years ago (1967 or therabouts), my guitar teacher told me I really needed a metronome, because I played fast, slow, and all speeds in between. They were expensive then. Electronic ones are cheap now, and I have one. Guess I should use it.

Thanks to all.
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Postby JerryW on Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:27 am

I've found it takes awhile to be comfortable with a metronome. I'm not there yet but trying. For more complicated (for me) rythems I have to become fairly familiar with the notes before I can split off some of my mental capacity to follow the metronome. But things are improving with time.
I also use a digital metronome. Korg MA-30 with the waving finger. I wish it had a light to indicate the beats. I think that would be easier to keep track of than the sound click (not loud enough at times) or the waving finger (which requires watching).
Enough of this. Back to work - sort of.
--Jerry
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Postby Cloyd on Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:33 pm

I agree that using a metronome is hard to get used to. I also have the Korg --that is what I meant that they are cheaper these days . . . electronic ones are so much cheaper than the old mechanical ones. I don't have too much trouble hearing the sound . . . but when I set the beat to 3, 4, 6, etc, I have trouble coming in on the right beat. Suddenly, I find I am counting "one two THREE" instead of "ONE two three". My solution to to set the beat down to "1" unless I what I want is too fast.

I was forced to use the triplet option quite a bit for some fast peices on the pennywhistle. . . otherwise, the thing wouldn't go that fast. Maybe I needed to slow down.

I used the metronome with the pennywhistle on some pretty straight timed pieces of music . . . mainly O'Carolan tunes. I tried it with some airs. I found I just couldn't use it. I know HOW to count dotted notes and syncopated time, but knowing HOW and beging able to actually count it is difficult to me. I'm kinda like the guy who can't chew gum and walk at the same time.

But the metronome really helps with "Jesu". I know I have a tendancy to go faster and faster as I get nearer and nearer to the end of the piece. It sounds kind of wooden to me as I play, but I feel that it helps my playing in the overall picture.
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Postby Florentin on Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:29 pm

are you setting the metronome to an eighth-note beat, or to a dotted quarter note?

do you know what I mean?
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Postby MaW on Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:30 am

On those rare occasions I use a metronome I tend to find that setting it to beat two for 6/8 pieces is much more useful than getting it to beat six.
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Postby Cloyd on Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:46 pm

Florentin, I think I know what you are asking. When the metronome won't go fast enough, it was generally for a folk tune like "The Irish Washerwoman".The Korg tops out at 208 beats a minute. So to go faster with a jig, I could set it to eighth note triplets and go three times whatever the "beats a minutle" reading said.

But on the other part, my counting "one two THREE" instead of "ONE two three" . . . Lets see if I can explain more clearly. The Korg metronome accents the first beat of any group . . . and I somehow would slip up and find myself timing my playing out of step to the degree that I was coordinating the accented note to the LAST note of the measure with the accent. So, I set the metronome to units of one, so that there was no accent. Maybe I'm helplessly confusing everybody, but I do that sometimes.
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Postby tonyyyyy on Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:23 am

Cloyd wrote:Florentin, I think I know what you are asking. When the metronome won't go fast enough, it was generally for a folk tune like "The Irish Washerwoman".The Korg tops out at 208 beats a minute. So to go faster with a jig, I could set it to eighth note triplets and go three times whatever the "beats a minutle" reading said.

But on the other part, my counting "one two THREE" instead of "ONE two three" . . . Lets see if I can explain more clearly. . . . and I somehow would slip up and find myself timing my playing out of step to the degree that I was coordinating the accented note to the LAST note of the measure with the accent. So, I set the metronome to units of one, so that there was no accent. Maybe I'm helplessly confusing everybody, but I do that sometimes.



I do know what you mean. Its a good starting point maybe , but when you get more confident it would be good to try it again with one bleep for three notes to avoid that 'wooden' feel.



About tonguing - I play whistle a bit and from readin around I know some top players DO tongue (sorry cant remember names) as well as slur. I think a lot of novice recorder players have a kind of standard te te te or de de de for all notes which makes a flowing folk song sound a little dull . With a bit of experimentation and practice there is much variety ....from tut-tut (hard) to deed-ll deed-ll (much softer) even tonguing with 'r' an 'l'.

Something I would like to work on is the expressive devices like cuts - common on whistle but nobody seems to mention them on recorder but it seems to work .

p.s. I just checked my Instant Tin Whistle tutor and it does talk about tonguing and double tonguing (te-ke) :lol:
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Postby MaW on Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:21 am

Since tonguing is an available expressive technique on a tin whistle I can't believe it's ever done. Listening to Kevin Crawford's playing has always suggested to me that he's using a variety of tonguing techniques, just like a recorder player does but with a different overall stylistic goal.

As for metronomes, it's not a good idea to get too reliant on them. Changing speed is another useful expressive technique, and relying on a metronome robs you of that. Of course, being able to maintain a consistent speed without one is also a vital skill.
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Postby Florentin on Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:31 am

this is a good post. :)
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Postby Cloyd on Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:30 am

I hear what you are all saying. I do understand that many whistle players do use tounging . . . but much articulation is done with fingering technique.

When I talk about using the metronome, I don't intend to use it all the time. Just sometimes, like most players don't limit their playing scales, but at times want to play real songs. But I think I should use it some. I am one of those rare persons who was born without a sense of rhythm. And, as I said, I can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. I go slow, fast, slower, faster. . . not for reasons of expression. Maybe becasue the piece gets harder here, and I try to rush through it . . . a little guidance helps me here. I want to go faster when there is a reason to go faster or slower.

Now, here is a question. I can sing to a guitar accompaniment. I could likely play an Irish air on whistle or recorder to guitar accompaniment. So why do I get out of sync with the metronome?

Maybe it is one of the mysteries of the universe. Or maybe I should just work at it some more.
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Postby MaW on Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:06 pm

I would say it's because metronomes are evil devices which make a horrible noise, are relentless and you usually end up irritated because you set it just too fast or just too slow.
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