A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby John Gibbons » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:52 pm

It seems there was disagreement even at the time what port de voix meant, apart from an ornamental way of getting from one note to another.
Presumably singers, keyboard players and string players would use different devices.
See http://dictionnaire.metronimo.com/index ... d=1&t=6942.
Google translate doesn't do too much violence to the sense.
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby adrian » Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:34 pm

Interesting, in Mississippi, that the G clef is denoting the bottom stave-line as G. Is the G clef still moveable, or any other clef, for that matter?
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby Brynley » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:47 am

http://www.bagpipeworld.co.uk/gallery/m ... arlie.html Bonnie Prince Charlie's Musette du Cour
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby Francis Wood » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:56 am

Thanks, Bryn for posting the link to the musette in Fort William, said to have belonged to Charles Edward Stuart, aka The Young Pretender.
The provenance on the attached plaque may or may not be accurate. So much romantic mist attaches to this figure and it's not uncommon for such provenances to be subsequently invented and applied. However he did have a very broadly European background, so it seems to me fairly possible that this (or bits of it) may be the genuine thing. As a great adopter of other doomed enterprises, his learning to play the musette would have been relatively harmless!

Replying to your earlier query about the significance of the V symbol in the Missisipy duet, it's important to remember that the version I provided was transposed for NSP, and that with absolutely closed fingering, the possibilities of executing these decorations are more limited. This is not the case with the musette, where the fingering is essentially closed but the chanter is not, allowing more complex decoration in the playing. The manner of doing so is explained very thoroughly in Hotteterre's tutor. When playing this repertoire on NSPs, I'd advise doing only what is absolutely required in context, and only if the individual's technique allows decoration without drawing attention away from the melody. Where the V is indicated, what seems to me to go best is to approach the note from a very brief one adjacent to it, usually from below. There may be more expert views on this, so we shall wait and see!

Francis
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby John Gibbons » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:26 pm

There aren't many ornaments which work if executed close-fingered. A trill always sounds horrible, and usually ends up slurred anyway.

One is the single grace note, another, on longer notes especially, is the upper mordent.
Lower mordents are harder to do.

Last and not least, vibrato - whether by varying the pressure or waggling a finger - is an effective ornament.
In half the places you see 'tr', a subtle vibrato will do fine.

Doing nothing to a note except playing it clean is also very effective!

John
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby Francis Wood » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:37 pm

Wasn't it Philip Gruar who usefully invented the 'Leaveitoutement' direction?

I'll emphasise that unless it enhances the piece confidently, most decorations should be omitted when playing this repertoire on closed NSP chanters. On the other hand, a passage can occasionally sound entirely wrong without some modest and achievable attempt at decoration.

Nor should the composer's intentions in this regard be slavishly followed. Occasionally decorations are inserted in surprising places and omitted in others in these musette duets - I sometimes wonder whether the engraver was doing some value-added stuff!

Francis
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Re: A smallpipe duet for our colonial cousins

Postby John Gibbons » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:23 pm

On the topic of decoration, Henry Atkinson used //, and Dixon used //. I think Atkinson used || sometimes as well.
Is there any consensus from other sources of the period what these meant?
Mordents seem to work, but maybe that is because I'm not rubber fingered enough to do anything more complex.

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