Author Topic: No__59___Ornaments  (Read 1405 times)

Peter Anderson

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No__59___Ornaments
« on: October 09, 2015, 10:15:51 AM »
By Ornaments I am not referring to those novelty dust collectors on your grandmother’s sideboard, but the musical type.

In music, ornaments or embellishments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to carry the overall line of the melody (or harmony), but serve instead to decorate or "ornament" that line.    Many ornaments are performed as "fast notes" around a central note.
The amount of ornamentation in a piece of music can vary from quite extensive (it was often so in the Baroque period) to relatively little or even none.
The word agrément is used specifically to indicate the French Baroque style of ornamentation.
In the baroque period, it was common for performers to improvise ornamentation on a given melodic line.   

A singer performing a da capo aria, for instance, would sing the melody relatively unornamented the first time, but decorate it with additional flourishes the second time.           Improvised ornamentation continues to be part of the Irish musical tradition, particularly in sean-nós singing but also throughout the wider tradition as performed by the best players.

I guarantee that most of you have utilised several of the ornaments we cover here, when you sing in some echo like room, probably with no one else in earshot, because you just can't resist it.      But how many of you, I wonder, deliberately incorporate them when playing on your AR!

Ornamentation may also be indicated by the composer.  A number of standard ornaments (described in subsequent postings) are indicated with standard symbols in music notation, while other ornamentations may be appended to the score in small notes, or simply written out normally in full.      Frequently, a composer will have his or her own vocabulary of ornaments, which will be explained in a preface, much like a code.

Sometimes different symbols represent the same ornament, or vice versa.
Different names can be used for an ornament, that cements it into a particular historical time.    You may, therefore, find different symbols in older scores to what we use today.

In this board, I do not intend to deal with every ornament, but draw attention to some that you may find useful, to embellish your playing.

The earlier ones, some of which are featured elsewhere on the ar-group, can be utilised because you have a facility on your AR organ to reproduce them, but the latter ones are some traditional ways to manually add twiddly bits to your performance.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 05:32:45 PM »
The first ornament to look at is called Arpeggio.

An arpeggio is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than ringing out simultaneously. This word comes from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”.    An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord”, so you can understand why this term is used in this context.

Contrary to what you might think, Arpeggio does not mean Hard To Play.

Arpeggios allow monophonic instruments to play chords and harmony and help create rhythmic interest.     But they can be utilised to create interest on keyboards/organs.

An arpeggio can be played either going up or going down. Executing an arpeggio requires the player to play the sounds of a chord individually to differentiate the notes. The notes all belong to one chord.   The chord may, for example, be a simple chord with the 1st,  the (major or minor) 3rd, and the 5th notes of the scale in it (this is called a “tonic triad”). It is notated like this, with a wavy line in front of the chord

So an arpeggio is a type of broken chord, but arpeggios can rise or fall by more than one octave.

An arpeggio in the key of C major going up two octaves would be the notes (C, E, G, C, E, G, C)

So this

Would be played like this


Students of musical instruments learn how to play scales and arpeggios.   They are often a requirement for music examinations.

An “arpeggiated chord” means a chord which is “spread”,   i. e., the notes are not played exactly at the same time, but are spread out.   Arpeggiated chords are often used in harp and piano music.   

It is usually spread from the lowest to the highest note.     
So the above music notation should be played like this
 
or this



Occasionally, composers such as Béla Bartók have asked for them to be played from top to bottom. This is shown by adding an arrow to the wavy line pointing downwards.

We can actually programme arpeggios into our Styles on the AR and have them playing automatically in the accompaniment.
But don't forget that you can introduce an arpeggio 'by hand' wherever you like, to add some interest or variation.

Just pop the word Arpeggio into the search box at the top right hand corner of our ar-group web page to explore this area further.

Peter

Hugh Wallington

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2015, 12:21:32 AM »
Peter,

You say above that one can program arpeggios into our Styles on the AR and have them playing automatically in the accompaniment.

You are quite right, of course, and I would like to give three examples of where I have done this.

The first arpeggio is the one I did for Unchained Melody.  This is Track 1 on my disk Spring Delights, and I have put the arpeggio into CHORD 1.

First I had to DELETE the existing 'Part' in the Style; then put in my arpeggio.  The notes I chose to put in were (running from the E below Middle C to the E above; and then back down again) E, G, C, E, (then back down) C, G .. back to E.  Note that when you put backing 'Parts' in you always do them in the key of CSo those notes above had to be repeated for the whole measure.

Then Save to a USER slot.

When you use the Style, the 'clever bit' is that the notes you recorded are not played in C, but the 'note intervals' are picked out for the chord you are actually playing.

So if you click on this DEMO MP3 below, you will first hear the actual notes played for the arpeggio; followed by what actually plays when you play chords.  In this example I have a C, an Am (yes, it automatically picks out the intervals for a minor chord), and F and a G.  You will realise at this point that I never played those notes you are actually listening to (apart from when it's a C chord).

DEMO of Unchained Melody Arpeggio (MP3)

Then if you click this LINK you will hear the whole Track of Unchained Melody as MP3:

Unchained Melody (MP3) played by Hugh Wallington

The second arpeggio is the one I did for House Of The Rising Sun, Track 10 on my Mixed Bag disk.

The arpeggio itself I put into PHRASE 1, and it's probably best just to listen to what I did .. again all in C.  I have then played a few chords so you can hear how the AR 'picks up the notes in C' and plays them as intervals for the actual chord you are playing.

The chords I have played are:

Am, C, D, F, Am, C, E7
Am, C, D, F, Am, E7, Am

.. you can hear quite clearly what the arpeggio is actually playing.

DEMO of House Of The Rising Sun Arpeggio (MP3)

Then click this LINK to hear how the arpeggio backs the whole tune:

House Of The Rising Sun (MP3) played by Hugh Wallington

The third arpeggio is the one in Ave Maria, Track 1 on my Vaguely Classical floppy.

I have put the arpeggio into CHORD 1, using Electronic Piano 2 (an Accompaniment Program Voice, not an AR Voice).  The arpeggio I have put in is one running straight up from C to top C; and then back down again.

The notes I have actually played are (remembering that all the notes played have to be based in the key of C): (running up) B, E, G, B (then down again), G, E .. B, (up again) E etc. for the length of the Measure.

I then held some chords on the Lower so you can hear how this arpeggio is picked up by the AR and played, based on the chord you are holding.

Click this LINK:

Ave Maria DEMO (MP3)

The first bit you hear is the arpeggio as I actually played it, the notes being as above.

In the second bit, you can hear quite clearly the arpeggio starting on C, then running up and back down again.  So why have I played a B in this arpeggio rather than C? 

The Technical Bit:

The answer lies in the fact that the note of B is not an actual note, but is a ‘programming’ note.  Peter Wood used to call it the ‘Wildcard’.  If you play a B instead of a C, then when you subsequently play a Major Chord it will play a Major Chord; if you play a Natural Seventh Chord, then it will play that; and (most importantly) if you play a 7th Chord, then it will include the 7th.

Click this LINK to read more about how to record a ‘Backing Part’, and how to use the ‘Wildcard’, in Using the AR’s Technology:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=2156.msg6998#msg6998


Back to the DEMO above, these are the chords I have played on the Lower:

C; C; C7; C7; F; Fm6; C; G7; C (and then repeated this).

And then click this LINK below to hear the whole piece played with the arpeggio backing running through it:

Ave Maria (MP3) played by Hugh Wallington
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Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2015, 04:35:32 PM »
It has just occurred to me, that in order to 'Arpeggiate' (is that a word, I wonder - but you surely know what I mean), you need to know your scales and preferably in all 12 keys.

In order to help you with this, click this link for an easy way to learn all your major scales.

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=2393.msg8296#msg8296

Now, when you are all fingers and thumbs, and your spouse asks you what you are doing, you can tell them that you are 'arpeggiating'.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 10:39:20 AM »
The wavy line in the notation covers the notes in the ‘chord’ to be arpeggiated.    Sometimes they may stretch over more than one octave.   If the wavy line extends across 2 staves of the score, then all the notes indicated should be played in sequence, obviously using both your hands.

Equally, the Arpeggio can be played by holding down the initial note and adding the others in this way:



Again if the Arpeggio is over 2 staves, then you would continue to add notes, beginning with your left hand and adding the right ones to produce a giant sound.       We have surely all experimented with this technique at some time.

Practice, practice, practice.     Learn lots of arpeggios on your instrument.     Start by naming a chord: F.     Use the notes of that chord: F A C, and play them all in order: F A C F A C F A ... going up through several octaves until you get familiar enough to play them in your sleep.    Continue to do this in various different keys.   This will make you a much better player and will make learning new songs much easier.    Playing arpeggios is one of the FASTEST ways to get better on your instrument.    It is also one of the fastest ways to start understanding general music theory and IMPROVISING!!   This is because you can take any chord at any time, during a piece of music and 'expand' it, by 'breaking it' or spreading it out, which also adds interest to your presentation.


Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 01:07:35 PM »
Running in parallel with these postings, you will find another set about Chord Construction that logically follow on from discussions on the Circle of Fifths.

Click this link to go there directly:

http://www.ar-group.org/smforum/index.php?topic=954.45

You will have to scroll down four postings, to find the start point.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2015, 04:04:11 PM »
The Bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices.
All the pitch control is done by varying the players lips and facial muscles.
This is called the player’s embouchure.     That sounds better than gurning, doesn't it?

Consequently the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series.   The only notes that a bugle can sound are called the bugle scale.    Fundamentally Arpeggios and only arpeggios.

The bugle developed from early musical or communication instruments and was initially made of animal horn.   Beside for military purposes (first used in Hanover in 1758 and later in England from 1764), they were used during hunts and to announce the arrival of carriages.   Therefore, it can be considered a predecessor and relative of our modern car horn.

The bugle is used in military and boy scout events, to indicate the daily routines of camp.   It also features in ceremonial functions and will be heard in this way during the Remembrance Day activities shortly.   Listen to the arpeggios it plays.

The Post Horn is a valveless brass or copper instrument, but usually coiled up, though some were straight.   It was chiefly used originally to signal the arrival or departure of a post rider or mail coach.    Mail coaches had tight schedules and travelled at high speed (relatively speaking) given priority of right of way in most countries, requiring all other road users to get out of the way.    The post horn also acted as a warning that the speeding mail coach was coming, long before you could see it.

We have no Voice that is Bugle on the AR but we can reproduce one.     I’ll leave you to experiment with this.    You will find a Post Horn on your AR.    So technically if you use the voice of a Bugle or a Post Horn, then to be absolutely accurate, you should only play arpeggios, with it.

However, the Post Horn has become a part of many modern day instruments, and whenever it is heard in this way, I always feel it carries a sense of urgency.     Often used on the pedals, and sounding a double arpeggiated pair of notes, (similar to a hunting call) it can be extremely effective in appropriate pieces.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2015, 01:41:58 PM »
Have any of our members ever played the bugle, I wonder?
Do let us know your experiences.
Peter

Hugh Wallington

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 08:39:53 PM »
Peter,

I have added a third example of an 'Arpeggio' in a Backing Part .. see the posting I did regarding arpeggios above.  Please read the article again.

This post is to draw attention to the fact that I have done this.  I will remove the comment I have made here towards the end of this week.  If I haven't done this and you wish to continue with your Ornaments article, please feel free to delete this.

Hugh

PS.  If anyone wishes to put up a comment about playing a bugle, please carry on.  Removing this posting won't affect those further down.
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Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2015, 08:49:34 PM »
Thank you for this addition, Hugh.
I cannot stress how important Arpeggios are.   So knowing your scales and the various chords that include them are essential for you to use them effectively and smoothly.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2015, 08:52:14 PM »
Vibrato

I know this ornament is covered elsewhere, but I thought we ought to restate it here.

The terms Vibrato and Tremolo are sometimes incorrectly used interchangeably.

Vibrato is the variation in pitch or frequency of a musical note.
Tremolo is a variation in volume or amplitude of a musical note.

A Tremolo is sometimes indicated in musical notation in this fashion:




In practice, it is difficult for a singer or a solo musical instrument player to achieve pure vibrato or pure tremolo, because they often produce variations in both pitch and volume at the same time.

However on your AR organ, you can electronically manipulate or generate signals that make it easy to produce pure tremolo and or pure vibrato.   Or even use a combination of both.

The famous Leslie Speaker, which is best known for its association with the Hammond Organ, creates Vibrato as a by-product of tremolo production.

This is because the Leslie Speaker, when it is rotating, actually moves farther away and nearer to the listener's ear.

Because amplitude varies directly with sound pressure, and sound pressure varies directly with distance, the amplitude of the sound as perceived by the hearer, will be greatest when the speaker is at the point in its rotation closest to the listener, and least when it is farthest away.

But because the speaker is constantly moving either to or away from the listener,  it affects the perceived  sound wavelength.   Now because frequency or pitch is inversely proportional to wavelength, so that increasing wavelength decreases frequency and vice versa, any listener for whom the Leslie Speaker’s motion changes the sound’s  perceived amplitude, must also perceive a change in frequency.   However, the size of this effect is likely to be tiny in comparison to the tremolo effect, since the distance oscillation is very small.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 03:01:43 PM »
All human voices possess the capacity to produce a vibrato. This vibrato can be from the delicate to the extravagant.   From the written record there seems to have always been a difference of opinion about its validity, with some applauding certain folk and criticising others for their impure renditions.

However, it should be understood that "vibrato" occurs over a wide range of intensities: slow, fast, wide, and narrow.  Most sources in condemning the practice seem to be referring to a wide, slow, perceptible oscillation in pitch, usually associated with intense emotion, whereas the ideal for modern vibrato, and possibly in earlier times as well, was to imitate the natural timbre of the adult singing voice, from which a measure of vibrato is rarely absent.

There is another kind of vibrato-linked fault that can afflict the voices of all of us, especially aging ones—namely the slow, often irregular wobble produced when the singer's vibrato has loosened from the sheer wear and tear on the throat and body caused by the stresses over the years!    But that is another story.    Hands up, if you identify!

The use of vibrato in classical music is a matter of some dispute.  For much of the 20th century it was used almost continuously in the performance of pieces from all eras from the Baroque onwards, especially by singers and string players.  However, there is no actual proof that singers performed without vibrato in the baroque era.  Vocal music of the renaissance is almost never sung with vibrato as a rule, and it seems unlikely it ever was.   There are only a few texts from the period on vocal production, but they all actually condemn excessive use of vibrato.   

Prior to the advent of the charismatic Giovanni Battista Rubini (1794–1854), every well-schooled opera singer had avoided using a conspicuous and continuous vibrato because, according to one writer, "It varied the pitch of the note being sung to an unacceptable degree and it was considered to be an artificial contrivance arising from inadequate breath control".    British and North American press commentators and singing teachers continued to subscribe to this view long after Rubini had come and gone.

Apparently, when the tenor, Enrico Caruso (1873–1921) made his acclaimed New York Metropolitan Opera debut in November 1903, one of the specific vocal attributes for which he was praised by music reviewers was the absence of a disruptive vibrato from his singing. The scholarly critic William James Henderson wrote in The Sun newspaper, for example, that Caruso "has a pure tenor voice and it is without the typical Italian bleat".

Vibrato is sometimes thought of as an effect added onto the note itself, but in some cases it is so fully a part of the style of the music that it can be very difficult for some performers to play without it.     The jazz tenor sax player Coleman Hawkins found he had this difficulty when requested to play a passage both with and without vibrato by Leonard Bernstein, when producing his record album "What is Jazz?" to demonstrate the difference between the two.     Despite his technique, he was unable to play without vibrato.     The featured saxophonist in Benny Goodman's Orchestra, George Auld, was brought in to play the part.

During the 20th Century from audio recordings we know that orchestras slowly introduced vibrato and the growth of vibrato during this time has been traced by Roger Norrington.        (He is the conductor, who caused controversy during the 2008 Proms season, by conducting Elgar's, Enigma Variations and the Last Night of the Proms, in non-vibrato style, which he called pure tone.)     Roger  revealed that the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra were not recorded using vibrato comparable to modern vibrato until 1935, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra not until 1940,  but French orchestras seem to have played with continuous vibrato somewhat earlier, from the 1920s.

What happened in the era before audio recordings can only be deduced from the written word.    There appears to be no common line, with many expressing their preference.

For example,  Francesco Geminiani advocated using vibrato "as frequently as possible" on short notes for this purpose.   It is considered that string players in Europe did not use vibrato.   Its overuse was almost universally condemned by the leading musical authorities of the day.

Certain types of vibrato, then, were seen as an ornament, but this does not mean that it was used sparingly and in wind playing, it seems that vibrato was an ornament to be used selectively.   

As stated in the previous posting, composers up to the baroque period indicated vibrato with a wavy line in the sheet music.    However, this does not suggest that it was not desired for the rest of the piece.      In short, you pays your money and takes your choice!

The fact that as early as the 1880's composers such as Richard Strauss (in his tone poems "Don Juan" and "Death and Transfiguration") as well as Camille Saint-Saëns (Symphony No. 3 "Organ") asked string players to perform certain passages "without expression" or "without nuance", somewhat suggests that the general use of vibrato within the orchestra was a matter of course.

Sometimes composers will specify vibrato (or specifically not) so it depends on the player as to whether to use it or not, and how much.    Some instruments, mainly percussion cannot produce Vibrato.     Therefore, when selecting Vibrato, do so thoughtfully, realistically  and appropriately.     To be realistic, don't apply it to instruments that can't produce it and in any case don't be tempted to be extravagant with it.

Peter

Hugh Wallington

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2015, 12:16:50 AM »
Peter,

You are quite right .. that you should not apply VIBRATO to instruments that can't produce it (and also not to be tempted to be extravagant with it, which I am about to do in the example below).

This example is as a result of being 'caught out' a couple of times over the Grand Piano, and it took me an age to realise what was happening, and how to sort it.  The first time it happened, I nearly got to the stage where I felt I would have to call out the organ engineer!

What I hadn't realised was that when you choose a VOICE .. and subsequently change the voice to a different one .. the AR changes the Voice to the new one selected but does not change the VIBRATO settings.  And this is what happens ...

If you select eg. a Trombone with the Vibrato on PRESET, then if you change that to a Piano the Vibrato that was set remains.  So the PRESET for the Trombone remains as PRESET for the Piano.  That's fine!  The PRESET setting for Piano Vibrato is no vibrato.  But if I set up a USER VIBRATO for my Trombone (with eg. Delay 1, Depth 3, Speed 3 .. this is being extravagant with the vibrato!), and then change the voice to a Piano, the USER VIBRATO will remain as it was set .. and the Piano will have that USER VIBRATO on it.  The way to correct this (if it happens to you) is to go into the VIBRATO MENU and change the Vibrato from USER to PRESET.

This is what the 16' Grand Piano sounds like in the above situation.  First, I have played a few notes with 16' Trombone, Vibrato on PRESET; then changed the Voice to 16' Grand Piano.  The Piano here, of course, sounds just fine.  Then I have set up a USER Vibrato (as above) and played a few notes with that; then changed the Voice to 16' Grand Piano.  You can hear quite clearly how the USER VIBRATO has stayed with it.

Trombone & Grand Piano and VIBRATO (MP3)

So if you ever get this, you know why, and what to do about it.

Hugh
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Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2015, 09:33:35 AM »
Let us explore the Slide

The Slide, which is often found in Baroque music, but not limited to that style, instructs the performer to begin 2 or 3 scale steps below the marked note and then slide upwards.   i.e. to step diatonically between the initial and final notes.
Far less common, it can also be performed in a descending fashion.

We have a Slide function on our AR organs.

It can only be assigned to Lead Voices.  When activated, if you play one note, then play another before completely releasing the first note, the pitch of the first note will “slide” up or down to the second note.    It is effective within a one-octave range.

You can also utilise the Knee Lever selector for the Slide function.
Time determines the speed of the slide, with the higher value creating the slower speed.

The correct term is Glissando and we explore that more in the next posting.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__59__Ornaments
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2015, 10:47:28 AM »
Glissando

A Glissando is a Slide from one note to another, signified by a wavy line connecting the two notes, like this:



All of the intervening diatonic or chromatic (depending on instrument and context) are heard, albeit very briefly.    In this way, the glissando differs from Portamento (see the next posting).

In contemporary classical music (especially in avant garde pieces) a glissando tends to assume the whole value of the initial note.

Peter