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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Transcribing Crooked Tunes


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/46815

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/24/2017:  15:15:56


What is the best method for transcribing crooked tunes?



Examples: nwfolk.com/songlists/crooked.html



I apologize for the poor quality of the pic I attached.



 

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/24/2017:  17:05:56


If the question is mostly where do you put the 6/4 measure, when there's an extra 2 beats, it's pretty much on a tune by tune basis.  Since many of the crooked tunes were written by wonderful players, who weren't necessarily trained in what to do and not to do, by the standards of someone who might be schooled in composition, they're likely to have these amazing little twists and turns, that have to be handled one at a time. Some people like them, some don't, I think we would all have missed out on some really great and creative tunes without them.   So......that being said, try to hear or feel the down beat.  Chord changes can be an indicator of starting the next measure as well.  If you notice you have several measures in a row where the chord is changing in the middle of the measure, that can be an indication that the extra 2 beats was probably meant to be part of the measure just before that occurs.   If we're not talking about extra beats to deal with and it's just 10 measures instead of 8 in the B part or something, just right it out that way, it will be fine.  



Here's how I did Jeff Sturgeon, odd measure counts and several 6/4 measures.  


Addie - Posted - 06/24/2017:  17:27:24


An elegant solution.  smiley



It looks like there's an extra two beats to emphasize a cadence, and a single extra beat and a pickup after another cadence.  I hope I got that right.  I see this fairly often in Gaelic songs, and sometimes more complex... the result of traditional singing?

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 06/24/2017:  21:57:05


Gorgeous transcription bandsmcnamar.  The only thing I'd do is add accent marks on the notes that need to be emphasized. 

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/24/2017:  22:32:49


What do you do in the case that beats are missing rather than added?

quote:
Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

If the question is mostly where do you put the 6/4 measure, when there's an extra 2 beats, it's pretty much on a tune by tune basis.  Since many of the crooked tunes were written by wonderful players, who weren't necessarily trained in what to do and not to do, by the standards of someone who might be schooled in composition, they're likely to have these amazing little twists and turns, that have to be handled one at a time. Some people like them, some don't, I think we would all have missed out on some really great and creative tunes without them.   So......that being said, try to hear or feel the down beat.  Chord changes can be an indicator of starting the next measure as well.  If you notice you have several measures in a row where the chord is changing in the middle of the measure, that can be an indication that the extra 2 beats was probably meant to be part of the measure just before that occurs.   If we're not talking about extra beats to deal with and it's just 10 measures instead of 8 in the B part or something, just right it out that way, it will be fine.  



Here's how I did Jeff Sturgeon, odd measure counts and several 6/4 measures.  




carlb - Posted - 06/25/2017:  05:17:17


 Or as Clare Milliner did in the Milliner-Koken collection, just leave out the bar lines and the time signature.


Edited by - carlb on 06/25/2017 05:19:07

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/25/2017:  11:16:54


If two beats say are missing from a 4/4 measure, then attach the two that are there to either the measure before or after them, also as a 6/4 measure.  I've seen people just use a 2/4 measures also, and there might be a situation(determined by how the music is set up) where that would make sense.   Again it's all about down beats and where the pulse is.  Here's one more simpler example,  Old Time Billy In The Lowground.   You could think about this either way, either there's an extra 2 beats in the last measure, or maybe the last measure is missing 2 beats and needs to be grouped together with the measure before it.  either way the result looks the same, in my world.    You can hear this tune in my mp3's also.  



 


soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  13:31:24


I would do that, but I don't think my program is capable of doing it.

quote:
Originally posted by carlb

 Or as Clare Milliner did in the Milliner-Koken collection, just leave out the bar lines and the time signature.




soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  16:37:54


What do the numbers in parentheses on the saffron mean? I've never seen this before.

quote:
Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

If two beats say are missing from a 4/4 measure, then attach the two that are there to either the measure before or after them, also as a 6/4 measure.  I've seen people just use a 2/4 measures also, and there might be a situation(determined by how the music is set up) where that would make sense.   Again it's all about down beats and where the pulse is.  Here's one more simpler example,  Old Time Billy In The Lowground.   You could think about this either way, either there's an extra 2 beats in the last measure, or maybe the last measure is missing 2 beats and needs to be grouped together with the measure before it.  either way the result looks the same, in my world.    You can hear this tune in my mp3's also.  



 




Addie - Posted - 06/25/2017:  16:56:59


First and second ending.  Not standard notation.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  17:41:14


Here's my latest attempt at the crooked tune I'm trying to transcribe (In 4/4 this time).



 

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/25/2017:  17:59:45


Addie's right, I was just being lazy and since the only difference between the 1st and 2nd ending in each section is the pick up notes, I just saved myself a couple of minutes of time by writing it that way, and it isn't standard notation, but once you see it, it is easy to understand.  

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/25/2017:  18:36:16


Here's how I would do that, which is not to say what you've got is wrong.  I just think the down beats are a bit better emphasized this way.   See what you think?



 


soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  19:50:18


I apologise for the typing error in my earlier post. I assume you know I meant staff, not saffron.
Here's a link to a recording of the melody. I was just writing my transcription from memory based on Mr. Charlie's playing. m.youtube.com/watch?v=CgNb_J3odxo
You might have to copy/paste it into your browser.

quote:
Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

Here's how I would do that, which is not to say what you've got is wrong.  I just think the down beats are a bit better emphasized this way.   See what you think?



 





Edited by - soppinthegravy on 06/25/2017 19:56:16

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/25/2017:  20:54:32


Ok, so now having heard it, here's what I get for the A part, and you'll notice it actually sets up a lot like Old Time Billy In The Lowground, where the 6/4 measure is right at the end, and extra 2 beats are actually the 4th and 5th beat of the measure.  This is really common in old time music.   Anybody else chime in here, I may well have missed something, it's late and I usually run something I transcribe by a couple of friends that are better at it than I am first.  This is how it sounds to me anyway.  I hope this helps.  



 


Edited by - bandsmcnamar on 06/25/2017 21:09:03


soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  21:57:08


It's kind of fascinating to see how many different ways there are to try and express the same musical idea. Does anyone know if it is possible to print music without time-signatures and bars using TablEdit? 

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/25/2017:  23:15:34


Did I post this one?



 

DougD - Posted - 06/26/2017:  08:58:09


Measures and barlines should follow the flow of the music on the page, not impede it, and help us easily see the phrasing of the piece. A single measure of 1/4 time is suspicious, unless it is highlighting some musical "exclamation point."



So I listened to the YouTube video of Dave Cannon and what I hear is Mississippi Sawyers" with, I think, one beat dropped in the A part (in the third phrase). The Fiddlers Companion says "Some 'crooked' versions are extant in the United States (see Charle Acuff's version which has 15 beats in the A part).



If that's correct I'd expect to see one measure with fewer beats, not more, but I'd have to slow it down to see whether that's so and how to do it.


DougD - Posted - 06/26/2017:  09:13:22


Brian - I'm not familiar with that version of "Billy" (although Lowe Stokes played it in C with a little tag like that).



Anyway, regarding pickup notes the convention is that the amount of time they use is subtracted from the last measure of the piece or section., so I think your last measures would be 5/4, without the pickup notes repeated. For pieces with two repeated parts, both with pickup notes (like typical fiddle tunes), it seems the way to do it is after the shortened measure at the end of the A part to have a double bar with dots on both sides (or maybe two dotted double bars facing in opposite directions), then the pickup notes to be used for the B part, ending the part with a shortened measure and dotted double bar for the repeat. I think this works if the time for both sets of pickups is the same.


soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/26/2017:  11:05:22


Mr. Charlie's version is what I am trying to transcribe.

quote:
Originally posted by DougD

Measures and barlines should follow the flow of the music on the page, not impede it, and help us easily see the phrasing of the piece. A single measure of 1/4 time is suspicious, unless it is highlighting some musical "exclamation point."



So I listened to the YouTube video of Dave Cannon and what I hear is Mississippi Sawyers" with, I think, one beat dropped in the A part (in the third phrase). The Fiddlers Companion says "Some 'crooked' versions are extant in the United States (see Charle Acuff's version which has 15 beats in the A part).



If that's correct I'd expect to see one measure with fewer beats, not more, but I'd have to slow it down to see whether that's so and how to do it.




BanjoBrad - Posted - 06/26/2017:  11:06:45


You might try the "adlib" in the "Score/Time Signature" setup.


DougD - Posted - 06/26/2017:  11:22:19


Daniel, I followed the link you provided above. It took me to recording of Dave Cannon playing the tune from an album called "Ahh You Done Good" "Playing the music of Charlie Acuff." If that's not what you're trying to transcribe, then please post another link.


bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/26/2017:  15:05:06


DougD,   Here's a link to the version of Old Time Billy In The Lowground, that I transcribed.   I don't know if anyone else plays it this way, but I liked it.  





youtube.com/watch?v=Bgb-s8Be324



 



Thanks for the comments too about about the endings etc.  I should never get lazy and try to cut corners, but I understood what I meant, and honestly never thought about sharing it with anyone.  Then this thread came along, and of course by then I had forgotten that I transcribed it this way, not having actually looked at it in a year or two, so there you go..........LOL   



Anyone???   Does the first part of Downfall of Paris look right???



 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 06/26/2017:  18:36:58


quote:

Originally posted by carlb

 

 Or as Clare Milliner did in the Milliner-Koken collection, just leave out the bar lines and the time signature.







Not sure how leaving info out helps. It's sort of like suggesting to omit punctuation quotes apostrophes commas periods sentences paragraphs or stanzas in poems arent important and that just using a linear string of words would be sufficient that is while it could just be linear series of words I would find it a bit more difficult to read



Music has nested organization to it. Temporal beat groupings, bar lines showing sense of meter, play a part in that. Even by ear, without notation, IMO it's helpful to grasp the various organization and groupings in sections and phrases. Part of the role of notation (bar, meter, beaming) is to just help communicate, indicate the organization we hear. For example - the part is not just linear series of beats, but has division and grouping to it; - the bars, beams, are not merely aesthetic, or to make the math come out... but serves purpose to reflect  the beat and grouping.



I find it works fairly well to just pay attention to 2s (or 4's) and 3s of grouping and division in different levels. - As opposed to  the default 2, all binary yin/yang symmetry grouping levels (2, 4, 8., 16) - crooked tunes can be thought of as having some grouping level involving 3.  (a group of 4 is 2+2; a group of 5 is 2+3 or 3+2, can be as one meter or as set of 2 adjacent meters)



In Downfall of Paris... in the original TOP post; I think the second option makes most sense to my ears. Overall it's beats seems like it's as [2+2; 2+2] - [3; 2+2]  -      Want to note that the 2+2 can be sensed as 4, with complete set of 2 yin/yang halves, [12-34] - so idea of 4 lines, as 4 4; 3 4.   As well In the measure that has 3... it could be written as 2 meters of  1+2; but the problem of single 1/4 meter... it doesn't show sense of if it's extending, or semi-ending the previous beats... or if starting anew and introducing the next group; 3 just seems easier.



While there at times exists multiple ways that music could be written (if not perceived) the goal is usually to make it easiest to communicate what you need to.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 06/26/2017:  19:19:00


quote:

Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

 

Anyone???   Does the first part of Downfall of Paris look right???




 







First is I'm not a fan of the counting double beat 4/4 as the best way to communicate (so as to describe the part with 30 beats, @ something like 240 bpm?). Might technically be argued it's okay to do so, and not overly a problem; though I think the sense of beat and beaming shows easier with 2/x.



Your measure #6 (and subsequently 7)... IMO is off; the sense of ONE beat is in the middle of the measure. The last 8 beats make for a normal complete responding line,  not where the unevenness lies.



The other issue in the using 6/4 in measure 7... is not  2 dotted 1/2s. but  three 1/2 beats -   that 6/x is usually used for compound meter - 2 groups of 3; as opposed to 3 groups of 2 (using 3/x);  but as above, I don't hear the measure 7 as a three beat. Just mentioning this is something that folks sometimes do, (along with poor 5/4)  just to make numbers seem to add up...

soppinthegravy - Posted - 06/26/2017:  19:25:37


How would you do it? Have you seen the latest version I posted just above DougD's first comment? Everything is 4/4 except the fourth measure, which is in 6/4.

quote:
Originally posted by alaskafiddler

quote:

Originally posted by bandsmcnamar

 

Anyone???   Does the first part of Downfall of Paris look right???




 







First is I'm not a fan of the counting double beat 4/4 as the best way to communicate (so as to describe the part with 30 beats, @ something like 240 bpm?). Might technically be argued it's okay to do so, and not overly a problem; though I think the sense of beat and beaming shows easier with 2/x.



Your measure #6 (and subsequently 7)... IMO is off; the sense of ONE beat is in the middle of the measure. The last 8 beats make for a normal complete responding line,  not where the unevenness lies.



The other issue in the using 6/4 in measure 7... is not  2 dotted 1/2s. but  three 1/2 beats -   that 6/x is usually used for compound meter - 2 groups of 3; as opposed to 3 groups of 2 (using 3/x);  but as above, I don't hear the measure 7 as a three beat. Just mentioning this is something that folks sometimes do, (along with poor 5/4)  just to make numbers seem to add up...





Edited by - soppinthegravy on 06/26/2017 19:34:30

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/26/2017:  19:36:15


George,



Does this look more like what you mean, It does feel pretty good this way.  



 


bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/26/2017:  19:42:46


Though, I just realized I didn't change it all to cut time as you suggested.  You do mean using 2/2 and 3/2 for the timing, yes?   This is the cool thing about this sort of thread, I started out trying to be helpful, but now I'm learning too. 

alaskafiddler - Posted - 06/26/2017:  21:40:02


On way to approach it is  - think of how a fairly straight tune (like in Mississippi Sawyer) the natural binary pairing  and counter of beats, measures and phrases (2, 4, 8, 16)  would make 4 lines...

 [1-2]    [3-4] 

 [5-6]     [7-8];

[ 9-10]   [11-12]

[13-14]  [15-16]





And then how is the crooked tune different. So compare the similarity in Downfall, in first, second and fourth lines. That the crookedness (short part?) is in the third line; more so happening in where the 9th or 10th beat would be; - (and the affecting 11th-12th beat count), what would normally be a 2+2 phrase is 1+2, or as represented as 3.  thus making;



 [1-2]    [3-4]   

 [5-6]     [7-8];   

[ 9-10-11]

[12-13]  [14-15]



Can be written as 4 measures

4/4  [1-2  3-4]  

4/4  [5-6  7-8];   

3/4 [ 9-10-11]  

4/4 [12-13  14-15]



I  find if struggling with grasping a crooked tune phrasing... it often (not always) is just look for where a 3 is lengthening or shortening; breaks the regular 2's or 4's. flow.



2/2 is one way to go, but I usually prefer 2/4... for one because you can beam 2 eighth notes, but not 2 quarter notes. 

bandsmcnamar - Posted - 06/27/2017:  14:20:04


Soppin and George,



Here then to the best of my ability is the transcription of the A part of Downfall of Paris, from the link provided.   I think this incorporates all of the suggestions.  My software(Musedit, no longer available and quirky) will only allow me to do certain things, so it might look a little odd, or maybe not, I'm not really sure, but here it is anyway.   Just an aside, I think I find reading quarter notes and eighth notes easier, because of flag/no flag, rather than 1 flag/2 flag, okay I can't help myself red flag, blue flag.......sorry.....LOL. So I think I probably play in 2/4 even when it's written in 4/4 if that's possible, maybe it's something with my glasses or eyesight.   Maybe it's just an abnormal brain function, that's certainly possible.  LOL   Anyway, here's the transcription.  



 


soppinthegravy - Posted - 07/10/2017:  21:51:14


Here's an even more crooked tune: Lonzo Page's "Shortening Bread"youtube.com/watch?v=kDWzhZQjfLA

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/11/2017:  04:51:16


quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Here's an even more crooked tune: Lonzo Page's "Shortening Bread"youtube.com/watch?v=kDWzhZQjfLA



That doesn't seem at all crooked by my definition (as in it doesn't have any extra beats or is not sorry any beats), it is however fewer than 32 beats by half. It's a short, square tune like so many I know (for example, Late for the Dance, Sheep Shell Corn). It's a fine enough tune though.

Enough though. The English language is weird. Enuff thoh.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 07/11/2017:  13:38:40


This brings up something I'm curious about. Tunes that sound crooked or are called "crooked" but aren't. Arthur Smith's "Widow Haley" youtube.com/watch?v=qqKmjkSF8sIis listed as crooked is the Milliner-Koken book, but it is square, and so is Dr. Humphrey Bate's "Green Backed Dollar Bill" youtube.com/watch?v=t9ADFntpiLo, if I remember correctly. I think, on the Bate tune (fiddled by Oscar Stone, who composed "Stone's Rag"), the last note of one section and the first note of another are tied together. I transcribed it before I got the M-K book, and I was surprised to see that they marked it as crooked.  



quote:


Originally posted by ChickenMan

 
quote:


Originally posted by soppinthegravy

 

Here's an even more crooked tune: Lonzo Page's "Shortening Bread"youtube.com/watch?v=kDWzhZQjfLA







That doesn't seem at all crooked by my definition (as in it doesn't have any extra beats or is not sorry any beats), it is however fewer than 32 beats by half. It's a short, square tune like so many I know (for example, Late for the Dance, Sheep Shell Corn). It's a fine enough tune though.



Enough though. The English language is weird. Enuff thoh.





 


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 07/11/2017 13:53:52

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/11/2017:  15:10:32


Now those both seem crooked, the Greenback tune definitely is. It seems a little melodically inconsistent but still crooked. The Arthur Smith tune was tricky to count because I just naturally accept the crookedness and often over look it :) but it still seemed to be short a beat at the end of the repeat of one section. Tricky tunes indeed.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 07/11/2017:  20:45:25


I may be off a bit in the attached transcription. Here's how I remember that Greenback tune based on the recording.  It seems to me that it's a two part tune with the same number of bars and beats per part, but the last note of the A part is tied to the first note of the B part, and the last note of the B is also tied to the first note of the B. What do you think? 



quote:


Originally posted by ChickenMan



Now those both seem crooked, the Greenback tune definitely is. It seems a little melodically inconsistent but still crooked. The Arthur Smith tune was tricky to count because I just naturally accept the crookedness and often over look it :) but it still seemed to be short a beat at the end of the repeat of one section. Tricky tunes indeed.





 



 

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/12/2017:  04:58:58


I'm sorry, but I am not great at reading the notes and your attachment doesn't get to a high enough resolution on my phone. Also, like Brian, I find quarter notes and eighth notes to be easier to decipher. The last measure of the whole tune, to my ear, is short a beat/half beat and yes, it does tie to the start of the next, and it's definitely crooked but only by that much. How many beats do you have transcribed in the last measure of the whole tune, is it a full measure?

soppinthegravy - Posted - 02/11/2018:  21:40:28


What do you mean by "suspicious"?


quote:

Originally posted by DougD

Measures and barlines should follow the flow of the music on the page, not impede it, and help us easily see the phrasing of the piece. A single measure of 1/4 time is suspicious, unless it is highlighting some musical "exclamation point."


 

So I listened to the YouTube video of Dave Cannon and what I hear is Mississippi Sawyers" with, I think, one beat dropped in the A part (in the third phrase). The Fiddlers Companion says "Some 'crooked' versions are extant in the United States (see Charle Acuff's version which has 15 beats in the A part).


 

If that's correct I'd expect to see one measure with fewer beats, not more, but I'd have to slow it down to see whether that's so and how to do it.


 




 

DougD - Posted - 02/11/2018:  22:16:59


Questionable. It makes you suspect there's something wrong with the notation.

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