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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: What term do you use for Irish bowed triplets?

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zackkline - Posted - 10/12/2020:  20:09:40

Anyone playing celtic styles-- I know there are different names for grace note based ornamentation (cuts, rolls etc) but do you have any other names for bowed triplets?  That's the only name I've heard but I was thinking about the terminology and wondered if there are some other names people are using for it out there. 

Sometimes, of course, it's really played as two 16ths and and 8th note, but I think people may tend to think of it as a bowed triplet since you're usually adding this as a variation on a tune and fitting in 3 notes total in the space  where you could just play two 8th notes. 


Old Scratch - Posted - 10/12/2020:  20:29:33

In Cape Breton fiddling, they're called 'cuts' - which can be a source of confusion, because in Irish fiddling, 'cut' has a different meaning, as you are aware.

buckhenry - Posted - 10/12/2020:  21:26:15

'Trebling'....single and double.

Brian Wood - Posted - 10/12/2020:  21:31:07

I sometimes refer to it as a stutter. I made that up before I knew othrwise. I call it a cut now, mostly.

bwzuk - Posted - 10/13/2020:  02:49:09

A Scottish birl is another name for a bowed triplet, although I believe they also use the term triplet, and there is some difference between the two (although I'm not an expert). In Irish playing both these ornaments would be referred to as a triplet. I've also heard the term trebles, although slightly less commonly than triplets,

My alltime favourite term for those crunchy tight Irish triplets, a la Tommy Peoples, is "cat sneezes" :)

sbhikes2 - Posted - 10/13/2020:  07:47:39

I've only heard 'em called bowed triplets.

Old Scratch - Posted - 10/13/2020:  10:34:28

Scott Skinner referred to them, contemptuously, as "doodles".

As I understand it, 'cat sneezes' refers specifically to Tommy Peoples's triplets, which are unique, apparently.

Peghead - Posted - 10/13/2020:  13:09:06

Speaking of this - I have a question for you Irish players out there about how this ornament is generally played. Assuming a down bowed rhythm, do you start the triplet on a down bow and slur after, or slur before the triplet and come out of it on the down bow? Does it matter? Should you be able to do it either way on the fly, or do you stick with doing it one way?

Edited by - Peghead on 10/13/2020 13:10:02

zackkline - Posted - 10/13/2020:  13:31:14

I usually slur out of them...

mackeagan - Posted - 10/13/2020:  19:09:22

Birls is the Scottish term, derives from Highland piping. I've heard "trebles" used too. We always just called them bowed triplets. And, yes, do what works for you, but it's good to learn to do them both ways, D-U-D or U-D-U. Other than trying to bow things differently to see what works, I usually start the tune with a downbow (or an upbow if that's what's needed) and then I don't think about bow direction or slurs unless there's a problem. My biggest issue is keeping the bow in the sweet spot.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 10/14/2020:  00:58:49

i've heard them called "Shakes" as well just to add to the confusion.

i play them a couple of ways depending on tempo and rhythm. if its fast and straight ahead i play them starting with a down bow then a couple of skip up bows. If it's hornpipey i play straight down up down. i can play them up down up as well... But i have to think about and prepare for it. i usually split them up as well, (as in a reels like "The Salamanca" etc), or cut them with a higher note in the middle.

chas5131 - Posted - 10/22/2020:  11:04:14

When playing triplets is was taught to think Trip-pul-lets to help keep them even.
Taught my cello instructor that. That was before I learned that the cello is an instrument that
should be started at the age of 6, not 60. :)

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