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About clarity of execution in certain cutting in 2/4 Marches

Often two very short thirty-second notes occur side by side as shown below. Clarity, ease of execution, and rhythm are preserved simply by subtly making the first of the two very short notes a shade longer or slightly relaxed without opening too much followed by a clean short cutting. The cutting must be spot on with the “G” grace note cleanly on the melody note then good value upbeat following. Remember, the High “G” grace note provides an essential cutting edge/bite to the note it is played on precisely.

When these two very short notes are attempted as both very short notes neither are executed or heard clearly, resulting in poor clarity and disturbed rhythmical balance.

Play slowly and methodically the examples below with good relaxation on the first of the very short notes marked * and the quite smart (not too short for now) clean cutting to good upbeat dotted note.
Repeat often correctly.

Progressively quicken to about 72 BPM, still with that slight (not too open) relaxation in mind on the first short note and clean clear cutting. Refer links of relevant video/audio (Audio track forward 1.40 minutes.)

Take a bar at a time steadily and repeatedly. Record yourself to analyse perceptively as you listen.

Examples with tachums in a similar rhythm to above follow.

The approach to the examples below should be similar to those above with the same subtle relaxation on the first of the two very short notes.

Pipers often tend to make the tachums too clipped when striving to point the music, and in the process tend to neglect the upbeat lower dotted note of the tachum. You must have a clear/clean “G” grace note on the short note of the tachum, and single clear “D” grace note on the lower dotted note with upbeat proper timing. Tachum execution almost plays itself without striving too hard to hack the short note – relax to some degree and listen for good clarity.

Play the examples below slowly and methodically in much the same manner as those above. Repeat each bar often enough then quicken. Remember more detailed audio links too – track to 1.40 for this one.

In the next sub section Competition 2/4 marches, many of the above examples appear often.

Competition 2/4 Marches

As mentioned earlier these are the more demanding heavier 2/4 marches, yet the same principles apply as for the previous tune, its directions, and clarity exercises previous page.

If you find some difficulty with the following march, dissect and carefully analyse how the bar or clause/phrase should sound then play slowly and with clean correct execution and proper rhythm, remembering upbeats. Again, the relevant links demonstrate parts of the tune played slowly with comment to help. For example the transition from bar six to bar seven in each four parts below of the tune might not be clear enough because the short “C” to the short “B” is often too clipped and not subtly relaxed to allow the clean/clear “B” cutting to “D”.

Example on how to tackle in stages bar six to bar seven

The 5th and 6th bars have markings applicable elsewhere to remind you of DU and * for subtle short note before cuttings. Play steadily at first, say about 60 BPM. Progressively quicken to about 72 BPM, or up to 84 BPM, not faster.

Overall think of the slight accents or feeling, even just in your mind, on the first pulse in bars along with controlled upbeats, controlled dotted notes, clear/clean technique, and nice uplifting regular flow or momentum. Remember to record your playing for perceptive analysis.

When playing the first part did you notice how attention to the upbeat “Es” and “Ds” provided good control and lift without anticipating the next pulse/beat?

The following are some hints to consider when playing the rest of the tune below:

Second and fourth parts - observe the controlled upbeat duration of the high “As” and high “Gs” with slick clear thirty-second notes. It really makes the music lift. Third part – observe good pointing of the “G, D, E” grace note combinations. The first downbeat and latter upbeat dotted low “As” and low “Gs” must be long enough and the thirty-second notes slick in a count of 1--2, 3--&; 1--2, 3--&; alternatively Down-- & Up--&; Down--& Up--&. The first low “A” in the fifth bar can be felt to good effect, enough to execute the taorluath right on the upbeat, not earlier.

Listen To Bill's Audio Instruction.

Introduction to clarity of execution for 2/4 marches
Exercises and Balmoral Highlanders
Further explenation on clarity folowed by Balmoral Highlanders

Watch Bill's Video Instruction.

About Clarity of Execution - Part1


About Clarity of Execution - Part2


About Competition 2/4 Marches


Balmoral Highlanders - Part1


Balmoral Highlanders - Part2


If you have any questions or comments, please use Contact Form to contact Bill.

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