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Author Topic: Putting together the parts of the tune  (Read 1054 times)

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Tony M

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Putting together the parts of the tune
« on: August 01, 2010, 03:53:53 PM »

Hi.

Obvious, I'm sure, when you know the answer.  However, I've looked at this one before, failed to gain insight.   ???

Simply, its about interpreting how the different parts of the tune are assembled to make the whole thing:

If a tune has an A part and a B part, the accompanying information (whether written or in the abc file) might say something like A(AB)3. 

I've  assumed this to mean play the A part first, then play the A part followed by the B part and repeat this three times - i.e. A, A+B, A+B, A+B.  However, I suppose it could also mean play A, then AB, and repeat all of that 3 times - i.e. A, A+B, A, A+B, A, A+B (or would that be written differently?). 

General pages about abc notation don't seem to explain, so it's probably a generic approach used to describe all sorts of music.  In the past I've managed without knowing - since I play for my own amusement, it's never really mattered.  However, I'd like to know the answer - one of these days I might play in company, and I'd rather not make a bigger pillock of myself than is absolutely necessary!

The Nutting Girl abc I found says "A.AB(CB)2".

Does this simply mean play A, A+B, C+B, C+B - or have I missed something?

Explanation / clarification would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Tony.
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Lester

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Re: Putting together the parts of the tune
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 04:49:39 PM »

No, you have not missed anything, your description is spot on.

Howard Jones

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Re: Putting together the parts of the tune
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 05:02:51 PM »

Steve Mansfield's excellent ABC tutorial explains how parts are written in ABC:

http://www.lesession.co.uk/abc/abc_notation_part2.htm#parts

These formulae were used long before ABC (or personal computers), in the Morris "Black Book" for example.  Bear in mind that an instruction to play a part also includes any written repeats: so for example, if the A part is written with a repeat in the music, "A" means play it with the repeats, and "AA" or "A2" means play it with the repeats, and then play it again.

However, they may not be much of a guide when it comes to playing with others.  For a start, the formula only relates to a specific dance and is really only relevant for morris, and perhaps some of the more complicated social dances.  If you're playing the tune for morris, you'll need to know exactly how many times through, where the slows come etc, but you will probably have practiced alongside the dancers anyway.

If you're playing the tune in a session, then it doesn't really matter - in fact, in my experience it's unusual where a morris tune is played in a session for it to be played as it would be for dancing.  More usually, I find, it is played with the usual 2 A, 2 Bs (whereas a morris dance may have 3 Bs) - slows (where they appear in the dance) may or may not be played.  You'll just have to follow the leader, in usual session fashion - and if youv'e led the tune off, it's your call  how to play it.

Similarly, if playing for social dancing the length of the tune is governed by the nature of that particular dance, but usually you're aiming for a total of 32 or sometimes 48 bars.  That's something you'd discuss with the caller.

So to summarise, the formula may be useful as a guide to playing for a particular dance, but in other contexts it may be irrelevant.

Tony M

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Re: Putting together the parts of the tune
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 06:15:21 PM »

Many thanks to you both, Lester and Howard.

That clears the thing up rather well.  It seemed logical enough to begin with, then the nagging doubts set in when I spotted more complicated formulae.

I must confess that I hadn't actually thought about either the involvement of written repeats, or the fact that the formula refers to a particular purpose (dance, or whatever) - so those points are now also clear in my (fuzzy) mind!

Having reviewed Steve Mansfield's page, I note that it's very clear - which leaves me puzzled, 'cos I'm sure I've looked at that page before, and obviously missed the relevant section :|bl.

Thanks again,

Tony.
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