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Thread: "Notes for embellishments"

  1. #1
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    Default "Notes for embellishments"

    I was watching this video on clawhammer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0fNehrpwZ8

    And come across the term "notes for embellishments".
    Now that is something that I would like to learn more about.

    Does anybody have any links to info on this subject?
    Or an explanation as to which notes to usually use, and when they will usually sound good?
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  2. #2
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    Here's a video that should help

    Happy just to be a Newbie +, Penny

  3. #3
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    I agree with Ubulele. FWIW, she’s got a distinctive style that works very well mimicking clawhammer, but clawhammer is a downstroke technique. There’s no upstroke in it at all. The notes are either played with the pad of the thumb or with the back of the nail of the preferred “frailing” finger of the player, typically the index or middle finger...but I will use my ring finger if the nail on my middle finger breaks
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks for the answers.

    Regarding proper clawhammer technique:
    I never played clawhammer style on ukulele, watched the video to get some ideas.
    So, I understand that it is not the authentic clawhammer technique as played on banjo. Anyone here who play clawhammer ukulele who tried her way vs. the real deal, and can say whether one has an advantage over the other on ukulele?
    Perhaps her way is easier on nylon strings, but would wear your fingers on steel banjo strings?

    Regarding the embellishments:
    I think the first video gave me some clues.
    But there are 3 or 4 notes in the chord, that I can potentially "embellish" this way. I have to choose one.
    And which ways are the common ones?
    I see that if one of the strings which are fretted in the chord will be the scale note below when open (or at the barring finger if using a barre chord), I can simple let it go ata hammer it on.
    If not, I guess I can hammer on and pull off a higher note to achieve a mordent.
    Other suggestions?
    And are there specific bbeats that are better for embellishments than others?
    Last edited by UkingViking; 07-14-2019 at 04:02 AM.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    Thanks for the answers.

    Regarding proper clawhammer technique:
    I never played clawhammer style on ukulele, watched the video to get some ideas.
    So, I understand that it is not the authentic clawhammer technique as played on banjo. Anyone here who play clawhammer ukulele who tried her way vs. the real deal, and can say whether one has an advantage over the other on ukulele?
    Perhaps her way is easier on nylon strings, but would wear your fingers on steel banjo strings?

    Regarding the embellishments:
    I think the first video gave me some clues.
    But there are 3 or 4 notes in the chord, that I can potentially "embellish" this way. I have to choose one.
    And which ways are the common ones?
    I see that if one of the strings which are fretted in the chord will be the scale note below when open (or at the barring finger if using a barre chord), I can simple let it go ata hammer it on.
    If not, I guess I can hammer on and pull off a higher note to achieve a mordent.
    Other suggestions?
    And are there specific bbeats that are better for embellishments than others?
    With regards to her style of playing - I have a hunch that the book she mentions, from which she learned her style that she calls "clawhammer, is Pete Seeger's classic, "How to Play the 5 String Banjo". If anything, I'd call it "Pete Seeger Style".

    She sounds good and she's got that essential Bump-Ditty groove going - but it messes with my head that she's telling others that this is the way Clawhammer would be played on a banjo, because it's not.

    Which is better? I dunno if one is better than the other. But I do think using proper clawhammer technique would naturally lend itself to a more percussive tone as the way the fingernail strikes the strings tends to mute it a bit. With the frailing finger nail downstroking a single note, followed by a brush with the hand in a claw, followed by a lifting away of the thumb pad from its position on the G string to sound it and start the sequence over again...everything gets a bit plunky..which is a good thing.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  6. #6

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    Hi UkinhViking. While not an expert at all Iíd think that embellishments or ornamentation would have a couple different parts that play together. The notes themselves probably follow the key you are in or would depend on the chord you are playing and/or moving to. That said Iím sure their are exceptions aplenty. A simple trill for instance may get away with a half step up and down (as it is returning to a note within key) where a hammer-on might only sound good with a whole step and the hammered note is the finalization of the embellishment. I suspect this is one of those guidelines over rules situations.

    Examples of ornamentations might not even be note based, for example rhythmic variations, dynamics, variations on note length, etc. Note base examples could include slides (up/down/bends), rolls, simple trills, hammer-on/pull-off, runs (on or off), grace notes, etc.

    Regarding the picking method shown in the OPís video vs clawhammer Iíd say the difference is tied up in efficiency. Clawhammer is all downward motion assisted with the weight of the hand and arm. The claw shape is the relaxed form of the hand. If you watch the right hand in the OPís video you see plucking with the thumb joint, upward plucking with the index finger, etc. Just watch the right hand and observe all of the extra motion to produce the rhythm. Clawhammer as played in old-time banjo has an efficiency of motion the OPís example is lacking. Clawhammer banjo also doesnít have to remain fixed to the ďbum dit-tyĒ rhythmic figure. The thumb can be used or left out to create straight eight note rhythms or syncopated variations.


  7. #7
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    When I think of “notes for embellishment”, I think of passing notes from one chord to the next (like walk ups/downs) or if you are playing the melody line, it would be adding in arpeggios or just notes from the scale of the key you are playing to embellish between two notes of the melody line (like you would see in fiddle tunes).

  8. #8
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    Another video demonstrating mordents

    Happy just to be a Newbie +, Penny

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