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Notation Problem: Ornaments


jitter

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Hi!

 

I'm transcribing the funky bass line of Jamiroquai's "Whatever it is, I just can't stop" (Emergency on Planet Earth), and I'm facing a notation problem.

 

After some cool 16th runs and dead notes the bass plays a quarter note, g#. So far that's not unusual, but I have a problem with the "ornamentation" of that note.

 

He starts the quarter note at g, quickly trills between g and g# to end the remaining 40% of the quarter note on g#. Funky :)

 

Now to the question: A plain trill is noted as wiggly line above the note, most of the time. As far as I understand that means to trill from the written note to the note a diatonic second above for the full duration of the note, so that's not what I want.

 

Then there's "prall" and "mordent" in Lilypond, my notation tool of choice, including variants with an additional upward/downward arc at the beginning or end.

 

The articulation notes I'm referring to can be seen here: http://www.lilypond.org/doc/v2.6/Documentation/user/out-www/lilypond/Articulations.html

 

Finally the question: what do they mean and which one should be used to write down that ornamentation I mentioned?

 

Thanks in advance,

jitter

 

P.S. Can someone recommend a good music dictionary that contains information like that one?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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After re-reading my description I guess it's a good idea to add an image :)

 

There you go, the first minute of Whatever it is, I just can't stop:

http://www.sbox.tugraz.at/home/t/trobin/jamiroquai.png

 

In my initial post I was talking about the last note of bar 7.

 

Thanks for your suggestion Prague, I'll use that if there's no "proper" way to do it.

 

jitter

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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I'm a little confused by that symbol - it's like a cross between a trill and a mordent, when I think it's more of an inverted mordent (which includes the upper grace note/ornament)) Inverted mordents don't have that verticle line running through them. Also, according to the conventions I work with, there should be a "flat" symbol above the note, between the note and the ornament. That's my take on it, anyway. Looks pretty sweet, though!
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@Brian Fox: The symbol I'm using right now is called "upmordent" in Lilypond. It's a mordent with that upward arc, and I'm mainly using it because I know the plain trill is wrong :)

 

The Lilypond link I mentioned in my original posting shows all avaliable trill/mordent/prall symbols.

 

Regarding your second and third posts: I uploaded a short .mp3 snippet from the start of the song. You can hear a bit more than the first 8 bars:

http://www.sbox.tugraz.at/home/t/trobin/jamiroquai.mp3

 

This trill is of course played slightly different every time around, but it essentially starts on G and ends on G# IMHO.

 

Disclaimer: I've only been playing bass for two years, so please don't trust my ears :)

 

Thanks,

jitter

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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The classical "trill" symbol is often used to indicate vibrato.

 

The move you're talking about is physically played as a very wide "legit" vibrato (meaning like a cello) that slides between G and G# very quickly. It sounds like a trill a little bit (due to the finger sliding rapidly between two fretted notes) but sounds a bit smoother. You can hear other examples of this move from Paul Jackson, Stanley Clarke, Verdine White, Tony Levin, etc.

 

Guitar-style vibrato or an actual trill would work as well...but to me it sounds right doing the move I suggested.

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I think BenLoy is on to it.

 

To me, it sounded either like a "BB King" bend (sometimes it is notated in tab with a wide curved line with an arrow, but I'm not sure there is an exact notation for it...I'll check Sibelius 3 for an example)

 

...or it sounded like a fret pinch. You know, where you pinch the top of the g fret, and wobble your finger back and forth, making a trill.

 

However, if I was reading this transcription and saw this mordent type symbol, I wouldn't perform it in the say it sounds on the recording.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Yeah, sounds like a shake between G and G# to me. I think I'd notate it as a trill on G natural. One thing to consider is changing the key you chose for it -- I don't think it's in E, since the groove is built on E7. You might put it in A, or you could consider puting it in the "key of funk," with all accidentals notated. Nice choice to transcribe!
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@BenLoy and davebrownbass: Hmm, I think my poor description led to some confusion. I did that transcription, and altough I know how to "create the sound" I did not know how to write it down, so it's about ways to write down some ornamentation, not so much how to play it. (For what it's worth I play it by quick hammer-on/pull-off between G and G#, which is easier than the quick sliding for me).

 

@Brian Fox: Thanks again for the excellent suggestions. About the key: I used C major first, changed it to E and back... either way it looks a bit too messy. The key of A indeed is the best choice :)

 

Regarding the choice of the song to transcribe: It's a cool riff and the bass is up front, making it a bit easier for me. The best part of the song is the riff right after my transcription ends. It contains a sloooooow slide from C# down to A.

 

When I first heard that slide I laughed out loud and felt the urge to kneel down in front of my stereo. Funk! :)

 

jitter

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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