Home Glossary Dojo Fundamentals Glossary Pulsing - Expression and Phrasing on a Larger Scale

Pulsing - Expression and Phrasing on a Larger Scale

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Pulsing focuses on building dynamic flavor across two or more beats. In order to produce expressive phrases, pipers will often literally extend the length of certain beats, and condense others.

Expand and contract the length of beats to enhance the dynamic quality of bars and phrases.

While ALAP/ASAP is a fundamental that focuses on dynamics inside of individual beats, Pulsing focuses on building dynamic flavor across two or more beats. In order to produce expressive phrases, pipers will often literally extend the length of certain beats, and condense others. Again, this simulation of volume changes is what provides that dynamic flavor to our music. Pulsing, and the degree of pulsing, is open-ended, and completely up to the performer. This concept is the true gateway to making the music a true extension of your Self.

Pulsing Basics

Pulsing DiagramPulsing deals with the idea that somehow we need to dynamically show the important beats within a phrase. Violinists might bow a note with more energy and volume. A drummer could just hit the drum louder. How do we do it, with no ability to change the volume of our instrument? Again, it's going to deal with the skill of bending and stretching the expectations of rhythm to simulate a diverse dynamic range during a phrase.

Click here to go to our class on Pulsing Basics

The "Heavy Left Foot," and "Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak."

SWMW DiagramUsing the concept of pulsing, it doesn't take long to realize that this idea naturally leads to some of the more esoteric phrasing concepts that exist in the world of piping. In fact, the idea of pulsing is exactly what generates the idea of the "heavy left foot," and the idea of "Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak." Watch the class below to see how these popular phrasing templates have come to exist.

Click here to view the class on the Heavy Left foot and Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak.

Further Investigation

We have had and will have many classes on the topic of Pulsing, and they are all stored in the archive. Pulsing, the ability to shape the dynamics of your music, is truly how you will become your own piper, and make the music a true extension of your Self.

Click here to see all of our classes on the topic of Pulsing

Click here to see all of our classes on the topic of Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak.

These topics, and many, many more can also be found by visiting the "Search the Archives" page, which is located under the "Archive" tab above.

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Andrew Douglas Andrew is a prolific practitioner of the bagpipe, having been active at the highest level of pipe bands, solo competition, teaching, and creative endeavors for the past 20 years. He's also the founder and creator of Dojo U and of PipersDojo.com

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