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Thinking About the Quality of Your Gracenotes

Thinking About the Quality of Your Gracenotes


There are two major considerations when we think about gracenote quality: Size, and Sync.

Obviously, there are good and bad gracenotes out there. Angus MacColl? You guessed it - amazing gracenote quality. You, of course, will probably need to practice and develop some knowledge before you will achieve gracenotes that are quite that musical - but hey, that's the fun part, right? Gettin' better!

Let's look at gracenote size a little bit. What is the right size of a gracenote?

Gracenote QualityConsider a gracenote's purpose. It is not a melody note. It's an articulation of a melody note. This points to the idea that we don't want it to interrupt the melody - so it needs to be as short as possible. The bigger a gracenote is, the more it will infringe on the melody - so we have to keep these things SHORT.

I often tell our younger students - don't let a drummer tell you that pipers don't know anything about drumming! In fact, we're piping and drumming at the same time, because our gracenotes create an undoubtedly percussive layer to our music.

It is true - if you go too small with the gracenotes, it may actually become too hard to hear them, so there is a little bit of give and take... but let's face it - at a novice level, the goal is to keep them as small as possible.

You can click here to explore gracenotes on Dojo University.

See you around Dojo U!


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