Flick vs. hammer on

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    • #5282
      David Duchene


      I picked up the fiddle about a year go, after ~15 years, and your site has been by far the best resource I’ve found, so cheers for that!

      I’m learning Da Slockit Light, and I noticed that I sometimes do a hammer on when Hanneke suggests a flick. This is probably because I find the hammer on a bit easier. But sometimes I even make the hammer on by unnecessarily putting a finger on a lower note just to make it easier.

      I hope to improve my flick, but I wonder, is it a bad habit to replace it with the hammer on? Or is this rather common and up to the player, given they sound similar? I would really like to learn more scottish fiddle tunes, so I guess I’m particularly interested in the technique used in that tradition.

      Thanks for any advice!


    • #5284
      Roland White

      Hi David, Forum moderator here responding to your good question. In general ornaments are the choice of the player as to what type of ornament to use or when to use it. In Trad music it really depends on who you’re listening to. Many players favor one type of ornament over another and will use that most often. Some times the type of ornament depends on how much time you have to ornament a note without losing your rhythm, or in some cases it may be an open string and force you to use the bow treble, shake or cut whatever you may call it. As for the hammer on instead of a flick it depends on if your hammer on sounds like a Scottish grace note or just a hammer on. If you want to sound authentic Scottish, I would suggest tuning into Hanneke’s Scottish Grace Notes and practicing those to use in your Trad Scottish tunes. Or learn the lick first then go back to the Lesson and see if you can execute the flick and if it gives you more of the Scottish sound you’re looking for. Whatever you do ornaments take a long time to master properly and require a lot of listening to learn how to put them in the right places. Keep at it and I’m sure you will get the hang of it. Thanks for posting on the forum.

    • #5285
      Casey Willis

      Hey there, David. I second Roland’s advice that the grace note is really the player’s choice. I know that The Flick is really one of the most common notes used in Scottish playing, but that doesn’t mean that a substitution is a bad thing.

      I tend to play certain ornamentations which “feel” right, but may not be right for the next player. I use a ton of hammer-ons, even in Texas Style fiddling, and I agree; they are slightly easier to implement.

      Thanks for the feedback on the site. A bunch of work went into it, and I’m glad to see folks signing up. Keep up the good work, sir!

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