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"Learn the Roller Canary Song"

This article was written by Bill Friend on April 29, 2004.
He described the song with written words and with short audio clips in order to give you an opportunity to learn it from both ends. Concentrate on one roll or "tour" at a time until you recognize it. Start with Glucke or Flutes, as they are the easiest ones to identify; then move through them all.

Each Roller strain sings a different number (5 to 12-) of them, and the tone varies dependant on the skills of the breeders. They inbreed, linebreed, and make their selections based on their song preferences. Many are culled out over many years, thereby building great strains. So it goes without saying that if you wish to start out in Roller Canaries, purchase them from a breeder whose strain has consistently won tour specials and team firsts at shows. In this way you will be getting a good clean strain and a head start. After you have become familiar with each of the song parts, listen to a single Roller Canary cock singing his full song; it will always stay in your mind.

The key in which each roll or tour is delivered is called the register. There is high, middle and low as in soprano, tenor, and bass. The low register is the best, and has the highest value. The best sounds a Roller produces are the vowels A, E, I, O, and U. The consonants that are sung in place are fine, however out-of-place ones make the song faulty. When assessing the quality of a song part, listen to the tone, which is defined as clarity and depth. So let's start; double click on the song parts below:

•Hollow Roll:
As its name implies, it is a hollow sound, and is the foundation of all rolls & tours. Hollow Roll can be delivered in different renderings, the best being produced with the vowels U, UO, or OO, with R or RR following through; giving the rolling effect. Example: To give you the idea of this sound, including its rise and fall, imagine a gusting wind blowing past a small hole.

•Bass Roll:
The Bass Roll is a very deep roll, which is delivered with the beak closed tight, which ensures a smooth purring or rolling sound, like the purring of a cat.

•Water Glucke:
This tour is pronounced like glue, ending with a K, and is a double song passage with a beat of Glucke and an undertone of water. Example: Empty a bottle of water into a deep container. This gives the desired sound with the beat of the Glucke and the watery undertone. It is at its best when sung slowly.

This tour is pronounced like glue ending with a K, and is one of the simplest tours for the beginner to learn, as the bird actually pronounces the word Glucke. Example: The best one is like the sound made when you pour water from a gallon jug.

•Glucke Roll :
This roll is deep, and is comprised of a ground tone of Bass with hammering, intermittent beats of Glucke, which are connected with R. This gives it a continuous rolling effect. You might say that the Bass is sung slow, thereby letting the Glucke come through. Some judges score it, some don't score it, and others will score is as bass or Glucke, whichever predominates. Example: To get an idea of this roll, imagine a motorcycle approaching, passing, and then going away. It also can be described as a hammering slow Bass Roll.

This tour is similar to Hollow Bell, except it is delivered with ground sounds O or U, and consonant H being heard very lightly before the vowels O or U, such as HO HO HO or HU HU HU. This is similar to a person giving a deep laugh, and is sometimes called Laughing Schockel. Example: Schockel is a beat tour, and sometimes it sounds like it is coming from a barrel like an echo.

•Hollow Bell:
This tour is delivered in only two registers, middle and low. The best Hollow Bell is delivered when the voice is changing from a deep Hollow Bell, bringing the best of a bell with vowels O or U, and the consonant L, which gives a rendering of LUL LUL LUL LUL, or of LOL LOL LOL LOL.

This is a simple tour and, as I said before, easy to learn. It may be delivered in all three registers; the best being in the low register, and the notes sound like they are coming from a flute. Example: Sustained notes from a flute,
DU DU DU or DO DO DO. It is best sung slowly about four times. There is also Glucke Flutes. The bird starts to pronounce the word Glucke, but instead of finishing the word, he sustains the flute sound, not pronouncing the K.

•Water Roll :
This is a simple tour and sounds like water running over rocks causing the water to ripple. People, not familiar with the Roller song, have been known to say, "Water is running somewhere."

•Deep Bubbling Water:
This tour has the vowels O and U and consonant B, and is a bubbling sound with watery undertone. Example: Like bubbles breaking the surface of the water BULB BULB BULB, or BLOUB BLOUB BLOUB, or BLOB BLOB BLOB; it must be very deep, with a watery sound.

These are in the top register, and often follow Hollow Roll. The roll sounds like the tinkling of a tiny bell, and should be delivered softly. It has the vowel I (LIL) and the consonant R (RE), like a rolling bell sound. The tour is delivered with a beat, like very high short flute notes. While this tour gets a low score, properly sung it is a thrilling sound to hear. Good example: LIL LIL LIL. However, it must also be said that when it is poorly sung or dwelled on it can be ugly, and is the basis for faults and low General Effect.

•Double Tour: This tour is rare indeed, and is a special treat to hear. Listen to it very carefully, and you
will hear one Roller Canary singing 2 rolls at the same time. The Hollow Roll is sung over the Bass Roll."

•General Effect:
This is the consideration given by the judge to the quality of the bird's performance of the tours sung rather than the number of tours sung. It gives you some idea of the quality of your Roller's performance. The General Effect score given to a 4-bird team will definitely indicate whether this team is from a good, well-developed strain or not. You should also look for excellence in Hollow Roll and Bass Roll; look for the Tour Special Rosettes in these two rolls.

A special thanks to:
Allen Baumgarner, Aussieroller, Fernando Juan Vicente
Justin Agrella and David Godman.
for their contributions to this article

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