Judging Waterslagers in Shows
 

The judging of waterslagers is closely related to the definition of the song and the tours.

The following score sheet has the information lines translated to English but leaves the tours as they appear on a typical official score sheet. They will be explained in English as we describe the respective tour.

Tour Positive
Max. Pts.
 
Klokkende
12
Bollende
9
Rollende
6
Chorr/Knorr
6
Staaltone
9
Fluiten
9
Woeten
6
Bellen
6
Belrol
6
Fluitenrol
6
Tjok/Tjokken rol
6
Schokkel
3
Onvoorziene loon
Indruk
3
Total
X 3
 
.
.
.
Negative Notes (Faults)
Minus 3 Max.
.
Ophaal - Riet
-3
Hoge Spitse
-3
Snetter
-3
Neuzig
-3
Tjip-tjep-tsiet
-3
Tjap(uitgesloten)
-3
.
.
.
Team Harmony
3
 
Final Score    

 

The positive notes are scored in multiples of three (3); therefore the minimum score on any given tour is 1/3 of the total points allotted for the given tour. The judge will note on his personal worksheet with defined symbols the quality of the tour when first heard, as being high pitch, normal or deep. The judge will as the bird sings continue to check his initial note to see if the bird has improved, so he can add a point to the tour. A waterslager must perform a minimum of 3 klok notes in a series for a judge to note this tour. The better singers will not only improve, but also give variations of the given note or tour, after they "warm up" for an additional point. The consensus is that with waterslagers always having this freedom of tour interpretation for improvement no one bird can possibly reach the maximum allowed score in any given tour. Knowing that the water notes are what distinguish a waterslager from other song canaries, one should take great notice of how the bird scored in Klokkende and Bollende. A waterslager given 6 or 7 points for Klokkende is a very good high score. One that scores 5 or 6 in Bollende is also a magnificent bird. Any waterslager scoring above this range in either tour is exceptional. Very few waterslagers in a song contest season from December 1 to March 1st score higher than 7 in Klokkende or 6 in Bollende. It should be clarified that the highly coveted water award is for Klokkende. The highest score given to date for Klokkende is 9 points. This bird’s total score was 141 points again for a current record high. It should also be noted that most waterslagers excel in one or the other of these water notes. Those that score well in both tours are also considered exceptional and hard to achieve specimens. The Rollende is the wavy rolling water tour that is usually given 2 or 3 points by judges as a stronger rollende may be scored as a 4 point Bollende due to the heavier bubbling affect.


This is a picture of 4 staged cages. Not shown in this picture is a divider which is placed between the left and right cages. A small divider is also placed above the cages. These dividers are placed between the cages so the birds do not see each other or get distracted from lighting above.

The top left cage is A, bottom left B, top right C, bottom right D

There are two different methods for handling and presentation. The waterslager breeders of Belgium are federated into two distinct federations along that division. However, the song itself is judged the same. There are the so-called open caged ways and closed-cage ways. As the AWS only organizes open-cages judging, we will focus on it.

The birds are normally presented by groups of 4 in front of the judge, at a distance of approximately 1.5 m (6 feet). While they are kept in the dark holding room prior to showing, they will normally sing within seconds in front of the judge, and are allowed a period of 20 minutes before being brought back to the holding room.

 

Klokkende translates to water beat note. The most common description of this note is a comparison to the sound made by air escaping out of a bottle submerged in a tub of water, Wuut, Wuut, Wuut. The note is scored based on duration, clarity and depth. The waterslager that masters slowing the note to give a deep penetrating beat in water affect will captivate any listener. A 6 or 7 score in this tour is very good top

Bollende translates to bubbling water note. The most common description of this note is a comparison to the sound made by the bubbling of boiling water. However, I take the comparison a step further to that of a heavy liquid to emphasis the strength a good waterslager gives this note to give a deep series of Bluu, Bluu, Bluu. A 5 or 6 score in bollende is very good.
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Rollende is the cascading sound of rolling water. A waterslager will enlace either the klokkende or bollende note in a faster shorter emphasis pace series giving a wavy affect, wutwutwuutwutwut or blublublublublu. The more common is the bollende type series. A waterslager scoring 3 points in rollende and scoring high in either or both of the above water tours is a great bonus. This tour without any score on the other two water tours is considered minimal qualifications to consider a canary a waterslager.
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Chorr/Knorr is the note that a waterslager performs as a deep from within force note to open his throat muscles, choorrrr or the bass knnoorrr. Compared to a warm up note made by an opera singer. Most waterslagers will go with a just above average Chorr for 3 points, but the exception is the Knorr for 4 points.
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Staaltone is the metallic beat note of the waterslager. This note is like the two or three beats of the pipes in an orchestra to spice a musical piece, Choong, Choong, Choong. The sharper yet still appreciated version is the beat of metal on metal like a hammer on an anvil, ping, ping, ping. A score of 4 or 5 means this waterslager has good pitch.
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Fluiten is of course the flute note. This is a note where a waterslager really shows his freedom of interpretation. The flute note can be as deep and smooth as that of the best roller or it can be accented with water sounding just short of a Klokkende note. A score of 5 here means very nice flutes, where a 6 means he does a variety of flute sounds.
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Woeten is a tour that has been lost but is not removed in hopes of someday rediscovering it through a not impossible genetic imprint brought forward, through what is often termed a throw back.
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Bellen is the bell note. This is another note where a waterslager shows his talents by a rendition of distinct bell sounds from the Lu, Lu roller bell to the hollow bell having a water echo in the vowel (U) part of the note, to the beautiful double sound church bell, the te-lon. A score of 3 is average for the roller bell, while a 4 or even a 5 means this waterslager has a nice variety of bell notes.
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Belrol is the bell roll tour similar to that in a roller song canary. It is a series of short bell notes where the difference between a 2 or 3 score is on the lower sound of the vowel U versus the higher pitch affect of the vowel I, in other words a lululululu is preferred over a lilililili.
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Fluitenrol is the flute roll tour again similar to that performed by a roller song canary. It is a series of short flute notes where the difference between a 2 or 3 score is on the depth and smoothness of the tour. A few waterslagers have such a beautiful flute roll resembling a rollende and these are awarded 4 points.
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Tjok/tjokkenrol is the note borrowed from the call note of the European Nightingale. A more similar phonetic version for English is probably tchoke, which can be made in a series called tjokken rol. The strong th sound lead to the long O vowel abrupted with the strong K sound will give a 3 for the tour. A 4 in this tour usually means the bird does both the single note and rolling tour versions. However, a beautiful deep tjok note series can earn a 4 in this tour. It is a noticeable impressive note when performed deep and clear.
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Schokkel in waterslagers is very different from the schockle associated with the roller song. In waterslagers it is a unique pretty bubble sound that seems to come out of nowhere in a repertoire. It is seldom done more than 2 times in a row, Blub.
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Indruk is where a judge is given the freedom to give up to 3 points for impression it made on the judge.
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Waterslagers have inherited a few faulty notes that may cause a bird to have points deducted or even get disqualified. A breeder must weigh the fault against the overall quality of song before discarding a waterslager with a fault like riet. It all depends on how often a bird will disrupt his song pattern by releasing this high pitch reiit sound. Some do it sparingly while others love to irritate their listener(s) with it. A nasal sounding bird is usually not a very good quality singer and best eliminated from a breeder’’s program. There is no hesitation however in eliminating a bird with the horrible annoying spitting/lisping fault called snetter. In fact all the remaining faults are very likely disqualifying sounds, as you can imagine by their phonetic spelling of the fault. Only the very ignorant or none caring would enter such a bird in a contest. Certainly only the none conscience would offer such a bird to anyone.

The less offensive faults like riet and nasal are tolerated by judges and are therefore the most commonly heard faults, as breeders are aware these will not get them embarrassingly disqualified.

An interesting factor is that though scoring in each tour is vital for a higher score it does not always mean a higher scoring bird is preferred. There are fanciers that will only look at the Klokkende score to select a bird. They could care less what the overall score was as long as it had no faults. A score sheet is a good guide for a beginner to know the substance of the waterslagers being considered, but it is ultimately the person’s hearing pitch preference that will decide the strain sought. The American Waterslager Society’s Founders realized how important it was to hear waterslagers before investing on scores alone and agreed to hold contests open to the public. This way a newcomer could hopefully hear high scoring birds from different strains and find his preference. A very difficult thing to do in Belgium for example where the contests are off limits except to judges, stewards and birds.
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© AWS 2001