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Pianos In Folk Music

Banjiman 01 Feb 08 - 01:24 PM
The Villan 01 Feb 08 - 01:30 PM
Maryrrf 01 Feb 08 - 01:31 PM
The Sandman 01 Feb 08 - 01:32 PM
Emma B 01 Feb 08 - 01:33 PM
Wesley S 01 Feb 08 - 01:35 PM
Dan Schatz 01 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM
Geordie-Peorgie 01 Feb 08 - 01:42 PM
Leadfingers 01 Feb 08 - 01:43 PM
The Villan 01 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 01 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM
The Villan 01 Feb 08 - 01:53 PM
Stringsinger 01 Feb 08 - 02:07 PM
Little Robyn 01 Feb 08 - 02:45 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Feb 08 - 03:04 PM
PoppaGator 01 Feb 08 - 03:11 PM
mattkeen 01 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,The Mole catcher's piano playing Apprentice 01 Feb 08 - 03:21 PM
Doc John 01 Feb 08 - 03:25 PM
Don Firth 01 Feb 08 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Curmudgeon 01 Feb 08 - 03:34 PM
Emma B 01 Feb 08 - 04:02 PM
Geoff the Duck 01 Feb 08 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 01 Feb 08 - 04:35 PM
Gene Burton 01 Feb 08 - 04:46 PM
Jack Campin 01 Feb 08 - 04:49 PM
Geordie-Peorgie 01 Feb 08 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 01 Feb 08 - 05:06 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Feb 08 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,irishenglish 01 Feb 08 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Murray on Salt Spring 01 Feb 08 - 05:18 PM
BTMP 01 Feb 08 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 01 Feb 08 - 05:39 PM
catspaw49 01 Feb 08 - 05:46 PM
Gene Burton 01 Feb 08 - 05:52 PM
Banjiman 01 Feb 08 - 05:55 PM
catspaw49 01 Feb 08 - 05:57 PM
Banjiman 01 Feb 08 - 06:03 PM
catspaw49 01 Feb 08 - 06:12 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Feb 08 - 06:13 PM
Banjiman 01 Feb 08 - 06:15 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Feb 08 - 06:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 08 - 06:56 PM
The Villan 01 Feb 08 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 02 Feb 08 - 12:45 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Feb 08 - 02:57 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM
catspaw49 02 Feb 08 - 03:35 AM
Banjiman 02 Feb 08 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,Jon 02 Feb 08 - 05:10 AM
Nick 02 Feb 08 - 05:20 AM
Roger the Skiffler 02 Feb 08 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,strad 02 Feb 08 - 05:51 AM
The Villan 02 Feb 08 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,Moonmoth 02 Feb 08 - 06:17 AM
banjoman 02 Feb 08 - 06:35 AM
The Villan 02 Feb 08 - 06:39 AM
Banjiman 02 Feb 08 - 07:08 AM
The Villan 02 Feb 08 - 07:12 AM
Busy Lizzie 02 Feb 08 - 07:14 AM
Banjiman 02 Feb 08 - 07:23 AM
Marje 02 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM
Busy Lizzie 02 Feb 08 - 08:05 AM
Busy Lizzie 02 Feb 08 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Walkaboutsverse 02 Feb 08 - 08:17 AM
Banjiman 02 Feb 08 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Twinkle fingers 02 Feb 08 - 08:56 AM
Nick 02 Feb 08 - 09:25 AM
Ref 02 Feb 08 - 09:47 AM
Rockhen 02 Feb 08 - 10:00 AM
Midchuck 02 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM
Rockhen 02 Feb 08 - 11:10 AM
Geordie-Peorgie 02 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM
The Villan 03 Feb 08 - 05:06 AM
Saro 03 Feb 08 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Acorn4 03 Feb 08 - 06:15 AM
The Villan 03 Feb 08 - 07:17 AM
Geordie-Peorgie 03 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM
The Villan 03 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 03 Feb 08 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Curmudgeon 03 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM
Snuffy 03 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's short Apprentice 03 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM
Richard Bridge 03 Feb 08 - 04:36 PM
Banjiman 03 Feb 08 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Peter 03 Feb 08 - 06:37 PM
The Sandman 03 Feb 08 - 06:45 PM
Snuffy 03 Feb 08 - 07:29 PM
banjoman 04 Feb 08 - 11:21 AM
Trevor Thomas 04 Feb 08 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,Henryp 04 Feb 08 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Feb 08 - 03:16 AM
Banjiman 05 Feb 08 - 03:21 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Feb 08 - 03:34 AM
GUEST 05 Feb 08 - 05:47 AM
mattkeen 05 Feb 08 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM
GUEST, Sminky 05 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM
oggie 05 Feb 08 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Feb 08 - 07:51 AM
Banjiman 05 Feb 08 - 08:10 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Feb 08 - 12:23 PM
mattkeen 06 Feb 08 - 08:35 AM
GUEST, Sminky 06 Feb 08 - 09:10 AM
The Villan 06 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM
GUEST, Sminky 06 Feb 08 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 06 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's pianoless Apprentice 06 Feb 08 - 11:07 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Feb 08 - 11:11 AM
The Villan 06 Feb 08 - 11:52 AM
Teribus 06 Feb 08 - 12:01 PM
PoppaGator 06 Feb 08 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 06 Feb 08 - 04:06 PM
PoppaGator 06 Feb 08 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 06 Feb 08 - 06:16 PM
Rog Peek 06 Feb 08 - 06:27 PM
Tootler 06 Feb 08 - 07:17 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Feb 08 - 03:33 AM
PoppaGator 07 Feb 08 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 07 Feb 08 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 07 Feb 08 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Black Hawk 08 Feb 08 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 08 Feb 08 - 06:49 AM
Rockhen 08 Feb 08 - 09:48 AM
Alan Day 08 Feb 08 - 12:25 PM
Jack Campin 08 Feb 08 - 12:58 PM
PoppaGator 08 Feb 08 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice 08 Feb 08 - 02:47 PM
mattkeen 08 Feb 08 - 02:52 PM
mattkeen 08 Feb 08 - 03:06 PM
Stringsinger 08 Feb 08 - 03:20 PM
PoppaGator 08 Feb 08 - 03:40 PM
terrier 08 Feb 08 - 04:40 PM
Rowan 08 Feb 08 - 11:00 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 08 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow 30 Sep 08 - 11:15 AM
Acorn4 30 Sep 08 - 12:41 PM
Banjiman 30 Sep 08 - 12:48 PM
The Greyt Hound 30 Sep 08 - 04:31 PM
Tim Leaning 30 Sep 08 - 09:52 PM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow 01 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 04:45 AM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 09:25 AM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 09:41 AM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 09:42 AM
Colin Randall 01 Oct 08 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow 01 Oct 08 - 11:35 AM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 11:55 AM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 12:04 PM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 01:29 PM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 02:03 PM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 04:20 PM
danensis 01 Oct 08 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Oct 08 - 04:43 PM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 04:44 PM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 05:09 PM
Tim Leaning 01 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM
Banjiman 01 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM
The Villan 01 Oct 08 - 05:45 PM
The Greyt Hound 01 Oct 08 - 06:28 PM
Banjiman 02 Oct 08 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow 02 Oct 08 - 11:38 AM
The Villan 02 Oct 08 - 11:48 AM
Banjiman 02 Oct 08 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,Russ 02 Oct 08 - 12:55 PM
The Villan 02 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM
Goose Gander 02 Oct 08 - 02:00 PM
Ian Carter 03 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM
Banjiman 03 Oct 08 - 12:45 PM
sleepyjon 03 Oct 08 - 02:27 PM
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Subject: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:24 PM

I don't like 'em.........discuss


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:30 PM

They are much better than Banjo's :-)

I think its great to hear somebody playing piano and singing a folk song.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Maryrrf
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:31 PM

Count me as one that doesn't particularly like them although they can sometimes work. Usually not my taste.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:32 PM

it depends how they are played.
on one of my albums Cheating The Tide,I had a superb pianist called Sam Richards.
I think they can also work very well in Ceilidh Bands[ eg Reg Hall].Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Emma B
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:33 PM

An out-of-tune battered pub upright piano was always the focal point of the earliest singing sessions I remember as a kid.

....and, you can put your beer on them too:)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Wesley S
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:35 PM

Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs recently released a CD. The bluegrass community generally thought it was "no part of nuthin' " but I liked a lot of it.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM

It depends on the context - in Cape Breton fiddle music a piano is just the thing. For a sea chantey not so much.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Geordie-Peorgie
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:42 PM

Ah! But hev ye ever heard 'Old Brown Dog' by Ralph McTell? - A work of pianistic art and the song just wadn't be the same just on guitar.

That's the ownly one that springs te mind immediately but give uz a minnute and aah'll find more


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:43 PM

I personally do not like piano accompaniment for traditional tunes !


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM

I like this one June Tabor


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:47 PM

(I'm speaking of instrumental bands here, not solo singers who use piano backing because that varies so much depending upon the artist): I don't like them 95% of the time because they're so often unimaginatively played by people who simply bash out the same three vamp chords, which dominates tonally and doesn't take any real skill to do. I like keyboards to be subtle, interesting, to be able to carry the melody instead of ONLY chording along, and to not take over.

Pianists I like (these are only the ones I can think of off the top of my head at the moment, so this is not a comprehensive list - there are others too):

Micheál Ó Súilleabháin

Kevin O'Reilley (??I think that's his name) in the band North Cregg

Paul Machlis, who plays sometimes with Alasdair Fraser

Another Irish fella with a very straightforward name - so straightforward I can't remember it, Pat Something? He just put a record out a few months ago which has been aired on Irish radio.

Reg Hall, as Dick has already mentioned.

There are certainly more - but sadly they're outnumbered by piano accompaniments that I hate. Never heard Belinda but she sounds like one of the good 'uns.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 01:53 PM

And this one June Tabor

And this one June Tabor

Blimey, to think that about 16 years ago, I saw June Tabor live, and didn't like her at all. How time can make you change your viewpoint. I am pleased to say. :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 02:07 PM

it's too heavy to pack around on your back. No strap would work. Capos would be too expensive to fashion. You couldn't carry this on your back while schlepping down a railroad track singing "Goin' Down This Road Feelin' Bad".

It generally is played so loud that it drowns out acoustic voices. You need sound reinforcement to carry it (not folklike).

It sounds the best on show tunes, some pop tunes, some originals, and some blues ala
Ray Charles or rock ala Jerry Lee Lewis. Elton made it sound good on his first album.
A Bachrach song needs a piano IMHO.

Folk? It's hard to integrate it into an acoustic ensemble. It sounds good in a Contra-Dance band, though. Keeps the dancers on their toes (so to speak). I think of Yvan Breaux with Heritage who really made that thing talk for dancers.

It's great for jazz. Chord changes sophisticated and smooth and sets that mood.

In folk? I believe in simplicity. Sometimes an "um-plunk" sound best for a song because it doesn't get in the way. Simple piano tends to sound like "Chopsticks" but simple accompaniments on the guitar or banjo are more appropriate for folk songs.

Lieder or semi-classical arrangements of folk songs work (but not for "purists") but they don't sound folk-like. Schubert was kind of classical-folky. Many of his tunes became German Volklieder. Gotta' have Gerald Moore (great piano accompanist) and Fischer-Dieskau though. Nicht folky though.

Folk is accessible and I believe that the guitar and banjo are more accessible than the piano (which is so musically capable that in the hands of a beginner, it is most unwieldy).

There is a nightmare of four or five pianos playing folk music together although that number works fine with some guitar an acoustic string players.

88 versus 6, 5 or 12 (or 4) sort of says it. (Oh yes, 36 for autoharp)

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Little Robyn
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 02:45 PM

Johnny Handle in the High Level Ranters. He keeps things bouncing along, using the piano almost as a bass, when he's not playing his accordion.
I've seen him on an old piano that was a semitone out of tune and he just transposed onto the black notes and didn't miss a beat.
But I don't enjoy the semi-classical 'folk songs in evening dress' stuff.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:04 PM

Horrid Horrid Horrid on English folk music (1954 def) and even most nu-folk and neofolk.

They can ruin even June Tabor's singing (which is wonderful). They spoil Carol King.

There was a rather good band (I forget who) at Ely 2007 - and then the effing piano came thundering in and ruined it and my friends all laughed 'cos I stood up and said "Soddit it's a friggin piano I'm out of here" and left.

They ruin the two best Fairport original compositions ("Let her go Down", and the one about transportation to America - Virginny).

Irreplaceable for barrelhouse and boogie and boogie-woogie, great in the hands of Eddie Boyd, Champion Jack Dupree, Louisiana Red, and Doctor John - Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard - people who remember they are a percussion instrument - horrid in the hands of Christine Perfect (Chicken Shack) while still trying to play blues. Grand pianos are worse than uprights. Reg Dwight is wholly unlistenable to (with the possible exception of "Border Song", which nearly makes it as blue eyed soul).


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:11 PM

Depends on what you mean by "folk music." As always!

During the century or so immediately before the invention of audio recording, most people's experience of music, in homes and taverns and other places, involved the piano. Where no one able to play was available, there were player pianos. A whole lot of amateur singing-along occurred in gatherings around pianos. To me, that just about defines "folk."

On the other hand, my own current-day experience of the music most of us consider to be "folk" involves more portable instruments. In my (American) experience, the acoustic guitar has always seemed to be the definitive folk-music instrument. But since then, I've learned that some folks consider the guitar to be anethema to their conceptions of folk music: only fiddles, concertinas, and tin whistles need apply...

Each to his own. As always!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM

Huw Warren who usually plays with June Tabor is a marvellous player but at the risk of agreeing with some of the mad rantings of Richard, I do think that piano usually doesn't work in folk and I don't know why.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole catcher's piano playing Apprentice
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:21 PM

try telling that to Beryl Marriott and any number of excellent ceilidh bands currently doing the rounds....discuss

Charlotte (trying to keep her 88's straight)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Doc John
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:25 PM

I hate them in folk music and Frank Hamilton just about sums it up the reasons why they don't fit. They always remind me of why I was put off English folk music as a child: a plumby voiced sopranoes singing 'Greensleeves' or 'Blow Ye Winds Southerly' to piano accompaniment.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Don Firth
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:33 PM

Hmm. I'd say that on the June Tabor links, the piano works fairly well. It seems to be unobtrusive and accompanies the songs rather than overwhelming them, which all too often, a piano (or pianist) will do. Harking back to the minstrel tradition, I've always thought that a small, portable instrument such as a guitar, lute, banjo, whatever, depending on the song, is best, but if tastefully done and in the right setting, a piano is--okay.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Curmudgeon
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 03:34 PM

'Plumby'? You're dragging the depths with that one.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Emma B
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:02 PM

Little Robyn thanks for reminding me about Johnny Handle an 'oldie' but a good 'un'!
I've heard him on a 'joanna' in a noisy bar have everyone singing along to Blaydon Races!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:27 PM

Johnny Handle was mentioned somewhere above.
I recall one year at Whitby Folk Week, in the original Spa balroom, the "goon squad" were setting out for the evening dance. They were moving a podium on castors with a grand piano to where it was needed.
Johnny Handle was at the time seated at the piano and continued to play throughout the move.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:35 PM

"I hate them in folk music and Frank Hamilton just about sums it up the reasons why they don't fit. They always remind me of why I was put off English folk music as a child: a plumby voiced sopranoes singing 'Greensleeves' or 'Blow Ye Winds Southerly' to piano accompaniment."

well I do believe we've come a little further down the road since those days...a closed mind is terrible waste you know.

Charlotte ( looking at the view from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Gene Burton
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:46 PM

Must say, I LOVE Kathleen Ferrier's settings of English folk songs; most of which are accompanied on piano...but as in most cases I guess it's a question of what you do with the instrument, rather than the instrument itself...ANYTHING so powerful it swamps the vocal melody is counter-productive, but less is more...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:49 PM

There is a track on Karine Polwart's new album (where she goe back to traditional stuff and not before time) which has a WONDERFUL piano accompaniment, using the fewest notes possible.

Michael Marra (who is no more folk than Leonard Cohen, but often features on the same bill as folkies) is somebody else who uses a piano very effectively.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Geordie-Peorgie
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 04:53 PM

June Tabor singin' John Tams' "Pull Down Lads"

Aah thowt 'Let Her Go Down' was a Steeleye song - Aah've gorrit on an album caalled 'Sails Of Silver' and the writing credits are Steeleye Span - not arr. Steeleye Span

Aaawww Look! Aah've been and gone an' become one of them buggaz what nitpick every thread - Aah hate that!

It's like name-droppin' - Aah cannit stand name-droppin'! - Aah wez just sayin' the same te Richard Thompson the other night!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:06 PM

I've always loved Kathryn Roberts''Plains of Waterloo'- her piano playing is a perfect accompaniment to a beautiful song.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:08 PM

Whoever's song it was (and yes I could be wrong) the friggin piano still ruins it!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,irishenglish
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:14 PM

Richard Bridge-Let Her Go Down, and Gone To America are by Steeleye Span, not Fairport Convention. Ditto to those who have mentioned Beryl Marriott, Reg Hall, and as played by Cape Breton musicians. As for the rest of you, I subscribe to the feeling that ANY INSTRUMENT can be used effectively on ANY GIVEN SONG or tune if the arrangement the performer uses calls for it. Take a well known song, say something like Star Of The COunty Down. Now I have heard that by everyone from Van Morrison to the Oysterband, and from harp players to lush string arrangements. Take your pick which version you like for yourself best, but what that proves is these songs are adaptable to many different arrangements and instrumentation. Last night I saw Richard Thompson's 1000 Years of Popular Music. The opening song of which I forget the title, he performed on hurdy gurdy. Later Judith Owen played a stunning version of Down By The Sally Gardens that was piano based, with sparse help from Richard and Debra Dobkin. I have heard that song many times, but hands down, that will now be my favorite rendition, because in the hands of that performer, the song worked with piano. This brings me back to Tim Hart's famous quote about folk rock being as anachronistic to the folk movement as the guitar (Spanish) and the banjo (African). Does piano always work-no it may not, but then again, maybe what a song needs is not fiddle or accordion as well. BOttom line, if it works, it works and you know it when it does!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Murray on Salt Spring
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:18 PM

To accompany a SONG, the piano has to be discreet. In an ensemble, like our old Schiehallion band, it's very useful, if not indispensable. It is a percussion instrument, and for dancing helps the beat (bass, drums, e.g.). I like to think the way I played, sometimes taking the melody, sometimes playing a counter-tune, or even just running arpeggios up and down, varied the sound appropriately. To accompany a rouser of a chorus song, it's pretty good I'd say. But it's true that as the sole accompaniment of a folk song it can intrude terribly.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: BTMP
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:22 PM

At the beginning of the movie 'Songcatcher', there is a beautiful rendition of 'Barbara Allen' accompanied only by piano. It's in the traditional arrangement and quite moving. I play guitar and mandolin and can make some chords and other sounds on the piano (I really can't play). From my perspective, because I can't play the piano like I can the guitar, I admire a well-played tune on the piano. Also, playing accompaniment is more difficult than just playing a melody from sheet music. Most folk and bluegrass musicians cannot play the piano, but it is a gift just as playing the guitar is.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:39 PM

well...some like the piano and folk, and some don't, that's the way of the world....

Charlotte (trying to remember the words to that grand old song, When Father Papered The Parlour)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:46 PM

One day I'm going to write a post about my Mom but for now, take my word for it she could have made it easily as a concert pianist. I grew up listening to her and it took many years before I had the ability to understand just how incredible she was. For now let me say that her playing taught me the one sure thing I could find with great pianists......their sense of "touch."

A piano is a percussion instrument and unlike it's forebear the dulcimer, the sound is created through a multi-piece mechanism. This makes it easy to play badly and loudly. But when you find someone who has learned to overcome this drawback and make the instrument capable of a variety of differing sound levels and can make those changes between them without effort but with feeling, you've found a great pianist. And when you find one with a passion for traditional tunes, dance tunes, pop tunes............well for one thing, you may have stumbled upon Jackie Schwab.

You might know her even if you don't. Have you noticed all the piano work in the soundtracks of almost every Ken Burns documentary? Or did you miss it because it flowed in and out and around and through and above and below without any sense of being obtrusive? That is touch and that is Jacqueline Schwab. Here are two YouTube videos using her for the music. Have a listen........

Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier

Battle Cry of Freedom

Now take your simpleass bullshit opinions that pianos have no place in folk/trad and toddle off somewhere else.   

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Gene Burton
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:52 PM

"Now take your simpleass bullshit opinions that pianos have no place in folk/trad and toddle off somewhere else."

But people WILL insist in expressing views contrary to your own (such temerity!)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:55 PM

Charlotte, stop being so.........reasonable!

"They always remind me of why I was put off English folk music as a child: a plumby voiced sopranoes singing 'Greensleeves' or 'Blow Ye Winds Southerly' to piano accompaniment."   

Yep, and though I try, I just can't get away from this! and plumby is the right description.

I'm not saying the piano totally ruins every song or arrangement but it rarely enhances it, as for the June Tabor examples.....these are great performances by June but I would like them more with a different accompaniment......

but then I play banjo...ho, hum.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 05:57 PM

^^Of course they will.....that's what Mudcat is all about!!! Lines like that are simply the fun of the place and to be taken with less than a grain of salt!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:03 PM

Spaw, for clarity, I started the thread by saying I don't like pianos.....not that they have no place in folk music.

Now, where are my chips (fries to some) to put that grain of salt on?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:12 PM

Still in the fat Paul, still in the fat...............

Spaw(;<))


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:13 PM

Now, while we are nitpicking, it's "plummy" not "plumby". The former denotes fruit, the latter a heavy metal.

I still hate pianos, except in the places and styles I mentioned above. Actually, maybe I can tolerate them in music hall (eg "When Father papered teh parlour" as above) too.

I have known people who liked the tinkling noises made in "sophisticated" bars, but they just made me want to leave and find some music.

It's not about "appropriate". I just hate the damned things, except on good thumping honky tonk and boogie. And some rock and roll (eg the Viscounts' hammering version of "Shortnin Bread").


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:15 PM

Richard,

exactly these sort of voices go down like a lead balloon............


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:33 PM

Oh, or a Zeppelin or butterfly?

Unless you use them like percussion, and hit the vox hard enough to get over them, pianos are genteel. Hyacinth Bucket.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 06:56 PM

True enough the piano is an instrument with a fair history in folk song. That doesn't mean you have to like it though. I rarely do, outside of barrelhouse and such.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 07:42 PM

>>except on good thumping honky tonk and boogie. And some rock and roll (eg the Viscounts' hammering version of "Shortnin Bread"). <<

Richard
I love Jerry Lee lewis, Fats Domino,Floyd Kramer,even Neil Sedaka with "I Go Ape" etc etc. That is where my love of music is. The piano is a great instrument.

However, I just love people who can play the piano sensitively as well. Spaw put some lovely examples up there and I think I did with June Tabor.

I hate modern jazz piano.

Elton John when he plays his slower numbers plays some beautiful numbers. One of my favourites of his is "The boy in the red shoes" - I think it is that.

Bad Penny Blues is a great number.

The piano does not suit everything and has its place.


Kathleen Ferrier, I do not like but she does one absolutely beautiful number (I don't think there is a piano in that) and its called "What is Life" and that song bring tears to my eyes as much as any sentimental folk song I have ever heard.

At the end of the day, "blinkered" sometimes springs to mind


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 12:45 AM

WONDERFUL instrument.

BENJAMINE - Perhaps, you don' lik em because one keyboard can replace five other players.

Personally, I prefer the full bucket rather than sharing but we each have our different gigs.

It is my guess, that "Super Bowl Weekend" is the slowest five days of the year for American musicians....unless your last name begins with T Timberlake, Turner, Art Thieme, Tagger

From fiddle to bass, from harmonica to rhythm, it is ALL under YOUR control.

I like em.

Sinerly,
Gargoyle

COUNT 8 against 26 in favor

Motion by Benjamin denied.

DUHHHHH - Richard Bridge 6:33 - the piano IS a percussion instrument!!!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 02:57 AM

"it's too heavy to pack around on your back."
Sadly - no longer the case. My heart sinks when I see a keyboard being hauled in to our local sessions. Was devastated when I heard Peggy Seeger was using one
Have been desperately searching for an album of one of Ireland's finest fiddlers, Martin Byrnes, without a heavy-handed piano driver.
This is somewhat reminiscent of the bodhran thread.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 03:24 AM

Do some reading Garg. As I said earlier, it is a percussion instrument. Use them as such.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 03:35 AM

Luckily for the rest of us, some people choose not to do so and extend the versatility.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 04:30 AM

Gargoyle,

Thanks for bringing the world democracy.....just like George Bush huh!

(Hee, hee, hee)

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 05:10 AM

Going by the Noel Hill LP I mentioned in another thread, I'd have to say Charlie Lennon is good.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Nick
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 05:20 AM

There was a lot of piano played in a lot of the Transatlantic Sessions (1 to 3) and I thought a lot of that worked remarkably well. A lot of Scottish music works remarkably well with the piano as an accompanying instrument (Fiddlers Bid are a favourite of mine at the moment). Capercaillie feature keyboards a lot and that seems to work for me.

Some examples - Sam Lakeman, Cara Dillon and Paul Brady or Cara Dillon again or Ae Fond Kiss - Karen Matheson or Julie Fowlis


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 05:46 AM

"Don't think of it as a piano, think of it as an 88-string guitar" (Tom Lehrer an piano and folk song)

RtS
(a virtuoso on the pianola!)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,strad
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 05:51 AM

So many piano players do seem to stop once they've learnt those three chords and yet a good player can really lift the sound. I spent an evening at a dance near Boston listening to the playing of Jacqueline Schwab and was entranced by her music. Peter Barnes is another whose playing lifts the sound. Andy Thorburn does similar in Scotland. But the Dum-chinging piano sound either has me switching off or going somewhere else. Unfortunately most Scottish dance bands seem to like Dum-Ching.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 06:05 AM

Nick
Thanks for putting the link to Cara Dillon & Sam Lakeman - Garden Valley.

That is such a beautiful version.

The last time I saw that sung at Faldingworth Live by John Blanks and Jane Kitchen. They did such a beautiful version of it as well. John also does that on his own as well and again it is beautifully done.

Brings tears to the eyes.

Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Moonmoth
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 06:17 AM

Fiddles sound pretty awful in folk music when the player only knows how to play Beethoven, Bruch, Mendellsohn etc.

As with any instrument, surely it's the musicianship behind a piano that makes it 'bad' or 'good'? (Which are, of course, subjective terms anyway!)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: banjoman
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 06:35 AM

Pianos are OK in the right place - but thats not in most folk music scenarios.
I have found that piano players are in the most part very unweildy and not willing to alter anything to enable other instruments to join in. EG its difficult to play some pieces in certain keys on guitar/banjo/recorder etc and where we would be happy to change key to accomodate, we have never yet found a piano player who would.
Played as a sol instrument thats fine - but otherwise NO


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 06:39 AM

I am tempted to say something Paul LOL No I mustn't otherwise I will get banjoed. :-)

I'll get me coat, but one last thing, maybe you haven't looked around enough, to find that special person who can accomodate your requirements.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:08 AM

Les,

Are you talkin' to me or banjOman post above yours?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:12 AM

Oh Bugger. Sorry Paul LOL :-)

Banjoman and Banjiman - maybe you two should form a duo :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Busy Lizzie
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:14 AM

I only read the first few messages here, but all I can say is, June Tabor 13th June 2008 with Grand Piano played by Mark Emmerson, and June 14th 2008 Jonathan Kelly with Grand Piano, in St Michaels CHurch Middlewich as part of Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival 2008, watch for full line up in the next few days!
Pianos in folk music indeed!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:23 AM

Busy Lizzie....are you actually trying to attract people to Middlewich by threatening them with 2 grand pianos? LoL.

I actually love June Tabor, but would love her more without the piano!

Seriously, good luck with it.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Marje
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM

Pianos seem to be prominent in a lot of Scottish traditional bands, and they are much favoured in Scottish country dance music.

I can't say I like it much - there's something about those plonky descending bass chord sequences that irritates me - but it would be wrong to say the piano has no place there. It evidently has a very important place in the hearts of the Scottish dancing community.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Busy Lizzie
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:05 AM

Hello Banjiman no, no, just one £22k's worth of grand piano, hired and insured for 2 nights! I have never been fortunate enough to see June Tabor live, so I have to run my own festival in order to get to see all the artists I like! On saying that, I'll probably be too busy running around doing festival director kind of things and not get to see her again! Ha! Ha!
Liz


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Busy Lizzie
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:12 AM

p.s. Banjiman you wouldn't be a banjo player then??


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Walkaboutsverse
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:17 AM

I'm not certain on this issue...but singing around the piano is, of course, a strong tradition in itself. And, for what it's worth, I practice (and have posted on myspace) English folk songs with electric-keyboards set on "piano" - playing just the top-line melody with both hands (in the understanding that English folk-music, at least, has, for centuries, been the repetition of a relatively simple melody, for singing and/or dancing).
P.S: singing Christmas carols around The Cumberland Arms upright-piano is always enjoyable.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:47 AM

Hi Busy Lizzie.....I may occasionally pick the banjo......... (ask my wife!)

As far as I am aware there are no pianos coming to the KFFC Winter Warmer Weekend which I'm involved in organising, I have to confess to one in the dining room though.....but I don't (can't) play it.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Twinkle fingers
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:56 AM


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Nick
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 09:25 AM

>>I have found that piano players are in the most part very unweildy and not willing to alter anything to enable other instruments to join in. EG its difficult to play some pieces in certain keys on guitar/banjo/recorder etc and where we would be happy to change key to accomodate, we have never yet found a piano player who would.

And when you ask them to retune their piano to your banjo just look at their faces...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Ref
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 09:47 AM

Hey it's about Folk Music, or folks' music. If people get pleasure sharing and trading songs around a Steinway Concert Grand, then it's no more or less appropriate to "Folk Music" than doing so around a battered, forty-year-old Martin guitar.   I'd more enjoy a fight about the merits of singing music together as opposed to sitting passively while someone else presents their solo "interpretation." Also, spare me the Ralph Vaughan Williams and aaron Copeland versions of traditional folk music. They're over-orchestrated crap!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Rockhen
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 10:00 AM

I think it depends on the the piano player and whether the piano is in tune. In my humble opinion, as a player of the said wonderful instrument, if you notice the piano,too much, if being used to accompany a vocalist or instrumentalist...it is not being played sensitively. It is an art to accompany someone.

If played with other instruments to be part of a band for example, it CAN drown everyone out.. but so can many other instruments. I know some fiddle players, for example, who have to always take the lead and play it just a touch too loud. I also know those who play sensitively and know just when it is ok to go off on a solo and when to hold back. Same with accordions, which I also play, (Hey! How unpopular can I make myself? Lol!)...and guitarists etc etc.

I think a piano is seen as an instrument not available to all, so is viewed with resentment by some, and that has contributed to its unpopularity with some but that would be the subject of another thread. If folk music is music of folk, I think it shouldn't be exclusive to certain instruments.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 10:07 AM

There are two things wrong with a piano:

1) It can easily drown out an acoustic guitar, so piano players, like banjo players, consider it their duty to do so, just to prove the size of their balls.

2) Like Stringsinger said, you can't throw it over your back and hop a freight train. You can't bring it to a campfire sing around, either.

I feel pianos are great instruments in their place. That place is either a concert hall or a whorehouse. I'd like to learn so that I could go to whorehouses and have something to do in my old age.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Rockhen
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 11:10 AM

"I feel pianos are great instruments in their place."
What is their place, now? I do not know a single place where I could go and play a piano, that is in tune. That is why I take mine with me. (Don't worry, Peter, I'll leave the second venue you mention, to you, btw!) ;-)

Progress with technology, will mean that the current high quality electric pianos that are being produced, now, will eventually evolve into an acceptable replacement, once they are refined and become less expensive, or at least, an alternative to traditional heavy acoustic varieties. Then, I believe, there will be a change in the attitude by many towards pianos. They are seen as instruments that do not fit into folk music because people are not used to hearing them played because they are so difficult to take to places.

My piano has been played round a campfire and many other locations, from concert hall, pub, back of a lorry, and I do not feel that I plonked it and wrecked the music of others. I am open minded about music and I think pianos can be a valid part of folk music, if they aren't driven by a plinky-plonker. (musical term)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Geordie-Peorgie
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 07:46 PM

"England" by Ralph Mctell

The Kilfenora Ceilidh band started EVERYTHING with a 2-beat piano vamp and the thing played the rhythm aall the way through aall of the songs while 32 fiddles played the tune and the Bodhran player made the tea

June Tabor kissed uz on the cheek once when we were both VERY much younger - She wadn't remember, but aall nivvor forget!!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 05:06 AM

I bet that made your knees shake GP :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Saro
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 05:56 AM

Just thought I'd add another fantastic paino player to the List. Andy Johnson is capable playing excellent cailidh music as siginificant but never dominant part of a band (with various Tabbush family members) and can also be heard accompanying Carolyn Robson on some of ther CDs. Always worht a listen in my view - unless of course you just hate pianos...
Saro


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Acorn4
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 06:15 AM

I'd quote Catherine Roberts' "Girl with the Bonny Brown Hair" and much on the albums of Bill Jones (though she's taking a bit of a break for family things at the moment) as good examples of keyborad backings.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 07:17 AM

Oooh Cathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman - one of my favourites.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Geordie-Peorgie
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 09:53 AM

Awww! Villan!!

It wez nigh-on 30 years ago in a tiny folk club in Fareham, capacity crowd and she'd 'ripped the room to shreds'

Aah wez MC and wez totally in lurve with her and as I closed the evenin' and just before her encore she leaned toward uz and just kissed my cheek.

Aah didn't come doon for a week and aah didn't see mah forst wife for three days...... then the swellin' went doon in the left eye!!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 10:11 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 02:34 PM

It evidently has a very important place in the hearts of the Scottish dancing community.   

And they are welcome to it...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 02:43 PM

I wonder if the anti-piano crowd would actually walk out of a gig if the performers brought a piano onto the stage?...I bet they wouldn't*LOL*

Charlotte (piano player of fairly long standing)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Curmudgeon
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM

'The Kilfenora Ceilidh band started EVERYTHING with a 2-beat piano vamp.'

It didn't and still doesn't!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 03:15 PM

Charlotte (piano player of fairly long standing)

Just like Jerry Lee Lewis, then?


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's short Apprentice
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 03:17 PM

actually I'm not as tall as The Killer *LOL*

Charlotte (still growing into her 88's)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 04:36 PM

Yes, Charlotte, as said above, I walked out of a performance at Ely in 2007 by some big name band whose name I forget, when the piano started to intrude (ie when playing it started).


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 05:33 PM

Charlotte,

....erm, I might not like pianos (in folk music) much , but walking out when someone is performing would just be rude. So you are right, I wouldn't........especially if I'd paid to get in!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 06:37 PM

If it was good enough for Walter and Daisy Bulwer then its good enough for me.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 06:45 PM

How an instrument is played ,is imo,The Important thing.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 07:29 PM

It's all a matter of taste Richard. Gui-sodding-tars do the same for me as pianos do for you. I don't walk out - but my brain switches off immediately and goes somehere else for the duration.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: banjoman
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 11:21 AM

In an effort to avoid any more confusion I AM BANJOMAN (alias Pete) and not BANJIMAN whoever that is. I have been posting on Mudcat for many years but in future will sign off as Pete on any of my postings.
PS I have hundreds (seems like itaccording to my wife) of banjos which I have made or restored if anyone is interested

I stand by my previous message about pianos


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 11:54 AM

John Tams and Barry Coope use a guitar and a keyboard. They are excellent, as anyone who has heard them will be able to attest.

I play regularly with a piano player, who uses a digital piano, and he too is excellent.

The 'drawing room' type stuff with the posh voices and the evening dress is about as far away from my idea of the music as can be.

So aye, they can be marvellous, or they can be twee. Depends who's playing it.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Henryp
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 11:55 AM

Polly Bolton employed TWO wonderful pianists in her Band. John Shepherd regularly played piano on dates so Steve Dunachie usually played violin, viola or guitar. They lived in Ludlow and a good example of their work is A Shropshire Lad. It's their setting of the poems of A E Housman (with additional verses read by Sir Nigel Hawthorne). They offer their individual arrangements that are completely in sympathy with the words. Other recordings are devoted to traditional folk song and are just as successful.

Planxty travelled with a very heavy harmonium that suffered badly at the hands of their roadies. It steadily lost parts until it eventually expired. However, the roadies' objection was to its weight rather than its sound.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 03:16 AM

The piano is a fantastic instrument, and vastly under used in folk music. I remember listening to Nic Jones' recording of "Master Kilby" and thinking that Nic may be a great folk guitarist, but his guitar sounded so weak compared to the rich full sound coming from Helen Watson's piano. Of course, those much maligned "new age" pianoists have made some beautiful recordings of Christmas songs/hymns and many trad songs such as "The Water is Wide" and "Shenandoah". By the way, shanties would sound fantastic on the the piano - in the hands of the right musician.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 03:21 AM

It looks like I might have to admit to being in the minority, I've been trying June Tabor therapy.......but I still prefer the songs without piano,

Still, largely a civilised and interesting debate.

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 03:34 AM

Tunesmith, you are joking, right?


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 05:47 AM

If it wasn't for the piano I wouldn't have been taught to sing all those wonderful folksongs at school.

BTW - anybody possess any of the Cecil Sharp songbooks? Check out the arrangements by Alfred Moffat, they're for - piano!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 06:00 AM

Yur on shaky ground quoting Cecil Sharpe's arrangements as 100% evidence of authenticity and good practice round here


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM

Richard: you clearly lack the ability to imagine!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 06:57 AM

Matt - I was merely making an observation. I leave it to others to draw their own conclusions.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: oggie
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 07:30 AM

I have fond memories of Johnny Handle playing "Cushy Butterfield" on a beat-up upright! Sounded great!

Why is that keyboards (usually used for floaty, drony backgrounds, OK I generalise) seem to be acceptable but pianos aren't. I much prefer a well played piano.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 07:35 AM

The piano has a long history of playing folk type music. I think we all agree that the piano is fine(great!) for blues/boogie-woogie. Bela Bartok used the piano very successfully for Balkan folk tunes - a pentatonic heaven! As an accompanying instrument, the piano is vastly superior to the guitar. Think about that chap (one of the folk clan) who backs Cara Dillon. Great stuff. Think Joni Mitchell! Terrific! I think a lot of folkies have got to "step outside their little square boxes" and explore the piano in all its many settings.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 07:51 AM

I hate them in rock music too. Except for necrophiliac rock and roll. Floyd Cramer is OK but he is nearly country which rules him out on other grounds...

Not even all that keen on them in jazz (Ramsay Lewis and Dave Brubeck excepted). Hate Horst Jankowsi with a passion.

But are we going to call Bartok folk music? He used folk tunes, but does that make him a folk musician? Actually, on the rare-ish occasions I listen to classical music, the piano is about my least favourite instrument there too.

Absolutely no way the piano is a better accompanying instrument than anything (er - except maybe the banjo).

Oh, and the Highland great pipes are a bit limited for accompaniment too.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 08:10 AM

Richard,

I had been taking your comments on piano fairly seriously, but to suggest that the banjo is not a fine accompanying instrument has just completely blown your credibility in my book....go and wash your mouth out with soap and water!

Yours predictably

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 12:23 PM

Richard: Bartok spend more time studying, recording and listening to folk music than almost anyone else on the planet! And, he was undoubtedly the greatest authority on Hungarian folk music.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 08:35 AM

Quote Matt - I was merely making an observation. I leave it to others to draw their own conclusions.


To Guest,Sminky
Thanks for the clarification, didn't mean my comment as a criticism of what you said, more about how arguments get kicked off on this forum.

Have always felt your posts talked a lot of sense, so thanks for your contributions


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 09:10 AM

Hey Matt - no sweat.

Anyone remember that piano solo from Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air"? I just canNOT get it out of my head at the moment!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 10:12 AM

Do you mean this one Sminky Something In The Air :-) LOL Sweet dreams.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 10:40 AM

Yeah, Villan, cheers for that man ;-)

I seem to recall Pete Townsend was involved somehow (?producer).

I remember watching them play it on TV - it's just irresistibly bonkers!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 10:41 AM

Oh well, that's most of Sandy Denny's oeuvre down the pan then! Don't know why she bothered to buy that Steinway from Harrods.

Julie Matthews bites the dust too.

And er - excuse me - the piano ruins Carol King's stuff? HUH? She plays the blooming thing and composes on it!

As for the rude remarks about Ralph Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copland, and Cecil Sharp - words fail me. (By the way, there are no E's in Copland or Sharp, said he pedantically)

Ed (grade five piano basher)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's pianoless Apprentice
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 11:07 AM

Opps...oh, well...there goes my 15 or so years of piano lessons down the toilet...me dad and late mum will be disappointed that they've been wasting their money....ah me...

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Ps's couch, having tossed the piano stool along with the piano)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 11:11 AM

By all means use the damned things for something - real honky-tonk, or barrelhouse, or if you like "light music" I'm sure they are suited to that.

Or you could form a trio with a banjo player and a bodhran player.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 11:52 AM

>>Or you could form a trio with a banjo player and a bodhran player<<

Now that is funny Richard :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Teribus
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 12:01 PM

Both Stan Rogers and Sean Keane have used them very effectively


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 12:50 PM

Over the past week or so, several folks (in this thread and, I believe one or two others) have made the statement that "the piano is a percussion instrument."

Wrong! The piano is a string instrument.

Of course, the piano can be played percussively, while at the same time providing melody and/or harmony. In the context of a jazz/pop/rock ensemble, the piano (and/or other keyboard) shares a unique role with the guitar (and/or other strummable box) as member of the rhythm section that can also play melody (i.e., solo and accompany).

The time-honored intrumental lineup for New Orleans style traditional jazz consists of a front line of horns (Trumpet, trombone and clarinet), a rhythm section of drum(s) and bass (string bass or tuba/sousaphone), plus a piano OR banjo to "bridge the gap" between horn and rhythm sections, playing chordal accompaniment in rhythm (i.e., "percussively") and also able to interject melody lines as appropriate.

One of my favorite contemporary jazz groups, Astral Project, consisted for twenty years or more of sax, bass, drums, guitar, and piano. A few years ago, longtime pianist David Torkanowsky left the band, not for "personal" or "artistic" differences, but mostly because the ensemble had become crowded, as he and the guitar player became more and more likely to step all over each other, since either one was able to completely fill a particular well-defined role in the group.

Whether a well-played piano has a place in "folk music" depends entirely upon one's definition of folk music. If the piano is played without taste and finesse, overwhelming other voices in the ensemble, it's not very good regardless of any general rule one might believe about whether or not its presence is appropriate.

Piano music is an element of New Orleans musical tradition fully equal to the group-improvisational "Dixieland" combo described above. My recommendations to interested listeners would be two mid-20th-century masters, Professor Longhair and James Booker.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 04:06 PM

I don't have a problem with pianos in folk music, in fact I quite like them. They have more historical precedent in folk music than guitars, going back to the days when there were pianos in pubs and living rooms for musicians to congregate around. The sad thing these days is that most piano players have to use electronic keyboards to perform anywhere, which isn't quite the same.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 04:30 PM

Well, electric keyboards are a hell of a lot more portable than "real" pianos, and more economical as well, so they represent the future for most "folk."

Electric pianos that really sound like painos are much rarer than cheesy-sounding keyboards, unfortunately...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 06:16 PM

*prepares a cheese tray to go with Mr. Bridge's selection of w(h)ines*

There will, however, be no cocktail piano music as we had to get rid of the piano after it was found we had been wasting our time all these years.

Charlotte (the view from)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Rog Peek
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 06:27 PM

I once watched a fellow busking on a street in Cork City. "Nothing strange about that." I hear you say.........Except, he was playing a full size upright piano. How in the hell he took it home, I don't know!

Rog


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 07:17 PM

At one time I tended towards Richard Bridge's view. However over the years I have modified that view as I realised just what an amazingly flexible instrument the piano is. Not for me - I did try to learn to play piano at one time and took lessons. I got as far as grade 1 and that was a real struggle. I do appreciate the ability of a good pianist to produce effective accompaniment in any musical genre.

I still have an electronic keyboard and I admit to rather enjoying those build in accompaniments which you can produce using one finger or simple chord patterns. Tasteful it may not be, but fun it definitely is :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 03:33 AM

Technically, a piano is "percussion" because the little hammers in it hit the strings.

"Strings" are things on which the string is scraped.

I'd have to go away to find a musical encyclopaedia to check about things on whichteh string is plucked (eg guitar, banjo, lute, manfolin, harp, harpsichord, etc)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 02:27 PM

Well, I suppose that the category to which one assigns the piano depends upon which textbook you consult. I was brought up with the teaching that the piano was/is a string instrument (which is, undeniably, one valid way of looking at it). I can certainly understand the other argument, for classification as percussion.

Most but not all persussion instruments are more-or-less atonal. Some kinds of drums can be "tuned" to a relative degree of tautrness, which corresponds to pitch, but are not generally played to produce different notes. Sheet music for drummers shows timing but not melody/notes.

Now, the xylophone family of instruments (including marimba, vibraphone, etc.) is definitely classified as percussion by just about everyone, and the player is expected to play notes on them, just like on the piano. The hammers are operated manually, whereas the little hammers hidden inside a piano are connected to the keys. I'm not sure how meaningful a distinction that may be.

Anyway, my point earlier was that the piano is quite a bit more than just a percussion instrument in that it can supply melody and harmony as well as rhythm. Not all other instruments can do this; many can produce only one note at a time, eliminating the possibility of chordal harmony and making it more problematic to play a rhythm-makng role. Guitars and banjos, etc., can fill the pianos role in a band, but keyboards are more versatile than strummable strings.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 02:46 PM

Sourced from Wikipedia.

It (the piano) is sometimes classified as both a percussion and a stringed instrument (in a loose sense of that term). According to the Hornbostel-Sachs method of music classification, it is grouped with Chordophones.

Charlotte (researching from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 07 Feb 08 - 02:48 PM

sourced from Wikipedia

Chordophone

Charlotte (wikipedia from Ma and Pa's piano stool)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Black Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 06:27 AM

GUEST,Walkaboutsverse - I'm not certain on this issue...but singing around the piano is, of course, a strong tradition in itself. .......singing Christmas carols around .....piano is always enjoyable.

As I have posted in the past, as a youngster I used to join my family standing around the (front room) piano singing whilst my mother played. She played everything from folk (raggle taggle etc),country (ghost riders) music hall & classical. Christmas time she was always in demand for carol concerts.
From this I gained my love of music & learnt a lot of songs which I now sing in local clubs. This is the only 'oral tradition' I can believe in therefore to me it is folk.
My father played banjo-mandolin & joined my mother in playing scottish dance tunes. Very popular at dances etc. in the 40's & 50's.

I love guitar but realise this is a relative newcomer to 'home grown' music.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 06:49 AM

"Electric pianos that really sound like pianos are much rarer than cheesy-sounding keyboards, unfortunately..."

Very true. We bought a really good Technics digital piano about fifteen years ago though, and it was given the thumbs up by my then neighbour, who was a composer, pianist, arranger, choirmaster, and blagger of Steinways. I must say however that the harpsichord and string settings are distinctly cheesy, and the organ sound is closer to a fairground than a church.

So of course what happened - Technics gave up and now it's only Yamaha and Roland I think.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Rockhen
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 09:48 AM

I agree with there being some pretty disappointing piano sounds o keyboards. I have a Casio, (yes, Casio!) Privia which compared very well with piano sound, to the Roland's and Yamaha's I tried. I preferred it's basic piano sound to any others I tried within the price range I could afford. I also remember the piano being part of my childhood experience of music with others. My family passed down tunes via the piano, which I learnt and which my daughters, subsequently learnt and hopefully, so on...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Alan Day
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 12:25 PM

Much of the early concertina music had piano accompaniment and most of the early concertina recordings feature a piano.
The piano playing in American Contra Dance music has a superb style all of its own.
Al


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 12:58 PM

One thing a piano (or harpsichord, and some electronic keyboards) has got going for it over the guitar: it can be tuned in non-equal temperament. I think this is sometimes done in Cape Breton piano accompaniment; I've heard it done with 18th century Scottish tunes, and it makes the accompaniment relate much more musically to the fiddle.

With a guitar you're stuck with what the frets give you, barring an occasional blues bend (impossible to use for voicing chords to pure intervals).


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 01:18 PM

Most of my knowledge of electric instruments is second hand. For years, I've heard talk of the Fender Rhodes as the premier electric piano.

When I read above that "now it's only Yamaha and Roland I think," I have to ask: does Fender no longer make/market their excellent piano? Is it now a "vintage" instrument? Or is it just prohibitively expensive for the average person?

Drifting slightly to discussion of other electric keyboards:

The all-time favorite electric organ, of course, is the Hammond B-3. (If I'm not mistaken, the B-3 has become a "vintage" item, no longer in current production. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

However, the player who is arguably the greatest folk-rock/art-pop organist who ever laid hands upon an electronic keyboard, Garth Hudson, preferred another brand of electric organ, one best-known for a rather unimpressive line of "home" organs. Can't remember the brand name...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,The Mole Catcher's Apprentice
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 02:47 PM

"vintage" instrument?"

some of the Moog synths and The Melotron

Charlotte (the view from Ma and Pa's Moog stool)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 02:52 PM

Agree wih you about garth hudson beibg a fantastic musician - he played a Lowrey by the way as opposed to the more common Hammond or less often used Farfisa


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: mattkeen
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 03:06 PM

Sminky… Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air"? I just canNOT get it out of my head at the moment!


Was that solo Rabbit Bundrick?

Pete Townshend produced and played a lot on it including bass - so I suppose it could have been Pete, he is a pretty good piano player


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 03:20 PM

Acoustic piano is more conducive to folk music because it can be played without sound equipment which is less folky than a natural ambient environment.

Saying that Copeland or Vaughan-Williams arrangements of folk music is "crap" is pure
folkie-snobbishness. Their arrangements of Greensleeves or Appalachian tunes are
not folk music but arrangements of folk music done in musical and tasteful ways. It's this attitude about folk music that will turn so many who would be interested completely off.

Bartok did the same for his collections of folk music, he arranged them in a so-called classical manner.

Acoustic pianos are great when accompanying in folk dance bands. They are great for dancers because you can feel the vibrations in the floor.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 03:40 PM

My once-in-my-lifetime visit to Ireland included a one-time-only visit to a local ceilidh dance, where an electric piano was part of the featured 4-piece band. This was in a fairly rural area, but at a hotel ballroom in the center of town (a small town in Roscommon near Mayo). The dancing was pretty energetic and seemed to adhere very closely to sets of rules that the attendees all knew. To my mind, that was certainly an experience of real folk culture, and it definitely involved music. It sure seemed like folk music to me.

A few nights later, at a pub in Doolin famous either for traditional music or for musician-tourists (depending upon who you ask), the adhoc group of players gathered around a table included a keyboard player along with the fiddlers and whistlers. He was using his electric instrument strictly as a bass; he could have played the simple little parts he was playing it with a single left-hand finger, although he probably used more ~ maybe his two index fingers.

A real string bass, or even a washtub/tea-chest, might have seemed more aesthetically appropriate, but he kept his volume approproiately low and his playing simple but tasteful, and so fit in quite nicely. Less obtrusive, certainly, than another participant banging away on a more traditional instrument, the dreaded bodhran...


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: terrier
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 04:40 PM

Now that's a long thread! I started playing piano when I was old enough to reach the keyboard (before that I sat underneath and poked my fingers under the keys to play). At that early age, most of the stuff I knew was folk song (although I didn't know it then). Now I've been playing piano and singing folk songs for more years than I care to own up to and in all that time, I can't think of one person who's approached me and said "I hate piano accompinament to folk songs". Where have I gone wrong?


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 11:00 PM

The piano playing in American Contra Dance music has a superb style all of its own.

When I read this in Alan's post I was transported, mentally, to some recordings I heard about 30 years ago with an ensemble that included hammered dulcimer, fiddle and piano; the pianist was Toby (Toni?) Hall, from memory. Lovely!

And when I lived in SC I made sure I got myself a copy of the CD of the music from Ken Burns' Civil War docco. Jacqui Schwab's (have I got the spelling right?) playing of piano on it surely can't be criticised seriously; it's beautiful!

Yes, I've heard examples where the lack of piano would certainly have improved the result but to generalise from that can't be credibly countenanced. Without knowing for certain, I suspect Richard's generalised attitude towards pianos might be attributed to an overexposure, early in life, to Liberace; that would be a sure turnoff for most folkies.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 11:10 AM

"Most of my knowledge of electric instruments is second hand. For years, I've heard talk of the Fender Rhodes as the premier electric piano."

I'm a bit of a latecomer to this thread...which I notice has been dead since February, so sorry for starting it up again...

I actually have a Fender Rhodes electric piano, and a fine instrument though it is, it is a beast to move around (needing two, preferably four) people. Nope, it's not made any more...

Having said that, the Fender Rhodesisn't really suitable for folk music (or indeed, for barrelhouse) as it sounds more like a vibrophone than a piano...

...there are, however, loads of "electric" pianos which feel and sound almost exactly like a "real" piano - even having graded key weights like a real piano (it's heavier at the bass end than the treble end of the instrument), but are very portable (and in tune!!!)

Check out the Nord Stage 88, which is a fabulous instrument, though costs an arm and a leg at £2000...

...at the cheaper end of the scale is the MAudio Prokeys 88 at around £350, and a fine instrument it is...hopefully one may well be winging it's way into the Brother Crow household in the near future - though I'm known as a mandolin player in Brother Crow, my first instrument is actually the piano which I've been playing for 35 years...

Now then Banjiman (starter of this thread in the first place), I'm just gonna have to bring this here piano with me when we play at KKFC in January to get my own back for all the times I've had to listen to the banjo...

:-)))

All the best folks,
Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 11:15 AM

P.S. Check out Rosie Doonan and Ben Murray's version of Black Jack Davy which is great on piano...

Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 12:41 PM

Recently heard Mike and Ali Vass at Bromyard, - she does fine Rankins style folky interpretations of songs/tunes.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 12:48 PM

Graeme.....didn't I tell you that your KFFC gig is cancelled?









Pianos my a**e! Not in our club!!!!!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Greyt Hound
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 04:31 PM

OK, we promise not to bring it....honest....really....honest....it isn't red rag to a bull....oh no.......really.....

;-)))

Graeme,
Brother Crow


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 09:52 PM

"Pianos my a**e! "
Nice try,but if you think ANyone will fall for that old trick....


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 03:28 AM

OK Graeme,

The gig is back on, you know that you and your wonderful mandolin playing are welcome at KFFC anytime! But don't mention the P word.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:30 AM

Thinking back you know Paul, you did allow Frianna (apols if wrong spelling) to use a piano....

:-)))

G.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:45 AM

Graeme,

Franana ....yes, that's enough pianos for this decade then!

Anyway Fran is much scarier than you and more importantly has the wonderful Amy Thatcher on accordion and the talented Chris Meredith on guitar to cover up the sound of the parlour music making machine!

Fran is also very young....hopefully time for her to learn the error of her ways....(I'll be in for trouble if she reads this though!)

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 09:25 AM

Well Graeme, you are very welcome to bring your piano to Faldingworth live.

We just have a ban on Banjo's, so hopefully Paul won't try to muzzle in with his banjo when Wendy Arrowsmith appears at Faldingworth Live.

This should be the National Anthem for England as already mentioned by Geordie - Poegie in one of his posts above, but he didn't put a link up for it.
For English and Piano lovers Click on the play button.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 09:41 AM

No Les, I thought I'd bring the bagpipes instead....hope that is OK?

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 09:42 AM

Bagpipes is wicked man


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Colin Randall
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 10:19 AM

Having missed this thread in its earlier phase, I have found it fascinating to trawl through, June Tabor a renewed delight to hear and Johnny Handle a name to inspire great memories.

I used to loathe piano in folk, but that was quite a while ago and may even have had something to do with being beaten up by a bunch of toughs at the age of 11 for carrying a briefcase for piano lessons (though wearing grammar school uniform was undoubtedly an aggravating feature).

What has swayed me more than anything has been the work of pianists in Cape Breton/Scottish music. I also admire/d a number of individual musicians including Sandy Denny, Beryl Marriott, Huw Warren and Cara Dillon's part of the Lakeman family.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 11:35 AM

I tend to use piano as an accompanying tool....there's an awful lot of songs Andy has written which we haven't performed live, simply because the mandolin doesn't sound right on them...

...perhaps I'll revisit them using the piano.

I like the piano as an instrument, it was my first love really...I started playing when I was 7 (and I'm a 40-something now...) - I'm a little out of practice, but I've been working up the strength/co-ordination again whilst Andy has been out of action over the last couple of weeks.

I've heard piano used in folk music very very inappropriately on a number of occasions so understand the objections, however, I've also heard it used very well...I referred to Rosie Doonan's Black Jack Davy earlier, which is great and I also like the June Tabor songs (sorry Paul)....as a rule, I'm not too keen to hear it used as a "session" instrument, though having said that, I thought it was used very well in the BBCs "celtic sessions" series'

I guess a lot of North East songs (which often share music hall connections) would originally have been played on a piano (if there was any accompaniment at all), though I'm not sure that I would use this approach...preferring a more "gentle" accompaniment.

I'm a big fan of barrelhouse as well, so perhaps a couple of Jellyroll Morton songs will make Paul change his mind...

It's been an interesting discussion here though, which I stumbled across when doing some research...

...and hey, any excuse to wind up a banjo player ;-)

Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 11:55 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 12:04 PM

Graeme,

Wound up....me?

If you can be bothered (though I can undestand why you wouldn't!) to re-read my posts above you will see that I grudgingly admit to liking a lot of June Tabor (this is despite the piano not because of it though, I would like it better without!).

I also don't mind (even like) piano in the right place....music hall, honky tonk, some blues etc etc. In my humble opinion it just doesn't sound right as part of British Isles trad and tradalike.....just my opinion, as with most things it just comes down to different tastes.

I am dreading Brother Crow's "more tea vicar?" phase though.........

Paul (who won't be playing piano in Blind Summat!)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 01:29 PM

Another lovely one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKCvFjuTT6Q&feature=related

I have heard this live by Tommy Sands, but I still prefer Cara Dillon's version, piano and all.

However and sadly they do not perform together anymore, but one of the very nicest versions I heard of this song was by Lucy Wright & Paul young.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 02:03 PM

Les, yes, absolutely beautiful song very well sung.....be even better without the piano. Maybe a nice bit of Uilleann piping or fiddle or even accordion......

Wendy has been known to sing it Occasionally (the full versionn not Cara's edited one)......with guitar rather than piano I'm pleased to say!

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:20 PM

Hmmm I don't know Paul, I don't think Cara Dillon's husband Sam Lakeman (who in my opinion is a lovely piano player) would be too pleased with your comments.

Cara Dillon & Sam Lakeman - the_snows_they_melt_the_soonest oooh what a beautiful song with lovely piano playing from Sam.

These Lakeman's are such gifted musicians. Why were they at the front of the qeueue :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: danensis
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:40 PM

Is Beryl Marriott still around? I remember a brilliant workshop on Folk Piano that she led in the upstairs room at the Friary in Beverley.

As someone said earlier, all those songs we sang in the school hall, sitting cross-legged on the floor around the piano on a rainy lunchtime, later turned out to be folk songs - amazing!

Even more amazing is that the lady who played the piano was called Miss Tune!

John


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:43 PM

Villan: Thanks for that link. Great powerful backing by Sam.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 04:44 PM

Bugger, I can't stop listening to June Tabor now. Still its really nice :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JjF9KnF-qU&feature=related

She is on in Lincoln a week Thursday at the Peter O'toole theatre, North Hykeham. The only problem is that I am not sure if I would enjoy it, as I think it is slanting to modern Jazz which I am not very keen on.

Thursday 9th October 2008 | 7.30pm

UK   Lincoln - North Hykeham | Terry O'Toole Theatre | NK Centre, Moor Lane LN6 9AX

QUERCUS - June Tabor, Huw Warren (piano), Iain Ballamy (saxophones)

01522 883311    www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk/


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:09 PM

Les,

Each to their own mate! I'm sure Sam is a great piano player...... it is just not my cup of tea. There are plenty of people out there who don't like banjos..... a position I find very hard to understand, but there you go!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:14 PM

Ah but to the properly trained earhole banjo is the voice of the angels.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM

....by the way Les, I'm sure Sam wouldn't be too bothered about my opinion, after all we have already shelled out for Cara's album on the strength of "There Were Roses" alone.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 05:45 PM

My favourite Tim is the Tenor Banjo.

To be fair to Paul, I like the Banjo and Piano as long as they are played well. Ah well I suppose you are not going to change your opinion about piano's. I was going to put a Kate&Anna McGarrigle
song on where a banjo and a piano were used, but it didn't sound very good. So I didn't.

However Have A Drink On Me next time I see you. Notice that I am on it.

Brother Les :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Greyt Hound
Date: 01 Oct 08 - 06:28 PM

Paul...tut tut, I read every one of your posts...it was a grand thread...

...Think of it not as a piano, but as a banjo with 88 strings...

:-)))))

See ya,

Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:23 AM

"Think of it not as a piano, but as a banjo with 88 strings..."

Plays havoc with your back though.......


Les,

There is a version of "The Bands Played Waltzing Matilda" where Eric has a piano and some wonderful clawhammer banjo backing. It actually works. I've only heard this version once.....anyone know where I can hear it again?

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Graeme, Brother Crow
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:38 AM

...and if you find it, let me know too...!

Graeme,
Brother Crow.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 11:48 AM

Will this do for starters

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=66483350

And this one for effect

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG48Ftsr3OI&feature=related

Saw him live at Cassies a couple of years ago, and he had me in tears. The git :-)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:13 PM

Thanks Les....takes more than a piano to spoil that song!

Fab, I saw him in a barn behind the TanHill Inn (allegedly the highest pub in England) a couple of years ago.... got to have a chat and a fag with one of my heroes (I don't have many, Tony Benn is the only other one) and act like a starstruck teenager.....great stuff.

Cheers

Paul


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 12:55 PM

Pianos In Folk Music Trivia

There was rather obscure WV string band, the Tweedy Brothers, who were active in the 20s and 30s.
They played traditional fiddle/dance tunes.
The group included a pianist.

They would load the piano onto the back of a flatbed truck and use it in concerts.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and old time musician)


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 01:34 PM

Not Russ Conway is it? :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnIpQhDn4Zg&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Oct 08 - 02:00 PM

The Field Recorders Collective has released a CD of Appalachian piano playing by Heywood Blevins (FRC 508).   I haven't heard it (beyond the sound clip), but it looks like quite a tracklist . . .

FRC508 - Heywood Blevins
1.        Cacklin Hen (4:12)
2.        Listen to the Mockingbird (2:18)
3.        Old Molly Hare (2:04)
4.        Fishers Hornpipe (2:10)
5.        Sourwood Mountain (0:43)
6.        Goodbye Liza Jane (1:33)
7.        Wildwood Flower (1:49)
8.        Down Yonder (1:53)
9.        Lonesome Road Blues (1:39)
10.        Molly Put the Kettle on (0:52)
11.        The Old Marine Hymn (1:49)
12.        Sally Ann (1:15)
13.        Sally Goodin (1:06)
14.        In the Sweet Bye and Bye (1:52)
15.        Precious Memory (1:10)
16.        Sweet Hour of Prayer (1:40)
17.        What a Friend We Have in Jesus (1:18)
18.        Lonesome Road Blues (1:59)
19.        Wildwood Flower (1:30)
20.        Dance All Night with a Bottle in Your Hand (2:53)
21.        Old Jimmy Sutton (1:17)
22.        Molly put the Kettle on (1:02)
23.        Cacklin Hen (2:05)
24.        Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (1:35)
25.        Old Joe Clark (1:19)
26.        Girl I left Behind Me (1:19)
27.        Casey Jones (1:18)
28.        Flop Eared Mule (1:58)
29.        The Preacher and the Bear (1:46)
30.        Little Liza Jane (1:39)
31.        Fishers Hornpipe (1:35)
32.        Roundtown Gals (1:26)
33.        Sally Goodin (1:17)
34.        Cripple Creek (1:09)
35.        Wildwood Flower (1:29)
36.        Wabash Cannonball (1:34)
37.        Cacklin Hen (2:35)
38.        Sally Ann (1:38)
39.        Liza Jane (1:58)
40.        Alabama Gals (2:09)

Notes:
FRC508– Heywood Blevins –(From the collection of Peter Hoover)   $15 per disc
This recording is an infrequent glimpse into Appalachian Mountain piano playing. Oddly enough, there were more than just a sprinkling of pianos in the mountains, a fact corroborated by Virginia pianists such as Hobart Smith, Clarice Shelor of Meadows of Dan and Mabel Dalton of Galax. John Hoffman, writing about Peter Hoover's recording trips, described Heywood's style; "Mr. Blevins, from Baywood, VA, said that he played piano the way that his father played the banjo. The tunes have that banjo bounce bearing some resemblance, or feel, to Hobart Smith's piano playing. What is interesting about Heywood's playing is the fact that many of the tunes are played in atypical mountain music tunings, F, E, G#, etc. Peter noted how often Haywood was playing on the black keys." These recordings come from two other sources beside Peter Hoover, including those of the late Blanton Owen and Carol Holcomb, whose father Howard Joines plays fiddle with Heywood on several tracks of this CD. - Ray Alden


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Ian Carter
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 11:57 AM

As a piano player, I suppose I'm biased, but I really can't see what all the fuss is about.


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: Banjiman
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 12:45 PM

....ain't no fuss, just a friendly debate!


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Subject: RE: Pianos In Folk Music
From: sleepyjon
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 02:27 PM

Jack Campin had it (several posts ago). I'm sure it's a temperamant thing (that's the temperament of the piano, not of the people hearing the songs!) - just gives the typical trad tune a completely different feel - compounded by all the overtones and upper harmonics from the multiplicity of strings on the piano. John-in-Kansas had some very erudite stuff on temperament in this forum some years ago which I'd like to read again if only I knew how to find it. I think it's the basis of many interesting things - eg why an "a capella" folk trio such as Coope Boyes and Simpson sound like more resources than the Huddersfield Choral Society, and exactly why tunes of a certain character - especially a modal character sound so different on the piano. I'd challenge anyone to accompany "Gathering rushes in the month of May" on the piano without totally changing the feel of it. Also explains why so many sub-classifications of "folk" sound absolutely ok on the piano - they are harmonically based, so are comfortable in equal temperament.

Just guessing really.

SJ


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