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Folklore: Define English Trad Music

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GUEST,Alex - Fiddler 22 Jun 08 - 01:03 PM
Lester 22 Jun 08 - 01:15 PM
Stringsinger 22 Jun 08 - 01:15 PM
glueman 22 Jun 08 - 01:40 PM
Waddon Pete 22 Jun 08 - 01:44 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM
Howard Jones 22 Jun 08 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM
Sue Allan 22 Jun 08 - 02:19 PM
Sue Allan 22 Jun 08 - 02:21 PM
BB 22 Jun 08 - 02:58 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 02:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 08 - 03:25 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 03:47 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 03:51 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 03:54 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 03:54 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 04:00 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle 22 Jun 08 - 04:08 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 04:17 PM
Waddon Pete 22 Jun 08 - 04:20 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 04:22 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 04:22 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 04:53 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 04:55 PM
Bonzo3legs 22 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jun 08 - 05:08 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 08 - 05:15 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 05:16 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 05:24 PM
Howard Jones 22 Jun 08 - 05:30 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 05:37 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jun 08 - 05:38 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 08 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle 22 Jun 08 - 05:45 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 05:46 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle 22 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 05:54 PM
greg stephens 22 Jun 08 - 05:58 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 06:08 PM
johnadams 22 Jun 08 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Alex 22 Jun 08 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Al 22 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jun 08 - 07:26 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jun 08 - 08:04 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 08 - 09:21 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Jun 08 - 09:59 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Alex - Fiddler
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:03 PM

A common quandary, I am an English fiddle player that is most often found playing Irish music, (mainly because these sessions are most prevalent).

I play with lots of rolls and trebles commonly associated with Irish playing, although there is evidence to suggest that traditionally these were used in English trad playing too. If I play English tunes in this manner (highly ornamented and perhaps a little up tempo) in a session advertised as English, people look at me as-if-to-say I've walked into the wrong bar.

Since I am English, living in England playing English tunes, is my style of playing enough to make it not traditional. After-all there are unfortunately not many old recordings to listen to guide us.

Any thoughts?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Lester
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:15 PM

Since I am English, living in England playing English tunes, is my style of playing enough to make it not traditional.

Probably, in the same way that if I went to an Irish session and played their music in a Morris dance melodeon style it would not be Irish Traditional Music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:15 PM

The distinction has to come from your area. Of course it has earlier so-called "Celtic" influences but if the folk musician has spent enough time in a given area, they will take on unique musical and lyric expression. The goal is to study the music in that given area
and learn to play and sing it. Then you will find its unique qualities.

I don't know much about early English folk music but I see that some of it informs American folk songs (as Sharp and Karpeles have shown). I think that American ballads identification with Britain might be overstated but nonetheless, Barbara Allen seems to have crossed the pond with definable strings (no pun intended). My inclination is that most fiddle music is Scots-Irish in the Appalachians and not too influenced by English music.

I think that there certainly are examples of Cornish folk songs, North Country songs,
and probably predecessors in the time of Shakespeare or Henry the VIII. Early sea chanteys may have English origins. The tradition can be defined when isolating the region whereby the unique styles emerge.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: glueman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:40 PM

Impossible. There isn't a definition.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 01:44 PM

Just play the tunes....enjoy them...let others enjoy them....pass the music along....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:04 PM

There is no single pan-English style of playing on any folk instrument. One of the most distinct, Northumbrian, is heavily influenced by the pipes and indeed Scottish styles, and to some extent Irish. The north of England has been very cosmopolitan in style
as far back as records go. The southern style dominated by polkas and hornpipes has (unfortunately IMHO) made great inroads in the north in the last 40 years. I much prefer the eclectic mix of Scottish, Irish, American, whatever. Variety is the spice of life. I have great difficulty dancing some of our northern dances to the humpty-dumpty tunes from down south.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:05 PM

"Tradition" means a continuous, transmitted process. The style that's been transmitted to you is Irish. The fact that you're English, living in England, doesn't alter that, and doesn't make it English.

Many tunes are common to all the traditions of the British Isles, and often the only thing that distinguishes them is the style in which they're played.

Whilst there aren't as many recordings around of traditional English fiddlers as there are of Irish, you should be able to find enough for you to get an idea of the style. Fiddle styles vary around England (just as Irish fiddle styles vary from region to region). "English sessions" often mean southern or East Anglian music, but the north has its own style and repertoire.

I'm not a fiddler, so I can't be more specific than that. But if you want to play English music, learn to play an English style.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:14 PM

is my style of playing enough to make it not traditional.

Well from what you say, your style of playing is not fitting in with the English sessions you go to and I think "fitting in" is what you (or I) need to do.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Sue Allan
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:19 PM

If by 'humpty dumpty' tunes (above) is meant those southern English ones, played very rhythmically but often quite slowly and melodeon led, which too many people seem to think are THE definitive English style. Not so!

Try some of northern tunes: much closer to Scottish and Irish. Jamie Knowles 'Northern Lass' book has some (out of print though, I think), or for Lake District tunes get down to EDFDSS where the library has the wonderful William Irwin tunebooks, as well as those of Henry Stables and Matthew Betham (but catalogued under William Docker)

Or, try here: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/musicfiles/rook/ for the wonderful John Rook manuscript.

Or, if you don't want the dots get hold of the wonderful Boat Band and Crookfinger Jack CD (say thank you Greg!!)

Sue


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Sue Allan
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:21 PM

Gosh... sorry about last post: far too many wonderfuls! Substitute your own preferred enthusiastic, admiring adjectives.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: BB
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:58 PM

I'm a singer, not an instrumentalist, but that doesn't mean that I don't listen to instrumental music. One of the best fiddle sessions I ever heard was a purely English one at the National Festival some years ago - I can't describe how it differed from an Irish one, but it was definitely English in style as well as in content. It seemed to me that there was a precision and cleanness about the playing which perhaps in Irish and Scottish is disguised by ornamentation, but I don't really know - perhaps the likes of John Adams can tell us, as I believe he was involved. But to me it was inspirational!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 02:59 PM

GUEST Alex-fiddler.
The problem may lie in the fact you are going to a sesion "advertised as English". I play in many sessions where we play English tunes, but these are just informal get-togethers which are not advertised as anything whatsoever really, they just are what they are. Now it strikes me that the session referred to, being "advertised as English" may be "run" by some of those musicians of the Old Swan/Oak "English country music" sort of persuasion, who sometimes have a rather strict notion of what they consider to be authentic English(very slow and polka-ish, really).Could you be a little more specific about the geographical location and social composition of your "advertised as English" session?

PS: Re Sue Allan's previous post. You can't use too many "wonderful"s when describing the Boat Band(he said modestly)
PPS Thank you, Sue


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:25 PM

Interesting when you put it like that. Does it worry you that you're not English enough? Most of us find ourselves a bit discomfitted at how very English we are. We're virtually unintelligible to the rest of the world as it is.

Even a singer like Martin Carthy seems to incorporate bits of Romany and Irish style slides and grace notes into his singing and playing.

You sound like a candidate for this folk degree, where they sort out all this ethnography. I think for many of us - the wide bill of fare that English folk music encompasses is rather a plus. everything from the Geordies to the Devon and Cornwall gang and stopping at all stations in between.

And lets face it, the Scots and Irish use all our material - think of Bert Jansch and Christy Moore. They sing English songs. So what makes the Scottish and Irish stuff off limits to us?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:35 PM

Phew! Big subject!

I played in a session today with musicians from Ryburn 3 Step and the wonderful (it's catching Sue!!) Geckoes dance band.

It felt to me like an English session whatever one of those is. Some of the tunes were lumpy and slow. Some were faster and lighter. The lumpiest and slowest tune we played was a Scottish tune as played for a Northumbrian dance (Laddy With the Plaidie/Kielder Schottische) so there are no absolutes.

In terms of fiddle players displaying 'Englishness' in style let's just list a few and see what people think. You won't have heard of all of them but to me an English list would include

Dave Swarbrick
Barry Dransfield
Nic Jones
Willie Taylor
Paul Burgess
Flos Headford
Fi Fraser
Jackie Allen
John Dipper
Matt Green
Caroline Ritson
Jane LLoyd (Flett)
Nina Hansell
Chris Partington
Me

All of these people have differing styles and apply decoration in different ways but probably all borrow from the same bucket of tricks used by other traditions like Irish and Scottish and American. They just apply them differently.

As an English fiddler I feel closer to Tommy Jarrel and Alan Jabbour than I do to Frankie Gavin or Sean McGuire.

I also feel closer to the Cajun fiddlers and interestingly, the (wonderful) Boat Band can sound very English when (the even more wonderful) Kate Barfield sounds, in isolation, very Cajun.

Interesting discussion.

J


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:47 PM

Ihave read some nonsense in my time[whereisWAV]and this thread has a couple of nonsensical posts
TO THE ORIGINAL POSTER,Yes,you are playing in an English style.
unfortunately about 60 percent of music sessions in both England and Ireland are made up of intolerant twats.
keep enjoying playing and ignore the funny expressions of the intolerant rule makers.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:51 PM

god preserve me from 30mile per hour sessions in c,and 130 mile per hour sessions that people cant dance to unless they have four feet four heads,and fourarms.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:54 PM

A very interesting list from Johnny Adams. Now, I would certainly put Dave Swarbrick as the most influential fiddler in the English folk revival. And so many people have followed him, and then others have followed his followers, that the style has become very dominating arounbd the folk scene. But I would not classify his approach as very English in any traditional sense. It is just very Swarbrick!
    As I said previously, there are a multiplicity of English styles, so to pick out the "one and only authentic English" fiddler is impossible. But I would suggest, of those who are still with us as opposed to those who made the name we call it by: you wouldn't go far wrong if you had a listen to
Paul Roberts(in the north)
or Flos Headford (in the south).
Or, as Johnny Adams mentioned, the "even more wonderful Kate Barfield" (who virtully never plays decorations except slides and double strings, in common with a lot of traditional players)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 03:54 PM

give me a padded cell and a metrognome.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:00 PM

.... and a dictionary? Or did you really mean a 'town dwarf'?

Toddle off and read another thread, there's a good chap.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:07 PM

What was I thinking of - leaving Paul Roberts off my list!!!

Read his essay on pre-Victorian fiddle style on the Village Music Project site,

Pre Victorian English Fiddle


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:08 PM

Hey Ho,

thanks for responses,

well I'm down south, (Dorset and now Brighton) and so I suppose I am particularly keen on the traditions from these areas, (easy to find songs from these areas, not so much the dance tunes) I know a fair bit of the Northern repertoire including 'Scottishy' Northumbrian tunes and enjoy a lot of this, but I would like to play my own regional style......   just can't think of what that is?


I don't have a specifically Irish style, (certainly not enough to distinguish a regional preference) and I have also learned from predominantly English musicians, it's just that a lot of the time .... they're playing Irish tunes.

So, to be truly trad should I learn from someone that plays trad Southern English fiddle?

Who?

This description appeals to me...

English Fiddle Style

and suggests 'rich in ornamentation'
Sounds like they're describing my playing!!!!

Alex

Some responses:-

Lester
"Probably, in the same way that if I went to an Irish session and played their music in a Morris dance melodeon style it would not be Irish Traditional Music"

That's true, although Morris has a very distinctive style and contemporary Irish trad music is also well defined, in a way I don't think English music is....

(Howard Jones quote "continuous, transmitted process.")

....but there's not an unbroken chain of tradition, nor is a there a distinct enough modern interpretation of Trad English by which you can define it. Is there?


If, as my linked website seems to suggest, some trad English was fast, ornamented reels, then I'm not content to just let the other traditions have them, as we currently appear to. If I play a fast reel people will most likely say it's Irish (or in an Irish style) but if it has been played like this in England previously then why shouldn't I say it's English, merely because there isn't an unbroken chain?

Hmmmm....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:17 PM

GUEST Alex fiddle wrote:

well I'm down south, (Dorset and now Brighton) and so I suppose I am particularly keen on the traditions from these areas,

If you're in Brighton then the person you need to talk to is Ian Salter, who has researched and reconstructed a style of playing that he believes to have some relationship with what Paul Roberts has researched (see my earlier link).

Contact me via my (incomplete) web site and I'll put you in contact with him.

www.john-adams.info


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:20 PM

The best musicians don't mind where the music comes from... they play from the heart...yes they absorb influences from all around, but the greatest influence is within...and that has been handed down to them through their family time out of mind.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:22 PM

well spoken,WaddonPete.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:22 PM

Alex guest fiddle wrote:

I don't have a specifically Irish style, (certainly not enough to distinguish a regional preference) and I have also learned from predominantly English musicians, it's just that a lot of the time .... they're playing Irish tunes.

The style transcends the origin of the tunes. Willie Taylor up in the Borders used to be able to listen to RTE and learned tunes off Irish fiddlers being broadcast. Listen to him play those tunes and you'd swear that they were born in Northumbria.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:53 PM

I play with lots of rolls and trebles commonly associated with Irish playing, although there is evidence to suggest that traditionally these were used in English trad playing too.quote from alex fiddle.
   playing with lots of rolls and trebles is often associated with Sligo style.English players like Stephen Baldwin WalterBulwer,EelyWhent,did not use rolls and trebles,what evidence is there that it is an English style
John Adams I know how to spell metronome.just having a joke,great mistake I know,I will write out a hundred times Imust be earnest about English music at all times,I must not make jokes,I must be very serious,.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 04:55 PM

Glad to see you've got your sense of humour back.

Now, about that padded cell.................


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:06 PM

Does it really matter? If it sounds good, who cares if certain rule makers consider it traditional or not. What are rolls and trebles?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:08 PM

There are literally thousands of excellent English musicians (and let's not forget the Americans as well) who are playing brilliant Irish music and coming close to Irish traditional styles. Certainly the vast majority of musicians in this country couldn't tell the difference between them and Irish musicians brought up with the music. Okay so those brought up with it could tell, so what? Most sessions are open and free to allcomers. Any session that plays reels wall to wall endlessly is boring diddly diddly to all but the incestuous few at the centre and certainly doesn't make good listening after half an hour. Similarly an endless session of humpty dumpty. For god's sake bring variety back!
If I was running a session and one type of music started to dominate I would deliberately play something entirely different just to make the point, or (gasp!) even sing a song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:15 PM

I agree Steve,but lets get back to traditional english style,WillieTaylor was unusual;why?.he was missing a finger or part of a finger of his left hand,this would affect his abilty to do rolls.
four english fiddlers so far who did not use rolls, where is the evidence that English traditional fiddlers played used rolls and trebles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:16 PM

Bonzo3Legs, like many pontificators on folk music, tends to confuse4 rule making with describing something. To say that zebras have black and white stripes is not a rule made by the animal police. It is a decription of the animnals.If I say that Irish traditional players play a lot of jigs and reels, but Bavarians play more polkas and waltzes, is a description of their behaviour. It is not a rule that I am making that I wish them to follow.
See the difference?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:24 PM

There is no evidence that I'm aware of that English traditional fiddlers used rolls and trebles.

Present 'English' fiddlers don't seem to use them either.

OK?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Howard Jones
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:30 PM

"why shouldn't I say it's English, merely because there isn't an unbroken chain?"

The point that I was trying to make is that it is clear from your original post that you are not part of that unbroken chain. Neither am I for that matter. So if you've learned a style which is Irish then just because you're English doesn't turn it into an English style. And certainly not "traditional".

As musicians who've come to folk music we have to choose what we're going to play and how to play it. There are two approaches to this. One is the "purist" one - how was this music played by traditional fiddlers? The other is simply try to fit in with the other players in the session, who have a clear idea of what English fiddle should sound like (or perhaps not a clear idea, but they're sure that the way you play isn't it!)

Listen to some of the players Johnny Adams has recommended. Listen to the fiddlers in your local sessions. As with any instrument, try to find your own style which reflects and respects the tradition and yet allows you to express yourself.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:37 PM

I would hesitate to disagree with the illustrious director of the Village Music Project, but I would suggest that there is plenty of evidence that traditional English players used trebles and rolls(though not necessarily under that those names, which I believe are possibly Irish usage, and possibly modern at that).Or, perhaps it is more accurate to say there is plenty of evidence that they wrote them down. Whether they actually played them or not is not so certain, as we are talking about books written down pre the recording era.
If you would like to examine the evidence, perhaps you should take a look in some MS books. I believe there is a national online collection whose name escapes me.
(Ha ha, joke)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:38 PM

Alex,
For gawd's sake play what you enjoy and what you're good at. If anyone objects there are plenty of other sessions and if not start your own! By all means listen to some of the people recommended above but please don't slavishly follow anyone. Good advice from Howard.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:43 PM

"There is no evidence that I'm aware of that English traditional fiddlers used rolls and trebles.

Present 'English' fiddlers don't seem to use them either."

This is on the website link that YOU posted....



"A perfomance can be decorated with fingering as well as the bow. In this respect 20th century English fiddlers were generally quite unadventurous, making sparing use of a few fairly simple gracenotings. However, the old books make clear that some pre-Victorian players habitually used a wide variety of often quite complex gracings, including single gracenotes above and below the melody note, long semi-quaver runs between melody notes, the rapid movement of the bow the Scots call the "birl" - the same note rapidly bowed 3 or 4 times - plus all the standard baroque decorations like the Mordant, the Shake, and the Turn. The mordant is when you tap the note above or below after landing on the melody note, the Shake or Trill is the repeated beating of the note above or occassionally below the melody note, perhaps the archetypal baroque decoration (demonstrate). Vibrato in this period was regarded as a variant of the trill and was thus only used as an occasional decoration. The Turn appears to have been particularly common - you'll be familiar with this because its the movement Irish players call the Roll. It's played by hitting first the note above then the note below the melody note"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:45 PM

A Birl is an Irish treble as far as I'm concerned.

Al


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:46 PM

Alex: very much agree with previous poster. If you are playing too fast and too ornamented for your local session, rein yourself in a bit if you want to play along with others. Or if you too are wedded to your own style and don't want to change, fine, start your own and see who coalesces round you. That is how the tradition will be defined for the next generation, by what you and your friends make of it now.
Go to it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:49 PM

Greg! I'm more industrious than illustrious.

Yes, you're dead right. From the evidence, the fiddlers used every trick in the book and then some!

I was just trying to help the Captain avoid his next apoplectic fit!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Alex Guest Fiddle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:52 PM

Anyway ornamentation is one the best parts of this music, they are an obvious way to bring live and interest into a tune. It seems hard to conceive that 'pre-melodeon' fiddler's didn't use this effective method.

This is going to sound terrible but.....

most English fiddler's I've come across in sessions really haven't been that good. It's not to say that there aren't people out there, but...well I don't wish to learn style from a novice...even someone that's been a novice for a long time....

al


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:54 PM

My reference to "previous poster" referred to Steve Gardham who was the previous poster at the time, but a few others intervened!
I am at one with GUEST (unnamed) above: a bit confused by John Adams' posts. In one John adamantly denies that English fiddlers used trebles and rolls, in another he includes a link to an article that discusses the use of these very ornamentations by English fiddlers.An article with which I fully agree(on that point at least).
Earlier on in this thread, for example, John Adams particularly mentions mentions the Englishman William Irwin's tunebooks with approbation. Well, he'll find rolls and trebles in there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 05:58 PM

Alex Guest Fiddle: for your own sake, I should avoid the sessions I play at. I think you'll find it all a bit novice and slow and, well, crap. But you could come and give it a try once ...you just might get the taste.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 06:08 PM

Greg. Sorry I've confused things with my retort to the Cap'n. I should have been serious like I'm expected to be. See my post above.

Alex Guest Fiddle

most English fiddler's I've come across in sessions really haven't been that good. It's not to say that there aren't people out there, but...well I don't wish to learn style from a novice...even someone that's been a novice for a long time....

We can suggest good people to listen to but we can't improve the people around you. You'll just have to search a bit wider.

When you were in Dorset did you ever session with Colin Thomson? - an excellent fiddler!

More people to listen to....

Carolyn Francis from the Lake District
Laurel Swift from the Gloworms band.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: johnadams
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 06:13 PM

Greg,

Earlier on in this thread, for example, John Adams particularly mentions mentions the Englishman William Irwin's tunebooks with approbation. Well, he'll find rolls and trebles in there.

It was Sue mentioned Irwin but again, I agree about the rolls and trebles - honestly I agree - I just had a daft moment - I won't do it again - honest!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Alex
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 06:14 PM

I think that came out a bit harsh, i'm not elitist and enjoy almost all sessions, but.... i'll tell you what started this thread...

i was briefly playing tunes with Ross Couper and common ground was a lot of Irish tunes, and then he and comrades played some Shetland tunes and I'd have loved it if we could have contributed some great English music. But what? I do play loads of the classic tunes and I'm good enough to play them well (musical and interesting) but not maybe in a trad English way...

I'm sure I would enjoy your session, I enjoy slow (and fast) (and faster) tunes and I enjoy new tunes and new people. But I can only learn what i hear...
and I need English bowing, phrasing, ornamenting, set ideas, variation ideas/improv.... etc

cheers,

al


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 06:52 PM

I want to play english music but with this passion...

Lau


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 07:26 PM

Just fit in, Alex. You wouldn't really be expecting to be a Galway, Clare, Donnegal, Sligo, Kerry, etc. fiddle player all in one would you?-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 08:04 PM

Good point, Jon. Equally, there's no mileage in trying to define 'English trad music'; though some general characteristics can be identified in regional styles.

The MS tunebook issue having been dealt with (they are full of turns, rolls and mordants) I see no reason why decorative techniques nowadays associated mainly with Irish styles shouldn't be used once again in English contexts.

I learned fiddle largely in the 'Irish' sessions around Sheffield in the '80s (that's all there was at the time) and still have a lot of Irish tunes I can fall back on, but I've concentrated on English repertoire for a long time now. I use more decoration than many 'English' players, but nobody has ever remarked adversely upon that. It ought to be used with discretion, though, and mainly for punctuation and emphasis; some players in the 'modern' Irish style use so much that the melody disappears almost entirely behind the 'aren't-I-clever' frills, and it would be quite impossible to dance to.

One English fiddler who started out via the (Liverpool) Irish tradition and has subsequently devoted a lot of time to exploring the background is Gina LeFaux. Her thesis would be, I think, that 'Irish' ornamentation is basically a survival of the normal Baroque style, which went out of fashion in England, whereas in Ireland it didn't. Of course there isn't an 'Irish' style as such (the Kerry and Donegal traditions, for example, are wildly different from each other); what you tend to hear in 'Irish' sessions is an homogenised, 'mix and match' thing. Essentially a modern construct. Regional styles are more distinctive and a lot more interesting once you start exploring them, and that's true of the whole of Britain and Ireland.

There will always be people who will say 'What does it matter' or 'Just enjoy the music and don't think about it'. That's fine for those who have limited horizons and small imaginations. It's bad advice for the intelligent and enquiring mind, though, which seeks to understand as well as to enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 09:21 PM

depends if your limited horizon exends into the future I suppose, or even tries to make an understanding of the people who have lived in your lifetime.

the easiest opton of course is to pretend you have some sort of god given understanding of 'the English tradition'.


that's for the real mentally lazy bastards with virtually no powers of cerebration.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Define English Trad Music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Jun 08 - 09:59 PM

What makes me really angry is the thinly veiled abuse....

Where on earth are you coming from mentally.

This thread contains the sincerely expresed views of lots of musicians, many of them working for no monetary remuneration, just doing their damndest to make the folk revival work.

Is there just some inbred instinct to see others as your inferior?


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