Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Guitar in Sessions

GUEST,Celtic Guitarist 27 Feb 10 - 07:08 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM
stallion 27 Feb 10 - 07:12 PM
Ian Burdon 27 Feb 10 - 07:17 PM
GUEST, *#1 PEASANT* 27 Feb 10 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Celtic Guitarist 27 Feb 10 - 07:35 PM
treewind 27 Feb 10 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Celtic Guitarist 27 Feb 10 - 07:38 PM
Jack Campin 27 Feb 10 - 07:55 PM
Suegorgeous 27 Feb 10 - 09:20 PM
Will Fly 28 Feb 10 - 03:24 AM
Dave Hanson 28 Feb 10 - 03:33 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 28 Feb 10 - 05:46 AM
Paul Burke 28 Feb 10 - 06:27 AM
Jack Campin 28 Feb 10 - 06:37 AM
Betsy 28 Feb 10 - 07:11 AM
Leadfingers 28 Feb 10 - 07:30 AM
bubblyrat 28 Feb 10 - 07:30 AM
bubblyrat 28 Feb 10 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Celtic Guitarist 28 Feb 10 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,johnp 28 Feb 10 - 08:54 AM
Leadfingers 28 Feb 10 - 09:02 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 28 Feb 10 - 09:05 AM
GUEST,Celtic Guitarist 28 Feb 10 - 09:23 AM
Will Fly 28 Feb 10 - 11:31 AM
Paul Burke 28 Feb 10 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,The Sahmbles 28 Feb 10 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,johnp 28 Feb 10 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 28 Feb 10 - 12:38 PM
Leadfingers 28 Feb 10 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Tom Again 28 Feb 10 - 12:47 PM
Will Fly 28 Feb 10 - 01:01 PM
The Sandman 28 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM
Stower 28 Feb 10 - 04:37 PM
Smokey. 28 Feb 10 - 04:59 PM
GUEST 28 Feb 10 - 05:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Feb 10 - 05:08 PM
The Vulgar Boatman 28 Feb 10 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 28 Feb 10 - 05:50 PM
Paul Burke 28 Feb 10 - 06:40 PM
Tim Leaning 01 Mar 10 - 02:34 AM
Betsy 03 Mar 10 - 06:10 PM
Bounty Hound 03 Mar 10 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 10 - 08:30 PM
Stower 04 Mar 10 - 04:07 AM
mattkeen 04 Mar 10 - 04:29 AM
Bounty Hound 04 Mar 10 - 05:40 AM
banjoman 04 Mar 10 - 06:08 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 04 Mar 10 - 06:19 AM
Nick 04 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 Mar 10 - 08:05 AM
Backwoodsman 04 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM
Stu 04 Mar 10 - 09:38 AM
MikeL2 04 Mar 10 - 11:36 AM
Rusty Dobro 04 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM
IanC 04 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM
Stower 04 Mar 10 - 12:34 PM
Stu 04 Mar 10 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 04 Mar 10 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,tb 04 Mar 10 - 03:21 PM
Phil Cooper 04 Mar 10 - 03:47 PM
Paul Burke 04 Mar 10 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Mar 10 - 08:12 PM
Stu 05 Mar 10 - 03:26 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 05 Mar 10 - 03:37 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Mar 10 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 05 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 05 Mar 10 - 06:52 AM
Stu 05 Mar 10 - 07:09 AM
Will Fly 05 Mar 10 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 05 Mar 10 - 08:34 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Celtic Guitarist
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:08 PM

Hello!

1st If there is already a thread along these lines then please point me at it! I couldn't find it, but this may just be due to the popularity of the site.

2nd Not looking for abuse. Some people are very touchy about this subject.

OK, well.... I personally enjoy playing gutar in sessions. However, abide by the 1 accompaniast chord player (usualy) rule and know a bunch of tunes.

On a couple of occasions I have been to new sessions, said I play guitar or had it with me and have been told, abruptly, that it doesn't fit with traditional tunes. I'm quite thick skinned, but why the hostility?

Thanks :O)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:10 PM

I agree with you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: stallion
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:12 PM

Oh we have Sousaphones, saxaphones & trombones!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:17 PM

I never take a guitar to a session although I have occasionally dropped into a session on the way back from somewhere else while carrying one.   I have been hugely entertained once or twice by being advised that a guitar is/was only acceptable if it was in DADGAD or similar, standard tuning being somehow "not celtic" and thus beyond the pale.

Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST, *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:22 PM

just so I can find room for a melody somewhere for my whistle to fit in they are ok. not too happy about the key of G which tends to turn up at sessions. My fingers are huge. Cant afford a low G....dont't do endless pickin and grinnin either.

Conrad


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Celtic Guitarist
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:35 PM

ooooo tuning, now there's another issue. :) I do play in dropped tunings (although i have heard people do superb accompaniment in standard) I have been told that I shouldn't play in DADGAD!

A friend of mine had someone go completley crazy and she was learning guitar in DADGAD and in this indivdual's Not-so-humble-opinion they should learn standard first.

People get SOOO angry, i've had someone rant and storm out when i picked up guitar, claiming that he couldn't play to that, too many chord changes. I think i used a G ;O) !

TBH, that person was a bit of a novice and often it has been less strong players that get the most angry, maybe they are genuinely putoff or may be the guitarist is a scapegoat. Hmmm.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: treewind
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:36 PM

"said I play guitar ...and have been told, abruptly, that it doesn't fit with traditional tunes.... why the hostility?"

I think this comes from the assumption (statistically defensible) that someone with a guitar is looking for a quite different sort of session.

I do know a guitarist who mostly plays fabulous blues but also has a complete understanding of how to play in an English tunes session, but folks like that are rare. And an English music session is an even less likely place to expect a guitar than a "celtic" one , if by that you mean Irish/Welsh/Scottish.

I've heard of a cellist who regularly takes his instrument to blues clubs too - but he knows what he's doing and does it very well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Celtic Guitarist
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:38 PM

ust to be clear that post said - less able players often the ones that dislike guitar (in my experience) NOT those that dislkie guitar MUST be less able. It's personal choice. :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 07:55 PM

I doubt any Scottish session would have a problem with a harmony instrument turning up. They would have to fit in with the accordion (if there was one) but we don't go in for the self-righteous obsession with organological ethnic purity you find in Irish sessions. (It would be nice to hear some five-string banjo again someday, it hasn't been used regularly in the backline of Scottish bands since WW2).

Drinks all round for Addie Harper and his band, who had the guts to try a lineup including Hawaiian guitar and tenor sax. Okay it sounded like crap, but it was *different* crap.

Speaking as a mainly-melody-instrument-but-sometimes-alto-line player who's played in sessions with a lot of random guitarists: your tuning doesn't affect me, I can play differently to compensate for any differences in the sound you make. Where it DOES make a difference that can't be compensated for is if you accompany yourself singing. There is a particular kind of pub singer who uses a DADGAD guitar to generate a wall of sound and then bellows over the top of it with all the subtlety and dynamic shading of a car alarm. Please don't let that be you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 09:20 PM

Try putting this question on the forum at thesession.org .... you'll get lots of answers in no uncertain terms.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 03:24 AM

TheSession.org isn't always vitriolic about guitars at sessions, though there's a certainly a lot of heat on the subject - and many other matters. TheSession is also dedicated, so they say, to mainly Irish and Scottish music. I go to mixed sessions, French sessions and others, but always avoid those whose musical ears are blinkered.

It doesn't matter what you bring to a session as long as you, a stranger, listen to what is going on and try and fit in. A session is a great way to learn new tunes and to contribute to a good musical evening - and to have fun. I play guitar, tenor guitar and mandolin at sessions. Mandolin is great for picking up tunes quickly and joining in melodically. Tenor guitar, being tuned in 5ths (like a viola) is also good for this, though some tunes based on fiddle music can be a little out of the playable range sometimes. As far as guitar is concerned, the emphasis for me is not on laying down solid chords all the way through all the tunes - unless that's specifically required - but on providing some subtle bass line and harmonic support. You need good ears - but you need good ears for any instrument.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 03:33 AM

Quote, ' it doesn't fit in with traditional tunes ' somebody had better tell Martin Carthy cos it never stopped him.

I wouldn't want to go to any session that takes that attitude.

Dave H


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:46 AM

Celtic Guitarist - you probably know this, but in case you don't..

There is a crucial difference between Irish dance music as played in sessions and English / Scottish music, and that is the role of melodic variation in Irish tunes.

Irish music largely developed without any chordal accompaniment, just melody and percussion. It was therefore possible, even necessary, for the players to vary the tune to quite a large degree without finding themselves playing another tune, and without clashing with the other tune players. This is the high skill of Irish music - it's more than decoration and less than improvisation, it's based on an almost instinctive harmonic and rhythmic diversion within universally understood rules. And it's the reason why Irish music can be the most dangerous and intoxicating of all the Celtic genres. (I'm taking nothing from the others, they have their own unique strengths - but if, for example, you vary a Scottish tune in the A part, you sometimes find you're playing the C part, because the variations are largely composed into the tune).

I'm a guitarist, and I worked professionally for ten years with a master of this art, and we talked about it more than any other topic (I've had many conversations with many other great Irish players too).

The guitar is (usually) welcomed - as long as it doesn't impinge on this flight of fancy (which, sadly it too often does). It needs to offer a chordal base which does not inhibit tune variation, and it needs to do so with a feel and rhythm which doesn't inhibit the bounce of the beat. (I was advised it was better to play one chord throughout the whole set with the right rhythmic feel, than to add lots of 'interesting' chords that ruined both the harmonic possibilities and the tap).

The reason some musicians (often the weaker players) turn up their noses at the guitar is because unless the guitarist really knows what he's doing he can ruin the session (and the weaker the player, the more likely he is to be put off) - even though he's a skilled player and thinks he's playing well.

So sessioneers confronted with a guitar case will sometimes err on the side of caution than risk having their evening ruined. This is unfortunate, but as they have come together precisely to enjoy this high wire act it is perhaps understandable.

It's not true of all sessions of course. There are many players of Irish music who wouldn't know a variation if it blow up their whistle, and lots who are happy to stick to Mally's Dots. These sessions are a good place to get a feel for the pure drop.

You will of course encounter guitarists who offer lots of chords (Jim Murray, Chris O'Malley and Tim Edey, for example) but they do so in a way that doesn't inhibit the tune players, because they also know where the tune is going.

This is also the reason why DADGAD is often preferred. It defines chords less precisely and leaves drones ringing, so is more likely to work if the guitarist doesn't know the tune backwards. Hence why some might suggest it as a good option.

Tom


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 06:27 AM

I've been playing in all sorts of sessions- mostly Irish, but also French, English, old- timey, klezmer, Swedish, all sorts of stuff- since the 70s. Guitar has been a constant and usually most welcome contributor for almost 40 years now. Some sessions - like 70s English sessions where any sort of musical ability was frowned on as showing off- happily they got over that- and purist French, where their idea of fun is to play the same tune over and over without variations for 20 minutes- would have had problems with guitarists, but I can't think of any others.

On the other hand, like bodhrans, djembas, bajos, accordions and melodeons, the quality and control can be crucial to the welcome received. Play the wrong chords loudly and eventually someone might ask you to stop. And what are the wrong chords? Those that don't lift the tune and help the other musicians. If you're learning, play quietly. Unless it's "your" tune, play so that the music blends into a harmonious whole. Whatever the instrument, whatever your level of ability, whatever your celebrity or fame, play with the other musicians, never against them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 06:37 AM

Bajo? You mean the "bajo sexto" or "bajo quinto" of Mexican music? Not much danger of running into one up here. Is there a whole squad of them in Lancashire?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Betsy
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:11 AM

Well said Paul Burke. I would only add that correct criticism of guitarists is based on the fact that they don't respect the tunes in the first place i.e. they don't know the tunes,and believe it's just a matter of plonking along . Learn the tunes !!!!! ,( say) make a recording of the session, and practice playing along with them at home. The ones you don't know - think of someway of playing quietly or simply keeping quiet.
I shall be playing my guitar at the Monday night session which I love to attend .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:30 AM

I dabble at Guitar as well as Banjo , mandolin and whistle , and often take several instruments with me to a session ! Too many of ANY purely Rhythm instrument at a session can be a bit off , so I play along on whatever will add to the overall sound .
The only session stuff I DONT enjoy on Guitar is Cajon which , unless you REALLY know the tune well turns into a Two Bar Bore !
And I agree that playing QUIETLY is vital until you DO know the melody line and structure , what ever you are playing .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:30 AM

I more or less agree with everything that Tom Bliss and Will Fly have said !!
   I usually manage OK in most types of session,once I have overcome any initial hostility (if there is any) on entering the room with a cased or bagged guitar ; " I see you've brought your golf-bag with you !" is a typical comment that I have received ! One just needs to be a bit thick skinned about it,and generally I find that,once other players become aware that one is ,if not brilliant,then at least fairly competent (my own self-assessment !),then things soon become more convivial,especially if one actually "leads off" a tune ; "Seven Stars",in an "English" session,usually does it for me.
            Irish sessions can be tricky,yes,although I was lucky,when first attending the noted Irish session in The Herschel Arms,in Slough, to have "resident" guitarist Frank Docherty as a mentor,and was able to watch,listen,and learn from him !
       I still think I'll continue to give The Radway a miss,though------- too much hostility there !!! Up 'em !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 07:34 AM

Terry----did you mean Cajun, or Cajon ? The former, I imagine !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Celtic Guitarist
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 08:45 AM

Some great points. Frank's a lovely player!

Definitly knowing the tunes is important. I do pick lots of tunes on guitar which helps, and as Bubblyrat said, you can start a tune ( but unfortunately it quickly become drowned oot.)

I guess i find it funny, the first impressions pecking order of instumentalists.... the thing that decided how welcome you'll be before you actually play anything - something I noticed when very young...
in Irish at least (you have to be at least competent but I reckon something like this. Slightly tongue in cheek- :O)

Uillean Pipes - You're in the inner circle before you make it through the door.

Wooden flute/fiddle/bc box/concertina/banjo - you're quickly welcomed, pull up a chair.

penny whistle (well no one would notice you turning up with one so you have to start playing really)

bouzouki/cittern/mandolin - probabably just behind the obvious melody players, have a seat

Piano Accordion - Neutral, may have to sit on the case ;O)

Guitar, bodhran - now things start off on a alight negative, you have to claw it back.

Cajon, Djembe, Keyboard - Can all work but are unlikely to get an initial welcome

Musical saw, kazoo, paer and comb - well you get the idea

:O)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,johnp
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 08:54 AM

whenever I play guitar in sessions it is usually unobtrusive as compared to everything else it is a fairly quiet instrument. In many sessions the keys of G D or A predominate (a melodeon thing I assume) three chords tends to be plenty getting the rythmn right is the main thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 09:02 AM

Thanks Rog !

Ooops ! Sorry Louisiana ! CAJUN !!
And I am providing P A for the Boat Band next week


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 09:05 AM

LOL - yes that's about right! And just try, as I sometimes do, pulling out a melodica!

But there are in fact good reasons for that pecking order, as much to do with the amount of skill needed to get a tune out each instrument in the first place as any other. (Banjo excepted natch ;-)

Funny about the piano accordion - there's a whole style of Irish playing which is accepted, but only by other PA players! It's to do with the way the bellows can flatten the bounce unless the player knows how to change the pump like a push pull box, and also the tendency among stomach steinways to use semitone grace notes and chromatic fills, which can really jar, and, again, a tendency among some to be a bit too clever with the left hand. (If you want to know how it should be done, check our Chris Parkinson - but then he's an ace melodeonist and harmonicist so he knows the score with the old 'sook'n'blar').

You left out gob irons. I do play a little myself, but am in awe of the great moothies who look like they're just sitting there all thoughtful with their hands on their chins - until you get close enough to listen. How they find those missing notes defeats me!

My problem is that because of my gig history people think I'm much better than i really am, so I sometimes find myself dragged to a specially-vacated chair in the middle, when I'm much happier in the outer circle - not least so I can hear my mandola (which I favour for sessions because I can accompany or lead according to mood).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Celtic Guitarist
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 09:23 AM

Yes Chris is ace!

also... some sublime playing here...

www.myspace.com/alankellymusic

www.myspace.com/coletteoleary

www.myspace.com/shonakiplinganddamienokane

www.myspace.com/martintourish


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 11:31 AM

Tom Bliss:
So sessioneers confronted with a guitar case will sometimes err on the side of caution than risk having their evening ruined. This is unfortunate, but as they have come together precisely to enjoy this high wire act it is perhaps understandable.

Tom - there's an interesting side issue in your comment, which is to do with environment, setting and purpose. I've seen sessions run in a public setting - a bar perhaps - where the musicians get irritated and angry when there's noise which interferes with the music. And I've seen sessions which - as you say - are entirely devoted to the complexities of the music. My view is that if you (a) play in a public setting and (b) advertise a session as "open", you should put up with what you get. If you don't, for example, want the aggravation of noise interference or less than skilled players ruining an evening, then hold the session in a domestic setting, find a pub room or village hall room which can be made private, vet players beforehand to see if they'll fit, etc. In other words, run it as a serious private club. There's nothing wrong with that attitude and that strategy for those that want it.

But there's nothing worse than advertising an open session - of whatever sort - and then being rude or discouraging to aspiring players. I would also add that experienced players, in a truly "open" session, should be encouraging to less skilled players, should help them and act as mentors where necessary. Do the clever stuff behind closed doors if you want it to be a musically intellectual exercise, but promote good acoustic music by example and by being inclusive.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:11 PM

Good point Will, but it leaves the whole thing a bit open. You and your mates have set up, say, a klezmer session in a pub. You've been playing together for a while, you know the way you handle the stuff together, you exchange ideas on new stuff or different ways of doing the old stuff. Then a new musician comes along, gets out a keyboard, and starts playing arrangements of Beatles songs. He isn't interested in anything else. You're in a public bar; he's as entitled to his taste in music as you are. You'll probably tolerate him for a while (this bloke, for argument, is VERY good, and very pushy), but you came here to play klezmer primarily. Do you simply accept it and abandon the session, or attempt to dissuade him? And what's the difference between that and an "invasion" of, say, saxophonists in an Irish session? I don't know where you are, but in my experience most sessions aren't advertised; they happen by a more-or-less informal arrangement between a musician or two and an accommodating landlord.

As far as I've seen most sessions will accommodate beginners or musical strangers as long as they are reasonably well behaved, but there sometimes does come a point where the original point of the music starts to get lost. At which point, the decent musicians drift away (usually without leaving a forwarding address), the session goes on for a while, but gradually gets thinner and thinner, and eventually dies altogether. The landlord gets a big screen TV and puts football on, and another venue is lost.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,The Sahmbles
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:21 PM

(I was advised it was better to play one chord throughout the whole set with the right rhythmic feel, than to add lots of 'interesting' chords that ruined both the harmonic possibilities and the tap).

Good advice.

Nothing wrong with any instrument - it is the way it is played that can add to a session or detract from it.

Sadly some guitar players do think that their instrument (and their playing of it) can only add to whatever tune is being played. This approach usually does detract.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,johnp
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:31 PM

I think Will Fly talks a great deal of sense. I find you can usually sense the nature of a session. Sometimes it is obvious that the players don't really want a guitarist (a room full of serious looking fiddlers running on auto-pilot is usually a bad sign) or beginners etc. The answer, find a session that suits or as our little band does start your own session.
I think what we mean by session is key to this discussion. My type of session is for a bunch of people with mixed abilities and instruments to come together to make music with the aim of enjoying themselves and hopefully entertaining any non-players.
Having looked at the session.org and their discussions on this matter a guitar would appear to be a dangerous implement threatening to destroy sessions. Perhaps I should take up the bodhran,can't go wrong with one of those?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:38 PM

Yes, that's true, and I remember being quite angry with the attitude and behaviour of certain musicians when I first started going to sessions. That said, the best players are often the most tolerant and supportive.

But advertising a session doesn't mean you're advertising an 'open' session, if I understand what you mean by that correctly. Regular sessions (festival sessions and one-offs tend to be different) tend to take on their own personality - formed by the preferences of the majority of the regulars. That's natural, reasonable and democratic in my opinion, and therefore its only polite for anyone new to try to fit into that standard rather than steer the event to their own taste or ability. (If your local session is not to your liking you can always find another or start your own).

As for private invitation-only sessions, well, they do exist and they can be fun, but they're not true sessions, by the core meaning of the word. To work at their best, sessions need to have an element of performance, of an audience being present in the periphery, and also of serendipity and unpredictability - of not knowing who might turn up any minute and where that might take the music (up or down).

So they do need to be held in public places.

There should be no need to vet anyone. There are some simple rules, based on good manners really, and they've been covered above: Playing quietly when necessary, not showing off, only starting tunes that you think others there will know and want to play right then, avoiding guitar/bodhran overkill, letting the melody do the driving and not thinking the accompaniment is in the box seat (a very common mistake - etc) and that should suffice.

If newcomers always followed session etiquette (which most do, in my experience) then maybe tune players might not be so twitchy. It could be that an insensitive few have made it harder for the thoughtful many - but, going back the the OP's list of instruments above, we should remember that it takes many years of practice to become a good tune player. It's only natural that people who have done the pain will want to avoid having to play at the level of the lowest common denominator.

Festival sessions are more of a free for all. But this doesn't matter as there are usually plenty to choose from, and half the fun is trying to hook up with enough of the people you noticed and admired earlier to get a real corker on the go.

Tune musicians are seldom bothered by extraneous noise in my experience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:43 PM

Very rarely do I see a session in a bar 'advertised' JUST as a session - there IS usually some indication of the style of music which is featured .
Also , if I turn up at a session , the FIRST thing I do is ask about the Music style , whereupon I can decide wether I want to stay or if its not my scene !
The problem arises then , that so often ,its NOT advertised at all !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Again
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 12:47 PM

Sorry it took too long to type my last answer - I was replying to Will above.

Paul made my point better and shorter than I did.

JohnP makes a good point too - like all the other words in this world 'session' can mean a number of very different things.

All the more reason to approach with caution.

Most of the problems stem from people arriving with a pre-existing set of expectations which turn out to me a minority view.

Tom

PS "A room full of serious looking fiddlers running on auto-pilot" will ALWAYS be delighted by a nicely handled guitar. Nicely handled, mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 01:01 PM

Thanks for the comments, Tom and others. My own was perhaps a little black and white, and I realise that there are as many kinds of sessions as there are sessions! I've been (played) in sessions which have been held in a completely public bar - as the one I run is - and it's been accepted that the local, non-playing drinkers are also contributing to the pub's economy and viability. Sometimes their chatter and laughter can be disconcerting or offputting, but I personally think it's a good toughening ground for playing or singing in public. And it's always intriguing to see a noisy bar suddenly descend into hushed silence when a lone voice sings a gentle ballad...

My main point is that, if you don't want to be bothered with noise in a public bar, don't be in it - choose an alternative venue.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Suegorgeous - PM
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 09:20 PM

Try putting this question on the forum at thesession.org .... you'll get lots of answers in no uncertain terms.
no, dont do that,www.session.org,may possibly contain some sensible pople but they dont post often.
much of www.session.org consists of ridiculous postings from trolls like llig leachim.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stower
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:37 PM

GUEST,Celtic Guitarist, if I were in your shoes I'd first try to figure out if the self-appointed musical gatekeeper of the session is speaking on their own behalf or if they represent the general feeling of the playing crowd in judging quality of your playing, if I read your post correctly, before they had even heard you play a note. If the former, ignore this idiot and join in, anyway; if the latter, do yourself a favour and play somewhere else more friendly. There'll be better sessions and it isn't worth the hassle. If there are any concertina players there, you might like to point out that it is a 19th century invention and therefore 'not a traditional instrument'. At least, it is no more a traditional instrument than the guitar is. If there are any Irish bouzouki players, you could point out that it is neither Irish nor a bouzouki and is not a traditional instrument, unless you count 40 years as traditional.

If we all took their attitude to music then there would never be new instruments or new ways of playing and we'd still be jumping up and down to rocks being banged together. Come to that, there'd never be new players as, like you, they'd be sent away puzzled by such a rude attitude to new people who could potentially become an asset to the music if only they'd be made welcome.

So welcome to Mudcat, Celtic Guitarist. I hope you find a session that makes you feel welcome and helps you become as good and as skilled a player as you'd like to become.

My very best wishes to you,

Stower.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Smokey.
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 04:59 PM

"Irish music largely developed without any chordal accompaniment, just melody and percussion."

The harp, of course, being a myth and only used to decorate beer bottles..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:08 PM

"Irish music largely developed without any chordal accompaniment, just melody and percussion."

"The harp, of course, being a myth and only used to decorate beer bottles.. "

.. and of course the Uillean pipes only have a chanter.

Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:08 PM

Never had any problem. I don't know whether that's because I'm thick-skinned, or hyper-sensitive.

In a strange session I tend to sit listening for while, then bring out the bones for a set or two, and open up the guitar after that, if it feels like it'll fit. Sort of ease into it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:40 PM

As a guitarist, I've never had any problems in sessions, but after forty years of playing accompaniments I would make one simple observation: if you're going to play improvised accompaniments in a public place, learn how the tunes are made.
Accompaniment is a craft in itself; it's not just playing a guitar, and it takes a deal of respect for what others are doing with the tune. As for the celtic melodic argument - have they not heard of the late lamented Derek Bell?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 05:50 PM

Note the third word:

"Irish music largely developed without any chordal accompaniment"

(I am of course taking about dance tunes, because I was)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 06:40 PM

Trolls like Michael Gill?

Some of us think there might be a troll called Selim Kcid.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 02:34 AM

Not being v sure fingered around tunes not heard before I mostly listen. Gave up with bodhran.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Betsy
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 06:10 PM

A little light was thrown on to the subject when I enquired on Monday.

Some melody players believe that if too many guitar players "appear" then they will turn the session into a song session rather than a tunes sesh.

I can understand THAT and it's never been my intent to sing at a tune session.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 07:44 PM

Take a bouzouki to a tune session, if you use DADG tuning you can accompany anything a box player will knock out. Save your guitar for singarounds then put your capo on the third fret and watch the confused looks of the box player in the room as they try to join in:)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 08:30 PM

"it doesn't fit with traditional tunes"

The songs of Thomas Moore were set to music and accompanied by guitar in the late 1700's. How many more years must pass before guitar becomes 'traditional'? 1000?

If I brought my instrument to a session and was told not to play it, I would gently say, "This is open to the public. I believe I'll just strum a little and see how it goes." Because for every person that's rude, there are probably several others who wish that person would just shut up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stower
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:07 AM

Bounty Hound: "Take a bouzouki to a tune session ..."

Those oh-so-precious gate-keepers of the session GUEST Celtic Guitarist went to probably wouldn't take exception to that, even though the (Irish) bouzouki only has a pedigree of 40 years and so has *much* less claim to be a traditional instrument than the guitar.

leenia makes a good point. Today you can hear traditional music played by pretty much any instrument, including sax, trumpet and tuba. And if it's played well, what on earth is wrong with that?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: mattkeen
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:29 AM

I agree with Stower


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:40 AM

I recall back in the dim and distant past an Interview with the late Tim Hart, where he was asked to justify Steeley Span's use of electric instruments to perform traditional songs and tunes. His response was that when these tunes or songs where created, they would have been played/accompanied on whatever instruments were available at the time, and in using modern electric instruments, they were only doing the same.

I thought this was faultless logic and have no problem with traditional song or tune being performed with any instrumentation as long as it is performed well. If the use of 'modern' instruments keeps the tradition alive, surely that is a good thing.

Stower is absolutely correct that a bouzouki, or a banjo would probably be more readily accepted in a session than a guitar, although the guitar has a far better claim to be a 'traditional' instrument!

Keep taking your guitar to sessions Celtic Guitarist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: banjoman
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:08 AM

It may be worth pointing out that the guitar(and banjo for that matter) have far more claim to be traditional instruments than the more modern sort usually found in sessions and played by "Traditionalists" - Melodeon - Concertina - etc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:19 AM

The only thing I'd be inclined to see, would be a tad fewer guitars compared to other types of instrument.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Nick
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM

Perhaps I haven't played in enough sessions yet of the sort mentioned but I have played in ones from Devon to Scotland and have yet to experience any antipathy.

I do like to think (and have had feedback from people I've played with) that I have some ability, reasonable ears, a reasonable degree of taste and perhaps most importantly the sense to know when NOT to play (which of course is rarely *grin*).

I have played in sessions though with quite a lot of guitarists who take very limited note of anything going on around them and seem almost blissfully unaware of the desires of the person/people playing the tune. Sometimes they 'know' the tune - but sometimes this may make it even worse. "I know this tune AND the chords" they say "and I know the RIGHT way to play it". What they don't say but then demonstrate is that they know how to play it THEIR way but no apparent interest in listening to or playing with anyone play it. (Stand to reason - if it doesn't sound ok it's because the tune players are playing it wrong).

That's one of the times I put the guitar down. There is a bit of me when full of beer that is tempted to race into battle and try to outplay or drown the other person but I dont' think that helps the world much and usually comes out as a fair approximation of an acoustic version of 'Machine Gun' or trying to play a session at opposite ends of a well.

I'd like to suggest that the maximum volume a guitar can make should be directly proportional to the ability of the player on the basis that the able would know when to use it and when not. Actually thinking about that perhaps that should go for all players of anything - and singers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:05 AM

Much excellent advice. Sessions are essentially social events, people should be sociable.

Mr/Ms Guitar, you will be most welcome anytime at The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester at The Beginners Tune Session.

You will be in good company. We had about6 guitars last time. I thought they played appropriatly and the 2 melodeons, 2 banjos, 2 mandolins, a fiddle about 6 assorted windthings and two percussionists gave them more than a run for there money.

Cheers
L in C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM

I don't recognise some of the sessions mentioned above - I've played my guitar at a fair few and never felt any antipathy. I make a point of not playing if I don't know the chord-run of a particular piece, and if there's an obvious 'guitar-leader' I stick to whatever chords he's playing (even if I know a run that sounds 'better' to my ears).

And at the sessions I've been to, I've abstained from singing unless aked to do a song - and that seems to happen at most of them.

Maybe we're an especially friendly and charitable lot around the Lincs/Yorks/Notts border region?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stu
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 09:38 AM

"much of www.session.org consists of ridiculous postings from trolls like llig leachim."

Who speaks more sense than most, suggesting people know the tunes before they play, get to know the music as well as possible and show it the respect it deserves. He suggests accompaniment is a difficult thing to master and a bad accompanist can take the colour out of tunes, which is also true. Ridiculous? Fundamental.

"The guitar is (usually) welcomed - as long as it doesn't impinge on this flight of fancy (which, sadly it too often does). It needs to offer a chordal base which does not inhibit tune variation, and it needs to do so with a feel and rhythm which doesn't inhibit the bounce of the beat. (I was advised it was better to play one chord throughout the whole set with the right rhythmic feel, than to add lots of 'interesting' chords that ruined both the harmonic possibilities and the tap)."

Although he only mentions guitar here, it counts for any accompaniment.Spot on Tom.

"the (Irish) bouzouki only has a pedigree of 40 years and so has *much* less claim to be a traditional instrument than the guitar."

So what?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: MikeL2
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:36 AM

hi

This is a very interesting thread for me. As a guitarist/singer I have played around in all kinds of places doing all kinds of music.

I don't play in sessions but do go along occasionally to see what they are all about.

I agree with the several members who said that it shouldn't really matter with what instrument you play as long as you play it so it fits with the tune being performed. And the volume should be controlled so that it it difficult to pick out the sound of your instrument above the rest.

I used to play modern jazz and I got to meet some great guitarists.
One guy I met used to say that the great guitarists when not playing a solo should melt into the overall sound, and you should only hear him when he stops playing....quite philosophical ....lol

Thanks for some very interesting comments.

Cheers MikeL2

.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM

Tune: 'Streets of Laredo'

As I was a-practicing 'Stairway to Heaven',
As I was a-practicing Zeppelin one day,
I turned up the volume to way past eleven,
Plugged in my old Fender and started to play.

Then forty bars in, I came to my senses,
Playing this stuff is a bit of a joke,
I ought to be out in a pub in the country,
I know I'll be happier playing some folk.

So I sold my electric and bought an acoustic,
Learned some new chords, C, G7, A,
I listened to records by Carthy and Swarbrick,
And found an old folk song I wanted to play.

So I learnt all the words of this famous old folk song,
All about fishermen out on the sea,
Then proudly I carried my nice new acoustic,
To a pub where the music was legendary.

I sat down by the fire with the rest of the players,
Suddenly everyone's glaring at me,
'You can't have that chair, it's reserved for old Charley,
He's sat there each night since 1903.'

So I sat down again at the end of the bar-room,
Waited my time to join in and play,
It got to my turn so I got up and started
My song about fishermen out in the bay.

I finished my song and I sat down to silence,
Somebody said, 'Can't you play it in A?
In the seventeenth verse you sang 'nets', we sing 'rigging',
And we play it slower 'cos we like it that way.'

And the chorus we play is a little bit different,
But ours is the right one, and yours is just wrong,
You can't come in here with your brand new acoustic,
And make such a mess of our favourite song.

Well I never went back to that pub in the country,
The pub where the music is precious and rare,
I found me a pub where they're more easy-going,   
Where I can play rubbish, and I just don't care.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: IanC
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM

I'd agree with everything people say about instruments being welcome so long as people are sensitive.

One aspect of this, though, is knowing when not to play.

We had a very good ukelele player at our session for a while. He was keen and pleasant and helpful but he didn't know when to lay off. Some of the less experienced people found it quite offputting and some people occasionally wanted to play a quiet number of their own without a drumming ukelele accompaniment.

I gave him a nudge a couple of times and he laid off a bit. The last time, though, he didn't come back. I'm assuming it's because he didn't get enough out of the situation (though i don't know this ... for all I know he could have been run over by a bus). I quite miss him for his musical input, but the less confident people are, on the whole, happier I think.

Just my experience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stower
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:34 PM

Sugarfoot Jack, you quote me: "the (Irish) bouzouki only has a pedigree of 40 years and so has *much* less claim to be a traditional instrument than the guitar."

Your response: "So what?"

If you had read my other contributions you'd see the wider point I am making, which is about the preciousness of self-appointed gatekeepers who like to judge what is 'correct' and what is not in traditional music. I am agreeing with you. As you'll see above, I also say: "Today you can hear traditional music played by pretty much any instrument, including sax, trumpet and tuba. And if it's played well, what on earth is wrong with that?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stu
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:54 PM

Fair enough mate!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:17 PM

i think people shoul understand that the 'traditionalism' of any istrument is largely irrelevant, it is the intrinsic fit of the intrument to the musical style of music favoured by a majority of tune players which matters more.

standsrd tuned guitars tend to define more thirds than is helpful in some forms of trad music, so need to be wielded with care. open tuned guitars and other strummed instruments are intrinsically 'safer' so more likely to be welcomed. (the thirds rule goes for squeezing left hands too).

thus the age of the instument and how its been used in the past is also irrelevant.

the open tuning thing also explains the numbers probkem. five dadgad guitars, a mandocello and an octave mandolin are more likely to gel than two eadgbe guitars who have different ideas about root notes.

its worth noting that a very quiet accompaninment still has a big impact because lower notes are heard differently, even subconsciously, by the tune players.

tom


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,tb
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:21 PM

sorry bout typing, im on a train


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:47 PM

I've found playing guitar in sessions can be frustrating because I wind up not being able to hear myself. I don't over play whoever is leading, because that is not appropriate. I have noticed that some sessions in Chicago almost require a black belt to get noticed. When we sat in a session in Dublin the participants were way more laid back and interested in hearing what we had to offer. It does pay to have the tunes and structure in your head and not just bash away.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:54 PM

Phil- have tunes and structures in your head - that's the start of it. Next realise that it's the tune and not the structure that is the point of it, or rather that if the structure doesn't fit the tune, it's not the tune's fault.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:12 PM

"... suggesting people know the tunes before they play, get to know the music as well as possible and show it the respect it deserves."

If you want all that, then don't run a session, run a rehearsal. Announce tunes beforehand so people can learn them and have the printed music ready so you can expound upon it.

By the way, how do you expect everybody to know every tune when there are 1800 (I think) tunes in O'Neill's Music of Ireland alone?

A session is informal, open to the public and supposed to be fun.

Finally - equating finesse in playing with respect for the music is not logical. People are not showing disrespect just because they are still learning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stu
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:26 AM

"If you want all that, then don't run a session, run a rehearsal. Announce tunes beforehand so people can learn them and have the printed music ready so you can expound upon it.

By the way, how do you expect everybody to know every tune when there are 1800 (I think) tunes in O'Neill's Music of Ireland alone"


I think you miss the point.

Irish traditional music (which primarily is what I'm talking about here but I think applies to all trad) is traditionally transmitted from player to player by ear, not dots. The dots are NOT the music, but at best a guide and at worst a distraction. You will never play ITM properly if you never hear a variety of accomplished players in action, you can't learn it from the dots alone. It's absurd to expect people to know the entire canon of Irish tunes (let alone English, Scottish, Welsh, Breton etc etc too), but sessions are full of tune players that never refer to music - why would you expect accompanists too?

If you can't play or lilt a tune, then you don't know it and can't accompany it effectively. Tunes you don't know sit out and listen a couple of times through then join in if you've got the tune, or sit out and wait for one you know.

"People are not showing disrespect just because they are still learning."

Don't put words into my mouth. I'm still learning, probably play pretty badly but show respect to the music and my fellow players. I show deference to those that have learnt properly and encouragement to those just starting out and want to learn. I was (and will be in perpetuity) that learner, so I never discourage someone who wants to learn. However, some don't want to learn and want to sit and thrash or bang away regardless; great fun for them, in my mind a tad disrespectful to others. We all bugger it up now and then (last Friday it was more now than then for me) but that's a world away from simply not bothering to learn about what you're playing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:37 AM

bubbyrat said earlier.
"Think I'll give the Radway a miss....up 'em"
That comment makes me very sad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:45 AM

Not that I much like either diddly or humpty sessions, but if I had ever been minded to try another out I think the above would probably have put me off.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:48 AM

Forgot the "too much hostility there" bit.
Mea Culpa.
Makes me even sadder...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:52 AM

It would be a great shame if people who don't normally go to tune sessions got the idea that tune players are hostile because we/they're not - (ok, a very few might be, but then some singer folks can occasionally be a bit off too).

It might help if I explained that tune gatherings are crucially different from song gatherings in one respect. In tune sessions everyone plays together, so differences in ability or feel or understanding will impact on everyone, whereas in song gatherings there's always only one 'lead' singer who people either just listen to or else try sympathetically to accompany.

Of course different sessions will be attended by players of varying ability, and if you encounter an 'all-comers-welcome / bring and bash whatever you like / read off the dots / sing lots of songs' type event, then of course whatever goes, goes. But most tune sessions are not like that.

Some are visited by very skilled players who are looking for a particular 'fix' - and, as I've explained, they can't get this in a private gathering - so tune sessions really do need to take place in public.

But that doesn't mean that everyone is welcome to join in regardless of preparation or sympathy.

Song gatherings often contain an element that's about self expression and personal development. In tune sessions this is subjugated to the group ethos.   

That may sound cliquey, but it's not. It's just that tune playing only works properly if most people present are of a broadly similar ability.

So new faces are welcome as long at they're prepared to suss out the group mood and join in with due deference (NOT to the best players but to the group zeitgeist).

Yes, some instruments may be looked at askance, but only because they send warning signals that the holder may be expecting more songs than the group wants to hear, or a more driving rhythm than the group want to play over, or more chords than the group feels comfortable with or any of the other reasons mentioned above.

But DON'T be put off! Take a while to read the room, remember that the tune matters most, and then join in gently and you'll be welcomed by 99% of sessionaires. And sod the 1% eh?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Stu
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:09 AM

Well put again Tom. Put far better than I did - cliquey it isn't meant to be at all.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:30 AM

Some [sessions] are visited by very skilled players who are looking for a particular 'fix' - and, as I've explained, they can't get this in a private gathering - so tune sessions really do need to take place in public.

I understand exactly what you mean here, Tom, but I think there's a fine line between the need for a fix and the need for an ego trip on the part of some players. Speed for its own sake (for example) is one of the symptoms of the latter.

I think that the best tune players I've ever met are those who are willing to accommodate newer, less experienced players and to encourage them to take part - even to guide them and show them where things could be better. I think the continuation of the music does depend on tunes being handed on. (Perhaps "handed on" is not the best phrase - "brought to attention" might be a better one). If we make this process difficult or unpleasant, then there'll be groups of ageing skeletons sawing away in corners in the future... :-)

And, yes, inexperienced players should keep their ears open and practice hard so that they and everyone else will enjoy the communal experience of music making.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Guitar in Sessions
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:34 AM

I agree with you 100% Will.

I personally dislike dance tunes played any faster than they would be for dancing, perhaps a shade, but only a shade. And I'd wager that the best session players I've been lucky enough to wedge in with would agree.

When people play fast just to show off - well, it ruins the tune, and strips out all opportunity for variation or even decoration.

I'm not sure people who play too fast are on an ego trip though. I think the problem lies with over-familiarity. They've played the darned tunes so often they're not listening any more, and they know it so well the fingers are on autopilot.

No names no pack drill, but it's a very common problem, and it's hard to hold a herd of fiddlers back when you're almost inaudible yourself.

This can be where a group of good accompanists can make a real difference - but they will need some tune players on side if they're going to make any difference.

One thing more: don't confuse ornamentation with speed. A banjo player of my acquaintance has a terrifying notes-per-second rate, but his tempo is always measured and very danceable. The decorative notes bubble and froth around the tune in a delightfully scary way, but the tune itself is very join-in-with-able.

Less able players mistakenly think players like him are playing fast, and so feel they should go at everything like a bull at a gate in a china shop.

"best tune players I've ever met are those who are willing to accommodate newer, less experienced players"

I said the very same at the top of the thread.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 August 12:39 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.