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Pianos in sessions?

GUEST,The Shambles 01 Mar 10 - 05:31 AM
bubblyrat 01 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM
Suegorgeous 01 Mar 10 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 01 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM
Tim Leaning 01 Mar 10 - 06:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Mar 10 - 09:52 AM
Paco O'Barmy 01 Mar 10 - 10:03 AM
Howard Jones 01 Mar 10 - 10:31 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 10 - 10:50 AM
Piers Plowman 01 Mar 10 - 11:06 AM
Piers Plowman 01 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM
Tim Leaning 01 Mar 10 - 11:20 AM
Piers Plowman 01 Mar 10 - 11:35 AM
Bonzo3legs 01 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM
Piers Plowman 01 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 01 Mar 10 - 12:53 PM
Goose Gander 01 Mar 10 - 01:02 PM
Les in Chorlton 01 Mar 10 - 01:07 PM
Charmion 01 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM
Goose Gander 01 Mar 10 - 01:20 PM
michaelr 01 Mar 10 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 01 Mar 10 - 02:56 PM
michaelr 01 Mar 10 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 01 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM
bubblyrat 02 Mar 10 - 10:35 AM
Banjiman 02 Mar 10 - 10:38 AM
MikeL2 02 Mar 10 - 10:50 AM
Tim Leaning 02 Mar 10 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 02 Mar 10 - 06:16 PM
G-Force 03 Mar 10 - 05:35 AM
Tim Leaning 03 Mar 10 - 10:26 AM
Rockhen 03 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM
Howard Jones 03 Mar 10 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 03 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 04 Mar 10 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 04 Mar 10 - 10:21 AM
The Sandman 04 Mar 10 - 01:31 PM
Rockhen 04 Mar 10 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 05 Mar 10 - 02:55 AM
GUEST,ChrisP 05 Mar 10 - 06:48 AM
MikeL2 05 Mar 10 - 09:20 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM
Bonzo3legs 05 Mar 10 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 05 Mar 10 - 02:43 PM
Vic Smith 05 Mar 10 - 02:49 PM
Vic Smith 05 Mar 10 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 05 Mar 10 - 03:34 PM
Vic Smith 05 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM
Tattie Bogle 05 Mar 10 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 06 Mar 10 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 06 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 06 Mar 10 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 06 Mar 10 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 06 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 06 Mar 10 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,The Shambles 08 Mar 10 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,The Shambles 08 Mar 10 - 09:06 AM
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Subject: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:31 AM

In reference to a recent thread called Guitars in Sessions thread.cfm?threadid=127702&messages=41#2852519

What is the thinking on having pianos in sessions? Or rather of having to have one provided in a pub, in order to make the public entertaining themselves in music legal?

The Department of culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are currently conducting a consultation details on this thread.
thread.cfm?threadid=126147&messages=119

The following from the DCMS consultation document.
Proposal to exclude the provision of musical instruments from the definition of entertainment facilities

1.8 To further clarify the law with regard to the provision of pianos and other instruments, the Government proposes to change the 'descriptions of entertainment' (at Schedule 1, paragraph 3(2)) by statutory instrument to exclude the provision of musical instruments. Performances of live music and the provision of facilities other than musical instruments will remain licensable. This will remove any doubt about whether a licence is required when musical instruments are made available by themselves. For clarity, this exemption will extend to items provided to enable a musical instrument to be played without amplification. This is intended to clarify that ancillary items such as music stands are also excluded from the definition of music facilities. The provision of other facilities, such as amplification, will remain licensable, as their provision may present risks to the licensing objectives. (For example, of public nuisance due to noise, or public safety in the case of a stage).


This also proposes a change to the Licensing Act 2003 where the provision of a piano or any other non amplified instrument, to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing will no longer be licensable as an Entertainment Facility.

However, any other facility provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing will still be licensable as an Entertainment Facility. This includes the provision of the premises or the land on which this entertainment takes place. So all pubs provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in sessions and sing rounds are illegal unless the premises have applied and paid for additional and specific Entertainment Permission for this..

It is difficult to see how the proposal by the DCMS can work but if it goes through, the result will that without Entertainment Permission to specifically enable it, the only way that the public can legally entertain themselves in music and dancing is where a pub has provided a piano or non amplified other instruments!

The assumption has been that where a pub has obtained Entertainment Permission to enable conventional performances of live music, that this will cover sessions etc. where the public entertain themselves in music and dancing. I am not sure that this assumption is safe. The following is in reference to the current situation, from the DCMS consultation document.

1.5 The definition of regulated entertainment contains two elements: the provision of 'entertainment' and the provision of 'entertainment facilities'. The separate 'entertainment facilities' element is intended to address situations where people take part in entertainment that may not be provided solely for the purpose of entertaining an audience, but which may nevertheless present risks to the promotion of the licensing objectives. Examples may include the use of a dance floor, or some karaoke performances. As part of this, the provision of musical instruments (such as 'pub pianos') can be licensable (separate from a performance of live music) if they are to be used by customers to entertain themselves.

The following is what the Act says about Entertainment facilities

(3) The second condition is that the premises on which the entertainment is, or entertainment facilities are, provided are made available for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of enabling the entertainment concerned (whether of a description falling within paragraph 2(1) or paragraph 3(2)) to take place.

To the extent that the provision of entertainment facilities consists of making premises available, the premises are to be regarded for the purposes of this sub-paragraph as premises "on which" entertainment facilities are provided.


Despite what the DCMS consultation document implies, there is no requirement in the Act for a Licensing Authority to demonstrate any risk to the promotion of the licensing objectives. If a premises is provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing - this is automatically licensable as an Entertainment Facility and needs Entertainment Permission in its own right.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM

Oh no !! Please,please,no !! I cannot STAND pianos in "traditional" music ! I never listen to Aly Bain and Shetland music,in case,as they often do (why,for God's sake ?) ,they have a piano in the line-up. Some people ,including Jimmy Durante,may well love a piano,but I do NOT !! (unless it's a Steinway being played by Vladimir Ashkenazy ). So ----Hammered Dulcimer,yes,or even that hammered thing they play in Bratislava / Bohemia, but piano ??--No way ! Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:27 AM

Each to their own. Sacrilege or not, at times for me, the piano enhances the music beautifully. I love it on The Unthanks' rendition of Felton Lonnen on The Bairns - works with the strings to create a sense of hypnotic menace and unease.

Not sure about in a session though...


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:33 AM

For all the reasons explained in the guitar thread, and the one mentioned by bubblyrat, pianos need to be addressed with extreme caution - not least because THEY ARE LOUD.

There is a long tradition of piano in Scottish music, and you'll hear a particular brand of (relatively recent) Irish with piano accompaniment too.

I enjoy playing along with a good pianist more than I like listening to recordings, but it has to be done with delicacy and, as with any accompaniment, with due regard to melody and chords (or lack of them).

Too much volume, too many chords, or too heavy hands and I'm with Bubblyrat.

There's a grand piano in The Chemic, and if there are enough in, and I'm in the mood, and I think everyone else is in the mood too, I very occasionally enjoy a bit of a vamp myself (and there are a few other Joannas who come along and are welcomed). But a very light staccato touch is essential, otherwise it all starts to sound a bit Hall of the Mountain King.

Not so keen on electronic keyboards I have to say, but that's because to my ears vibrations made by cardboard speakers don't resonate with the vibrations from real instruments.

Tom

Not sure I understand all the ramifications of Shambles post.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:46 AM

It depends who is playing and how they play.
The only problem I have with the piano is the inability to change a note once it is played,I don't know if its possible on a modern piano to control the vibration of the string(wire?) once it has been set in motion. It just seems a little errrm lacking at times.
With other loud instruments like Piano accordion there is an element of
humanity due to the control of the player over the bellows (breathing quality).
Having said all that I know someone who can play with enough feeling to make it all fit in.
ANd they will no doubt be tempted to tune my dangly bits with their toe end if they ever read this.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:52 AM

Are they not a bit difficult to get on your lap or under your chin?

I'll get my coat...

DeG


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Paco O'Barmy
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:03 AM

Tim,
   Do you main the sustain of a piano note? A piano is easily muted by using the left foot pedal.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:31 AM

Like everything else, it depends on how its played. Any instrument, played well by someone who understands the music, can enhance a session. A "traditional" instrument played badly by someone with no understanding can kill a session.

Besides, whether or not you like a piano is a matter of personal preference, but the fact is that the piano is a traditional instrument, certainly in English, Scottish and Shetland music.

I simply don't understand Tim Leaning's post. Even though I play melodeon and concertina, and not piano, I would have to concede that the piano is far more expressive than any free-reed instrument (with the possible exception of the mouth-organ). But once again, it depends on the player having sufficient ability.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:50 AM

It is very rare to hear any folk song (except a blues) enhanced by piano. The warlike staccato piano on Tabor's "Hughie Graeme" is right (and scarce).


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:06 AM

Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: bubblyrat - PM
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM

"[...] or even that hammered thing they play in Bratislava / Bohemia [...]"

Cimbalom? (It's the national instrument of Hungary, but played all over Eastern Europe.) In Germany, they have a similar (though simpler) instrument called a "Hackbrett". I would just love to have one, but unfortunately it's more typical of southern rather than northern Germany, where I live. (I'd quite like a cimbalom, too.) The sound of the cimbalom is also typical of Austrian "Schrammel" music, which, despite the fact that the name sounds descriptive of the sound of the music, is actually named after musicians named Schrammel.

I play the piano, but I promise not to at any session where it's not considered acceptable.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM

Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning - PM
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 06:46 AM

"The only problem I have with the piano is the inability to change a note once it is played,I don't know if its possible on a modern piano to control the vibration of the string(wire?) once it has been set in motion."

No, it's not, except for the obvious things involving letting go of the key and using the pedals.

"It just seems a little errrm lacking at times."

It's no different from other percussion instruments. It's up to the musician to make the most of the instrument within its limitations.

"With other loud instruments like Piano accordion there is an element of humanity due to the control of the player over the bellows (breathing quality)."

True. With a piano, one has a wide range of dynamics and the ability to play 10 notes at the same time (sometimes more, in exceptional circumstances). It's horses for courses.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:20 AM

The Piano as far as I know plays one note per press of key,movement of mechanical linkage strike of hammer.
Its a percussion thing innit?
If I pluck a string on a guitar the note is sounded and while it is sustained I can then manipulate it in various ways, bending ,pulling hammering on sliding.
A good player can achieve a lot with each sounding of each string.
On the piano (of which I am ignorant)once the hammer falls the note is made.
Paco O'Barmy.
Thanks for that re the pedals.
I knew there was some sort of damping /sustain available but can it change the note?

Howard Jones
I like to hear the piano and it is in its own way very expressive ,usually with music written for it?

But I don't think it has any human qualities in the same way as other instruments do.
I don't regard it as lesser just different.

PS Anyone tell me why some pianos have three pedals and others two?


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:35 AM

Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning - PM
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:20 AM

"The Piano as far as I know plays one note per press of key,movement of mechanical linkage strike of hammer.
Its a percussion thing innit?"

Yes. It's classified as a percussion instrument in scholarly works about the orchestra (such as "Tubby the Tuba").

"If I pluck a string on a guitar the note is sounded and while it is sustained I can then manipulate it in various ways, bending ,pulling hammering on sliding."

True, but on a classical guitar (like I play), you'd better be quick, because there's not much sustain (though sometimes too much).

"I knew there was some sort of damping /sustain available but can it change the note?"

Not really. It seems to change a bit when you let the sustain pedal (on the right) down gradually, but I don't think it's controllable or noticeable enough to really be used in music.


"PS Anyone tell me why some pianos have three pedals and others two?"

Right pedal: sustain
Left pedal: mute. It mutes some of the strings, which are tripled in some places. I don't remember whether any are doubled. I'm pretty sure some are single.

Middle pedal (not always present): Sustains only those notes whose keys are pressed when the pedal is depressed.

"But I don't think it has any human qualities in the same way as other instruments do."

Have you listened to much Debussy? It wouldn't have occurred to me that a piano could sound like that.

At the other end of the spectrum, I love Thelonius Monk's percussive way of playing the piano.

"I don't regard it as lesser just different."

It's just one of a whole world of different musical instruments that can make all sorts of sounds. Sure, it's got it's limitations, like every other instrument. That's why it's good to play more than one. Sometimes it's the very limitations that make it interesting to play an instrument.

I agree that a session may not be the right place for a piano.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM

I should think a piano should be played as loudly as possible in order to drown out the hideously boring other playing!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

'The sound of the cimbalom is also typical of Austrian "Schrammel" music'

I should have said "Viennese". I may be wrong about the cimbalom (or Hackbrett?) being typical of this genre. Nothing about it in the German Wikipedia article. I think I heard it, though, the last time I heard some on the radio (a very rare occurrence).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrammelmusik


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:53 PM

What is the thinking on having pianos in sessions? Or rather of having to have one provided in a pub, in order to make the public entertaining themselves in music legal?

Anyone want to comment on the whole question?


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:02 PM

I have a number of recordings of traditional midwestern fiddle music backed by piano (seems big in Missouri), Hobart Smith did some traditional stuff on the piano, and beyond Smith the instrument is not entirely unknown in Appalachian folk music (Field Recorders Collective did a CD of piano-backed songs, can't remember who the artist was, but it was a bona fide traditional field recording). Not to mention the blues, as Richard mentioned. So it all depends.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:07 PM

Small folding harmoniums, table top harmoniums with hand operated bellows?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM

Pianos are normal in Canadian sessions, especially in the eastern half of the country. In fact, the traditional music of Cape Breton Island, the Ottawa Valley and rather a lot of Quebec is played by fiddles accompanied by chorded piano.

As for the rest of the question -- well, that's about licensing laws, not music. Music is rational and makes perfect sense; licensing laws, not so much.

You Brits could save yourselves an enormous amount of heartache and trouble if you held your sessions in church basements, which -- mirabile dictu! -- often come with pianos.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:20 PM

Pianos are also useful places to set drinks.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: michaelr
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:29 PM

To answer the OP's two quite separate questions:

I abhor pianos in tune sessions. Just don't like that thunk-a-thunk ceilidh piano style.

Pianos for public use in public houses - that I'm in favor of, if rules are set that the user must actually be able to play. So much the better if this leads to changes in those stupid and undemocratic licensing laws.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 02:56 PM

So much the better if this leads to changes in those stupid and undemocratic licensing laws.

Well these proposed changes simply highlight the stupidity of those laws and the lack of knowledge about music shown by those who drafted it and the MPs who voted for it.

The proposal is made now because somewhat belatedly the Government wanted to make sure that the playing of pianos qualify for Act's existing incidental exemption. The problem was that their over-zealousness in same Act, had made the provision of a piano in playable condition, licensable in its own right!

Despite their concern for pianos, our Government still seem totally unaware of the extent of music being played in our pubs and elsewhere, by the public to entertain themselves and of the adverse effect that additional entertainment licensing is still having on this.

And the public who do entertain themselves in music in pubs and elsewhere, seem not to be aware this Government introduced legislation that made the provision of anything (including the premises or land itself) to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing, a licensable Entertainment Facility.

In effect, the public entertaining themselves in music and dancing is now illegal. Along with a licensee, anyone organising this without paying for additional Entertainment Permission faces prosecution and a maximum of a £20,000 fine of 6 months in prison.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: michaelr
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:26 PM

In effect, the public entertaining themselves in music and dancing is now illegal.

Well, that certainly sucks in a huge way. On the other hand, the government has to find revenue to pay for all that free health and social welfare you guys enjoy...


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:39 PM

Talking about revenue, there is some irony here. In the early days of the Taliban, much was made of the cultural restrictions placed in Afganistan, in order to gain support for the idea that the Taliban needed to be overthrown.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:35 AM

I don't know the name of the Hungarian (Bratislavan) hammered Doo-Dah is ,but it may well be cimbalom ; "Deep Forest" used one ,I think,and no self-respecting Cold War spy film would be complete without one's haunting tones in the background.
       I have seen Cape Breton group "Slainte M'hath" (or whatever) a few times-----Very good,but what spoiled it was....yes, the electric piano !! Hated it !
    Don't see how the Taleban fit in,unless they have invented a new & terrifying instrument ....The Talebanjo !! EEEk !


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Banjiman
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:38 AM

No! (says the banjo player)


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 10:50 AM

hi

In answer can you vary the pitch of a single note on a piano.

You can on electric pianos and keyboards. Most of them have controls to vary the pitch of the played note.

But I guess the acceptance of these would be even more frowned upon than the traditional piano.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 02:09 PM

I got some spare piano hammers here.
I think it would be excellent to have a playable well maintained piano in all pubs.
Maybe no the steel and glass monstrosities they are putting up.
But the traditional type.
But then What is traditional?


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 06:16 PM

I agree and I think it would be a good idea to have playable well-maintained pianos in many places.

But the point is that for some strange reason, we have gone from a situation where our legislation has made the provision of such a thing illegal, to one where it is proposed that the provision of one (or another non-amplified instruments) to enable the public to entertain themselves in music, is the only way such a gathering can be legal.

Sessions where the public entertain themselves in music where a piano or other instruments are not provided is the more usual situation but anything else provided to enable this perfectly acceptable activity to take place will make it illegal.

Anything provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in games of pool or darts is not illegal.

Can anyone suggest what could possibly be thought so dangerous to our Government about the public entertaining themselves in music and dance?


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: G-Force
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 05:35 AM

Ignoring the legal arguments, what hit me as soon as I read this thread is just where will you put the thing? Pianos can be fantastic but even a small keyboard takes up far too much space. The sessions we go to are crammed to the roof with fiddles, guitars and melodeons (and the odd trombone!) with no elbow room for anything else. I think we're talking commonsense here.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:26 AM

If you have a cover for the piano it would take up less room than a pool table and....
Provide two handy shelves for putting stuff on.
A clever person could even make an instrument rack for the fiddles and things.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Rockhen
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 12:43 PM

Next time I take my piano, (it is not the same as a keyboard,) somewhere I will check to see how much space I take up and compare with others, lol. I usually check whether I will be able to take my piano somewhere because I do not want to find out there is no room, or that pianos are banned in effect, once I arrive.

This is a flippant remark...not serious but...I wonder what an acoustic night/session would be like without any guitars. Has anyone ever been to one?
Variety is good in my view, providing the instrument in question is played by someone who is considerate towards everyone else...regardless of what instrument it is...
Give pianists some credit...I mean, have you ever tried lugging one, a stand, a power lead, pedal, extension lead...into a pub? Doesn't someone making that effort get any points for sheer dedication to their instrument...especially at places where people are 'sniffy' about all things electrical? Any pianists out there... if you take your piano along to an acoustic thingy...are you spoiling it for other pianists by then using every rock organ voice possible, or are you respecting the piano being permitted as an acoustic piano and thus playing it purely in that way and at an acoustic piano type of volume? :-)
I'll get me coat, and me stand and me piano and me power cable and me pedal and me extension lead....er


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 04:05 PM

Does a small keyboard take up any more space than a guitar? Keyboards usually get put on a table in my experience, which raises the question of where to put one's beer but doesn't really cause any more obstruction than anything else.

In the UK, the piano has a greater claim to authenticity as a folk instrument than the guitar, mandola, bouzouki and many other instruments which no one gives a second thought to. Of course, it has to be played in a way and at a volume which is sensitive to the music and to other players - but the same goes for any instrument.

However, there is probably room in a session (both physically and musically) for only one piano, or at least only one at a time.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM

None of you have heard Gareth Kiddier playing I presume?


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:16 AM

Sadly ignoring the legal arguments will not mean that these will ignore you.

It is quite clear from what is proposed that our legislators and MPs are ignorant of the true extent of the public entertaining themselves (or at least trying to) in music and dance. The old knees-up around the pub Joanna is an image that many of them may still have.

Now that an election is now upon us, and they need your votes, it may be a good opportunity to inform them of the true nature of these events and of the numbers of 'voters' this involves.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:21 AM

Don't Criminalise Live Music – Interview with Lord Tim Clement-Jones

http://www.blueprint-blues.co.uk/dont-criminalise-live-music-interview-with-lord-tim-clement-jones

The following advice is from the above.

What can we do?

My theory is that politicians spend more time in pubs when the election is on. So if musicians and pub owners and music fans really get to grips with this issue, in the next three or four months, there could be a fantastic impact on all those new MPs being elected, when they come back into the House of Commons after May. There are going to be a huge number of new ones. I think in order to get a majority, the Tories have to get another 130 or 140. In addition to that, they've got great swathes of MPs, probably forty or fifty resigning because of expenses problems and retirement and all that stuff. So you could be talking about two hundred new Tory MPs alone.

I haven't worked it out for Labour, but it does mean, by making something an election issue, getting a petition going, during an election, questions whenever someone turns up at a pub with their canvassing rosette or whatever it happens to be, such as, 'Do you support live music?' That's a hell of a way of sensitising people to it.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:31 PM

Pianos in sessions are fine , when the weather is cold,and the fire needs stoking up


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Rockhen
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:23 PM

Ha! Don't think mine would burn very well..!


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:55 AM

I'm saddened by the way in which an innocent questiom. ie "Pianos in sessions" has turned into 1. A Joke Fest and 2. A political debate.
Pianos, used wisely, and sensibly in music groups have been around for years.
I mentioned Gareth Kiddier earlier. An absolute mainstay of many an English Country Music session. (not withstanding his work with the Bismarcks and Polkaworks).

I really hope that the piano won't enter the realms of banjos and bodhrans.
I have recordings of early 20th century concertina players, where the only accompaniment was a piano. Indeed, when I was a child in the 50's, (apart from the radio,) The only other entertainment available, was Dad playing the upright piano in the front room.
So, hands off keyboards (apart from the DX7...the synth from hell!)


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,ChrisP
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:48 AM

Are you all mad or drunk? Has any one of you even attempted to address the serious issues raised by the original poster?
Didn't you understand it?
Instead, you've all turned your backs on it, as if someone farted at the vicars tea party, and started talking about something else entirely.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: MikeL2
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:20 AM

hi ChrisP

<" Are you all mad or drunk? Has any one of you even attempted to address the serious issues raised by the original poster?
Didn't you understand it? ">

Welcome to Mudcat......that's what they do best.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:59 AM

In effect, the public entertaining themselves in music and dancing is now illegal.

Funny how this government in some ways is acting just like the enemy in Afghanistan!!!!


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 11:02 AM

Massed fiddles should be banned from sessions!


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:43 PM

In effect, the public entertaining themselves in music and dancing is now illegal.

What can you do to address this? This site will explain.

http://www.livemusicforum.co.uk/lmfwhatyoucando.htm


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:49 PM

Ralph wrote
"None of you have heard Gareth Kiddier playing I presume?


Spot on! Playing in a pub session (or a pick-up scratch dance band) with Gareth on piano is an absolute joy. A different sense of swing and less adventurous chording but playing to Reg Hall's piano is also a delight.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:06 PM

A pianist was playing for a sing-song session at the "Stand Up Inn" in Lindfield in Sussex. (http://www.standupinn.co.uk/)

Now at that time, there were - as the pub's name suggests - no chairs or tables in the pub and the drinkers used to place their drinks firmly between their legs when they did not want to hold their pints.

One old chap had his drink on the floor between his legs whilst he gave vent to a song. When he was finished singing, another customer tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but do you see that dog over there? It just piddled in your beer whilst you were singing."

The old chap was furious! "Whose dog is it?"

"Oh! It's the pianist's" came the reply.

"Right!" say the enraged singer and he stomped over to the pianist. "Do you know your dog just pissed in my beer?"

"No, I don't think I do know that one," came the reply,"But I can vamp along with anything if you just hum the tune."


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:34 PM

Vic,I loved your joke,and yes Reg Hall is afine pianist


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:52 PM

Joke, Dick? I'll have you know that this story was told to me many years ago by Bob Copper, so it must be true! For, as you know, that illustrious fellow never told an untruth in his life.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:10 PM

Sadly most of the "real" pianos that still survive in pubs, having escaped the piano-smashing furore of a couple of decades or so ago are NOT well maintained, and are out of tune, not just with themselves, but any other instruments in the pub, or have sticking notes, missing ivories, etc. I occasionally play one in a music pub I go to, but only at times when there's not much else doing, and it will only be a quiet slow air, none of your mad honky-tonk or ragtime stuff. As with any instrument in a session it's a matter of listening to what else is going on, and knowing when to play and when NOT to!


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:39 AM

This event http://www.lukejerram.com/projects/play_me_im_yours is due for a return to the streets of London in 2010.

We can only hope that this time it is treated better by our red-tape brogade than it was the last time.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM

'Finding 30 pianos together was relatively simple,' she recalls. 'It's the bureaucracy that has been the hardest part.'
Every piano has required both planning permission and a temporary events licence, not to mention meetings with the police and a constellation of local government functionaries.

There would actually be more pianos scattered across London were it not for the red tape and local jobsworths. Notting Hill, for example, likes to bang on about its wonderful carnival and its million-plus multicultural punters. Yet a few local residents have objected to a solitary, unamplified piano there.

Without the time or resources for a planning battle (she has a shoestring budget of £14,000), Colette has just taken that particular piano elsewhere.

Some pianos have only been given council permits as long as they are padlocked all night. That would make sense if they were all in residential areas. But why, say, at Liverpool Street station? How is Knees Up, Mother Brown going to make more noise than the Stansted Express?

When a trial piano went into action next to the Millennium Bridge the other day, a police community support officer was on the scene in an instant to check its credentials.
You can burgle to your heart's content, but if you try to play Greensleeves on an unlicensed piano, matey, you're nicked. This event even surfaced in a House of Lords debate on licensing last week.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1194875/Strolling-Beethoven-Playing-PIANO-street--start-new-craze.html


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:56 AM

Well, I didn't respond to the original question because, as I said at the top, I really didn't understand what Shambles was saying (my ears glaze over at any kind of legal speak) - but I was interested in the subsequent discussion.

I've just read it again and followed some of the links, but I still can't follow the argument - which is why, although I campaign on most issues around this topic I've always taken a back seat on the Licensing Act. I read the posts from Shambles (and, sometimes, others), get confused, go back to the basic arguments elsewhere, then I write to my MP about that instead.

If I pick out the bones correctly (and I'm not sure I do), then I'm not sure this is really about pianos at all. If a landlord provides an old guitar or just a uke with one string the premises would be exempt?

The best solution would be, as Richard Bridge suggests elsewhere, an exemption for all un-amplified music full stop (though other licences might still be necessary). The size of the venue and the number of audients are red herrings in terms of sound pollution. If a folk venue is using a PA it is likely to be charging on the door, an can therefore probably manage a licence anyway.

Licences are not de-facto bad things.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 08:17 AM

If a landlord provides an old guitar or just a uke with one string the premises would be exempt?

Well, as the Act currently stands - any instrument provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing would be licensable in itself as an Entertainment Facility. That is why the London street pianos were caught.

The activity in question could possibly have been exempt as a performance (to an audience) of live music that was incidental etc. but this was no use, as the Act had made the provision of the instrument itself a licensable Entertainment Facility.

The penny has finally dropped and the DCMS realised that this was a problem, if they wanted to encourage small scale piano playing under the incidental exemption - which they now appear to do. But the words of the Act need to be changed to enable this.

So the proposal in the consultation will exempt the provision of any instrument (or music stands) from being licensable Entertainment Facilities. So far so good....

But even if the provison of instuments to enable the public to entertain themselves is exempt as proposed - the provision of the premises themselves to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing is still caught as a licensable Entertainment Facility.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 08:30 AM

The following from Schedule 1 of the Licensing Act 2003 makes it clear that the mere provision of the premises for the entertainment defined, is a licensable Entertainment Facility.

(3) The second condition is that the premises on which the entertainment is, or entertainment facilities are, provided are made available for the purpose, or for purposes which include the purpose, of enabling the entertainment concerned (whether of a description falling within paragraph 2(1) or paragraph 3(2)) to take place.

To the extent that the provision of entertainment facilities consists of making premises available, the premises are to be regarded for the purposes of this sub-paragraph as premises "on which" entertainment facilities are provided.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:55 PM

Licences are not de-facto bad things.

Some licensing may be pefectly sensible - Additional Entertainment Licensing (except perhaps for temporary festival field sites) is something that has long past its sell by date. It's patchy local enforcement has long been the one major factor inhibiting all kinds of musical expression and for no real reason.

It was bad enough when it applied only to conventional performances of paid entertainment. Its extension to catch anything provided to enable the public to entertain themselves in music and dancing, as Entertainment Facilities introduced for the first time in the Licensing Act 2003 is a step too far.

You could argue that the public entertaining themselves in music and dancing does present the same type of risks to the licensing objectives but the main problem with additional Entertainment Licensing is that those who enforce it tend only to concentrate on this side of things.

It has the effect of a aquarist who provided the same water conditions to all the fish in their collection - and who did this regardless of the consequences on the health of the fish.

Licensing Athorities could probably place pressure to pay and obtain the required licence, on a licensee who intended to profit from providing conventional paid entertainment, safe in the knowledge that they would comply.

The same approach taken where the premises were provided to enable customers to entertain themselves in music and dancing - would probably result in the licensee calling a halt to the activity.


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 08:57 AM

And of course even successful applications under this licensing process do not mean that the live music in question is free from illegal conditions being placed on it. As the following report will demonstrate.

http://www.musictank.co.uk/reports/licensing-act-2003-case-study-st-albans-district-council


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Subject: RE: Pianos in sessions?
From: GUEST,The Shambles
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 09:06 AM

The findings of this report demonstrate that Liberal Democrat controlled St Albans District Council has imposed or accepted many unnecessary restrictions on live music, some of which clearly exceed their powers under the Licensing Act 2003 and, in addition to obvious cultural damage, may be unlawful.


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