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thumping the floor

GUEST,leeneia 28 Oct 11 - 03:25 PM
Maryrrf 28 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM
Mavis Enderby 28 Oct 11 - 03:41 PM
Jim Dixon 28 Oct 11 - 04:00 PM
Midchuck 28 Oct 11 - 04:54 PM
Joe Offer 28 Oct 11 - 04:54 PM
Tootler 28 Oct 11 - 05:01 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Oct 11 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Eliza 28 Oct 11 - 05:40 PM
Jack Campin 28 Oct 11 - 07:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 11 - 07:26 PM
Tattie Bogle 28 Oct 11 - 07:31 PM
gnu 28 Oct 11 - 07:39 PM
terrier 28 Oct 11 - 07:58 PM
The Sandman 28 Oct 11 - 08:03 PM
gnu 28 Oct 11 - 08:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 11 - 09:11 PM
Crowhugger 28 Oct 11 - 09:20 PM
Effsee 28 Oct 11 - 10:45 PM
Azizi 29 Oct 11 - 07:59 AM
Ross Campbell 29 Oct 11 - 09:31 AM
MartinRyan 29 Oct 11 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Oct 11 - 10:37 AM
Vic Smith 29 Oct 11 - 10:55 AM
Bill D 29 Oct 11 - 12:25 PM
The Sandman 29 Oct 11 - 01:18 PM
Ross Campbell 29 Oct 11 - 01:38 PM
Bill D 29 Oct 11 - 01:42 PM
MGM·Lion 29 Oct 11 - 01:47 PM
kendall 29 Oct 11 - 01:52 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Oct 11 - 09:04 PM
Bobert 29 Oct 11 - 09:15 PM
Ross Campbell 29 Oct 11 - 09:49 PM
ChanteyLass 29 Oct 11 - 11:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Oct 11 - 11:42 PM
Janie 30 Oct 11 - 12:52 AM
Gibb Sahib 30 Oct 11 - 02:01 AM
Vic Smith 30 Oct 11 - 06:36 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 11 - 06:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM
Jack Campin 30 Oct 11 - 07:48 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Oct 11 - 07:57 AM
MGM·Lion 30 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM
banjoman 30 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM
Bonzo3legs 30 Oct 11 - 08:07 AM
The Sandman 30 Oct 11 - 11:23 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Oct 11 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 30 Oct 11 - 12:20 PM
kendall 30 Oct 11 - 01:33 PM
Gurney 30 Oct 11 - 04:30 PM
Crowhugger 30 Oct 11 - 04:43 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Oct 11 - 04:45 PM
Crowhugger 30 Oct 11 - 05:34 PM
kendall 30 Oct 11 - 07:22 PM
gnu 30 Oct 11 - 07:30 PM
Crowhugger 30 Oct 11 - 07:47 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Oct 11 - 07:54 PM
Janie 30 Oct 11 - 07:56 PM
gnu 30 Oct 11 - 09:22 PM
Crowhugger 30 Oct 11 - 10:33 PM
Bobert 30 Oct 11 - 10:53 PM
The Sandman 31 Oct 11 - 07:23 AM
kendall 31 Oct 11 - 08:06 AM
Maryrrf 31 Oct 11 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Oct 11 - 10:05 AM
bbc 31 Oct 11 - 11:27 AM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 11 - 11:42 AM
kendall 31 Oct 11 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 31 Oct 11 - 12:51 PM
Crowhugger 31 Oct 11 - 12:58 PM
Crowhugger 31 Oct 11 - 01:13 PM
Maryrrf 31 Oct 11 - 01:58 PM
Tattie Bogle 01 Nov 11 - 08:38 PM
Bobert 01 Nov 11 - 08:46 PM
Jim Martin 02 Nov 11 - 09:13 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 02 Nov 11 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Nov 11 - 10:48 AM
Desert Dancer 02 Nov 11 - 02:22 PM
meself 02 Nov 11 - 06:17 PM
meself 02 Nov 11 - 06:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 11 - 01:40 PM
The Sandman 03 Nov 11 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,kendall 04 Nov 11 - 04:06 AM
gnu 04 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM
Crowhugger 04 Nov 11 - 07:14 PM
gnu 04 Nov 11 - 07:48 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 04 Nov 11 - 11:35 PM
meself 05 Nov 11 - 12:17 AM
gnu 05 Nov 11 - 11:37 AM
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Subject: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 03:25 PM

I went to house concert last night where a woman and her adult son were doing songs and ballads from America and Scotland. They were great ones for thumping the floor with their feet.

Now, I like traditional music and I want to support the events, but man, I was so sick of that thumping by the time that concert was over. It was in a 1920's house with a springy wooden floor, and the thumps were so loud. I not only heard every one of them, I felt them right through my chair, whacking my bottom. Sometimes people in the audience joined in and made it even louder.

Of course it made it hard to understand lyrics or hear melodies.

By the end of it, the bones in my face hurt from a headache trying to come on.

If we have 8 measures to a verse
and 8 measures to a chorus
with 4 beats to a measure
and 3 verses followed by
3 choruses
and we do 12 songs

Then the floor has been thumped 2304 times.

Who wants to listen to a dull, rhythmic thud 2304 times?


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Maryrrf
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM

I think I know who you are talking about and I experienced this once too. Some percussion is okay but I don't think they are aware of just how hard they are stomping. I know others who have complained about this too. Maybe it works for some people but it puts me off.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 03:41 PM

Who wants to listen to a dull, rhythmic thud 2304 times?

Can be quite nice if it's a headboard...


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 04:00 PM

Not if you're in the adjoining apartment.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Midchuck
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 04:54 PM

And then there's the person sitting behind you, tapping his foot on the back leg of your seat, or the crossbar of the legs, or whatever...

Had I had guns (as I had goods) to work my Christian harm,
I had run him up from his quarter-deck to trade with his own yard-arm;
I had nailed his ears to my capstan-head, and ripped them off with a saw,
And soused them in the bilgewater, and served them to him raw;
I had flung him blind in a rudderless boat to rot in the rocking dark,
I had towed him aft of his own craft, a bait for his brother shark;
I had lapped him round with cocoa husk, and drenched him with the oil,
And lashed him fast to his own mast to blaze above my spoil;
I had stripped his hide for my hammock-side, and tasselled his beard i' the mesh,
And spitted his crew on the live bamboo that grows through the gangrened flesh;
I had hove him down by the mangroves brown, where the mud-reef sucks and draws,
Moored by the heel to his own keel to wait for the land-crab's claws!


Peter


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 04:54 PM

Gee, with the last two comments from Burton and Jim, I'm a bit afraid to admit that I'm a thumper. I even thump the wooden choir risers during Mass if the rhythm gets difficult, but not very often. I do it mostly in singarounds, when someone is singing something that has a rhythm that draws me into thumping.

I'm sorry. I just get pulled into it, and I can't help myself. I've sometimes wondered if people minded....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 05:01 PM

Most folk musicians tap the floor to keep time, some more than others. After all, if you play an instrument, it's much harder to play with a finger in the ear, so you have to do something else to compensate. :-)

If it's the two who I think you are talking about, then yes, they are worse than most. Nevertheless, excellent singers and very nice people.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 05:34 PM

Oscar Brand used to thump so loudly that the producers of his radio show made him take his shoes off. He was billed for a while as "The Shoeless Troubador"


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 05:40 PM

I lived in Glasgow with some 'cheuchters' (Gaelic speakers from the Isles, chiefly Lewis and Skye) They often invited round lots of other cheuchters for a singsong, each visitor bore a bottle of whisky. My bedsit was on the ground floor, and when these folk started their singing up above, (each song seemed to have about fifty verses) the chorus was always accompanied by foot thumping, so much so that my ceiling lampshade swung violently to and fro. I imagine the thumping is traditional. Many Lewis and Harris songs are intended to keep the women in time while shoving lengths of tweed back and forth across a table to soften the weave, and they have a very definite thump to them! In the end, I joined them upstairs and thumped along, very enjoyable but I didn't sing in Gaelic.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 07:13 PM

Most Highland pipers do it. Fred Morrison does it so energetically that he has to keep changing feet to avoid wearing one of them out.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 07:26 PM

I'm not really a fan. Chris Smither has a special little board that he thumps. And Seasick Steve.

Do you reckon the Black Watch started it then?


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 07:31 PM

Ok, you've got me well and truly on my hobby horse now! I DETEST thumping feet: so unnecessary - feel the beat in your head, FFS. The worst one for me was when I saw a certain player up on a high wooden stage which was hollow underneath, so just acted as a massive sound-box: she foot-pounded her way all the way through so thatI could hardly hear what was coming out of her instrument.
I used to play orchestral percussion: I'd have been thrown out of the orchestra for banging my feet on the floor, so learned to keep time in my head - it is possible, not even that difficult!
Now I go to a folk instrumental class where people are positively encouraged to tap/bang their feet on the floor to keep themselves in time (nothing will work for some!) - I CRINGE - oh horrors unmentionable!
As for that guy at our local sessions who loudly taps his feet (out of time on a hard floor) through everyone's songs......give me strength!
As for clapping - how many times have the audience gone off at a complete tangent from what the players are doing.....
But give me a good step-dancer - now you're talking....


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 07:39 PM

My cousin Jim is a thumper... even in sandals. He's got BIG feet and they POUND the floor and he WAILS and plays the fiddle WAY too loud when he should not.

I said, one kitchen session, "Calm down man! Take it easy eh?"

He said, "I play like I fuck. Fast and loud."

I replied, "Too bad fer yer wife."

She was not amused.

Whether it is was my statement or his remains a mystery... >;-)


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: terrier
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 07:58 PM

I must admit I'm a floor thumper when I play melodeon. I've got it licked though by putting one foot on top of the other whilst playing (sitting down of course), my foot still moves up and down but doesn't make any noise.
Eamon Coyne late of the Liverpool Ceili Band was also a floor thumper whilst playing fiddle. One night playing for a dance, he was stamping his foot so loud on the stage, it was booming through the PA. Someone threw him a cusion to put under his foot. He thanked them and put his foot on it.. then started stamping his other foot.
Then you have the 'manic' thumpers, who have both feed stamping out the rhythm alternately, efectively 'dancing' to the music.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 08:03 PM

the only things i thump are people who have insulted me on mudcat, or people who clap out of time on slow airs


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 08:30 PM

"or people who clap out of time on slow airs"... they are just givin ya tha back beat eh? They mean well. >;-)

But still, worth a thump, eh? Hehehehehe.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 09:11 PM

"I play like I fuck. Fast and loud."


I can't believe ANYBODY said that. Very very funny. Worthy of Alan B'stard.


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Subject: ALTERNATIVE TO thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 09:20 PM

Count me as one more who hates when thumping is done mindlessly with every song. Once in a while as a specific percussion choice it's fine. I don't much like it in instrumental sessions either although I accept that not everyone may have learned to keep the beat silently. And am deeply annoyed when audience members do it—to me it's just as rude as talking or taking a phone call. When an audience member does it against my seat or in a way that I can feel their thumping, I always bring it to their attention and ask them to stop. Rarely have I needed to ask twice. When the main act does it, I don't go see them again, simple as that.

Okay, now all that ranting is off my chest, let me add that I share the need to express rhythms when I hear them — I am truly miserable if I must refrain from doing so. My first public exposure to formal music outside a church was the National Arts Centre Orchestra, where my mother forbade me to annoy others. So I learned as a child how to participate in the rhythm without kicking a neighbouring seat and without thumping the floor. Yes, I silently bopped and grooved along to Mozart, Bach, Beethoven et al. from an early age without thumping and without jiggling or kicking the row of connected seats.

It's easy enough to do if you want to make that choice. Here are some details for those who can't imagine a world without thumping:
..whether sitting or standing: Without ever lifting my feet off the floor, I use pretty much the same muscles as foot-stompers but I press on the floor at each beat instead of actually hitting it. This can involve one leg & foot or both. Sometimes I will still lift my heel in the up-motion but in that case my down-motion is always a press through the ball of my foot, never a thump with the heel. For sitting only: Beat the rhythm with cheek muscles, all at once or alternate left and right.
..while standing: Same basic idea with the added option of shifting my weight back and forth one leg to the other. Often I'll alternately bend and straighten each knee--bend left knee, shift weight to left leg, straighten left knee; bend right knee, shift weight to right leg, straighten right knee, etc.; usually I do the knee bend on the back beat (2 & 4). If my bad knee is having a bad day, I do the same thing without shifting weight. If both knees are having a bad day, it ends up being entirely a left-right sway than having any up-down aspect from the knees.

Fair warning: When done with enthusiasm in a classical music venue, this method can annoy the audience members who expect everyone to sit with a stick up their you-know-whats. As a mature adult I was once ordered to stop moving by someone behind me who was very angry that I was ruining the concert for her because my movement created a visual distraction. I'm betting she wouldn't have appreciated audible thumping in lieu of "muscle-thumping." To this day I don't understand how she (and most of that audience) sat stalk-still through an hour of Vivaldi!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Effsee
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 10:45 PM

I think I know exactly who the OP is talking about...but it's a case of "she just can't help herself doing it"... haven't noticed it in the adult son though.

I'm reminded of a gig in the '70s with Vin Garbutt, when I was recording him in Aberdeen Folk Club, and his stompin' in his clogs.

When I asked him not to do it, he shucked off the clogs and with his usual instant wit said, "OK, I'll do the shorter version then!"

Cue much hilarity in the audience!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Azizi
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 07:59 AM

I saw this thread title and was curious what was meant by it.

After reading this thread, my first thought was that I can't imagine such comments written on a forum by Black or Latino or many other race/ethnicities of color.

Actually, I wondered if Crowhugger's 28 Oct 11 - 09:20 PM
comment was tongue in cheek. If it were written on a Black blog it would probably be considered a witty send off. But if that comment was serious, then it just points out the fundamental differences that exists between how populations of people approach and experience music.

That said, it was interesting reading GUEST,Eliza's 28 Oct 11 - 05:40 PM about the reasons for the percussion characteristics of certain Gaelic work songs-to help keep time while weaving. And it was also interesting to read that it is normal for Highlanders to thump their feet to their music.

No wonder African Americans and Irish Americans in the 19th century collaborated together to create the genre of tap dancing.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:31 AM

Azizi - re Gaelic song rhythms - the songs Eliza was referring to are "waulking" songs - after the cloth is taken off the loom, it is washed and worked. It is this work, usually done by a group of women round a long table, that the songs accompany. As far as I understand (not a Gaelic speaker) they can be like sea-shanties, starting off with a couple of commonly-known verses but then singers extemporise around local characters and events.

Example here:- Gaelic Waulking Song

Ross


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:35 AM

GSS
...or people who clap out of time on slow airs

I must live a sheltered life - I've NEVER heard anyone try to clap along to a slow air. If I did, I suspect my first instinct would be to thump the player! ;>)>

Regards


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 10:37 AM

I agree Martin, I have never heard anyone do any kind of percussion on a slow air.

I like percussion. I've been known to clap along, tap my foot or get out the spoons. But as Wordsworth wrote, we go for "unity in multeiity," by which he meant something unchanging and something that varies. Hitting the floor on every beat of the measure to make the same sound at the same volume countless times does not qualify.

I once attended a workshop where a member of the Flanders Recorder Quartet talked about rhythm. He is a man who counts some of the most complicated rhythms in the world. He told us that our sense of rhythm comes from walking.   By adulthood, we have taken thousands of regular steps, first left, then right. When we tap our feet, it's not the sound that cues our sense of rhythm, it's the muscles and nerves.

Therefore, I can keep rhythm by moving my leg or foot and not making any sound at all. I once saw a musician doing that while playing a very difficult violin duet by Prokofiev (sp?). I looked at her foot, and inside her shoe, her big toe was tapping the beat of the piece.

I often count a beat by patting the tops of my thighs, using both right and left. It is said to be better to use both right and left than just one.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 10:55 AM


leenia wrote
"a woman and her adult son were doing songs and ballads from America and Scotland. They were great ones for thumping the floor with their feet."


Hmm! I'll take a guess that this was Sara Grey & Kieron Means. If it was - and all you got from their performances was the sound of feet tapping - then I am very sad for you. Sara & Kieron are amongst the most outstanding, exquisite of performers on either side of the Atlantic. Yes, they tap their feet to some, not all of their songs and tunes, but in the very many times that I have heard them, I have never found this to distract from my enjoyment.

Of course, it could be a different mother and son.....

If counting the foot taps is your thing, could I suggest a concert by La Bottine Souriante or any other of the leading Quebecois groups.... you would have many more than the 2304 you counted this time to complain about.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 12:25 PM

The FSGW (who host the Getaway) also does a 2-day festival each June, and several of the stages are portable affairs, open underneath. "Thumping" ...or even moderate tapping, can be pretty distracting at certain times, and several fairly regular performers were known for their habit. I have acquired a large number of 'carpet samples', discarded from stores... so for several years, I brought a selection and distributed them to stage managers to use judiciously when needed.
Now it seemed the performers were not concerned with making noise, they just needed the release of beating time with the feet. There was no objection to muffling the sound with carpet, and it usually did the trick.

Those who manage or host venues might look into keeping some sort of carpet for heading off the worst situations.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 01:18 PM

Vic Smith, firstly your blue type is offensive to my eyes, secondly you are out of order naming the performers, thirdly Leenia was stating that her enjoyment had been spoiled, that is perfectly valid criticism.
finally you are entitled to your opinion [perhaps a little OTT] LIKE YOUR F######BLUE TYPE,
I too appreciate Sara Grey as a performer, she played Banjo on my cd, Around the Harbour Town.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 01:38 PM

I don't think John Hartford would have gone along with the carpet solution. The square piece of plywood he used to stand on while performing was miked up, specifically to pick up his percussive footwork and dance stepping.

Ross


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 01:42 PM

Ah, yes! I have seen John Hartford live, and his dancing while playing was a wonderful exception to the concern.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 01:47 PM

Using the feet purposefully as an accompanying percussion in various forms of dancing ~ Irish step, tap, clog ~ is surely quite another thing from the topic of this thread.

~M~


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: kendall
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 01:52 PM

That foot pounding has always annoyed me too. Of course, the fact that I don't need to do that doesn't mean that another shouldn't have to do it.
There is a Canadian performer called "Stomping Tom Conners", and he fits his name.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:04 PM

I'm not sure that naming performers when you criticize therm is a bad idea.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:15 PM

In the style of blues that I play (Mississippi blues) the foot stomp is part of the music... Most players have also built "stomp boxes" for venues that have cement floors... It's like a big ol' bass drum... Now I'm sure there are styles of music where it might not work but with Mississippi blues, the stomp is very much part of the deal...

B~


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 09:49 PM

I have a tape somewhere of Joseph Cormier, a fiddler from Cape Breton. Foot percussion was very much a characteristic of his playing and fortunately the record producers didn't feel it necessary to exclude this aspect of his performance from the recording. It adds a great lift to the sound, as is the case with the above-mentioned La Bottine Souriante, and other performers from Quebec and the Maritime Provinces. To some people, it's just an essential part of the whole performance. Of course it's possible for a listener to focus on something they find annoying, to the detriment of their personal experience - but that's what it is, a personal distaste - I doubt if anyone else noticed.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 11:10 PM

I am not sure if I have experienced foot stomping as you describe it, but I have been to many performances that use foot percussion and been okay with what I've heard. That may seem odd considering that I have problems with loud music. I often wonder if I'm the only one in my generation who didn't blow out her eardrums listening to rock music. At my favorite folk venue, I automatically arrive early so that I can sit in the back row, and if more seats are set up behind me, I move back. At another local folk venue, there are often performers I avoid except when they come to local outdoor festivals where I can sit very far away. I even listened to one group from my car in the parking lot. I sympathize with your pain and imagine you will avoid these performers in the future, but I hope you will continue to support others. Also too much for me is the volume of the music some exercise class instructors play in classes at my local Y, where I am usually one of the older participants! The younger generation had better set aside funds for hearing aids because they won't be able to hear "normal" conversation.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Oct 11 - 11:42 PM

Tolstoy said. There limits to our freedom Can any man with his feet on the ground, lower the position of his feet by 20 inches or so?

We are perhaps railing at our impotence in the face of the universe and giving the earth a good thumping.

Pity, if its during your floorspot....!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Janie
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 12:52 AM

My voice is gone, but my feet and hands still clap, as appropriate. Work songs, field hollers, gandy dancer chants, marching cadences, and many of the old, slow primative a cappella lined out hymns, sung to the same tempo it takes to spend the work day hoeing cotton or corn, are all built around the natural percussion of feet, hands, hoes, hammers.

Good solution, Bill.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 02:01 AM

"Who wants to listen to a dull, rhythmic thud 2304 times?"

?? It's called a beat, percussion, and it's a characteristic of lots of music that people listen to!

Be great it's not a sharp, arhythmic one -- There many people would classify the sound event as "noise"!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 06:36 AM

Dick Greenhaus wrote:-
"I'm not sure that naming performers when you criticize therm is a bad idea. "


Neither am I, Dick. Not that I was naming them in this case, you understand.... Not that I was at this concert - not that I have any idea where it took place. I was merely expressing the opinion that if it was Sara & Kieron, then I find what I'd label foot percussion and what others would call "thumping the floor" to be an integral part of the performance. The majority on this thread seems to express the view that as performers, they find it a useful device and part of the sound that they wish to produce and listeners understand that it is intended to be part of the overall experience.

I feel that Ross Campbell sums it up very well when he writes
To some people, it's just an essential part of the whole performance. Of course it's possible for a listener to focus on something they find annoying, to the detriment of their personal experience - but that's what it is, a personal distaste - I doubt if anyone else noticed.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 06:58 AM

John Lee Hooker


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:26 AM

Bits and pieces by the Dave Clark 5! Theres a man who could his foot!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:48 AM

I can't imagine such comments written on a forum by Black or Latino or many other race/ethnicities of color.

Surely they have lullabies and other slow genres where rhythmic stamping is not appropriate?

it is normal for Highlanders to thump their feet to their music.

It's normal for dance music and extremely ABnormal for piobaireachd (classical bagpipe music).


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:57 AM

drift

Wow, aren't Vic's coloured posts all ovely! So why don't we all DO THIS!?!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM

BUGGER! ~~

I meant ~~

       LOVELY!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: banjoman
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 08:00 AM

Sara Grey - one of the nicest people I have ever met and a great musician. Never seen her son in performance but they can both come and "stomp" around here as much as they want - provided she has her banjo with her.
Seriously its really all a matter of personal preference - it suits some performers and not others.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 08:07 AM

Thump on and annoy these fools!!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 11:23 AM

Sara Grey - one of the nicest people I have ever met and a great musician.
I agree
If I was in Saras position, I would be concerned that someones enjoyment had been spoiled, it is however very difficult to break habits, I have a habit of twitching my face when playing tunes[concentration] and I know that i cant control it, i am sorry if it gives offence to anyone.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 11:51 AM

If one were to consider foot-stomping as part of the performance, it should be judged as part of the performance.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 12:20 PM

I once went to a performance by an artist , who not only stamped her feet while sitting down and playing the banjo, but lifted her leg up violently, each time, in order to do so.
I found her performance so irritating that I vowed never to see another. That was 20 years ago.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: kendall
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 01:33 PM

I don't think I criticized anyone, I used an "I" message. Being annoyed is MY problem, not the performer's.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 04:30 PM

Someone mentioned Vin Garbutt up there, here's a story about his foot-tapping.
He was the FF guest, standing on the edge of the improvised stage, and in his first number the tremors conducted up the mic' stand. As he went into his preamble for the next number, he slipped off his (slip-on) shoes, but the soundman didn't notice, and hurried around and took down the mic' stand and erected it to its full length and put it onto the ground in front of the stage, but unfortunately it was then about 3' too low. Vin never stopped talking while this was going on, moving to use the mic' and ended up kneeling on the stage. Then the man lowered the stand to normal height and put it back on the stage. Vin followed it down and up again, commenting that that was "much better." Away went the man looking for something to insulate the stand from the stage, and came back with an enormous roll of canvas, to which Vin apologised that he "couldn't eat another thing!"
This lot took about 10mins to enact, Vin never stopped talking about his next number except to make the comments mentioned. It was a piece of wit and craftsmanship that I'll never forget.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 04:43 PM

The OP wasn't objecting to fiddler+stomp or blues+stomp. Perhaps few are bothered by that unless they don't like the music or the particular performer's artistic choices.

I have thoroughly enjoyed performances by John Hartford (at folk festivals) and Stompin' Tom Connors (on TV & radio), and a few lesser known folk festival performers whose names I don't recall. I LOVE percussion totally agree with feet being used to create it. To keep a beat and dance is to be human.

But to my ear that isn't the same issue as overly-loud, monotonous thumping that detracts from storytelling-type songs. (Or someone behind tapping my chair leg.) Musical stomp is consistent--yes, but annoying & monotonous--not as a rule; there is usually varying volume and texture same as any musician would with any instrument. Stompin' Tom's stomp was the least varied of any I've heard, but he never drowned out his lyrics & instruments.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 04:45 PM

Kendall-a member of the audience being annoyed is the PERFORMER's problem.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 05:34 PM

Hi Azizi, I missed your post earlier...nice to see you around! I have a question: Why do suppose my Oct 28 post would be taken as tongue-in-cheek on Black Blog? What, we've got so much rhythm we can't choose to be polite about it when it suits the circumstance? It's somehow un-black as a serious remark? I'm mystified by your statement.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: kendall
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:22 PM

Not if he/she doesn't know it, Dick.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:30 PM

Stompin Tom knew he was stompin... it was part of his act... and he made a shitload a money because people enjoyed HIS stompin. There's stompin and then there's Tom's stompin... BIG difference!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:47 PM

True 'nuf, gnu!!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM

Kendall--in a way that's our (Mudcat's) job to let the performer know.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:54 PM

Schweik, I think I know what you mean about 'twitching your face." I've seen other people do that. I think it has to do with the brain - when playing complex music, control shifts from the left front, where speech and facial expressions are controlled. Control goes to other part(s) of the brain, with the result that the face can do some very odd things.

I once saw a jazz pianist who tongue came out involuntarily. She would turn away from the crowd to hide it. A jazz guitarist I knew made some very odd grimaces. I think complex jazz causes brain activity to move from its usual hangout in the speech areas to the so-called 'lizard brain,' where hearing resides.

I have something similar. When I play piano, I can't talk.
==============
About the gig with the stomping - I talked to another person who was there and was really bothered by it. Also could not hear lyrics. One person got up and left at the interval. That's too bad when only ten people came in the first place.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Janie
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 07:56 PM

I love percussion, hand clapping, tapping or stamping out the beat on many, many songs and types of songs. However, unless the percussion is the main event, it is not fun when the stomping or clapping is so loud as to obscure or overpower the voice or other instruments, and certainly, some one else tapping and vibrating my seat is always a distraction, even if no music is involved.

I no longer sing, but when I did, I was definitely a clapper or stomper. When really immersed in the song, it can be easy to not notice the physical environment/accoustics of a place may result in the body percussion drowning out or distracting from the song.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 09:22 PM

Stompin Tom


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 10:33 PM

LOL, thanks gnu.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Oct 11 - 10:53 PM

Ya'll check out the late Johnny Hartford...

That's what we're talkin' about...

B~


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 07:23 AM

I think Leenia ha a valid point, she has never denigrated the performers music,she just said that the banging spoiled her enjoyment


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: kendall
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 08:06 AM

Sometimes banging is the enjoyment. I'll just get me hat.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Maryrrf
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 10:03 AM

Certainly it's a matter of personal preference - but if it is the duo in question, the stomping did affect my enjoyment of their performance and other people I know(in addition to the ones who commented in this thread) have said the same. The foot percussion doesn't have to go away, just be toned down a little, and it also probably very much depends on the floor surface as to how obtrusive it is. Obviously this duo is successful and, as many have pointed out, they are very good at what they do, but I think some of their potential audience is put off by the heavy percussion.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 10:05 AM

yada yada yada

They drowned out their own words and melody, they made my face bones hurt, they took my money and gave me, not beauty, but stress. I didn't want to walk out because dear friends were the promoters.

If I can keep somebody else from starting to thump so monotonously, well and good.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: bbc
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 11:27 AM

I was surprised at the negative tone of this thread. If we are speaking of Sara Grey & her son Kieron Means, I find their performances delightful, including their foot action. Since there are "footstompin' Scottish music" websites, I assume this can be considered a valid accompaniment to the music they perform. Liking it or not is a matter of personal taste. I remember leaving one folk concert at the intermission, even though the booker was a close friend. I just hated the music; that's fine. Thanks to Vic Smith for his positive posts to this thread. I remember seeing performers at the Greater New Bedford Summerfest, last July, who kept time with their feet & their performances were enhanced by it. To my mind, there's room in folk music for many expressions. Take what pleases you & leave the rest.

Respectfully,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 11:42 AM

I've only heard them together once - have heard Sara on her own a few times. I don't remember any foot-tapping at all. If it was there it was discreet enough not to stand out.

It's quite possible they simply couldn't hear the effect from where they were sitting, if the stage was an echoey box or if the feet were being picked up a mike and the foldback was inadequate.

A Quebecois fiddler who's started coming to a session I go to says it's not unheard of for spontaneous foot-tapping jams to break out on the Montreal metro. That would liven up the commute.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: kendall
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 12:04 PM

I've known Sara for over 40 years and I never noticed excessive foot tapping either. Of course, she can do no harm in my opinion anyway.

I guess my question is, is it really necessary? I've never felt that need, the beat is in my head, not my feet.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 12:51 PM

No discussion on thumping the floor can be complete without a mention of Pete Coe. His fancy footwork while playing melodeon, banjo and bouzouki is not just timekeeping but a whole percussion section. It reaches its peak when he performs Loco Fireman as you can see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuJt6lbt0_g


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 12:58 PM

Surprised at the negativity? Me, I'd have been surprised if responses had the tone of, "Oh leeneia that must have been a delightful concert...it's pleasant having an evening of ballads drowned out by performers thumping out the beat with their foot!"

Sure thing, yes definitely, in some music banging IS the enjoyment. Lots of thump is good in work songs, in dance music, even in rocking songs at the start of getting a wound-up child to sleep if not towards the end. But constant thump over a ballad? At best I'd call it an unconventional option that misses the point of story songs.

Maybe I'll offend some of my fellow rhythm lovers out there, but in a ballad the meaning typically is NOT in the beat.

I propose a challenge to those who think the OP is complaining excessively or without cause: Create an evening's repertoire of ballads where the beat is more important than the words and music.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 01:13 PM

Pete Coe certainly wasn't thumping out the beat in that video. Looks more like step-dancing. Interestingly, it points out the issue of balance in different way: Unless he stops strumming the footwork is entirely inaudible; the lyrics are only half-audible due to the overbearing strum. Maybe the balance was fine for the live audience and the problem is just with the recording.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Maryrrf
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 01:58 PM

Obviously in this case the thumping worked for some and turned other people off. I don't think it is disrespectful or negative to discuss this on a music forum. If I were the performer, I might want to be made aware that some people thought my foot tapping was too intrusive, and I could then decide whether or not to modify it or leave it as it is. Feedback, positive or negative, is valuable. I would hope this thread wouldn't put anyone off from going to see this duo - they are certainly worth seeing. Go to their next gig near you and judge for yourself.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 08:38 PM

I'm with Leeneia, Crowhugger and Kendall on this. "The Beat is in my head" - keep it there!
Unless it is specifically step-dancing of whatever type (Scottish, Quebecois, East Anglian, Pete Coe) there is absolutely no need for stomping or thumping feet all the way through just about everything anyone plays: it does NOT enhance the music.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 08:46 PM

The floor is an instrument... Needs to be played and heard so that it blends... Stomping because you can is stupid... Respect your instruments powers...

B~


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Jim Martin
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 09:13 AM

I went to a concert Sun night at the Willie Keane Festival in Doonbeg, Co.Clare with Andrew McNamara playing and it was spoilt for me, by what I thought was excessive foot stomping. The sound engineer (Mat Purcell) is well reputed and I'm surprised he couldn't have muted it a bit!


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 10:44 AM

Stompin' Tom carries his own stompin' board, a piece of plywood which can be seen in the above video. Often fans bring their own boards to his performance and have him autograph them.
A fiddler playing for a dance without amplification would stomp out the beat loud enough for it to be heard by dancers.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 10:48 AM

I've been playing instruments for 40 years, so here's one last word from me on this topic.

Your body and brain are an intricate, intermeshed system. If you play a piece repeatedly and you stamp your foot, play a drum, or add a bass line, you will probably find that after a while you cannot play it without the embellishment.

Oh, it's easy to say, "Hey, this is just recreational stomping, and I can quit anytime I feel like it." But actually, you can't. You will find that one part of your body has come to rely on another to cue it as to what comes next. As I said, it's all intermeshed.

So as you work up new pieces, ask yourself, "Do I want to do it this way all the time and everywhere?" Because you may find that certain parts of the piece have become "glued together" without you being aware of it.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 02:22 PM

There's no denying that Sara Grey is a foot stomper and it's certainly been noted previously. At this stage it's certainly not under conscious control. I think I've even heard her discuss it before, so it's not that she's unaware that she does it, and I'm surprised that anyone would say they didn't notice about her. There are a few songs that she does that don't have a strong rhythm and that she's more still for, but certainly the majority of what she sings, and especially those accompanied by banjo, have a strong rhythm that comes out in her foot and leg. (And, if she's not playing the banjo, in hand-patting, too.)

Leenia notes that this house concert venue had a particularly springy and resonant floor. (I assume there was no other amplification.) I can see how sitting as close as one does in a house concert that this could be distracting, with the vibration transmitted not only through the air, but to one's seat. It's too bad that some adjustment couldn't have been made prior to the concert to reduce the effect somewhat -- a doubled carpet, or something.

Perhaps Sara and Kieron should be more aware of this issue when they perform in this kind of space. I'd think that a direct communication via the host would be a more effective way to suggest that to them than through a public forum like this, but at least through Mudcat it might alert others who either host them or have a similar performance style...

I hope you have a chance to hear Sara sometime in a venue that works better for you, Leenia.

On the general topic of foot tapping, I was interested to read somewhere that in Cape Breton (or was it PEI?) young fiddlers were/are encouraged to tap their feet as they learn to ensure that their playing is rhythmic. I'm a big toe wiggler or heel lifter, myself.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: meself
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 06:17 PM

In much of Canada - not just in Cape Breton & PEI - it is expected that a fiddler will at least tap/stomp out the beat with one heel or toe, if not do a more intricate kind of clogging. Sometimes it is taught in a deliberate manner.

Check out Donna DeWolfe.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: meself
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 06:20 PM

Btw, notice how the finish is worn off the surface of the stage where the fiddler sits ....


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 01:40 PM

Wasn't there a rabbit called Thumper?


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 02:29 PM

there was, it was in watership down


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 04:06 AM

Nice fiddling but the stamping was annoying.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 06:46 PM

Much as I hate to say so on accounta I really don't like to criticize this young lady or her accompaniest, in this particular video, I agree with Kendall. I thought it was too much. When the stomping detracts from the tune it detracts from the tune... plain and simple.

Of course, there is footwork and there is stomping. Very different. Both have there place. And if they were defined above, my apologies for bringing it up again. My memory is, ah, you know. Right?


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Crowhugger
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 07:14 PM

I didn't find that the foot beat in Donna De Wolf's video overpowered the fiddle, not at all. I did find the piano accompaniment a little too quiet in the scheme of things; I'm not sure if the foot beat contributed to that; it looked to me as if the accompanist did emphasize those beats on the piano, but perhaps not enough, or perhaps it was microphone placement--miking pianos well is an art and science all its own.

A rabbit called Thumper in Watership Down, eh? So I live and learn. But I did know there was one in Bambi.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 07:48 PM

I have desperately been trying to find a link at times for a few days. It's of an Acadian group from NB, NS or PEI... they are amazing... fiddle, guitar, spoons... and FEET! The FEETS are fantastic! They all sit and play and sing and FEET IT! at times. But I cannot remember their name. Seriously... these guys and gals are amazing.

Sandy? Ed T? Beer? Bee? Help!

The ultimate stomper may be Ashley Mac Issac. Yes, he is VERY controversial but germain to the discussion, I believe, if one takes his music at face value. His stomping is one of the styles of his presentation that "plays" the tune to the audience. Yes, perhaps it's "in your face", but I respect the talent and admire the showmanship.

Oh shit... I know THAT ain't gonna sit well with some peeps. >;-)


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 11:35 PM

gnu, I'm guessing PEI's Barachois may be your answer. As for Ashley he is a fantastic musician when he wants to be but his army boot foot stomping act does not fly well at all in Cape Breton. Mostly at home he plays in the traditional style.


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: meself
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 12:17 AM

Once again, Mudcat has reminded me of the effect that differing musical backgrounds have on perceptions - coming out of Cape Breton and PEI fiddling traditions, it never would have occurred to me that anyone would find the kind of footwork that Ms. DeWolfe does in that clip "annoying". Live and learn ....


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Subject: RE: thumping the floor
From: gnu
Date: 05 Nov 11 - 11:37 AM

Sandy... ya nailed it. Thanks. Also, Vishten is similar.


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