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Rapid playing: Loss of control?

Mr Happy 27 Jan 12 - 07:34 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 12 - 08:50 AM
Mr Happy 27 Jan 12 - 09:25 AM
GUEST 27 Jan 12 - 09:29 AM
Trevor Thomas 27 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM
Will Fly 27 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM
John P 27 Jan 12 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 27 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 27 Jan 12 - 10:22 AM
Amos 27 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM
JohnInKansas 27 Jan 12 - 10:36 AM
Mr Happy 27 Jan 12 - 10:59 AM
Tootler 27 Jan 12 - 12:27 PM
Mr Happy 27 Jan 12 - 12:34 PM
Dave MacKenzie 27 Jan 12 - 12:42 PM
Paul Burke 27 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM
Bobert 27 Jan 12 - 01:15 PM
Will Fly 27 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM
Stewart 27 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 28 Jan 12 - 06:06 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 12 - 06:25 AM
Mr Happy 28 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM
Mr Happy 28 Jan 12 - 07:56 AM
Leadfingers 28 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM
Tattie Bogle 28 Jan 12 - 08:45 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 12 - 08:55 AM
tonyteach1 28 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Jan 12 - 10:19 AM
Mo the caller 28 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM
Tootler 28 Jan 12 - 10:56 AM
Marilyn 28 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM
Mo the caller 28 Jan 12 - 01:53 PM
Mr Happy 29 Jan 12 - 07:39 AM
Will Fly 29 Jan 12 - 08:22 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jan 12 - 09:01 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM
Marilyn 29 Jan 12 - 10:31 AM
Mo the caller 29 Jan 12 - 11:05 AM
Mr Happy 29 Jan 12 - 07:08 PM
Mr Happy 02 Feb 12 - 10:59 AM
GUEST 02 Feb 12 - 03:54 PM
tonyteach1 02 Feb 12 - 07:16 PM
Mr Happy 03 Feb 12 - 05:04 AM
Mr Happy 19 Dec 12 - 10:16 AM
Alan Day 19 Dec 12 - 12:09 PM
Mr Happy 19 Dec 12 - 12:18 PM
Tattie Bogle 19 Dec 12 - 08:44 PM
Mr Happy 20 Dec 12 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Dec 12 - 03:32 AM
Musket 20 Dec 12 - 05:10 AM
Dave MacKenzie 20 Dec 12 - 07:28 AM
Mr Happy 20 Dec 12 - 08:27 AM
Dave MacKenzie 20 Dec 12 - 08:47 AM
Cool Beans 20 Dec 12 - 12:43 PM
Mo the caller 20 Dec 12 - 05:18 PM
Tattie Bogle 20 Dec 12 - 07:15 PM
Dave MacKenzie 20 Dec 12 - 07:44 PM
Mr Happy 21 Dec 12 - 03:31 AM
Dave MacKenzie 21 Dec 12 - 05:09 AM
Mo the caller 21 Dec 12 - 05:29 AM
treewind 21 Dec 12 - 05:44 AM
Mr Happy 21 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM
treewind 21 Dec 12 - 10:48 AM
Tattie Bogle 21 Dec 12 - 04:55 PM
Mo the caller 22 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM
Tattie Bogle 22 Dec 12 - 08:43 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Dec 12 - 08:06 PM
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Subject: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 07:34 AM

In many music sessions, the pace at which the tunes are played often result in the melodies getting lost in a wall of noise.

In our sesh which is mixed songs & tunes, we've lately been deliberately been doing tunes much more slowly.

It's great!

Every note can be heard & there's much more opportunity for harmonies & counter melodies to develop.

However, lots have commented how difficult it can be to maintain a slower tempo & it's all to easy to go dashing off to high speed again unless great concentration & discipline is maintained.

Conclusion; it's harder to play more slowly.

An analogy here is of singing, no one tries to sing at breakneck speeds, so why with tunes?

Your thoughts?


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 08:50 AM

Slow is good! In many cases the subtleties and beauty of the tunes are more apparent. And, as you say, more control is necessary at slow speeds - dynamics and careful phrasing are required - more thought, in other words.

For dances, of course, the dance speeds dictate the playing speed. And, now and then, a hell for leather pace can be fun - but more in a rehearsed band context than in an open session, IMO.

I used to play the soul number "6345789" in a funk band. Our bass player and leader, Keith, would slow it right down till it greased and oozed sleazily along - sounded great. Drinks were consumed to it, babies were conceived to it...


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:25 AM

Will,

I'm glad you mentioned dance.

There's 2 monthly events here in Chester [UK] for folk to practice:

* playing for dancing

*calling

* dancing

One's mainly tunes & dances in the Playford style, the other's French tunes & dances.

I've been regularly attending the playford sesh & the tunes are frequently done so fast that they don't fit the dances.

To my mind, the callers should set the timings, but they all are wannabe dancers & aren't experienced enough yet to do this.

There's a self appointed 'band leader' with a loudish melodeon, who just can't seem to play anything other than at the speed of lightening!

I've also attended the French sesh, where strangely the tunes are slow - I think due to their very nature.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:29 AM

Will is right, the groove is the thing. Fast is good – it can be very exciting – but if the groove's running away with you, it's probably best to take it down a bit.
The other thing is variety. One set of fast reels sounds amazing. Seven in a row, and they lose their impact somewhat. Same goes for slow airs or ballads. I'll happily listen to a ballad, but if it comes after six other ballads, well I'll not be looking forward to it so much. Mid paced minor key jigs? Lovely. Seven sets of mid paced minor key jigs in a row? – starting to get a bit tedious.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

Guest above was me, sorry.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM

I've also attended the French sesh, where strangely the tunes are slow - I think due to their very nature.

That's interesting - at the monthly French session I (occasionally) attend down here in Sussex, the tunes are fairly brisk and, IMO, could sometimes do with a little slowing.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: John P
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:43 AM

Actually, it's harder to pay fast with great control and accuracy. It's just that hardly anyone does it, and it's easier to get by with sloppy playing when you're playing so fast that most people can't hear the individual notes. Especially in a session where several people are playing the melody all at once. You don't even have to worry about ornamentation at that speed! :^)

It is true that a group of people who play together regularly can get much more tight by playing slowly and with control. More importantly, quietly enough to hear everyone else clearly.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM

Somebody once told me that playing fast meant that you could leave out half the notes because the ears of the listeners would fill them in......


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 10:22 AM

Ah, but which half?


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 10:26 AM

One of the nicest favors you can do to a good song is trim back the tempo and let it be formed at a more leisurely pace. It usually makes the song much richer and more understandable.

A


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 10:36 AM

Some years back, at sessions up in the US northwest, I noted a fairly rapid migration from the originally popular (within the group) version of a popular piece to a "modified" version that supplanted the first for the simple reason that a couple of the regulars could "play it faster."

The new version was not musically pleasant, it left out a whole lot of notes (and was even uglier if slowed down to a "melodic pace") and it gave no place for other players to insert their own favored "decorations."

We stopped wasting our time with that group shortly after.

(for reference, the main piece that suffered thusly was "Saint Annes Reel")

In one of his interviews Bill Monroe, not known for being a slouch at fast-paced play although in my opinion he left our (or missed?) quite a few of the best notes, was quoted as saying "Most people try to play it (bluegrass) too fast."

The best known (in my area) version of "Whiskey Before Breakfast" is the version played by Mike Cross, with the entire "melody" (such as remains) revamped for more speed and bearing almost no resemblance to traditional versions. Of course few people in his audiences have ever heard, much less played, a traditional version....

Just observations. I probably don't need to offer an opinion on the subject.

John


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 10:59 AM

About 30 or so years ago, when I started out playing in seshes, at every place tunes were bashed out at full speed & being less experienced then, I thought this was how they should be done - guess I'm not alone with this impression & consequently lots of folk must think this way


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tootler
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 12:27 PM

Nerves can sometimes play a part. I find sometimes when I sing a song out for the first time, I sing it much too fast and it loses something in the process. I think it's sometimes a matter of get through it before you forget a bit or make a mistake. So the next time, I have to make a conscious effort to slow it down a bit so that I have time to sing the song properly.

The same happens with session tunes as well, sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 12:34 PM

It's really tunes I'm talking about


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 12:42 PM

There are various factors to take into account - some tunes such as 'St Anne's Reel' need to be played fast enough to hear the tune and not just individual notes. Session tempi, especially in London, tend to be faster than dance tempi, though the size and shape of hall will also influence the speed that the dancers can dance - try dancing to slow hornpipes in a long narrow room. Again, if you play too slow the dancers will fall over!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

Apart from the obvious fact that sessions aren't dances*, the reel point is cooperation. A session is a conversation between players, and in any conversation it's simply bad manners not to accommodate the other person's interests as far as you can. Hence where there's a reasonable choice of venues (getting rare these\days), they tend to crystallise out according to the players. The high- power players don't go to the slower sessions, and the beginners soon learn their mistake if they choose the supersession. The majority of us drift inbetween, playing as well as we can with the big boys, and enjoying playing with and even teaching those who struggle a bit.

* Dancers have turned up to some sessions I've been to, and insisted that the musicians play the way they want for dancing. They are usually as welcome as a didgeridoo player with an empty wallet.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Bobert
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 01:15 PM

Younger and less experienced players tend to play too much, too loud and too fast... Who ever is leading the jam need to step up and now and then and remind the culprits that it ain't a rumble, it's music...

B~


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

Right on, Bobert.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Stewart
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM

Another thing is perhaps starting at a moderate tempo, but then ramping it up faster and faster. This might happen with a series of eighth or sixteenth notes which may be hard to finger, so you skip over some of the notes too fast, or you short change a longer note or a rest, and pretty soon you're playing much faster than you were when you started, and much faster than you're able to play well. All of this relates to your skill in playing. It takes a lot of concentration to play at a steady tempo. It's best to learn a new piece slowly, paying a lot of attention to the tempo, and only after that increasing the speed to a tempo that you can play well and that suits the music.

The point is that all of this takes skill and practice. Those that haven't the time or inclination to develop their skills and practice are the ones that fall into this trap.

Session playing can be a good experience, but it can also develop some bad habits. You can learn to play a ton of tunes poorly or fewer tunes really well.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 06:06 AM

There is a tendency, especially amongst young and/or novice players, to assume that fast = good. After all, if you can play that fast you must be a good player, right? In time, most get past this and start to focus on playing well, although unfortunately there are some who don't.

It's not uncommon to see a young player deliberately get faster and faster until everyone else has dropped out, and then finish with a smug flourish. What he doesn't realise is the the others dropped out not because they couldn't keep up, but because they got bored.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 06:25 AM

I agree totally with the opinions above. The other thing about Fast is: Where do you go from there? The ear soon gets accustomed to the onslaught of a wild blur of notes going a zillion miles per second (many of them missing, and forget about decoration or any subtleties/dynamics) and it just develops listening-fatigue.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM

As I & others have pointed out, it can be difficult to maintain a steady rhythym, even after having started out fairly controlled.

A suggestion from one of our sessioneers was to use a metronome as an aid.

We've mot tried that approach yet but may consider


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM

That was one of the advantages of playing for live dancers in the old days - they're the best metronomes in the world!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 07:56 AM

In the tune sesshes at Shrewsbury FF last year, conscious, I think, of the raciness tendency among some players, the facilitators had 'conductors' stamping their feet in different areas of the marquee in an attempt to standardise the tempo.

This worked well, but I don't think a very feasible option in regular events [or maybe?]


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM

It is NOT too difficult to play a tune so fast that it loses all the delicate nuances , and anyone with a bit of talent can play something at a session that no one else can join in with !
We started 'Beginners Slow Session' time a while back , and it is EXCELLENT practice to play slowly at a steady tempo as well as helping new players to learn the tunes .


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 08:45 AM

We have a weekly Slow Session in Edinburgh with Nigel Gatherer, one of the Scots Music Group tutors, and I believe Glasgow Fiddle Workshop (not just fiddles) and SC&T in Aberdeen do the same. It really is a great introduction to session playing for folk learning instruments, and a chance to learn the tunes properly before upping the tempo and moving on to other sessions in the area. (Tho' of course, some tunes don't need "upping"!) Some pretty competent players even choose to stay at the Slow session, as they prefer the gentler pace.
Nigel also produces a great series of A5-size books of tunes and sets - very handy to carry around for those that need to have the dots or chords in front of them. And he has a fantastic website with loads of tunes to look at for free.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 08:55 AM

Wow, what a brilliant website that is - thanks for the heads-up, Tattie. Worthy of being immortalised in a clickie, methinks, to wit:

http://www.nigelgatherer.com/tunes.html


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM

Playing fast is fine if you can maintain quality of sound and rhythm - most players cannot
I agree that it is boring to have fast pieces most of the time and that a contrast is needed for audience and players

Often speeding up is a sign of insecurity - lets get through it before the wrong notes start


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 10:19 AM

As a rhythm musician, I don't let the front line speed up unless I know they're doing it deliberately. Watching dancers is ok, so long as you remember that some parts of the anatomy have a different frequency of sympathetic resonance than others, and if the dance floor's crowded the people are going to end up shuffling tneir feet which is a lot harder to do in time than dancing. As for metronomes (or drum machines) they can't cope with the nuances that you want when playing for dancers.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM

As far as playing tunes in sessions goes the same tune can be played at a variety of speeds giving it different feels. And the polite session player should take their timing from the person who starts the tune.
But Mr. Happy has made some incorrect statements about Have-a-Go in Chester.
Although I called it a "music and dance session" it is not a free-for-all that runs itself. I co-ordinate those who want to call, and try to persuade them to tell me in advance what tune they want so that our DEFINITELY NOT "self appointed" band leader can arrange the music and put it on her website for download, also make midi files so that those who want to hear the tunes in advance can play them.
She negotiates tempo with the callers and leads the musicians. First at practise speed, then at dance speed. Even so it is difficult to keep everyone together, the loud melodeon is vital.
Different dances need different speeds, and the comments from those who have actually danced or called have more often been "that was too slow". Yes, the callers are learning, it is a difficult skill to know what speed a dance needs, it is also an art to phrase the call so that the dancers know which part of the music fits which part of the dance - this can lead to dancers getting behind the phrase.
We don't only dance Playford, we dance a mix. Some dances are walked (with a smooth fast step) which needs much faster music the a stepped polka or bouncy hornpipe. As Dave MacKenkie said "if you play too slow the dancers will fall over!". I've been to a dance like that, some orchestral players got together to form a barn dance band, at their first gig it felt as if we had to stay in the air far too long.
At our age we can't dance hornpipes all evening and some of us still want to dance, not sit on the sidelines.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 10:56 AM

Mr. Happy,

What I said about songs in my post also applies to purely instrumental tunes. Musically a song is simply music with words. Your voice is an instrument and if you are singing a song, you are also singing a tune

I mentioned song as an example where I had noticed the issue most, but what I said applies just as much to tunes. If you are nervous it is not uncommon you will lead off too fast - even for yourself.

As someone who both sings and plays I do not see any fundamental difference between songs and tunes.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Marilyn
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 11:37 AM

Mr Happy said:

" There's 2 monthly events here in Chester [UK] for folk to practice:

* playing for dancing

*calling

* dancing

One's mainly tunes & dances in the Playford style, the other's French tunes & dances.

I've been regularly attending the playford sesh & the tunes are frequently done so fast that they don't fit the dances.

To my mind, the callers should set the timings, but they all are wannabe dancers & aren't experienced enough yet to do this.

There's a self appointed 'band leader' with a loudish melodeon, who just can't seem to play anything other than at the speed of lightening!

I've also attended the French sesh, where strangely the tunes are slow - I think due to their very nature."



Oh Dear! I'm the person with the 'loudish melodeon' that Mr Happy is so Un-Happy about :-(

One thing I do agree with, John, is that the callers should set the tempo and, if you had been watching, you would have seen me negotiating with each caller before their dance to try to establish the correct speed for that dance. You were probably chatting or whatever so hadn't seen this going on and I can't complain about that but the fact remains that the tempo is set by discussion with the caller and with Mo (the organizer who is a very experienced caller).   

The callers aren't wannabe dancers; as far as I know most of them have been dancing for many years and are quite expert. Some of them are new to calling (not all) but, with the exception of Mo and Peter, who are used to calling with live music, the callers are used to recorded music which means that having to think about tempo and negotiate with a band leader is new to them. Part of their learning experience is how to set a good tempo for each dance and how and when to communicate with the band leader.

Sometimes we get it wrong – if it's a dance I'm not familiar with then I haven't got any previous experience of playing for that dance to draw on and have to make a guess. In those situations the usual feedback has been that it could do with being a bit faster which, to me, says that I tend to set a steady pace perhaps a bit on the slow side.

On the subject of tempo (and please remember we are talking about playing for dancing here) – most often the tempo I set lies in the range of 100 – 120 bpm. For a hornpipe for a step-hop dance (Clopton Bridge for example) then that might be nearer 100 bpm or possibly even as slow as 90 bpm. Step-hop at 90bpm is a bit hard on the knees so not so good for older dancers and it is actually easier to dance at something around 100 bpm or a little above that.

You mustn't forget, too, that the type of tune needs to be taken into account. You can have two tunes, both played at 120 bpm, and one of them will sound much faster than the other yet if you check on a metronome they are actually being played at the same tempo.

I'm not a 'self-appointed' band leader – I was asked to do it by Mo because I lead two ceilidh bands (by that I mean bands that go out and get paid for playing for ceilidhs). Mo sometimes calls with my bands and she knows me and my music really well so, presumably, she was happy enough with what she knows of me to ask me to lead her scratch band for Have-a-Go.

Many of the musicians at Have a Go have never played in a band before; some of them are beginners on their instruments or, if not beginners, then not terribly experienced either. Some have never even played with other musicians before. They need a strong lead from a fairly loud instrument to keep them in time – it's my job in that case to be a bit dominant. At times I have kept the volume of my melodeon down a bit and the band has got seriously out of time with one another – SOMEONE has got to lead and give a very clear and loud lead for both musicians and dancers to follow.

As to me not being able to play anything other that at the speed of lightening – well! I want to laugh, really, because that should be funny except it isn't. You really don't know me very well at all.

One the subject of the French Dance session you say that the tunes are much slower. Some of them are slow, yes, but if you think they all are - well, you could have fooled me! Some of them are too fast for me – I struggle to keep up!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 01:53 PM

Well said Marilyn.
We wouldn't be able to run without you. We need someone who is both a confident musician and knowledgeable about dance, and since you have worked with me and with Peter to find tunes that work well with particular dances you are. Also all your work on arranging tunes for us.
We have offered people the chance to have-a-go at leading the band, no one has taken up that challenge.

I go to the Lancashire Folk Band Workshop (click on Local Bands and scroll down). I often find that the tunes that I would like to play slowly and expressively need to be played faster than I can manage, to be dance speed. And at Have-a-Go, since we are enlarging our range of tunes to suit the callers and avoid boring the musicians, and since not everyone has time to download the dots to practise (I know that because I am asked for copies on the night), we start the tunes slowly, then try to get them up to dance speed.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 07:39 AM

Marilyn & Mo,

Profound apologies to you both, I do admit some of my comments above were hurtful & mistaken.

However, thanks for putting me in the picture better with your further info.

We're all still learning - I must try harder!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 08:22 AM

Tempos set by callers is an interesting topic in itself. Slight thread drift here, for which apologies.

We have a regular caller as part of our band. She's a dancer herself (Morris and ceilidh) and has been calling now for about 18 months. She tends to set fairly gentle tempos for dancing - presumably on the basis that most of the people we play for (mainly weddings and private parties) are not experienced dancers. So she slows us down if we start to get a bit uppity!

A few weeks ago, she couldn't call for a wedding gig, being otherwise engaged, and we got a caller in from another area to call the gig for us. This temp caller - very experienced - took no prisoners! She set much faster speeds, got in amongst the dancers with a radio mic - and actually urged us to play faster if she though our (fairly brisk) tempo was too slow! It was a great evening.

All our band evenings are pretty good - but it was interesting to see the different approach with two different callers - and I'd be interested to hear other callers' views on dance tempos for non-regular dancers.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 09:01 AM

I forgot to say in my 'sorry' post above that my reference to 'wannabe' dancers was poorly worded.

I meant that they're dancers who wannabe callers.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM

Will Fly,

Your example of callers getting in among the dancers to demonstrate moves, particularly for absolute beginners, is a most useful point.

I've attended plenty dances over the years & this approach has always been a really effective one, also good as an icebreaker & establishing good rapport twixt dancers, caller & band.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Marilyn
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 10:31 AM

John (Mr Happy) - apology accepted.
Better to forget about it now - just a big misunderstanding!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 11:05 AM

Ditto.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 07:08 PM

Eminem   M & M,

Thanks to both for your generous magnanimity.

See you at the do next time


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 10:59 AM

Some tunes we're doing slowly:

Irish Washerwoman

Princess Royal

Gallopede

Sir Sidney Smiths March [yes I know its only February, but we need the practice!]


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 03:54 PM

It's difficult to play WELL at a fast tempo, but it's easy to play too fast as long as you're OK with not playing very well at all.

Practicing slowly ~ "too" slowly ~ forces one to pay more careful attention to the subtlest detail You have to be extra-careful with timing, pitch, and everything else when proceding at a super-slowed-down tempo. Ideally, you will then take what you learned with you when you go back to playing the piece at an appropriate (quicker) tempo.

But not TOO fast, of course!

I'm getting into choral singing fairly seriously these days, and have been learning first-hand how much I'm able to learn by practicing at a "too-slow" tempo. And, aside from applying this new knowledge to singing with the group, I am also finding that this approach works just as well for my guitar-playing.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 07:16 PM

Re calling - in the 70s there was a caller at a London club called Dingles who was known as Ranter I believe he was awarded the Iron Cross for folk dancing because of his barked instructions. His jackboots were much admired !


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Feb 12 - 05:04 AM

Recalling calling? Can I borrow for a Tom swifty? 8-)


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 10:16 AM

Here's an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_XuvjlKGA of the proper sort of timing for dancing & you can hear all the notes of the tune.

On this vid, the tune's called Jockey to the Fair but I knew it as Maid of the mill when I danced


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Alan Day
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 12:09 PM

If you are having difficulty playing fast then try to play quieter, this will relax your playing, decrease the amount of pressure you are using to create your notes and for a push pull instrument give you more air,with shorter bellows action.
Al


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 12:18 PM

Alan,

Thanks but if you'd read the whole thread, you'd have a better idea of the theme of the discussion


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 08:44 PM

From what I have experienced (and as our tutor has often told us!) commonest reasons for speeding up are:
Letting runs of quavers go into "free fall"
Not holding dotted notes long enough
Not holding long notes at ends of phrases long enough before going into the next line (the latter often applies to singers too, who can't cope with "spaces" or hold a note its full length.

And (shoot me down in flames!) certain instruments - played tucked under the chin with a bow - or rather, their owners, tend to be the most likely to run away with things, tho' a couple of moothie players at one of our recent sessions got a severe telling off from the session host!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 03:28 AM

You use dots in a session??


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 03:32 AM

I set the pace of the calling + tune( I'm the bossy one so I do that ) with my melodeon. I've got a very good band who know to follow. I will speed up some dances once the dancers know what they are doing.
In several of the pubs we visited in ireland they had very unobtrusive mike hanging from an arm from the ceiling. This could be moved to whoever was leading the set. I thought that was a good way to keep everybody at the same tempo. It would also mean people with quite instruments could lead.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Musket
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 05:10 AM

The older I get, the more I feel slower is good.

Whether this is musical appreciation or acceptance of getting older, I don't really know...


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:28 AM

"You use dots in a session??"

No worse than using words for singing (I don't normally do either, but I know lots of people who do)


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 08:27 AM

'No worse than using words for singing'??

I use words for singing [& for speaking,reading & writing as well], as my NVC's not the best!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 08:47 AM

Sorry, John. I forgot that you started this thread, so I'd need to spell everything out. Come to think of it, I don't always use words for singing, especially when doing skat. I don't normally rely on the written or printed word, especially in folk contexts. Is that why you were querying "dots" too, because you were understanding something different from the standard in this context.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 12:43 PM

There are musicians who play both fast and gorgeously--Doc Watson, for example--and I wish I could play as fast and as gorgeously. I've tried for years and I'll never be that good. Rather than disparage people who can do what I can't I've accepted that I'll never be a great flatpicker. (My fingerpicking, however, is excellent.)


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 05:18 PM

"Not holding dotted notes long enough"

"You use dots in a session??"


It was a joke (surely!?!)

I still take exception to John's use of the term 'dancing' when he means 'Morris Dancing', as if that's all there was.
Like the cleric on radio the other week who used the term Christian when (from the context) she meant Anglican.

If my calculations are anywhere near right.
His link played at about 85 bpm.
This Irish jig is being danced at about 116
This square dance at 124
These two clips of Playford dancing are about 120, which is the speed most clubs dance at nowadays.
However, this display team dancing is dancing at over 180, probably more like the speed Cecil Sharp had in mind when he revived the dances. Too fast for my taste/ability, but has a bit of life in it.

The speed needed depends on what you are doing in the beat. A smooth walk needs fastish music. Running, skipping. leaping, need different speeds.

I can't begin to estimate the correct speed for a Tango, vienese Waltz, Ballroom waltz or any other form of dance, but I'm sure they all have a range that is comfortable to those who know.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:15 PM

Dottiness is essential to Scots music: where would our strathspeys be without 'em?


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:44 PM

Which is why so many Scottish musicians over the past 30 years or so sound Irish. 'Atholl Highlanders', for instance, needs to be played briskly with a dotted rhythm (ie as a pipe march rather than a jig) otherwise the musicians start falling asleep.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 03:31 AM

'I still take exception to John's use of the term 'dancing' when he means 'Morris Dancing', as if that's all there was.

Like the cleric on radio the other week who used the term Christian when (from the context) she meant Anglican.'


I take exception to both of these statements.

Unless you're telepathic, you can't possibly glean from any of my posts on this thread that my concept of dance is morris only.

Secondly, your reference from radio implies that you think that Anglicans are not xtians


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 05:09 AM

"your reference from radio implies that you think that Anglicans are not xtians "

I don't know what Mo's denominational background is, but I know exactly what she means, and it's not what you infer, John. I didn't here the radio item she refers to, but there is an assumption among certain Anglicans that if you're not doing it the way they do (whatever that might be) you don't really count. That is not an attitude confined to the Church of England, but in a country with an established church, it becomes more noticeable.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 05:29 AM

Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy - PM
Date: 19 Dec 12 - 10:16 AM

Here's an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_XuvjlKGA of the proper sort of timing for dancing

You said "the proper timing..for dancing", and the track was ONE KIND OF dance. (And I posted tracks for other kinds of dance - folk dance even, that have a different 'proper speed')
She said there are a certain number of practising Christians in the town and also referred to Christians doing certain things that Anglicans do and nonconformists don't.

In both cases I objected to a legitimate PART being quoted as if it were THE WHOLE. I am not objecting to the part.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: treewind
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 05:44 AM

For what it's worth, I read that the same way as Dave McK. i.e. the implication seemed to be that if you aren't Anglican you're not a Christian.

Also I have read through the whole thread and I don't see why Mr. Happy has to be so dismissive about Alan Day's comment, which was a constructive suggestion to help players to slow down. What's wrong (or off topic) about that?

Lighten up chaps, it's the season of goodwill - joy, health, love and peace to you all!

(off to celebrate the solstice tonight in Geldeston with Old Glory Molly. We like our music slow too!)


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM

treewind,

I suggest you read the underlined part of the post again



For what it's worth, I read that the same way as Dave McK. i.e. the implication seemed to be that if you aren't Anglican you're not a Christian.

& then you may notice it wasn't Dave McK


*********

Mo,

My link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_XuvjlKGA definitely isn't Morris dancing!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: treewind
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 10:48 AM

I meant exactly what I said.

Earlier you wrote:
"your reference from radio implies that you think that Anglicans are not xtians"

It does not.

The person on the radio was allegedly saying Christians when she meant Anglicans, implying that Anglicans are the only Christians.
Mo's point is that Anglicans are not the only xtians.
That doesn't mean at all the same thing as "Anglicans are not xtians".
I know Mo and she's not the sort of person who would make such a controversial statement!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 04:55 PM

"Atholl Highlanders', for instance, needs to be played briskly with a dotted rhythm (ie as a pipe march rather than a jig) otherwise the musicians start falling asleep." (Dave McKenzie above)
Not much risk of folk falling asleep while dancing: we play it to dotted rhythm as part of a Military Two-step Set: quite tricky to get a' they dots in at dance speed! Different can o' haggis when played wi' dots!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 07:09 AM

John said "Mo,

My link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_XuvjlKGA definitely isn't Morris dancing"

Sorry, just shows how little I know about Morris - it IS a Morris tune, and I know there are solo Morris jigs.
Looking at again and thinking of the clogging Jim used to do, yes that's another dance form where slower than 'club speed' is essential.

So I apologise.


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 08:43 AM

A beautiful piece of Irish dancing! Perfect timing and control.

Not quite sure how you define "a Morris Tune" as some of the tunes that are used for Morris dancing are used for other sorts of dancing or even pipe marches and songs: e.g. the tune I know as "Wha wadna fecht for Chairlie", and might be used in a Gay Gordons set or sung, is pretty much the same tune as I've often heard Morris teams use (tho' I think it goes by another name S of the Border). And there are many other examples of tunes that have crossed the Irish Sea and have different names either side of it, or the bigger "pond". Unless a tune was written specifically for a Morris team to dance to, it probably shouldn't be called "a Morris tune".

Apologies for thread drift!


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Subject: RE: Rapid playing: Loss of control?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 08:06 PM

Loss of control is one possibility---loss of audience is another.


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