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Irish tambourine

Jack Campin 12 Apr 16 - 08:46 AM
Mrrzy 12 Apr 16 - 09:06 AM
Mrrzy 12 Apr 16 - 09:06 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 16 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 16 - 10:22 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Apr 16 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 16 - 10:33 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Apr 16 - 10:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Apr 16 - 11:01 AM
Jack Campin 12 Apr 16 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 16 - 11:22 AM
Gutcher 12 Apr 16 - 12:02 PM
keberoxu 12 Apr 16 - 12:36 PM
leeneia 12 Apr 16 - 12:51 PM
Les in Chorlton 12 Apr 16 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Apr 16 - 01:06 PM
GUEST 12 Apr 16 - 06:38 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 16 - 02:44 PM
Manitas_at_home 13 Apr 16 - 05:25 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Apr 16 - 06:19 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 16 - 05:09 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Apr 16 - 05:52 AM
Jack Campin 14 Apr 16 - 08:55 AM
Anglo 14 Apr 16 - 10:24 AM
leeneia 14 Apr 16 - 10:59 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Apr 16 - 11:47 AM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 16 - 12:12 PM
Les in Chorlton 14 Apr 16 - 03:17 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 16 - 05:13 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Apr 16 - 05:28 PM
Les in Chorlton 15 Apr 16 - 03:23 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Apr 16 - 04:14 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Apr 16 - 04:19 AM
Les in Chorlton 15 Apr 16 - 06:43 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Apr 16 - 06:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 15 Apr 16 - 07:01 AM
Jack Campin 15 Apr 16 - 07:05 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Apr 16 - 07:12 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Apr 16 - 08:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 15 Apr 16 - 09:27 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Apr 16 - 11:19 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Apr 16 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Modette 15 Apr 16 - 11:26 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Apr 16 - 11:29 AM
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Subject: Irish tambourine
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 08:46 AM

The front page image of Reg Hall's new book has a picture (probably from an Irish session in London in the 50s) of a guy playing a very large tambourine.

I knew this was done, long before the bodhran took off, but the only other place I've met with it was in a YouTube video (of a country fair of some sort, I think).

What films and recordings of traditional Irish tambourine playing are there?


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 09:06 AM

Not a bodhran, if that is spelled right?


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 09:06 AM

Sorry, I should real more thoroughly before answering!


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:08 AM

The bodhran appeared often with jingles in earlier incarnations and was called a tambourine before bodhrán became more fashionable. One of the makers in North Kerry (sorry the name escapes me for now) used to put them on.

The ITMA image gallery of percussion instruments may show you a few, Thady Casey among them. There are recordings of him playing it, The Shaskeen with Willie Clancy and Aggie Whyte is one I can thinnk of. There are also a few videos on youtube from Doolin, Packie Russell and others, a tambourine/bodhrán played as far as I remember.

At some point players started taping down the jingles and eventually they disappeared altogether.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:10 AM

I don't have any info. on the tambourine, but I thought that this bit from The Songs of Tomás Ruadh O'Sullivan might be interesting as regards the origin of the bodhran.


The Songs of Tomás Ruadh O'Sullivan, The Iveragh Poet 1785 - 1848. Collected and Edited by James Fenton page 106.

On another occasion, on the eve of the "Pattern" of Gleanntan, near Ballinskelligs, the local
scholars at the request of the master scoured the country side for bowrans: the bowran is an article
resembling a small drum, and is used for holding carded wool. On this occasion they were to be used
actually as drums by the pupils in promenading the village.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:22 AM

Soem of the videos I referred to above:

Clare Session

Packie Russell & Marcus Walsh


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:25 AM

"On this occasion they were to be used actually as drums by the pupils in promenading the village."
Bit of an enigma attached to this 'instrument'.
We were told 'quite vehemently' by several musicians, all of whom would have known or even been taught by the aforementioned Thady Casey, that the bodhran (correct spelling, though it is pronounced bowran), that it was never played indoors and it would have been very unlucky to do so because of its association with rituals such as 'The Wran' on St Stephen's Day.
They insisted that it was introduced to Irish music by Sean O'Riarda and taken up by Comhaltas at a later date.
Thady (who lived less than a mile from here and was a 'dancing master') was said to have been the first musician in West Clare to have played it as a musical instrument rather than an accompaniment to ritual.
I've been unable to confirm whether the taboo of not playing indoors was a local one confined to West Clare.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:33 AM

I am sure you know the recordings of him playing it Jim (from Seamus Ennis' recording for BBC in Miltown), can't blame anybody for wishing it was kept outside.

Anyhow, Fintan Vallely did a good bit of research on it all and he did a great talk at the Willie Clancy summer School a few years back. The outline of his ideas are laid out in the entry for bodhrán in the latest edition of the Companion to Irish Traditional Music.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 10:51 AM

"I am sure you know the recordings of him playing it Jim"
We have a few more recordings of him from a local source, if you're interested Peter.
I don't think I ever met anybody who hated it more than Seamus Ennis did
Jim


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 11:01 AM

ABBA, the Accordian, Banjo and Bodhran Alliance, are monitoring this thread for evidence of prejudice and discrimination against Sisters & Brothers of the Alliance - take care ..................


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 11:09 AM

Peter, thanks for the ITMA link.

Fire tongs accompanying the cornet? That would be something to hear in an Irish session.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 11:22 AM

I actually have a video of someone accompanying flute player JP Downes on the tongs. He was quite handy at it and similar to (and no worse than) spoons. Beats the old coin and pint
glass.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Gutcher
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 12:02 PM

Neil Munro in one of his books fully describes the "instrument" and gives the name as a "Dollin" or it may be "Dollan"---I do not have the book to hand at the moment.
This was the Scottish name.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: keberoxu
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 12:36 PM

HA HAAAAA! Thread creep/hijack alert! How can I resist the mention of TONGS!

"The Badgers did not care to talk to Fish:
They did not dote on Herrings' songs:
They never had experienced the dish
To which that name belongs;
'And oh, to pinch their tails,' (this was their wish,)
'With tongs, yea, tongs, and tongs!' "

-Lewis Carroll, from "Sylvie and Bruno"

yes, that's more than enough


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 12:51 PM

Thanks for the links, Peter. In the Clare session the drummer is clearly playing a bodhran that has jingles on it. It would be nice to know what year that video was made.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 12:57 PM

I remember seeing Rod Stradling, at Whitby Festival, playing something on a melodeon whilst Danny accompanied him playing a triangle with a screwdriver.

I have nothing against the idea but they didn't look very at ease.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 01:06 PM

It would be nice to know what year that video was made.

Early to mid seventies would be my guess.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 06:38 PM

The following passage is from Gaelic Journal No. 3.

Bearna na Gaoithe, Windgap, is a townland adjoining Four-mile-water. The fair was held, I believe, towards the end of August, and was attended more for fun than for buying and selling. Among those who came to the fair, on a day, more than half a century ago, was Tomás O Móráin, or Tomás a' Bhódhráin, - this latter name he got from his skill in playing on the tambourine, a bodhrán is a dried sheep-skin stretched on a hoop.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 02:44 PM

what about Rabbity Baxter then?


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 05:25 PM

Wasn't he from Sussex? That would be the English tambourine he was playing.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Apr 16 - 06:19 PM

"I don't think I ever met anybody who hated it more than Seamus Ennis did
Jim"

Hi Jim. Meet Steve...


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 05:09 AM

I went to the session one Saturday night
The jigs and the reels they were flying all right
Then the bold Seamus Ennis he came back to life
'Would you play that oul' bodhran with this here Stanley knife'

(heard at a session in Ireland some years back- Schull, I think?)


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 05:52 AM

Too bloody right. Cut the handles off and use it to bring the pints over.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 08:55 AM

What I had in mind when posting the first message: in many traditions (Arabic, southern Italian, Basque), the tambourine is a relatively prestigious instrument with a highly sophisticated technique. This goes back a long way, with a tambourine player depicted on a Pompeii fresco, and variants of the tambourine are used in religious/art music as far away as Iran. It gets depicted (in apparently the same playing position as the modern Basque instrument) in mediaeval art, played by angels. And there are pictures showing that it used to be a standard accompaniment to the fiddle in Scotland (though not much reported on in writing - the tambourine was then a woman's instrument often played by the fiddler's wife).

So, unlike the bodhran, it has a tradition of not being a joke. The obvious thought on seeing it in the hands of an Irish musician is that maybe it wasn't a joke there, either.

The Salvation Army didn't do the tambourine any favours. Anybody who only knew of it thanks to them would never have guessed it had a serious tradition behind it.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Anglo
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 10:24 AM

I've heard Sicilian music with very virtuosic playing on tambourines of various sizes. I was impressed, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: leeneia
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 10:59 AM

"So, unlike the bodhran, it has a tradition of not being a joke. "

The bodhran is a fine instrument which adds excitement and structure to ensemble music and can do fascinating solo work.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 11:47 AM

On rare occasions. 😉


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 12:12 PM

"The bodhran is a fine instrument which adds excitement and structure to ensemble music"
On the contrary - it dominates the musical structure and destroys the musical line, which is why it is hated so much.
It is occasionally described as 'the heartbeat of Irish music - 'death-watch-beetle would be more appropriate.
Like all percussion instruments, played solo it can be exciting - if accompaniment is absolutely necessary (not convinced), it can, with skill and thought add (or at the very least) not obstruct the session, but that all-too-rarely happens.
Many players regard it as something which can be played without practice and without reaching agreement with the other musicians as to what they all want from their session, which is what leads to hostility.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 03:17 PM

Ok Bodhranaphobes we know what you are saying.

Here is a list of things that have b*ggered up good music sessions:

1. People who start tunes without saying what they are
2. People who play so fast it is impossible to guess the tune
3. People who are so unfriendly they cannot speak or even smile at other peeople
4. Accordian players who play all the notes and both sides of their instrument almost all the time
5. Fiddle players who go slightly sharp and slightly flat
6. Guitar players who thrash the strings
7.Banjo players who cannot get their instrument to stay in tune
8. Whistle players who have not mastered the incidentals in tricky tunes
9. Yes and various percussionists who cannot keep time and address the rhythm appropriately and play too loud.

So, let s/he who is without sin go and stone the bl**dy bodhran players then come back and stone all those listed above.

Almost none of these come to our sessions and we are happy!


Songs & Tunes with The Beech Band

Best wishes


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 05:13 PM

All of those are failings but none of those are built into the nature of the instrument and none, as far as I know have organised themselves into a cult bent on the destruction of Irish music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Apr 16 - 05:28 PM

Totally agree with Jim. And how many of us hairy-arses, who are not exactly Martin Hayes or Andy Irvine, but who have tried for years to learn and improve on real musical instruments, have watched these bloody eejits waltzing into a session with a cheap drum and stick after a couple of weeks' "practice," thinking that they're the dog's-bollocks heartbeat of the music? Bloody loads of us, that's who!


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 03:23 AM

All of those are failings but

"none of those are built into the nature of the instrument"
Oh come on Jim! We are playing dance tunes - f*cking dance tunes. Tunes that have been kept alive for hundreds of years because people dance to them. Drums of all sorts have been an integral part of dance music for ever.

"and none, as far as I know have organised themselves into a cult bent on the destruction of Irish music". - Now that is genuinely funny! 10 out of 10 for sarcastic exageration and wit.

I don't know what proportion of Irish groups have Bod players but it hasn't done The Chieftains or Dervish any harm.

"have watched these bloody eejits waltzing into a session with a cheap drum and stick after a couple of weeks' "practice," thinking that they're the dog's-bollocks heartbeat of the music?"

Fully accepted Steve and I guess the shrinking violets who cannot say what they are going to play, speak to other people or maybe smile and be f*cking socialable are too shy to find a quiet or even load way to advise the Bod Cults of the errors?

Just remember: first they came for the Bodists................. I didn't complain because I was not a Bodist. Then they came for the ................


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 04:14 AM

"We are playing dance tunes - f*cking dance tunes"
Not any more your not Les - had this argument with Reg Hall once.
The tunes certainly did originate as dance tunes, but when was the last time you played for dancers in a pub session?
The music has now come to be appreciated for listeners and the best of the musicians have become virtuosi at it.
Even among the older generation, good players were recognised as to be listened to - we recorded an old man who grew up in a household where Johnny Doherty was a frequent visitor - he described Johnny walking out of the house if someone talked loudly or even if they got up to dance.
You want to gather in your back kitchen and bang away - fine, but not at public sessions - not if you don't want to produce muzak.
A session to satisfy just the players is one thing, one to entertain a captive audience in a pub is quite another.
The Chieftains and Dervish are professional showmen and what they produce has little, if anything to do with dance music.
Both are closely arranged to produce a manufactured sound - not unlike George Butterworth taking one of the great English ballads and transforming it into one of the most exquisite pieces of English classical music - a million miles from Mrs Overd singing it to her friends.
Throughout the time I have been interested in Irish music it has been struggling for survival - "diddley di music" - now the kids have taken it up and are playing it magnificently, and it has been guaranteed at least three generations of survival - as listeners' music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 04:19 AM

Les, a band, which selects its members, decides on the balance it wants and makes arrangements, is not the same thing as a session. And bodhrans specifically have not been a part of Irish music since time immemorial, if you check back. In fact they are very much Johnnies-come-lately. You may have been very lucky up there in Chorlton, but I've lost count of the number of evenings I've seen ruined by goat-thumpers who, whilst they've picked up the knack, don't know one tune rhythm from another, haven't a clue how loud they are and don't know when to give it a rest.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 06:43 AM

Ok, as usual Jim and Steve talk a lot of sense and I accept most of what they say. Music evolves, goes back a bit and evolves again. People have danced at our pub sessions - not much but a bit - can't seem to stop em selves once they here those tricky little dance tunes. And we play as a "Ceilidh Band"

If Bod players spoil it for you I cannot argue with that but to single them out - well again I can't argue with that but all those other people on all those other instruments annoy somebody or other.

I recognise that the Bod as such is a relatively late comer to Irish music but then squeezers of various kinds are what, 19C? All those mandola /bazooki / cittern things are about 1970 I think. The Irish pipes not very old so banning the bod on date of birth is not very relevant.

Odd Bods, so to speak pass through our ranks and most seem fine to me. We play mostly English dance tunes and our drummer is from a Rock / Country background and he plays very tasteful snare drum - dropping in and out rather well. From what I have seen from photographs of 19C English Dance Bands - almost anything goes - including drums.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 06:53 AM

No-one would wish to ban it solely on account of date of birth. The obstinate fact is that Irish music is about melody, and a bodhran, unlike the other young upstarts you mention, is not a melody instrument.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 07:01 AM

Guitar?


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 07:05 AM

The tunes certainly did originate as dance tunes, but when was the last time you played for dancers in a pub session?

Playing Scottish music, I do it every week - we have a regular stepdancer and other people sometimes do whatever they can fit in the space.

Playing percussion for dancers takes a bit of thought. The extravagantly complex Arabic/Basque/Italian style works fine when the dancers have soft shoes or bare feet; no need to hold anything back. For a hard-shoe stepdancer who's creating their own percussive sounds, you need to make sure that what you play supports the tune, leaves their steps audible, and doesn't confuse them about where the beat is. You have to know the tune, watch their feet and think fast.

I switch between melody instruments and washboard depending on what's appropriate. My washboard style is derived from what danceband and military snaredrummers do - no connection at all with the jazz/skiffle world, I'm very much more precise and in the same ballpark as a southern European tambourinist. They way that kind of rhythm works for larger groups of dancers is genre dependent. When I was playing for contra I was told that I was the only player the dancers were getting the pulse from, they simply didn't listen to the tune. But for rapper dance they don't want any percussion at all - the dancers are the percussion section. Irish dance is more like contra than rapper, so I'd guess dancers might work productively with an accurate percussionist.

There are lots of other traditions of sophisticated dance tunes where the connection with actual dancing has been maintained - American old-time, Swedish, Hungarian, klezmer, Balkan, Greek, Middle Eastern. What has happened in the Irish session scene is uniquely degenerate and I don't like it.

The odd thing is that when players in a Scottish session break into some Irish jigs, somebody will often emerge from the audience to dance in an Irish style, with every indication that they know exactly what they're doing. If this doesn't happen at Irish sessions, there's an unmet demand.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 07:12 AM

The only reason bodhrans are 'singled out' is because of the spectacularly destructive effect they can have on a session and they that they are the natural choice of people who don't want to put in the time but are happy to bang away in order to practice in public - or even, give the appearance of practicing.
I'mnot a grea fan of accordeons or banjos but I've yet to come across either played at a session by someone who hasn't put in some degree of work and reached a standard of proficiency - this happens time and time again with bodhran players.
Even if that were not the case, it has to be recognised that a percussive instrument changes the nature of the music from melodic to rhythmic, even when well-played - that's not necessarily what fillers or flute, or concertina players or pipers want from their session - certainly in this area, where we are blessed with some of the world's finest.
It isn't what the listeners want either and when it happens, audeinces tend to talk over the music rather than listening to it - it becomes musical wallpaper.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 08:36 AM

"Guitar?"

Dispensable.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 09:27 AM

Ok I am loosing all track of where we are going here. As far as I can see people have been playing what were and actually remain dance tunes for dancing and for general pleasure for at least 500 years.

They were and are still played in a range of situations from 2 men and a dog in the kitchen to major concert halls and even sports arenas across the world.

Some of us gather in something we call "Sessions" and play together because we like doing it. Our Session like most is open to anybody who comes through the door. Last week we had: 6 fiddles,5 whistles, 5 guitars,2 melodeons, 1 accordian, 1 hammered dulcimer, 1 mandolin, 1 snare drum, 2 concertinas and 2 banjos.

Now, no bods that day but I guess the snare would have to go and Jim isn't keen on the accordian or the banjos. Steve would chuck at the guitars.

But this is a social event where we enjoy each others company and play great tunes. I guess at some other sessions somewhere security is refusing entrance to the Bods.

How about those mandolas / bazookis / citterns strummed within in inch of they lives without a hint of melody.

I don't know which I enjoy most, Jim's detailed and extensive knowledge of Irish Music or his subtly understated criticism of those with whom he does not entirely agree:

"The only reason bodhrans are 'singled out' is because of the spectacularly destructive effect they can have on a session and they that they are the natural choice of people who don't want to put in the time but are happy to bang away in order to practice in public - or even, give the appearance of practicing."

And:

"Even if that were not the case, it has to be recognised that a percussive instrument changes the nature of the music from melodic to rhythmic,"

Because of course it has to be one or the other doesn't? You see I am not really a musician but I have noticed those numbers at the start of music: 6/8, 3/4, 9/8, 2/4, are these just left overs from the bad, bad old days of dancing when people played for jigs, slip jigs, polkas and so on?

I much enjoy teasing the English Folk Dance and Song Society with the idea that Sharp and his mates went out and kidnapped all those songs and locked them up in Cecil Sharp House. Who are the gate keepers of diddly tunes - who is saying how they should be played, where and upon which instruments?


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 11:19 AM

"Now, no bods that day but I guess the snare would have to go and Jim "
Can't speak fro Steve, but as I'm concerned nothing would have to "go" - wouldn't go to a session made up of that combination without protective clothing, but I do reserve the right to pass an opinion on it - it's your business what yo do with the music
You talk about how long sessions have existed (bit nearer 200 years rather than five) but never in that form.
Irish dance music, pretty well up to the 1930s-40s was never played in pubs - it was reserved for private kitchens of homes sympathetic to the music 'ceilidh houses', or earlier on, at open air crossroads dances.
In an average rural area, you were lucky if you had 3 or four musicians skilled enough to play for dancing.
That situation was deliberately and systematically destroyed by an alliance of church and government who between them, made 'country house dances' untenable by taxing all public dances virtually out of existence - the Church believed them to be potentially immoral and the politicians went along with that.
Pub playing was a later development.
The 'Dance Halls Act' had the immediate effect of driving people into the new 'dance halls' where they paid to get in and danced to waltzes and foxtrots to paid musicians.
The ensemble you are describing is nearer to that that that played down the centuries in peoples' homes.
I really do not have a problem with your playing what you want, how you want - not for me but chacun son gout.
As far as traditional music is concerned, there have always been stars, experts, virtuosi.... whatever you care to call them; Johnny and Felix Doran, John Doherty, Willie Clancy, Seamus Ennis, and earlier on, Garratt Barry, even as far back as Turlough O'Carolan - these guys played for listening to, not necessarily for dancing, but I dare say, most of them could do both.
Like it or not, that is the side of the music that has survived and been taken up by the younger generation and that is what will carry it into the future.
We're lucky here - four-five nights of music a week, set to increase to seven shortly, played to a high standard.
At least three of our local musicians take classes for youngsters.
There are no 'gate keepers' but there is a high standard set by musicians and listeners.
Sessions like your always seem to be somewhat self-indulgent - fine for the musicians but now always for the regulars who have to shout to be heard, or go somewhere else on that particular night.
As far as I'm concerned, music - any music - it there to be listened to, not as a background to conversation.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 11:25 AM

Very valiant defence, Les. But the giveaway is in your final sentence - Irish music is about tunes, unless it's songs. The best session I ever went to was at Hughes' pub in Dublin. A dozen people playing just tunes. No strummers, no harmonising, no goat-bashing. And no babble from the people in the pub either. A magical atmosphere. Irish dance tunes contain all the rhythmic drive already. Percussion is out of place in sessions. Do what you like with your bands and their arrangements. It can be fantastic, but that isn't what happens in most sessions.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 11:26 AM

Les,

Why do you keep calling bodhrans 'bods'?

The 'd' is not sounded.

There was an infamous session in Donegal which featured just two guitarists and a bodhran-thumper. Visiting musicians were always puzzled by the fact that it was probably the only session in Ireland which didn't feature any tunes.


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Subject: RE: Irish tambourine
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 16 - 11:29 AM

I think I've told this before - but worth a re-visit.
When I lived in Chorlton my local was 'Lloyds' - just about within staggering distance.
They used to have an occasional get together on Sunday afternoons where you could go and listen to Felix Doran and a few of his mates playing.
About six years after I left Manchester we recorded a story from an Irish Traveller who used to go to these sessions.
He told us how, one afternoon, a drunken regular staggered in from the bar, sat down at the out-of-tune upright and began to hammer out a sort of accompaniment until somebody slammed the lid down on both his hands - a somewhat extreme example of musical criticism.
Jim Carroll


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