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

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


What is your session like?

GUEST,Kim C 28 Mar 17 - 10:28 AM
GUEST 28 Mar 17 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,Kim C 28 Mar 17 - 10:51 AM
GUEST 28 Mar 17 - 10:59 AM
Manitas_at_home 28 Mar 17 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Kim C 28 Mar 17 - 11:07 AM
Johnny J 28 Mar 17 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,Kim C 28 Mar 17 - 11:16 AM
Will Fly 28 Mar 17 - 12:17 PM
Jack Campin 28 Mar 17 - 12:40 PM
Johnny J 28 Mar 17 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Kim C 28 Mar 17 - 01:04 PM
GUEST 28 Mar 17 - 01:27 PM
Will Fly 28 Mar 17 - 01:36 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 17 - 02:52 PM
GUEST 28 Mar 17 - 03:53 PM
Gozz 28 Mar 17 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 17 - 05:00 PM
The Sandman 28 Mar 17 - 05:01 PM
Gozz 28 Mar 17 - 05:28 PM
Joe Offer 28 Mar 17 - 08:58 PM
Will Fly 29 Mar 17 - 03:50 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 17 - 04:39 AM
jojofolkagogo 29 Mar 17 - 08:37 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 17 - 08:45 AM
Rob Naylor 29 Mar 17 - 09:45 AM
Tattie Bogle 29 Mar 17 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 29 Mar 17 - 01:56 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 17 - 02:48 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 17 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Guest Tim 29 Mar 17 - 03:08 PM
Marje 29 Mar 17 - 03:28 PM
alex s 29 Mar 17 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,Jon 29 Mar 17 - 08:35 PM
GUEST 30 Mar 17 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,FloraG 30 Mar 17 - 03:30 AM
Rob Naylor 30 Mar 17 - 05:54 AM
Rob Naylor 30 Mar 17 - 06:03 AM
Marje 30 Mar 17 - 08:12 AM
Johnny J 30 Mar 17 - 10:17 AM
Will Fly 30 Mar 17 - 11:03 AM
alex s 30 Mar 17 - 11:18 AM
Johnny J 30 Mar 17 - 11:26 AM
leeneia 30 Mar 17 - 11:32 AM
Will Fly 30 Mar 17 - 11:56 AM
Marje 30 Mar 17 - 04:14 PM
GUEST 30 Mar 17 - 05:29 PM
Alan Day 30 Mar 17 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,FloraG 31 Mar 17 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 31 Mar 17 - 05:00 AM
GUEST 31 Mar 17 - 06:39 AM
leeneia 31 Mar 17 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 31 Mar 17 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 31 Mar 17 - 01:40 PM
Tattie Bogle 31 Mar 17 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 31 Mar 17 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,kenny 01 Apr 17 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Jon 01 Apr 17 - 05:49 AM
Steve Gardham 01 Apr 17 - 12:23 PM
Bat Goddess 01 Apr 17 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Jon 01 Apr 17 - 07:31 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Apr 17 - 08:37 AM
leeneia 02 Apr 17 - 11:27 PM
Andy7 03 Apr 17 - 01:06 PM
Will Fly 03 Apr 17 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 03 Apr 17 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Apr 17 - 06:28 PM
BanjoRay 03 Apr 17 - 09:12 PM
GUEST,Jon 03 Apr 17 - 09:41 PM
Andy7 04 Apr 17 - 02:54 AM
Jack Campin 04 Apr 17 - 03:47 AM
Mo the caller 04 Apr 17 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,FloraG 04 Apr 17 - 05:36 AM
Steve Shaw 04 Apr 17 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Apr 17 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Apr 17 - 11:52 AM
Steve Shaw 04 Apr 17 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,FloraG 05 Apr 17 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,kenny 05 Apr 17 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Apr 17 - 04:18 AM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 17 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Apr 17 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,FloraG 05 Apr 17 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Jon 05 Apr 17 - 06:58 AM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 17 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Ripov again 05 Apr 17 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Kim C 05 Apr 17 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Jon 05 Apr 17 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,FloraG 06 Apr 17 - 03:01 AM
GUEST,Jon 06 Apr 17 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Desi C 06 Apr 17 - 11:07 AM
Tattie Bogle 07 Apr 17 - 01:38 PM
Steve Shaw 07 Apr 17 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,Jon 07 Apr 17 - 08:27 PM
Jack Campin 07 Apr 17 - 09:12 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 10:28 AM

Is your local session a time to welcome newcomers, foster learning, and encourage the perpetuation of tradition, or is it a time for a few people to show off everything they know?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 10:48 AM

Ours is just people coming to play or sing, all are welcome and we do get new people coming in..just a pleasant evening of music. What else should it be...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 10:51 AM

Well, that would be *my* idea of a session, but my local one doesn't seem to work out that way. I mean, it's a pleasant evening of music, but at least half of the people who show up to play get very little playing time because of 3-4 people dominating the session.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 10:59 AM

Well. I would say that you either need some rules or you need to speak to those who take over the session.Perhaps they are not aware that they are hogging playing time ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 11:02 AM

Or perhaps they started the session, made it open for anybody but don't feel they should compromise on the material or the standard they want to play themselves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 11:07 AM

Oh, they're aware.

Manitas, I totally get that, but I also don't think asking other attendees to play once in awhile is compromising on anything, considering most of our attendees are all experienced players.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 11:09 AM

Kim,

Is it "your session", "everybody's session" or does it actually belong to the 3 or 4 people who dominate it? In that they started it and are the main stays?

All sessions are different, of course, but if it was set up for everybody it's wrong for just a few people to "hog it". On the other hand, newcomers and visitors to an established session have to respect the regulars' way of doing things. It really all depends on what the set up is.

I'm not fond of "show offs" either but there's a difference between that and just playing what you know. Experienced musicians are bound to know a lot more in the way of tunes and while it's nice to encourage beginners at a session it's still good to draw material from the full range of your repertoire too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 11:16 AM

Yeah, I know. I just wanted to hear some other folks' experiences.

It's an established session, but it's open and in a public place. I've been going to it for a few years now, and it still seems odd to me, because I came from an "in the round" atmosphere where everyone gets a turn. It just bugs me a little that it's not like that.

But oh well. I'm not in charge, so I just roll with it. *shrug*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 12:17 PM

I help to run two sessions - one of which I founded about 8 or 9 years ago - both in pubs in or near to my village.

The principles in both sessions are quite clear:

Everyone gets a turn to lead off on something - playing or singing with everyone welcome to join in. Those that don't want to be joined by other players can say so.

Mainly tunes with a few vocals in one session, and mainly vocals with a few tunes in the other.

All equally welcome, regardless of standard or type of music played or sung.

Both sessions are strictly acoustic - no amplification.

No carping, no criticism - tolerance and friendship essential.

They're well attended and great fun - and the pub landlords are welcoming as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 12:40 PM

I much prefer "anyone can jump in" to "everyone gets their turn in sequence" - taking turns leads to people abusing their slot to waste time shuffling through books or tuning, which loses all the energy and momentum that may have developed. If you can't be off and playing in ten seconds, pass.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Johnny J
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 12:49 PM

Almost agree, Jack.

Sometimes, there's not always a gap to "jump in" and some players aren't too keen in providing one.

It's nice when there's a short pause and one of the main players will ask "Have you got something?" or similar?

Turns are OK but you have to be ready to play or sing especially in a busy situation. OK if there's just a few of you there as you also need "natural breaks" from time to time. After all, the original sessions were also social gatherings for a blether and "the craic" and not necessarily relentless tunes or songs all night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 01:04 PM

All good points and suggestions. Thank you. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 01:27 PM

Perhaps you could have a wee break after an hour and half or so, say ten minutes. Then suggest or announce that the second half be for those who had not yet had a chance to play or sing. Just a thought.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 01:36 PM

Our sessions are always punctuated by jokes and chatter - particularly when an unusual piece is played or sung - and, at one session in particular, there are no music stands and pieces of paper. No rule against it, mind you, just people committed to not using them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 02:52 PM

I find there are often at least 2 types of sessions. The most common is the free-for-all where there is always plenty of opportunity to start a tune and the accepted norm is everybody who can joins in. These are fun and very welcoming for both beginners and experienced. Singers are also usually welcomed as long as they don't dominate.

The second type is usually set up by a group of professional musicians and they want to play their music in their style and at their pace whilst tolerating others joining in who know the tune. Here you should wait to be invited before leading off a tune. This IS their prerogotive as they set up the session. If you don't like what you see you go elsewhere or set up your own session.

I'm happy with both of these. I understand the second option isn't very encouraging for beginners but there are other options.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 03:53 PM

3 of us recently went to a session near us,we were welcomed invited and encouraged to start tunes I suppose it depends where you go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Gozz
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 04:06 PM

One thing no one seems prepared to acknowledge so far in this discussion is that sometime arrogance and ego can take over a session. This can happen at tune, song or mixed sessions, but I have most encountered it at tune sessions or those where tunes are predominant.

Having said that, I have to say the the mostly song session I attend every week when I am not at a festival is very inclusive. We go around the room in turn, we encourage newcomers to join in, without putting on pressure, we welcome all who attend. We do allow "words" to be used, because all have to start somewhere and sometimes new singers need that safety net.

As a result, there are a number of newish, good singers, performing in a local pub, who would otherwise just be singing to themselves at home. Now others can enjoy them and they have gained so much from it as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 05:00 PM

We seem to have a problem with terminology here. A singaround and a session in all the places I've been are quite different things and have totally different etiquettes.

Doing something in the round is not strictly speaking a session. I used to run a squeezaround at Whitby Festival but it was definitely not a session or advertised as such. It was open to all box players and each player in turn talked about his/her instrument, played a solo and then led a tune set for all to join in.

Certainly arrogance or lack of awareness can lead to someone taking over and usually at twice the speed. Then it is up to the session organiser or an experienced/respected participant to speak up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 05:01 PM

"No carping, no criticism - tolerance and friendship essential" well said


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Gozz
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 05:28 PM

No,Steve, I stick with my terminology. We refer to our gathering as a session, because tune players are welcomed as well and we have also developed a culture of joining in with others, accompanying them, harmonising with them etc if their offering is suited to this (and they do not mind). We do not go around the room each listening to what others perform, we each get a chance to lead, but more often than not all join in whether picking a stringed instrument or using their voice as an accompanying instrument. It is more relaxed than many singarounds that I have encountered and if those who started it want to call it a session, who am I to argue.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Mar 17 - 08:58 PM

I, though I'm in California, have the same understanding as Steve - sessions are instrumental, and singarounds are vocal (sometimes accompanied by instruments). But nonetheless, the issue is similar for both, so I think we can talk about both.

At instrumental sessions, I'm rather shy about my abilities (or lack thereof) as an instrumentalist, so I'm happy to hide in a corner and try to play along softly. I think I'd die if anybody asked me to introduce a tune. So, I hope people will leave me unmolested in my corner. As long as I'm left alone, I'm happy.

But as a singer, I humbly suggest that I'm "not too bad," so I actively participate in singarounds (mostly in the U.S., but also on occasion in Ireland, Scotland, and England). I try to adhere to local custom when I'm away from home, but I'm more assertive at home in Northern California. I attend two monthly singarounds at home, and they're very different. Since 1993, I've been part of the Sacramento Family Song Circle, which emphasizes community singing out of the Rise Up Singing and Rise Again songbooks. The group is not supposed to have a leader, but I confess that I more-or-less succeeded Bob Fitch as the "alpha male" in the song circle when Bob left*. And then I ended up being associate editor of the Rise Again book, so that kinda sealed things for me. There are a few people in the group who are able to lead songs, so I let them take the lead when it's their turn or when it's a song they do particularly well; but I usually end up starting and carrying most songs. I try to sing underneath the other singers to give them confidence without standing out too much myself. I usually can't sing harmony in this group because too many people follow me; but we're getting better, and that lets me sing harmony on songs that people know well. There is some awkwardness at times, but usually we pull it off pretty well, especially if we have good instrumentalists present.

About 10 years ago, a woman named Sharon Carl moved to the city of Auburn, California - about 12 miles from my home. Sharon had been a member of the "In Harmony's Way" group in the East San Francisco Bay area, and she started a group she calls "In Harmony's Way Up In Auburn." Sharon also hosts instrumental sessions and house concerts, and she has single-handedly transformed the "music scene" (I hate that term) in our area. We meet on the third and fifth Sunday afternoons of every month, and it is the most welcoming and supportive singaround I have ever attended. We welcome both beginners and professionals, and everybody has a good time. Sharon started out reading "the rules" at the beginning of every session, and the rest of us (often led by Joe Offer) took delight in defying "the rules" - and Sharon eventually stopped referring to "the rules." But she set a tone of mutual respect and acceptance, and that has stuck with us. The expectation is that we show up prepared to sing three songs for and with the others. We sing a lot of chorus songs, so that everyone is included. Instruments are welcome, but instrumentalists should play only if invited by the person whose turn it is. We had one guy who wanted to play his tambourine on every song, so I made a point of chanting "the rules" (gee, it's good to have rules). He doesn't come very often any more, but his wife does.

-Joe-

*Bob dated many women in the song circle, and I dated a few after he left. I met my wife at the Sacramento Song Circle when she was Bob's date. So, the term "alpha male" has a number of implications....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 03:50 AM

I think it's easy to be too dogmatic with the use of the terms "singaround" and "session". On the one hand you have a circle of singers who take turns to sing a song, with or without accompaniment from the rest of the circle - and no tunes. On the other you have a gathering of instrumental players who all play together on sets of tunes - with no songs.

All very well, but in reality there are many, many different shadings - conventions, if you like - between the black of the one and the white of the other. And those conventions are set by those who created the "sessionaround" in the first place. And, as long as all who attend are aware of the parameters and abide by them, everything works well.

It's music - remember? I've taken it very seriously for the greater part of my life- made money from it in fact - but not so seriously that I kowtow to rigid and arbitrary rules about how to make it for fun.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 04:39 AM

At instrumental sessions, I'm rather shy about my abilities (or lack thereof) as an instrumentalist, so I'm happy to hide in a corner and try to play along softly.

That's exactly backwards. If you're less technically able than most of the people around you, it's much better if you do lead as much as possible, because that way you'll be playing at your best and they can reinforce you, at a pace you're comfortable with. Try to follow all the time and it'll feel to them like you're getting under their feet.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: jojofolkagogo
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 08:37 AM

Well, I absolutely HATE 'jump ins' - went 2 one of these some long time ago in Stoke on Trent (uk) and this chap had a concertina and with his back to the crowd played all night without a break (I kid u not) until he went to the loo - when TWO of the crowd had a chance to sing. When he returned he seemed very surprised that someone was singing - but carried on playing again. As no-one said anything 2 him (no-one in charge) I told himto hos face that he had been the mistm selfish person I had ever come across at a club. He did not like it but then the truth always hurts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 08:45 AM

That sort of thing doesn't happen very often, and it sounds like you dealt with it ok. It's not a problem with the jump-in protocol itself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 09:45 AM

Jack Campin I much prefer "anyone can jump in" to "everyone gets their turn in sequence" - taking turns leads to people abusing their slot to waste time shuffling through books or tuning, which loses all the energy and momentum that may have developed. If you can't be off and playing in ten seconds, pass.

I don't see that at the sessions I go to. There are 3 that I attend when I can, in Kent, Sussex and Devon. All operate "roughly" on a sequence basis ( but a couple of them have the strict sequences punctuated sometimes by one or other of the "mainstay" attendees leading off on a tune or song for all to join in). No-one faffs with books or tuning at any of them....if you're not quick to start when your turn comes around, as per your last sentence, the opportunity passes on.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 01:28 PM

I go to a number of different sessions in and around Edinburgh and the Lothians (as well as those I frequent at festivals further afield). Most of these are "mixed sessions" i.e. both songs and tunes in varying proportions according to who turns up. Some are "round the room in order", others are "jump-in". In one of the latter, I keep an eye who has played/sung or not, and perhaps suggest that anyone who has not yet played/sung gets a shot. This does not usually cause any grief, and may be welcomed by the more timid souls.
In one of the "round the room" sessions, there will be a session host who will call for the tunes players to start a set of tunes, perhaps after a couple of songs: recently this has been modified to ask individual tunes players to lead a set, rather than treating the whole bunch of tunes players as a single entity, and this approach has gone down well.
Hopefully in all of these sessions, we take the trouble to find out the names of any newcomers and where they are from and introduce them to the crowd by name.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 01:56 PM

The sing around that I participate in , in Kent GB ( perhaps the one rob referred to ) has the go round in turn set up , join in unless objected to , welcome all and most any style set up . Often a bit of banter etc between songs or tunes . Most listen respectfully though of late we have a few joining who chat to each other and discuss what they will do next their turn . But overall a friendly encouraging group to all comers .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 02:48 PM

The vast majority of sessions and singarounds are run by organiser(s) and advertised if only by word of mouth. There is usually some sort of etiquette involved. It should not be too difficult to ascertain what that etiquette is before attending, or even at the session itself by asking. If that etiquette is not to your liking then don't go, find another or start your own.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 02:55 PM

The question was "What is your session like ?" Why are you discussing "singarounds" ? Two different things to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Guest Tim
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 03:08 PM

Our Sunday session which was started by the late lamented Matt Armour at the Vaults Bar Stony Stratford on Sunday Lunchtimes could not be more inclusive. Matt always welcomed anyone however good or bad and his legacy lives on.
No egos and in general it's rammed every week with both performers and listeners.., a model some other sessions could look at.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Marje
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 03:28 PM

I run (I use the term loosely) a mixed session in Devon. It's a free-for-all setup, but the regulars look out for anyone new or timid and invite them to contribute. It's mostly tunes, with the odd song and a fair bit of crack and chat in between times. I don't think anyone hogs it; I certainly don't, and if I find I hardly ever need to start a tune because the music is flowing so freely, I'm happy.

In the same pub there is also, on a different night, a traditional song session. Until recently this has been run on a round-the-room basis, but the leader is now experimenting with a "jump-in" system. I don't mind much either way, but some singers don't like this and I think there may soon be a mutiny.

It does seem that the open system of starting a tune whenever you like works better, and is more common, for instrumental and mixed sessions than for song sessions. It's got a lot to do with the participatory nature of tune-playing: once a tune gets going, people are hardly aware who started it, so it doesn't much matter whose turn is next. Songs, on the other hand, are owned by the singer, and often performed entirely solo, so having "your" turn at a predictable point is more important to some singers.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: alex s
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 06:34 PM

I find that in an unstructured session, which is what I prefer, the good musicians are often reluctant to jump in and have to be encouraged to start something. The better the musician the smaller the ego???


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 29 Mar 17 - 08:35 PM

The 3 events I'm most likely to get to differ. I'd class none as places for showing off but.

One (strictly Irish tunes), you do need some experience and (although I fall far sort of this) perhaps need to understand that the main core who have played together for many years are of the 1000+ repertoire types. It is friendly but not a place for a beginner.

The other at least mostly Irish one is more "relaxed" but I wouldn't imagine more than one or two sets being played at a really slow pace in the evening.

With both these, anyone can start a tune set off as and when and others will join in with support (at least if it's something that fits the night).

The third (much closer to where I live) tends more towards a sing/tune around format with things generally moving round the room and more "anything goes".

I'd guess this one would be the one Kim C would enjoy most but really all 3 of these sessions do have their merits.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 02:23 AM

The main thing is that everybody has the same expectations. The most painful (instrumental) session I ever saw was at a festival, lead by 2 festival guests. They were both people used to "jump in" type and expected to be simply "pump priming" to get things started and to fill in any gaps. From the body language the other participants seemed to be expecting to be asked to play their party pieces in turn.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 03:30 AM

ME - I like a session where you can try out something, others join in, and if lucky 2 + 2 = 5. I'm less keen on solo performers, or endless repetitions of the well known.

Perhaps we need a new vocabulary for sessions, that give prospective joiners inners more of a clue.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 05:54 AM

Pete (Seven Stars) The sing around that I participate in , in Kent GB ( perhaps the one rob referred to ) has the go round in turn set up , join in unless objected to , welcome all and most any style set up . Often a bit of banter etc between songs or tunes . Most listen respectfully though of late we have a few joining who chat to each other and discuss what they will do next their turn . But overall a friendly encouraging group to all comers

No,different sessions Pete. I rarely get to the one you're referring to these days. Not through lack of enthusiasm for it, but it now clashes with one of my regular fitness sessions, and even if I could dive into the car and drive up immediately afterwards, I'd have to leave early because most Tuesdays I have to be up at 0400 to travel to Devon for work! I do intent to get there again soon though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 06:03 AM

Will Fly: I think it's easy to be too dogmatic with the use of the terms "singaround" and "session". On the one hand you have a circle of singers who take turns to sing a song, with or without accompaniment from the rest of the circle - and no tunes. On the other you have a gathering of instrumental players who all play together on sets of tunes - with no songs.

All very well, but in reality there are many, many different shadings - conventions, if you like - between the black of the one and the white of the other.


Absolutely, Will. The great thing about the Ditchling session is its variety. In a 30 minute window we can go from English, Scottish or Irish tunes through unaccompanied traditional song, through to Music Hall songs via jazz and folk revival and back to tunes again. By the strict definitions that "Guest" and others seem to want to apply it's a total mish-mash.

But it's lively, varied, interesting, welcoming to participants of every standard (though the general standard is very high)and a real joyous night out. By far the best "session" ( and I will call it a session!) I go (or indeed have ever gone) to. I travel an hour each way to it, and would happily travel 2 if necessary!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Marje
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 08:12 AM

Guest, above: I was also at a festival "session" led by a couple who sat there with books and music stands, just working their way through their repertoire. A few of us turned up with instruments and songs at the ready, and were completely ignored. Eventually the leaders were served a meal (it appeared to be part of a deal struck with the pub) so the rest of us seized the opportunity and did our own tunes and songs, but as soon as they'd finished eating, the couple continued their little performance, still as if we weren't there. Even a brief "Have you come far?" or something would have been nice - it was a small festival and there were only a few of us.
To me, that was just bad manners.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 10:17 AM

This thread has demonstrated that there are a wide variety of possibilities out there and we all have different ideas of what constitutes an ideal session.

Not only that, there are conflicting ideas as to what a session actually is.

In the strictest sense,IMO, it is a gathering of tune players and is predominantly instrumental although most reasonable people wouldn't object to the odd song here and there either from one of the tune players or a singer in the bar.
However, I realise that there are other arrangements featuring singer/strummers and so on which could be loosely described as sessions.
The important thing though is whatever arrangement you adopt, it should be as "unstructured" as possible. A scenario where everyone "takes turns" to sing a song or play a piece isn't really a session. Nor is picking tunes from tune books, song books etc behind the music stand and so.
It may be still be very enjoyable, useful, and worthwhile(I'm not going to knock it or suggest that such practices should be proscribed) but it's still something else.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 11:03 AM

We-e-e-ll... you can have a scenario where people "take turns" to lead off on something, and everyone joins in - and that is certainly one form of a session. Semantics don't matter - it's what actually happens that matters.

What's the inherent value in an evening's music being unstructured? I would have thought that giving everyone of whatever standard the chance to lead off on something would (a) encourage the lesser-skilled players (b) prevent others hogging the choice of tunes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: alex s
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 11:18 AM

An unstructured session can take the pressure off the less experienced or shy performers who don't like being put on the spot by "it's your turn now". I go to both types and prefer the no pressure approach. Hoggers are politely told to let others have a go and we've had no problems so far.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Johnny J
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 11:26 AM

Yes, I agree.

As long as there is a space or opportunity to start a tune and things aren't too fast and furious, it's actually a better environment for less experienced players than some more formal arrangements.

For me, being "encouraged" and/or cajoled into playing or singing used to be the most intimidating thing of all. Even now, if I'm not in the mood or the situation isn't quite right I still don't like to feel pressurised.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: leeneia
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 11:32 AM

In our session, music is projected on the white living-room wall. We have a melody, chords and usually one or two other parts. In addition, we have our Favorites books, notebooks in which are stored the pieces that we really liked. Sometimes we use music stands and the notebooks.

The projecting can be done using transparencies. Sometimes the music has been scanned and then it can be projected with a computer projector. We usually do this at Christmas time.

I usually pick the first piece, then I tell others to pick pieces. That way I'm not responsible for everybody's happiness.

It costs money, but it keeps everybody from spending more time thinking of pieces to play than they spend playing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 11:56 AM

Perhaps I should stress that we offer everyone the chance to lead off - quite often people choose to pass. No pressure.

And, although we try to be inclusive, we don't always just go round a circle. Sometimes we break up a string of tunes with a song - and vice versa - as long as everyone gets a chance, should they want it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Marje
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 04:14 PM

Another way to do it (I'm not saying it's the best, but it can work) is to have a round-the-room session but invite novice players to choose a tune, rather than lead it, if they prefer. Then some one who knows it will start it, others follow, and the newbie can join in as much or as little as they want. Or just listen.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 05:29 PM

Having for a long time gone to 'no pressure' unstructured sessions I am now enjoying going, as well, to a very friendly session as Marje describes.

After a while relying on other people to start tunes starts to feel like ducking a responsibility to contribute properly.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Alan Day
Date: 30 Mar 17 - 05:49 PM

I must admit to enjoying all the sessions that Will runs ,or helps to run. Above all friendly ,everyone gets a chance to lead a tune even beginners who are helped through their piece by fellow musicians. I enjoy session where artists are applauded at the end of their playing.I do not like quiet session where there is no talking and no applause. It took me a while here in Suffolk to get used to the chat ,stories that lead onto other stories and almost half and half chat to music , it is however very entertaining, friendly ,sometimes hilarious.All good friends together. Others are pub entertainment with enthusiastic audiences that enjoy the choruses and join in with gusto. Great applause for each performer,wonderful evenings.
Al


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 03:58 AM

I am a member of the camping and caravan club folk group and after the main national meet last year - a mini festival - my comment was I missed the unstructured sessions that often happen on the fringe of other festivals. This year they have put aside two rooms for unstructured events - although one is deemed singers and the other musicians. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 05:00 AM

Wow.. lots of sessions with rules around here.

We get upwards of thirty people most weeks including audience and the banter between regulars seems as popular as the music. "What shall I do, I wonder?" "Bugger off home, tha's crap." Etc. We also have the Ed Sheeran / Sandi Thome effect. Quite a few teenagers and twenty somethings writing songs, improving by the week and that's great to see. Some even take a polite interest in my trad songs (or have learned how to humour me.)

Mind you, keeping it acoustic seems to be by default although we haven't invented rules or anything as daft as that. Save rules for committees of pigeon fanciers associations.

The nearest thing to a rule I suppose was when numbers got too large for everyone to sit where they are and play so we went back to a stage area and two songs at a time. That way we ensure more music, less shifting around and if people travel a long way to come (some do) more chance of getting a few songs rather than one or two.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 06:39 AM

so we went back to a stage area and two songs at a time.
The difference between a session and a singers night.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: leeneia
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 09:07 AM

A good way to get beginners out of their shells is to say, "Show us what you're working on."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 11:26 AM

I doubt it is the difference between a session and a singers night but considering the umbrella term folk gets descriptive knickers in twists on Mudcat I'll just smile instead mate.

A session around these parts generally but not exclusively tends to denote a group of musicians playing jigs and reels, "your turn" meaning getting to choose the melody if not the key or tempo.

There again, I sing at many folk clubs but doubt I've been to a folk club by my preconceived image for a long time.

Around here, there are nights that I would call sessions, singarounds and concerts with floor turns but unlike some here, I wouldn't use any term definitively more than 20 miles from here as local terms can be misleading.

Still, only one I can think of with "rules" and that's dying a death. We see the music as part of a good night out rather than a secret hand society.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 01:40 PM

There's no stage in a session.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 01:54 PM

I don't feel any need to get hung up on terminology: suffice it to say that to me, "a session" is anywhere any number of singers and/or musicians get together to sing and/or play tunes or both. If you need to describe it to others, you can call it "instrumental", "singing" or "mixed songs and tunes".
As an aside to this, my 2 offspring, (when they were teenagers), fell about laughing when I said I was "off for a session". It obviously had some totally different meaning in their peer group!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 31 Mar 17 - 06:19 PM

Ok Rob. I can see your difficulty getting to cCrayside folk . It's been getting pretty busy lately too , so less opportunity , but more (mostly listening and/or playing along) participants and a few listeners .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 01 Apr 17 - 04:12 AM

The terminology is important to me at least. I'll travel quite a distance to a "session" if it's one where people are playing tunes together, with or without a few songs interspersed. I wouldn't go 50 yards for something where I have to sit in a circle, and maybe play twice in a whole evening when it's "my turn", although having said that, I do on occasion, if there's another reason for being there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 01 Apr 17 - 05:49 AM

I'm similar Kenny in that we (I don't drive) will do the 50+ mile round trip to get to one the Irish sessions when we are able but, these days, would not usually consider more than say a third of that for something like the more round the tables do.

I'd not put that down to limited (although at the local one it would be more than 2) chances to start something though. I think that for us, it's a matter of having (actually increasingly limited) opportunities to get out and prioritising in terms of what we can do.

Perhaps fortunately for me, my mother (the driver and a listener) is like me in preferring the Irish sessions both musically and as an environment for playing/listening so at least in the summer months when we can arrive in daylight, if we can just do one thing in a week, it would be a trip to the city.

Of course others might prioritise the other way round, some who got something out of one type might get nothing out of the other, some could even enjoy both and more...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Apr 17 - 12:23 PM

So, there are lots of different shadings between a 'session' at one end of the spectrum and a 'singaround' at the other. I can see how that would present difficulties of terminology and would require a more detailed description when describing an event to a potential attendee.

I have attended and run many sessions around the country, some of them with certain specialisations and qualifications, particluarly at festivals where there can be hundreds of musicians in attendance.

However, the general perception of 'session' for at least the last 30 years in England is that a 'session' is pretty much a free-for all largely for musicians where singers are occasionally tolerated but not allowed to dominate. If you wanted to run a 'session' where singers predominate then I would suggest simply calling it a 'singers' session', purely for clarity. If your event is somewhere in the middle of singers and musicians then that also needs to be made clear. As some people already have stated they can be travelling some distance and need to know these things.

I am a singer and musician, but prefer the format of the 'session' to that of the 'singaround', although in the past 50 years I have organised and taken part in both.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Apr 17 - 03:43 PM

After Tom (my husband Tom Hall, Mudcat's Curmudgeon) died three and a half years ago, I took over leadership of his two Press Room (pub in Portsmouth, NH) sessions and also the Press Room open sings during the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival. Then a couple years ago, I took over a lapsed circle at a house concert venue in Dover, NH. I renamed it the Voicearound because it's a circle of both songs and spoken word and totally different from my Press Room sessions.

My responsibility as leader of a session is to be traffic cop (making sure the shyer members get opportunities to lead songs or tunes), diplomat (to communicate between pub management and staff and the session), and, quite honestly, shrink (to iron out any other conflicts or hassles and try to keep everybody happy and avoid bloodshed). I'm also the folklorist, historian, and archivist of session history. We take time to discuss songs and tunes and related information -- I took over from Tom as one of the more knowledgeable participants and I pass on new information as I learn it. If I don't have an answer to a question, I find out the answer and pass it on.

The weekly Friday mixed (both vocal and instrumental) trad session has been running since 1982. It's primarily traditional English, Scots, Irish, American, Canadian, Australian, union songs, and sea music or newer songs written in the tradition, but you never know when a bit of bluegrass, old timey, Music Hall, or blues (or anything else, for that matter) may show up. Over 35 years we've been pretty welcoming to young singers and musicians and to people who have recently discovered this sort of music and helped them along to feel more comfortable performing in public and with friends and to help educate them in the music in the process. I've lost count of how many bands and performing entities have come out of the session. We've had a few marriages, too, not to mention lifelong friendships.

Our monthly sea music singaround (started in January 2003, and announced here at Mudcat and after the session, I list what was sung) is primarily vocal and a capella, but instruments are also encouraged and, besides accompaniment, we get a tune or two occasionally.

These two gatherings are true "sessions" with somebody leading either the tune or the song, but everyone joining in with instruments (except on a capella songs, of course) or on the harmonies or choruses. In the Voicearound, we go around a circle and everyone in turn gets to lead a song, read a poem or other written piece, tell a story, request something from another participant, or pass, but it's not a "session" where everyone joins in most of the time.

Linn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 01 Apr 17 - 07:31 PM

Yes it can be hard to classify, Steve. Most of the (and usually monthly) events that I'm aware of in my part of North Norfolk describe themselves as 'folk clubs' and are pretty informal 'singarounds' with the occasional tune.

The event I'm grouping in as a 'session' is more 50/50 songs/tunes (and perhaps more swayed to the tune side of this) and has a lot more 'join in if you know it' element.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Apr 17 - 08:37 AM

A very healthy mixture of events described from Jon and Linn. I'm not sure about calling a 'singaround' a 'folk club'. For the majority of us 'folk club' conjures up occasional paid guests and resident performers giving 2 or 3 songs each, even on a club night, though I do realise folk clubs occasionally run singarounds and if there are plenty of singers a club night can be adapted to 'singaround'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Apr 17 - 11:27 PM

Hi, Bat Goddess. Your community is very lucky to have you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Andy7
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 01:06 PM

I feel excluded from tune sessions. Although I see myself as a reasonably competent fiddle player, I've never spent much time trying to learn folk tunes by heart, so at the few sessions I've tried, I've felt almost totally lost.

But that's fine with me, that I feel excluded! If I really wanted to join in properly, I could spend hours and hours learning the tunes, like the many talented players there have done. It's been my choice not to; and so I'm happy just to listen to those that can play by heart.

One thing I would like to see/hear more of at at tune sessions - just a personal opinion - is slow and gentle ballads. Just because you can play really well and really fast, doesn't mean you shouldn't sometimes play really well and more slowly! :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 05:20 PM

Andy - one of the conventions at our session - and many others - is that he/she who starts a tune off sets the speed. It is not done for others to speed it or slow it on purpose. I had an argument with a fellow-sessioner once when she said that I started off Frederic Paris's "Le canal en Octobre" too slowly. My reply was that I preferred it at my speed and that, in addition, it helped the less able players there to join in. It stayed at my speed.

At our last Ditchling session we played several slow tempo tune, including Scott Skinner's lament, "Hector the hero" at a very slow pace (it's a lament, after all). It sounded very sweet and got much favourable comment. So - my advice: learn one or two slow and gentle ballads - and then lead off on them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 05:50 PM

Will - next time, ask if they've ever been ON a canal in October? Rain, muddy banks, damp footwear .. Not the sort of atmosphere to encourage speeedy thoughts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 06:28 PM

I agree with Will on letting the person who starts the tune set the pace (and style eg.some will play a hornpipe more bouncy than others) but it's not everywhere that would be happy say dropping a (or several) jigs to some sort of "1/2 usual pace" to accommodate a beginner.

I believe one can sometimes find "slow sessions" aimed at beginners so it may be worth a look out for something like that?

--
Irish sessions can be very much just jigs and reels and I can feel that it's a shame other forms can seem forgotten. That said, some sessions may want it that way and it can be a good idea to work out what an event does before starting a slower type of tune.

As an example, I would happily start a Carolan set in one of the "Irish" ones I might get to but I would feel uncomfortable doing the same in the other.

Of course that sort of "what fits the occasion?" thing in itself can present other difficulties for beginners...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 09:12 PM

I go to several sessions where we only play American Old Time tunes (and a few songs). I've been to other Old Time sessions here in the UK and also in the USA, and they mostly follow a similar format.

There is a set of "rules" which are implied but rarely stated. These are:
1. A key is decided upon, which is stayed in for a number of tunes until people decide on a new key. Sessions often stay in one key all night. This seems very strange to newcomers, but the reason is that fiddlers and banjo players often re-tune their instruments in a traditional way for different keys (usually D,G,A,C or occasionally modal A). There are a LOT of tunes in each key, which people gradually learn.
2. Anyone can start a tune and has the prerogative of setting the pace and deciding how long it continues. Tunes can continue for many iterations, which is great for people who've never heard it before. It's a great learning process, and a tune can develop a fine "groove" when no-one wants it to end. I've seen great tunes continue for 20 minutes... quite sexy really! You develop a sense of how long is appropriate, and people are generally very tolerant of beginners doing a tune their way - we've all been there!
3. The only percussion everyone tolerates is from the shuffling feet of a "flatfoot" dancer, preferably without taps. A good dancer can really lift a tune... Absolutely NO bodhrans, shaky eggs, tambourines, washboards, bones or drum kits. Everyone must be able to hear the tune as clearly as possible.
4. Traditional American string instruments are encouraged - usually fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolines, an upright bass. No amplification. No squeezeboxes - unless it's a Cajun session.
5. Everyone contributes to the sound of the tune. We don't take solos (that's Bluegrass!) We listen to what people are doing and contribute to try and improve the overall sound. Play the version of the tune that the person starting it plays. Most of my repertoire of tunes has been picked up in sessions like this, and improved by listening to the old and great traditional players on record.

It's a great sound ..... Yahoo!
Ray


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 03 Apr 17 - 09:41 PM

Interesting Ray and sounds fun. For me and tunes and mostly/tending towards Irish.

1. Life would mostly alternate between G and D (or one or two sharps) and most tunes have pretty established "session keys"

2.Tunes (typically 2A 2B) go 2 or 3 times round in sets. Sometimes a set may be agreed beforehand, sometimes a set may be an established one for the session, sometimes its a case of trying to pick up what the next tune is (and deciding if you know it to play) as quickly as one can. A set may usually be 2 or 3 tunes but sometimes people can add other ideas to that as things progress.

3. Percussion can be a touchy subject. I think a good bodhran player can be an asset but...

4. Squeeze boxes very much part of it. And pipes...

5. Yep at best the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts or something like that..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Andy7
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 02:54 AM

Yes, I like the idea of the starter setting the pace.

Is there any etiquette for when 2 people accidentally start up different tunes at the same time? Obviously one of the tunes just wins out naturally, when more people join in with that one; but would the group then go on to play the other tune straight afterwards? Or would the person that started it have to wait for another chance to jump in?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 03:47 AM

If you are trying to hold an audience's attention (which you should be if you're playing in a pub, the landlord doesn't want his customers to get bored and walk off) you want to vary the pace, texture and tonality. If there are 8 players round the table and only 2 of them can do a tune in B flat, so much the better - a spot with fewer players making an entirely different sound will get the punters to stop, listen and maybe buy another round.

Scottish music uses an unusually wide variety of rhythms, keys and tempi, though not many sessions exploit all of it. (I often play much slower than anyone else in the session, and I can generate a spell of attentive silence when half an hour of high-speed jigs and reels have been all but lost in babble).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 05:07 AM

Andy, I think some musicians (like you) are happiest playing from music, others learn tunes by ear. In my day we were taught only to 'read', not to hear, I'm glad that is not so now and both skills are valued.
So sessions are great for those who naturally pick up tunes by hearing them.
Not all sessions completely ban 'the dots'. Some will even hand round music for an occasional new tune.
I found the session that helped my learn to play by ear was a mixed session in the Shroppie Fly. Some helpful singers who shouted 'key of G' and all the instrumentalists noodled along.
It's not quite the same as 'learning a tune by heart', it's more teaching your fingers to play the intervals of a tune that's in your head without needing to see it on paper. Then maybe learning the difficult parts of the tune by heart.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 05:36 AM

So when should you join in?
If someone starts a tune it may well vary from the one you have in your head. That suggests 2nd time round ( unless you know the persons tune sets well).
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 05:55 AM

Getting a decent session going in a remote, rural, sparsely-populated area of England with rotten public transport isn't easy. The resulting setup is likely to be unorthodox, but it does mean that everyone who turns up is determined for it to be a great evening. Just getting there and back home again can be a tribulation and you don't want anyone blighting the evening. In almost twenty years I can hardly remember a single duff Friday evening. There were no rules about anything but certain things didn't have to be said. It was mostly Irish/Scottish/Northumbrian tunes interspersed with the odd song or two. There would be the occasional bluegrassy or Cape Breton thing. We could chat for a minute or two between tunes and there was no particular sense of whose turn it was to start what, and we never had anything remotely resembling a leader. We knew a good few of the local potential session-wreckers and we closed ranks if they showed up. These were often guitar players with big egos or talentless drum-owners. We did let visitors join in but it didn't happen as frequently as maybe it should have. Makes us sound like a closed shop but it wasn't really like that. It was all very friendly. Never saw a music stand!

And the past tense is for two reasons. I had to stop going because my hearing is going south, and, a few weeks ago, the pub closed down (the Tree Inn in Stratton, near Bude, where John and Cheryl Maughan ran a great folk club for many years). Sad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 09:36 AM

Moving on to the use of sheet music. It does come out once in a while in one of the sessions I get to and some players are good sight readers but I think it's usually only used as a prompt either to think of an idea for the next tune set or as a reminder as to how something goes.

Although I took O level music (getting a U) did have a few classical guitar lessons as a teenager and was once involved in part of making the dots available to others via abc on the Internet I can not sight read.

My mother on the other hand was almost (clashed with her physio finals and then had me...) grade 8 piano and could (some disability gets in the way now) play a lot when presented with the music but can be lost without. She sometimes wonders how I can do what I do (or try to do...) and I can be mystified as to how she can make sense of what can look to me like a wall of notes on a piano score and I can fail on a simple melody line.

Of course Mo is right that ideally one would be able to do both but at home anyway, our abilities (and lacks of) maybe at times are a bit of a contrast.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 11:52 AM

"or talentless drum-owners"

It's a shame Steve but some will "play" 4/4 to everything and most likely would think a mazurka a dish with lamb.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 05:32 PM

And that's on a good day!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 02:57 AM

I do like a bit of percussion, but not when I'm trying to pick out the tune. How many times have we not been able to hear the tune!
Perhaps - 3rd time through - for percussion when its a less well known tune, as well the usual rule of one drum only.
FloraG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 03:46 AM

Nearly the other end of the island, Steve, but what you've described is what we have on a Monday night in Aberdeen. That's what I would call a session - others of course are free to disagree. Very sorry to read about your hearing problems, I'd find that very difficult to cope with, but what can you do ? Sorry also to hear about your local pub closing - there seems to be a lot of it about these days, even Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Aberdeen shut up shop recently [ not that it was known for its' sessions ].
Keep well, all the best, Kenny


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 04:18 AM

I'm not sure I've had often had particular problems hearing what a melody is over a single bodhran Flora and I'm probably more sensitive to a noisy room with a lot of chatter in that respect. My usual difficulty concerns the rhythm. To me anyway, a good player can help keep things together and provide a bit of interest but the instrument's strength can create chaos in the wrong hands.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 05:37 AM

a good player can help keep things together and provide a bit of interest

...if they play on the beat.

Off-beat rock/pop-style drumming does nothing for traditional music and is of no earthly use in synchronizing a large group. It's just self-indulgent. An instrument that produces sharp, precise taps at exactly the right moment can do the job of a conductor and make a huge difference to a large group that's drifting out of sync; do it right and you can be inaudible to the audience if you want, it's the other players who need to hear you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 05:41 AM

Agree with all of that Jack


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 05:58 AM

Depends where your sitting and what instrument is leading. If someone is sitting on my right hand side they will only hear the chords of my melodeon - not the tune. I try to remember to play the tune first without the chords. Apologies to all when I forget.

We were asked once to do a Russian night in a pub - we turned the landlord down because we did not know enough Russian tunes/songs but also the acoustics were such that sound disappeared within 4 feet of where you were playing. Very odd.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 06:58 AM

I think room acoustics can be odd, Flora. Although I'm not sure anyone else had problems there, one room I could find hard was one where we on a sort of stage - informal seating for the session but used for rock and other things on other days of the week. Perhaps it was my seating position but on a bad night, I could find I could hear conversation from the "floor" more clearly than instruments close to me. But one gets by...

The venue currently used by both of the city sessions I might get to is one I enjoy acoustically. The sessions actually opt to use different rooms but I think both are good. And I think the general atmosphere is well suited to sessions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 07:09 AM

If someone is sitting on my right hand side they will only hear the chords of my melodeon - not the tune.

You mean left, I think. This is why it's a good idea for accordion/melodeon players to sit with nobody nearby on the bass side. The bass is a lot louder to other people than it is to the player.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Ripov again
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 03:49 PM

Dunno what I keep pressing!
Just wanted to back up Kenny's bit about the Aberdeen session. Only been there once, visiting family; and a fellow with a cafe on the front pointed me in the right direction. A really great night at a pub (the old police station I believe) called the Blue Lamp. I'd be back again if it weren't for a 600mile journey!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 04:03 PM

Thanks everyone. I appreciate you sharing all your different experiences. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 05:38 PM

So what do you play, Kim - types of music and instruments and what would be your ideal format?

(me, usually attempted tenor banjo and mandolin in the more "tuney" do's but may turn more to guitar [an instrument I can't effectively accompany "Irish" music" on] and "singer" depending on the type of night expected - what I carry varies)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 06 Apr 17 - 03:01 AM

Jack - I do mean right. I'm a cac hander with the melodeon.

But, no one has offered an opinion - when to join in.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Apr 17 - 04:22 AM

Flora, at the things I go to, the answer would usually be "straight away". There are often minor variations in tunes from player to player but things usually fit together all the same. If you did find your version does not fit in with the rest or that you have mistaken one tune for another you can always stop playing (and be wiser the next time the tune crops up). Sometimes you might only know one tune in a set and there's no reason why you can't just join in just for that one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 06 Apr 17 - 11:07 AM

Well our local The Candela club in Coseley in the Black country has n alternating of Singarounds and P.A nights when t lest 2 songs ar guaranteed, singarounds are especially welcoming of strangers as are P.A nights though they are probably more suited to more experienced players


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 01:38 PM

Going back a bit on the thread, my comment re "session" v "singaround" or "singers' session" was in answer to the assertion from across the pond that "session" referred exclusively to instrumental-only events. Not so here in the UK, where there are a lot of "mixed sessions" where tunes and songs manage to co-exist peacefully, and even then, they can vary enormously in their format, from "round the room", "just jump in" or "2 songs then a tune or 2". The proportion of tunes: songs has gone up in our local session, since each person present got a turn to start something, rather than the tunesters being regarded as a single item, and no complaints about that.

But I do agree that you might want to be sure what you are going to, especially if travelling a distance, and if you don't want your session interrupted by songs, or conversely, tunes! There may be a description of what they mean by a session on a website or Facebook page, but if not, best to ask someone in the know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 08:03 PM

Jeepers, Kenny, I thought I'd replied to your post two days ago but on revisiting the thread I see that the ether has claimed my response! Thanks for your good wishes. I haven't lost the ability to play though I've lost a few tunes, only temporarily I think, owing to not playing them.

Well, Jack, after years of sparring with Michael Gill I came to the conclusion that bodhrans have no place in sessions. The rhythm of the music is already there in spades in the tunes. There is no reason on earth why a good melody player can't be as sharply rhythmical as any owner of the goatskin, and he or she is perfectly capable of giving backbone to the session. Arrangements for gigs or CDs are different matters, yet even then there's a ton of percussive crap around. Maybe I live in the wrong part of the country, but I've never encountered a bodhranista that I felt I'd want back next week.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 08:27 PM

Definitely of a different view to you there Steve and I think there are some very good ones round these parts.

Still if you've nights with the beat pulled all over the place, I have some sympathy...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What is your session like?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Apr 17 - 09:12 PM

after years of sparring with Michael Gill I came to the conclusion that bodhrans have no place in sessions. The rhythm of the music is already there in spades in the tunes. There is no reason on earth why a good melody player can't be as sharply rhythmical as any owner of the goatskin, and he or she is perfectly capable of giving backbone to the session.

A bodhran doesn't work for the kind of synchronization role I was talking about. A def or bendir does - it's basically the same drum played competently with the fingertips doing distinct "dum" and "tek" pulses, less of them but placed where they count. The dull attack and fuzzy timing you get with a bodhran tipper is pretty ineffective for anything except thunderstorm effects. (I have actually seen it stated in books on bodhran playing that the drummer should not attempt to track the melody - rather like saying that tuning is for wimps).

I use a washboard or (much less often) a guiro or castanets, and very selectively. I figured out what to do by listening very damn carefully for years to what the trap drummers in Scottish dancebands do, and by knowing the tunes I'm accompanying (nearly always I could play the tune if I wanted). I know it works: I can hear the effect, and see it in the response I get from dancers. A fiddler or whistle player can't do it when the noise and confusion get beyond a certain point.


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

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


Mudcat time: 20 September 3:21 AM EDT

[ Home ]

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