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Question about Irish vs English fiddling

GUEST 19 Sep 21 - 11:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Sep 21 - 12:32 AM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 02:19 AM
matt milton 20 Sep 21 - 05:55 AM
matt milton 20 Sep 21 - 05:57 AM
matt milton 20 Sep 21 - 06:06 AM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 07:42 AM
GUEST 20 Sep 21 - 07:51 AM
Johnny J 20 Sep 21 - 07:58 AM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 08:41 AM
matt milton 20 Sep 21 - 08:57 AM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 01:51 PM
Georgiansilver 20 Sep 21 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Sep 21 - 03:20 PM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Sep 21 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 20 Sep 21 - 05:28 PM
The Sandman 20 Sep 21 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 21 Sep 21 - 04:16 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 21 Sep 21 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,scotch bonnet 21 Sep 21 - 08:46 AM
The Sandman 22 Sep 21 - 03:25 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 22 Sep 21 - 04:46 AM
matt milton 22 Sep 21 - 06:24 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Sep 21 - 06:54 AM
matt milton 22 Sep 21 - 08:21 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Sep 21 - 09:15 AM
The Sandman 22 Sep 21 - 09:50 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 22 Sep 21 - 10:24 AM
Dave the Gnome 22 Sep 21 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,scotch bonnet 23 Sep 21 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Sep 21 - 01:34 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Sep 21 - 01:39 PM
Brian Peters 23 Sep 21 - 01:41 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Sep 21 - 03:18 PM
Manitas_at_home 23 Sep 21 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,,Peter Laban 23 Sep 21 - 03:45 PM
The Sandman 23 Sep 21 - 04:51 PM
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matt milton 01 Oct 21 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,PB 01 Oct 21 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,scotch bonnet 02 Oct 21 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Oct 21 - 09:51 AM
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Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 21 - 11:54 AM
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Subject: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 21 - 11:12 PM

I've noticed that in the trad music I listen to, Irish groups are more likely to play their fiddle tunes straight, without any harmonizations, whereas English groups are more likely to add harmony and counterpoint lines. Is this a common difference between the two styles? Or is it just the specific groups I listen to?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 12:32 AM

Unnamed GUEST, please give yourself a moniker and stick with it when you post here, if you aren't going to join. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 02:19 AM

1.Perhaps you just have not listened to irish group who use harmony, the use of the bouzouki, as a harmony instrument is pretty common in the last thirty yeqrs in irish music.+
i would say it is the specific groups.
the use of the piano, providing harmony and disharmony in irish ceili bands has been going for over 80 years. try listening to some of Michael Colemans piano players or so called accompanists


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 05:55 AM

I'd say it totally depends on which group you're listening to. Overall, I wouldn't say that there's a national tendency more towards one than the other.

When it comes to 'pure drop' playing - eg sessions in pubs - I doubt you'd hear much more harmonising at an English tunes session than at an Irish.

That said, something that muddies the waters here is that there's a hell of a lot more recordings of Irish traditional music than English.

So there's loads more recordings - both field recordings and studio recordings - of solo performers, duo performers and small group performers, across different decades and in different contexts.

Whereas with English music there's a disproportionate amount of 'contemporary' traditional music, relative to what came before. In Irish music, for every instance of The Chieftains or The Gloaming or Martin Hayes' groups you have a historic plethora of recordings of unison tune playing (with minimal harmony).

English music never really had that. With notable exceptions, English music - in terms of recordings anyway - sort of leaps straight from at-home recordings of Stephen Baldwin or Jinky Wells to the (not especially English) playing of Dave Swarbrick in various group formations; and the harmony-based arrangements of Wood & Cutting, English Acoustic Collective, Spiers & Boden, Tom Kitching and numerous others.

The contemporary fiddlers I just mentioned have their Irish equivalents - it's certainly not just an English thing to present tunes in harmony based group arrangements. But the big difference is that recorded Irish music is vast enough to have had many decades of different musicians so you get all the 'pure drop' stuff as well as the highly arranged stuff; plus all the nodal points along the way like piano accompaniment to Michael Coleman, bouzouki accompaniment (from Alec Finn) to Frankie Gavin etc


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 05:57 AM

(Above, when I said 'unison playing' that's probably not the best way of putting it - all I meant was everybody playing the same tune rather than accompanying or harmonising)


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 06:06 AM

Seeing as this thread is predominantly about fiddling, I would check out historic recordings of Northumbrian fiddlers such as Ned Pearson, Adam Gray and Geordie Armstrong on Spotify.

And then listen to Andrew Cadie, a young contemporary exponent of the same tradition: https://music.apple.com/gb/album/half-witted-merry-mad-northumbrian-fiddle-music-from/1540246526

Great examples of solo fiddle playing.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 07:42 AM

how do you define harmony, northumbrian pipes use a drone , that is technically a harmony?
the high level ranters played northumbrian tunes using a guitar and a piano accordion


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 07:51 AM

"Irish groups are more likely to play their fiddle tunes straight"

Harmonies aside, I don't think that statement is accurate. Most fiddlers have very individual styles which will also vary from region to region. So, there will inevitably be many variations and ornaments.
Probably even more prevalent with Irish fiddling than in England.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Johnny J
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 07:58 AM

Sorry, the above post was mine.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 08:41 AM

yes, you are correct. johnny j. your thoughts had also occurred to me


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 08:57 AM

The ornament point occurred to me too, but I think it was just unfortunate choice of words. Think when the original poster said 'straight' they weren't thinking of ornamentation questions so much as harmony.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 01:51 PM

CCE, have a ridiculous rule which discourages harmonies in their group competitions, but no one in the real world outside of competitions takes much notice of their rules


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 02:08 PM

For me I say who cares anyway?? English or Irish.... I happily listen to it all......


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 03:20 PM

Compacts 'grupa cheoil' competitions bristle with groups harmonising. There is no blanket ban on it. It's about context.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 04:06 PM

12 years ago this was the situation as regards CCE,rule no. 18
” In competitions for duets and trios, all members must at all times play the melody of the tune” Peter Laban has that rule been changed?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 05:14 PM

No, it applies only, as it clearly states, to duet and trio competitions. Not to the grupa cheoil. Or ceiliband competitions, for that matter.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 05:28 PM

Senior groups Chesil competition:

https://comhaltas.ie/music/detail/comhaltaslive_526_7ceoltoiri_tireragh/


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Sep 21 - 08:08 PM

it is a rule that imo stultifies the potential of creativity it discourages harmonies in duet and trio combinations,
two or three people are still groups of some sort.
I did not say it was a blanket ban, or that it affected their ceili band competitions,
it does however show a restrictive musical attitude on the part of CCE,


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 21 Sep 21 - 04:16 AM

You said "group competitions', pretty unambigious and also incorrect. Good luck. Dick.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 21 Sep 21 - 05:39 AM

I have come to the tentative conclusion that there are some people who think mainly in melodies and some who think mainly in chords.

When I hear a tune I immediately "hear" the chords that fit the tune and hence the possible harmonies that can be created using the other notes of the chords. It also means that I can identify the key of the tune.

If you have an instrument that does not play chords then that must cut down your potential harmony playing.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,scotch bonnet
Date: 21 Sep 21 - 08:46 AM

as a GD melodeon player, surely the chords are irrelevant- it's only percussion anyway, as proved by many Irish semitine players- the melody is everything


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 03:25 AM

I find it is best to ignore.Pedants,
The musical direction of CCE and the rule against using harmony in one of their competitions does reflect an attitude of discouraging harmony
I have also heard older box players in ireland who did in fact play basses that bore no resemblance to the melody, a minority of players. when one hears great box players like Tony Hall, one has to laugh at guest" scotch bonnets" comment


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 04:46 AM

The melody is not everything. Some would consider it a by-product.

I hear the melody first, but I appreciate the chord structure and potential harmonies even if they are not played in the performance.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 06:24 AM

'Some would say...'? Who?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 06:54 AM

If you regard ornamentation as an inseparable element of the tune, as I do, then I don't think much else is needed to make the music complete in itself. Having said that, I do like a good band and I wouldn't be without all my Planxty, De Dannan and Bothy albums (to name but a few). Bands generally play arrangements, which (in the ones I've played in anyway) is not something that's to the fore in sessions. But good "pure drop" playing can be in another dimension altogether.

If you listen to the set of six unaccompanied Bach cello suites, in which double-stopping is either sparse or absent, harmonies not explicitly played by the cellist happen inside your head. It's magic, and it's a good way to listen to music. I know what Robin is getting at.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 08:21 AM

Sure, but that I think is excellent evidence that harmony is a by-product of melody. Not the other way round.

I could fit chords or harmonies to Bach's cello suites. But I couldn't write those melodies in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 09:15 AM

I wouldn't be buying your Bach CD... ;-)

I took GCSE music as an adult in 1996 (I know you want to ask, so here it is: I got an A-star) :-) and for one of our practical exercises we had to make a chord sequence then build a melody on top of it. And there was me thinking that composers got a tune in their heads and took it from there... Very confusing...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 09:50 AM

well, actually i do compose like that and i also have composed working from a chord structure


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 10:24 AM

It's not just me then:)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Sep 21 - 10:57 AM

Hollywood stars discussing their roles as famous composers.

Stallone says he fancies playing Verdi

Van Damme says he will take the role of Debussy

Schwartzangger says "I'll be ..."

:D


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,scotch bonnet
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 01:25 PM

Sandman- you cannot possibly compare Tony Hall with Irish box players, it is quite different context.

Tony Hall has 'built-in' harmony basses- Irish semitone players heve to search for them & most don't bother- any use of 'irrelevant' basses you've come across just illustrates the Irish view that the bass buttons are superfluous to Irish music, but may have a value as percussion.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 01:34 PM

Ofcourse Irish and English fiddle styles would also be worlds apart, the Irish tradition is essentially a melodic one, not a harmonic one. Which doesn't mean there are no exceptions, there are exquisite examples of harmonised singing, even in sean nos, as well as instrumental examples using more harmonising approaches.

Plenty of box players use the basses to great effect, Connor Keane for one but others too.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 01:39 PM

I largely agree with that, though Jackie Daly plays some nifty (but sparse) bass buttons on semitone boxes on several tracks on his Sliabh Luachra Vol 6 album. Which I wouldn't be without!   I suppose that exceptions can prove the rule...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 01:41 PM

Glad you clarified that your comment about melodeon basses referred to Irish box players, Mr or Ms Bonnet. I'd have said the main reason that you hear more harmony in English music sessions is that the melodeon players (and, quite probably, the anglo concertina players) are using chords.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 03:18 PM

I should clarify that my comment above was aimed at scotch bonnet, though I agree with everyone else too!


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 03:27 PM

I believe that Jacky Daly occasionally plays DG although his system of choice is C#D. Both systems would allow more harmonic playing than the prevalent (in Ireland) BC systen.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 03:45 PM

Jackie usually plays the same box (I am thinking about the past twenty years or so), the blue saltarelle for which he helped design the layout of the basses. He can obviously play other systems but I have only seen him bring out b/c yo play with two players who played in c. Concertina too obviously. And yes, he's handy enough with the accompaniment


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Sep 21 - 04:51 PM

any use of 'irrelevant' basses you've come across just illustrates the Irish view that the bass buttons are superfluous to Irish music, but may have a value as percussion.
quote
no; it does not
it illustrates that A FEW older players did not understand harmony. SO PLEASE DO NOT GENERALISE
I can compare TONY HALL with other players playing irish music because he is playing irish music, it does not mean he is better than paddy o brien ,they are both good, but different


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 21 - 05:45 PM

I believe that Jacky Daly occasionally plays DG although his system of choice is C#D. Both systems would allow more harmonic playing than the prevalent (in Ireland) BC systen. quote
    imcorrect, it depends how the bc is played and what system of basses the bc has, there are two different arrangement of basses if for example the player plays in c major and b major and the basses have not been retuned, there is plenty of scope for harmony, the older models of Hohner double ray had basses that enabled you to play in b major and c major


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 24 Sep 21 - 06:03 PM

Harmonies are not just dependent on the basses. If you are playing tunes in A,D or G then more harmonies are available on the treble side on the DG and C#D systems than on the BC system.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 02:44 AM

Am I right in thinking that the 'British button box', as played most famously by John Kirkpatrick, is a 3 row diatonic right hand and a stradella bass system on the left? If that system is not used by any of the leading Irish players, it does give credence to the theory that Irish players do not use the bass as much.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 03:33 AM

Dave you are misinformed. John plays a sytemthat is not used by any leading irish bass players, neither is it used by tony hall.,
no your statement does not give credence to anything, because with the b c, it depends on what keys you are playing in, and how your basses are tuned
manitas you are correct but only in relation to the keys of[ a d g and related minors].
Dave the Gnome, What most DG players do when they want to play in a major is buy a 2 and a half row DG or a three row DGA.
hardly anybody plays the sytem used by john kirkpatrick
There are two other systems used by irish players the c csharp and the d dsharp
the dg melodeon or button accordion is very versatile in the keys of d and g, because there are a lot of the same notes on both rows. i believe they are on the opposite direction, so IF you want to smooth a phrase, tripet or one note out you have plenty of options.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 03:41 AM

SCOTCH BONNET,Here is where your point is incorrect, a few irish older players play basses badly as percussion and harmonically wrong but JUST AS MANY others, i have heard played a bc in c major playing the correct basses, the fiddler tuned his fiddle down a tone and played using d fingering but was actually in c major.
I LIVE IN IRELAND AND AM TALKING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:06 AM

MY OPINION, is that the DGA is the most versatile box.HOWEVER There are very good players of all systems plus the different styles make it more intersting.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:27 AM

Irish and english trad music does not have to be played in D,G,A, They are relatively easy keys to play on the fiddle, using open strings.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:29 AM

How am I misinformed, Dick? Is the box played by JK not as described and, if not, what is the layout?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:34 AM

to get back to the OP, most english and irish fiddlers employ or use double stops of a fifth on long notes[
technically that is a harmony note and octaves on lomg notes
in sliabh luchra [ northcork kerry south east limerick] there is a style of octaving on melody, when two fiddles play together, where one player plays the melody 8 notes down, not a harmony, but very effective see julia clifford and denis murphy


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:38 AM

I am genuinely interested, Dick. I love English dance music, both ritual and social, and JK is a master of it. If I am working under a misapprehension as to how his box works, I would like to know.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 06:13 AM

Is JK still playing this system ? https://www.johnkirkpatrick.co.uk/wr_BritButtonBox.asp


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,PB
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 06:19 AM

Getting back to the OP's point about the use of harmony by bands, I think it's worth pointing out that Irish and English fiddling have quite divergent histories. Both may or may not have used harmony at different times, but sadly there is no continuity in either tradition to modern styles.

In Ireland, traditional music was rather frowned on by the late 19th century- the tunes were "patriotic", but a "refined" style, with genteel piano accompaniment was far more socially acceptable. The traditional style was preserved via American music hall and recordings (Tuohy, Coleman etc), and largely re- invented in Ireland and England post WW2. The recordings were mostly solo, or with (often bad) piano accompaniment, and the session style that developed wasn't conducive to harmonisation.

English traditional dance music may have been harmonised up to the 19th century, as many musicians doubled as west gallery players, but this fell out of favour in the 19th century, replaced by the organ and the Oxford Movement. As far as I know, there are no early recordings of dance music played in this style (love to be proved wrong). Early recordings were of soloists, and perhaps the collectors looked for a "rougher" and plainer style as more authentic. I don't think Georgina Boyes addressed dance music- did anyone else?- but active selection by collectors certainly affected the preservation of both song and dance.

English trad dance music was in a pretty bad way by the time the EFDSS climbed down from its pulpit. Again the classically- influenced style with tinkly piano and correctly- dressed gentility was preferred. It was only from the 60s onwards that it started to relax its sphincter. The slower pace of English music (Irish had rather lost its connection to dance- not much room to do it in smoky crowded London pubs) and the fact that it's more dance and workshop based and less session based is much more encouraging of harmony. It's a new take on the tradition. That's not to say it's "bad", "wrong", "inauthentic" or anything like that.

Living traditions reconfigure themselves as their practitioners change and develop, and both Irish and English traditions have been almost brought back from the dead. Both are now healthy- long may it remain so.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 07:39 AM

quote from john kirkpatrick
The chromatic style of playing seems quite popular among Irish musicians, who like melodeons in D and D, although of course they don't fit in any bass. When I once asked an Irish box player what be did with his left hand, he said "I don't know, I just look the other way."
this is not entirely correct.
[john kirkpatrick generalising from one comment]
irish musicians used c csharp, d dsharp, bc, c sharp d and even occasionally d g.[ eg rose murphy]
the c sharp d has basses that are correct when you are playing in d major
and as i previously mentioned if you want to play in c major as some musicians do, the double ray, bc sometimes has the correct basses.
it is also very possible to play right hand harmony, on the c sharp d, when you are playing in d major it is similar to playing a one row in d major


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 07:43 AM

here is an explanation of the csharp d
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgZQcfMiyAg


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 07:45 AM

there is so much crap and ignorance about the c sharp d, which is of course a chromatic box. I am sorry to say John Kirkpatrick with his quote has not helped


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 09:05 AM

Are the B and C rows on John Kirkpatrick's (and Jimmy Shand's ?) B/C/C# box the same as on a B/C box as played in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: meself
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 09:38 AM

You might want to look into Thomas Hardy for hints of what was going on in (southern) English dance music. It's been awhile, but ... I recall one short story which involves a solo fiddler enrapturing the villagers - at least, the female sector - don't remember the title. Under the Greenwood Tree has a musical ensemble, of course - again, don't remember if there is mention of them playing for a dance.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 10:31 AM

yes, meself
there was a bit[ i think] about the village band falling asleep during a sermon, and the leader of the band waking up and playing devil among the tailors, the village band members also played m,usic for the church service.
back to the c sharp d box, i imagine you would have g and d basses for playing in g major, but am not absolutely sure about that.
    to deal with scotch bonnet.
tony hall also uses right hand harmony, and your suggestion that basses are just for percussion is idiotic. here is your quote
Irish semitone players heve to search for them & most don't bother- any use of 'irrelevant' basses you've come across just illustrates the Irish view that the bass buttons are superfluous to Irish music, but may have a value as percussion.
tell that to jackie daly , the c sharp d is quite capable of basses in d major possibly to some extent g major.
then we have the d d sharp, it must be possible to play in d major using it like a one row using basses. if wanted
if there is someone that knows this defintely rather than chancers like scotch bonnet, i do not mind being corrected about the d dsharp.
Two semitone systems that are not as limted as scotch bonnet makes out HERE IS SOMEONE PLAYING A D DSHARPwith lots of basses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny0wqN98Af4
Fiachna Ó Mongáin - Traditional Irish Music on Accordion from tunesinthechurch.com


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 10:35 AM

players like John Kirkpatrick, should get their facts right before opening their mouths with comments that are at best incorrect


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 10:46 AM

Your should go back to 1967 (when that was written) and tell him that Sandman


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 11:51 AM

FWIW, I have a Swiss made Hohner Primaton IV tuned in C#D. The basses are weird and wonderful and not particularly useful for playing music from the British Isles. All the chord are major except for Bb minor.

Push Pull Push Pull
D    A    G# F#
C#   G#    F   Bb minor

I don't know where this layout came from. Melnet has a more useful layout titled traditional here
http://forum.melodeon.net/files/site/CD21tradbass.gif
and a modern one here

http://forum.melodeon.net/files/site/CD21modernbass.gif


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 11:53 AM

JK is an amazing box player and interpreter of English dance music regardless of his views on Irish box players. Brings us back to the point of the thread. In general I enjoy English music more than Irish. There are exceptions of course and I am trying not to generalise but given the choice between, say, Bellowhead and De Dannan, I would go Bellowhead every time. Never been able to say why specifically. I just prefer English music (and some Scottish and East European) to many others. Maybe it is something to do with the differences we are discussing?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 12:25 PM

no one is criticising his playing or his singing, however it is clearly a misinformed statement.
dave the gnome, what have your tastes got to do with this.
of course some scottish music, some irish reels for example are in the irish repertoire, and are adaptions of scottish tunes. miss mcleods reel, the musical priest etc.
music is international and crosses borders, your prefernces are irrelevant, the csharp d box and d dsharp systems have been shown to be not as limted as some people have stated with misinformed comments [that includes john kirkpatrick]
Music is imo about how it is played. NOT THE NATIONALITY OF THE PLAYER. although style is of course due to influences, but in 2021 we have access to international influences.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 12:31 PM

I am not just asking about tastes, Dick. I am intigued as to why I prefer one type of folk music (English) to another (Irish). I thought this thread may provide an answer. Maybe it has. Perhaps it is to do with harmonics? And, yes, of course it is to do with style rather than nationality. I thought that went without saying.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 03:07 PM

some of the same tunes are shared in common, the jenny lind polka, turns up as a slide in the mealoch valley, near Bantry
the girl i left behind me is playeD in ireland and england
Cape Clear an irish slow air derives from   Black-eyed Susan, John Gay’s ballad of English origin.
I have no idea why you have certain musical tastes, perhaps it is similar to sex,or food, who knows? WHO CARES


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 04:08 PM

I have provided you tube clips of very good musicians explaining the basses of the csharp d and also someone playing and using harmony on a d dsharp , both of those systems are chromatic button accordions.and go some way to disprove the statement made by scotch bonnet and john kirkpatrick.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 08:58 PM

Well, as this thread now seems to be more about boxes than fiddling, can I first say that the old quote from JK was very much tongue-in-cheek and should be seen as such, though there are some of the “semi-tone system” players where the left hand does just “flap in the breeze” rather than seem to hit any specific chords.
Speaking as a B/C player, a popular misconception held by those who don’t know is that we would only play tunes in B and C: of course that is rubbish, and we usually play in the same keys as anyone else, G, D and A being the most popular majors and E, B and A being the most often-played minors. As far as the left hand goes with just 8 buttons, I have Gs on both pull and push, D both ways also, C, F, A and E and a stop to take out the thirds so that a “chord” can be major or minor. The one chord I don’t have, which could be useful for tunes in D is a Bm. And, being fully chromatic, there are plenty of interesting right hand chords to find, such as A maj, Bb maj, Emaj and min, C#min. Playing in C is actually a bit of a faff, as it entails a lot of pushing and pulling! Need I go on? I don’t know for sure, but am told that the C#/D is even more versatile.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 09:28 PM

I know I've mentioned it already, and I'm no box expert, but if you want to hear consummate semitone box-playing you really do need to listen to Jackie Daly on his early album (pre-Patrick Street, pre-Arcady, pre-Buttons And Bows), Music From Sliabh Luachra Vol 6. No-one else plays on his record and he does play a bit of anglo concertina, but the box-playing which takes up most of the album is both instructive and inspiring. As I understand it, he plays mostly C#/D. Much of the playing is single-note, but he does use the bass buttons sparingly and judiciously (and tastefully) on some tracks. He's one of the best and it's well worth studying what precisely he does, or doesn't do, with those basses. Other than that, let's say that I know what I like but I sometimes don't know what I'm on about...

And I've met John Kirkpatrick several times and I think he's a lovely man who would like nothing better than to get as many people as possible to get involved in playing. There are opinions of his I find hard to swallow, but, on the whole, he's a damn good egg....


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 01:57 AM

Tattie Bogle. thankyou for your post
I agree that the majority of bc players are not playing in c major, however i have come across older players in this area of ireland who were and who were using it like a c one row[ this is possible with the double ray model when the basses have not been retuned]
on the subject of differnces in fiddling it would be sensible to be aware of some of the differnces in regiional fiddle styles in ireland. Donegal styles have considerable scottish influence. and are differnt in approach to sliabh luchra style
northumbrian [english] music is influenced by northumbrian pipes and to some extent scottish musicand is imo differnt from southern english music.
will start to happen more as musicians gain more harmonic knowledge i think the use of harmony however i and my ex musical partner were using harmony back in 1980. here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcBocS_x_M


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 02:00 AM

that should have read
" i think the use of harmony, will start to happen more as musicians gain more harmonic knowledge"


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 02:47 AM

During the 1970sand 1980s in the uk folk revival, there was an anti Reel movement.
The people behind this were attempting to promote southern English dance tunes, perhaps i was mistaken BUT it appeared to have an ANTI IRISH MUSIC BIAS.
This was personified by the Old Swan Band who in 1976 brought out an lp called No Reels.
I was performing music during this period and was unhappy about this insular attitude.

JK was not a member of the OSB
BUT he did play in a similiar band called Umps and Dumps who were a dance band led by John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris. and part of the The English country dance scene of the early 1980s.
JK statement, quoted earlier[ in relation to chromatic accordion players which has now been to some extent discredited] is one that is unnecessary., and if it was tongue in cheek, would have been better not to have been mentioned
John Kirkpatrick is a good performer, so is Jackie Daly, one is English one is Irish
Music should be about building bridges


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:29 AM

Interesting article Here


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 04:29 AM

Various cross-tunings were common, including ADAE, AEAE and AEAC#; these were of value to the dance fiddler, adding volume, harmony and ease of fingering. quote from above article
these are also used by American and Shetland fiddlers
A Sizeable proprtion of hornpipes in English and Irish REPERTOIRES were written by James Hill a scotsman who lived in England and wrote for competitions.
My experience has been that when playing in England and Scotland for dances like Belfast Duck and Nottingham Swing the tunes are swung quite heavily, more so than for hornpipes for irish sets, for irish sets i have found tunes like Keel row Some say the Devils dead, work better than say Plains of Boyle, then when it comes to playing for solo step dancing they are played swung.. somewhere between the two, and played very slowly to facilitate the intricate steps.
then there are different irish bowing styles, Donegal uses more bowing ornamentation and less left hand ornamention than Sliabh Luchra ,
in Sliabh Luchra, there is also octaving between two fiddles and for dancing more 2/4 polkas and slides , in Donegal there are Highlands which are an evolvement from Scottish Strathspeys
the 2/4 polkas are very differnt and have evolved from 4/4 polkas as are played for dance in England,
OF COURSE 4/4 POLKAS WERE ORIGINALLY MID EUROPEAN
all this shows that music has no boundaries and changes and evolves wherever it goes


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 04:33 AM

Yes, a big shout out of support from me for both Jackie Daly and John Kirkpatrick.
Jackie was one of the guests at one of the “Button Boxes and Moothies” weekends in Aberdeen some years back now and there was some pretty impressive playing from him, as well as his stamina for keeping going well into the night!
John Kirkpatrick has run one of the Big Band workshops at Sidmouth Festival for many a year, and I have attended many of them so have got used to his dry sense of humour. And talking of harmony, his arrangements for the workshops are superb, tunes in 3- or 4- part harmony, scores in concert pitch as well as the transpositions needed for Bb and Eb instruments.
And yes, music does build bridges: I have been very happy playing with Scottish, Irish, English, Welsh, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish musicians (sorry if I missed any nationalities there!)


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 05:25 AM

I'll repeat the question asked below, because I guess Tatty Bogle can answer it. Is there a difference between the B and C rows on a BC box and JK's B and C rows?

I wonder - in the context of the thread - because if they are the same or similar then 'Irish' BC box player who wanted more options for the left hand could get such a box. And if they didn't then it would be their choice not to use the left hand that way. Though I guess the three-row boxes are set up to give a different sound.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 05:43 AM

Jimmy Saville versus a team from the Catholic clergy....?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 06:16 AM

Question about Irish vs English fiddling


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 06:58 AM

Well Guest(s), are you one and the same? Time to get yourself(ves) a proper user name?
To answer the question about JK's button accordion (as he describes it, to distinguish it from his 2-row melodeons), the best place to find the right answer is on his own website, which I'll quote from now.
"John Kirkpatrick leads a series of workshops for players of the three-row button accordion - the quirky instrument that was taken round the world in the first class hands of Jimmy Shand. The right hand gives you three melodeon (push-pull) rows in B, C, and C#, and the left hand side gives you full accordion basses in the conventional "Stradella" layout, with bass notes and chords that are the same in either direction."
There are other current players of this strange beast, not just the late lamented Jimmy Shand: up here in Scotland, the piano accordion rules supreme, but there are other bands and players who use a similar instrument to John's e.g. Robert Nairn, Norman Mackay. The left hand stradella base is more like what you find in a piano accordion with rows and rows of basses, and, as it says above, same chord in and out. The instrument does make a good big noise, hence very suitable for dance bands. My two-row B/C can be quite loud, but far fewer options for bass playing than with stradella bass: the right hand has a range of over 3 octaves.
On John's website, there's a nice picture of him with his array of instruments: the one we're talking about here, is that one on his knee: John Kirkpatrick
I should have also said before that one of the joys of going to his workshops is picking up the tips he gives on how to give your playing that lift for dancing.
Ok, I'll stop drifting and get back to thinking about fiddles, Guest 2.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 07:33 AM

couldn't let your quote pass, Dick- nothing to do with the thread theme, but I quote
'MUSIC HAS NO BOUNDARIES AND CHANGES AND EVOLVES WHEREVER IT GOES'

   I've been telling you this for years & glad you are now in agreement. My recent article in 'Living Tradition' was an attempt to explain why my old band the Marsden Rattlers took a broad view of the evolving tradition 55 years ago & we stand by that.
   My old pal Rod Stradling & his Old Swan Band went away from the ubiquitous Irish music of the time, in a more restricted direction, hence the LP & in my opinion Rod could take personal credit (or otherwise) for inventing the english music style to be heard at most English festivals for nearly 50 years.
   I hardly ever listen to 'folk'music nowadays so maybe it shows in my own playing & I'm certainly unimpressed by what I do hear but I'm a believer in style rather than repertoire & I think that's right for me anyway.
   As for an earlier aside- I told you once that in about 1968, I had been amazed at Tim Lyons bass playing on his BC box- I asked him about it as box players will know these boxes are designed for use by the right hand only & basses are unrelated, unlike the sympatyetic arrangement on a GD box. Tim told me 'Sure I don't know, I look the other way'    (Shotley Bridge folk club 1968)
.... I reckon Tim obviously thought the basses were purely percussion So Scotch Bonnet is dead right in my book


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 07:34 AM

sorry, that was me


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 11:17 AM

for the benefit of Jim Bainbridge who clearly has not botherd to read the last dozen or so posts.HERE IS SOMEONE PLAYING A D DSHARP with lots of basses

Fiachna Ó Mongáin - Traditional Irish Music on Accordion from tunesinthechurch.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny0wqN98Af4< here is a previous post that explains the c sharp d basses
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgZQcfMiyAg
Scotch bonnet and Jim Bainbridge are wrong, these clips clearly show very good players using basses on two different semitone systems the c sharp d and d dsharp
Tattie bogle posted this quote
Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle - PM
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 08:58 PM

Well, as this thread now seems to be more about boxes than fiddling, can I first say that the old quote from JK was very much tongue-in-cheek and should be seen as such, though there are some of the “semi-tone system” players where the left hand does just “flap in the breeze” rather than seem to hit any specific chords.
Speaking as a B/C player, a popular misconception held by those who don’t know is that we would only play tunes in B and C: of course that is rubbish, and we usually play in the same keys as anyone else, G, D and A being the most popular majors and E, B and A being the most often-played minors. As far as the left hand goes with just 8 buttons, I have Gs on both pull and push, D both ways also, C, F, A and E and a stop to take out the thirds so that a “chord” can be major or minor. The one chord I don’t have, which could be useful for tunes in D is a Bm. And, being fully chromatic, there are plenty of interesting right hand chords to find, such as A maj, Bb maj, Emaj and min, C#min. Playing in C is actually a bit of a faff, as it entails a lot of pushing and pulling! Need I go on? I don’t know for sure, but am told that the C#/D is even more versatile.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 11:20 AM

jim bainbridge
may i politely suggest you read other posts before posting.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 01:49 PM

GUEST who asked the question to Tattie Bogle says thanks.

And to other guest who repeated the subject line as if to point out that we should be talking about fiddling not harmony - read the OP.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 02:16 PM

Thanks Guest!
Back a bit closer to topic, a friend, Chris Timson, recently gave a presentation on Zoom to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution on the subject of English Music: unfortunately I missed this, but they are hoping to put the recording of the meeting out on YouTube in due course.
One of the comments from someone who did hear it is as follows, which may answer in art the original question:
"I was especially interested when you pointed out the 'characteristics' of English folk dance music ...that it is played (relatively) slowly, and is not decorated. Yes. Especially the decoration thing. It does make English traditional music sound 'different' to the ear."


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 02:19 PM

"in PART"!!


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:06 PM

Both English and Irish fiddling employ a certain amount of harmony through double stOpping.
THE ORIGNAL POSTER Quote
I've noticed that in the trad music I listen to, Irish groups are more likely to play their fiddle tunes straight, without any harmonizations, whereas English groups are more likely to add harmony and counterpoint lines. Is this a common difference between the two styles? Or is it just the specific groups I listen to?
So we were asked about fiddling and harmony., AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP according to the article Dave The Gnome provided, stated English fiddlers used different tunings as did shetland fiddlers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Or3Zdd-T2c
Above You tube clip on cross tuning on fiddle


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:17 PM

English fiddle music is decorated, decoration does not have to interfere with dancing, in fact it should not.
Alistair Anderson manages to play for dancing and uses decoration, and so did Walter Bulwer.
It may not be as decorated as SOME IRISH MUSIC, BUT it does use decoration, Irish music uses decoration and is in my experience as it is played in Ireland still danceable.
I see people dancing regularly to irish trad music.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:27 PM

English fiddle style, a few thoughts
Paul Roberts
Here's what I think about English fiddle style. The first point I should make is that fiddlers divide on the
issue, sometimes quite sharply: certainly, my point of view (which I'll explain) has attracted some pretty
sharp criticism, basically because some have thought it a betrayal of the instrument. They have a point,
but I find my approach works for me, so I intend to stay with it...

Viewpoint 1 says that fiddles are fiddles. They're capable of decorations of various kinds, and that these
decorations should be used - they're part of the tradition of the instrument.

Fiddler Paul Roberts gave a great lecture on the topic some years ago that's well worth reading, not least
because it includes the memorable line ' Geminiani and Corelli sounded more like Jinky Wells or Jake
Hutton than Vanessa Mae'. http://www.village-music-project.org.uk/roberts.htm

Read it for yourself, but Paul R argues, I think, that English fiddle styles used to include decoration and
bowing that had more in common with modern American and Irish playing.

He also says things changed after ther 1840s, and I think that's where I find myself. Paul R doesn't really
seem to like fiddle playing that is largely one-bow-stroke-per-note but I think it is a useful approach
precisely because it blends well with the melodeon and anglo, which, whether we like it or not, have
been dominant instruments in many areas for a very long time - perhaps as much as a century or a
century and a half.

I'd also argue that it's an effective way to play, and doesn't rule out at least some variation and
decoration. So I go with the party that says it's good to work closely with the melodeons... Players I've
worked with such as Malcolm Woods may have their own views, but that's what I go with most of the
time. (The exception, for me is Northumbrian music... )

You may also have read John Boden's piece on the same sort of
topic:http://www.thestrad.com/.../what-does-the-future-hold.../

In terms of technique, I find that it's all in the phrasing and timing, with the spaces mattering nearly as
much as the notes themselves. Leave spaces, I'd say, and the notes will seem all the more clear, bright
and loud.

In general, in this music, I'd say we play some notes short and hard, and with a lot of point. Others are
longer as the phrasing allows.

Where you have a note that works well short and hard, how do you stop it to make the silence? I do it
by leaving my bow on the string - for if you take it off, it naturally rings on. But stopping the bow on the
string cuts it dead and gives you lots of control...

The other 'melodeonist' playing mannerism I adopt is in imitation of the melodeon player's 'brrrp'. You'll
have heard English melodeonists hammering on a handful of notes together in such a way that they
start with the lower notes in a chord and finally the top note is the one that belongs in the tune, often
on a downbeat. John Kirkpatrick is a great exponent of this 'brrrp' technique.
Fiddlers can approximate this by playing short and sharp, and with a slight upward slide. If the note's a D
on the A string play short and sharp and slide with your on a downbeat. John Kirkpatrick is a great exponent of this 'brrrp' technique.
Fiddlers can approximate this by playing short and sharp, and with a slight upward slide. If the note's a D
on the A string play short and sharp and slide with your third finger from a C# to a D.

This stuff works with any tune, but perhaps especially nicely in tunes that call for space, including
waltzes and mazurkas, hornpipes and schottisches.

More of my notes about playing English music (including dividing notes etc) are at the bottom of this
page: http://www.singdanceandplay.net/free-traditional-music.../

Finally, here's a bit of playing that I hope illustrates some of these points: http://youtu.be/Ykvkj_R6Dog
PS, I do also admire several other fiddle players, and they are not necessarily in quite the same playing
camp in which I find myself: Gina Le Faux http://youtu.be/aa5rlsbegvE Chris Partington (here with Paul Roberts) http://youtu.be/j2KnbtSbzrs Colin Ross (here with the High Level Ranters) http://youtu.be/yzm_UlxrNt
English fiddle style, a few thoughts - Sing, dance and play
https://www.singdanceandplay.net › 2010/11 › En...
PDF

Read it for yourself, but Paul R argues, I think, that English fiddle styles used to include decoration and bowing that had more in common with modern


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:43 PM

Call me Mr Simplistic if you like, Dick, but to me, decoration/ornamentation must strictly stay within the rhythm of the tune, therefore shouldn't interfere with the rhythm of the dancing. However, playing for dancers isn't quite the same as playing for close listeners (or for yourself), so the ornamentation should maybe be a bit less to the fore for dancing. Because it doesn't need to be. Maybe. Is there a rule book? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 03:53 PM

I think to use no decoration at all through a tune can get boring to listen to particularly if you have to play the tune for a long time
it is quite true, that what makes lift and danceabilty is in the case of a button box , bellows movement and finger attack,
   and with fiddlers the use of the bow., and lesser extent left hand ornaments, although there are one or two irish long bow or on the bow styles with left hand ornaments eg julia clifford denis murphy, that are still dancey.
I sometimes like to play 8 bars without decoration and then repeat it with decorations., this imo provides musical variety.
it is also my opinion that decoration should not interfere with the flow and danciness of the tune


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 04:25 PM

Steve, i agree about ornamention staying within the rhythm of the tune, it is fine unless it fecks up the rhythm
CCE are partly at fault they give such high marks for ornamention, that young players might think they need more stuff to win the competition quality is needed not quantity


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 05:27 PM

Could I remind you that Alistair Anderson is not a fiddle player?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 21 - 06:52 PM

All very interesting thanks! I agree that it's good to maybe bring in more decoration/ornamentation second time through a tune, as well as keeping the rhythm throughout. On the same premise, you might bring n harmony 2nd or 3rd time round, or even do a change of lead instrument for variety.
Ornamentation can be very instrument-specific: what may be an easy "turn" or mordant on a fiddle may not be so easy on an accordion if it involves directional changes on the latter>
And Alistair Anderson does play Northumbrian pipes as well as concertina, with there being quite a lot of ornamentation on pipes.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 21 - 01:31 AM

Colin Ross was he fiddler with the High levl Ranters who played English music AND USED DECORATION.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 21 - 03:16 AM

Tattie you are spot on,
eg Crans are relatively easy on a whistle and pipes, but not so easy on the EC and the notes may to have to be adapted to get the same effect on the EC I tend to adapt and use two or three different notes rather than four
ON THE ANGLO A D CRAN is sometimes used all on the push but the effct is the same even if the notes are different from the whistle cran.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 21 - 04:22 AM

1.on a dotted crotchet in irish music Grace notes and rolls and trebles are often used, plus a fifth double stop, and octave double stop
2. in english music double stop of a fifth are used plus octave double stop, depending on the area eg northumberland cuts are sometimes used, northubrian fiddling has a scottish influence whereas southern english tradtional fiddlers appear to have a less varied set of ornamention tools . or so it would seem from the limted amount of material that was collected


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Sep 21 - 06:09 AM

Jesus- I have seldom been assauited by such a torrent of pseudo intellectual and pretentious crap as in the last few posts.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION Dick, apart from stating the obvious, you still don't get the basis of what traditional music is about.
Whatever buttons were actually available is irrelevant. It was not regarded as important by early players, and the current crop of 'improvers' have added very little by their 'custom' bass button reorganisation, and the older players used their often discordant bass buttons as PERCUSSION & little else, the tune was the thing.

You didn't grasp that Tim Lyons said that to me 53 years ago in 1968, and that's how the tradition was then, ie get on with the musiuc & feck the analysis.
The fact that some of the basses on the standard BC system can now be sympathetic is also irrelevant. The music has IMHO not been enhanced by the folk alumni who continue to try to improve a music which has managed fine without all this nitpicking and analysis. That's for the academics, maybe and the Newcastle Folk Degree- on that subject may I recommend the youtube video of Ed Pickford's 'Folk Degree' song.

Why do we give such respect to Oscar Woods, Scan Tester, Raymond Roland, John McKenna, and all the others whose 'technique' and ornamentation came without all this analysis & why do we keep trying to IMPROVE on what they did? Yes things CHANGE but improving on those people by playing extra notes, instrument reorganisation & such is not necessarily beneficial to the whole. As A cricket fan, you maty recall the MCC horror when Dennis Lillee came out to bat with a STEEL bat- The MCC correctly stopped THAT improvement

I don't like name dropping but I once askied Jimmy Shand (about 1990) what he thougght about modern players. He thought for a minute, smiled & then said   'Well, I didn't know there were quite so many notes in the cracks between the keys'.
Irish singers' ornamenation these days is excessive ( is there a minimim of 15 grace notes per songline or what is it?) & often embarrassing, and I agree this is down to CCE competition rules good to agree on something) Strangely, pipes have gone the other way, with few pipers now using the regulators!
Anyway, I'll close there and leave it at that, contrasts in fiddle styles are not my field, but melodeon/accordeon playing is & as you gave me advice Dick, may I politely suggest restricting your advice to subjects you know about.

PS I wish I'd saved this (or some of it) for my mext Living Tradition article- I was far too polite about the current state of music in the last one.....


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 21 - 09:47 AM

Jim, i have ilLustrated AND clarified my points thRough video clips of the c sharp d system and the d dsharp ,Tattie Bogle has given us information about the bc system and its basses, and has stated that the only chord he does not have in d major is B minor
Neither have i suggested that adding extra notes is always an improvement.
irish singing styles are not what is being discussed here we are talking about instrumental music.
I understand perfectly what tradtional music is about, I also appreciate the music of jackie daly and his playing of the c sharp d box which includes using basses.
i also appreciate the playing of Fiachna Ó Mongáin on the d dsharp box and his use of harmony and basses

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny0wqN98Af4
i will not stoop to your level and witter on about pesudo intellectual crap, but will say that i find some of your commrnts reactionary[backward looking] what tim lyons [said over 50 years ago ]
As i have clearly illustrated with clips. of what is happening in this century not 1968
it is a subject that i am well informed about and i have illustated this with video clips.
Tattie bogle has also explained the BC SYSTEM and its basses


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Sep 21 - 10:12 AM

'Strangely, pipes have gone the other way, with few pipers now using the regulators!'

Not sure you are quite up to date with piping developments in the past 20 years or so Jim.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 03:39 AM

Coming back to the question I raised earlier then. What IS the difference and does it explain why some people, like me, are not as fond of Irish music as we are of some other types?

Sub question, seeing as we are an international forum. Are there differences between regions in other areas?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 04:55 AM

some of the repertoire is the same. i posted an article on English fiddling,did you read it?
it put fprward the suggestion that decoration had been more prevalent in the past.
   As to the repertoire, imo the harmonic construction of irish music, is more varied than southern english folk music ,much of which ios in the major keys, in the donegal and northumbrian[english] repertoire there is more scottish influence,
in fact the irish reel tradtion has scottish influence, some of the tunes were originally Scottish, there is an influence in the hornpipe tradtion, some of the tunes being written by a Scotsman who lived in northern England Newcastle James Hill.
Perhps you PREFER tunes in major keys.
I used to know a man who only liked baked beans and ate very little else , he is still alive, he has produced several children and is now a senior citizen
Taste is very personal


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 05:14 AM

"I used to know a man who only liked baked beans and ate very little else , "
But would you want to sit next to him in a session ?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 05:20 AM

NO


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 05:24 AM

It was alright if you were upwind of him, with a little encouragement he would do trombone impersonations, not as well as le petomane


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 05:47 AM

Peter, I,m pleased to hear your implication that that use of regulators in increasing in Ireland, I can't comment on that except that if so, I'd approve of it, as reverting to earlier styles, which I think is a good thing!

    Dick, you are happy to applaud improvements/innovations to traditional music, which by definition, has its roots in the past. I think a lot more value should be given (in music or singing) to people from the past who learned from earlier players. This is not reactionary- Tim Lyons was an example- his music was straightforward, acceptable in a social context and without all the excessive ornamentation & gimmicks prevalent today- Jimmy Shand had sinilar attributes.

    I don't think the current idolatry of folk celebs and their   antics is of any value to traditional music, and nor is the pseudo inteelectual crap of any use except to academics & nerds.

    The music has headed off in a different direction, away from this reverent and'precious' approach and into the commercial world. I don't like it & I don't think you do, but although there's not much we can do about it but detest it!- the result in my case is that I'd much prefer listening to Randy Newman or Bunk Johnson than anything on the folk scene today.

I think that'sll I have to say, it's opinion and taste & nowt to do with the thread, so I think I'll call it a day there- I'll stick to my eclectic apprach to the 'folk' repertoire if I ever get my box out of the case again....


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 07:52 AM

Jim, I was posting for my phone and was perhaps brief and perhaps giving the impression of being snide. I also want to avoid involving myself too deep into this discussion for a number of reasons.

I'd suggest pipers like Mick O'Brien, Gay McKeon (and his son Sean for that matter), Emnett Gill, Tiarnan Duinnchin, Blackie O Connell, Leonard Barry, Mickie Smyth, Colm Broderick, Eanna Drury, Kevin Rowsome, Leo Rickard and loads of others (and I would include myself in there) should lay to rest the notion regulators are a redundant piece of equipment.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 07:55 AM

Dick

If it was the link you posted as https://www.singdanceandplay.net › 2010/11 › En... PDF then, no, I didn't read it because I could not follow it. I did however post a link on English fiddle earlier and did read that.

Yes, taste is a personal thing but you are missing the point. I am trying to find out why we like one thing more than another that is very similar. Purely out interest. I was hoping this question may throw some light on that but up to now the only suggestion is about ornamentation and that has been disputed. You make an interesting point about major and minor keys but I don't think that is relevant for me as I like both!

One thing that has been touched on is music for dance. Maybe the English exponents of folk music, including fiddle players, play to a stricter tempo for dancing? I don't know if that is true though


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 08:38 AM

Dancing is popular in many parts of Ireland, especially here in the west. A lot of players will have experience of playing for the sets. I have sat for hundreds of nights playing for the sets. With Jackie Daly, as it happens, and others.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 09:11 AM

Thanks Peter. So it's not that either!


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 09:21 AM

what do you mean by stricter tempo for dancing,
you play for the dncers and at the tempo they require, that can vary, as i already pointed out for hornpipes very slow for solo step dancing, and considerably faster for sets hrnpipes and less swung, and more swung for hrnpipe country dances like belfast duck, it is not just about speed.
jim bainbridge,
we were talking about button accordions the use of harmony and basses not in `1968 but in the 21st century
i used the term reactionary as backward looking, you mentioned an example of tim lyons in 1968[that is backward looking], and does not represent chromatic bc, c sharp d or d dsharp, button accordions, played in the 21st century.
   for anyone to suggest that we should take tim lyons comment of ignoring the basses as a model, or scotch bonnets comment of playing any old notes and using basses just for percussiion, as progressive ways forward for accordion playing is ridiculous.,
    furthermore it gives a wrong impression of what these boxes capabilities are in the hands of modern players who understand harmony.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 09:26 AM

By stricter tempo I am referring to consistency rather than speed. Ie, it never speeds up or slows down.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 11:46 AM

well, my experience of playing for dancing for both english and iriash dancers is this, you spped up if the caller asks you [english] you speed up if the dancers ask you irish [because there is no caller they all know the feckin dances], so there is no difference


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,PB
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 12:00 PM

Who decides if the ornamentation/ tempo/ whatever else is "excessive"?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 12:50 PM

I think that once the speed is decided then strict tempo then sticks with that. There are some dances which require a change in speed, such as the capers in some Morris jigs, but in the main people don't expect their dances to change speed! Good examples of strict tempo can be found amongst the works of Scottish dance bands and any marching band.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 12:51 PM

Too many thens!


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 01:35 PM

oh my god, dancers dictate, do you understand Dave, you are playing for the dancers, if they want to speed up or slow down they will say [in ireland]
.people don't expect their dances to change speed!" so in England why do callers ask to speed it up or slow it down dave[ they feckin well do]
and in ireland why do dancers ask, because they feel they can dance to it better at a different speed,
they rarely change speed through a turn or an a part, but often in England when the caller feels the dancers have got the hang of the dance they will ask the band to speed up a little. but generally when the dnce starts again
so you are playing for beginners in England, you start off slowly, when they have the hang of it you go a little faster if the caller asks for it.
for morris dancing, the dancers and the conditions[ grass or concrete] dictate the speed, plus the age and agility of the dancers.
in answer to your question, it depends on the type of dances and the dncers.
now polkas in england are quite different from polkas in ireland. the dance is different and in 4 /4 in ireland they are more like 2/4


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 01:42 PM

i have had 45 years experience Dave ok


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 02:15 PM

I enjoy dance music, Dick, but nowadays I don't often dance. I am happy to accept that you have more experience. You say that the caller 'often' asks for a change of speed. How often? Is it the norm? Because I have never experienced it. Besides which, in the absence of going to dances, I listen to recorded music, watch Morris dance and go to concerts. I have never heard much change of tempo there. Apart from the capers exception I mentioned earlier. All beside the point anyway. I like music with a strict tempo. I find that, in the main, it is English and Scottish music I lean towards.

Personal taste? Yes, of course it is. I am trying to dig a bit deeper as to why that is. Purely out of an interest in human nature, not to fight. I have no quarrel with you and have not disputed anything you have said. There is no need to be so patronising.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 02:36 PM

Dave, are you suggesting that irish dance music is not played at a strict dance tempo?
live dance music is not the same beast as recorded dance music, for reasons i have already explained, beginners learning dances etc


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 03:30 PM

I have never suggested that at all. I do keep saying I don't know what it is that accounts for my tastes. Up to now ornamentation, major/minor keys and strict tempo have been suggested. You yourself have disproved that the ornamentation and tempo are no different. I like both major and minor keyed tunes. So I am back to square 1. Maybe personal tastes are just random, but I doubt it. It does link back to the question in the OP and maybe the answer lies in the linked articles but I have not yet spotted it.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 04:12 PM

maybe you are just like the guy who just liked baked beans


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Sep 21 - 04:32 PM

I enjoy the farting...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,PB
Date: 30 Sep 21 - 03:52 PM

But, as I pointed out earlier, in the modern Irish tradition, the music often isn't for dancing to. Who defines "excessive" then?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 21 - 07:30 PM

Some good points here, especially from our guest 'PB'. If we are talking about the style still current in English music sessions, then the harmonic approach of 1970s bands like Old Swan, New Victory and Flowers & Frolics remains influential. None had a guitarist, but there were banjos and brass, and all three were based around a melodeon playing the basses in the classic 'oom-pah' style. Jacky Daly and some others do use their basses, but the technique and effect are quite different. A more leisurely pace, and a preference for polka over reel, were crucial reasons why ECM has always lent itself more readily to harmony.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,PB
Date: 30 Sep 21 - 07:57 PM

Guitarist. That is the harmony that holds together both Irish and English sessions, when the melodic musicians don't have the time . space and vision to do it themselves. It takes a good clear brain to hear: what is going on (OK you know it, you've played it a hundred times before), what can happen here to make it interesting (without buggering up what the others are doing), and what you can do yourself, and finish up alongside the other... without making them look bad. Sessions are easy, and hard. If you're better than the others, the bonus is in YOU to blend in.

Back to fiddling. No difference until recently invented stuff.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Brian Peters
Date: 30 Sep 21 - 08:07 PM

I was in the privileged position of being the guitarist in an English dance band otherwise composed entirely of melody instruments. 'World', 'oyster', etc.

make it interesting (without buggering up what the others are doing)

Well I tried. With varying degrees of success...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 01:51 AM

I spent last night at a concert by two very fine fiddle players. It would be extremely silly to think they didn't have the time or vision to pla harmonies. Or needed a backer to hold them together. They didn't need any of that. I don't know why it is so hard yo accept for you guys that the Irish tradition is a melodic one that gets its impact from something else than harmony.
And Jackie Daly, getting a mention just before a statement about a preference for polkas over reels that is apparently lacking in Irish players. It makes me wonder.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 03:31 AM

modern [ as played in the 21st century] irish tradtional music is used for dancing, the proof of this is that the dancers are so familiar with the dances they do not need a caller.
in answer to Brian Peters remarks, speed bears not relation to the use of harmony, and furthermore the speed for dancing in ireland and for playing for dancing does vary a lot
the prefernce for polka over reel is not entirely accurate[ we are talking here only about southern english music not northumbrian. in comparion to irish music .
firstly irish music uses2/4 polkas slides reels jigs mazurkas hornpipes, southern english music used jigs[ a musical form mostly of irish origin and 4/4 polkas] which were originally of european origin.
just as there is variation in speed and tempo between southern english music and northummbrian music, so there is s variation in speed and tempo betweenvarious regional styles in Ireland.
speed and tempo bears no relation to the abilty to use harmony.
I too played in an English Country dance band in the 1970sand 1980s. and
having played both have to say in fairness that the harmonic structure of irish music is more varied.
I notice too that two people who i used to play with in a band john and katie howson, also now play sliabh luchra music which of course is irish
The fault of playing too fast is never the fault of the music, but of the players playing it.
and in my experience in the 1970s it was the fault of some irish musicians in England who played in sessions and who were not playing for dancing
I have been insulted on this thread by somebody who has exposed their ignorance of the bc, csharp d, and d dsharp system.
nothing, i have said is anything other than an accurate recollection and statement, and is not pseudo intellectual crap, some people on this forum and on this thread need to get their facts right


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 03:46 AM

one other point.
In relation to speed the faster the player goes the more difficult it becomes to ornament the tune, that is my experience

I was running a folk festival session in the uk four years ago, trying to accomodate people playing both english and irish music,
when a xenophobic rude person [who was playing amandolin banjo badly]. got up complaining about too much irish music
i am not prepared to put up with xenophobic crap in relation to music


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 04:00 AM

I don't know why it is so hard yo accept for you guys that the Irish tradition is a melodic one that gets its impact from something else than harmony.

This is clear, obvious and accepted. I was merely trying to suggest why English music as played over the last 40 years has evolved in its own particular direction.

Of course Irish music doesn't lack polkas (though in my limited experience they don't dominate ITM sessions), but the whole 'No Reels' approach in England - especially the South as Dick says - revolved around polkas played at a particular pace. Some of us in the North put a lot of effort in to finding alternative approaches, but this style - driven by melodeons playing oom-pah style - is still very influential.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 04:01 AM


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 04:02 AM

if one analyses musically, most of the tunes in the southern english folk repertoire that i hear played they are in the major key, a very small percentage are in the dorian mode.
irish music uses the dorian mode, the major key, the mixolydian[flat 7] and to a lesser extent the aeolian mode
northumbrian english music, has more of a scottish influence and uses mixolydian, dorian, and the major key
Shetland music is intersting too, particularly the harmonic influence of guitarist, peerie willie, who learned his style from listening to jazz guitarist eddie lang., on shortwave radio during the second world war
a wonderful example of crossover between jazz and trad.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 05:25 AM

'This is clear, obvious and accepted.'

Is it though Brian?

When I read this thread the comments of some people have me wondering if that is really the case.

A like :

[i]'Guitarist. That is the harmony that holds together both Irish and English sessions, when the melodic musicians don't have the time . space and vision to do it themselves.'[/i]

with its suggestion some musicians don't have the vision to do something, when in fact they don't have the need and don't need 'holding together' the music is complete in itself.


As I said, I listened to two very fine fiddlers playing to their heart's content last night and there was nothibng missing. In fact I think putting a guitarist in that context would have only acted as a distraction. These musicians had great rapport, and a quick witted exchange of on the spot musical ideas, a constant interplay of humour, divilment and plain ordibary fun interaction. That's what Irish music is about.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Brian Peters
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 06:34 AM

Peter, your two fiddlers sound wonderful, and I'd have loved to hear them. I remember seeing Patrick Street (who of course did have a guitarist) a number of years ago and, although it was a great concert throughout, the piece that really stood out for me was Kevin Burke's solo fiddle performance, which exhibited all kinds of subtleties and a superb grasp of dynamics.

I claim no expertise in the matter, but I have always understood that a 'pure drop' Irish session would consist mostly or only of melodic instruments, and that guitars are generally considered unnecessary. That said, prominent concert acts (Planxty, Bothy Band, Patrick Street, Hayes & Cahill) have over the years used either bouzoukis or guitars to fill out a harmonic accompaniment. I'm still not sure, though, whether this is quite what the OP was asking about!


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 06:49 AM

I wouldn't suggest accompaniment hasn't been used to great effect. But neither do I think that was the OP's focus.

The fiddlers were part of a series of young musicians playing with an older one that inspired them. A series started before Covid, with a brief reprise when the first lockdown ended during the summer of 2020 and now back in full flight. They were Sorcha Costello and Frankie Gavin.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: matt milton
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 08:01 AM

My suspicion is that the OP is thinking largely of modern groups. (By 'modern' I mean anything really from the last 40 years) If you think of recordings of English groups, it's hard to think of any group that doesn't arrange their material in thoroughly harmonised form (or what a jazzer would call reharmonized or reharm versions).

As some have pointed out above, there are certain instruments that harmonise by default - eg pipes with their drone. While this unquestionably a type of harmony, there's still a world of difference between a piper and a fiddler duetting in an Irish pub recorded on an old Topic album for example and, say, what Leveret or English Acoustic Collective do. I'd love it if more English musicians made 'pure drop' albums.

For instance, I've heard both Sam Sweeney and John Dipper playing entirely solo sets live, and in both cases I thought it was way more engaging and subtler yet also more intense than in their group recordings.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,PB
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 10:41 AM

You're right, in the hands of some (relatively few in my experience) really good players, the fiddle, flute, whistle, etc. can carry it off with neither rhythm nor harmony/ chordal backing. Again, in my experience, it's more likely to work for solo or duet melody than larger groups, and I was implicitly referring to session playing. I'd expect professionals to be able to do it; it's their job to be good. But the average (not power) session, with the usual mixed bag of competences and confidences, can certainly be made a better experience for both players and eavesdroppers by a good chordal rhythmic backing. I've a particular guitarist in mind, and he's certainly not me. He isn't actually a brilliant guitarist as such, but he can make almost any session gel. His only fault is the tendency to start djangoing after the fifth pint...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,scotch bonnet
Date: 02 Oct 21 - 09:22 AM

PB- When those solo instruments are well played, they need no musical harmony or accompaniment, except probably a well-placed rhythmic FOOT.

My previous comment were about accordeon players in Ireland but my point about percussion (often with a loud footstomp as well) is surely supporteded by the players of the instruments you mention.

There is an obsession today with alleged progress- quite apart from the 21st century advances in harmony on traditional instruments, which I'd question, what does the Sandman think about the discordant, syncopated & arhythmic destruction of Irish tunes practiced by so many guitarists, bouzoukhi players & such?

Personally and I'd stress it's IMHO I'd MUCH rather listen to a single melody line with a tackety boot accompaniment on any instrument.

How many decent singers and musicians feel the commercial need to form the **** .... BAND' of musicians with little in common with the originator of it all?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Oct 21 - 09:51 AM

There is a feeling, a pressure, when putting a cd together it will appeal to a broader audience when accompaniment is added.

At one point I put together a recoding with an old style concertina player, several people had a quiet word we should add backing. I resisted that. Quite a few other musicians commented once the thing was done what a delight it was to just have ourselves playing away. But to a lot of musicians a recording is a calling card, a means yo an end and they will try appeal to a broader taste.

I hear quite a few recordings of Irish music where accompaniment is run of the mill, not adding anything, as far as I'm concerned.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: meself
Date: 02 Oct 21 - 11:15 AM

Generally speaking, music with accompaniment, so to speak, is more 'accessible' to a general audience. It just is.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 02 Oct 21 - 11:54 AM

Perhaps a silly question but how does the music of Turlough O'Carolan fit into this?
I find it to be very much a harmony based music, but would you say it has much to do with ITM?

Robin


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 02 Oct 21 - 12:38 PM

O'Carolan was a harper i n the bardic tradition that died out by the early 19th century. He was also influenced by Germiniani's music. A different thing altogether perhaps.

Last night there was a bit on tellie around Seá O'Riada's 50th anniversary, in it some surviving musicians who were in Ceoltóirí Chualann were interviewed, talking about O'Riada's interest in Carolan's music the comments were (paraphrasing) 'we played that sort of music because he liked it, it was his sort of music' implying it was more the classical sort of thing a man like O'Riada was into.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 03 Oct 21 - 05:22 AM

more about O Riada on the excellent John Bowman archive programme on RTE dadio 1 thia morning at 8.30.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 03 Oct 21 - 08:52 AM

The link to John Bowman's, mentioned by Jim:

John Bowman, Sunday 3 Oct


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Oct 21 - 04:43 PM

what does the Sandman think about the discordant, syncopated & arhythmic destruction of Irish tunes practiced by so many guitarists, bouzoukhi players & such? quote
do you consider my opinions important? I am not sure i am qualified to comment, i tend to listen to specific fiddlers or musicians, none of whom do that kind of sycopated rhytmic destruction of tunes,to use the words of Scotch Bonnet
i do remember that some SOUTHERN English musicians did that kind of thing back in the 80s and 90s, i thought it was UNINSPRING AND PREDICTABLE.
I also thought that some of the brass trombone playing of one or two of those musicians was fairly low grade but perhaps i was spoiled I had a relative NatPeck who was a jazz trombonist who played with among others Dizzy Gillespie AND who had been a member of Glenn Millers band ,
my ex wife Sue Miles was an excellent baas clarinet player, with grade 8 examination pass, who knocked spots off some of the bass brass players of those southern english country dance no reels bands.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 21 - 07:26 AM

of course there is no reason why musicians playing southern english music should not borrow ideas as regards ornamentation from irish fiddlers, in my opinion the only thing to remember is to not let the ornamentation interfere with danceabilty


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 21 - 12:17 PM

however laudable and deserving anyone is of a Grade 8 music exam pass, WTF has it to do with traditional music?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 21 - 04:36 PM

That depends, having a good technique is important in any music including tradtional, it enables the player to achieve what they want to, having a good technique is not about showing off,., but having the tools to be able express what you want to, to be able to express yourself because you have the technique to control your instrument, the technique to be able to use emphasis and use dynamics to get lift in to the music, a person who has got a grade 8 cert in classical music will have learned how to do that and will have the technique .
if the person has also listened to a lot of trad music as well then they will have a good idea of style and can use their technique to play trad music well of courses musicality is important as well, good technique is a tool to express musicality.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 21 - 04:48 PM

Most top irish and English fiddlers have A GOOD TECHNIQUE the technique to express themselves, anybody who seriously thinks that tradtional music does not require good technique is insulting traditional music, THAT DOES NOT MEAN they have had to pass an exam.
but getting grade 8 is not possible without good technique, so it is an indicator of a certain high standard of technique.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Oct 21 - 04:57 PM

here is a track in question and the bass clarinet player, playing the sort of country dance english music that a lot of southern english folk bands played at that time, that is your answer anonymous guest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boqwtu3xPzU


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 03:28 AM

furthermore I learned a lot from listening and playing music with someone who had the technique to express their musicality, i have also learned a lot by listening to musicians with good technique and musicality who were without musical examination passes,
to return to the anonymous guest who said wtf has a grade 8 cert got to do with playing folk music.
I remember a group called PYEWACKETT who i believe had been classically trained musicians, and were very popular on the uk folk scene


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 05:05 AM

Well I know someone who has Grade 8 in two different instruments. He had the talent to play all the notes in the right order with a good sense of rhythm and tempo but he got there with very little actual enthusiasm. If you spend half the bloody lessons playing up and down scales, that's hardly surprising, is it?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 07:00 AM

I agree to some extent, Steve,
some people maintain enthusiasm despite that, but teaching of technique is not solely about playing scales, much can depend on the teacher trying to make it interesting.
There are ways of making playing of scales intersting, USING TUNES to illustrate scales. Winster gallop is a very good one for beginners
ATHOL HIGHLANDERS is good for arpeggios.
Random jig is good for octave practice
there is a very good sliabh luchra polka that is very good for playing the dorian scale and so on. using tunes to illustrate scales modes octave practice broken chords etc


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 07:03 AM

Furthermore, learning by ear is also part of classical teaching it is called aural skills.
classical teaching is not just about playing scales


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 07:48 AM

________________________________________________________________________________________
Keegan, Niall. The Parameters of Style in Irish Traditional Music.   
Inbhear, Volume 1, Issue 1. © Inbhear, Journal of Irish Music and Dance, 2010. www.inbhear.ie

p89

Anyone familiar with traditional Irish music would know that the time values
are not observed strictly as above. However we can see here the common
paradigms of the older musicians playing slower and dancers needing the
music too fast emerging   


Instrument Specific Techniques

Many, if not all, instruments, possess capacities for techniques and effects on
their own instruments that are not quantifiable by the above and are
individual to that specific instrument or perceived family of instruments.
Many of the categories above group techniques individual to certain
instruments but quantified by their audible effect. For example, articulation is
achieved on the fiddle by changing the direction of the bow, the pipes by
stopping all the holes on the chanter, the whistle and flute by stopping the
flow of air into the instrument using the tongue or throat.   However, here we
are talking about techniques also individual to certain instruments that don’t
fall into the categorical structures above and have distinct audible effects.
When examined it is true to say that many of these instrument techniques are
associated with the capacity of the instrument in question playing more than
one tone at any one time, and doing so very often to primarily produce
rhythmical emphasis or provide a harmonic accompaniment. They include:

Instrument Technique Description
Fiddle Double-
stopping
Playing more than one string at one time to
produce a chord or drone.
Banjo   Chording Playing chords at strategic points in the tune
Pipes Regulator
playing
The employment of the regulator pipes, laying
across the lap of the piper, to provide a basic
harmonic and rhythmical accompaniment.
Accordion Use of
Bass
Providing basic rhythmical and harmonic
accompaniment with the left hand
Concertina Octaving

Playing the melody in two octaves simultaneously

Fig. 21. Instrument specific techniques " quote.
So it would appear that irish and english fiddling have this in common
Fiddle Double-
stopping
Playing more than one string at one time to
produce a chord or drone


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 09:27 AM

In the words of the mighty Mi****l G**l, Dick, why practise scales when tunes ARE scales...

(I promise not to mention him again...) ;-)


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 10:08 AM

Well, if you are a button player,say on a unisonic concertina, here is a reason, in small doses it can be useful for mastering finger attack, the same goes for blowing instruments, scales maybe for a couple of minutes using tongueing, finger attack. for unisonic concertinas for practising bellows reversals,
i might then try it out on a tune, if i was a fiddler and i was once but had trouble with intonation i might very briefly use a scale to practise trebling [bow ornamentation] before experimenting with it in a tune.
i admit i do not practise scales much, but do a little bit now and again on the concertina, a lot of them use different finger patterns, so it fsmilarises the player with different keys ,but i agree playing tunes in different keys is a more fun way to do it


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 10:12 AM

for beginners wanting to develop ones ear playing a scale of a major key, then trying to play particular intervals, lets say in thirds, then trying out lets say the dorian mode flat 3rd. flat 7 of major key, as well as playing easy REPETITIVE tunes like when the saints. i think it is a mistake to dismiss scales altogether


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 10:18 AM

IF You take 30 KEY CG ANGLO[ bisonic] and practise the scale of g major and then practise it starting on the C row, so you are now crossing the rows, it again familarises your fingers with the different patterns and directions, and initially is easier than the easiest tune, AND THEN PRACTISE THE SCALE OF D MAJOR STARTING ON THE C ROW.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 11:22 AM

The Belfast Hornpipe is great for chops for up-and-down scales...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 12:15 PM

I agree, but i do not like to be dogmatic about being anti scales or pro sales


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 12:18 PM

The teaching of an instrument via grades is pretty dogmatic about scales...


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 04:35 PM

really, I have not done it, have you? I understood they taught other things as well, how is it done in 2021. i also understood that CCE also taught using grades SEE BELOW
SCT Exam Info

    About the SCT Exams
    History of the SCT Exams
    Taking the Exams
    Applications & Syllabus
    SCT Grade Structure Changes & Exam Fees

You can register online for the SCT Exams
About the SCT Exams

There’s more to Irish traditional music than just playing tunes. Musical works have histories and stories, just as musicians today stand on the shoulders of giants from the past. The SCT (Scrúdu Ceol Tíre) programme is a graded series of exams designed to take you as a musician from basic proficiency in tune-playing through to a mastery of the tradition. Along the way you’ll learn about music theory, improve your ear and research the history of musical pieces, styles and players. Oh, and play tunes, of course!

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History of the SCT Exams

Since the founding of Comhaltas in 1951, traditional musicians have achieved recognition through our Fleadh Cheoil competitions at county, provincial, and All-Ireland levels. While this remains a prestigious way to demonstrate playing ability, it seemed appropriate to create a broader framework of measurement for traditional music to include not only performance, but also sources of tunes, regional styles and so forth. The programme set out to offer formal recognition to a broader group of traditional musicians while at the same time strengthening the tradition itself through more intensive study.

Comhaltas and the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) established the Traditional Irish Music Examination as a joint project to meet these goals. The programme was launched by President Mary McAleese at Dublin Castle on 14 December, 1998.

In February 2003 Comhaltas assumed full responsibility for administering and developing all aspects of the examination.

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Taking the Exams

The exam is offered annually between March and June in locations throughout Ireland and the United States. Applicants are assigned a time slot with an experienced examiner who listens to performances and also speaks informally with the student about the theory and history of traditional music. Most SCT applicants are entered by their music teachers, who have the best sense of which level to enter. Passing the exam entitles the student to a certificate of proficiency and the right to progress to the next level of evaluation.

The SCT programme includes 12 levels of competence:

    Elementary (3 Levels)
    Grade (8 Levels)
    Advanced Performance Certificate

At the early Elementary levels, candidates play just two tunes and complete some basic music theory exercises. At the Senior levels, these advanced musicians are expected to play selections from a broad range of musical types, including appropriate ornamentation and other embellishments. Senior candidates also submit written submissions on a topic from the SCT syllabus.

Completion of the Senior Cycle serves as a further step towards the TTCT Teaching Diploma Course.

Back To Top
Applications & Syllabus

    Online Registration for the SCT
    Offline Registration (by post) for the SCT
    SCT Syllabus
    Research Project Cover Sheet DOC, PDF

Printed copies of the syllabus are available on request from Comhaltas - contact us for details. The SCT syllabus is also available for download.

If you are interested in taking the examination, you should first discuss this with your music teacher or local Comhaltas branch secretary ( Find a branch )

When you and your teacher have agreed on a level to enter, you can either register online for the SCT Exams or download the SCT application form. If you have any questions, you may contact us via email for more information at sct@comhaltas.ie. Due to limited staff, we’re sorry that we cannot accept SCT queries via telephone.

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SCT Grade Structure Changes & Exam Fees
2016 Onwards         Fee         (2015)
Elementary 1         €25         (Elementary Cycle 1)
Elementary 2         €25         (Elementary Cycle 2)
Elementary 3         €25         (Elementary Cycle 3)
Grade 1         €30         (Junior Cycle 1)
Grade 2         €30         (Junior Cycle 2)
Grade 3         €35         (Junior Cycle 3)
Grade 4         €40         (Junior Cycle 4)
Grade 5         €45         (Junior Cycle 5)
Grade 6         €50         (Senior Cycle 1)
Grade 7         €60         (Senior Cycle 2)
Grade 8         €70         (Senior Cycle 3/Senior Cycle 4) *
Advanced Performance Certificate         €90         *

* 2016: Candidates who received minimum Distinction grade (in Performance section) in Senior 3 or minimum Honours Grade (in Performance section) in Senior 4 exams during or before 2015 can choose to enter at either Grade 8 or Advanced Performance Certificate level in 2016. Candidates who have achieved a grade other than Distinction in Performance section of Senior 3 (in 2015 or earlier) are eligible to take the Grade 8 examination only in 2016.

* 2017: Candidates for Advanced Performance Certificate must have achieved minimum overall Honours grade in Grade 8 examination.

* 2018: Candidates for Advanced Performance Certificate must have achieved minimum overall Honours grade in Grade 8 examination, and have passed Grade 7 examination.

* 2019 onwards: Candidates for Advanced Performance Certificate must have achieved minimum overall Honours grade in Grade 8 examination and have passed Grade 7 and Grade 6 examinations.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Oct 21 - 04:46 PM

Or we could just play the music and have fun...?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Oct 21 - 01:17 AM

the op must understand that despite CCE efforts there is not just one style of itish fiddling but a number of regional styles which are quite differnt, there is also a difference between northumbrian style and southern english style.
in answer to steve shaw, learning and taking exams can be fun depending on how the subject is taught.
the problem IMO with CCE approach is it is an attempt to standarise style, including fiddle styles, CCE exams are becoming less important as there are plenty of good you tube lessons that demonstrate regional styles of irish fiddling which do not involve exams


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Oct 21 - 03:07 PM

accoording to a book i have on fiddle bowing by Tom McConville he states that he would emphasise beats 2 and 4 with a down bow,
i do not know if English fiddlers would do this,scottish fiidllers apparantly emphasise beats 2 and 4.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Oct 21 - 02:56 AM

so if the player wants to emphasise particular notes this is where bisonic instruents like the anglo concertina do not have the same control, they appear on first hearing to have more bounce, but the bounce is more difficult to control, the gd melodeon or button accordion has more options for cross rowi playing to smooth things out or emphasise certain notes but it still has limitations.
unisonic concertinas can reverse bellows wherever they like, so if the player wants to emphasise in a fashion similiar to scottish or irish fiddlers they can do the emphasis wherever they like in the tune.
   all sytems of concertinas or diatonic acordions can also use finger attack to try and overcome the problem of being particular with emphasis.


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 21 - 04:40 AM

when is the PhD?


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Subject: RE: Question about Irish vs English fiddling
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Oct 21 - 07:07 AM

there will not be one but i am happy to help others IF they want help


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