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Question about Irish vs English fiddling

The Sandman 08 Oct 21 - 07:07 AM
GUEST 08 Oct 21 - 04:40 AM
The Sandman 08 Oct 21 - 02:56 AM
The Sandman 07 Oct 21 - 03:07 PM
The Sandman 07 Oct 21 - 01:17 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Oct 21 - 04:46 PM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 04:35 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Oct 21 - 12:18 PM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 12:15 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Oct 21 - 11:22 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 10:18 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 10:12 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 10:08 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Oct 21 - 09:27 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 07:48 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 07:03 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 07:00 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Oct 21 - 05:05 AM
The Sandman 06 Oct 21 - 03:28 AM
The Sandman 05 Oct 21 - 04:57 PM
The Sandman 05 Oct 21 - 04:48 PM
The Sandman 05 Oct 21 - 04:36 PM
GUEST 05 Oct 21 - 12:17 PM
The Sandman 05 Oct 21 - 07:26 AM
The Sandman 04 Oct 21 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 03 Oct 21 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 03 Oct 21 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Oct 21 - 12:38 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 02 Oct 21 - 11:54 AM
meself 02 Oct 21 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 02 Oct 21 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,scotch bonnet 02 Oct 21 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,PB 01 Oct 21 - 10:41 AM
matt milton 01 Oct 21 - 08:01 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Oct 21 - 06:49 AM
Brian Peters 01 Oct 21 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Oct 21 - 05:25 AM
The Sandman 01 Oct 21 - 04:02 AM
GUEST 01 Oct 21 - 04:01 AM
Brian Peters 01 Oct 21 - 04:00 AM
The Sandman 01 Oct 21 - 03:46 AM
The Sandman 01 Oct 21 - 03:31 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 01 Oct 21 - 01:51 AM
Brian Peters 30 Sep 21 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,PB 30 Sep 21 - 07:57 PM
Brian Peters 30 Sep 21 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,PB 30 Sep 21 - 03:52 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Sep 21 - 04:32 PM
The Sandman 29 Sep 21 - 04:12 PM
Dave the Gnome 29 Sep 21 - 03:30 PM
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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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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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.

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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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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: 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 - 10:08 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: 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 - 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: 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 - 07:00 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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 - 04:36 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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,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: 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 - 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: 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
Date: 01 Oct 21 - 04:01 AM


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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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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 - 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 - 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: 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: 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 - 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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