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Question about Irish vs English fiddling

The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 07:39 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 07:43 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 25 Sep 21 - 09:05 AM
meself 25 Sep 21 - 09:38 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 10:31 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 10:35 AM
GUEST 25 Sep 21 - 10:46 AM
Manitas_at_home 25 Sep 21 - 11:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Sep 21 - 11:53 AM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 12:25 PM
Dave the Gnome 25 Sep 21 - 12:31 PM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 03:07 PM
The Sandman 25 Sep 21 - 04:08 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Sep 21 - 08:58 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Sep 21 - 09:28 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 01:57 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 02:00 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 02:47 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Sep 21 - 03:29 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 04:29 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 21 - 04:33 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 21 - 05:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Sep 21 - 05:43 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 21 - 06:16 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 21 - 06:58 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 21 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 26 Sep 21 - 07:34 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 11:17 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 11:20 AM
GUEST 26 Sep 21 - 01:49 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 21 - 02:16 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 21 - 02:19 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 03:17 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 03:27 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Sep 21 - 03:43 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 03:53 PM
The Sandman 26 Sep 21 - 04:25 PM
Manitas_at_home 26 Sep 21 - 05:27 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 21 - 06:52 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 21 - 01:31 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 21 - 03:16 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 21 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Sep 21 - 06:09 AM
The Sandman 28 Sep 21 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Sep 21 - 10:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 Sep 21 - 03:39 AM
The Sandman 29 Sep 21 - 04:55 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 21 - 05:14 AM
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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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