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Music Etiquette Thought For The Day

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Little Neophyte 05 Jun 00 - 10:46 AM
Midchuck 05 Jun 00 - 11:23 AM
black walnut 05 Jun 00 - 11:32 AM
Mbo 05 Jun 00 - 11:36 AM
black walnut 05 Jun 00 - 11:56 AM
Whistle Stop 05 Jun 00 - 12:52 PM
katlaughing 05 Jun 00 - 01:27 PM
SeanM 05 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Mrr 05 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM
Gary T 05 Jun 00 - 01:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jun 00 - 02:01 PM
Little Neophyte 05 Jun 00 - 04:23 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Jun 00 - 04:38 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 00 - 05:30 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 05 Jun 00 - 05:58 PM
GUEST 05 Jun 00 - 06:04 PM
Irish sergeant 05 Jun 00 - 06:15 PM
SeanM 05 Jun 00 - 06:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jun 00 - 06:57 PM
keltcgrasshoppper 05 Jun 00 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayerwhodoesn'tknowbetter 05 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM
kendall 05 Jun 00 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,Seaman Staines 05 Jun 00 - 08:32 PM
Mark Cohen 05 Jun 00 - 11:33 PM
Ebbie 05 Jun 00 - 11:57 PM
Ebbie 05 Jun 00 - 11:59 PM
Brendy 06 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM
catspaw49 06 Jun 00 - 12:13 AM
Brendy 06 Jun 00 - 12:27 AM
Ella who is Sooze 06 Jun 00 - 04:53 AM
Easy Rider 06 Jun 00 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Marion 06 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM
Little Neophyte 06 Jun 00 - 08:19 PM
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Subject: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 10:46 AM

I joined some of my friends at a party Saturday night where we all sat around a big bond fire. Many of the people who attended the party are involved in music so gradually people started pulling out their instruments. There were many drums of all different shapes and sizes. I would say, half the musical group had drums. The other half had guitars and there were a few singers. The drums would get a rhythm going and then the guitars on the other side of the fire would start strumming to their own tune which seemed different from the drums. I found the circle was split. Guess who one every time? The drums.
Watching these dynamics there was no way I was going to pull out my banjo. There didn't seem to be a cohesive group to join in with. So I just sat there and let the two groups battle it out. It actually got kind of humorous to watch.
Eventully I did pull out my banjo, but it was at the end of the evening when it felt timely.
I felt good about being able to assess the situation and feel some of my wise decisions had to do with discussing these kinds of musical etiquette situations here on the Mudcat.
Thanks guys,

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:23 AM

At the risk of thread creep:

I forgot to add to my list for what to take to Old Songs, a sharp knife - in case the drum circles won't listen when asked to shut up. (Not advocating cutting any people, just drumheads.)

These bunches of drummers can ruin a whole festival. They cut right through any attempt to jam anywhere on the grounds.

May all the gods and/or goddesses that men and/or women worship damn them all to the deepest pits of the most loathsome hells that any religion can dream up.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:32 AM

sounds like they needed a referee. i think i would have stood up and shouted 'SHUT UP AND TAKE TURNS'!

or maybe i would have just left quietly into the darkness, seeking some peace and silence......

~black walnut who can't stand racket


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Mbo
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:36 AM

I woulda encouraged them to play in time with each other! I know I'd be playing to the drums, rhythm, not the other guitar players, cause drums ROCK!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:56 AM

indeed, mbo, that is another option, and definitely the most honourable. blessed are the peacemakers....

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 12:52 PM

This is one of the reasons I avoid large gatherings of musicians -- they often don't really play together, and frequently everyone is so anxious to play that they don't give others the space they need to play something good or meaningful. Trying to "jam" with any more than a handful of players is an exercise in frustration, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 01:27 PM

I love the drums, too, Mbo, as long as everyone is in balance. Seems to me we do a pretty good job of that in HearMe, but maybe it is partly because we can only be heard one at a time per mic.

Bonnie, in a large gathering like that, maybe the musicians need a "Talking Stick" to pass around to be fair and give everyone time to perform. Sounds as though you did a bang up job and you should be proud of yourself, darlin'.

kat


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: SeanM
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 01:31 PM

'S true that large groups of musicians don't tend to improv together well unless they're used to each other's styles...

But, in defense of the drummers, unless I misread BBonnie's original post, it sounds as if they had begun by offering a beat to be followed, and the guitars just didn't follow it.

It all goes back to preschool... sometimes you wish people would think of the music as the toys, and be prepared to share. Hogging the tune by refusing to join with those around you is just as bad as the schoolyard bully who won't let the rest of the class play on the slide...

M


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 01:35 PM

Boy, this reminds me of a joke... Ever started one of those long shaggy-dog story kinds of jokes and just as you get to the punchline, the other person figures out that they've heard it before? And isn't that annoying? Well, I was telling the joke this thread reminds me of, and before I got to the punchline the guy jumps in with the punch line - only it wasn't MY punchline, and it was even funnier than the one I'd been planning to use!
Anyway, if anyone wants to read the joke with drumheads in it, let me know..


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Gary T
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 01:41 PM

Okay, Mrr, now I'm dying of curiosity.

Bonnie, it sounds like you handled that situation nicely. Hope you had a good time.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 02:01 PM

Remember the old one "What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?" "A drummer."

The drum is a fine instrument. But played with other non-percussion instruments, one at a time is enough. Lots of drummers and such together can have a fine time, like in a samba band dancing around.

I'd suggest taking a box of matches, and making a separate fire for the non-drummers. Two campfires, two different types of music, and people can drift back and forth between them as they choose.

Or three fires - one for the tunes, one for the singers, and one for the drums (and those who want to play along with them). That's not divisive either, it's live and let live - what is divisive is people playing against each other, and resenting each other's presence.

Oh yes, Bonnie - "a big bond fire" - is that a typing error for band, or is it some term I've not come across before? Something to do with whiskey maybe?


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 04:23 PM

Oh, that sounds good McGrath, a Big Band fire
Yep Gary, I had a great time.
Although they seem like good ideas, I am not sure these people would have wanted seperate fires or a 'Talking Stick'. I think this is just how their parties are.
These people are basically all good friends who know each other quite well and seem to have a high tolerance level for what goes on at these parties. It isn't something knew.
SeanM, you were right the drummers offered up a beat to follow but the guitars just didn't follow it. Then the guitars started a song, but the drummers seemed not to be really following it. And on and on it went.

Then later in the night an unexpected guest arrived who is an excellent guitar player and song writer. Some of the drummers would start arguing with the other drummers telling them to 'shut up' because everyone wanted to hear this particular musician perform. But as he started each song, once again a drummer would turn to the other drummers yelling 'shut up!'. It was really funny.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 04:38 PM

OH, KIDDO ARE YOU LEARNING!!

The "folk music life" will continue to be a dichotomy for as long as you keep playing (which, I hope is a long time). This is why one of my all-time favourite quotes is "Pete Seeger taught the world to sing........and we'll never forgive him for it!"

Have you ever noticed in the various "Jam etiquette" threads, how people get VERY heated? People who suggest that everyone get in tune, are often put down for "trying to make the music 'professional". People who specifically ask others (or certain others) NOT to play along, risk a lot of criticism.

Check out some of the "bodrhan" threads. A BAD drummer is hugely irritating. But of course "bad" players rarely know they are, and it's the person who tries to "organise" a bit who usually gets dumped on.

My experience over 30+ years has been that , no matter how simple or basic the music is, the experienced players will happily pick away, but the moment that chaos or rudeness takes over....they just kind of disappear into the shadows. It happens in Jam sessions, song circles etc. Simplicity and manners will never scare anyone away...but cacaphony will.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 05:30 PM

Why does Dweebo insist on knotting up every utterance with immature zeal so completely inane?

Grow up Dweebo.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 05:58 PM

Well Mbo..Being a drummer myself..I'd have to agree with you..I've been to song circles that were at best cold, uninviting.. But I've been to drumming circles that welcomed all...I think that the fire that Bonnie discribed sounded like a great time.. and I'm sure that whenever she broke in with her Banjo it would have been just fine..I think sometimes we make this music thing too closed and we miss the chance of meeting and or hearing some amazing stuff...Ie Mbo's guitar work on hearme....


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 06:04 PM

Dweebo may sound good on HearMe. Dweebo may sound good at the bonfire. Dweebo may sound good on fire.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 06:15 PM

Bonnie: I have to tell you the best "Jam" I ever had was last year at a reenatment in Sutton, MAss. We had three guitars, two fiddles, a harp, two tin whistles, a banjo, mandolin and a bodhran. It sounded great and everyone had fun. Seems that was around a bonfire also. Burn, baby, burn. Neil


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: SeanM
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 06:41 PM

If we want to start comparing bests...

Mine was a completely impromptu set at the Auburn County Faire in Northern California. I was part of a larger "old west" camp that was made up of several different acts... One morning, while one of the fiddlers was tuning her fiddle to a piano before opening, she struck up a Hungarian Gypsy reel (or something similar)... the rest of the musicians quickly wound up playing along... by the end, I think we had 3 fiddles, a mandolin, 2 guitars, a flute, a whistle, 2 bodrhans, and any number of people staring at us through the gates... THAT was half an hour of joy.

We now return you to your normal, undrifted thread.

M


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 06:57 PM

One bodhran good. Two bodhrans at once - well maybe. Three bodhrans at once, head for the bar or the tent. The thing is, if the fellas know how to play, they'll know to take it in turns so there's never any more than 2 at a time. And if three fellas who don't know are playing at the same time, that's no place to be.

Mind, you can say almost the same with guitars. Except that there are probably more ways that guitars can be played alongside each other without interfering with each other. Can be played, I said.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 07:02 PM

Well said McGrath.....being a bodhran player..I can say that when you get someone pounding away on a tourist drum with not a clue about timimg its BAD..but I've been at sessions with three or even more who swap off and its amazing to hear.....KGH


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST,Rich(stupidbodhranplayerwhodoesn'tknowbetter
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 07:07 PM

Bonnie, you're gonna find that in an open session bad etiquette usually "wins". People playing too loud are going to drown out people playing at a lower level. One person playing out of tune or out of time, will often drag down a host of solid musicians. One player who refuses to sit out and take turns will keep playing, forcing others to either sit out or answer bad etiquette with more bad etiquette. (This last scenario comes up often with multiple bodhran players at a session.) ON a brighter note, people who show good etiquette at open sessions are more likely to be invited at closed sessions, house parties, dances etc.
If you keep your side of the street clean and play with others as opposed to playing over others or against others, in the long run you'll be better off and even in the immediate future, at least you're not part of the problem.
Cheers,
Rich


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: kendall
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 07:40 PM

I'm with Rick on this one. The worst thing you can do is to encourage a fathead by sticking around for his "showing off". Just leave.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST,Seaman Staines
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 08:32 PM

Throw them overboard, I'd say


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:33 PM

Gee, I just assumed a big bond fire was what people did with their certificates after the market crashed.

I've been told that one of the rooms in Hell looks like a pub, and the house band is called "Nine Bodhrans and a Whistle." They don't take requests.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:57 PM

I say that drums are to music what a Harley is to motorcycles. They tend to be so aggressively in your face you can't play with them or correct the beat or ignore them. At a local folk festival, after one really bad - meaning, invasive- year, the lot have since been relegated to a local park 4 blocks away.

At the same time I love rhythm- so I'm not sure why my spine curdles when the drums begin. Sorry, Mbo!

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Jun 00 - 11:59 PM

Sorry: I should make it clear that I'm not talking about bodhrans. I love a good bodhran player. :)


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Brendy
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 12:03 AM

It helps, though, Ebbie if the Harley guy knows how to drive a bike.

Seamus Ennis - "The only way to play a Bodhrán is with a penknife"

B.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 12:13 AM

Hmmm........Never thought of that Ebbie. Let's see...They're loud, obnoxious, technically unsophisticated, anachronistic, often gawdy, and often require alot of tinkering to be marginally usable. Do bodhrans leak oil by any chance?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Brendy
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 12:27 AM

It's a good idea to rub oil (animal fat) into the skin of a bodhrán. I know that a lot of people use water, but I find that makes the thing too tight, and therefore too harsh. Lard, vegetable oil, whatever, helps keep the skin supple and mellower as a result.

And I agree, a GOOD bodhrán player can make an extreme difference to the ambience of a tune.

B.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 04:53 AM

I play bodhran, and find some of these comments interesting.

I tend to take turns, for instance I was in a sessions last night (hangover to match too) and there were 3 bodhran players. Well, me and one of the other players knew the etiquette very well. And we would put down, and listen. But both of us also play very well together too. And it can sound nice. But when the third started up then things got a little annoying.

Bonnie, you think that was bad with all the drummers.

I was in a session on Sunday, and there was a person, playing the wood block, and a bloomin tamborine.

I can't tell you where I wanted him to shove it, wouldnt be polite.

He was getting on my nerves - I couldn't hear the flute player (as I will follow one player whilst playing my drum) and his beat etc was awful. Not to mention loud, and tambourine! Arghhhhhhh arghhhhhh arghhhhhhhhhh.

Someone once told me in a session that I should put bells on my bodhran - if I didn't need my bodhran for gigs etc I think I would have made him wear it.

As for all the put downs for bodhran players, some of you probably have not heard good bodhran players. I do wish though that more people would use session ettiquete. I like to listen to other peoples playing so it doesnt bother me if I am not playing.

Anyway, I can always switch to flute/whistle it's handy to have a second instrument.

Back to annoying tamboring man - I nearly put his lights out when I was singing a nice dreamy old irish song - which I usually sing unaccompanied. next time I am bringing araldite to glue the clangy things together.

Ella


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Easy Rider
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 10:15 AM

"a big bond fire", Bonnie?

I hope they were "Junk" bonds.


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: GUEST,Marion
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM

May I suggest that party etiquette is a little different from jam etiquette?

A bonfire is not a deliberate gathering of musicians striving to create good music - it's a time to relax and enjoy your friends and howl at the moon. And it's a time where noise made by many is more fun than music made by few.

I'm not trying to say that we should never be "professional" in our approach to music. What I'm saying is that occasionally, in certain situations, it's preferable to let the spirit of camaraderie guide us, rather than worrying about whether the array of instruments, tunings, or rhythms are the best they could be.

marion


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Subject: RE: Music Etiquette Thought For The Day
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 06 Jun 00 - 08:19 PM

Marion, you have a good point
With this particular party I was at, it truly was a 'bond fire'. Just a bunch of good friends hanging out who were not too concerned about what was going on.
To me it felt like there was a bit of a battle between the bodhrans and the guitars, but maybe it was just no big deal to them.
I really don't think they cared to much.
Now, if the beer and wine coolers had run out, then there would have been a big problem.

Bonnie


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