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Is being traditional traditional?

Jon Freeman 28 Oct 00 - 12:51 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Oct 00 - 01:24 PM
Roger in Sheffield 28 Oct 00 - 01:42 PM
The Shambles 28 Oct 00 - 01:54 PM
catspaw49 28 Oct 00 - 04:42 PM
Jeri 28 Oct 00 - 05:17 PM
Art Thieme 28 Oct 00 - 05:30 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 28 Oct 00 - 05:32 PM
The Shambles 28 Oct 00 - 08:00 PM
Gypsy 28 Oct 00 - 08:20 PM
Frankham 29 Oct 00 - 01:15 PM
Jeri 29 Oct 00 - 02:14 PM
Peter Kasin 29 Oct 00 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 29 Oct 00 - 03:25 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Oct 00 - 03:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 00 - 03:45 PM
Amos 29 Oct 00 - 06:17 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 00 - 06:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Oct 00 - 06:30 PM
The Shambles 30 Oct 00 - 09:59 AM
Mikey joe 30 Oct 00 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Russ 30 Oct 00 - 10:35 AM
Whistle Stop 30 Oct 00 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Claire 30 Oct 00 - 03:04 PM
mousethief 30 Oct 00 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Claire 30 Oct 00 - 03:23 PM
mousethief 30 Oct 00 - 03:25 PM
Peter Kasin 30 Oct 00 - 08:40 PM
tradman 30 Oct 00 - 09:41 PM
The Shambles 31 Oct 00 - 06:53 AM
bbelle 31 Oct 00 - 07:37 AM
KingBrilliant 31 Oct 00 - 08:39 AM
Whistle Stop 31 Oct 00 - 08:42 AM
Jeri 31 Oct 00 - 08:52 AM
bbelle 31 Oct 00 - 08:59 AM
Dani 31 Oct 00 - 09:24 AM
Whistle Stop 31 Oct 00 - 10:42 AM
Fred/Forsh 31 Oct 00 - 10:59 AM
The Shambles 31 Oct 00 - 06:22 PM
Peter Kasin 01 Nov 00 - 01:43 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 02:35 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 02:49 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 02:52 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 02:55 AM
Dani 01 Nov 00 - 08:20 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 11:58 AM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 02:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Nov 00 - 06:48 PM
The Shambles 01 Nov 00 - 08:21 PM
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Subject: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 12:51 PM

Here is one I have pondered about for years:

As an example, lets take the "Irish Bozouki" which is very recent and was "invented" by one of Andy Irvine or Donal Lunney (I can't remember which) and was readily accepted and it fitted happily into the Irish music and is a welcome part of most sessions. In other times, new instruments have come into music, another 20th century example being the tenor banjo in Irish music but at one time, the fiddle/violin was not Irish, etc. It seems to me that in the past, new ideas were taken on (not necessarily the instrument itself) and were accepted and some of these ideas found there place possibly at the expense of something else.

What I am trying to ask here is not the pro's and cons of preserving a snapshot of the past or the merits of reviving something from a past time but whether the whole concept of "tradition" has changed. Was part of the tradition to do what we may now consider to be breaking from tradition?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 01:24 PM

A living tradition will of course always incorporate into itself new things, whether musical instruments, dance-forms, songs or stories.  This doesn't really involve breaking with tradition, but rather developing it.  It may be that the current marketing-led obsession with exotic novelty is forcing too many new things all at once into a tradition (if it can still be considered as such) that is not in a position to absorb it all in a natural way.  There has been considerable debate elsewhere about the direction Irish music (in particular) is being taken by a relatively small, but influential, cadre of professional musicians.  My own feeling is that too many people are, if you like, "hi-jacking tradition" for their own purposes, sometimes showing it scant respect.  Change needs to be relatively gradual so that it can be properly digested, the worthwhile bits taken on board and other things rejected; but the recording industry, for one, requires constant innovation in order to maintain profits, and the role of fashion in all this is also perhaps significant. Of course it's possible that the nature of (Western) tradition may itself fundamentally have changed (certainly the pressures on it are far greater given the global nature of communications), though I suspect that it's more a question of changes in individual perceptions of it, and in some cases that urge for instant gratification that makes people too impatient to take the time to understand a thing before trying to change it...

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 01:42 PM

bouzouki - A Greek stringed instrument resembling a mandolin, thanks whoever linked to Guru net a while back(Kat?) it is very helpful
Until I went to see Andy Irvine and he explained the history I thought the instrument he was playing was just a neat sounding Guitar

I am interested now, what instruments are traditional, in the Uk and Ireland?
The session I go along to is mainly accordian, harmonica, whistle and bodhran. I am guessing the first two of those recent inventions, within the last one and two hundred years?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 01:54 PM

Yes Jon.

We are now too concious of something called the tradition and wonder too much, if what we are doing, is traditional? In the past musicians and singers just did what they could with what they had.

We should just continue to do just that.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 04:42 PM

The Appalachian Dulcimer is reasonably new in the world but has a long lineage in its sister instruments. Although it is most commonly used in trad ballads and such, people who build them say, "The traditional thing is to be non-traditional." And it is! A lot of players get all hung up on cerrtain elements of the construction, but builders are constantly screwing around trying different stuff. I built a couple of asymmetrical shapes that sounded really good with much better balance.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 05:17 PM

I think many of us who didn't grow up with our feet firmly planted in a tradition tend to treat it as an almost sacred thing sometimes - no changes allowed. I can understand that up to a point - we've got to be aware of what was sung and how, but when it gets to the point of pedantry, the tradition is no longer alive. We're singing and playing museum pieces, and we're re-inactors - nothing more.

I remember someone talking about a traditional music singing session or open mike where nothing but traditional (old) songs were allowed. Fine - there are good ones and they deserve to be remembered, but it ain't traditional. I doubt the folks who sat around the fire at night and sang their songs ever said "you can't do any new songs or tunes." I think they were probably glad to hear one Uncle Hezekiah learned when he was up north working in the lumber camps, or one sister Sally learned when she was visiting her cousins over in the next county, or heaven forbid - one Billy-Bob wrote just last week. The same goes for instruments - I think folks just heard things they liked and tried them out. Sometimes if things were accepted by the group, they stuck.

I think snapshots are good at showing us what life was like, but people and traditions need to grow and adapt in order to survive. If we were to stop the music from changing, we'd be talking about it in only the past tense. I don't think it's possible for that to happen, though.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 05:30 PM

Some of my best friends are Christians who play jew's harp. Conversely, I know many Jews and/or Christians who wear muslin -- both black and other colors. It's all a part of the melting pot that IS traditional music and/or traditional folklife of any kind.

The more things change, the more they get different ! (the possible title for my next CD if it happens)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 05:32 PM

I think Malcolm hit it on the head about hijacking tradition. The inclusion of a few instruments over the span of many years is one thing. The overall character of the music wasn't vastly warped. The inclusion of the bouzouki did not turn the Irish music Greek.
Radically changing everything to sell CDs is quite another. In a recent thread entitled "Is the Guitar a traditional instrument?" a lot of this was discussed.

I can't spak for others but I know I have a knee-jerk reaction to some artists taking the concept of "a living tradition" too far. I've seen others as well as myself look at Eileen Ivers and shake their heads. She knows how to play Irish music when she wants to. Sh just doesn't want to.

Rich


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 08:00 PM

I really doubt that it is possible to hi-jack a tradition. Nor that it is necessary to worry overmuch about protecting it from anything. For if the more radical or forced things don't work, they will not form any lasting part of the music. If they do work, they will.

That's the way it works…………..It's traditional.

The debate about the direction of Irish music most probably only demonstrates it's health. It is not healthy just because it sells CDs, but because people, all over the world are actually playing it. For whilst the debates over it's direction take place, the music will continue to change, adapt, incorporate new instruments and thrive for those very reasons.

It is now like a healthy trunk of a tree, and will have many new and healthy branches coming from it.

The more, protected and structured forms like Bluegrass, with it's limited instrumentation, will probably survive but not produce more branches.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Gypsy
Date: 28 Oct 00 - 08:20 PM

I like the comparison of tradition to history. One is alive, and the other is static. Of course, it may hit me, cuz I play hammer dulcimer, irish, and that ain't exactly historical....


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Frankham
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 01:15 PM

The idea of a traditional music has something to do with a kind of integrity and respect. Jazz and Classical musicians have a certain respect when interpreting composers. Why should folk musicians be any different? I don't think it matters whether an artist adapts or changes material. What does matter is how she/he does it. Would you be happy with a hip hop version of Beethoven's string quartets? Some might. There is a case for the person who knows both and treats each with a kind of respect and musical integrity. But what if that integrity and respect isn't there? What Frankenstein monster has emerged?

Well, they're out there. (theme music for Jaws soars under and up).

Frank


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 02:14 PM

We can all be offended by fads and current trends. They are not THE direction the music goes in - just ONE. We can't look at one snapshot from the past and define the entire tradition from it - neither can we look at a snapshot taken today and guess where the tradition's going. We have to look at a time-line, not just one particular time.

Some of the folk rock (most?) from the 70's sounds very dated today - not cared for and still worn like a good wool jacket, but more like buried in the closet like that leisure suit or your go-go boots. Do you really think most of the fads of today won't go the same way?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 02:34 PM

Well put, Malcolm. There have been changes brought in at a fast pace, recently. What sticks and what is shorn will somehow shake itself out. Throughout history, new instruments have slowly, or sometimes very quickly, have taken hold in traditional Irish music. The violin, the accordion, the concertina, all came into and helped mold the tradition at different points in time. Sometimes the use of these instruments became nearly extinct, and then were revived.

Johnny Moynihan was credited with bringing the bouzouki into Irish music sometime around 1968. He saw that the instrument had the kind of delicate sound that could blend in well and give a subtle accompaniment to fiddles, pipes, etc., and still have a strong rhythm that could drive the music. That seems to be the key whether an instrument can be accepted into the tradition. Does it complement the music, does it bring in fresh sounds and fresh interpretation without burying the music in exotic flavors?

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 03:25 PM

I don't think being traditional is "traditional" as some have pointed out earlier here. I think it's important to know where the music in the folk revival comes from and decide for oneself if the newer songs fit in that tradition or not. As an english major in college I had a fondness for a good story. As a music enthusiast, who spend more time playing guitar than studying, when I first heard ballads sung rather than recited (remember the bad Caedmon recordings of someone reciting Lord Randall?)it was a revelation. I really don't care if a song is old or new, if it hits me in the guts and says "learn me" I do. While sometimes too much energy is expended on talking about sources or musical purity, I think we need to keep track of where the music came from. Oh yeah, great points made earlier! See no points of disagreement.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 03:39 PM

Oh, heavens, those Caedmon "dramatic recitations"!  "Edward" was the worst, I think.  To follow Chanteyranger's comments:

...I think that's about the way of it, though too much at once is risky.  As you say, the bouzouki and related instruments fitted in nicely, and to my mind, at least, complement the music better than does the guitar.  Moynihan also had in mind, if I remember aright, both the sound of the metal-strung harp and the harpsichord, which O Riada had been using quite a lot at that time.  Certainly I went out and got myself a bouzouki at the earliest opportunity (1973, I think), and was always having to explain to people what it was, and that I didn't play Greek music!  Of course, the same processes are at work in plenty of other musical traditions; it's just that Irish music, being particularly fashionable at the moment, is a target for more "forced" innovation than, for example, English music, where things are proceeding, in the main, at a gentler pace.  It's partly a question of "horses for courses", too; saxophone works rather well in (particularly) Southern English dance music, but I can't imagine it sitting so well in Irish styles.  And the sooner the Panpipes pack up and go home the better, say I...

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 03:45 PM

"In the past musicians and singers just did what they could with what they had." That's the heart of being in "the tradition" - whatever tradition that may be, because there's as many traditions as there are communuities.

And I'd suggest it's not a matter of "In the past" - for most of us that's exactly what we do today, "do what we can with what we have..."


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Amos
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 06:17 PM

Well, I have always been traditional; I inherited the attitude from my New England forebears who were always that way too. I come from a long line of traditionalists, now that you mention it! :>) Guess that answers the question, huh?!!!

A


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 06:27 PM


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Oct 00 - 06:30 PM

Goldilock and the forebears...a traditional story, but with a grumpy grandfather bear as well...

"Let's eat the varmint - I hain't got no use fer trespassers 'cept as food!"


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 09:59 AM

I said earlier in this thread that I did not see much chance of the tradition being "hi-jacked". I would be interested in reading from those who do fear this, about examples of when this has happened in the past and what lasting damage this has resulted in?

I know that it is traditional to worry about it but is there any historical evidence to support this concern?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Mikey joe
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 10:28 AM

Irish music is not about playing reels jigs polkas slides etc. It is not about fiddles, guitars, amhrans bodhrans, amadans (sorry CM). It is about the very essence of what all these are capable (in the right hands) of producing. John B Keane once described heaven as existing where the tune stops and the silence begins. I know it sounds completely romantic and like I've my head up my arse. But all I'm trying to say is Irish music is alive, it moves and flows and different people in different times flavour its eternal substance with their own experience. So yes it is traditional to help the music evolve.

Sorry for this load of shite

Mj


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 10:35 AM

I liked Jeri's point.

I've played with two types of people who grew up with "feet firmly planted in a tradition."

For some members of a tradition their primary concern is not maintaining a tradition per se, but with pleasing themselves and their audiences. Their tradition serves as a jumping off point rather than an end in itself. They'll try most anything and if they like the results, they keep it.

For other members of the same tradition, the commitment is indeed to the preservation of tradition per se. The music must sound exactly like grandma sounded. They tend to be resistant to change.

Based upon my experience, both approaches are "traditional", but I think there are more innovators than purists among actual members of a tradition.

As for those who have adopted a tradition, I think the purists might have the edge. After all, why else would you adopt a tradition?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 01:13 PM

I think this goes both ways -- sometimes we broaden an existing tradition, sometimes we narrow it. An example of the latter is modern blues musicians who disdain to use instruments or play styles that the blues patriarchs were a lot more liberal about. Listen to old recordings of the Delta blues musicians from the 20s, 30s and 40s -- they incorporated a wide variety of instruments and styles into their work, presumably without worrying that they were compromising their own authenticity by doing so.

Eric Clapton provides an interesting illustration. On the one hand you have his well-known rendition of "Crossroads" with Cream, which he took in a direction that was decidedly different than the Robert Johnson original. At the other end of the spectrum you have his more recent CD "From the cradle...", in which he did note-for-note renditions of blues classics, right down to the little vocal asides that the original artists probably did that way once (on the day the song was recorded). Each of us gets to decide which of these exercises had more value; for my money, I think "Crossroads" did more to further the tradition by NOT sticking that close to the original.

I've never cared much for self-conscious authenticity; I say we should play what we're driven to play, and let others decide what they think about it. Then again, I don't get many museum gigs.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 03:04 PM

This discussion really strikes home for me. I think the tradition in in the material and the technique, and that this is incredibly important to some of us. To me, it is about a respect for the people that generated the music, the history of those people, the connection between all of us through the music. I am a singer in the Irish traditional style, and I constantly strive for a smoother roll, for a cleaner tone, and I cringe internally, when I hear an american singer present a traditional Irish song as if they were a 1070's folk singer, or a fiddler play really fast with no lift. ok I am a Trad at heart...

That said, to my mind, it is not music unless it is sung with heart, played with feeling, and this is something that is only generated by being in the moment, in the music, ie your own modern person playing the music. I also, play bodhran, and so obviously have no problem with introduced instruments. I really like Eileen Ivers, but her traditional work sends my spirits flying, and the modern things don't.... I am sure there are many out there that are on the other side of that coin.

I suppose what made me speak up here is the idea that preserving the tradition is necessarily opposed to jumping off into self expression. There is incredible opportunity for self expression within the demands of traditional technique and music.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: mousethief
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 03:08 PM

How do we know what 1070's folk singers sounded like? That was long before recording. And most of what was sung then has been totally lost anyway in the intervening 930 years.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 03:23 PM

oops, That was supposed to be 1970's... God don't you hate it when typos interrupt a self rightous, snobby moment. Just really takes the guts out of it.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: mousethief
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 03:25 PM

Do it all the time. Helps to be reminded we're human, especially when we're being self-righteous and snobby!

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 08:40 PM

But how do we know how people sounded like in the 1970's? That was long before CDs and CD Roms.....:-)


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: tradman
Date: 30 Oct 00 - 09:41 PM

In much music from Eastern Europe, the clarinet and accordian replaced a lot of the instrumental music which had been played by earlier reed instruments and bagpipes. Yet today the bagpipes have made a major comeback, and are often played in ensemble with accordians. Tradition is constantly changing, but it must withstand the test of time. A new arrangement or experiment is not traditional by itself. It must earn the respect of the folk. I tend to prefer music which has already withstood that test of time. The "folk" are often the best judges of what should and should not become traditional, and it can be frustrating when we have to put up with too much chaff while waiting for time to sort out the best grains.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 06:53 AM

Has this substitution of the modern reed instruments done any lasting harm?

There are many kinds of people. Some like to try everything, to change and tinker with what already exists. There are others who do not like things to change much and want to leave things pretty much as they found them . That is an over simplification I accept, and most of us are stuck somewhere in the middle. Both of these two extremes of human nature have served us well, in an evolutionary sense. They will never be reconciled and each places a check on the other in the ongoing battle for supremacy.

The radical and the conservative: When one gets taken to the bosom of the other, as happened in a political sense, when Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Party in the UK, the results can be a bit of a disaster.

To return to the subject, I think that one of the checks that the latter has placed on the former, is the ultimate master stroke of combining together two entirely different and unreconcilable words.

These are the words traditional and music………

MUSIC
You can talk about past music and future music but music is ONLY produced in the present. Shadows and ghosts of past music can be recorded on paper, tape and now digitally and this has also confused the issue slightly. The full magic of true music is only to be found in the present moment and will never be exactly the same again. Whether you try to improvise or try to recreate a piece exactly, it will always be quite naturally, different.

TRADITIONAL
It may be traditional to your community to make music and play a simple frame drum, made of skin If you now use a metal drum with a plastic skin, although the music may change as a result, you are still continuing that tradition.
Tradition means to me, to continue a process and does not mean to do it only like it was done in the past. So I can probably reconcile the two words. However it does not mean that to the more conservative among us….. To them it IS the past. They were comfortable there and the future is uncertain Change is therefore heresy or showing little respect, hi-jacking or moving too fast or a number of other phrases that are used often on this forum. No matter how uncertain the future may be, it will certainly come It seems that it suits their purpose to have folk music on the margins and viewed generally as a quaint joke? Whether that was intentional, it is indeed the way folk music has been seen.

Define the word 'traditional' as you will and study it as you wish but let's just get on and make the music and not continue to use IT as the battleground.

Maybe the only way to reconcile the past/tradition and present/music is in the future? The attempts to prevent change, or slow it, or "not to break with tradition", may now be traditional but they always have been and always will be futile……….. How about starting a new tradition?

If you like your music a certain way then play it like that as often and as loud as you can. It is far more effective to do that, than to try, by 'navel gazing', qualifying and 'spitting hairs', to prevent others from playing their music, as they like it to sound.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: bbelle
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 07:37 AM

Shambles ... and just what is this "limited instrumentation of bluegrass" of which you speak. I'm interested in whatever your concept of bluegrass is.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 08:39 AM

I've tried to go back to Jon's original question here, as to whether breaking with tradition is traditional. 'Traditional' seems to cover a huge time range, up to about 70 years ago. Ie everything up to about one average lifetime ago. So in about 70 years time our present should have receded back into the traditional era by my reckoning. As various people point out, things will have shaken out by then & the good innovations will be part of the tradition & the sacrileges will have been abandoned. By definition. Recieved wisdom is that the world has changed more over the last century than over a vast period of time before that. So maybe our perception of a very stable tradition is partly due to the fact that everything was more stable anyway. By that theory it would seem that breaking with tradition would be more in keeping with the way life is now, and would have been a rarer occurence during the period which we currently think of as traditional. So I'd reckon that 'breaking with tradition' must always have been part of the tradition, people being what they are. However it is likely that due to factors such as commercial competitiveness, broadcasting & accessibility, and rapid social and technological changes such 'breaks' are more frequent and more apparant. That's a first stab theory anyway

Kris


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 08:42 AM

It seemed to me that Shambles was probably referring to your basic Bill Monroe lineup -- mandolin, guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass. Aren't those the instruments that people typically associate with bluegrass?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Jeri
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 08:52 AM

I think we've managed to avoid a "battleground" with this one. What we have is a number of people expressing different opinions. We can choose to try to understand what they're saying, or we can get upset about it and try to change their minds by arguing. The latter is futile, and it appears most people have realized that.

Everyone seems to agree that change is necessary (or at least unavoidable) - the only disagreement is how the changes occur.

A) On one hand, some people think the people who do the changes should be careful and tentative, because really horrible changes may be accepted and continued.

B) Others think that people should try anything and everything they want, because if the changes are really bad, they won't be accepted by most people and won't continue.

The folks who believe A) are simply carrying out what the folks who believe in B) think happens.

It's traditional for the music to change, and it's traditional for people who don't like the changes to complain about them. What isn't traditional is for people to maintain the "snapshots" and keep referring back to them - this has been something that's happened within the scholarly community and not the "folk" community, I believe. People who study cultures don't normally try to influence their development. Folk music seems to be an exception. Argument and enlightenment welcomed.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: bbelle
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 08:59 AM

Well, Whistlestop, to that you can add lap dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, zither, autoharp, concertina, lap steel, and I'm sure there are a few others.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Dani
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 09:24 AM

I guess part of the discussion centers on the concept of 'authenticity'.

Some of the music I love: blues, spirituals, work songs. But I'm pretty well white. And a woman. Uh Oh. But nobody knows the troubles I'VE seen.

Now, if I'm going to be purist about such things, I'll miss out on a lot. Because it's great to hear other folks sing stuff, but the music I love is music of the soul, of the body, of the heart. Listening to Mahalia Jackson, or Son House, or anyone else is one way to LEARN stuff, or honor their memories as artists, but I've got to make music my own.

My own personal Irish forebears didn't make a lot of their own music. But their hard-times tales were pretty much the same proud/grim/sorrowful/joyful/triumphant/ridiculous/hilarious/lifeful ones of 'trad' Irish history. How best to honor that?

I think this is why I and others might have a little hero-worship going on for Pete Seeger. He has a gift for sharing music by doing two things simultaneously: honoring and passing on the tradition, teaching what the music has to teach, but also getting you to sing the hell out of it YOURSELF! Of course, 'his' renderings, or the Weavers' or any '70's folkie you'd care to name might not sound like 'it' to you, but then go on from there - seek it out yourself and make it as authentic as you like.... As long as 'authentic' doesn't mean we all gather around the CD player.

To me, the greatest gift of the Getaway weekend is a renewed commitment to find a way to make music with the people around me - wherever we find it!

Dani


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 10:42 AM

Moonjen, I wouldn't mind if you added piccolo, digeridoo, koto and tuba. But I was just trying to explain what I thought Shambles probably meant. I'm all in favor of playing whatever you think sounds good -- ignore the "rules," and tradition be damned. But if you refer to a "bluegrass lineup," I think most people would think of the small group of instruments I mentioned (with the addition of dobro, which I neglected to mention).

Jeri, I think you got it just right.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Fred/Forsh
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 10:59 AM

Tradition is the true modernist way, it is constantly developing. the folk tradition is more of an atitude, possibly a way of life, than a tangible thing or a point in time. Tradition is, indeed, a developing thing.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 31 Oct 00 - 06:22 PM

Dani. I fear that the word "authenticity" is yet another check by those who are threatened by change. It further inhibits those that love the music from making it and it's use is probably intended to.

I too much admire Pete Seeger but time has moved on and has clouded the events and his motives over the 'amplified folk issue'. He has mellowed now but his attitudes expressed in the 60s, were much responsible for creating a lot of this nonsense. Were not the battle lines drawn out then and does not most this tiresome and unhelpful 'what is folk' debate start from then? I'm sure the Pete of today would have handled it much differently.

Jeri said "People who study cultures don't normally try to influence their development. Folk music seems to be an exception.". That is a very important and rather strange element of this debate and has certainly not helped.

Thanks Whistle Stop, for taking the flak. Jenny has given much hope to the Bluegrass tuba players among us……… I think all I was trying to say is that Bluegrass is largely defined by it's line-up.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 01:43 AM

I agree with the too much too fast opinions as far as Irish music goes. Moynihan had specific reasons to bring in the bouzouki, whereas today it seems like there's alot of experimentation with different instruments for the sake of experimentation, not because of a conviction that a particular instrument would be more appropriate than another, or because of a feeling of "rightness" with the particular addition. Maybe out of this experimentation there WILL be some new sounds that complement the music, but who knows when that will happen, with what instrument. It's just not always in the hands of someone with sensitivity towards the music, but that's just the way of the world, and hopefully the Johnny Moynihans will prevail over the panpipers and gut-bucket players at the sessions.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 02:35 AM

The History of the Irish Bouzouki.

Can't seem to find The History of the Irish Panpipes? Yet

Or the gut-bucket?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 02:49 AM

More history? < ahref=http://www.homepages.hetnet.nl/mr_3/208/hspeek/bouzouki/andy_irv.html>Interview with Andy Ivine.

Interview with Alec Finn.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 02:52 AM

Sorry < a href=http://www.homepages.hetnet.nl/mr_3/208/hspeek/bouzouki/andy_irv.html>Interview with Andy Irvine.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 02:55 AM

Nailed it this time! Interview with Andy Irvine.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: Dani
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 08:20 AM

aaahhh... and that's why there are no easy answers.

Tradition Traditional Authenticity Appropriateness Conservation Politics Sex Religion Education

They all come down to 'Rightness' and whether it can be achieved at all, and whether or not it should be acheived in the same flavor for everybody.

'Folk' music or third grade curriculum, it usually comes down to the concept of Local Control, meaning that while we accept a certain canon of worthy and honorable knowledge and information to be passed along as it is, there is always room for (and a need for) adaptation to the individual/small groups, according to their needs, and according to the times.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 11:58 AM

Or their tastes?

Does it not all boil down to taste?


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 02:05 PM

History of the Low D Whistle


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 06:48 PM

When I drive my car I like to know there's a brake as well as an accelerator. Of course, if there's just a brake I'll never get anywhere. But then I probably won't get anywhere if there's just an accelerator...

I'm not sure where the gears fit into this, but I think they do somewhere.

Concertina blue grass? I like the sound of that. Bagpipes too. But I've got a feeling most of the bluegrass enthusiasts I know might not. However any good irish session in my experience at some time will get round to playing something a bit grassy.


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Subject: RE: Is being traditional traditional?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Nov 00 - 08:21 PM

If the only gear you choose to drive in is the reverse one. ....It will tend to confuse and upset the other drivers.


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