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playing traditional music correctly

Luke 29 Dec 00 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Graham Fear 29 Dec 00 - 07:43 AM
John P 29 Dec 00 - 06:52 AM
reggie miles 29 Dec 00 - 04:24 AM
The Shambles 29 Dec 00 - 02:30 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Dec 00 - 11:53 PM
chessell 28 Dec 00 - 06:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Dec 00 - 01:25 PM
Uncle_DaveO 28 Dec 00 - 01:07 PM
UB Ed 28 Dec 00 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,mike putt 28 Dec 00 - 08:12 AM
SpitWhistle 28 Dec 00 - 01:05 AM
The Shambles 26 Dec 00 - 07:44 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Dec 00 - 01:15 PM
John P 26 Dec 00 - 07:45 AM
Charcloth 25 Dec 00 - 10:52 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 25 Dec 00 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,YUM YUM 25 Dec 00 - 03:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Dec 00 - 09:12 PM
The Shambles 24 Dec 00 - 08:19 PM
InOBU 24 Dec 00 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 24 Dec 00 - 03:13 PM
Melani 24 Dec 00 - 02:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Dec 00 - 02:23 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 24 Dec 00 - 02:21 PM
The Shambles 24 Dec 00 - 01:32 PM
Chris Flint 24 Dec 00 - 12:20 PM
UB Ed 23 Dec 00 - 12:08 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Dec 00 - 10:43 AM
GUEST,cheese 23 Dec 00 - 08:40 AM
GUEST 23 Dec 00 - 05:26 AM
Flute 22 Dec 00 - 05:30 PM
GUEST 22 Dec 00 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Melani 22 Dec 00 - 02:01 PM
The Shambles 22 Dec 00 - 01:35 PM
selby 22 Dec 00 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 22 Dec 00 - 06:56 AM
John P 22 Dec 00 - 06:37 AM
Brendy 21 Dec 00 - 11:51 PM
Luke 21 Dec 00 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 21 Dec 00 - 09:06 PM
kendall 21 Dec 00 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Auld Lang Scot 21 Dec 00 - 07:18 PM
Bill D 21 Dec 00 - 05:55 PM
Barry Finn 21 Dec 00 - 05:27 PM
Bill D 21 Dec 00 - 03:29 PM
Don Firth 21 Dec 00 - 03:03 PM
The Shambles 21 Dec 00 - 01:20 PM
Les from Hull 21 Dec 00 - 01:08 PM
Seamus Kennedy 21 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM
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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Luke
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 08:22 AM

In response to Malcom's displeasure of my use of the word Nazi. I bow to his sensitivity on the subject. I sometimes miss the line between literal and literary.

I apologize for any hurt I may have caused and for the distraction one word may have caused from my ardent and now missed viewpoint.

My street jargon sometimes takes a turn down a dark alley leaving the reader stranded.

In my defence I can only say, I've seen some wondeful music sessions go down to dictating, repressive thugs who for their own sense of self miss the over all sway of the moment and feel a need to change the course of events to suit their own station.

Sorry,

Luke


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Graham Fear
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 07:43 AM

Surely one of the best things about playing folk music is the wide range of different variations and playing styles. I personally only tend to play while on Live Role Playing events, either in the tavern or around the camp fire, and though its nice to be able to play the whistle or flute while some one else sings the song, but its just as enlightening to trade different ways of doing the same tune. Anyone who claims that there is a right way of doing tradition music tends to be the sort of person who is always right, end of subject, as far as they are concerned, and they are the people who end up stopping the music from growing and developing. Certainly listen to other peoples advice and suggestions, you know when something said will suddenly click and improve your playing, but generally I avoid people saying saying there is a right and a wrong - folk music by its nature is a fluid creation, and trying to stop that just impedes it


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: John P
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 06:52 AM

Malcolm, I agree with what you say about the term "Folk Nazi"; I never use the term and sometimes gently ask others not to use it as well. But why do you include "Folk Police" in the same complaint? There are lots of people who want to police other people's playing, so the term is completely apt, unlike "Nazi", which is offensively extreme.

I don't have any problem dealing with criticism -- I can take it in and learn something, or allow it to pass off of me if I don't respect the one offering it. That doesn't change the fact that loudly and publicly criticizing someone else's music because they are not playing according to your rules is rude.

I have often seen discussions like this come down to a preservationist vs. innovator debate. I don't think that anyone has any problem with preservationists or traditionalists. I don't think anyone really equates those things with being a member of the folk police. Obviously, all of us who are playing traditional music in a non-traditional fashion owe a huge debt to the preservationists. Hell, some of my best friends are traditionalists. Certainly many of my favorite albums are from that camp. These people are not a problem unless they start telling me that their way of playing traditional music is the ONLY way to play traditional music. That's who the folk police are.

Reggie, what a surprise that the session you went to didn't have anyone there -- who would want to play with such a nimnal?

John


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: reggie miles
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 04:24 AM

Excellent point McGrath, without preservationists, those who have cherished, collected and reproduced old forms of music, I would not have had the opportunity to enjoy and be influenced by so many of those obscure artists. Their music would have been lost to me and all those like me who love those early forms of folk and blues, hillbilly and jug band etc. What a treasure to lose too! I admire those who have felt compelled to keep traditional forms alive. I too try to do my part to keep certain traditions from fading away.
I've been to a few sessions. The last one I attended was led by someone who had written a book about traditional Irish music. He had his own bible about how to play it right down to the chords and notes of songs, what instrumentation was to be used. At this particular session three percussionists showed so he was the only other musician, he brought his banjo to play. Since there were no other folks there with other sorts of instruments he canceled the event. I guess he figured it was impossible to have a real traditional session with three drummers and a banjo. I offered to play my saw along with him but he scoffed at the idea of a saw at the session. I engaged him about his particular point of view regarding traditional music. We went back and forth for about an hour. I didn't understand his unwillingness to try something different but he wasn't about to change his stripes. Those who did show up to play that evening just ended up going home without even trying to have some fun playing together. It was sad to me that this guy was not even willing to play just for fun. It was his way or the highway.

You can please some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can't ...well you know. Me,I'm just trying to make as many people happy as I can. Reg


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 02:30 AM

I take Malcolm's point about the terms used. However the issue, be it politics or at these musical gatherings is one of power. Or more the attempt by some to seize and use power over others.

I feel that it is up to all of us to recognise and to deal with this abuse, wherever we may find it. To prevent in everyday life, the bad seeds from growing into the vigourous plant that will strangle us all. For do not all the human monsters of history, look just like you and me?


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 11:53 PM

I guess that McGrath has it about right there, but I do feel compelled to add this, in the hope that it may make perhaps one or two helpful points:

I can't help but worry a bit about people who use silly, loaded terms like "Folk Police", "Folk Nazis", and the like.  It suggests that they may perhaps not yet be grown up enough to deal with criticism, constructive or otherwise.  These are rather extreme terms, after all: how many people who have blithely used those words in this thread would really feel confident about walking up to somebody and saying to them, "You are a Nazi because you don't like the way I play the flute"?  There's always the possibility that they may have lost members of their family to realnazis.  A wee bit of tact, moderation -and a little thought about what some words actually mean- might not be such a very bad idea.  If we have sense or imagination, we learn from others who are more experienced than we; often the advice we are given will seem worthless, or will feel like condescension.  So what?  Are any of us so much more important than others that our opinions automatically count for more than theirs?  The first session I attended regularly, I made quite sure that I kept in the background (several months) until I was confident enough in my technical ability to play a tune competently.  Nobody ever gave me a hard time, because nobody ever felt threatened by me, and because when I did start to take a more "up front" part, I knew what I was doing.  I listened to the people who wanted to lay down the law; it wasn't difficult, and I learned useful things, though more about how to deal with know-alls than about technique, I have to admit.  Again, so what?  If we want to play music with other people, we have to make the effort to fit in.  We do it their way, or we gradually subvert the existing set-up until it fits what we want, or we set up something of our own.  You have to really want the music; if you do, and are prepared to give it the time, effort and humility that it requires (lots), then you will get it, regardless of what other people think.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: chessell
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 06:38 PM

I went to a session once and the same thing happened to me. It was this one arrogant player who was always looking to point something wrong out about everyone's playing. The best way is just to ignore him and think to yourself "If this guy's so great why isn't he a multi-platinum multi-millionare star". That's helped me through a lot of bad times. Paddy.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 01:25 PM

There's not as much contradiction in those two approaches as Dave suggests. Or rather, they've got to work in harness together and not pull against each other. We really do need some people who are fierce guardians of tradition, and some who are innovators. Creative tension. And most of us I think move back and forth between the two roles.

But I don't think Flute was up against a fierce guardian of tradition. I think he was up against what is sometimes rather unfairly termed an "anorak" or a "trainspotter" (unfair, that is, to people who wear anoraks and who go in for spotting trains, both activities against which I have no quarrel).


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 01:07 PM

Seems to me,if you go back to the title of the thread, it's "playing music correctly".

"Correctly"? What does that mean? Depends upon what you see as the purpose of playing.

If the purpose is to say, "This is repeating what other people in the past did in dead tradition, and no other", it's one thing. If the purpose is to say, "I hear a spirit and process of music that's been handed down, continually evolving in its details, and I've allied myself to it and now I'm making it mine to carry it forward in that spirit," that's another thing altogether.

The first approach is a sort of dead copy-cat approach. The second approach, seems to me, is what keeps the tradition alive and growing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: UB Ed
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 10:53 AM

Rick, Davis is right on about the definition. We have decided we play "Irish American Pub Music" which as a descriptor is completely meaningless, but best describes what we do.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,mike putt
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 08:12 AM

Flute I play guitar and try to play the bodran, sometimes I have a great session and sometimes I meet people like your person and it does upset me but at the end of the day I remind myself that i play for myself and While I am not a master of the guitar I have received enough compliments from musicians to let me know that I am ok. So what I am trying to say is "You can please some of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time" Keep playing and f**k the begrudgers as we say in Ireland


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: SpitWhistle
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 01:05 AM

There is a disscussion on the ITRAD mailing list that may have something germain to say about this topic:

http://listserv.hea.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0012&L=irtrad-l&D=1&H=1&O=D&P=98707

Ron


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 07:44 PM

Not exactly "belting it out", more like playing a supporting role........


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 01:15 PM

My long time friend "little" Davis Rea, breezed through Toronto a few month ago, with a great line. When asked "what do ya play"? he no longer tells 'em "folk, blues and Country" music...he just says (and very loudly at that) "American Music....I play American Music!"

'Course they haven't a clue what he means, but they don't ask again.

Rick


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: John P
Date: 26 Dec 00 - 07:45 AM

One solution I've come up with for the folk police who tell me I'm not playing it the way they play it in Ireland: I patiently explain to them that I'm not Irish, and I don't live in Ireland. I'm an American who lives in Seattle. I'm not really playing Irish tunes -- I'm playing Seattle tunes. If they really want to get into it, I can go on for some time about how I'm maintaining the REAL tradition more than someone who learns a lot about how local music is played somewhere else . . .

Here's an anecdote I've told before; please forgive me if you've seen it already. We once ended the first set of a concert with a Bulgarian dance tune, played on the guitar and the hurdy-gurdy. We announced the break, and lots of folks from the audience came up to the stage and started talking to us about our music and the instruments, buying CDs, and generally making us feel like we were people with something good to offer. Suddenly a conversation I was having was interrupted by a voice loudly saying, "I hope you don't go around telling people you play Balkan music. That's not the way they really do it." If you think getting harrassed at a session is bad, try it in front of your fans in the middle of a concert. Anyway, I gave my stock responce to this rudeness: "Actually it is the way it's really done -- you just say it being done that way. We are part of Them." One of his objections was to our use of the guitar. I think maybe the ornaments on the hurdy-gurdy weren't quite right as well -- Anna was playing her hurdy-gurdy ornaments instead of trying to duplicate someone else's gaida ornaments. I laughed it off in front of the audience, but it left a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of the concert and it was hard for me to recapture the spirit that had been flowing.

Two weeks later we had a gig in the women's handbag department of the local department store (sigh . . .) when an old woman walked up to us while we were playing the same Bulgarian tune. "But that is Bulgarian", she said with a heavy Bulgarian accent. It turns out that she had danced to that tune when she was a child. She was very excited to hear a tune from her childhood being played in America, and by non-Bulgarians. The amazing thing was that she didn't give a damn what instruments we were using or how we were playing it. And she recognized it just fine after not having heard it for 50 years or more.

Just remember that folk music is played for folks, not for scholars, musicologists, historians, or folklorists who want to be pedantic about their area of expertise. And people who get rude at you while you are playing music deserve to be ignored, laughed at, or blasted with anger, depending on your mood and their level of rudeness.

John


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Charcloth
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 10:52 PM

There are some Celtic Nazies that say that the Corries weren't traditional enough. The same has been said about the Battlefield band. All I have to say to them is, Tough! I still love to hear them. I have run acrossed these Nazies a time or to myself. I Don't care to make it a habit. Hang in there & keep playing


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 04:11 PM

The spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.

There is no real proper way to play Irish music. It's because it's Irish musics. The way they play in Kerry will be different than in Donegal.

Sligo style is different than Dublin style.

To study it, then play it the way you feel it is the best way to go. If you've lived with it a while and interalized the style, it'll come out right.

That being said, there is a contingent of hard-nosed academics that killed the folk music revival in the US by their pedantry. They missed the point. The feel is more important than the actual slavish carbon-copied notes. If you've assimilated the materials (ornaments, phrasing, chord progression, rhythmic interpretation) than you just play and it comes out right unless you run into these hard-nosed academics who pour cold water on anything that's innovative or creative.

Often their viewpoint is based on a bias because they don't have creativity in their way of expression.

I have found over the years that I must select the musicians that I play with. I avoid those with a 'tude or a rigid mindset who analyze music to death. I realize that there are many musicians out there who are capable of laying a trip on you, telling you that you are wrong and not being very constructive about the way they criticize others. Avoid these people like the plague. They will not help you, the music, or anyone else.

There are those in the CCE who are very helpful and instructive and relish sharing with you their knowledge about the fine Irish music and culture. Align yourself with them and forget the pedants.

Be selective for future enjoyment.

I know this sound kind of exhortative but I believe what I say from personal and painful experience.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,YUM YUM
Date: 25 Dec 00 - 03:32 PM

FLUTE, WHAT CAN i SAY.. THIS GUY MUST THINK HE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. I HAVE BEEN PLAYING TRADITIONAL MUSIC SINCE THE MID-SIXTIES AND I HAVE COME UP AGAINST 'EEGITS' LIKE THIS NOW AND AGAIN. HE HAS 'AIRS' OF IMPORTANCE ABOUT HIMSELF, ANY MUSICIAN WHO IS WORTH HIS 'SALT' WOULD NOT HAVE COME OFF WITH THAT STATEMENT. IGNORE HIM FLUTE AND PLAY AWAY, IF HE SAYS ANYTHING ELSE TO PUT YOU DOWN APOLOGISE OUT LOUD INFRONT OF THE CROWD FOR LOWERING THE TONE OF 'HIS' SESSION. GOOD LUCK MATE ...YUM YUM


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 09:12 PM

Belting it out is he??

(Merry Christmas!!)


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 08:19 PM

Well it's not exactly braces, but we do have a chap that plays a tea chest bass, at our session. Sounds pretty good on the the slower hornpipes.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: InOBU
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 03:51 PM

Hi Melani: I actualy know why they named a beer after Sam Adams, however, it was rather funny, at the time, that Ronan, in mid swig and mid pipe workshop went off on a tangent about why, only in America would they name a beer after Sam Adams... i guess ya had to have been there... Well, anyway, typing away with gay abondon, spelling be damned!- Larry


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 03:13 PM

In my older age I've realized that many well intentioned good folks don't have a clue about how to do folk music. I really like them as people and as friends. I figure that, if they listen long enough and work on their craft eventually they will either do it--or they won't do it. We swap CDs and we say thanks. When theirs is great I tell them that profusely. When I don't feel it is all that good, I thank them again, we go out for a beer or a pizza---and we both go on with our lives.

But like the guy who gives you the finger from the relative safety of his car -- or the gal or guy who moons you from their boat on the Mississippi River (always the ones who you don't want to see)----the "safety" of Mudacat's forum has emboldened me to state my preferences here on too many occasions. I'm not always proud of that---and I am truly sorry if my too certain pronouncenents offended anyone. I'm done with doing that.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Melani
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 02:41 PM

If you tighten your braces up enough, you might be able to play a bass line on them.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 02:23 PM

Damn braces, bless relaxes. (William Blake, I think.)


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 02:21 PM

Fridays at 0600-0800MST, www.CKUA.com livecasts Celtic Music. Many variations on the "traditional" music are played. One group (can't remember the name at the moment) is using bagpipes in a new way that sounds wonderful to me, but is hated by some so-called "traditional" pipers. Every age had its inovators who played the way they felt, and ADDED to the "traditional" base. Every age had its beginners. It all adds up to a great wealth of music. If you are happy with your "style" and continue to progress, the audience will be the richer for it. It's all great stuff.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 01:32 PM

Now braces are not a traditional instrument, you know........


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Chris Flint
Date: 24 Dec 00 - 12:20 PM

These sort of people turn up with the most odd ideas I was at Whitby folk festival, not playing anything but standing listening to a session, only to be told that I was wearing my braces wrong (which I was wearing due to not being able to take belt pressure on my spine due to chronic back ache) I couldn't think of an answer at the time - I still can't. I put it down to him being a professional pillock and I guess they turn up everywhere. Play on how you feel it should be just so long as you love the music. Chris


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: UB Ed
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 12:08 PM

Flute, so pleased you went back and now clearly see the fool for what he is.

You've abandoned the classic training? I think not and if I may be so bold, building on other comments regarding originality and innovation, I suggest you rely on some of your classic phrasings and tunes as you solo. I'm a guitarist; I have found the best way to develop a solo is to play along with a recording (this is a good substitute for practicing with the group) until I am as satisfied as I can be with my effort. There is alot of the traditional on disc nowadays. Get some with the tunes the session folks play and knock em dead!

As far as responding to fools and attempts to "educate" those deficient in social skills and sense, I have found it is less personally stressful to smile, agree, thank them for their input and continue doing my own thing(Don't get me wrong,; genuine good advice is always appreciated. You can generally tell when you're dealing with an ass). Your vindication is in your own self confidence and esteem as reflected by the reaction of the other session players and the audience.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 10:43 AM

Hi Flute. I think you may have used a wonderful phrase, when you said "The guy wanted to help, but had NO social skills". Sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between a simple "boor" and someone who just doesn't know how to deal with folks in an acceptable way. T'will always be thus.

After he produced "the dreadful sounds" you said you wished you had laughed.....me too.

Rick


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,cheese
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 08:40 AM

You've had lots of good advice here. As I think you've intimated yourself, there is no CORRECT way of playing trad. music, but there are lots of traditionally-used TECHNIQUES for making it sound good, and anyone worth their salt will share them with you (and I mean share, not stuff them down your throat as this dickhead seems to be doing). Think back. In the 1950s and '60s when some started using guitars they were criticised in some quarters for using a non-trad instrument. It is now normal to hear guitars. Things only move forward by imitation then innovation. If someone is new and nervous a good musician with a good attitude will give advice and encouragement. Only an arsehole would say NO NOT LIKE THAT, LIKE THIS as a way of - intentionally or not - stamping on you. In England (I don't know where you are, Flute) I find some sessions difficult to take for all the above reasons and because they are often frequented by Irish purists who want to hear/play no other kind of music. And not one of these Irish purists is ever Irish - they're always English! The Irish are always much more open-minded! I wish you all the joy in the musical world. Don't let the attitude of the prats put you off. It's YOUR music as well as theirs. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 00 - 05:26 AM

Having just read your reply it sounds like the guy is a prat.

The best advice I can give is try to record the sessions "standard" sets on a portable tape player so you can learn them at home at your own pace and if possible ask the names of the tunes so you can find them on abc.

Have fun.

Ian


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Flute
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 05:30 PM

Melani don't be put off, one person in a full room is causing me grief, and the rest are the nicest most helpful people I have come across. I've read everything in the thread and the response is overwhelming, when I posted it before going out the other day I was expecting lots of "grow up" messages
In answer to some of the points, the playing of Michael McGoldrick made me want to play in the first place, the style, speed and precision of his playing is still way beyond my reach. I used a keyless wooden D flute in the pub though I have a secondhand boehm flute as well, I have already abandoned most of the classical style I was taught
I never intended to play at all (to scared), quite happy just listening and trying to take the tunes in, then one night a man came in with a beautiful old flute ( an instrument he doesn't play but had been given ) and wanted to know if anyone would play it for him. A few more drinks later and someone asked me to play something so I grasped the nettle, borrowed his flute and had a go. Then once you have taken that step its hard to fade back into the wallpaper, and quite rightly the people who have been entertaining you for weeks want some payback. The solo part came by accident, I haven't yet learned the sets they play though I know some of the tunes. I would much rather play as part of the group in future, the sound of everything together (even all in time sometimes!) is a rare experience, I can play solo anytime while practicing
Having thought about this a bit more it is obvious that the guy wants to help but has no social skills. The other week he went on and on about someone else at the session having an inferior whistle (susato) and the next week caught sight of my flute, asked to look at it, and then handed it back commenting that XXXX (a different, more expensive manufacturer) was not charging enough for his flutes! Before this he tried playing it and the produced the most dreadful sounds, wish I had laughed now

My decision is to practice more, learn and join in with the sets and have a good time. The annoying bloke mainly plays solo so I won't be in his territory.
I do value all advice but I have listened to his mantra many times, "you have to learn rolls first before learning the tunes..." , he just goes on and on, and it is mainly an excuse for him to have me as a captive audience to listen to his repertoire. I am also going to try and find me a teacher who plays irish flute tunes, there is one locally, that way any problems with my playing can be ironed out and I can just tell ***** that I am getting lessons elsewhere

Thanks everyone and good luck Melani


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 02:07 PM

Before adding any comments as to the rights and wrongs of Flute and their friend I would like to clarify two points that are not clear in the original post.

1) Do you want to play Irish music or do you just want to play in a session ?

2) Do you really want to play "solo" in a session ?

Depending on how you answer these questions may provide a clue to the conflict of interests.

Ian


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 02:01 PM

The topic of this thread is a fine example of why I've never had the nerve to try to play an instrument at any session. InOBU, the reason someone would name a beer after Sam Adams is that he was a brewer--though the picture on the label is a ripoff of a portrait of Paul Revere.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 01:35 PM

Why go to sessions? I go because although when there is no real control and it is an open ivitation to those who would like to cotrol everything, there is also the opportunity for magic to happen........

Not very often pehaps, but it makes putting up with all the rubbish, worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: selby
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 01:25 PM

If YOU enjoy playing your way and it fits in with the general theme of the tune without being to dicordant then DO IT On very much the same theme why do some muscians like to speed up a tune a beginner has started to a breakneck speed. Keith


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 06:56 AM

People are supporting Flute, which is quite right. All should be encouraged to join in sessions.

But can I put another view on this. I would guess (correct me if I'm wrong) that Flute may have been playing a Boehm flute, and may have learned it "classically". Now, the styles used in Irish trad and Classical music are quite different, the one emphasising fluidity and continuity, the other crispness of articulation.

Because in the view of most people, the classical way is the 'right' way, the traditional style is often perceived as simply not playing it properly. So a traditional musician, hearing someone play a traditional tune in classical style, may assume that the player is trying to assert the 'superiority' of this more formal style. And react accordingly. Wrong, but has to be put in context.

Advice- listen to traditional traditional flute players, Tansey, McGoldrick etc. and try to follow that style in spirit, even if you can't get the details to begin with.

The ornaments ARE important, in fact Irisg=h music has been described as a sequence of ornaments connected by pints of stout.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: John P
Date: 22 Dec 00 - 06:37 AM

I have seen numerous threads here and on the newsgroups about people who have a terrible time at sessions. Usually with 50 others telling about all the idiots, power-mongers, and folk police one can find at sessions. So why are they so popular? Why bother trying to play music with people who want to compete? Why not get some friends over the house and play?

I used to go to a session here sometimes. My experience was that the guy who owned the pub and led the music was very welcoming and everyone else pretty much ignored me, so it was pretty dull as a social event. The music was hard to hear over the noise of the rest of the patrons, so musically it was not all that great. The place was full of tobacco smoke and drunk people, both of which are pretty stupid, and stupid to be around. In the eight or ten times I went, I witnessed most of the problems with sessions that everyone talks about -- multiple bodhrans, multiple guitars, rude defenders of the one true way of playing, speed demons, clueless beginners, inappropriate singers, rude listeners to singers, the works. I just figured that if you are going to have an open session in a public place, you are going to have all these problems and more -- why would anyone expect anything else?

If playing at a session is important, just ignore all the people who want to get some non-musical satisfaction out of being there. The music is what's important and the music doesn't care about all that other stuff.

John


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Brendy
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 11:51 PM

There is an insufferable snobbery surrounding the playing of Irish traditional music, and it has a hierarchical system that I care little for.
When a visiting musician sits down at an established session, the encounter can sometimes have all the hallmarks of a great psychological battle that stretches way beyond any musical content.
I am secure enough in myself and in my grasp of the nuances of Irish trad, that I can sit down in such situations, and do my thing, while putting up with the sly remarks from the bouzouki player in the corner, who's afraid his 'public' wont get to hear him as good, now that there is a 'louder' rhythm instrument to 'steal his light'.
He may be also worried that his musical wooing of the long-legged chick at the bar, is gradually coming to an end.

Who knows?

So the head-trips don't get far with me, for I usually point out these phobias to the person concerned, in front of the rest of the sessioners, and invite him to get a life.

I find it most with other 'chord players'. I wouldn't sit down in a session where there was already one guitar (unless I was invited to), firstly, because I think one is enough in any session, and secondly because I always invariably meet the guardian of 'the proper way to do things'. Guitar players (and it only takes one), can turn a session into a 'battle of the unfound chord', and the common musical purpose, often gets turned into a race to the finish, covering as many frets as possible.

I was at a fleadh in Donegal, sometime in the mid '80's, and brought my six-string, and my acoustic bass into a pub. I asked the two women who were playing (one flute, and a fiddle), if there was room for an itinerant guitar player. No problem! To whit I took the six-string out and tuned her down to DAGDAD. All was going well until a few tunes later when I noticed the fiddle player had left her fiddle on the table, and had produced a guitar from somewhere.
And out she comes with all these jazz chords; left hand going like the hammers, and what the right hand wasn't strumming, her tongue was. Every chord from D9 to B#flatted 15th was etched on her face, and the 'pain' was unbearable.
She even changed hands; i.e. turned the guitar around, and played it upside down. Not without losing stroke, though, and the ensuing accompaniment, well, it was rather underwhelming.

So what we basically had here, was a flute, and two guitars - both of which were at odds with each other in a very fundemental way. She turned the guitar around eventually, and ploughed on, oblivious to everything else, even the set of reels that were being played. I faded my guitar out, and she was none the wiser for its departure, and opened up the bass case. I said to myself, "Well f**k it, if she wants to carry on like this, it might as well be a bit more aesthetically pleasing".
As the tune was coming into the second part for the last time, I took the bass out, and was ready for that big open D that is the first note of 'The Bucks of Oranmore'. I knew it was coming, 'cos I had The Bothy Band's 'Out of the Wind, Into the Sun' album too, and I knew O'Domhnaill's backing, backwards!!!!

It only took about two milliseconds for her to swipe her head around, and behold the biggest guitar she'd ever laid eyes on. I not only took away her bass line, but a large portion of the wind out of her sails, in the process. She told me later that she thought her eyes, or the drink, were playing tricks on her, for she'd never seen one before.

The snobbiness dissappeared when I pointed out to her that ALWAYS, no matter where you go, there is some musician that has a better grasp of the music that you have, yourself, and far from making you big-headed, this realisation should make you humbler about what you do, and the reason that you play music in the first place.

But there always has been a element in the session milieu of this kind of behaviour, whether it be the 'leader' of the session, who takes it upon himself to define, not only your style, but your level of attainment, or the young dudes who want to have a go at the belt.

Learning is a very delicate process, and as Segovia pointed out, you never stop learning. But to put extra pressure on a beginner, who may not be totally comfortable playing in public, in the first place, is a crime, in my eyes, and I wouldn't be long in chastising such a person, and asking him when it was that he got it all sussed.
And if he could tell me which book he got it out of, and where I might buy it.

Do your thing, man. The sessions are as much about insecurity on a lot of levels, as about music, and sometimes these guys are just the same at home. Authoritarian SOBs. But the guardians of the holy note are rampant.
Everywhere!
Anybody who hasn't lost sight of the fact that we all took those first tentative steps, will never condescend to another fellow traveller who is only interested in playing music.

But out of the myriad of musicians I have sat down with over the years, I can't recall too much nonesense. It happens from time to time, but the vast majority of musicians I know, don't think like that.

B.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Luke
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 09:33 PM

There are many great players who are technogiants. These pyrogeniuses amaze,mistify and astound. However these same players stand and scratch their head when the crowd loves to dance to less proficient players who don't have half the chops as they. They can't figure it out because they are missing something in their own playing.....life. Or, as one might say, a life.

Some poor cloistered soul who has given himself to the bowed triplet and is so fokused on it he misses how the music moves in the room and smiles on the faces of people. I have been dressed down a few times by nazi'z some of genres. But I'm pretty smart, if someone wants a thing a certain way, all they have to do is explain it to me.

As for the dundering a%%holes who need diatribe to give weight to a shallow hull, I say F*&K 'em

Luke


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 09:06 PM

At the Old Town School Of Folk Music in it's early days there were beginning classes, intermediate classes and advanced classes. If you were a beginner, it was best that you be in that class until you'd grown too good for that level. Frank Hamilton who looks in here on this forum all the time, was the man who invented this system in Chicago.
After the formal sessions were over, EVERYONE got together in a large main room for what was called "THE SECOND HALF". There everyone would tune up together and "work out" singing and picking together with a leader up front setting the pace. It was a community---a social session out of which much great music came. (Some great marriages came out of it also, and that, in turn, produced some very musical offspring). Some went on to sing mainly traditional music in their own ways---Fred Holstein, Fleming Brown, Bob Gibson, even me. Some played it note for note much like those old-timey string bands that had done it 35 years earlier. Some played Irish and dance music in the various styles. Some made their own songs--Steve Goodman & Jim McGuinn & John Prine & Bonnie Koloc. Others played cajun music ala Dewey Balfa and Nathan Abshire even though many people from France (the country) didn't understand this other New World way of speaking the French language.

What I'm saying, I guess, is, like Bob Dylan said, "You can be in my dream if I can be in yours !"

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: kendall
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 08:47 PM

The Greeks have a saying..."Revenge is a dish thats best served cold." Some years ago, a young boy was playing a bluegrass tune on a banjo. Up steps a seasoned banjo picker, loudly said "NO NO like this!" took the banjo away and played it the way it is "supposed"to be played. Years later, that boy, in spite of the humiliation, became a professional musician. He not only plays bluegrass banjo with the best, he also plays clawhammer...something the rude picker was never able to master.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: GUEST,Auld Lang Scot
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 07:18 PM

I think I agree with the majority here, that Flute suffered an insufferable put-down. But I know that if people sing "Old Lang Zyne" in my hearing I will strenuously endeavour to convince them that there is no such beast. The word "Syne" is not even exclusively Scottish, and the first consonant is unvoiced except by drunken and/or ignorant singers. I have no knowledge of whether any such prohibition of incorrectness could apply to any sound that the flute can make.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 05:55 PM

yep, Barry...I'm sure there are other wonderful places, too...too bad some of the grumpy sorts can't attend those and see how it CAN be done with fairness and room for all.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 05:27 PM

Hi Bill, hate to through a ringer into that thought. I used to attend a session (for 20 yrs or so) that would have the likes of the above mentioned Seamus Connelly, Paddy Cronin, Larry Renyolds, Joe Daraine(sp?), Johnny Cunningham, Mance Grady, our own RiGGy too (& I'm sure our Seamus Kennedy has graced the place too) & a heapful more of the cream of the crop & it's not known so much as a high caliber, which I don't think any gave a damn about but it is know as a most friendly & encouraging session where the great & small sit side by side & it's worked well in it's old venue (Olde Village Coach) & just as well in it's new home (Green Briar). Barry


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 03:29 PM

I have heard several stories from people who were surprised to learn that 'some' Irish sessions are very rigid, formal affairs. You do it "THIS" way...and newbies wait to be asked, and acceptance is a very slow process.

Well, I can see why high caliber, established sessions would not want to be overwhelmed by amateurs who butcher the music...but that does NOT excuse rude, snobbish put-downs by anal-retentive boors!

If it were ME, I would have simply asked out loud, in front of the group, what the 'rules' and expectations were, and how they expected learners to adapt and figure it out without trying!...If they threw me out, it was aplace I didn't want to be anyway.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 03:03 PM

"There are nine-and-forty ways
"Of constructing tribal lays
"And every single one of them is right!"

--quoth Rudyard Kipling

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 01:20 PM

Tom Anderson liked to get his 'The Forty Fiddlers', play ing in the fashion of the string section of an ochestra, with all the bows going up and down in unision.

I remember one Shetland Festival, where Dave Swarbrick was doing a fidle workshop and was asked how to hold and play the fiddle. There were almost audible cries of 'heretic' when he replied that it did not matter and that you should play it where you were most comfortable.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 01:08 PM

Does anyone else equate the music policeman with the type of person that hates a song in a tune session? Or who thinks that accompanying a song means playing the same tune the singer is trying to sing? Or who plays fast because his ornamentation is crap?

The first instrument that I ever played in Irish sessions was bass guitar. Now that grows you a thick skin if anything does. I reckon that there's a place in a session for anyone, no matter what standard. But if you're learning, playing something odd or unfamiliar with the tunes, sit furthest away from the middle of the session and play very quietly.


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Subject: RE: playing traditional music correctly
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 21 Dec 00 - 12:45 PM

Flute, what Barry, Larry and Brendy said is true. The really great players encourage others, the mediocre ones criticize. It's possible that this glipe is no more than a step above you in skills, and is showing off. Print out this whole thread and show it to him.
All the best
Seamus


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