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virtuosity and traditional music

Jim Carroll 22 May 16 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 21 May 16 - 12:27 PM
BanjoRay 21 May 16 - 11:26 AM
Mark Ross 20 May 16 - 04:06 PM
keberoxu 20 May 16 - 03:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Mar 07 - 10:23 AM
synbyn 20 Mar 07 - 02:37 PM
Tootler 20 Mar 07 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Brendy 20 Mar 07 - 06:20 AM
Kevin L Rietmann 20 Mar 07 - 02:53 AM
GUEST,Mike Miller 20 Mar 07 - 12:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Mar 07 - 12:00 AM
Skivee 19 Mar 07 - 11:39 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Mar 07 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,meself 19 Mar 07 - 10:37 PM
Geoff Wallis 19 Mar 07 - 02:17 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Mar 07 - 07:13 AM
dick greenhaus 18 Mar 07 - 07:39 PM
The Sandman 18 Mar 07 - 04:35 PM
The Sandman 18 Mar 07 - 03:38 PM
Stringsinger 18 Mar 07 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Brendy 18 Mar 07 - 03:22 PM
Geoff Wallis 18 Mar 07 - 03:06 PM
The Sandman 18 Mar 07 - 08:15 AM
Rowan 17 Mar 07 - 05:02 PM
oggie 17 Mar 07 - 04:20 PM
Geoff Wallis 17 Mar 07 - 02:24 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Mar 07 - 07:32 AM
The Sandman 16 Mar 07 - 02:01 PM
GUEST 16 Mar 07 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Sparticus 16 Mar 07 - 06:03 AM
Tootler 15 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM
oggie 15 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM
JohnB 15 Mar 07 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,meself 15 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM
Geoff Wallis 15 Mar 07 - 02:16 PM
Kevin L Rietmann 15 Mar 07 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Viv 15 Mar 07 - 03:56 AM
Stephen L. Rich 14 Mar 07 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Mar 07 - 10:43 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Mar 07 - 05:04 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 07 - 03:20 PM
Geoff Wallis 14 Mar 07 - 01:38 PM
The Sandman 14 Mar 07 - 03:37 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 07 - 04:05 PM
Geoff Wallis 13 Mar 07 - 02:05 PM
The Sandman 13 Mar 07 - 12:56 PM
Scoville 13 Mar 07 - 10:24 AM
The Sandman 13 Mar 07 - 08:59 AM
Kevin L Rietmann 13 Mar 07 - 03:08 AM
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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 May 16 - 04:01 AM

Don't know if anybody ever heard A L. Lloyd's old, hour-long radio programme, 'Folk Music Virtuoso' - probably the best examples of the finest traditional singing and playing ever gathered together in one programme.
It was up for grabs for downloading on Mudcat some time ago, but, if anybody has difficulties getting it, I'm happy to Dropbox it to those interested.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 21 May 16 - 12:27 PM

If it sounds right, it is right.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: BanjoRay
Date: 21 May 16 - 11:26 AM

Surely Utah Philips had heard Doc Watson?


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Mark Ross
Date: 20 May 16 - 04:06 PM

Utah Phillips was wont to say that Ramblin' Jack was the best flatpicker in the country. Not because he played the most notes, but every note that he played was right where it was supposed to be.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 May 16 - 03:51 PM

I have just been getting acquainted with the recorded singing of Máire Ní Scolaí, born in 1909 and died in 1985. Now I wasn't there -- before my time -- but judging from the documentation, Ms. Ní Scolaí was practically a fixture at Radio Éireann, singing unaccompanied in the broadcast studio. She left behind numerous broadcast recordings of the sean-nós repertoire. By then the bloom was off of her contralto voice, and you can hear her making shrewd use of the singing techniques that she learned from classical music schooling, supporting the beautiful remnants of her instrument with air and breath and enviably trained muscular coordination. Whoever taught her singing knew what they were about, as her recordings are a master class for, of all things, the kind of singing technique needed to fill a concert hall or to project over an orchestra in the opera house. I am better acquainted with these classical techniques, in fact, than I am with traditional music, and I am in awe of this artist.

Apart from her enviable vocal technique, Ms. Ní Scolaí has decent good taste. She doesn't go for the cheap gesture, and her delivery is restrained and balanced at all times. No wonder they liked her in the broadcast studio, because she was so reliable and consistent.

Her singing of "Eibhlín a Rúin" gives me shivers. She was younger when she recorded that song, and many others, for HMV on 78 RPM singles; usually her sean-nós recordings for HMV were accompanied by a pianist. So her performance venues, and her audience, were far from the environments in which sean-nós tradition appears to have been nurtured. She made the repertoire known, though, and benefited from the nascent recording industry. I can understand if her singing makes traditionalists ill at ease. And I can't get over how beautifully she sings. Thanks for listening.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Mar 07 - 10:23 AM

oooooooooo...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: synbyn
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 02:37 PM

Actually it depends whether you're playing into the prevailing wind... or at least it does if your fipple is out in the open..


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 08:49 AM

Especially as you nattered Dick Miles on what was clearly a throwaway line.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Brendy
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 06:20 AM

You should try writing 'The Rough Guide to Rough Guides', perhaps, Geoff.

Tell us why you "think it might be stretching many points too far to say that there are regional whistle styles"

Really, really interested to hear this one, Geoffrey....

B.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Kevin L Rietmann
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 02:53 AM

Mmmm, big kettle of fish here.
In re: Judy Collins, Cohen's manager's point was that the singers at the Met wouldn't even give her a passing grade, no matter how much we might enjoy her singing. To paraphrase a bumper sticker, if it ain't coloratura it's crap!
There were regional piping styles in the 19th century, when no one could get around. The pipers who recorded in NYC on 78s in the 10s/20s/30s considered themselves proponents of a Connaught style, according to one of their students. O'Neill also mentioned a Connaught "tight" style of piping in his writings. What the other styles sounded like we can only guess, since only a handful of crude recordings still exist of them. Seamus Ennis's father cobbled his style together from what he liked in various old pipers who came to the Dublin Oireachtasas (Oireachti?) around a hundred years ago, and O'Flynn has popularized much of Seamus's style, and also Willie Clancy's (who learned about Garrett Barry's piping from his father's descriptions of it - no recordings of him were made). What parts of it were particular to a province or county will never be known now, none of the regional styles really carried on like the fiddling or fluting have.

Waterford piper Liam Walsh made a lot of records, his music was very swinging, as was the Kerry fiddler Mike Hanafin's. So maybe the older Munster/South Leinster music was very bouncy? That's about as close as we'll ever know now, I think, unless there's an unknown school of fluting or piping down there no one's documented, or if some more recordings come to light.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 12:06 AM

I, too, have heard James Galway play dance tunes, on flute, and I think that he played them well, if, perhaps, self conciously. As a classically trained artist, he can, only, play the trad style from imitation and impression. He plays, if you will, with a bit of an accent. In a previous posting, I mentioned Itzhak Perlman's foray into the world of Klezmar. He was terrific but stylistically flawed. He couldn't help himself. He has a low shmaltz tolerance and klezmerim have to shmear it on with a spatula.
But, full credit to him. He loves the music and the tradional rituals. So does James Galway. Let's cut these guys some slack. They honor their roots and they honor the music we love.

                      Mike


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 12:00 AM

Perhaps Skivee, you thought he was 'too smooth'...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Skivee
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 11:39 PM

For what it's worth (and this being just my personal opinion, not much) I didn't much care for what I've heard of Mr. Galway's pennywhistle playing. Though he is to be hailed as one of the great flute players of the world, to my ear, he sounded like he was playing a pennywhistle with flute playing technique. Your opinion may well vary. You may also decide that my opinion in this matter isn't worth argueing about. I may well agree.
I do very much like his classical playing.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 11:28 PM

... or is that - discussing the traditions of discussing traditions...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 10:37 PM

Wait a minute, I'm confused, Geoff - did you write The Rough Guide to Irish Music or The Rough Guide to Ireland - or both? Or are they one and the same?


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 02:17 PM

Yep, I write The Rough Guide to Ireland, Captain. What's your problem?


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 07:13 AM

Dick,

as far as I can follow this thread, it looks like we might have moved on to the tradition of discussing the traditions of traditions...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 07:39 PM

Err...which tradition are we discussing?


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 04:35 PM

apologies , It was the rough guide to Ireland I was critical of ,I trust you are nothing to do with this Geoff.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 03:38 PM

I disagree.
If you had cowritten the Rough Guide To Timbuctoo,I wouldnt be any more impressed,however as sometime back I was mildly critical of your magazine,this probably explains your hostility to my posts,all has been revealed.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 03:24 PM

"I always remembered something Leonard Cohen said in an interview, he was headed to Newport with his manager, ca. 1967, and was worried about sharing the stage with Judy Collins et al. "I don't know if I'm a singer..." "Leonard, NONE of you guys can sing. If I want to hear singers I'll go to the Met!"

...But Judy Collins CAN sing.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Brendy
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 03:22 PM

"I think it might be stretching many points too far to say that there are regional whistle styles. Again I'd suggest that this has more to do with local repertoires."

Hi Geoff. Could you please elucidate?

Is Ring still in County Waterford, by the way?

B.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 03:06 PM

Captain, you might at least do me the honour of addressing me simply as Geoff, rather than including my surname! :)

I do very much know about regional styles of playing in Ireland, as my last message should have revealed [you're very much preaching to the converted]. And, by the way, I co-wrote 'The Rough Guide to Irish Music'.

I think it might be stretching many points too far to say that there are regional whistle styles. Again I'd suggest that this has more to do with local repertoires.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 07 - 08:15 AM

Geoff Wallis.
I rely upon my ears,.my ears tell me,that there is a differnce between ulster whistle playing,and the style I hear around here in County Cork and Kerry.
there are other differences on other instruments too, the flute for instance[there is an ulster style of playing the flute] and a roscommon style,.
ulster has much scottish influence in its music as has Donegal,but it is part of Ireland.[Geographically and hopefully soon, politically]and Ulster styles of playing are still valid.
different styles exist in uillean piping, there is an open and a closed style of playing.,represented at the moment by Paddy Keenan and Liam O flynn,[paddy keenan comes from a travellers background].
Foolestroupe made a good point he plays in his own style,that is valid too,as long as the music is good to dance too[and galways is,and as long as the dancers feet are not tied to the floor by the musicians,everything is acceptable,we will all have personal preferences.
What is wrong is for people like O Brien Moran,to say that the way Galway plays is an example of how not to play a hornpipe.
By the way, hornpipes are played differently again in Scotland and England,the Irish do not have a monopoly on the stylistic playing of hornpipes.
Personally,I find generally, the Scottish and English and James Galways style ,of heavily dotting the hornpipes, better for dancing,but I would never say that the other style is wrong,it is just a question of preference.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Rowan
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 05:02 PM

"So you reckon James Galway's style is valid? On whose terms?"

"Validity" would appear to be a curious concept in this context. The style either exists or doesn't exist. If you're questioning whether Galway's style is purely personal or whether it is part of a regional style the notion of validity may well be invalid, so to speak. "On whose terms?" seems to beg a question of whose referencing system is applicable and I hope it doesn't come down to an assertion of "mine's better than yours".

Galway's playing seems to appeal to me less than Mary Bergin's does but that's a purely personal taste matter; Mary happens to play in the style of Barb Scott, a friend with whom I plated for many years and I find it pleasing but that says nothing objective about Galway's playing style. Those more familiar than I with music in Ulster may (or may not) comment on whether Galway's playing fits within a regional style. Would their "terms" convince you?

While I find Dick's writing on Mudcat takes getting used to, I suspect it's because he types a lot faster than I can and he doesn't place as high a value on my plodding approach to grammar as I do, especially if it gets in the way of quick communication.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: oggie
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 04:20 PM

"So you reckon James Galway's style is valid? On whose terms?"

I agree with Dick here. It is different, but it comes within a tradition, that of Ulster (which may not be politically as acceptable) but I have heard other whistle and flute players from there who have a similar style, it's tongued more than in the south but is that not a valid way of playing? Likewise a fiddle player from Antrim has a different style.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 02:24 PM

Captain, you're going from the sublime to the ridiculous!

True, there are well defined regional styles of fiddle playing and it would take a very deaf ear not to appreciate the differences between, say, Donegal's and Kerry's. The same proposition would apply, for instance, to flute players from Sligo and those from Dublin (unless imbued in the North Connacht style). Uilleann piping is a different kettle of fish altogether and shouldn't be considered under a regional styles heading.

However, I'm utterly puzzled by your suggestion that similar stylistic differences apply to other instruments and their players. There are various nuances which can be employed during the playing of any of the other (largely) mechanical instruments which configure Irish music. For instance, I'd be very much interested to know why you believe that different regional whistling styles can be detected.

I'll give you an example. Both Jackie Daly and Joe Burke play the button accordion, but their individuality is only partly defined by the instruments they play (even considering the distinction between JB's B/C preference and Jackie's C#/D), but by the tunes they're playing and said tunes origins.

So you reckon James Galway's style is valid? On whose terms?

All commas in this message were supplied by getacomma.com.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Mar 07 - 07:32 AM

I got me own style...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 02:01 PM

Tootler has understood me correctly,there is no such thing as a Waterford style.
as regards fiddle playing there are galway clare kerry sligo donegal styles,there are regional styles of playing with other instruments including the whistle,every style including James Galways is valid.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 01:40 PM

No, Tootler, you're missing the point. If the Captain makes reference to a 'Waterford style', he should at least tell us what he thinks it is!


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Sparticus
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 06:03 AM

That may be but his use of commas is appalling!


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 07:58 PM

Geoff Wallis, I think you are taking the Captains remark about a Waterford style a little too literally.

The way I read it is that he was arguing that James Galway was playing "Boys of Bluehill" in a recognisable Irish regional style and that playing in that style was just as valid as playing in any other style including any fictional one you might make up. He was in effect making use of a common literary device to make a point.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: oggie
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:54 PM

Going back to Dick's original post and drawing comparison with Classical music. The classical music world is littered with highly technically proficient young musicians who have burst upon the scene, scored some commercial sucess and then vanished. Some without trace, some reappear years later and at that point have added experience, not just of music but of life, to their technique and a very few become virtuosos.

The youth drive in classical music is commercial and it sella records for a short time. In the end it is those who make the complete package who have long careers. The same may be true of folk music.

Concering classical musicians (and remember there are as many strands of "classical music" as there are folk) I think that they can play folk music well IF they learn the idioms as well as the notes. Shining example, the late, great, Derek Bell.

All the best

Steve Ogden


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: JohnB
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:18 PM

I think everyone here has the finest virtuoso plyer around resident in their own computer, a guy called Midi O'Player. Gosh he can play anything, faster than you could ever want, or slower than you ever want and all in perfect timing and notation.
He is a bit of a heartless bastard though.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:14 PM

In the Captain's defence, he did say "a" Waterford style, and it was in the context of a phrase ("it is just as valid as a waterford style or any other") that could be taken to suggest that he was hypothesizing "a Waterford style", and was so indicating. It seems a little unfair, then, to demand that he provide detail concerning this (hypothetical) style.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 02:16 PM

Captain, I've come to the conclusion that you don't know what you're talking about unless you can cite references to a distinct style existing in County Waterford and give examples of musicians exhibiting such.

If anyone mentions regional styles of music, particularly fiddle playing, from Donegal, Sligo, East Galway, Clare, West Kerry and Sliabh Luachra, then it's relatively easy to follow up the leads, but Waterford is a different matter altogether.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Kevin L Rietmann
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 09:49 AM

I always remembered something Leonard Cohen said in an interview, he was headed to Newport with his manager, ca. 1967, and was worried about sharing the stage with Judy Collins et al. "I don't know if I'm a singer..." "Leonard, NONE of you guys can sing. If I want to hear singers I'll go to the Met!"


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Viv
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:56 AM

For me a great singer of folk songs is someone who can tell the story convincingly and can do it from the heart and guts, this does not mean that they have to have a great voice, it means that they have to care about and believe in what they are doing and that will convey itself to anyone listening.

                            Viv


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 11:51 PM

"Virtuosity" is such a subjective term. Virtuosity as comared to what? A voice trained for opera? Jazz? Showtunes?

    I always like to point to Jimmy Durante as an example of how good a singer can be without being particularly skillful technically. Durante couldn't carry a tune in a locked strongbox. But, he was so expressive -- he sang with so much "heart" that you didn't care. His phrasing was flawless and his timing was amazing. One of the most treasured recordings in my collection is of Durante singing "As Time Goes By" because his heart and phrasing more than overcame his that flat, gravelpit he had for a voice.

    In folk music, much the same could be said about "Pop" Stoneman, Alemida Riddle, or Frank Proffit. Even more recently, Fred Holstien, May he rest in peace, was hardly what one could call a virtuoso singer in the aspect of technique. He carried a tune well. He hit all of the notes, and knew what not notes he shouldn't try to hit. His work stood out because he knew how to respect the lyric -- how to tell the story. He would always have been the firsst to tell you that the song has to be the star, not the singer. The singer job is to do everything he or she can to portray the basic elements of the story or emotion of the song being performed. For folk music that may be the best definition of virtuosity that you're likely to find.

Stephen Lee Rich


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 10:43 PM

Sorry for the blank post. That was me---my hand spasmed and posted that on it's own. Part of my malady these days...

From my point of view, it was always the story within a song that was uppermost. I saught mightily to make the tale my reason for singing the song. Any instrumental virtuosity I attained was to PUSH the story to the fore.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 05:04 PM

Cynices might say that 'Waterford' style is what happens when you drop it - broken.... :-)


I know where the door is...


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 03:20 PM

Waterford style is crystal clear.If you drive your ford on water,Instead of Petrol,you soon know what Waterford style is..My advice is go to Waterford and ask.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 01:38 PM

Fine, Captain, but you haven't told me anything about the 'Waterford style'! This is a serious request and I'm very much intrigued.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 03:37 AM

A little information about James Galway.
from his auto biography,Iwas sent to joe Mcadorey for flute lessons,Joe taught the onward flute band.we would sit around the table and Joe would sing the music to me.Then i would ask him to play the piece for me.He was quite nippy on the fluteand really impressed me,very good with his tongueing and with a special way of attacking the notes which I thought was very good.Most of the Belfast players had a very sluggish approach-but his attack was clean and crisp and I think I learned something there that I still retain to this day.
Shortly after I joined the band we entered the flute melody section of the Flute Band Competitions, a big event in what you might call the Ulster folk music calendar.
Galway,s style was influenced by his first teacher,a folk musician,he was playing traditonal /folk music before he became a classical musician.
Galways breath control is something all wind players should emulate,a common fault among mediocre traditional musicians,particuarly whistle players is taking a breath in the middle of a musical phrase,Galway never does this., a classic example of good technique enhancing the music.
I heard Galway playing The Boys OF Bluehill with another player on an old Nicholas Carolan recording,the two styles did not gel the other player played in a flowing legato style,which was very pleasant but was hardly dotted.Galway played in a dotted articulated style,which in my opinion[I have been playing for thirty years,Scottish Irish and English dance music]was more suitable for dancing solo slow hornpipes,and pattern dances like Belfast Duck, than the other player.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 04:05 PM

Geoff Wallis,there are many different regional styles as you well know,and all styles of playing are just as valid as any other,providing the music can still serve its original purpose of being danceable,.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 02:05 PM

Well, Captain, in all the years in which I've been playing and writing about music I've never heard anyone refer to a 'Waterford style'.

Please elucidate.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 12:56 PM

yes, Galways playing is a stylistic matter,before he played classical music he played in fife and drum bands,he learned to play traditional music[fife and drum is part of the orange tradition,but its still a tradition] in a certain ulster style,it is just as valid as a waterford style or any other, whether its hornpipes for lancashire clog or Westmorland clog[two very different styles].,
styles vary,.
O ,brien moran is showing his ignorance by making remarks like that,the only wrong way to play a hornpipe, or any other dance tune is if the dancers cant dance to it.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Scoville
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 10:24 AM

Virtuosity for its own sake is almost always boring. Pyrotechnics on an instrument means nothing without the expression and feeling of a musician.

Which is true for classical (jazz, whatever) musicians just as well as folk, and which does not necessarily mean that technical virtuosity and emotion are mutually exclusive. Why do you think musicians like Doc Watson, Norman Blake, etc. are so well known? It's because they can do both. (Frankly, just emotion, or emotion for its own sake, can be boring, too).

On the one hand, such breathtaking simplicity is the very opposite of "virtuosity"; on the other hand, it's an example of the very highest (or perhaps deepest) level of performance skill.

. . . which I would say counts as one kind of virtuosity. Otherwise you're just a trained monkey with a saxophone.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 08:59 AM

you could certainly dance a hornpipe, the way James Galway was playing the Boys of Bluehill.
This is supposed to be dance music,and that was how he was playing ,so I dont care a toss about Obrien Moran,I let my own ears decide.
If fife and drum bands are not trad what the;;;;;;are they.


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Subject: RE: virtuosity and traditional music
From: Kevin L Rietmann
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 03:08 AM

Captain Birdseye said:

"James galway was a folk musician before he became a classical musician,I recently heard him play Boys Of Bluehill ,on the whistle and he played in a typically Northern style,very articulated use of tongueing etc.,.very good in its own way."

The Waterford piper Jimmy O'Brien-Moran actually made a snide dig (in the pipers' association journal An Piobarie) at Galway's recorded performance of that very tune as an example of how not to play a hornpipe! But here you're touting it as just a regional/stylistic matter. Haven't heard the track so I'm not at liberty to judge. Other people find his playing hopelessly stiff so I've not bothered to cue him up myself although I like his LP of Debussy tunes.
By the way, it's SIR James Galway. Work on your genuflection! I was told he was in a fife and drum band as a youngster, also. Not trad music per se although perhaps he played that too, dunno.


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