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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:23 pm 
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I agree 100%. It's a reminder of the notes. Nothing more. And it has its advantages, since you can slow it down and it loops endlessly. So I like it. But a good recording of a tune by a good player is better.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:00 am 
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Just thinking for a moment about this app ...

I used to be absolutely vitriolic about the versions of tunes notated on thesession.org. I used to say that they were all wrong, and an awful lot of them are. I do think it's a very useful resource for jogging memory. But I still think it's a very bad resource - or perhaps, just the wrong resource - for learning tunes, because there are so many badly transcribed settings, and it's hard to tell which are the good ones and which the bad.

I once played a gig with a person who, technically, is not a bad player. I hadn't practiced with his group before - just went in cold to the gig. That was fine, because I knew all the tunes. But then I was thrown by that fact that the group played almost every single tune, most of which were really quite common session tunes, wrong. Not 'different settings'. Just wrong. Turns out that yer man learned all his tunes from notation at thesession.org.

I haven't been booked by that group again - they think I play all the tunes wrong. The man himself said to me that he was sure he'd got the tunes right because he "had the sheet music". :(

I would be concerned that a person using that app would get wrong versions embedded in their memory, and find it hard, later, to learn the right way to play tunes.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:33 am 
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Quote:
exactly -- music consists of notes.


I think therein lies the problem with the app. The beauty about (Irish) traditional music is in the way it is played. In the hands of a competent musician it constantly varies and changes as the tune goes along. A musician like that does not have a string of notes memorised that s/he plays back a few times, it works in a differrent way. An app like this treats music like a string of notes, repeating it a few times in exactly the same way. And as you feel this app is a tool for beginners, it will teach those beginners that's the way to play tunes. In other words, you teach them to learn and retain tunes in a fundamentally different way from a player who is immersed in the playing of living musicians.

One wellknown fiddleplayer is on record saying 'when I hear a man play a tune, I don't listen to the tune. I listen to what he does with it'. Which, to my mind, sums up how traditional; music is listened to, where the enjoyment lies. This is very simple music and its lifeblood is variation, nuance and above all rhythm. Without all that, there's nothing to it, it brings to mind an image of groups of learners by internet plodding through the same version of Drowsy Maggie three times with each and every note the same each time. Whereas in the hands of a well versed player, any old tired and overplayed tune can take on a new life. Learning (Irish) traditional music as a string of notes repeated is a flawed way of learning it, this app only promotes that.

I can, to an extend, go with the aide memoire argument. Notation functions like that. But again I will have to wonder if it's not better to go to a real life player (or a recording of one) rather than a lifeless mechanical app running off the notes. All I can say is I lost a few bars of 'Bunker Hill' a few months ago. Listening to Paddy Canny once brought them right back but what came back was not only the little turn of phrase that had gone missing, it was the spirit, drive, the zest for life and bounce that was present in Canny's playing. I was given back living music, so much more than the notes.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning By Ear
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:49 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
The man himself said to me that he was sure he'd got the tunes right because he "had the sheet music". :(

I have had too many arguments over that with a certain someone who was resolutely dots-only. The premise is always that if it is written down, it couldn't possibly be wrong. Well, of course typos happen, and if you're not going to listen, then where are you? Our last locking of horns was over Cailleach an Airgid, IIRC, and it was a matter of just one note and its chord setting, but a most crucial one, because it changed the tenor of the whole tune, and what she was doing didn't match up with what everyone else was doing even with variations and all. It's one of the most well-known tunes, after all, so I was dumbfounded. She cited the sheet music as her authority, and I asked to see her source. Sure enough, the key signature was wrong. So much for blind faith.

It's exactly for reasons like that that I don't like going to sheet music to learn tunes outright. I need to hear it. As I said, I only use notation to jog the memory. Much of the time those sources don't match up with my preferred version, but it's close enough to get the gears moving.

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