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 Post subject: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:56 pm 
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Hi All,
Question for you from someone with little knowledge of ITM and no experience at sessions.
Is it acceptable to add some variety when playing for others or playing in a session (I guess when you are playing for yourself you can do what you like) by playing two or even three versions of the same tune one after the other? For example if you are playing Father O’Flynn’s Jig can play twice through parts A and B of say the O’Neil version and then play one of the later versions and then say back to the O’Neil version and so on? Or do you just find the version you like best and stick to it?
There seem to be so many versions of so many tunes.
Cheers
JTU


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 Post subject: Re: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:51 pm 
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It would depend on the group. If it is a tight group that can follow you and know where you are going it might be fine. If it is larger group you might find 2 or three versions playing on top of each other, which sometimes works just fine, and sometimes it can turn into a chaotic, but cheerful mess. Just explain before you start the set.


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 Post subject: Re: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:40 am 
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Variation is the the lifeblood of (Irish) traditional music. Without it you're just rolling off strings of notes and it becomes uninteresting and repetitive very quickly. It's the little personal touches that make it interesting. As John Kelly said 'when I listen to a man playing a tune, I don't listen to the tune, I listen to what he does with it' (paraphrasing a bit there). Playing with others you have to be mindful to make everything 'fit'. Best to stick to one version but being instantly able to match a version people you are playing with have, is part of a good player's skill set. It's a fairly extensive subject and it's early Sunday morning so this is the short version of the answer to your question: Variation is not the same as alternating different versions 'over' eachother.

<removed clip, enough exposure for one day>

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:51 am 
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@Mr. Gumby
That sound clip was very helpful. Thanks for posting :). At the moment I am mostly just trying to copy good players and only variate the ornamentation. Guess I'll need a couple more years before I can add variations like that.


Last edited by Sedi on Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:52 am 
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There are many ways you can move through a tune but you really need to know how a tune works and sits together. It helps if you know a tune well. Tunes benefit from being 'lived in' for a long time.

Listening to people actually do it, and then realise what they're doing and why they do it, is key to developing your own voice.

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 Post subject: Re: Adding Variety
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:16 pm 
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What Mr Gumby said.

At least in the sessions I've attended (not in Ireland but in the USA) the regular members of the session will play versions of a particular tune that mesh in a pleasing way. If somebody comes to the session with a version that noticeably clashes they'll pick up on the session version soon enough.

Quite possibly no two people in the circle are playing the tune exactly the same; indeed each player might well be playing it various ways as they go along through the repeats of the parts and repeats of the tune. Yet the various versions mesh in a way that, to me, is more musical and interesting than strict homophonic unison playing.

I nearly always transform a tune to some extent from the version I initially heard. Different instruments tend to favour certain melodic shapes, so if I'm learning a tune on whistle that came from the box or fiddle I'm naturally going to whistle-ize it.

Also I have personal stylistic preferences and these will get incorporated sooner or later. As Mr Gumby says it's about the time you spend living with the tune: the more time, the more it becomes of you.

But to get back to your original question no, I don't think a session would normally think of, or do, something like replicate a certain version of the tune found in one book then go on to replicate a different version of the same tune from a different book. Seems to me that that's alien to what sessions are.

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