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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:12 pm 
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(from another topic):

Nanohedron wrote:
it's not uncommon for advanced players to hear a new tune, and after the first or second turn - hey presto - they're playing it, too. But with most such, this is the result of decades of physical practice (getting that mind-body connection down, or letting go of it, depending on your perspective), active/analytical listening (for shapes, patterns and relationships), and ear memory practice (hint: active listening greatly aids retention). All the same, I suspect that a lot of people, including advanced players, probably learn in sections, mostly. Advanced players are just likely to be able to reproduce it more quickly and accurately, is all.


So I'd like to hear informed opinions on this topic. Just what is an advanced whistle player?

Technical mastery is a given, of course, but what does this include? Would it include little-used techniques such as cranns? L. E. McCullough thinks so:

How I became L. E. McCullough

Quote:
Learn every single type of ornament possible, even if you later decide not to use them. See if you can play into the third octave — just because it’s there.


So what can an advanced whistle player do? Pick up anything by ear in one or two listenings? And then switch from the key of D to the key of G? Play fast as blazes in proper rhythm? Have a huge repertoire? Sound just like Micho Russell and then sound like Mary Bergin?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:56 pm 
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I'm not going anywhere near the "what is" kind of thing, but I'll post a high-risk comment about the "how" side of things.

Advanced players are actively committed to developing their ability in musical learning, understanding, playing and proactively generating opportunities to do more of that for themselves and others where that's part of how things work. Multi-dimensional. They have chosen to persist through challenges and difficulties, to realize some gains. Results and preferences vary, naturally, but their intention is typically far more resolute through long periods of time, than a person who never has or hasn't yet, developed their ability to "advanced" through sustained effort. At minimum, to earn the label "advanced", something will have been gained above the average, be it performance skill on an instrument, knowledge of and promotion of music, both, or ability to assertively associate with pub owners in the interests of getting the best gig times for sessions and thereby become a popular musical carouser.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:46 pm 
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Meaningless - it's just a label. It's not like you get a "black belt" in whistle playing.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:43 pm 
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kenny wrote:
Meaningless - it's just a label. It's not like you get a "black belt" in whistle playing.

It's an interesting question, though. I should think that you could be called advanced were you to tell people you're going to teach, and no one points out that it's way too early in your career for that.

That said, I agree that labels such as "advanced" are on their own merits dicey. Of course we aspire and one compares oneself to others, but as I indicated above, rank is best conferred, not claimed. The first is public opinion, the other only one's own, so always beware the Dunning-Kruger effect, and - I know it's the last thing a developing musician wants to hear - not give "being advanced" too much weight. Am I advanced? To some, yes, but what happens when I'm compared to the greats? Not to sound mystical, but it's true: Always be a beginner. Even if you can play rings around Mary Bergin, still consider yourself a beginner.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:13 pm 
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Brus wrote:
Just what is an advanced whistle player?

Technical mastery is a given, of course, but what does this include? Would it include little-used techniques such as cranns?


I would not consider myself an "advanced" player by any means, but I use crans a lot - not what I would call a "little-used technique".

Other than that, I have nothing to add to the topic. Makes no difference to me what labels or titles others use for themselves or me; I play for my own enjoyment and always have. I do however enjoy practicing and getting better.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:51 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
I'm not going anywhere near the "what is" kind of thing, but I'll post a high-risk comment about the "how" side of things.

Advanced players are actively committed to developing their ability in musical learning, understanding, playing and proactively generating opportunities to do more of that for themselves and others where that's part of how things work. Multi-dimensional. They have chosen to persist through challenges and difficulties, to realize some gains. Results and preferences vary, naturally, but their intention is typically far more resolute through long periods of time, than a person who never has or hasn't yet, developed their ability to "advanced" through sustained effort. At minimum, to earn the label "advanced", something will have been gained above the average, be it performance skill on an instrument, knowledge of and promotion of music, both, or ability to assertively associate with pub owners in the interests of getting the best gig times for sessions and thereby become a popular musical carouser.




I was with you until you got to the "At minimum" sentences. I have played with players who are advanced by the definition you lay out, and others you may consider expert by those criteria that have not chosen to be performers. I think you are, after that sentence describing people who have a drive to perform or become professional musicians. These can be advanced, expert or mediocre, depending on the town or audience. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:10 pm 
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Brus, there are two distinct topics you bring up:

1) The ability to pick up tunes by ear on the fly.

2) Knowing how to play crans, and knowing how to play 3rd octave notes.

About #2, generations of Irish whistle and flute players have had played their entire lives, and been regarded as excellent players, without knowing how to do either of those things.

About #1, many excellent players (of all instruments) are good at doing that, and many other excellent players are not.

Personally I would look slightly askance at the term "advanced whistle player" because I wouldn't know what it was supposed to mean.

Whatever somebody's instrument, the questions for me are

1) do they play in time?

2) do they play in tune?

3) do they play in a reasonably traditional style?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:56 am 
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The old musicians always talked about having the ability to 'bring over a tune'. Which involves having a full understanding of the music and the ability to 'bring it across' to the listener or dancer.

That covers a multitude.

I have seen the label 'advanced' used as a label for grading classes/workshops: being able to play certain tune types using a degree of ornamentation/variation and that sort of thing. Outside that context it's as Kenny says.

I don't think ornamentation count is a criterium to use: Micho Russell didn't play rolls and I have yet to hear Mary Bergin use a crann. There are stylistic choices to be made and I wouldn't rate rattling out cranns as a marker of ability.

Taste, understanding, knowledge and the ability to put those together to produce music that speaks with emotion. That's the thing to aim for.

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:23 am 
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Reminds me of the "Sligo flute controversy" video on YouTube. I think James Murray says at one point: "I've been playing for 20 years and I didn't know what a roll was."


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:06 am 
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It's an article I have linked on several occasions over the past twenty years or so but Pat Mitchell's Rhythm and structure in Irish Traditional Music deals with a few issues that, while written for pipers, translate well to whistle playing. Advanced or otherwise.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:17 am 
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Thanks for the link. Downloaded it to read later :).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:53 pm 
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Advanced whistle playing is like ρσяиσפядρђψ in that my fiancée prefers I wear headphones while watching it.*

Er...

I mean...

I know them when I see them!*

I don't know if any list of qualifications could completely codify an "advanced" player vs one that isn't advanced, despite Comhaltas and others wanting easy-to-define categories for lessons and such. But I'm sure many people here could very easily pick "advanced"/"accomplished"/"great"/etc. players out just by hearing them play. Channel your inner Potter Stewart* and just embrace the undefinable!

*For the non-Americans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:10 pm 
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bigsciota wrote:
I know them when I see them!

That's pretty much all one can say about it, isn't it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:11 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:15 pm 
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If you can play a tune, and it sounds like music to someone else, then you're "advanced". If you can play a tune, and it sounds like music to someone who plays tunes, then you're "advanced". If you play a tune for Cathal McConnell, and he says it sounds like music, then you've arrived.

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