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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:53 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
We could probably get into something lengthy about the intricacies of ornamentation but I am not sure that would be helpfull.

Please tell me if it would be helpful to know, even if I can't do it well, in light of my thoughts on this:

My interest lies in what may be an incorrect assumption, I'm willing to be set straight if I'm wrong, but I likely heard it from somewhere that I considered a good source of info, so it's stuck. Here's some of the stuff going around in my head about it: With regard to getting the sound right, you have to be able to tell the accent notes, so you can breathe in the right places, and get the timing correct. If I take away a note, I should be careful to not take away from the tune, I can turn a triplet into a roll, or vice versa, and I can skip a note to breathe so long as it doesn't interrupt the flow of the tune. Similarly phrasing can be changed and you still get the same tune, you demonstrated that with the ending of Cronin's up above being different from the one I played. I've found this in other tunes as well, and am somewhat mixing phrases from different settings of tunes, to still play the same tune, but just with a little variation. Any that I learn, I listen to many different variations. I think it helps my brain to be able to place notes, and some things just sound like they belong. I don't expect everyone who plays the same tune to play it the same way, or even with all the same notes, and that's what I'm finding.

But with ornamentation, putting it in or leaving it out, does create a style, and you note some good ones there. I love that West along the Road you shared, and it's on my to learn list now! But I do think that some people I've listened to, playing the same tune, accent some notes that just sound off. It could be personal preference, but even a bodhran player knows you change what you accent when striking the skin, I think it's similar when you're playing a jig, vs a reel. I know that you need to keep the rhythm going, so as not to wreck the tune, and there's a bit of a trick to that as well, similar to the breathing. I want to learn that part of it, and in listening to tunes that are available, it's easy, because you can see where players are putting accents, even if they're choosing slightly differently than each other, you can say, oh, accenting this note sounds good, (or not accenting) but when you come across someone who doesn't have the right feel, it's likely a combination of the wrong rhythm and/or accenting the wrong step. Choosing a tune I can't find any examples of, like that Cronin's above, means that I am trying to learn the feel of the tune, and not just throw stuff into it to trick it out, but to learn where it should be, and shouldn't be, so that the tune itself is still working. Again, I could be wrong, and some people may enjoy the players who just throw on ornaments anywhere they feel like it without thinking about this, but I'm a sensitive sort and think I'm finding a pattern at least amongst the players who I prefer to listen to compared to the ones I don't.

No, my fingers can't play well yet, but I believe training my brain to pick up the differences will only help once they can. I'm sure you've heard people who are quite popular on youtube play a tune, with all the correct notes, but still feel like they just aren't doing it justice? Or someone who plays a tune straight, without swing? This is the stuff I want to work towards getting, and I'm stuck at the moment needing to judge players I find online, and knowing who to discard and who to listen to so that once my fingers and brain work together, I'll have a good feeling in my head for the tunes. (It also goes back to why I think learning on the whistle is good no matter what instrument one picks up later)

It's easier to learn things slowly as one goes along, than to unlearn and relearn something later once you've set in stone what you probably shouldn't have done. (I'm currently working to try to keep a hold of the whistle with either my pinky or something, because while I can play without it, the faster I go, the harder it is to play the notes well)

It's also why I listen to a lot of tunes that I am not yet interested in playing, and listen to instruments that I'm not interested in playing, and love to hear different variations of the tunes. I feel like it educates my brain along the way. If I'm well off base, or if this is something you think you can't learn as you go along, but only once you've arrived, then I'll work only on arriving. But if you do have any direction at the moment I'm a sponge, and am soaking up information to put to use later, and to recognise in others in the meantime.

So with regards to that particular question of mine on which note to cut... It's simply me trying to play the jig and have it still sound like a jig. I can get there without the ornament yes, but I want to learn how to not ruin the feeling. I'm not even looking at which is the easy one, I already know that for myself. I know that basic accents on 6/8 time are on 1and4, but that's not all there is to it, as there are some rather handy players who play differently, and there are some that change from first part to second part which they pick. Were this a world where the only people who I could find playing, all knew this instinctively, then I could just follow anyone, because I can't just throw an ornament anywhere and have it sound quite right, even if I couldn't put my finger on it as to why not.

Unless there's no such thing as discordant accenting, then I'm just finding some players who I dislike I guess and should be more tolerant, this could simply be a matter of my opinion being wrong.

I gather I shouldn't be asking questions that are beyond my ability though? I know I'm new, and asking for information that is more advanced than my current level. It's a habit of mine that sometimes annoys people, but my brain just doesn't stop questioning things. Sometimes it spills out of my mouth or my fingertips. I'd rather be caught in an incorrect presumption and fix faulty reasoning beforehand, otherwise I worry I'll have a few years of either taking some bad advice or ignoring some good because I didn't ask.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:40 am 
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I gather I shouldn't be asking questions that are beyond my ability though?


There's no harm in asking questions. Perhaps there can be harm in overthinking things.

In these matters, ornamentation, embellishment (to use the wider term) etc, there are definite wrongs but also many possible rights. For example the way you ornament the eAA A in Cronin's. I would never play it that way and to be honsest neither would any whistle player I have taken as an example. I would definitely not think of that as a roll either. I have heard a few people do it though, people on this forum who learned from the internet. Does it mean it is wrong or that you shouldn't do it? Possibly, probably even, not. If you want to do it that way and can make it work, it's fine. There are more ways leading to the same destination, to throw out a well worn cliché.

Nowadays a lot of people are taught, learn a rouhgly standardised way. If you look at the older generations, they just heard musioc and tried to find ways to bring it out. And a lot of different ways of doing things developed as a result. Variety is good, more interesting.

That Come west along the Road clip is pure basic playing, barely any ornamentation or variation etc. But yet it is spot on, it has conviction.

One of my default pieces of reading recommendations would be Pat Mitchell's Rhythm and structure i nIrish Traditional Dance Music, part 1 should sort out some of your questions about jig playing at least. Written for pipers, it applies in many ways to the whistle and playing music in general. It will certainly give you some insight in phrase structures in jigs.

A tune is not set in stone, a good player will constantly vary it as they go along. It's part of the skill set but perhaps also a subject for anotyjher time.

I was playing Cronin's this morning. I hadn't played it for a long time and would have played it on the pipes mostly. I am doing bits around the house and don't like setting up[ microphones and all that but I'll see if I can play it into my phone later, the tune sits well on the whislte anyway, full of diversions and roundabouts. Wondered too if it inspired the Mist covered mountain..

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:11 am 
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Whew! Kind of wordy threads. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:37 pm 
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I´m a little late here, but if I might add some things. Cronin´s Favorite often sails under the ´flag´ of Darby the Driver. Here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCpJmorBjOI is a rendition, albeit with the flute, by ´an ole´ guy´ at a moderate pace, not overly embellished. Mike Rafferty puts great lift into it without letting the racehorses out :) Please notice not only the pace, but the phrasing.

Bob

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:51 pm 
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Cronin´s Favorite often sails under the ´flag´ of Darby the Driver


Good catch Bob. Although Darby the driver as O'Neill printed it is really a different tune. I always imagined it was a tune Paddy Cronin dug out somewhere and popularised but I can't really think of a recording of him playing the tune (but then, I didn't extensively look for it either so perhaps I will have to pout the collected 78rpms on tomorrow and see if it pops up). There's a version in Breathnach's CRE 5 (#43) that uses the Cronin's favourite name which comes from Paddy O'Brien and that's where I identified it after learning it from the Kilfenora tape.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:05 pm 
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This is excellent, all of it!

Yes, I want to learn to fit somewhere into the different ways of doing things, that are some of the possible rights. I don't know if that means I'll put in more or less embellishment than another player yet, I just want it to fit into the tune, and want to learn some of this along the way, before I've set something in my head that ends up in more of the possibly not wrong, than in the definitely wrong category. Particularly the bit about other whistle players not playing something as a roll, except for internet learners might do it... I may be a step ahead of the game by asking about other things, but here's something that I now need to look into, as I expect I'll be an internet learner for the next 5 years! I live in the middle of nowhere and there isn't anyone nearby that plays anything I'm interested in. So how would a non internet learning whistle player that you have taken as an example play it then? And how would you describe how I ornamented it? I'm using the "long roll" a la Grey Larsen when I'm calling it that. I am aware from his tutors that others title things differently, but haven't read others to know what they call it instead.

Mr. Gumby, if you are willing to play on your pipes, you have an eager listener here at least, and while I can't sit beside you to learn, I promise I will learn from anything shared. Reading is handy, but I can read all day long and still need to hear something to set it down. Some people learn by doing, some by reading and some by hearing. I'm a big mix of reading and hearing, so tend to appreciate best being able to hear and read a variety of examples of things I'm learning. I'm definitely going to read what you've shared though, I find that if someone has taken the time to carefully put something to print, they more often have something worth learning on the page.

As to Darby the Driver, I was looking for it under that name as well, and found a few versions of it that matched and some that didn't, like O'Neill's version of it, so wasn't sure. (see example https://youtu.be/fU-MSno-yDc) It's a tune that I know from back home though, as Cronin's favourite, so it could be regional differences, I decided to go with the one I knew, and not worry about the others that didn't match it. That flute version though is very good, and it won't hurt me to learn the other versions either. Mist covered mountain is definitely in this same family!

As for wordy threads... I haven't said a word in here for years! Now you complain? (just kidding, I'm new. I'm a post whore, promise you I'll try at least to be entertaining when I make you feel like you're reading an essay)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:34 am 
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Flexibility when play a tune is an essential skill. But it is one that comes for a a large part from experience and being around music and musicians. It has also to do with learning style, traditional musicians who learned fully by ear have a different way with tunes than people who learn their tunes from notation. That's my observation anyway. But it isn't as clear cut as that, ofcourse. Learning processes, how you remember a tune (a structure vs a string of notes for example). It's interesting stuff but well beyond this discussion.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:16 am 
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About the overthinking, I think it comes, at least in my case, from being an outsider.

If we grow up speaking English we don't have to think about the grammar, we say they run, he runs and we don't have to think about when we have to add the s.

But adult learners do have to think about those things, else they make mistakes.

Music is like that. Irish players don't have to make hundreds of conscious thought-out decisions about how they do all the little things and big things that make their playing sound native...but we outsiders do, else we make mistakes.

Or as a very good American player, who lived in Ireland for a few years, told me "we Americans are always seeking the sound. The Irish have the sound."

Not to get too quasi-mystical about it, but I believe that I'm like that with Mountain Music. If you grow up in the hills, with family members and neighbors who play, you have the accent in your speech and the music in your bones. An outsider- someone who hasn't grown up with the coal-barges gently flowing down the Kanawha at the end of their street, who hasn't heard the whistle of the long coal-trains in the night, who hasn't seen the mist on the mountains- no matter how technically perfect their playing, is an outsider and will always be an outsider.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:50 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Music is like that. Irish players don't have to make hundreds of conscious thought-out decisions about how they do all the little things and big things that make their playing sound native...but we outsiders do, else we make mistakes.

Or as a very good American player, who lived in Ireland for a few years, told me "we Americans are always seeking the sound. The Irish have the sound."


Very good points, and one remedy for being an academic/beginner/outsider I've found that always goes right to the core of the situation, is to put the instrument down and just listen to the music, repeatedly, to feel it, get a sense of it's organic creation, watch musicians of that style playing it and really feel what they feel as it happens, experience what they experience.

When the music is felt directly and deeply instead of it being just a sheet music reference or a chart or broken down into bits and instrument techniques, then the most vital aspect of the music is found and absorbed. From there, it's far easier to get the music to go from the heart and the mind and the muscles and nerves, properly out to interaction with an instrument, than it will ever be in expecting an instrument to sing like a traditional music folkie all by itself. The whistles used by the most talented players, are just as stupid as the ones the worst players use. One type of player knows and feels the music more consistently.

Watch crowds, watch the band. What's the intent for the music, what are they aiming for? ITM bands and session players may seem very concentrated and kind of formal from the outside, because they ARE putting lots of focus and energy into their playing of songs properly, but on the inside, they're feeling that music as strongly as James Brown dances and gestures when he belts out "I feel good, I knew that I would now!".

The musician in performance action isn't an observer, the musician is a cell within a creature who's up to something very interesting and animated. Don't let an instrument become a barrier to organically feeling the music in the muscles, in the heart and mind. Move to it! Listen to the music and let it become a form of energy in you, to translate outward.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:04 pm 
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Greenfire wrote:
As for wordy threads... I haven't said a word in here for years! Now you complain? (just kidding, I'm new. I'm a post whore, promise you I'll try at least to be entertaining when I make you feel like you're reading an essay)

It wasn't a formal complaint... just a comment. Quotes and to the point inquiry helps (me) with direct response(s) without having to mill through the minutiae, otherwise I just skip the longwinded threads altogether. It is not just you as other members can get lengthy in replying too.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:14 pm 
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I think that's the difference I'm noting in listening to some people when they play vs others. There's youtube channels I entirely avoid for any Irish tunes at all, though I have used them for other tunes.

Growing up listening to the music, (even learning stepdancing briefly as a kid) I hope I know how it's supposed to sound, and while I admit to also hearing Eastern Canadian tunes, and even some from quebec (oh and german tunes were always around due to a large population in my area including yearly oktoberfest so I may even have my style be contaminated by german polkas) there's still a world of difference between a tune played well and one that isn't. My feet alone tell me this. It's why I prefer to play along with a tune already played well, and don't really read music (yet, though working on it). I'll write down the notes, and have used abc notations I've found online, but I still want to be able to create that sound. Living somewhere now where I can't just go to someone nearby and ask them for help, means I'm stuck finding information other than listening, from people online, or from books, but I really believe it's helpful to ask people who play, barring being able to sit beside them myself, here I am.

I do have "expert technical musical instruction" available to me if I want, in several classical instruments, my sister owns a music studio.... She holds a masters in performance for woodwinds, her husband for horns, along with several other diplomas between the two of them, all music related. But it's not expert technique that's going to help me here, especially not someone who plays classical and baroque exclusively, and there's a difference between how one plays the whistle and simple flute, to how one plays a concert flute, despite the fact that she can also play these. I suspect she'd direct me towards a Boehm flute, or a recorder rather than a whistle to be perfectly frank.

I'm after the more intangible bits, and while there's no mathematical or scientific formulae to pinpointing exactly what is and is not traditional sounding, to alter a famous quote slightly, "you know it when you hear it" You also know it when you don't.

I don't want to feel like it's a lost cause for me to try to discern this from far away, and think that there are resources available to me even at a distance. Namely talking to people about something as specific even as, if I accent this note on this tune instead of this note, does it still have the sound? I suppose I will need to wait though until I can play the entire tune at rhythm well enough to play two different versions of it and then ask... My brain would prefer to dwell on the question in the meantime though, it likes to multitask.

I have a sick dog here, and my attention will be diverted somewhat in the meantime, I have some reading and listening material available, if not chatting with you fine folk.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:49 am 
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To give the thread a bit of a break and some light entertainment, here's the recording I learned Cronin's favourite from, twenty years ago. Contrary to what I said before it's not the Kilfenora but the Tulla. Memory not what it used to be and all that. The tape was a private recording of the Fleadh in Kilrush in 1960 and one of the famous play offs between the Kilfenora And the Tulla (hence the confusion). The Kilfenora won that year and well deserved too, they were flying.

Cronin's Favourite/Leitrim Fancy - Tulla Ceiliband, Kilrush 1960

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:22 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:

Thankyou muchly!


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