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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 12:07 am 
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What the heck, Murph, I'll flog Mr. Ed a bit because I know how much you respect my playing (nyuk!):

Sheet music somewhat resembles what Irish music sounds like. If you learn how to bend the rules, add the lilt, add the ornaments etc., you can get kinda near the way people actually play. But only kinda and if you don't frankly accept that as a true limitation, then you'll forever play kinda like it and it will forever piss off people who really listen carefully. Now as for what IT is, see below:

I love to be surprised at the unexpected rhythmic emphases, for example ,that some trad players put on a tune that I have both seen in notes and heard played by OTHER trad types. Despite what it might sound like when some trad fans fiercely defend the style, there is so much variety within a given tune's interpretation that it serves to make the case for sheet music all that much weaker as an end-all, but NOT as a sketch.

And, a funny thing about sheet music: when a transcriber tries to show exactly how a trad player is playing it (transcribing every ornament etc), I can't even bother wi' it. It's just a mess and was likely acquired in an unnatural way (see penultimate paragraph). I have learned to appreciate the skeletal outline of many tunebooks because it helps me get away from it SOONER rather than later if I have not had the benefit of having heard the tune YET. Frankly, I just guess at where the emphasis will be when I finally do hear it. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.

I find it to be a true conundrum in a way to be embarrassed with the riches of the CD player. I have been listening a lot lately to John Whelan and Frankie Gavin discs. Both go elsewhere with some of the most common session tunes.These are both respected players, but I hafta say, a few very common tunes are played pretty differently than the bulk of my other versions I have heard and a person would be hard-pressed to prove they were both playing in a fixed style. Likewise, when Union pipers do a tune, I really like it, but it often has a really different feel. I have noticed a great variety of approaches on hornpipes, lately, for example, in terms of speed and emphasis. So, who is arguing with whom, and about what?? Listen to Paul McGrattan on his solo disc playing the Old Bush, then listen to the NaConnerys disc playing the Old Bush (I think McGrattan's on that record). Different day, different way. hell, the pipes play a C# while McGrattan had played a Cnat in the first phrase if you are going to nitpick.

It;s like insisting that something is a specific number and arguing endlessly about it, except that the number has been substituted with an X!

When I first was looking into the style, I would assume that the more geezer the player, the more authentic it was and that was THE way I should play (I still weigh heavily that way, except there is such a thing as interesting progress and process, with guys like Whelan, et al).. There are certain skill parameters that make more modern players acceptable to the style, but I am doing something nobody would have been able to do before records unless they hyperactively traveled: listen to a variety of interpretations and copy one I like. I don;t care how much an American "poser" rails about the tradition and insistes he/she has the REAL knowledge, it's just the sum total of their exposure combined with their talent and hard work, hopefully leading to an original voice and that's as concrete as it will get. And that player will never be a master of a regional style, no matter how much they tell you they know.

THAT SAID, I will now reveal my favorite hypocrisy among sheet-music haters. It's not okay to jump ahead and view most of the notes on a tune, but it is okay to pay Roni $40 for the Amazing Slowdowner and do something no non-sheet-reading bogman would have ever had at his disposal to learn a tune. That really cracks me up. A case could be made that the best way to learn tunes is to hear em at the pubs then go home and figure it out. BUT you will not learn it exactly the way you heard it, but will change it yet more because thats what people do AND THAT MIGHT BE BETTER THAN THE SLOWDOWNER METHOD IN THE LONG RUN. I would challenge the sheet haters to either stuff it or throw away their software or be more tolerant. Or, you can be a complete curmudgeon like Murph and do neither.

Bilious rant over. And if I didn't have the memory of a goldfish, I would prob'ly remember saying all this somewhere else before.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:11 am 
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Azalin wrote:
Just show me a person who learned all of his/her ITM from sheet music, and is fun to play with and sounds good, and I'll gladly admit that it's possible.


Now, now, it seems to me that you are narrowing the definition to the point of it being meaningless: All his ITM, fun to play with, sounds good, etc... Are anyone really suggesting that they can learn to play ITM authentically without ever having listened to any of it (ie. learning only from sheet music)? I don't think so.

I agree with you that when a (usually) beginner insists that playing tunes directly from "Ireland's 100 Best Dance-Along Reels" (or whatever) is a great way to get into the tradition, that person could do with some education (the ITM ~ language analogy is a good one). But in many cases the vocal adherents of sheet music are experienced ITM players, simply defending their right to pick up new tunes from, say, CRE, or other books.

Cheers,
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:52 am 
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The Weekenders wrote:
What the heck, Murph, I'll flog Mr. Ed a bit because I know how much you respect my playing (nyuk!):

Sheet music somewhat resembles what Irish music sounds like. If you learn how to bend the rules, add the lilt, add the ornaments etc., you can get kinda near the way people actually play. But only kinda and if you don't frankly accept that as a true limitation, then you'll forever play kinda like it and it will forever piss off people who really listen carefully. Now as for what IT is, see below:

I love to be surprised at the unexpected rhythmic emphases, for example ,that some trad players put on a tune that I have both seen in notes and heard played by OTHER trad types. Despite what it might sound like when some trad fans fiercely defend the style, there is so much variety within a given tune's interpretation that it serves to make the case for sheet music all that much weaker as an end-all, but NOT as a sketch.

And, a funny thing about sheet music: when a transcriber tries to show exactly how a trad player is playing it (transcribing every ornament etc), I can't even bother wi' it. It's just a mess and was likely acquired in an unnatural way (see penultimate paragraph). I have learned to appreciate the skeletal outline of many tunebooks because it helps me get away from it SOONER rather than later if I have not had the benefit of having heard the tune YET. Frankly, I just guess at where the emphasis will be when I finally do hear it. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.

I find it to be a true conundrum in a way to be embarrassed with the riches of the CD player. I have been listening a lot lately to John Whelan and Frankie Gavin discs. Both go elsewhere with some of the most common session tunes.These are both respected players, but I hafta say, a few very common tunes are played pretty differently than the bulk of my other versions I have heard and a person would be hard-pressed to prove they were both playing in a fixed style. Likewise, when Union pipers do a tune, I really like it, but it often has a really different feel. I have noticed a great variety of approaches on hornpipes, lately, for example, in terms of speed and emphasis. So, who is arguing with whom, and about what?? Listen to Paul McGrattan on his solo disc playing the Old Bush, then listen to the NaConnerys disc playing the Old Bush (I think McGrattan's on that record). Different day, different way. hell, the pipes play a C# while McGrattan had played a Cnat in the first phrase if you are going to nitpick.

It;s like insisting that something is a specific number and arguing endlessly about it, except that the number has been substituted with an X!

When I first was looking into the style, I would assume that the more geezer the player, the more authentic it was and that was THE way I should play (I still weigh heavily that way, except there is such a thing as interesting progress and process, with guys like Whelan, et al).. There are certain skill parameters that make more modern players acceptable to the style, but I am doing something nobody would have been able to do before records unless they hyperactively traveled: listen to a variety of interpretations and copy one I like. I don;t care how much an American "poser" rails about the tradition and insistes he/she has the REAL knowledge, it's just the sum total of their exposure combined with their talent and hard work, hopefully leading to an original voice and that's as concrete as it will get. And that player will never be a master of a regional style, no matter how much they tell you they know.

THAT SAID, I will now reveal my favorite hypocrisy among sheet-music haters. It's not okay to jump ahead and view most of the notes on a tune, but it is okay to pay Roni $40 for the Amazing Slowdowner and do something no non-sheet-reading bogman would have ever had at his disposal to learn a tune. That really cracks me up. A case could be made that the best way to learn tunes is to hear em at the pubs then go home and figure it out. BUT you will not learn it exactly the way you heard it, but will change it yet more because thats what people do AND THAT MIGHT BE BETTER THAN THE SLOWDOWNER METHOD IN THE LONG RUN. I would challenge the sheet haters to either stuff it or throw away their software or be more tolerant. Or, you can be a complete curmudgeon like Murph and do neither.

Bilious rant over. And if I didn't have the memory of a goldfish, I would prob'ly remember saying all this somewhere else before.


good post weeks.
I myself tried to learn to read sheet music, just because i thought it would be good to be able to learn both ways, by ear and by eye. But, alas, i gave it up, it was too hard, it wasn't any fun. I'm sticking to my ears now. And sometimes to the amazing slowdowner too. :)
But i must say, i do believe it's a good thing to be able to read sheet music, just to give you a frame, a backup. But no more than that.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 5:36 am 
I don't know why the sheet music thing has become such a dogma, notations have always been used, not as a primary learning tool maybe but always as an aid to memory (to paraphrase Breathnach). For godsake, there's piles of manuscripts left by Padraig O'Keeffe, tunes he wrote for his students. Almost every teacher I know hands out written tunes as a back up, I do it myself if the students prefer it that way. Martin Rochford kept shelves full of manuscripts in his kichen, he had tunes there written for him by Johnny Doran and Seamus Ennis. It's not necessarily blasphemy if you use the stuff, if you use it the right way. :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:12 am 
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Peter Laban wrote:
I don't know why the sheet music thing has become such a dogma, notations have always been used, not as a primary learning tool maybe but always as an aid to memory (to paraphrase Breathnach). For godsake, there's piles of manuscripts left by Padraig O'Keeffe, tunes he wrote for his students. Almost every teacher I know hands out written tunes as a back up, I do it myself if the students prefer it that way. Martin Rochford kept shelves full of manuscripts in his kichen, he had tunes there written for him by Johnny Doran and Seamus Ennis. It's not necessarily blasphemy if you use the stuff, if you use it the right way. :roll:


Wow, Peter.
I think this may be the first time in a long time that I've agreed with everything you've said. It's kind of a nice feeling ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:33 am 
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I don't think it's possible to learn anything just by sheetmusic.

I also think that in IT (also Scottish and the rest of the gang) perfection is the wrong thing to look for. You want mastery (instrument as an extension of self and ability to make a tune do what you want it to) and emotive force.

May be getting this wrong (it's from memory), but I read an interview with the late Phil Lynott who was saying why he decided to include (not sure on what) the performance of 'Still in Love With You' recorded in a Dublin pub, and not the Gary Moore version, was that while the latter was technically more proficient, he wanted the emotion present on the pub recording which was on a farewell tour in his home-town, the lights were dim and everyone was doing the lighter thing, very powerful performance though not technically great.

I have started the whistle a few months ago, but I live in an area where it's very hard to get anything IT, so I play all the recordings I have, look for articles by players, look at ABC notations, and try to get it as best I can in the circumstances. I'm sure I am doing plenty of things wrong, but am more than willing to admit it.

Sorry for this ramble.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:51 am 
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Redwolf wrote:
Or we can just leave. We know when we're not wanted.


If it were only true, but sadly some people don't get it...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:05 am 
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Peter Laban wrote:
I don't know why the sheet music thing has become such a dogma, notations have always been used, not as a primary learning tool maybe but always as an aid to memory (to paraphrase Breathnach). For godsake, there's piles of manuscripts left by Padraig O'Keeffe, tunes he wrote for his students. Almost every teacher I know hands out written tunes as a back up, I do it myself if the students prefer it that way. Martin Rochford kept shelves full of manuscripts in his kichen, he had tunes there written for him by Johnny Doran and Seamus Ennis. It's not necessarily blasphemy if you use the stuff, if you use it the right way. :roll:


Peter, believe me, I'm sure you'd have a totaly different perspective if you lived in North America, or in an area where irish music isnt part of the culture. There's no problem at all to hand out sheet music to people who have been around irish music for a long time. Heck, I must admit I kinda learned "The Morning Trush" from sheet music a few weeks ago. (bad example, I messed it up). But when your stuck in a environment where many, many musicians have classical music background and want to i]play[/i] ITM, and your stuck playing with them because there's only a few sessions and not enough to chose from, you get a little defensive on the subject. I'll tell you, nothing is harder than to go to Ireland and be around great musicians, and then come back and be around lotsa people who don't have a clue. Those people who say "It's just irish music and I'll play it the way I want", you don't *have* to play with them, but I sometimes do, or else there would be no sessions at all for me. :sniffle:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:41 am 
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Although I'm definitely a noob when it comes to ITM and the whistle, as an electric bassist I have played plenty of blues and blues based music in the past 20 or so years. I have learned tunes by ear and I have used sheet music as well. IMO once you have become familiar with a style of music you tend to have a good idea of how the tunes are structured both rhythmically and the intervals of the notes. In blues for example, I can anticipate the next chord change and play accordingly.

I find that good sheet music/tab, while being accurate for the most part, still does not convey the true feel and emotion behind the music. There is that intangible part of the music that comes from it's feel and the interaction between the others you are playing with that cannot be written on paper.

That said, most of the stuff I learn on bass I learn by ear but I will refer to sheet music if there are phrases that I feel I'm just not getting right away. It's mostly a nudge in the right direction. I plan to use the same methods for the whistle since it works for me. I listen to as much ITM as I can right now moreso than trying to play along. I must crawl before I walk and I must walk before I run.

Carry on,

Jeff


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:10 am 
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Kysh wrote:
I would be more than happy to, if he rephrased his post more politely. ;>


Kysh:
Upon reflection, I am sorry if you found my remarks offensive. Thank you for your clarifications. I still regard your opinions on Western art music as ill-informed. But that's neither here nor there.

Music is a subject about which we are all passionate. Tempers flare, people take umbrage. Tis the nature of the artist.

Personally, this discussion has shown me that a lot of these discussions are largely a waste of time. Last night, I took a break from reading this board to work out some fingering and bellows-control problems I'd been having on the Cooley's/Wise Maid set. I think I made some progress. No one got offended as far as I can tell.

I think it's time I took a break from posting about the music to spend my time actually practicing it. Maybe then someday I will be able to play it the way I hear it.

So see ya, everybody. In the meantime, I'll be spending a lot of my time hanging out with the music of this guy:
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:13 am 
Oh Az, Iknow all that but there's still no need to turn it into a dogma and I did say:

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It's not necessarily blasphemy if you use the stuff, if you use it the right way.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:20 am 
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Azalin wrote:
But when your stuck in a environment where many, many musicians have classical music background and want to i]play[/i] ITM, and your stuck playing with them because there's only a few sessions and not enough to chose from, you get a little defensive on the subject. I'll tell you, nothing is harder than to go to Ireland and be around great musicians, and then come back and be around lotsa people who don't have a clue. Those people who say "It's just irish music and I'll play it the way I want", you don't *have* to play with them, but I sometimes do, or else there would be no sessions at all for me. :sniffle:

But the problem here isn't the sheet music. The problem here is the clueless musician!

Let me use myself as an example. When I started playing whistle, I thought good examples of traditional playing were from bands like Fairport Convention, Boiled in Lead, Tempest, etc. It didn't matter if I learned from sheet music or learned by ear from them (and believe me, I did) -- the music still wasn't right.

Odds are good your clueless musicians are not going home and listening to recordings of great masters of Irish music. That's the main problem, not how they learn (the skeleton of) the tune.

These days my touchstones are Peter Horan, Joe Cooley, John Carty, Seamus Tansey, Rufus Guinchard, and Frank Maher. My playing is a darn sight better, and it doesn't matter much how I learn the notes, because I know what the tune is supposed to sound like. (Actually, for me the problem with sheet music is it's hard to find versions that accurately match what I am hearing. But that just means the music is a guide -- a beginning for how to play the tune, not the end-all-and-be-all of what it is.)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:33 am 
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Azalin wrote:
Redwolf wrote:
Or we can just leave. We know when we're not wanted.


If it were only true, but sadly some people don't get it...


You missed what I was saying. I meant I'm leaving. I'm tired of this same old bs coming up again and again, and I definitely not interested in playing with people who automatically assume my playing is going to be substandard before I so much as pick up a whistle.

Redwolf

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:34 am 
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It's interesting but over the 4 years or so that I've been on this board and its predecessor, most of the arguments we are now reading in this perpetual debate have actually shifted a great deal towards the point of view of those who, like me, recommend ear learning over printed music. (I'd like to stress that I have always maintained that dots are useful - once you have acquired at least the basics of the language.)

In the early days, it seems to me, there were many posters who needed to be convinced that learning by ear was actually useful let alone essential. They appeared to assume that they could do it all with sheet music. Seriously.

Now most of those that are shooting down Az's arguments in the recent part of this thread are in fact putting forward pretty much the point of view I and a few others used years ago - i.e. dots are useful but not as a means of mastering the basic elements of style. Back then I for one felt like a voice crying in the wilderness.

So something has got through. Phew - vindication!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:51 am 
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Peter Laban wrote:
I don't know why the sheet music thing has become such a dogma, notations have always been used, not as a primary learning tool maybe but always as an aid to memory (to paraphrase Breathnach). For godsake, there's piles of manuscripts left by Padraig O'Keeffe, tunes he wrote for his students. Almost every teacher I know hands out written tunes as a back up, I do it myself if the students prefer it that way. Martin Rochford kept shelves full of manuscripts in his kichen, he had tunes there written for him by Johnny Doran and Seamus Ennis. It's not necessarily blasphemy if you use the stuff, if you use it the right way. :roll:


Thanks, Peter, for posting this. It's REASONABLE!!!

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