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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:47 am 
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BigDavy wrote:
Way to go!!!.

Play your tunes in whatever way you wish. As long as you enjoy playing them and any audience you have enjoys listening to them, who cares how you learned them and whether they sound Irish/ Scottish/ Breton/ Galician/ Asturian/ whatever.


David, thank you! :)


Wombat, a voice of reason is sometimes rare around here -- thank you. I guess rehashing the same old arguments are why this forum has 304 pages ... and counting. Wouldn't really want to changes things too much, hmm?

~Judy


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:22 pm 
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Sol, I did not at mean to imply that you are a snob......of course we should listen to the best we can. And it is not Great Big Sea!
The snobbery comment as meant about those who are such purists that their way is THE only way to learn.

Thanks for the tip about The Mountain Road. I shall look for that combo.

liz


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:36 pm 
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Lizzie wrote:
The snobbery comment as meant about those who are such purists that their way is THE only way to learn.


Hmmm, that would be me! :-)

I really thought about that stuff this week-end, and wondered why I was so pissed off sometimes about this sheet music thing. Well, it has really nothing to do with sheet music or related technicalities. My real issue is with people who don't have enough respect or comprehension to try to blend in or fit in some group. It could be applied to anything, not just music. I've seen a few classical musicians who thought really high of themselves and wanted to prove that they could play irish music. Well, not only won't they sound traditional at all, but they won't let people around them play. Many others would just sound like a midi file, tongue every note and disrupt the session dynamic.

I really get much pleasure in listening to some sessions where the phrasing is very traditional, and I dream of having a place in those great sessions one day. Some people will say "it's just a jam, and everyone should have a chance to play" and so on, but I don't believe this. I have lots of respect for those musicians and just by listening I can tell that my music would not fit in some of those sessions because the quality of the music is so high and I don't want to ruin it, but I'm ready to work for it and one day, I'll go there knowing that I can bring something to the music. Well, unfortunately, there's many people who go in sessions just for the heck of playing some notes, sometimes to get heard, sometimes just because they love playing music.

So, going back to the sheet music thing, I think it's just a symptom of the real problem: many don't want to take the time to learn to play the way irish music becomes very enjoyable. I'm not sure if it's ignorance, lack of motivation, lack of taste, etc, but when I hear someone in a good session play like a midi file, and I feel like this person doesnt give a sh*t about playing any other way, it drives me mad. If someone tommorow comes to me and says "I currently play from sheet music but I realize that I don't sound traditional at all, and would like to work on improving this", I would be very helpful to this person. Heck, that person could even play from sheet music in a session for a while and I would still be happy to be around the person, because I know that he/she respects the music/people he/she wants to play with. The quality of the music isnt everything. There's friendship, seniority, and/or many other things that can make a session fun without very good traditional music, but the lack of effort is something that I don't respect at all, because I guess I don't feel respected when it happens. I guess it's like when you're waiting in queue and someone just goes straight passed everybody. I'm sure this person did the best thing for his/her own good, but he/she affected many people by doing so.


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 Post subject: Purists
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 10:30 pm 
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Hi Azalin

What traditional style do you think should be used?. I was at a session recently where there were a couple of classical musicians jammiing with us (a flautist and a cello player). I admit that they used the dots and sounded classical when they played but so what??. As for traditional style playing what one should they have used?. At this session there were Orkney, Shetland, North East and North West style fiddlers, Donegal style flute players, a Clare style player on the tin whistle, a Scottish border piper and Northumbrian players on the Northumbrian small pipes and the anglo concertina. Not counting the guitar player, bouzouki players and me on percussion.

I admit freely that I am on the inclusive side of the argument. If they want to play, let them, if they are beginners teach them, if they are good in their own type of music enjoy and learn from them.

David

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:51 am 
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Well, the fact that you guys didnt really mind the style in which they were playing means that they actually did blend in, and everyone was happy. My best feeling in a session is when the energy goes up a notch, we're kicking some jigs but mostly reels, throwing tunes after the others, and there's really no room for your typical dots in there, if you want the session to keep it's energy. But I think what's really important is to try to fit in the session you're joining, and I think the persons you're describing did fit in your session.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:47 pm 
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I hear you Azalin. Thanks for taking the time to explain your self. I did use sheet music almost exclusively when i first started and it did serve a purpose for me. I learned a lot of the patterns of notes that seem to come up over and again. I now have those in my muscle memeory. And now that I can play the notes (not the music, I do differentiate) pretty well, I have gone to the recorded music to take me to the next stage. I think what has happened is that some have treated this as a black or white argument, and it can't be that. There are too many vaiables.

liz


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:01 am 
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Hi. I'm somewhat new to playing ITM, but I have been playing music in other styles for years, both with and without notes. I think that there is some to be gained by sheet music, but incredibly more with recorded or live music. That said, I was wondering if any of you knew of any resources that I could get recorded music from or good CD's to buy. I'm on a college budget, so I can't afford many, but I want to get some good songs that aren't too difficult to pick up.
Steve-o


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:55 am 
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Okay, what is "Right"? Can I really play any song Wrong?? Most of these Irish tunes were played hundreds of years ago, and were passed down the generations by ear...during those generations, the songs get changed by the artists who play them. Using a modern hypothetical situation, if Joanie Madden decides to play Vivaldi's four seasons on the whistle, is she playing it "wrong" because Vivaldi wrote it for Violin? There are certain rules that most musicians abide by, but even these can be broken... There is traditional, there is modern, there is preferred, there is disliked... there is no wrong.



I can agree with this. Folk music evolves. I think some who are pure drop to the core would like to put a coat of quick dry shellac on the tradition and keep it just the way it is now, although these tunes have been evolving up to this point. Set it in cement and it's the new classical.

That said, I play harp and occasionally whistle, and have absolutely no interest in sessions (you can't be heard over the whistles, anyway!). I think a sessions player pretty much needs to be playing exactly what everyone else is playing, but I don't need to. I do listen to tons of recordings to get the rhythms, I can agree there is no other way (imho) to learn Itrad rhythms. But I learn the tunes of sheet music initially, then go to recordings for rhythm and ornamentation. It's the only thing that works for me.

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My real issue is with people who don't have enough respect or comprehension to try to blend in or fit in some group.


I respectfully disagree with this line of thought. I can understand respect for the tradition, and playing the way you are 'supposed' to, but if someone else doesn't agree, how are they disrespectful or not comprehending? If you want to be a session player, fit in. People do not have to fit in to others' ideas of what the tradition is, to play Irish traditional music. Is blending or fitting in with the Itrad pure drop group essential to some peoples' self esteem? Must be, from the vehement defense of the tradition I've seen here sometimes (Not talking about anyone in particular here, just posts I've seen over the last 10 months.)

Folks will play folk music. Comhaltas is not the be all, end all.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:49 am 
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lyndamic wrote:
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Okay, what is "Right"? Can I really play any song Wrong?? Most of these Irish tunes were played hundreds of years ago, and were passed down the generations by ear...during those generations, the songs get changed by the artists who play them. Using a modern hypothetical situation, if Joanie Madden decides to play Vivaldi's four seasons on the whistle, is she playing it "wrong" because Vivaldi wrote it for Violin? There are certain rules that most musicians abide by, but even these can be broken... There is traditional, there is modern, there is preferred, there is disliked... there is no wrong.




you haven't heard me play... :D

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:11 am 
The post by Lyndamic is the one that always arrives at some point. ANd it's getting as tiresome as the rest of the present discussion.

Briefly: yes, there are many ways of playing this music wrong, there are many different ways of playing it right but there are many more for playing it totally wrong. No, nobody wants to put varnish on it (well maybe Comhaltas does but who takes them seriously?), change is essential, to be alive it has to evolve constantly. And it does. But change can only be brought about by those who start out having it and who have it well, not by those who come from without saying 'I'll do it my way and feck the rest of you'.
Fitting in: yes, what is right is determined by peer review as it were, if changes are accepted by a majority of those who bear the tradition it is in, if it's rejected, it's out.
:roll:

What this whole thing boils down to is that there is one group who refuses to acknowledge that to really play traditional music you need to learn the basic rules of that music, the language it uses to express itself, a language needed for it to be understood.
Failing (or refusing ) to learn that language you will find yourself ending up with a meaningless empty shell.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 5:32 am 
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lyndamic wrote:
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My real issue is with people who don't have enough respect or comprehension to try to blend in or fit in some group.

I respectfully disagree with this line of thought. I can understand respect for the tradition, and playing the way you are 'supposed' to, but if someone else doesn't agree, how are they disrespectful or not comprehending?

I think the original quote was about fitting in with the group of people you're playing with. I think most people agree that's a requirement.

There's a lot of wisdom that has been distilled into traditional music over the centuries. If you ignore it, you're missing out on a treasure trove.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:42 am 
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Peter Laban wrote:
Fitting in: yes, what is right is determined by peer review as it were, if changes are accepted by a majority of those who bear the tradition it is in, if it's rejected, it's out.


If the people who are opposing you have followed you up to this point, Peter, I think they might simply say that a minority is free to split off from the majority and go their own way. If they do that, and an audience follows, in what sense is what they are doing wrong? There are several ways of proceeding from here.

First you need to ask if the fissioning minority have their own standards. If they do, then I think we can accept that such fissioning can and does occur sometimes. Of coure, in return they concede that the original group (and the seceding minority) both have norms of right and wrong, each their own set. So they don't really escape the point of principle. The alternative is for the minority secessionists to deny that they have rules at all and this position is in danger of just getting silly. Perhaps they just keep splitting when they get sick of the way their former friends play. Soon we'd have thousands of traditions consisting of perhaps one or two people.

Perhaps some people would be happy with this chaotic situation. I'm not sure how to argue with them except to say that even if their playing is not 'wrong' we are still free to call it wooden, shallow, immature, stilted .... and so on. Specific terms of criticism aren't closely tied to the norms of a particular tradition but tend to be common to all traditions. There's not much point being right if all the terms I just listed clearly apply to your music. Better just to admit that music is a social activity and like all social activities it's rule governed, albeit in quite a loose way that allows for creativity, personal style and expression, extensions of traditions and even schism.

My guess is that the people who really annoy Azalin are not really members of the tradition in the process of seceding but people who play much the same repertoire but have never submitted to the established disciplines of peer review. I think 'celtic lite' certainly strikes me as being like this. I don't see any harm in people like this forming their own scene so long as everyone is completely honest about how it came about. But I'd bet they stay together only if they formulate and police their own rules of engagement. Collective activities are only possible if people are willing to work together and that requires structure and standards. If you take a group that's Irish but not traditional like the Corrs, I bet their audience has quite firm expectations about just how much pop and how much celtic lilt are to go into the mix and if they got the mix badly wrong they'd start to lose their audience.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:44 am 
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Steve-o wrote:
Hi. I'm somewhat new to playing ITM, but I have been playing music in other styles for years, both with and without notes. I think that there is some to be gained by sheet music, but incredibly more with recorded or live music. That said, I was wondering if any of you knew of any resources that I could get recorded music from or good CD's to buy. I'm on a college budget, so I can't afford many, but I want to get some good songs that aren't too difficult to pick up.
Steve-o



emusic.com

gave me a starting collection of MP3s from Mary Bergin, Planxty, Boys of the Lough, etc...
I tihnk they charge $9.95 mo for 40 tunes

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:41 am 
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Steve-o wrote:
Hi. I'm somewhat new to playing ITM, but I have been playing music in other styles for years, both with and without notes. I think that there is some to be gained by sheet music, but incredibly more with recorded or live music. That said, I was wondering if any of you knew of any resources that I could get recorded music from or good CD's to buy. I'm on a college budget, so I can't afford many, but I want to get some good songs that aren't too difficult to pick up.
Steve-o


Hi, Steve-o. Rather than answer you here, may I suggest that you start a separate thread and just repost your request. I fear it will just get lost in the crossfire here.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:07 am 
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Wombat wrote:
My guess is that the people who really annoy Azalin are not really members of the tradition in the process of seceding but people who play much the same repertoire but have never submitted to the established disciplines of peer review. I think 'celtic lite' certainly strikes me as being like this. I don't see any harm in people like this forming their own scene so long as everyone is completely honest about how it came about. But I'd bet they stay together only if they formulate and police their own rules of engagement. Collective activities are only possible if people are willing to work together and that requires structure and standards. If you take a group that's Irish but not traditional like the Corrs, I bet their audience has quite firm expectations about just how much pop and how much celtic lilt are to go into the mix and if they got the mix badly wrong they'd start to lose their audience.


When I mean "fitting in", I mean adapting to the group of peope you're going to spend time with. You know, there's a slow/beginner session here in Montreal. The tuning is often bad, the phrasing is often bad, and it can be very chaotic sometimes, but those folks love what they're doing, they love being together and playing tunes, and there's a big sens of friendship. Let's say a pure ITM musician would show up there and start doing his stuff, at his speed and with "pure ITM" rules, I would dislike this person as much as the other way around. It would be a lack of respect for those folks who have their own set of rules and more importantly are enjoying playing with each other. When I go there I don't play much, I try to help a few of them and try to play slowly. At the end sometimes I'll throw a crazy set or two.

But if one of these musicians were to show up at one of my sessions, I would expect the same behavior from them. I would expect them to try to be in tune, to try to play at faster speed and with better phrasing. It's all fair and there's room for different sessions, I think if we learn to respect the sessions we're joining then everyone's gonna be happy.


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