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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:12 am 
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A Beginner Question

A question I often ask myself is:
Where does “interpretation” ends and “being wrong” start?

For, (I guess) all tunes, exist different arangements, someone plays it that way, another one another way. Sometimes the difference is just in the pitch, but sometimes even the melody changes here or there, where one version goes up, another one goes down. Often the speed changes but sometimes even the Rhythm changes.

Untill now I always choosed a given “version” or anrangement of a tune, learned and play it that way.
But what if I want to make my own? Sureley there are rules, sureley Musictheory dictates many of them but at last it should be “what sound good is good” isnt it?

I ask this because many times I just feel the wish to change the way I play the tunes I know. More playing what and how i feel than just following the strictly given, ... but i dont want to make it wrong.
I guess if it’s a tune supposed to be music for dancers I should be carefull with changing rhythm, but what if it’s a song, or just a melody, can I do what I want?
Can I play another note here or there, can I change the speed or rhtyhm…
Untill when or where it will be my own interpretation or arangement and when or where it start to be wrong?

Maybe I should add examples but probably its clear enough what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:09 am 
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As far as I'm concerned, there's no wrong. Granted, if you play your own interpretation at a session, you may experience some distaste to hostility :o but if you're playing for your own enjoyment, anything goes.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:48 am 
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If you ever want to take a tune to a session, then it's probably best to learn it off decent session musicians and stick to that version. If you're only going to play on your own in the house, then yes, anything goes. :)

By the way, one 'version' of a tune may have many variations, almost built in, as it were. My suggestion would be not to bother to learn them all, and not to ever try to make up your own. That sort of thing just comes with experience, and you really don't have to try too hard at it. Time is the answer where variation and taste go, rather than too much effort and over-thinking (not that I'm suggesting that you are, but some do).

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:22 am 
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Variations are one of the joys of making music.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:52 am 
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thanks for the answeres
you are telling me what i did hope you would

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:07 pm 
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There are wrong ways
And more than one right way

sometimes it is easy to decide which is which, sometimes very difficult


kind of like most things in life

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:05 pm 
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An equally valid question would be, when is it a variation of an established tune, and when is it a new tune? Frankie and Mairead on one of the first two albums do a set that begins and ends with two different versions of the Humours of Whisky. They say that they're two different versions of the same tune; I'm not entirely convinced that they're not two different tunes that happen to have the same name. There are plenty of tunes that I find more similar to each other than these two, but that have different names from each other.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:10 pm 
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chas wrote:
An equally valid question would be, when is it a variation of an established tune, and when is it a new tune? Frankie and Mairead on one of the first two albums do a set that begins and ends with two different versions of the Humours of Whisky. They say that they're two different versions of the same tune; I'm not entirely convinced that they're not two different tunes that happen to have the same name. There are plenty of tunes that I find more similar to each other than these two, but that have different names from each other.

Have you got a link to that, chas? I have a particular interest in this, as I got into a stupid argument with someone who claimed that what they were playing wasn't The Humours of Whiskey, because that went like this, when in fact they were playing the same tune. So to hear Frankie and Mairead's version(s) might be very instructive.

[Edited to add] Forget it. I've found it. They are definitely the same tune. Not much difference between them, in fact. Very very small differences indeed, especially in the B part which is well nigh the same. The first part is in a different key is all. My version is slightly different from either of theirs, but all three are very commonly played.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:44 pm 
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It's a profound question, Andreas. And the fact that you're asking it means that you are making good progress. :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:23 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
[Edited to add] Forget it. I've found it. They are definitely the same tune. Not much difference between them, in fact. Very very small differences indeed, especially in the B part which is well nigh the same. The first part is in a different key is all.

Oh dear, Ben has been sniffing the cork grease again. :P

Normalizing the keys of the two A parts so that the busy Bees coincide, you get:

1: G2A Bee Bee|GFG BGB FED|G2A Bee Bee|dcd ABG FED|
2: cBA BEE BEE|cBA BEE Bcd|cBA BEE BEE|dcB ABG FED|

Yeah, the last phrases from second Bees onward are basically the same. But the first parts strike me as substantially different, especially if you hear the up/down leaps to the e or E as different. And, of course, the effect of the different key centers.

But let's say we could agree to score the two settings as 70-75% similar overall. Whether that means they're substantially the same may be in the ear of both the hearer and/or player. And it's these sorts of aesthetic judgment that make the art of music interesting.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:24 am 
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MTGuru wrote:
Normalizing the keys of the two A parts so that the busy Bees coincide, you get:

1: G2A Bee Bee|GFG BGB FED|G2A Bee Bee|dcd ABG FED|
2: cBA BEE BEE|cBA BEE Bcd|cBA BEE BEE|dcB ABG FED|

Yeah, the last phrases from second Bees onward are basically the same. But the first parts strike me as substantially different, especially if you hear the up/down leaps to the e or E as different. And, of course, the effect of the different key centers.
I guess I'm just used to hearing tunes played in many different settings and in different keys. It doesn't make them "different tunes" as Chas was suggesting. For instance, of all the 'different' Toss the Feathers, I only know one, in Dmix, which strikes me as being sufficiently different to be classed as a separate tune. Here, with these two settings of The Humours of Whiskey, they're so similar as to be immediately recognisable as the same tune. It's quite a distinctive tune. By the way, for practical purposes, in any genre of Western music - trad, pop, classical - I see no difference between an upward interval of a fourth and a downward interval of a fifth.

MTGuru wrote:
But let's say we could agree to score the two settings as 70-75% similar overall.
I'm not sure about the scoring, but if I were to attempt to score in that fashion, I'd point out that, given that the B parts are the same, and scoring the A parts as 75% the same (which I would say is too low in any case) that gives 50% for the B part plus 75% x 50 = 37.5% which, overall, gives 87.5%. Score it as I would, taking the fourths upward as being the same as the fifths downward, I'd give the A parts a 90% score, which gives 45% plus 50% = 95% the same overall. Which happens also to coincide with the similarity I hear in the two settings. :D

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