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 Post subject: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:07 pm 
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My own, personal guideline has always been "Never play faster than a girl can dance."

I have noticed, especially in session and piper circle settings, that this is far from a common theme.

Why so fast? Why not let the girls dance?

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:52 pm 
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This comes up again and again, dancers want their music at a fair clip, often faster than we ( we over here) would play for our own entertainment.

Mullagh halfset

Aidan Vaughan, Clare battering steps

Peter Hanrahan, brush dance

Kieran Jordan & Kevin Doyle reels

Maréad Caey & Mick Mulkerrins reel steps


versus (excuse the self indulgence) Abbey/Dairy Maid or Pigeon set

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:06 pm 
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Mayhap I'm just getting old; to me, faster is starting to sound less musical.
No, it has nothing to do with my fingers not being as quick as they once were......

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:07 pm 
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Interesting that you guys have experienced the opposites of tune speed vs dancers. Whenever I've been asked to play a slip jig for dancers, I've been surprised by the slow speed that is requested. Much slower than I usually hear those tunes being played.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:12 pm 
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You probably need to distinguish between exhibition/competitive step dancing as it comes out of dance schools, where the dancers wants slow music to get as many steps in as they can, and social dancing (sets mostly) that I would come across in Clare (see examples and demonstration of the steps above, with attending speeds). FWIW, some dancers want their music faster than the clips I posted above.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:17 pm 
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That makes sense. The times I've been requested slower tunes were from performance dancers.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:26 am 
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Mayhap I'm just getting old; to me, faster is starting to sound less musical.



Faster doesn't need to be unmusical: did any of the above clips sound unmusical because of their speed? I don't think they did, they all had wonderful lift and the dancers certainly hoofed it. And in real life (I was present at the recording of six out of seven clips I linked, all performances bar the old Mullagh half set clip) both music and dance in the fast clips were exciting and left you with a buzz. At the end of the day it's about musicianship and there's a time and place for everything. And when things don't work, it's not speed that's the primary issue: I imagine that for every tune murdered at speed there's a few slow, lifeless plodding ones going to an early grave.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:36 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
And when things don't work, it's not speed that's the primary issue: I imagine that for every tune murdered at speed there's a few slow, lifeless plodding ones going to an early grave.


I've seen this happen much too often with polkas. Playing for sets in Cork and Kerry, where polkas reign, they're usually played at a good clip. I've been to sessions elsewhere where people say they "don't like" polkas- then play them halfway between a march and a dirge, with little of the rhythm so integral to polkas.


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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:28 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
At the end of the day it's about musicianship and there's a time and place for everything. And when things don't work, it's not speed that's the primary issue: I imagine that for every tune murdered at speed there's a few slow, lifeless plodding ones going to an early grave.


Well, when you put it that way! No, I can't disagree...
I still think that when people 7 or 8 pints into the evening try to play fast it sounds like rubbish 7 times out of 9.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:21 am 
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I'll never understand the weird obsession of equating the speed of tunes played at a session, where generally people aren't dancing, with the speed tunes are played at for dancing. Fast or slow is not good or bad, there's just good or bad playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:39 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
This comes up again and again, dancers want their music at a fair clip, often faster than we ( we over here) would play for our own entertainment.

Mullagh halfset

Aidan Vaughan, Clare battering steps

Peter Hanrahan, brush dance

Kieran Jordan & Kevin Doyle reels

Maréad Caey & Mick Mulkerrins reel steps


versus (excuse the self indulgence) Abbey/Dairy Maid or Pigeon set

I always thought Clare music to be significantly slower than most of the rest of the country. I've listened to the Clarefm.ie podcasts for years and the tempos of various players is, of course, all over the place. Kitty Hayes seems to be at the low end of the tempo dial. In my limited session experience here in the States, it seems like most good players want to play fast.


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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:28 am 
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Quote:
I always thought Clare music to be significantly slower than most of the rest of the country.


That is certainly the stereotype when it comes to music played for listening. As I said above, there's a time and place for everything and playing for Clare sets you won't get away with slacking it. And it's not uncommon here either to have a set, half set or a few steps danced at sessions. I have played for years at a weekly session that was there to have the locals (or visiting dancers) dance a few sets on the night. And it was great for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Tune Speed
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:29 pm 
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I heard some newer Frankie Gavin playing of reels on Clarefm.ie recently. 125 bpm!!!! While it had good musicality, I felt that pace was just too much. I kept feeling that we were rushing towards the end instead of enjoying the trip.


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