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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:40 am 
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BigBpiper wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
I think he was talking about the, very common in my experience, practice of just starting the first couple of bars noticeably slower, and then moving to the tempo at which people mean to go on. I've heard that done loads.


That sounds a little more familiar. I just don't think I've ever heard the two speeds so drastically different as in the riverdance clip I shared! You said you heard it done a lot in Ireland, though, might I ask which regional part?

Dunno. Anywhere, I think. It's all so mixed up these days, I'm not sure whether the 'regional' thing exists all that much, if it ever did. A bit, maybe ... But no, it would be anywhere, I think. For instance, it happened in Drumshanbo this summer, with various people, most memorably, some lads from Belfast; then in sessions in Dublin ... anywhere, I think ...

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:15 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I'm not sure whether the 'regional' thing exists all that much, if it ever did. A bit, maybe ... But no, it would be anywhere, I think.


Oh no, I wasn't getting at that, if anything I was just trying to remember where I might have heard it! As far as the "regional thing" goes, I've no doubt that it exists as far as how an instrument is played, but probably less so as to what speed you start a tune set with :D


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:58 am 
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I think it's a performance-for-listening thing, and completely natural, tasteful and musical when done nicely in a linking context, especially following a slower tune like an air. (Caveat: continuing to drive faster and faster through a tune to create spurious 'excitement' is not natural, tasteful or musical!) Of course it's not appropriate for dancers, but effectively done in gigs and recorded performances by so many good trad. players and bands.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:04 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
(Caveat: continuing to drive faster and faster through a tune to create spurious 'excitement' is not natural, tasteful or musical!)

Heheh. I'm reminded of the time at a session where a seasoned player started in on Dingle Regatta. Considering the source we were a bit surprised at his choice, and of course some groaned at the prospect of slogging yet again through this most chestnutty of chestnuts, but he had a wicked glint in his eye, so obviously something was up. At first I thought it was just basic sadism, pure and simple, but he did one better: with each turn he intentionally ramped up the playing speed, and we quickly got the joke, playing along with the game until it all hurtled to the inevitable ridiculous, exploding trainwreck and we'd fallen off our seats, panting and thirsty in our state of sin. And it took a while to get there, too, I can tell you. It's surprising how fast you can play a slide before it fails.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:27 pm 
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I'm the Op and yes I meant the tendency to start a little slow and gently build up to s a steady pace, which I think is cool and quite like. It makes me think of musicians and dancers getting the measure of each other and falling into sync


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:59 am 
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Sounds like they are just warming up before getting going. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:45 am 
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PB+J wrote:
It makes me think of musicians and dancers getting the measure of each other and falling into sync

But good musicians and dancers don't need to get the measure of each other and fall into sync. That's why I say it's a performance-for-listening thing.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:12 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
PB+J wrote:
It makes me think of musicians and dancers getting the measure of each other and falling into sync

But good musicians and dancers don't need to get the measure of each other and fall into sync. That's why I say it's a performance-for-listening thing.



I've played for swing dancers for decades. They want a very steady tempo and they want you to start on it and stay on it. But there is always a feedback loop between dancers and a live band and especially if I'm playing bass I'm often altering a walking line to work better with what the best dancers are doing. Getting ahead of the beat or behind the beat, or playing a repeated figure when it's appropriate; playing a release when they release. It's a lot of fun. But good dancers and good bands absolutely do get the measure of each other, at least in that genre. Tempos are adjusted: the length of tunes is adjusted. It's not like dancing to a record, which is why good dancers would rather have a good live band. But swing dancers certainly don' want you to start at 116 and settle at 120.

What I like about the slow start is exactly the feeling of settling in. I'm not arguing there's anything wrong with it, or that it's a sign of lack of skill: it's an affectation that I find really pleasing. I've never played for irish dancers and likely never will, so I can't speak to the culture.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:56 am 
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PB+J wrote:
But swing dancers certainly don' want you to start at 116 and settle at 120.

Which accords with my 'good musicians and dancers don't need to get the measure of each other and fall into sync'. I don't think we disagree here... just understood your words in different ways.

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I'm not arguing there's anything wrong with it, or that it's a sign of lack of skill

Certainly not the latter... it's something best supported by experience and absolutely shows skill when done well.

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