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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 12:30 pm 
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Alright, I want to get this straight. I haven't been exposed to enough Irish Trad Music to figure it out properly, so ...

Iris Trad Music. What's the core of it? I mean, without ornaments, without taking into consideration the instruments and styles of play, what really defines Irish Trad music?

What makes it so? Other than it being fun that is...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 12:54 pm 
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I'm hoping others will join in on this one and add much more to my very basic stab at the question.

For an overview, try looking at: http://www.itma.ie/home/leaf1a.htm Many books and articles have been published on the subject if you're looking for a text-based, clinical answer. Because it's an oral tradition, of course the best example is hearing. Although, your statement of "without ornaments, without taking into consideration the instruments and styles of play", pretty much discounts the elements that make up Irish traditional music. There are inherent instruments, ornamentation and styles and without them, you're stripping away the core.

Teri


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: teri-K on 2002-08-02 15:05 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 3:10 pm 
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Well here's my stab - hope it helps...

I cant say ive ever come across a question like this before but having been surrounded by intensive ITM my whole life my thoughts may be of some use. I was bought up in the Gaeltacht and in my opinion the very core of ITM comes from the whole culture and atmosphere of Ireland, a history of a people told through songs and tunes passed down through the generations. All i can say is that its in the blood and the added ornamentation is just instinctive, and personally is my way of making the tune express the feelings,history and culture that surrounds it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 3:35 pm 
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On 2002-08-02 17:10, leipreachan wrote:
Well here's my stab - hope it helps...

All i can say is that its in the blood and the added ornamentation is just instinctive,


Interesting statement and sure to start a discussion. Could you elaborate on that a bit more? Are you saying that if someone is born and raised in Ireland they just automatically know how to play (congenital ability); someone not from Ireland isn't capable of playing ITM? I don't want to misconstrue your comments, just want clarification.

Teri


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 5:24 pm 
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Just to add to the confusion(?), don't forget that there are many influences in Irish trad music over the centuries w/ newcomers, and it would be difficult to separate out what when. The vikings and Normans way back, then implanted Scots, then, according to my references (I'm at work and can't look at the book title), continental European influences on dances (jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, etc). No doubt, imported music was altered all along, taking on Irish characteristics. No doubt, also, original music was invented in Ireland. There are records of ancient historians commenting on the qualities of Irish music, which were distinct from their own. I'll look up the book ref when I get home.
Tony

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 5:35 pm 
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On 2002-08-02 17:35, Teri-K wrote:
Quote:
On 2002-08-02 17:10, leipreachan wrote:
Well here's my stab - hope it helps...

All i can say is that its in the blood and the added ornamentation is just instinctive,


Interesting statement and sure to start a discussion. Could you elaborate on that a bit more? Are you saying that if someone is born and raised in Ireland they just automatically know how to play (congenital ability); someone not from Ireland isn't capable of playing ITM? I don't want to misconstrue your comments, just want clarification.

Teri



I understood it to mean that growing up constantly around it, it becomes natural.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2002 6:41 pm 
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Leipreachan already hit on what I was going to say. Irish music is a folk music; that means it comes out of a people, the tunes are their melodies, and so the tunes reflect the nature of the people. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a folk music is the raw outpour of the soul and nature of a people. The consequences of this should become obvious: anyone not raised in the culture the folk music came out of cannot possibly understand the music in the way the natives do (this is why so many people are worried about what will happen to folk music in general). So the heart of Irish music is the people themselves; thus the idea that folk music is not about the music, but the people that the music comes out of.

So to bring this back to Caoimhin's question of what makes it so, I would so that it is the musician. What makes Irish music Irish is the person who plays it. I do think it is possible to learn to play in an Irish manner even if you're not Irish by listening to true Irish musicians, but even then the roots in the culture just aren't there. Even in Ireland, the culture is very much changed from the culture the music came out of. I think that is why you don't see many musicians any more who can force people on their feet, or force people to tears. The context the music was created in is gone, and with it much of the meaning in the tunes. Martin Hayes and Pat Cloonan are examples of musicians who still have roots in the old culture, and that comes through in their music. They really seem to understand the music and who it came from. Natalie MacMaster is the same way, only from Cape Breton.

However, the melodies themselves have proved themselves to be extremely flexible and adaptable. They have been successfully been adopted to modern culture in Ireland, and the ways the music is played seems to change as fast Ireland itself. I think now would be a good time to point to a great Martin Hayes interview, at ceolas.org/artists/Martin_Hayes/interview.html. This ought to be essential reading for anyone learning to play Irish trad.

Well, I definitely don't claim infallibility. I'm not sure that any of this has made sense at all; all the thoughts were coming so fast it was all I could do to keep up with them. They kind of seem all jumbled, and like I'm saying the same things over again, so if this doesn't make sense, I'm definitley sensitive to that possiblility. Also, not actually being Irish, I'm quite possibly mistaken in some of my perceptions of Ireland. Let me know what you all think.

Nate

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 1:26 am 
I buy into the whole nationalist 'it's in the genes' approach, atrocious music is being played in Ireland by natives who haven't a clue, side by side with some very nice music played by 'blow ins'.
It's something acquired, something learned, it can be handed down to anyone with enough dedication.
And that's all I am going to say about this.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Laban on 2002-08-03 05:24 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 4:53 am 
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Sorry Teri and anyone else i may have offended, i didnt mean the comment that way at all, more along the lines of how waldon interpreted it. I can only speak through personal experience and thats how it feels to me. Of course you dont have to have lived in Ireland or anything, besides there's a lot of Irish culture infiltrated into many countries, particularly America and Australia, so of course Irish folk music's gonna be very much alive over there too. Hope thats reconciled things cause i really didnt want to offend anyone :smile:


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 4:58 am 
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PS: I definitely agree with what Peter says above


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2002 10:44 pm 
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when one learns highland piping, one is asked (on the practice chanter) to play traditional melodies in a very distorted rhythm, in order to make time for the ornamentations, at which a beginner is very slow. when the great teachers are asked how they can advocate teaching beginners to sacrafice the proper timing of the tune, they often answer "don't worry, when they speed up on the ornaments they will play the tune right, because everyone knows how it is supposed to sound. " well, if you are an american, you may have to listen quite a bit to be classified as "everyone"

thats the key to terry's question. a non-native can get to a similar level of proficiency, but they will have to do more listening to get there. nothing undemocratic about that. i am sure the same applies to irish music. if you grew up with it you certainly have a head start, but not a monopoly.

meir


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2002 12:26 am 
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On 2002-08-04 00:44, meir wrote:
a non-native can get to a similar level of proficiency, but they will have to do more listening to get there.

I think a similar thing holds true for any traditional music. I'm more familiar with the music of the southern Appalachians (so-called "old time"). Instrumental old time is dance music (reels, jigs, waltzes, and such), and when it's done right, people in the audience will spontaneously step forward and start dancing. There are a few good old time bands which are not strictly from that geographical region. If a non-native listens to the "real thing" long enough (and, most importantly, has a love for it), the style of play will eventually come, and it will sound authentic. (The acid test for this particular type of music is not so much technical proficiency but whether it is capable of making people lose their inhibitions enough to start dancing.)


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