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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 5:56 am 
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Yes I think O'Neill was very much subject to the politics of piano respectability. He continually mentions Selena's BA in music--he mentions it to her when he dedicates gift copies to her. He admired learning and respected the credential and why not? He was really taken with Selena and it was probably because she seemed to combine the two worlds. The surviving recordings of her don't seem all that good to me but I'm no authority and she was suffering from severe hearing loss at that point, according to O'Neill's account.

It's a really interesting moment--there are two really excellent practitioners of the craft, James and Cronin, both skilled performers, and the prevailing authority is his daughter's parlor piano. He does say at one point that she had a good swinging rhythm on dance tunes. But he never even names her. You could argue that for many of the tunes he should not have included a key signature at all, just a mode or just adding the accidentals note by note. There are two worlds in collision there. There's O'Neill always going on about tradition and the crossroads and the mother lilting at her wheel and then poor Cronin, literally poor compared to many of O'Neill's friends who appeared to have gotten quite wealthy as policemen, being told he's all wrong by the boss's daughter.

I suppose I'm a typical modern learner. I set out to learn a tune and then look for both the dots and a good recorded version, and I find a lot of what seem to me bad recorded version on youtube or apple music and then I settle on one I like for a combination of playability and taste. Especially now it's a solitary act. There's nobody in earshot who knows if I played the correct version or not. Comhaltas sponsors a session not too far away and when that was running I'd go and they played different versions of some tunes than I did. I suppose i should regard the Comhaltas sanctified version as correct"

I'm practicing "the Pipe on the Hob" a lot. There are two distinct tunes by that name, and multiple versions of each. I have two nice recordings of the one I prefer, both by Irish people, both different. One from Kevin Henry, and one from a friend who grew up in LImerick and plays in the Templeglantine ceilie band. I guess I'll have to decide myself which is correct? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 6:17 am 
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I am not sure I'd use Comhaltas as my yardstick. Or would any one single version as The Correct One. Developing a sense of what is acceptable in a particular style is perhaps something to aim for.

I don't know about Selena O'Neill, her arrangements are generally thought of as a bit odd. I don't have a clear recollection how she got involved, I suppose the chief knew her father.

The Pipe on the Hob is a lovely tune (they both are). Séamus Ennis called the one I am thinking of 'The piper of the embers' which has something to do with the cricket. A few years ago I walked into one of the local pubs for a do in honour of Willie Clancy's centenary. Inside Seán McKiernan was warming up the Touhey set, playing Willie's version of the Pipe on the Hob. Tommy Keane came up to me to say hello and said he felt it was like walking in on a miserable foggy winter's night and hearing Willie playing in bar, and it was.

There's a recording by Séamus Ennis. He plays The Pipe on the Hob, Down the Back Lane, Sixpenny Money and Paidín O Rafferty. That one is my benchmark for the tune. Willie's version a close second. He had something on the e that McKiernan also did, that's very distinctive.

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 8:08 pm 
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@Ben - Ah! It seems my Ludditism has tripped me up. Anyway the Band Camp link is good to have. Never heard of it before.

The first version of the dots on The Session is WAY different from what is presented on the video!

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 11:20 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
@Ben - Ah! It seems my Ludditism has tripped me up. Anyway the Band Camp link is good to have. Never heard of it before.

The first version of the dots on The Session is WAY different from what is presented on the video!

Did you like the John Kirkpatrick version (the original) of Jump at the Sun?

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 9:50 am 
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Yes, it is quite lively. Reviewing the Session posts brings up another question. How tunes acquire so many different names. For instance Hag At The Churn is also known as Hag At The Church. One can understand this second name. But Jump is also known as Fairies On Acid or The Spy. These are not at all related to the original title.

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 10:48 am 
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Michael w6 wrote:
Yes, it is quite lively. Reviewing the Session posts brings up another question. How tunes acquire so many different names. For instance Hag At The Churn is also known as Hag At The Church. One can understand this second name. But Jump is also known as Fairies On Acid or The Spy. These are not at all related to the original title.

I think, in the case of this tune, people have just called it "Fairies on Acid" and "The Spy" because those are the images that the tune conjures up for them. Intuitively, albeit not logically, I understand both.

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 1:40 pm 
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For example I was recently asked to record a video (Arts council funded, dispatches from the bunker type quarantunes, jobbing away during the lockdown), one of the tunes I played was 'the New Road'

And a very nice video it was! I enjoyed it a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 1:47 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
@Ben - Ah! It seems my Ludditism has tripped me up.

Michael w6, I'm going to ask you to do us all a favor and start using your quote function. When you make statements like the above in the way that you're doing it, it makes one go on a search for what the possible reference might be, and that shouldn't be necessary.

You can see in this very example how it's used.

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 2:06 pm 
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It should be "Luddism." "Luddites" were followers of the mythical "Ned Ludd:" Luddism, hostility to technology that took their jobs, is what they engaged in


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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 2:29 pm 
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Michael w6 wrote:
Yes, it is quite lively. Reviewing the Session posts brings up another question. How tunes acquire so many different names. For instance Hag At The Churn is also known as Hag At The Church. One can understand this second name. But Jump is also known as Fairies On Acid or The Spy. These are not at all related to the original title.

I suppose that "churn" is not likely to be part of the latest generation's vocabulary, but churns weren't used in my day either, yet I know what one is, so one wonders what factors are at play when language gets lost. Of course if it were called Hag At The Quern, even fewer people would know what it meant without hitting the dictionary, or wrongly assuming that the eponymous hag was playing a computer game. For really obscure vocabulary in tune names, try Push About The Jorum or The Gudgeon Of Maurice's Car.

As to wildly different names for tunes, this is not uncommon at all, as Ben hinted at. Sometimes names are different by community; for example, the jig I know as The Joy Of My Life is called Donnybrook Fair elsewhere, and if that weren't enough, it's also known by An Carbhat, Andy Keone’s, Aonach Domhnach Broc, Aonach Domhnach Brocach, The Caravat, The Humours Of Donnybrook, The Joys Of Life, The Joys Of Love, Joys Of My Life, The Joys Of My Life, Kiss Me I’m Irish, Lutgair Mo Beata, Our Little Green Isle, and The River Cree. There are probably others still.

So it follows that the tune proper is always more important than what you call it, although naturally names are needed when you're doing a Web search. That's why we should be grateful to sites like The Session - that's where I got the extended list above. At sessions, names can often be dispensed with altogether: "Do you know this one? *twiddles a few opening notes*" "Sure. Let's follow it with this: *twiddles a few opening notes*" "I don't know that one. How about ..." and so on and so on. I know of at least two very experienced Trad musicians who know almost no names for the tunes they play, and they're defiantly proud of it.

Larry Nugent does an idiosyncratic version of a jig by Paddy Fahey (who IIRC was notorious for not naming his compositions at all), and it got a name in the course of a conversation I had after playing it: Someone asked what it was called, and I shrugged, saying, "It's out in the car." (referring to the CD it was on because I couldn't remember, myself). Well, then! Between at least two of us, It's Out In The Car is now that version's name. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 2:39 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
It should be "Luddism." "Luddites" were followers of the mythical "Ned Ludd:" Luddism, hostility to technology that took their jobs, is what they engaged in

Ah, but as you no doubt have surmised, these days the term has also shifted somewhat in meaning to imply that one is not tech-savvy. I don't embrace the change, myself, just to be clear. I just call myself lame. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 2:43 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Paddy Fahey (who IIRC was notorious for not naming his compositions at all)

There's a story - probably apocryphal - about Paddy Fahey and tune names. Supposedly, someone asked him why he didn't give his tunes any names, and why they were just known as "Paddy Fahey No 1", "Paddy Fahey No 2", "Paddy Fahey No 3" etc. He replied that he did indeed have names for all of his tunes. In fact he named them for the names of his fields on his farm. "Oh, what were they?" says yer man. "Field No 1", "Field No 2", "Field No 3" ...

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 10:41 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
There's a story - probably apocryphal - about Paddy Fahey and tune names. Supposedly, someone asked him why he didn't give his tunes any names, and why they were just known as "Paddy Fahey No 1", "Paddy Fahey No 2", "Paddy Fahey No 3" etc. He replied that he did indeed have names for all of his tunes. In fact he named them for the names of his fields on his farm. "Oh, what were they?" says yer man. "Field No 1", "Field No 2", "Field No 3" ...

:lol:


I got a different version long ago, and told it on the forums at one point, from someone who knew Fahy reasonably wello. As it was he composed tunes in his head while working the fram, something you'd hear from several musicians, Chris Droney, Junior Crehan and others did similar things during monotonousdays driving the tractor. Fahy though didn't name his tunes but remembered them through places and landmarks on his farm. Then, he had the digger in to clean up th ditches, do the drainage and the usual farm stuff. During that operation his land was 'rationalisd' and several of the landmarks disappeared. And the tunes belonging to them went with them as he longer had the features to trigger his memory of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:09 am 
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The whole subject of naming is fascinating. "Naming" is very often an assertion of colonial power, as in Brian Friel's Translations. There are Native American place names all around me, but few first nations people. Naming a new species is also claiming it; claiming it for yourself and positioning it. Naming is like mapping: it's not a neutral exercise. O'Neill made up names or assigned new names as he saw fit. He clearly wanted those names to be "canonical" and definitive. It's not unlike police work--naming suspects, sorting out false names and aliases, writing down the details that authenticate identity.

Not having names though is all about excluding the sasenach. It's like the natives not telling the explorer where the river starts or ends. Not assigning names resists colonization. The whole business is interesting. I aspire to get to a stage where I have enough tunes that I can't tell them apart, and I play them without thinking of them like index cards or page clicks, and maybe mix them up. With advancing age I'll probably get there sooner rather than later


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 Post subject: Re: Convert!
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:21 am 
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He clearly wanted those names to be "canonical" and definitive

I don't agree with this - I think he just didn't want to put a bunch of unnamed tunes in a collection. Calling them *something* makes it easier to catalog and distinguish. My guess as well is that a name may have been a mnemonic to help him recall tunes - certainly that's often the case for me as well.


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