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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2001 5:59 pm 
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Ive known a few non-readers who hold on to a notion that sight reading prevents good ear training and refer to notation in derogatory terms such as fly dirt etc and coming late to sight reading myself and remembering how intimidating it was in the begining I wonder If its an attitude built on fear and insecurity.Reading music to many of us can be as joyful as the music itself and is a wonderful tool to have,and the whistle is probably the most intuitive of all instruments to learn on-take the chalenge-you wont regret it! :smile: Mike


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2001 6:59 pm 
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"The only musical assistance I've gotten without paying for it has been from the old men who have nothing to prove and everything to share. Bless the old men!" Thanks tyghress


HECK OF A NOTE

I play it just as I read it, now what's the matter with that?
I only play by ear because I'm blind as a bat.
Those dots and lines on the paper only confuse the sound.
But if I didn't have them to follow, awful sounds would abound.
I can't remember how the tune goes, the music helps me some.
Learning to play by ear? I might as well be deaf and dumb.
If I had my preference and opportunity to
choose,
I'd learn by ear and I'd learn by note, (and better memory I could use!)

——some old men thoughts——


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 11:54 am 
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Thanks to everyone who contributed to a great debate......

I guess there's no right or wrong but definitely the authors' comments are a little bit strong on the side of the 'ear'.

Regards,

Gerry :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 12:59 pm 
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Not meaning to beat a dead horse, but I just realized another fine reason for leaning a bit on notation rather than ear. I just listened to a lovely air played on MP3.com, and realized that I had heard it, nearly intonation for intonation, (and certainly ornamentation for ornamentation) by another whistler.

Before anyone assumes that this person 'stole' the style and performance I'd like to point out that I learned a certain jig primarily from listening to the very same person in session, and once I got the written music for this jig, found out that I was dropping notes, tripling things that were best sounded as a single note, etc. just because that was how I had heard it.

Taking written, bare-bones music encourages you to interpret it yourself.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2001 7:06 pm 
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"Taking written, bare-bones music encourages you to interpret it yourself."

I heartily agree with that idea. It's fun to work out from the basic melody your own interpretation, placement of ornamentation and phrasing, then listen to professional renditions and compare. Great learning tool.
Tony

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 10:39 am 
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Reviving an old thread:

Surely once one is familiar with the basic feel of a jig, reel, or hornpipe, it isn't a giant leap to learn another tune from the page and play it in the same style?

OTOH, I couldn't possibly learn a slow air solely from the page, as each is so different. But having heard the tune enough times, the page shows me where my fingers should be going in what order, when my ear may still not be up to the job, though the rhythm and feel definitely still comes best through the ears for me.

WRT ornamentation, I put it in where I feel like it & rarely see it notated in the page; I hope my judgement of how much, what & when is improving over time.

Attending a singing class on Wednesday, we sang "The Galway Shawl". The tendancy was, I felt, to put in too much vocal ornamentation, two or three "warbles" per line. I think of Brother Steve's croutons in the soup metaphor when I think there's too much ornamentation going on.

So now totally off-topic, several tunes are mentioned in that song, and I would like to know the story behind "Rodney's Glory". Who was Rodney, and what was his Glory? The other tunes, Stack of Barley, The Foggy Dew, and the Blackbird, lead me to guess that the singer was probably a piper or flautist. Any knowledgeable on this?

cheers, Martin


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 11:14 am 
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I can't answer your questions, Martin, but I have a question of my own. I am very short on cash to buy CD's to hear traditional music played, so I have been copying sheet music off the internet to build up my collection of tunes. That is my primary resource to be able to play tunes on the whistle.

However, since I am a beginner, I don't yet know the rhythms of jigs, reels, etc., though I'm learning, well enough to make it sound right. I obviously need to listen to professional musicians playing the tunes. But there's so many CD's to choose from. For someone who is so low on cash and can't afford to buy more than one or two CD's right now, what would anyone recommend as a good one to start with? I want to learn to play by ear (which I don't do well yet) as well as reading notes (which I have been doing).

I have gone to and very much enjoyed several web sites that have clips of different people's playing and this has helped me get a feel for what the tune is supposed to sound like. But I've heard a lot of people say that it's super important to listen to professional musicians, too.

Any ideas or advice for me? I'd specifically like to know of a good CD that would help me know what the tunes are supposed to sound like, but wouldn't be too impossible for a beginner to play along with. Is there such a thing?

Thanks! :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 12:26 pm 
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On 2002-01-18 11:39, Martin Milner wrote:
Reviving an old thread:

Surely once one is familiar with the basic feel of a jig, reel, or hornpipe, it isn't a giant leap to learn another tune from the page and play it in the same style?


You are right, that shouldn't be a problem, don't try it though when you are learning without an example you can listen to (and, no, the computer p[laying back ABCs won't do)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 12:36 pm 
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Re Rodney, George B. Rodney was a British admiral who won a big victory against the French somewhere around 1782(?). I'm pretty sure this tune celebrates his achievement.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 12:45 pm 
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These quotes from this thread struck me as being right on target, some for "ear" and some for "eye":

Gerry - school and mainstream music pedagogy emphasizes visual reading skills, even though the art form we are trying to master is aural, not visual.

Frank - Most of these Irish tunes were played hundreds of years ago, and were passed down the generations by ear...during those generations, the songs get changed by the artists who play them.

Emma - Notation alone will never be able to communicate completely a tune's personality.

Tony - would argue strongly that one could never learn to play in the traditional style without hearing what it sounds like. But, that is not to say that learning a new tune has to come from how you hear someone else play it.

Claudine - Music is an international language, if you know it, you'll be able to play with people anywhere in the world. So - as you all learned to speak and read english - why not learn music?

Tom - there are people in Japan who can read and write English fluently, but have only the vaguest idea of how to speak it. Of course, there are also those who understand and speak the language, but cannot read or write. Both of these extremes are missing out on much of the beauty of the language... ...how would you like to learn, say, Mandarin Chinese by simply listening to recordings of people speaking it, without getting to ask them what they're saying, or see how they're producing the sounds?

Rich - One standard pedagogical technique for jazz is to transcribe solos: the idea is to take a recorded solo you like, and write it out as accurately as possible, and then analyze it or learn it yourself or both. It's hard, and while there's certainly a school that thinks that soloing is more holistic than "what notes did he play over this turnaround", it's certainly useful to take apart what the pros do note for note.

Ron - L.E. McCullough states in his tutorial that contrary to popular myth most professional caliber players do indeed read music and the myth of them all playing by ear alone is nothing more that a myth of trad music. Does anyone honestly think Paddy Maloney could score a film without being able to read music?

Lee - To play any type of music well, you have to play what is felt, not just what is written, not just what is heard. For me, music is a medium that allows us to communicate even when words fail, with a richness that goes beyond... ...when I hear I new tune, my mind immediately flows with emotive response. It also associates the tune with a hundred tunes that sound or feel the same. Seeing the tune in standard notation gives it a back bone, keeps me from morphing the music into a different tune... ...If I want to join folks in a session playing a new tune, [] if I have a backbone (standard notation) for a tune, I can readily recognize how the group is altering the tune to reflect what the group wants to express.

Patrick - I can get a modern arrangement of a medieval tune and learn to play something that very few people have heard in several hundred years. If you want "freedom" in music, reading the notes is like being able to read a map that leads you to a beautiful place.

Sue - if you want to play it in a very specific style, you have to listen and imitate the style, style cannot be notated, just as an accent in language is not notated... Notation is a tool that can be helpful, but in traditional music it only provides the skeleton of the true music, the rest has to be added by the performer. The experience of the performer determines how the piece will sound. Even within the same country, the accent(in language) or musical style can vary, that what makes music a living, wonderful tradition!

Cinead - if one was to write a song before the advent of the tape recorder, he or she had no other way to insure the note and sequence structure of the song would be maintained or remembered. Sheet notation cornered the market, especially from a commercial point of view. Songs that were reproduced on sheet music travelled farther and faster than songs that travelled by ear. I do believe that if tape recorders and video recorders had always been around, this would have dramatically affected the way music would be documented and passed down...
...I believe sheet music is best to communicate and maintain a degree of uniformity among audiences as a song spreads in popularity. Not everybody has that great of an ear to reproduce melodies, chords and rhythms accurately. Sheet music keeps everybody from straying too far from home.

Robert


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 12:58 pm 
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Well, I sure am glad that controversy is settled...

:smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 1:06 pm 
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I'd like to make one observation supporting what has been touched on here, from an historical perspective.

Historically, music that is down on paper is more likely to survive intact than music that is handed down by aural tradition. The Old Testament Psalms are a good example. The text (lyrics) for the Psalms were originally verses set to music, and this text has survived in a number of languages with translations all very close to the original in the modern Bible. However, because the original melodies, rhythms and chords were not written down, the music itself is not available to us.

In much the same way, chord notation for trad music is a fairly recent trend, having only been included in more recent instruction sets and song collections. As a result, the chords used today are no doubt very different from what was played 100 years ago. I'm pretty sure that some of the chords commonly used today in "trad" music are anything but "traditional". Dsus2/A (D-E-A with an A in the Bass), Em sus2+4 (E-F#-A-B), etc etc.

Certainly, these newer chord choices are interesting and alive, but what a shame that we don't know many of the original chord choices simply because there was no written record kept of this information.

Best wishes
Robert


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: rpmseattle on 2002-01-18 14:07 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 1:22 pm 
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On 2002-01-18 14:06, rpmseattle wrote:
In much the same way, chord notation for trad music is a fairly recent trend, having only been included in more recent instruction sets and song collections. As a result, the chords used today are no doubt very different from what was played 100 years ago. I'm pretty sure that some of the chords commonly used today in "trad" music are anything but "traditional". Dsus2/A (D-E-A with an A in the Bass), Em sus2+4 (E-F#-A-B), etc etc.

Certainly, these newer chord choices are interesting and alive, but what a shame that we don't know many of the original chord choices simply because there was no written record kept of this information.

Best wishes
Robert


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: rpmseattle on 2002-01-18 14:07 ]</font>
I think Robert that this refutes the point you are trying to make. A 100 years ago there were no chords in IrTrad, because there was no accompanyment, except on the harp. The traditional Irish tunes were lilted or played in unison. There were no guitars, bouzoukis etc.

So what we have here is someone seeing written music with chords, and using this to give them an idea of what the tradition was like, rather than listening to the old timers or speaking to them about the music in Ardare, Co. Donnegal in the 1920s.

I think most of the people who advocate learning by ear are not opposed to musical notiation: They merely want to point out the dangers of assuming that a sense for the tradition can be gleaned from the page.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 1:32 pm 
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My take on this issue comes from my first musical love, Jazz, and all of the insanely awesome jazz musicians I've played with.

Jazz has almost exactly the same aural (by ear) tradition as IrTrad. Yet, jazz musicians, from the late '20's on were also expected to be killer readers, so they could play in jazz orchestras. So they've integrated both methods seamlessly.

Now, if you know anything about jazz, you know it's all about feel. There are innumerable nuances that are impossible to notate. Kind of like IrTrad, huh? Yet a jazz player is capable of reading a chart (often they can sight-read it) and put in all of the expression and nuance that characterizes jazz. And this is like almost EVERYBODY who plays jazz - I have never played with anybody very famous. I've just played with journeyman-working stiff types, but they all can do this!

The point is: you can have it all. Learn to play by ear. Learn to read. Carefully learn the stylistic nuances of IrTrad by tons of listening, and learning tunes by ear. Then, you can get tons of obscure notated tunes from the internet from discontinued albums you'll never find. But you'll be able to play them because you can read AND because you've learned how to play Irish!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2002 1:55 pm 
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On 2002-01-18 14:32, jomac wrote:
The point is: you can have it all. Learn to play by ear. Learn to read. Carefully learn the stylistic nuances of IrTrad by tons of listening, and learning tunes by ear. Then, you can get tons of obscure notated tunes from the internet from discontinued albums you'll never find. But you'll be able to play them because you can read AND because you've learned how to play Irish!


Very elegantly put Jo. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

The thing that many sheet-music proponents are reluctant to accept, it seems to me, is that you can't learn the nuances from the written music. Or maybe it's that they don't want to accept that there are nuances, because if there are nuances it follows that learning them would involve work, and time.

Steve

PS Martin - can we have a moratorium on croutons now?


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