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 Post subject: Speed Merchants
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:06 am 
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Location: Dublin, Eire
I am a bone to pick with speed merchants. Why do people feel that the only way to play a tune is at speed. It is not nice. :boggle:
I was talking t o a girl last night and she said that the only way to play a tune is quickly (or as she calls it at "session speed"). Well, "Speed Kills" you can put a lot into a tune if you don't speeeeeeed through.
If anyone disgrees, please let me know, I may have overlooked something.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:35 am 
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Location: Out on the patio, sunbathing... ...i wish!
Too much speed destroys groove.

Although some might say speed has a groove all of its own.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:41 am 
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I prefer tunes played at a slower pace too because then you can still hear the beauty of the melody which is inherent even in the simplest jig :) . An advice a flute player ones gave me was to go with one's feelings - one day you want to play a jig nice and slowly to flavour it and perhaps another day you want to fly with it depending on your mood - he said there is a time and a place for both speeds. I liked his words a lot:).

Well, in my case I don't have much choice as too speed - I can only play slowly because I'm a beginner. Also, I don't find myself under pressure of having to keep up with the speed of others since I wouldn't inflict myself onto other session musicians at this stage of my learning process. So, my opinion probably doesn't count for much.


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 Post subject: speed
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:45 am 
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see below

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"There's fast music and there's lively music. People don't always know the difference"


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:00 am 
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Yesterday I was listening to the radio and heard a "Celtic" band being introduced. The announcer mentioned that the group played primarily jigs and reels. When they started playing I just sat and wondered how anyone could dance to a tune played that fast. (what range of BPM is normally used for reels and jigs in dancing anyway?)

Not that the music was bad, I just thought it lost some of its original intent. It didn't make me want to tap my toe or move at all.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 6:17 am 
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A friend of mine says that playing good tunes too fast is "like roller-skating through the Louvre."

That said, there are some musicians who play quite fast and yet manage to keep the nuances and subtlety, and that music can be beautiful, wild, and exciting indeed. The problem is that those people are the exception rather than the rule. I don't mind fast music as long as it doesn't sound rushed. Mary Bergin and Catherine McEvoy, for example, play at a brisk pace most of the time and yet their playing never seems "fast."


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:20 am 
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So many of our most loved historical players (source material figures) sound like they're playing at a med. tempo.. UNTIL you try and play at that speed. Surprise! When fast sounds reasonable, that's one of the (many) indicators you may be listening to something special. I have an old radio (30s) recording of Jim McGowen that falls into that category.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:34 pm 
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Like Brad and Brazenkaine say, that apparent effortlessness seems to be the trick; it's what really separates the demigods from mere mortals. The same goes in the world of horses -- and probably most things, now that I think about it. To console myself, I figure it's more than a gift -- the people who make it look easy are often the ones who've worked the hardest.

(Dangit, I thought I *was* working hard :-()

Anyway, as I write this I'm listening to Paul Smyth -- and savoring every lovely note.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:35 pm 
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Tempo choice is a big part of musical thought, but some people seem not to make a choice - they play as fast as they can (I can understand this) or just fast, sacrificing style. Artistic choices are only valuable if you make them. End rant.

Beware of tempos on old recordings! It shouldn't be difficult, but some older reissues of wire, wax, and early tape recordings are way off-tempo. I've got 2 remasters of the NY Philharmonic (from the same original recording, I think) that differ by about 2 semitones, and a related amount of tempo. It's easy enough to check - as long as you know the original key and pitch reference.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:15 pm 
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And now I'm listening to Paddy Keenan have a go at The Bunch of Keys.

:boggle:, he's flying. But it's perfect.

Amazing.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:32 pm 
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i guess it is a matter of taste and mood. Sometimes it's fun to build on the energy of a session and just let it rip. Sometimes, a more relaxed approach is just as satisfying. I don't see a need to be regimented about it one way or the other. It's all good assuming the skill level can support either...

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:12 pm 
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Who was it that said words to the effect that there's a big diffference between speed and liveliness?

I donk think there's a direct correlation either way. Fast-paced music can be absolutely brilliant or flat-out suck. Same as slow music.

And a huge part of it is personal preference of the listener. . .

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:43 pm 
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It's the pulse! Fast or slow, it's gotta be there!


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 Post subject: Quote
PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:44 am 
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"There's fast music and there's lively music and people don't [ always ] know the difference". The quote came from a banjo player named Padraig Morrell and is in the sleeve notes to the "Music At Matt Molloy's" CD recording. I put in the "always".

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"There's fast music and there's lively music. People don't always know the difference"


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 Post subject: Speed Merchants
PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:27 am 
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Hi, Im new here and have been reading down through the forums and this caught my eye. Im sure you've all noticed this in sessions that if a reel is started too fast it will only get faster. It almost develops a life of it's own. By the time you get to the 3rd reel in the set you're really under pressure. It's lovely when tunes are played lively and make you want to hop to the music but when it's too fast its just pumped out and has lost a lot of it's ornamentation. There appears to be a reasonably standard speed for sessions but if a lot of musicians are present it's often hard to hold the pace. This is an occasional thing only and most sessions are simply great and the pace is perfect! :party:


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