It happened, during his teenage years, that one of the young ladies in the club 'fancied' him but as he did not mingle with the rest she was not able to make those little 'chance encounters' that girls do that stimulate the male to make an approach.
She spoke with her, more knowledgeable, girlfriends, asking for suggestions, to which the most common answer was that she would just have to make the first move. So she drummed up the courage one day and started a conversation with the, in her opinion, rather shy piper.
" Would you like to 'go out' with me ?"( be my boyfriend, have a date, here put in your own terminology) . He thought about this for a few moments, maybe he needed time to formulate his response. Then he asked "and what instrument do you play ?" Her reply really took him aback.... "Oh, I play the Piano Accordion"..... another pause... looks of shock (or horror) on the piper's face.... then he said "I am sorry but, you know I am a piper... it just would not be 'right' for me to have a girlfriend who played one of those things".
Then he took a good look at the girl, thought she looked fine, maybe he would not mind starting a relationship. So he asked his next question "Do you play anything else?".... "Oh, yes", she said," I play a bit on the fiddle"...... another short pause for thought..... "Well, if you were to drop the Piano Accordion and just play the fiddle.... then we could get together".
Well.. to cut a long story short, that is exactly what she did and they lived happily ever after. They now have two sons (both pipers) and two daughters (both fiddlers).
This is a true story. I have played with this piper on several occasions, with my EC, we get on fine,musically.
The story illustrates, though, how precious the real tradition is in some peoples eyes.
My own view is that of many of the responders here... it is not what you play but the way you play, that is important! I will admit to a detestation of the 'way' Irish tunes are played by many people, on all types of instrument, including all forms of Concertina, but when they air their horrible renditions on Youtube, I cringe.
The way of playing Irish Traditional dance music, as we know it today,stems from the rhythmic necesities of the pipes (bagpipes). On these instruments it is hardly possible to make notes louder or softer (use volume dynamics) to emphasis rhythm. Therefore rhythmic pulse has to come from a lengthening and shortening of notes.This is not really possible to depict on a music score because it is more subtle than the use of dotted notes.It is in the taking and giving of time from note to note within the bar that creates the style, as much as anything else.
The Hornpipe is the easiest dance type in this respect as its internal rhythm is closest to a dotted four time.
The Reel, as played in Ireland, also has an internal pulse not unlike a Hornpipe, but more subtle and difficult to describe. Some play with more weight (length) on the main beat and others prefer an off beat stress.We just have to listen to GOOD playing to absorb this.
The 6/8 Jig is the most difficult to get right because, in Ireland, a very definate length emphasis is given to each group of three notes. This has an approximate time /length value of 5-2-3. The middle note in each group is very short, one might suggest saying a word with a similar rhythm,like... Jo-seph-fine... making the 'Jo' quite long.
The 9/8 (or slip jig) is played with a similar internal rhythm to the 6/8's.
The Slide (12/8) is usually not played with this type of length emphasis but that could be because it is a newer form that was introduced after the golden age of piping ? I am not sure.
These internal rhythms are the basic framework of this music, ok they may differ from region to region and player to player but without them......... this is why Welk's orchestra gets away (reasonably) with a hornpipe but if they had chosen a reel or jig.... hmmmmm!
Once these rhythms are established it is possible to move on to embelishments like the 'Roll' which whilst being like a 'Turn'(clasical ornament) is not a Turn. The Roll has (in its long form, in jig playing) also the same internal rhythm and is used to best effect on the Flute, whistle and pipes. The Roll is also used by fiddlers but is very difficult or impossible to get 'right' on a keyboard instrument. Other forms of 'grace noting' are preferable on the Concertina.
With out this 'Internal Rhythm' the music sounds wrong and if it is then emphasised by volume changes instead then it is horrible. Using Internal Rhythm and some volume emphasis is the normal way for most instruments these days.
Much ITM is played far too fast ,it is ,after all, an exquisite musical form when played at a listenable pace.
If it is to be used for the ever increasing speed of Set Dancing then the types of tunes need to be chosen well.
A lot of people who do not have access to original source players, those who live isolated from it, can tend to listen only to the modern recordings of the new generation of young Irish 'wizz-kids'. These musicians are super players who may have begun to learn at the age of 6 or 7 years.To try to copy these players could be a recipe for disaster, unless you are one of them.
I would encourage all to listen to the old players.
I am, probably, a more savage critic than David and often deplore the way that, even some of the most famous musicians,play Irish music but I am also extremely self critical and never happy with my playing either.
As for the Welk video... I thought it was fun and not really any worse than some I have heard from people who should know better.
Edited by Geoff Wooff, 20 October 2010 - 01:03 AM.