Jump to content


Photo

Music Books at Pub Sessions


  • Please log in to reply
106 replies to this topic

#1 Randy Stein

Randy Stein

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 490 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington, DC

Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:02 PM

I was in NY this week and went to a pub where there was session. Didn't have my box but sat and listened for two pints worth of time.
There was a young man with an Anglo who was obviously new to it all. He had O'Neill's fake book of Irish tunes with him. A couple of the more seasoned players requested he close it and not use it. One person was a bit harsher in his verbiage than I thought necessary.
Is there a reason or custom not to have use of song books to look up and follow a tune?
rss

#2 Peter Laban

Peter Laban

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 255 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Back of Beyond

Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:40 PM

There would be many reasons.

#3 michael stutesman

michael stutesman

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 121 posts

Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

There would be many reasons.


I'd like to hear them.

#4 Geoff Wooff

Geoff Wooff

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1600 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:33 PM

IT is just not the done thing. But there may be other reasons why some of the musicians made a fuss about this person's use of 'the book'. Many of the currently popular settings of tunes are not exactly as noted by O'Neill.
Generally one is supposed to 'know' the tunes or be able to pick up an unknown tune, by ear, as it is being played by the musicians who do know it.
I recall only ever one incident like this in the 40 years I have been playing ITM.

Although there are many many books of sheet music for ITM, and I would have perhaps a metre length of bookshelf crammed with them, it is considered to be an Oral Tradition by many because, for the most part, the people who carried the music through to the present day did not and could not read modern staff notation.

Edited by Geoff Wooff, 13 January 2012 - 04:46 PM.


#5 Lawrence Reeves

Lawrence Reeves

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 585 posts

Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:48 PM

I feel as though someone reading a tune is only able to "see" that version. That by it's nature would disallow hearing a variation or version as anything but wrong. If you tried to play a tune from page exactly as written, and encounter someone from a locality such as East Galway where certain notes might be raised a bit ( C natural to C# ) on some G tunes, disaster. Now I do totally support the idea of seeing the sketch or bare bones of a tune if no Aural source is available. But that would be strictly from a learning standpoint with the assumption of then playing with others using ears to play the tune. I also find a tune learned by ear sticks in a different part of my brain, and usually lasts longer as opposed to memorizing the written note. In a similar session environment, I might not be harsh, just play a series of tunes and magically have no name for them.

#6 ZiziAllaire

ZiziAllaire

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montreal

Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:51 PM

It is also quite possible that (being a total novice, as you say) he was messing up the music and annoying others by trying to join in without a clue. Getting him to shut the book may have appeared the best way to get him to shut his tina.

#7 Kautilya

Kautilya

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1345 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:45 PM

It is also quite possible that (being a total novice, as you say) he was messing up the music and annoying others by trying to join in without a clue. Getting him to shut the book may have appeared the best way to get him to shut his tina.

Like an ebay auction this post, with all the mystery and uncertainty as to how high or low it will go. Already 87 are hooked.....

Hmmm

Assuming that ITM counts Turlough O'Carolan's Concerto as ITM.

A flautist whom I know, has never learned to play by ear (he's half deaf anyway with double widgets in his ears)

But he sight reads impeccably and without hesitation. Although of a 'certain age' he finally plunged and in December came to a session to see if could tag along with tunes he did not know to tackle his ear=less learning impediment. He had never been to a session before.

Now there are some pretty smart players at this regular sesssion, but few can handle the said concerto, certainly the second part, in a style that the flautist can.

But he started it off from the notes he had brought,on the table in front of him, and soon had the rest of the room beginning to come along behind him and they quickly got a reasonable handle on it.

So, would he have been ejected from that NY Pub (and elswhere)then for bringing his paper music along with him?

Fascinating.

We still have not clarified whether the young 'offender' was told to shut his tina coz he was messing up the toons by playing wrong notes too loudly (rather than discreetly) or simply because he had a book open.

It was interesting at 2011 Whitby Eurosessions that when music score sheets were handed out (so sight readers could quickly lead into a tune NEW to most if not 99% present,in each instance the whole community then had it under control much faster. Much faster than by hearing alone. Indeed when there were no dots for 'foreign' tunes, the initiator ended up soloing or petering out as few had enough 'earing' time to grasp and play along.

Bit of sight and sound at work. I seem able only to read music after I have heard someone playing it, but the dots then help to keep me roughly in line!

Indeed La Marche des Bandonéons, by one Alain de Jour of this paroisse, a melody new to all but one person amongst the 25 or so in one Eurosession, was handed out on paper. Then we got started off with a recording of the composer himself playing, on an ipod and little speaker. It worked a treat. Everyone was playing and taking over the toon as their own within a minute.

Where concertinas etc are playing songs or accompanying them there is no doubt that non-playing singers are delighted to have all the lyrics. 'We' even offer the notes for players and singers+words on paper so the voices/punters/bystanders can join in. The end product is often pretty good music.

One Whitby example, among several, was Schubert's Die Forelle, if I remember rightly, which instrumentalists caught fast and which was sung through by the others in German and English simultaneously.

Of course some leave their reading glasses at home and moan they can't join in as they can't remember nor read ALL the words.........

Confused: :o :huh: :blink: :unsure:

ps - does that means all those clever little (cookery book) recipe labels which I see people with, on a ring binder thingy, with the first two lines of 100+ of their favourite toons, which they cannot recall for toffee unless they look thru em, are also frowned on? And we were just discussing a few months back whether there was a beer-proof Kindle which could be used for music dots words and sound.

Edited by Kautilya, 13 January 2012 - 09:22 PM.


#8 Ken_Coles

Ken_Coles

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1488 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Logansport, Indiana, U.S.A.

Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:05 PM

I learned my Irish tunes at a very friendly session in the middle of the U.S. Moderate tempos, would welcome anyone. They were never openly critical of anyone (OK, once a new arrival, player of a very loud instrument who was not paying attention was taken aside privately). Once or twice over the years someone would bring a tune book. Either they would figure out, or one of the leaders would gently point out during a break, that when a bunch of tunes were strung together (never the same order week to week), there was no way to turn the pages fast enough to find each new tune. The only real (reel?) way to participate was to get them in your head.

Me, I could see this and spend my first few months mostly listening. And they were such a pleasant bunch that coming just to listen and learn was fun in itself. I eventually got most of their tunes by ear (made use of one last night in a contra dance band, after all these years), but of course I don't know the titles = The trouble with learning this way! :P

Ken

PS: I hired the three leaders of this session (and their favorite guitarist) to play my wedding reception - a natural choice. It felt good to finally pay them some cash for all they taught me.

Edited by Ken_Coles, 13 January 2012 - 09:07 PM.
to add PS


#9 ceemonster

ceemonster

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1084 posts

Posted 14 January 2012 - 12:30 AM

two octobers ago, i was in manhattan for a memorial following the death of a family member. i stayed for about a week and went to nine or ten sessions in that time, wanting to survey the nyc sesh landscape. (there is a saying there that on the sunday, if you have wheels and are wired enough, you could go to something like eleven sessions between midday, later-afternoon, and PM. i did not do this.) i don't know which one this fellow took his book to, but here are a couple of thoughts.

a) a number of the "sessions" in nyc, though appearingt on some of the public lists of nyc "sessions," are really quasi-gigs; including miked. whether the style of the players at this one or that one is to your taste or not, they are peopled by professional performers with formidable repertoire and a high degree of neck-teek, who might be charitably characterized as don't-suffer-fools-gladly types. these "sessions" are really only "open" to the degree that 1--your chops are good enough that you can play their tunes without being a drag or a distraction; and 2--you are happy to ride along in the back seat or the passenger seat. for sure somebody wandering in to one of these events with a sheet music book would be told to close it, and might not be told nicely.

B--- the truly "open" sessions in nyc vary and include a couple of very beginner/intermediate sessions. at the beginner/intermediate-ish ones, it would be like the prior poster said---depends on what the person was doing with the book. if all they were doing was thumbing through it to remind themselves of titles for when it was their turn to start something, i can't see what the problem would be at one of these do's. but perhaps that is not what the person was doing....... <_<

Edited by ceemonster, 14 January 2012 - 12:30 AM.


#10 david_boveri

david_boveri

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1059 posts
  • Location:chicago, illinois, usa

Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:14 AM

tunebooks are fine at home. leave them there. most of us session players learned most of our tunes at sessions by ear, with the rest of the tunes coming by ear at home. i am a fluent site reader, so sometimes i may pop open the dots when i'm going through a tune at home, especially the first time through.

as ken pointed out, you can't really have fun at a session with a tunebook. as for ceemonster's "type a" sessions, i think any session is only as open as the the level of playing in it. i play at sessions with mics all the time and let me tell you... you wouldn't WANT to sit with us if you couldn't keep up! i myself have played many a wrong note on stage, but the fact that i always do my best to blend and take the back seat means that i have always been welcomed and always had fun.

if you brought sheet music to a session that was mic'ed, you'd be asked to stop because you're embarrassing yourself. not us... at pub sessions you are still embarrassing yourself, but nobody is watching and you're not on stage.

if i play in a non-trad venue, such as in an orchestra hall, i allow my ensembles to use sheet music. i just look right over the stand into the audience, and as time goes on my students have learned to do the same.

#11 David Levine

David Levine

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 967 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Co Clare, Ireland

Posted 14 January 2012 - 03:06 AM

What are you all going on about? I like to bring a book to a session.
When things get boring I go to another table and read my book.
Lately I've been reading In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson, which I recommend highly.

#12 Lester Bailey

Lester Bailey

    Chatty concertinist

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 342 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Leafy Bucks, England

Posted 14 January 2012 - 06:47 AM

What is it about Irish Sessions that they have to have so many rules and regulation, mostly unwritten, that will get you ostracised/thrown out/shouted at if you transgress them? Most English/Euro sessions seem to be far more tolerant of beginners/readers/odd instruments etc.

It seems that to become what is designated a competent Irish player you have to listen to the correct CDs and learn all the nuances, by ear, no tune books; then practice in solitude until you emerge as a fully fledged player with the require repertoire under your belt. :blink:

#13 Chris Drinkwater

Chris Drinkwater

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1569 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London

Posted 14 January 2012 - 07:09 AM

What is it about Irish Sessions that they have to have so many rules and regulation, mostly unwritten, that will get you ostracised/thrown out/shouted at if you transgress them? Most English/Euro sessions seem to be far more tolerant of beginners/readers/odd instruments etc.

It seems that to become what is designated a competent Irish player you have to listen to the correct CDs and learn all the nuances, by ear, no tune books; then practice in solitude until you emerge as a fully fledged player with the require repertoire under your belt. :blink:



Lester gets my vote! My partner Doreen, plays the EC well, but her ability to pick up tunes by ear quickly, is limited, so she relies on sight-reading the dots to get by sometimes. Also, the repertoire, where she comes from in Nottinghamshire, is a bit different to that in London and many tunes are not familiar to her. She always brings a book of dots along with her and plays from them if necessary and there's never been a problem. No one else at a session, so far, has ever complained or frowned up her doing so. And, quite right, too! That's being snobbish and elitist!! Meanwhile, she does her best to learn more of the tunes by ear.

Chris

Chris

#14 hjcjones

hjcjones

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 880 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cheshire, UK

Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:05 AM

I think the objections are more practical than snobbish or elitist. If someone needs the dots to lead their tune, then so be it. Besides, many competent ear players have cribs to remind them how a tune starts before starting to play from memory.

The difficulties arise when players need the dots to join in with someone else's lead. Firstly, there's the time it takes them to find the tune in the book. Next, is it the version which is actually being played? In fairness, there are many supposed ear players who won't listen to what's actually being played, but even if a dots player is able to listen to the leader, they will struggle to follow a version which isn't in the book. Lastly, it prevents them from fully joining in with the session. What makes a session different from a performance is the unrehearsed interplay between musicians - if you are tied to playing what's in front of you that becomes very difficult.

The culture of some Irish sessions seems to be that there is the "correct" version (for that session, at least) right down to the correct decorations, and the tune can only be played that way. English sessions have a different culture, which sometimes includes messing with the rhythm or taking the tune in unexpected directions. In either case, someone who is limited to playing from the dots is at best unable to participate fully, and at worst will (unintentionally) disrupt the others' playing.

The most important objection is entirely practical - if the table is entirely covered with music books and sheets of paper, where are you going to put your pint?

#15 asdormire

asdormire

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 601 posts
  • Location:Stranded in Buckeye Land USA

Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:21 AM

It's not just Irish sessions that frown on tune books. I have never been to a bluegrass or old time session where they have been particularly welcome either. Folks are expected to have a good ear or know their music.

Alan

#16 JimLucas

JimLucas

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9186 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark

Posted 14 January 2012 - 01:24 PM

The most important objection is entirely practical - if the table is entirely covered with music books and sheets of paper, where are you going to put your pint?

I'm trying to remember if I've ever been to a session where there was either room to open out a single tune book or light enough to read one by.

As for session "etiquette", or "rules", or however one wishes to characterize it, I sometimes think there are more versions of same than there are sessions. Yet, as with the tunes -- and dare I also include songs (with words!)?, -- there are far too many individuals who seem to believe that the one version they're familiar with was somehow sanctified as the one and only true Irish version by God, Mary, and Saint Patrick.

I know what sort of session I like, and I'll gravitate toward it when I can find it. Otherwise, I try not to be bothered by the differences.

#17 Kautilya

Kautilya

    Heavyweight Boxer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1345 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 January 2012 - 01:39 PM

What are you all going on about? I like to bring a book to a session.
When things get boring I go to another table and read my book.

Luvved that! Great ri-post-e :D

#18 JimLucas

JimLucas

    Ineluctable Opinionmaker

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9186 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark

Posted 14 January 2012 - 01:40 PM

There was a young man with an Anglo who was obviously new to it all. He had O'Neill's fake book of Irish tunes with him.

My curiosity is raised. In what way was the fellow using O'Neill's?
  • Were the other players calling out the name of each tune before they began to play it, with him frantically looking it up? At most sessions I've been to, tune names are rarely spoken, so the book would be useless unless he already knew the tunes well enough to both recognize them and know their names.
  • Was he selecting tunes from the book for himself to lead, then expecting the others to either follow along by ear or just stop and listen?
  • Something else?
And when you judged that he "was obviously new to it all", was that just because he didn't know the local "etiquette", because he didn't know the local repertoire, because his playing didn't fit well with the others or even wasn't adequate to the music, or something else?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users