What is "The Tradition"
Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:38 AM
By the way, I don't believe you can play O'Carolan music in most Comhaltas competitions which is also strange given that he was an Irish composer (influenced by continental baroque music of the day). Maybe he wasn't peasant enough! I suppose for a competition you have to set the rules somewhere. I think CCE have introduced a new composition competition in recent years which certainly marks a broader appreciation from Comhaltas. One might say enlightened depending on ones point of view. I might enter.
Ciaran O'Grady, Kildare
Posted 27 February 2012 - 08:44 AM
That's interesting - I've only recently realised that the tunes other musicians in my main dance band like, and I don't, tend to be related to the fact that what I think of as 'traditional' is probably rooted in the continuing Northumbrian tradition, or the traditional English musicians who inspired the original English Country Music Weekends, while the tunes one of the other musicians keeps asking for are rooted in the EFDSS tradition of the late sixties and seventies. Where I can I keep quiet, as I can play my own music at sessions and I don't think one type is inherently better than the other, I'd just never thought of the EFDSS style as traditionl/ but they were my own way into all this music when I first met it, they were very melodic and accessible and catchy, and I didn't find them empty or missing something at all then; so I try and remember that, as we play mainly for non-folkies who seem to just get up and dance to whatever we play. But 40-50 years on from when a lot of the EFDSS-type tunes were written, or written down as approximations of what a particular musician was playing and then set in stone(e.g. "Up Jumped the Devil" in the Community Dance Manuals), perhaps that type of tune and setting is as valid a 'tradition' as any other?
Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:09 PM
... we play mainly for non-folkies who seem to just get up and dance to whatever we play.
You've got a good point there!
We musicians tend to think that we decide what's traditional and what's not. But do we? The listener is just as much part of the equation as the musician. If nobody listened to our songs or danced to our tunes, what would be the point in playing and singing?
Doesn't the audience help form the tradition by requesting certain songs and ignoring others? Didn't the tunes and songs that we today indubitably call "traditional" gain that status because musicians had to have them in their repertoire to please the listeners and/or dancers?
Of course, this argument may not apply to session musicians. They seem to be able to subsist without listeners in a world of their own governed by arbitrary rules and regulations. I think they're the only ones who have genuine problems with the definition of "traditional!"
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