Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Mayofiddler's Achievements

Advanced Member

Advanced Member (3/6)

  1. There's a good list and some links here Sticky post
  2. I'm a newbie too. I ordered a Rochelle as folks here advised that it was the best of the cheapos. I'm a bit obsessive when I do things so whilst waiting for the Rochelle to arrive I recklessly ordered a Morse. The Rochelle only arrived two days before the Morse. Not expecting the Morse for a while I plunged straight in with the Rochelle. I found it very breathy/wheezy, with floppy cheap feeling buttons and springs and horrible thin straps that offered no solidity at all. Not to mention the huge size and general ugliness. However, as someone else mentioned, you get what you pay for so I was happy enough realising that it was a rock bottom instrument price-wise. Anyway, the Morse turned up unexpectedly a couple of days later and the difference was so vast it's hard to describe. All I can say is if you want to kick start your playing, get the best you can afford. That is nearly always true of instruments (even though expert players can make a cheap anything sound great). I'm really glad I bought the Morse. Yes, Jeffries layout Anglos are considered best by the majority of players for Irish music. I don't know what is best for English folk music. From what I read here, if you want to play classical stuff you'd need possibly something else again, but others will help there more than I can.
  3. Early 70s heavy rock (Sabbath, Purple, Zep etc.) baroque/classical music and trad Irish dance music. Yes, it was Black Sabbath that got me into concertina...no, something wrong there :-)
  4. Noel Hill Camp...is that the replacement for Guantanamo Bay?
  5. Yes, I think everyone realises that. The problem is when those differences are outside a particular tradition. I think that's what we're discussing here. Otherwise they aren't innovations, they're just variations. How do you recognise a glaring or not-so-glaring departure from a tradition? That's the underlying theme of this thread I suppose, and subject to the aesthetics mooted by Peter Laban.
  6. When you look at a bare list that seems an awful lot of strictures and most sessions would be a bit more tolerant than that. However, you certainly won't upset anyone if you stick to those guidelines! Unless...you bring a banjo LOL. You forgot the verboten instruments that trad <insert "N" word>s might not like.
  7. LOL, how about "Banjos make SOME people feel happy"? Or "Banjos make your ears ring"? Ah well, we're discussing innovation etc. so it's bound to be a fraught thread. At least nobody has fallen out with anyone else yet. Good that we're all free to speak our minds, parade our opinions or whatever!
  8. I think Howard Jones makes a good point and one I think is implicit when some of us say we encourage newbies to try to pick up bits of tunes on the fly. That is, you need to know your way around your instrument (and preferably but not quite as essentially, the general structure of tunes in your genre) before you start noodling at sessions. If you are a complete beginner at both instrument and genre then even the most tolerant of sessions will get fed up with you playing random notes in pretty short order.
  9. Sax in trad? Well there is such a gulf between your idea of trad music and mine that I don't think we can even discuss this. Ne'er the twain shall meet. At The Racket are a racket all right, just because one eejit decides to use an instrument to play trad tunes doesn't make it trad. John Carty has so many American influences on his fiddling from his banjo playing that he absolutely isn't trad, not to mention the Irish music he plays is English-Irish. They're just lucky Tansey hasn't got on to them yet :-) And yes, I'd say Jerry O'Connor doesn't fit in any more than any other banjo player. There is no special boot-licking allowed just because someone has made some money from the tradition. In fact most of the musicians who have made real money from Irish trad have done it through gimmicky band setups or fusion-arrangements to pander to foreign markets. The tradition *isn't* wide enough to accommodate lots of things, those "lots of things" are far outside the tradition. It doesn't accommodate them, it's people who know nothing about the tradition, or who care more about making money, that accommodate them.
  10. Sorry I was talking about American musicians playing (say) bluegrass. You see that my ignorance in that area has led me astray already with loose terminology. In bluegrass and (I think it's called) old timey music, the banjo music seems to be arranged around notes that hang in the air and keep a smooth cascade of sound going, so that the staccato effect is lost to some extent. In a similar way good concertina players arrange their music much the same, with hops between many "fill in" notes that cover what would be gaps and give a staccato effect, but the fill-in notes are appropriate to Irish trad in their case. However when banjo players play Irish music they seem to try to play "The Tune" as picked up from notation or from a CD of a fiddle player or flute player or whatever. However, despite their good intentions to stick with a trad version of the tune, they end up with a clangy sounding staccato effect because the version of the tune doesn't suit the instrument. Mayhap if they learnt a good concertina version of the tune it would sit on the instrument better and not sound so bad? I don't know. Does that make any more sense (in terms of explanation anyway even if you disagree)?
  11. Mark, some of that was very funny and I understand the love for your instrument bubbling underneath the humour. Some of the American players are astonishingly good and create a beautiful melodic sound around modern scales. But the sound just does not fit with Irish music. The staccato clanging sound, whether quiet or loud just changes the whole "feel" of the music. The point of most Irish dance music is a lift and strong rhythm wrapped in a smooth and gentle flow. Volume is not necessarily the culprit with a banjo (although it often is) it's the lack of smoothness and the almost robotic and monotonous rhythm it imparts. It's in the nature of the instrument and I wouldn't blame the players for it, it's just an unsuitable instrument. It's incredibly hard to describe, I can only fall back on Peter Laban's aesthetics comment, which in itself is a wishy-washy explanation unless you are already there and can grok what he says.
  12. You guys are too tolerant, I expect to get at least one lambasting for each post I make but you all seem to humour me I think the banjo sounds great in some forms of American music, I really enjoy it. I don't know enough about bluegrass or anything else to tell if that's a stupid thing to say, but in my ignorance I like the sound. However it is an abusive, clanging intrusion in Irish dance music. There's is no subtlety to it at all, no beauty no matter how it is played, and please don't tell me there are players who can play it well enough to blend in with a session. I imagine WWII or Vietnam Vets automatically dive for cover under a table when a banjo starts up and start patting themselves down looking for grenades to throw back.
  13. Well we listen to each other in our session but still encourage any kids that might turn up to try and catch phrases of the tunes they don't know. I think it's a matter of respect from both sides, combined with generosity from the more experienced players. My music would not be where it is today without the most kind and generous help of people like Peter Horan and other older musicians, who have never castigated anyone for doing their best to pick up a tune. You are of course expected to do most of your work by coming along regularly and getting the tune in your head and then working away at home, but during those regular visits you are not discouraged from trying out the parts you think you have picked up. If it's not right and you realise and stop messing, then you will be politely ignored and no scowls will come your way. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what "noodling" really means?
  • Create New...