Jump to content

Recommended Posts

On 6/25/2019 at 4:21 PM, Kelteglow said:

Why is it so many people have to play at Break Neck Speed .

I wonder, does the fact that some folks (in sessions) play VERY VERY LOUD also constitute a danger to life and limb?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, there is fast playing that is beautiful and fast playing that is just....fast.  But loudness? The great (late) jazz-swing guitarist Diz Disley was asked during an interview, what should a musician do when his guitar or other instrument is out of tune in a live performance?  Disley said, without hesitation, "Play louder". RJS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 5:21 PM, Kelteglow said:

Why is it so many people have to play at Break Neck Speed .

They may be younger than you and thus still a bit untamed …

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Morris music sessions, there used to be a Hohner Wall of Sound.  These days, Castagnaris and Dino Baffetti melodeons are de rigueur, but the principle is the same.  The alpha musicians set the pace as fast as they can.  Anyone who leaves an expressive gap finds it filled with someone else's flutters and trills.  Start singing a song in F or A and someone with a G melodeon will start playing along to "guide you to the correct key".  To my mind, it is not musical, and it is often done rudely.

 

If a tune is played well and at a proper pace, each note will have its correct value, and each gap between notes will add to the listening experience.

 

A jig played steadily may have a nice "Did der ly did der ly" rhythm.  Each triplet has a shape.  A person doing a proper Irish step  can fit in a complete "One two three and".  (I used to do Irish dancing many years ago and learned some of the proper steps.

 

Play a jig too fast and the audience hears only "DID (ly) DID (ly)".  The triplets have no shape because so much emphasis is on the first note of the three.  A dancer can only do  stompy stompy step.  This may be acceptable at a barn dance for people with no background in folk music, but it is short changing the experienced dancers.

 

Playing very fast is difficult — it's a skill I've never tried to learn — but many bad musicians achieve the speed by bluffing.  I know one melodeonist who strongly advocates a beginner in a session putting down two or three buttons of the most likely chord and releasing the two that are wrong.  Music like this becomes a sterile technical exercise in keeping up with the fastest and at best will get people tapping their toes for a while before they become bored.

 

Playing slowly is also very difficult.  If you break down half way through a tune at very high speed, you may earn cheers and whoops for having tried.  Playing slowly is less showy, less spectacular, sounds to the non-musician as if it must surely be easier to do, and exposes every wobbly note or hiccup in the rhythm to scrutiny.  If you go wrong playing slowly, it may be interpreted as evidence that you are not very good.

 

Strangely, in English folk song circles, the converse applies, and many singers can convert the most cheery and optimistic song into an interminable dirge.  I have said before that the two rules of English folk are "Play as fast as you can, sing as slowly as you can — and the only exception is if you are singing and accompanying yourself on an instrument!"

 

I know I tend to practise Morris tunes faster than they would be danced, but I never aim for speed as an objective in its own right.  If a tunesmith has carefully crafted and shaped a beautiful melody, it is wrong to hammer it flat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O It is not just (fill in the instrument) playing (fill in the genre). It is an epidemic.

 

at some point some people (audience) started equating playing fast with “being an impressive player” and many people ran with it and it has been stupid ever since.

 

imo/ iMe speed has become a huge crutch for many that has the place of musicality, subtlety, and all manner of any sort of dynamics or feel.

 

in ITM specifically in many songs it seems like a dotted quarter has become an open challenge to all comers to stuff as many notes in as possible.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard a fiddle player who was one of a duo giving a concert performance at a folk festival last year. While it was technically brilliant, I came away feeling I could have been listening to a robot. The bouzouki player accompanying him only ever strummed chords. I am sure he could have done much more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the sake of discussion perhaps speed and unmusical/poor playing shouldn't be equated. They can run together but one doesn't follow from the other in the hands of a good player.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Peter Laban said:

For the sake of discussion perhaps speed and unmusical/poor playing shouldn't be equated. They can run together but one doesn't follow from the other in the hands of a good player.

Fair point, but players who prioritise speed over other considerations tend to play badly.  The very best players can play accurately, sensitively, and yet still be fast when it is appropriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Peter Laban said:

For the sake of discussion perhaps speed and unmusical/poor playing shouldn't be equated. They can run together but one doesn't follow from the other in the hands of a good player.

 

But..... more often than not. It is a crutch and a band aid to distract from less than spectacular playing. I am not saying that there ain’t amazing players out there. And they are absolutely capable of playing at blistering speeds. But (again MY experience only) many that rely on flashy fastness are by and large not great or musical players. They tend to play A TON o f notes. Also tend to be incapable of playing fast quietly or slow at quiet or moderate volumes and overall tend to have no dynamics and okay everything all songs at the same speed. A slow song will tend to end up fast..

 

Most of my experience this tends to  dealing with be guitar and keyboards..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some very nice melodies are often hidden behind music that  played at a high speed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many great players play at break neck speeds when necessary.  And many poor players somehow think that is the goal.  It does not always end well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been struck, when the playing of an outstanding musician inspires me to learn a tune,  and I reach the point of  attempting to play along with the recording, how fast they're often playing.  Whoa!  It didn't sound that fast before!  That's because they're relaxed, and they can play with speed without sacrificing phrasing.  Speed isn't necessarily a problem, but sounding frantic is.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently there's nothing new about people playing music faster than they ought.  Scott Joplin headed the sheet music to a couple of his pieces thusly: "Do not play this piece too fast.  It is never right to play ragtime fast."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I like to play fast too! It’s fun when you are locked into a fiddle going full tilt. Slow is good too, but fast, fast, fast can be exhilarating just saying.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it is so much speed per say as speeding up. I think most players have to resist a natural tendency to speed up when things get difficult...

 

Adrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, adrian brown said:

Most players have to resist a natural tendency to speed up when things get difficult...

 

This is very true (at least re myself), but I think taking tunes too fast right from the start is quite common too.

 

All the best - 🐺

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Agreeing with a lot of comments made, I think to play fast (and well) you must have a (smiling, of course) devil inside;)

 

What about that:

https://youtu.be/ytvMVM67ep8

 

Thank you for lot of enjoyable recordings  Simon!!

Edited by Isel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×