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

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7 minutes ago, Kelteglow said:

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

 

a) showing off, competing

b) uncertitude of playing the tune and/or in general

c) tastelessness, habitual hastiness

 

Just my guesses (it's annoying in any event) - 🐺

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I am reminded of "Irish music sessions" which I encounter at festivals in England. There seems to be a philosophy that ultra fast is the right way to do it. Some one once described it as "wall-to-wall notes". I feel they often have no feel for the melody. I am sure that Irish musicians in Ireland play it all much better.

There is nothing wrong in principle with playing something fast if it is appropriate to the type of tune, but my brain switches off if there is nothing else.

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4 minutes ago, John Wild said:

I feel they often have no feel for the melody.

 

It might be added: and still less feel for rhythm and (implicit, or imaginable) harmony - a bit like a MIDI file with emphasis on the "one" downbeat...

 

My worst personal experience was in an informal session at a larger "folk" meeting in Germany. I had just started with a well-known O'Carolan tune (Planxty Irwin I think), in a moderate tempo and rather steady pace (not as a waltz, which is weird to my ears; no "waltz" in the Baroque era) when a fellow musician (with a huge piano accordian) rudely interrupted me only to say: "This has to be played much faster", which he then did, nearly doubling "my" speed, and ruining every bit of music which is in this lovely tune.

 

I was therefore annoyed not only because of the indecorum of interrupting me as the starter of that tune but even more due to the pointlessness, if not absurdity of such an approach to music.

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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I agree with everything said. A moderate pace affords the opportunity for filling that space with more musical intention.

 

Still, playing fast can be great fun.

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My thought is “If you like that tune enough to want to play it, why are you in such a hurry to get to the end?”

 

Steve

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1 hour ago, Lofty said:

My thought is “If you like that tune enough to want to play it, why are you in such a hurry to get to the end?”

A bayan playing friend of mine - a man of impeccable musical taste, great virtuosity and showmanship - once pointed out that playing too fast in a performance situation is a sign of nerves, stage fright and uncertainty. One tends, especially as a beginner, to play as fast as one can, in order to get the "ordeal" over as quickly as possible. And, of course, the exaggerated tempo leads to mistakes, so it's counter-productive. A tasteful, musicianly tempo comes with practice.

 

Cheers,

John

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Posted (edited)

At the St. Louis Tionól nearly two decades ago I took a first-evening workshop with a title something like "Irish Dance for Session Musicians". Besides teaching a few basic steps to non-dancers and having a good laugh as well, it demonstrated to us that jigs and reels are dance music that was initially intended to be played at a lively but survivable tempo. 

Edited by W3DW

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18 minutes ago, W3DW said:

At the St. Louis Tionól nearly two decades ago I took a first-evening workshop with a title something like "Irish Dance for Session Musicians". Besides teaching a few basic steps to non-dancers and having a good laugh as well, it demonstrated to us that jigs and reels are dance music that was initially intended to be played at a lively but survivable tempo. 

 

When playing more than one tune for a dance be mindful not to start out too fast with jigs and marches.  Even though the dancers may be able to cope with the pace, a subsequent reel will sound forced and frantic.

 

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One man's 'lively' is the next person's 'breakneck speed'. It's always hard to figure out who is referring to what speed exactly.  Some people fall over themselves at speed while others are perfectly relaxed and comfortable at the same speed.  And dancers.. in my experience dancers demand speeds higher than those I would perhaps play at when playing to amuse myself.

 

Any opinions on the speed in the video below, clearly a comfortable one  for the dancer:

 

 

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can't listen right now, but I agree that it's not all about the number of strokes, so-to-speak. However, mostly the player will in fact break his neck, musically, as he or she is not mastering his or her speed, either making mistakes and unaccuracies or leaving no room for the music beyond the dots. Also, high speed should, even when mastered, not just become a habit, instead of being chosen voluntarily from time to time IMO.

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1 hour ago, Peter Laban said:

Any opinions on the speed in the video below, clearly a comfortable one  for the dancer:

 

 

The dancer & musician seem attuned to each other (I'm unsure if my choice of words convey what I mean).

The music sessions I was thinking of are just that  - music sessions with no dancers to take account of.

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1 hour ago, Peter Laban said:

One man's 'lively' is the next person's 'breakneck speed'. It's always hard to figure out who is referring to what speed exactly.  Some people fall over themselves at speed while others are perfectly relaxed and comfortable at the same speed.  And dancers.. in my experience dancers demand speeds higher than those I would perhaps play at when playing to amuse myself.

 

Any opinions on the speed in the video below, clearly a comfortable one  for the dancer:

 

 

 

This is a valid point.  Some dance styles do beg for speeds higher than many of us are comfortable with or find tasteful.  This generally involves some form of clogging or other footwork.  Our Kentucky running set and Quebecois step dance sets are further examples.  Then of course, there's the American "participatory music " form involving fist pumps, "Yee Haws!" and beer chugging, not necessarily in that order.

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Playing for dancing is good discipline - coordination with dancers, playing at the right rhythm and speed, and with the correct swing.

 

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18 minutes ago, John, Wexford said:

As the road sign says, "Speed kills, kills, kills ... "

 

reminds me of Canned Heat's Amphetamine Annie, of course referring to a different manifestation of speed...

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................also worth noting that for some odd reason it is often easier ( I didn't say better!) to play a tune new to you faster rather than slower. And thus are habits formed.

       In my case I think it's because playing slower needs more control not less.

Robin

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Robin Harrison said:

................also worth noting that for some odd reason it is often easier ( I didn't say better!) to play a tune new to you faster rather than slower. And thus are habits formed.

       In my case I think it's because playing slower needs more control not less.

Robin

 

I agree and I think it's because if you play as fast as you can, speed is no longer a variable to consider.  Happened to me attempting Blue Grass fiddle.

Edited by wunks
more info

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