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JimLucas
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I'm starting this Topic in order to continue a discussion started by Dan Worrall in another Topic, which I feel diverges from the other Topic, and warrants its own. Click on the little arrow at the bottom right to view Dan's full text in the other Topic.

 

I think the players and styles Dan's post directs our attention to are all wonderful, worth listening to and copying. But I also like the "modern" Irish conceritna styles, and much music and many styles which aren't Irish traditional, including -- I'm sure -- some I haven't yet heard.

 

And I think Dan's presentation was pretty one-sided. Now maybe that was because he felt the other comments regarding single-row vs. cross-row playing were one-sided the other way (if I'm wrong, I hope he'll tell us), but since the rest of us were (I think) comparing the two from a different persepctive, I think his examples have produced a strong tilt in the other direction. It would be nice to be directed to examples of the "modern" styles, as well. And non-ITM styles, for that matter.

 

...the nod would have to go to along the row playing if one wished to be starchily old-time traditional.

Ah, but would one want to be "starchily old-time traditional"? And especially, would one want to be only that way? And why? That's a discussion I'd like to see.

 

Have fun. But don’t feel somehow inadequate in playing this instrument as it was originally designed, and playing it as generations before you have played it. Not everone has to sound like the latest red hot CD.

No, but if a person wants to play with others in a session, it helps at least to be able to play in styles and keys compatible with the others.

 

And then there are those bluegrass numbers. ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmm, I have been thinking about musical 'styles' lately.

 

I don't wish to detract from the original topic about cross-fingering, but, I guess that's partly why Jim started this separate thread.

 

When I first began playing the concertina, I was determined to learn several trad/Celtic/Irish/folk -- etc. -- pieces, even though it's not really 'ME' to play or sing those. Not that I never had the opportunity to hear that type -- I certainly did, and, in fact, most of my school teachers (in grades 2 through...the end of high school) were all Irish-Americans (I'm not one), and some of them were familiar with traditional songs.

 

I'd thought it would be nice to have a repertoire of such so that I could play with a group or in a session (outside of the gospel-type groups, which would be another option).

 

But, it's STILL just not really 'ME', and so I stopped being so hard on myself and now I just play what I want to play -- even if it'll never work out really well in a group. How many times am I going to be part of a group, anyway? Not many.

I know that some players consider the concertina a 'social' instrument, not something you'd play by yourself, but....maybe that's why those who think otherwise...go and play by themselves! :blink:

 

After attending the NESI and after progressing along with my concertina a bit, I decided that there wasn't much point in me learning or playing just a few random Irish or traditional tunes. It seems like that type of playing is more like something you'd really do a lot of, if you do it at all...etc..

 

(I'm in a hurry, must go make supper, and I'll probably have to finish this all later....yup, that's a fact now...daughter needs the computer...)

 

Anyway...I'll be back.

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After attending the NESI and after progressing along with my concertina a bit, I decided that there wasn't much point in me learning or playing just a few random Irish or traditional tunes.  It seems like that type of playing is more like something you'd really do a lot of, if you do it at all...etc..

 

That's interesting. What about NESI made you realize that? Also, are you saying that Irish Trad. is sort of an all-or-nothing type of music?

 

But, it's STILL just not really 'ME', and so I stopped being so hard on myself and now I just play what I want to play -- even if it'll never work out really well in a group. How many times am I going to be part of a group, anyway? Not many.

I know that some players consider the concertina a 'social' instrument, not something you'd play by yourself, but....maybe that's why those who think otherwise...go and play by themselves!

 

That's exactly the way I view it. With me, music is a good book: a solitary activity that I can enjoy as I see fit, and though I may enjoy sharing parts of it with others, neither its quality nor its utility are defined by the sharing. With others, music is a conversation: a vital tool used to bring people together through common topics, but something that has no function by itself.

 

Hmm...maybe I should start a poll...

Edited by Jeff Stallard
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....  With me, music is a good book: a solitary activity that I can enjoy as I see fit, and though I may enjoy sharing parts of it with others, neither its quality nor its utility are defined by the sharing.  With others, music is a conversation: a vital tool used to bring people together through common topics, but something that has no function by itself.

 

Hmm...maybe I should start a poll...

But these two views (solitary activity vs. something to share) are not mutually exclusive, are they? For me it depends on my mood and the availability of like minded people to share with if I'm in that mood.

Samantha

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That's interesting.  What about NESI made you realize that?  Also, are you saying that Irish Trad. is sort of an all-or-nothing type of music?

 

Well, probably more than 'pop' music -- be that country, rock, easy listening, whatever -- Irish trad tunes seem to be grouped into long sets and then bunches of sets. This is somewhat true in gospel or hymn-singing groups, too, at least in my own experience. There's less of a presentation of one particular song, and more like an on-going, involved 'conversation' amongst the players, with one tune immediately following another.

 

I think if I happened to be part of a group that played sets of songs (as I have been, re the church-type singing, in days past) -- it would be WAY easier to learn the tunes. As it is, I find it difficult to memorize, by rote, all by myself, a bunch of fast little tunes. (I have got a few of them down -- The Blackthorn Stick, Harvest Home, Galway Hornpipe and a set that follows, etc....probably a dozen or so.) And, what it comes down to is that I am simply just not going to drive more than 5-10 miles in any direction on a regular basis, to go to a session! I am a 'homebody' in the truest sense of the word!

 

I guess I got kind of 'displaced' (I'm a 'displaced musician?' Like a displaced homemaker, as they say?) when my former musical friendships, gospel/religious-types, pretty much disintegrated. (I could have kept those contacts, probably, but...well, that's a long story....and no real problems, just didn't wish to keep them.)

 

At NESI, I enjoyed hearing the Irish/Trad players -- but, I guess I realized that, if I were to play all that, at least for me it'd be an 'all-or-nothing' thing. They only way I could really learn all those tunes and really play them very fast would be to immerse myself in a group that does so. (Doesn't look likely!) To me, that fast, Irish-type group playing seems kind of like a fire that feeds itself!

 

So, besides my own compositions, which can be whatever I want them to be and often involve a lesson to myself about some 'trick' of music theory or something I'm trying to learn, I've decided -- much more agreeably with myself -- to keep a little bit of a repertoire of stuff that at least some other people might know.

 

That includes the material from 'Dancing With Ma Baby' (still working on some of it), and a few others of that type here and there, and some classical and early-type songs (with more emphasis on the vocal aspects, I guess), and though I said I wouldn't bother with it....even some pop and lite-rock type stuff. (Just this morning, was rockin' out with Donovan's 'Sunshine Superman!' -- ha ha...I just got a new book, 'The Baby Boomer's Songbook.') And, of course, some folk (though I tend to lump that in with pop, in my case).

 

For me, playing (and/or singing) is more of a time for deep-breathing -- nothing so 'winded' as a set of fast tunes! I am more apt to sit down and play Van Morrison's 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' than I am 'Off To California,' probably because I've heard the first one quite a bit but the other is just something I forced myself to learn from a piece of paper (...and did so, but...it's still not really perfected...).

 

I've decided to concentrate on playing chords, too, on my concertina, more than straight-out melody -- since I am usually singing the melody.

 

(edited for typo.)

Edited by bellowbelle
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But these two views (solitary activity vs. something to share) are not mutually exclusive, are they? For me it depends on my mood and the availability of like minded people to share with if I'm in that mood.

 

Beats me. That's just the way I see things. What's your way?

 

Sometimes I just want to play a tune for myself, to myself, maybe over and over (and over). And sometimes I want to get involved with other musicians and play or sing along with them in a group, sharing either just a tune, or doing things you just can't do on your own ( :rolleyes: ). That's what I mean by not mutually exclusive - one person can have both views (at least this person can).

So if you structure your poll, make sure there is a "both" option, too, please!

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These views are not mutually exclusive - in my view. However, I find that playing in a group is only satisfactory if either or both of two conditions are met:-

 

1 - the players are of broadly similar standard of ability. This ensures that no single player is either left behind or is far ahead of the others.

 

2- in the absence of meeting condition 1, the advanced players remember what they were like at a similar stage to the less advanced and allow them full participation without feeling left out.

 

Playing individually allows the player to polish up "party-pieces" which can be played better than others will play that particular piece, and which give a great feeling of satisfaction when played well.

 

- John Wild

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If condition 2 isn't met, it's questionable whether any of the players can truly be described as "advanced." What does it mean to play "with" somebody without listening to them and finding a way to make music out of what comes out of each of your instruments?

 

Edited for minor change of focus.

Edited by David Barnert
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If condition 2 isn't met, it's questionable whether any of the players can truly be described as "advanced." What does it mean to play "with" somebody without listening to them and finding a way to make music out of what comes out of each of your instruments?

 

Edited for minor change of focus.

 

Hear hear!!

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  • 4 weeks later...
I'm starting this Topic in order to continue a discussion started by Dan Worrall in another Topic, which I feel diverges from the other Topic, and warrants its own.  Click on the little arrow at the bottom right to view Dan's full text in the other Topic.

 

I think the players and styles Dan's post directs our attention to are all wonderful, worth listening to and copying.  But I also like the "modern" Irish conceritna styles, and much music and many styles which aren't Irish traditional, including -- I'm sure -- some I haven't yet heard.

 

And I think Dan's presentation was pretty one-sided.  Now maybe that was because he felt the other comments regarding single-row vs. cross-row playing were one-sided the other way (if I'm wrong, I hope he'll tell us), but since the rest of us were (I think) comparing the two from a different persepctive, I think his examples have produced a strong tilt in the other direction.  It would be nice to be directed to examples of the "modern" styles, as well.  And non-ITM styles, for that matter.

 

...the nod would have to go to along the row playing if one wished to be starchily old-time traditional.

Ah, but would one want to be "starchily old-time traditional"? And especially, would one want to be only that way? And why? That's a discussion I'd like to see.

 

Have fun. But don’t feel somehow inadequate in playing this instrument as it was originally designed, and playing it as generations before you have played it. Not everone has to sound like the latest red hot CD.

No, but if a person wants to play with others in a session, it helps at least to be able to play in styles and keys compatible with the others.

 

And then there are those bluegrass numbers. ;)

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The last couple of months I have heard quite a bit of folk musicians or rather students of the Folkdegree at the Sage ( the University of Newcastle), The young players seem to develop the original folktunes in such a way that I hear now similar use and changes in sound (chords and so on) as in modern jazz. So there is quite a development going on. And it seems (as far as the use of tonalities)almost similar to the development that happened from classical jazz to modern jazz. And through this similar changes it appears to me to bring modern folk and jazz and modern classical music very close together in this use of sounds. Though still keeping their other characteristics.

Very interesting. Has anyone else noticed this??

Pauline

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...through this similar changes it appears to me to bring modern folk and jazz and modern classical music very close together in this use of sounds. Though still keeping their other characteristics.

Very interesting. Has anyone else noticed this??

I'm not familiar with the particular details you're speaking of, but I suspect it's been developing for a long time. Some of the stuff recorded by Karen Tweed, Kathryn Tickell, Simon Thoumire, and their friends is a far cry from Billy Pigg. And I remember years ago Robert Harbron talking about having "just" discovered "chords", and wanting to explore all their different possibilities.

 

Probably more related to "classic" jazz than "modern" are the developments in chordal backup for Irish music and in chords, melodies, and even rhythm in New England contradance music over the past 3-5 decades. The groups Wild Asparagus and Nightingale are two excellent examples of the latter.

 

It's normal for living traditions to evolve, and either "borrowing" or indepently discovering elements from other traditions is not uncommon. (I commented on that extensively in this post.)

 

In another 40 years it will be interesting to see what has survived from today's "folk" music, whether it's considered something distinct or simply lumped together with either "traditional" or "modern", and what other developments have taken place since.

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A few points for the sake of discussion.

 

Perhaps what we may be hearing in the future will be the results of the teachings of a small number of tutors passing on their own versions of various styles of music with the specific exclusion (and possible demise) of alternative playing styles. This certainly seems to be happening with some Irish music. Just listen to some of the olduns playing and you might appreciate that it's not necessary to play everything at breakneck speed and some individuality is allowed. Far preferable I feel than to listen to a bunch of students at the end of a course all playing a tune in an identical manner, all with the same inflections etc. For goodness sake, learning to play the concertina isn't a military exercise! :angry:

 

I also understand that another unfortunate thing is happening in the North-East of England. 25 years ago Northumbrian tunes were commonly played in most sessions in the NE alongside a mix of other tunes. I no longer live in the area but understand that Irish tunes have more or less taken over which is a great shame. :(

 

Was it Sharon who called Northumbrian music "miserable"? It is a pity to hear those words from someone who lives in the area, since that statement couldn't be further from the truth. Geoff Wright says he played some Northumbrian tunes during a session in the NE. A number of people enjoyed the tunes and asked where they were from - how sad, particularly when you consider that the NE was one place where the traditional music was kept alive when much of the rest of the country lost it's tradition. :(

 

Whilst I do enjoy a bit of Irish music, I do prefer English. There are a number of us trying to keep the English tradition alive but this can be an uphill battle. There is no-way such superb music can be allowed to die.

 

Is this how we want to see things develop? :ph34r:

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I also understand that another unfortunate thing is happening in the North-East of England. 25 years ago Northumbrian tunes were commonly played in most sessions in the NE alongside a mix of other tunes. I no longer live in the area but understand that Irish tunes have more or less taken over which is a great shame. :(

 

I do not have the opportunity to visit all the gigs in the North East. But the students I heard play did not just play Irish tunes. They played hardly any Irish actually but they certainly still used the familiar older styles, also from Norh England. It just was that some of them started to use different sounds, different notes. Which means a change of tonality but the tunes were still very recognizable in style. As far as I can see it they are allowed a large amount of freedom and are not forced to do anything. They are just learning to look around, broaden their skills and knowledge and find their own way for the future.

There is always a danger when teaching something and in some cases it does occur that one believes that the teacher's word is law but I think that goes for anything that is taught . One needs to find a balance somehow and that is never easy I think.

Pauline

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I also understand that another unfortunate thing is happening in the North-East of England. 25 years ago Northumbrian tunes were commonly played in most sessions in the NE alongside a mix of other tunes. I no longer live in the area but understand that Irish tunes have more or less taken over which is a great shame.

 

Whilst I do enjoy a bit of Irish music, I do prefer English. There are a number of us trying to keep the English tradition alive but this can be an uphill battle. There is no-way such superb music can be allowed to die. " [end quote]

 

Our band plays many tunes from NE England around Victoria and Up-island. Very up-beat and rhythmic. People smile, clap and dance if there is a dance floor. The little kids, if there are any in the audience, dance enthusiastically even if there isn't a dance floor.

 

The band agrees there is no-way such music can be allowed to die. It won't.

 

Rod

Edited by Rod Newman
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