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Reel-to-reel Domination


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Actually Chris, I would suggest that it suggests a local music culture. People who play for Dances need to have a decent number of tunes in a wide variety of idioms under their belt, where as in sessions people play what they like. Naturally this is going to vary from place to place.

I'm afraid it suggests to me a disconnect between dance and session music. I can only speak for England, but I believe this is the specific reason why so many Irish sessions in England are so dreadful.

 

It always amazes me when people criticize a session for being what it advertises itself to be. It doesn't happen often, but we get people who come into the Irish Session in J. Patrick's (an Irish Bar in Baltimore) and they get upset when they try to start an English or Civil War tune and no one jumps in or they get upset because we aren't doing sing alongs.

I can agree with that.

 

but on the flip side the mono-cultural music sessions (as someone referred to them) often play a vital role in keeping a musical tradition alive and thriving in a way that a mixed session simply can't.

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. The core of most English music session is English music, and long may it remain so, but French tunes, Swedish tunes and, yesy, Irish tunes make up a good 10% of what is played. English music is not threatened or weakened by this - on the contrary it is strengthened. There has always been movement of tunes between traditions (Soldiers Joy, anyone?) and again, long may it remain so. A sanctimonious "French Academy" approach to the music (not that I'm accusing you of this, Bill :) ) is one road to extinction.

 

Chris

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There has always been movement of tunes between traditions (Soldiers Joy, anyone?) and again, long may it remain so. A sanctimonious "French Academy" approach to the music (not that I'm accusing you of this, Bill :) ) is one road to extinction.

 

Chris

 

 

As we would say in Milford with a very flat "ah" vowel, Dis' cat is wicked smart! :P

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but on the flip side the mono-cultural music sessions (as someone referred to them) often play a vital role in keeping a musical tradition alive and thriving in a way that a mixed session simply can't.

I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. The core of most English music session is English music, and long may it remain so, but French tunes, Swedish tunes and, yesy, Irish tunes make up a good 10% of what is played. English music is not threatened or weakened by this - on the contrary it is strengthened. There has always been movement of tunes between traditions (Soldiers Joy, anyone?) and again, long may it remain so. A sanctimonious "French Academy" approach to the music (not that I'm accusing you of this, Bill :) ) is one road to extinction.

 

 

Chris I will agree that there is a virtue in tunes migrating between music cultures and indeed quite a few tunes do exist in multiple music cultures. That being said, when they get adopted into a specific music culture, they tend to get adapted to that music culture. In the long run, a tune that crosses over will ultimately sound Irish or Scottish or English, etc. when played in sessions that are specific to that culture.

 

Now I agree perhaps 10% of tunes diverging from the norm of the session is not going to cause problems for the session in the long run. The problem is will it always remain 10% or will it jump to 20% or 50%? Soon the entire character of a session might change. Now mind you I am not terribly worried about this happening in Irish Music at the present time; it simply is too popular. But lets say there is only one public session in town that is built around Swedish music. And lets say they play the occasional Irish Tune there. And lets say I get invited along one night and play a couple of Irish tunes on the concertina.. and then invite more of my friends who in turn want to play more Irish tunes? I think there is a real danger that the Swedish session could turn into an Irish Session.

 

In any case, let the local session decide. If the regulars in the session want a strictly mono-cultural session or a mixed culture session, then we should accept that. If one doesn't find any sessions that they like, they can always try to start their own :).

 

--

Bill

 

--

Bill

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Not actually true either, for the most popular set (in the West of Ireland at least) most figures are danced to reels, only one figure each for jigs and hornpipes against three, including the longest figure of the set, for reels

I spent most of the afternoon and early evenings at Mrs Crottys, listening with amazement and entranced at the standard of dancing and of the bands playing for the sets. They really were top class and I did note how wide the range of tunes were - I did know a lot of them (hence my comment about it being a more trad repertoire), and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't all reels. (60% reels isn't that bad)

 

As opposed to some of the sessions I attended, which were reel-to-reel walls.

;-}

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