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The Bass And Irish Trad.


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I have read that there are only 3 ITM (Irish Traditional Music) instruments: Whistle, Bodhran, and Harp.

 

I'd have to disagree with you on the bodhran, which, although traditionally associated with the Wren Boys on St Stephen's Day, has only been used in ITM since the 1950s.

 

 

Got this off of Wikipedia -

 

The bodhrán was used during the Irish rebellion of 1603, by the Irish forces, as a war drum, or battle drum. The use of the drum was to provide a cadence for the pipers and warriors to keep to, as well as announce the arrival of the army. This leads some to think that the bodhrán was derived from an old Celtic war drum.

 

hmmm, I'm no math genius but 1603 sounds a lot earlier than 1950...

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I have read that there are only 3 ITM (Irish Traditional Music) instruments: Whistle, Bodhran, and Harp.

 

I'd have to disagree with you on the bodhran, which, although traditionally associated with the Wren Boys on St Stephen's Day, has only been used in ITM since the 1950s.

 

 

Got this off of Wikipedia -

 

The bodhrán was used during the Irish rebellion of 1603, by the Irish forces, as a war drum, or battle drum. The use of the drum was to provide a cadence for the pipers and warriors to keep to, as well as announce the arrival of the army. This leads some to think that the bodhrán was derived from an old Celtic war drum.

 

hmmm, I'm no math genius but 1603 sounds a lot earlier than 1950...

It's wikipedia though. I could go onto Wikipedia and post that there was decisive evidence that the bodhran was the instrument that Noah used to get the animals to march two-by-two onto the Ark. In fact, I might do that now.

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I have read that there are only 3 ITM (Irish Traditional Music) instruments: Whistle, Bodhran, and Harp.

I'd have to disagree with you on the bodhran, which, although traditionally associated with the Wren Boys on St Stephen's Day, has only been used in ITM since the 1950s.

Got this off of Wikipedia -

 

The bodhrán was used during the Irish rebellion of 1603, by the Irish forces, as a war drum, or battle drum. The use of the drum was to provide a cadence for the pipers and warriors to keep to, as well as announce the arrival of the army. This leads some to think that the bodhrán was derived from an old Celtic war drum.

 

hmmm, I'm no math genius but 1603 sounds a lot earlier than 1950...

While I have experienced Irish (or was it "Irish"?) sessions that sounded like the battle clash of primitive weapons, I don't think that's the essence of Irish traditional music... or even "ITM". :o

 

Meanwhile, I remember back in the (19)70's reading in a Irish journal devoted to traditional music (the details long forgotten) that the bodhran was a recent development, derived from a garden sieve used for spreading seed, basically a bodhran with holes punched in the skin "head" (and without the crossbar handles?). One could speculate, though, that the bodhran really came first, and the first sieves were the result of someone with a "wee pen knife" taking exception to an infection of arhythmic bodhranitis. B)

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Hello all,

I have a friend who brings a stand-up bass to session; and recently a young lady has brought an acoustic bass which she sometimes plays through an amp. Now the first person, the stand-up bass, assures me that the first picture in existance of a session (Irish) shows a bass player (stand-up) in situ. Do bass players, either kind, have claim on being trad instruments?

 

 

Alan.

We seem to have about four different threads now, none of which deal with the original question. Hmmm.......................

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Hello all,

I have a friend who brings a stand-up bass to session; and recently a young lady has brought an acoustic bass which she sometimes plays through an amp. Now the first person, the stand-up bass, assures me that the first picture in existance of a session (Irish) shows a bass player (stand-up) in situ. Do bass players, either kind, have claim on being trad instruments?

 

 

Alan.

We seem to have about four different threads now, none of which deal with the original question. Hmmm.......................

 

Well, since the title of the thread says "Irish Trad", I'd say no. As people have pointed out above, there are reasons for this, the main one being the lack of instuments in rural Ireland. (Someone told me that it was next to impossible to find a playable acoustic bass to buy in Western Canada until the 60's - there just weren't any around.) But I don't think you need to prove the claim that bass is a trad instrument, you just need to be able to play Irish music.

 

On a practical level, there aren't many bass players around who can play session music, because they play... bass, and not a melody instrument. Because they don't play Irish music and they've got a loud instrument, they're not likely to be welcomed by the other players. I've heard the same complaints about some harpists: the bass lines they play are out of time, don't fit the local chord structure, and are annoyingly loud.

 

After all that, we used to have a guy who played a 5-string acoustic show up at our sessions once in a while. He had learned to play in a band that played English and Scandanavian dance music, and he was a good listener. He's the only bass player I've heard who was able to add something to the session.

 

Many years ago, I did some recording work with a guy who could play jigs and reels on a fretless electric bass. That was cool, and I always wondered how that would work if you could fit it into a session.

 

My $0.93.

 

Greg

 

PS. Isn't this fodder for this forum?

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I remember back in the (19)70's reading in a Irish journal devoted to traditional music (the details long forgotten) that the bodhran was a recent development, derived from a garden sieve used for spreading seed...

Hmm - so the American Indians, the Inuit, the Tibetans, and a gazillion other indigenous peoples using skin drums similar to the bodhran were just using garden sieves? Never saw a lawn in Inuit country, myself, but hey, anything's possible! B)

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Hello all,

I have a friend who brings a stand-up bass to session; and recently a young lady has brought an acoustic bass which she sometimes plays through an amp. Now the first person, the stand-up bass, assures me that the first picture in existance of a session (Irish) shows a bass player (stand-up) in situ. Do bass players, either kind, have claim on being trad instruments?

 

 

Alan.

We seem to have about four different threads now, none of which deal with the original question. Hmmm.......................

 

Well, since the title of the thread says "Irish Trad", I'd say no. As people have pointed out above, there are reasons for this, the main one being the lack of instuments in rural Ireland. (Someone told me that it was next to impossible to find a playable acoustic bass to buy in Western Canada until the 60's - there just weren't any around.) But I don't think you need to prove the claim that bass is a trad instrument, you just need to be able to play Irish music.

 

On a practical level, there aren't many bass players around who can play session music, because they play... bass, and not a melody instrument. Because they don't play Irish music and they've got a loud instrument, they're not likely to be welcomed by the other players. I've heard the same complaints about some harpists: the bass lines they play are out of time, don't fit the local chord structure, and are annoyingly loud.

 

After all that, we used to have a guy who played a 5-string acoustic show up at our sessions once in a while. He had learned to play in a band that played English and Scandanavian dance music, and he was a good listener. He's the only bass player I've heard who was able to add something to the session.

 

Many years ago, I did some recording work with a guy who could play jigs and reels on a fretless electric bass. That was cool, and I always wondered how that would work if you could fit it into a session.

 

My $0.93.

 

Greg

 

PS. Isn't this fodder for this forum?

Now that's on topic :rolleyes:

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Guest Peter Laban
Now that's on topic :rolleyes:

 

offtopic8ys.gif

 

If you're going to give out about this maybe I should remind you f what I said in my post at the bottom of page 1 of this thread:

 

As such I don't think the bass could really be seen as a 'traditional' instrument (it's lack of ability in playing melody disqualifies it I suppose) but basses are not without precedent (Angela Merry playing the 'Bass Fiddle' in the Laichtin Naofa Ceiliband for example, or Paul O Driscoll in more modern times) and to be honest I have not ever seen one turned away just for the reason of it been out of place (a local bass player used to turn up at session regularly and was a welcome guest).

 

I have seen Geraldine Cotter, Ita Crehan, Padraic O Reilly, George Byrt and others turn up locally with electric keyboards without anyone thinking anything of it. Nobody would argue those are 'traditional instruments' per se but that doesn't mean they don't have a place.

 

In other words, this is a bit of a non issue.

 

 

doublebass8iq.gif

Edited by Peter Laban
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I remember back in the (19)70's reading in a Irish journal devoted to traditional music (the details long forgotten) that the bodhran was a recent development, derived from a garden sieve used for spreading seed...
Hmm - so the American Indians, the Inuit, the Tibetans, and a gazillion other indigenous peoples using skin drums similar to the bodhran were just using garden sieves?

No, no. I definitely believe in multiple independent invention... like the English and Germans independently inventing "the concertina".
:)
And the originals didn't all have to be for the same purpose. E.g., the Tibetans might have used their "sieves" for straining the insects out of their yak butter.
:unsure:

Never saw a lawn in Inuit country, myself, but hey, anything's possible! B)

Keep looking.

With global warming, it won't be long.
:ph34r:

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I'd rather have a good bass player at my session than a sheit concertina, flute, pipes or fiddle player! :P

I'd even rather have a bad bass player than any accordeon player (sorry for that ...... just kidding ;) , although I find some truth in it :lol:

Just practising my icons :unsure: I am not an experienced heavyweight chatty concertinanetist <_<

Nothing to do with this topic, but I just fetched my 8 keyed ebony C flute from Chris Wilkes. He let me wait 11 years! But what a beauty and an incredible workmanship! :wub:

Now that's a real traditional instrument! Well at least after the classical musicians turned to other systems and the (Irish) market was flooded with cheap ''simple system'' flutes, somewhere in the 19th century. :D

Hermann B)

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While I have experienced Irish (or was it "Irish"?) sessions that sounded like the battle clash of primitive weapons, I don't think that's the essence of Irish traditional music... or even "ITM". :o

 

Meanwhile, I remember back in the (19)70's reading in a Irish journal devoted to traditional music (the details long forgotten) that the bodhran was a recent development, derived from a garden sieve used for spreading seed, basically a bodhran with holes punched in the skin "head" (and without the crossbar handles?). One could speculate, though, that the bodhran really came first, and the first sieves were the result of someone with a "wee pen knife" taking exception to an infection of arhythmic bodhranitis. B)

 

 

I found another article that provides support for your argument (this should probably be another thread about bodhrans and ITM)

 

http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/history.shtml

 

I think then maybe you can conclude there is no such thing as traditional instruments for ITM, unless you are reffering to a NEW tradition, and not one as old as the music itself.

 

Oh, and there was a comment about bass not playing melody - this is simply not true, look on you tube and watch as bass players do indeed play a lot of melody, at least on electric bass. A standard 4 string bass is only 1 octave below a guitar, so starting on the D string you are in guitar territoty. Would anybody argue that guitar is not a melody instrument?

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