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Virtuosity


Rod
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My interpretation of "virtuosity" is "trying to play the right notes."

For
virtuosity
, "trying" isn't enough... "succeeding" is required.

"Succeeding?" I can only aspire so far...

Then I wouldn't consider you a virtuoso. Would you?

 

Aspiring is not the same as doing.

Even succeeding does not, necessarily, make you a virtuoso! It depends on the complexity of the music, and/or what you are trying to achieve with that music. However, most of us recognise, on our chosen instrument, when we do actually hear a virtuoso.

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

So, the point is, you can take traditional (or traditional 'style') tunes and play them for dancing... or play them for listening (e.g. with an audience), or play them for "playing" (e.g. an audience that is actually participating), or a combination of the these (e.g. go to a Blowzabella gig).

Actually, there can be many different ways to play a given tune for each of listening, participating, and even dancing.

  • Listening: Just listen to recordings of any three groups (or soloists) playing the same tune.
  • Participating: Ever hear of "slow sessions"?
  • Dancing: The same tune can be played for English country dance, American contra dance, American square dance, Irish step dance, and Irish ceilidh dance, with no two being quite alike in tempo, stress, or various other parameters.

However, playing a tune as if you're playing for dancing when nobody is dancing is just as silly/weird as playing a tune as if you're playing for a purely listening audience when people are trying to dance to it.

Here I disagree with you, Danny. First of all, if you're playing for dancers in a way that doesn't support the dance, you're interfering with the dance. There's no comparable interference when playing as if for dancing when there are no dancers.

 

In fact, if that's done well, it should evoke the feeling of the dance... the dance which the musicians imagine themselves to be playing for. It doesn't always work, of course; some people just can't get the "feel" of certain dances, at least not without seeing them. But that's also true with any other style of performance (as witnessed by the variety of reactions to Irish music on concertina expressed in another Topic).

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

 

I disagree with this quite strongly. Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations. That's all. The nice thing about traditional music is that nobody tells you how to play them - you make it up yourself - what instrument, what style, what rhythm, what speed, what key, what tuning, whatever. Making it up is pretty much an essential part of playing the music. Good players can take almost any tune and use their imagination to play in a way that makes you (me anyway) wonder if there's any such thing as a good/bad tune - because 90% of the pleasure is in the musicianship, not the source material (in contrast to most "classical" music where the balance is probably swung the other way).

 

So, the point is, you can take traditional (or traditional 'style') tunes and play them for dancing... or play them for listening (e.g. with an audience), or play them for "playing" (e.g. an audience that is actually participating), or a combination of the these (e.g. go to a Blowzabella gig). However, playing a tune as if you're playing for dancing when nobody is dancing is just as silly/weird as playing a tune as if you're playing for a purely listening audience when people are trying to dance to it.

 

Having said that, there's not much worse than bad players trying to play fast...

 

I agree with your disagreement, but not with your reasoning.

It's a simple fact that most traditional tunes are NOT dance tunes. Maybe most "ITM" tunes are dance tunes - I wouldn't know - but that's a niche. In the real world - at least in the countries I know, like Ireland, Scotland, England and Germany, the tunes that people identify with and remember from their childhood are predominantly song tunes. This is the real "folk music" that engenders feelings of commonality among "folks" from the same region.

 

In Ireland, where I come from, you do come across dance tunes that are adaptions of song tunes, and songs that are sung to versions of dance tunes. The jig rhythm, for example, is a typical speech rhythm, so melodic material in 6/8 time can be used for either. In Germany, it's the 3/4 waltz time that is common to dance and speech.

 

Having said that, I must add that the discerning musician should be aware that, if the majority of his audience know a tune as a sedate, perhaps plaintive song, they're going to be irritated at first if you play it as a (too) fast dance tune. And vice versa, if you make a dirge out of a familiar, sprightly dance tune. You may have the innate musicality to pull something like that off, but beware!

 

Also, I would not be so quick to dismiss the importance of the "source material" vs. the "musicianship" in the performance of traditional music. It's not your rendering of "Auld Lang Syne" that sends pleasant shivers up and down the Scots spine - it's the "material", the song itself and its familiar connotations that do that! As the singer of the Irish group Skylark wrote when autographing an LP for me: "Sing for the song!" It is wise to concentrate on presenting the "material" as well as you possibly can, rather than on presenting your musicality (virtuosity?). If you bring a beloved song across any way well, people will love you for it. (If you murder it, they may lynch you.)

 

Speed? That has nothing to do with music, has it? Isn't it a kind of drug? In music, we have the word "tempo", but this is not something that one must maximise. It has to be optimised. Each tune - in fact, each arrangement of a tune - has its optimum tempo.

 

IMHO.

 

Cheers,

John

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It's a simple fact that most traditional tunes are NOT dance tunes. Maybe most "ITM" tunes are dance tunes - I wouldn't know - but that's a niche. In the real world - at least in the countries I know, like Ireland, Scotland, England and Germany, the tunes that people identify with and remember from their childhood are predominantly song tunes. This is the real "folk music" that engenders feelings of commonality among "folks" from the same region.

I agree, but disagree. Songs and their tunes are extremely important, and many (most?) don't derive from dancing. But in sheer number, there are far more dance tunes than songs or song tunes in most of the cultures I'm familiar with. E.g., most Christian churches do more hymn singing than dancing, but both the Big Band era and the contemporary "Celtic" craze have far more instrumental numbers than songs. Rock & roll, on the other hand, seems to have very few pure instrumental numbers.

 

Each tune - in fact, each arrangement of a tune - has its optimum tempo.

That's only partly true, since each individual -- player or listener -- may have a different idea of what that optimum is. And my own performance of a given arrangement will likely vary in tempo according to how I feel and/or the response I'm getting from a particular audience.

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

 

I disagree with this quite strongly. Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations.

And I disagree profoundly with you, I'm afraid, Danny. Traditional music is, by and large, functional music, and to deny that cuts away at the meaning and value of the tunes. I accept the correction that many traditional tunes are song tunes, but they are functional too. In instrumental sessions the vast majority of tunes we play are either old dance tunes or new tunes modelled after dance tunes. To take your position leads toward the old horse music argument, whereby traditional music loses any meaning at all. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water!

 

Form follows function, and nowhere more profoundly than in traditional music.

 

Chris

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

 

I disagree with this quite strongly. Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations.

And I disagree profoundly with you, I'm afraid, Danny. Traditional music is, by and large, functional music, and to deny that cuts away at the meaning and value of the tunes. I accept the correction that many traditional tunes are song tunes, but they are functional too. In instrumental sessions the vast majority of tunes we play are either old dance tunes or new tunes modelled after dance tunes. To take your position leads toward the old horse music argument, whereby traditional music loses any meaning at all. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water!

 

Form follows function, and nowhere more profoundly than in traditional music.

 

Chris

 

Yes, I agree. Traditional tunes are songs. Perhaps because songs existed before melody instruments.

The poetry as a whole is a memorization tool amidst wide spread illiteracy.

Work songs helped to work, and obviously have specific rhythm.

But did people have FUN?

Of course, during their short lives, in rare breaks from overwelming hard work, inbetween burials of their struggling children - they did. But they didn't seem to be as preoccupied with it, as we are.

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

 

I disagree with this quite strongly. Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations.

And I disagree profoundly with you, I'm afraid, Danny. Traditional music is, by and large, functional music, and to deny that cuts away at the meaning and value of the tunes.

 

A tune isn't music - it's just the raw ingredient for "traditional" music:

 

You can take a traditional tune and adapt/play it purely for dancing.

 

You can take a traditional tune and adapt/play it purely for listening (some of the enjoyment may come from pure "musical" pleasure, and some from the hints at the fun of dancing etc)

 

You can take a traditional tune and adapt/play it so people can enjoy listening with the bit of brain they're not using for dancing.

 

etc etc etc

 

The point is that traditional musicians take the traditional tunes and adapt/play them, turn them into music that fits the function that's desired at the time. Dancing is only a fringe activity at the sessions/gigs I go to, and it's not at all a part of the music I listen to, so, indeed, form follows function in pretty much all the music I play and listen to. Dancing isn't big part of the function and consequently neither is it an essential part of the form.

 

Of course sometimes traditional tunes are used for dance music too. I guess some people find that most of their tune playing involves dancing - that's fine too!

 

To take your position leads toward the old horse music argument, whereby traditional music loses any meaning at all.

 

That's pretty much opposite to what I said.

 

On the other hand, playing tunes like you would if there are people using it to dance when in fact most people are playing/listening for non-dancing pleasure seems rather meaningless (yes, not as bad as the other way around as Jim said, but still pretty weird).

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Traditional tunes are mostly dance tunes...

 

I disagree with this quite strongly. Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations. That's all. The nice thing about traditional music is that nobody tells you how to play them - you make it up yourself - what instrument, what style, what rhythm, what speed, what key, what tuning, whatever. Making it up is pretty much an essential part of playing the music. Good players can take almost any tune and use their imagination to play in a way that makes you (me anyway) wonder if there's any such thing as a good/bad tune - because 90% of the pleasure is in the musicianship, not the source material (in contrast to most "classical" music where the balance is probably swung the other way).

 

I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with your interpretation of traditional music. To "make it up yourself" as you put it is not, as I see it, a part of traditional music. Tradition, to a great extent, suggests accepting a received wisdom regarding the way things should be done. I agree that tunes can often be played with, but for the tune to stay inside of the tradition, certain conventions must be observed.

 

Now I want to be clear, I am not saying that a musician can't or shouldn't play with the music and bring it out of a particular tradition. Many tunes have in fact been brought out of their tradition of origin (and I suspect in some cases, we don't know where some tunes got their start). What I am saying is that more than the tune, the style of playing is what is important to the tradition involved. In other words, don't show up at an Irish session with a Tuba... you will not fit in the tradition (granted you could try and introduce the instrument to the Tradition, but don't expect it to be accepted).

 

So, the point is, you can take traditional (or traditional 'style') tunes and play them for dancing... or play them for listening (e.g. with an audience), or play them for "playing" (e.g. an audience that is actually participating), or a combination of the these (e.g. go to a Blowzabella gig). However, playing a tune as if you're playing for dancing when nobody is dancing is just as silly/weird as playing a tune as if you're playing for a purely listening audience when people are trying to dance to it.

 

At least as far as ITM goes, I am going to disagree with you regarding playing as if you are playing for dancers. ITM and dance are intimately intertwined; While there might be pub musicians who never play for dancers, most of the music (and especially anything that is a reel, jig, polka or hornpipe) should be played such that it is danceable (though maybe not at the speed you would play it for dancers). Noel Hill and other of the fancier players play music that is just as danceable as older style players like Chris Droney.

 

Having said that, there's not much worse than bad players trying to play fast...

 

Actually, I am not sure I agree with this either. At least a tune played fast badly is over quickly; slow tunes played poorly are often just as cringe worthy... and last longer!

 

--

Bill

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Tradition, to a great extent, suggests accepting a received wisdom regarding the way things should be done. I agree that tunes can often be played with, but for the tune to stay inside of the tradition, certain conventions must be observed.

 

Bill,

sorry to have to disagree with this sentiment - but disagreement seems to be the main tenor of this thread ...

 

Tradition as I know it has nothing whatever about "wisdom regarding the way things should be done". It has all to do with knowledge of how things have been done in the recent past.

No-one pontificates on how things should be done. If this had been a feature of tradition, we would have no traditional music from later than ... when? 1900? 1800? 1700?

 

What tradition does demand is a reverence for what has been handed down. Irreverent treatment of the handed-down material is usually rejected. But the "folk" reserve their judgement on what is irreverent from case to case. In Irish music, a tuba might be regarded as irreverent. A bouzouki is not, although it entered Ireland relatively recently. Today, younger people regard it as THE Irish plucked instrument (beside the tenor banjo), but in my teens it was unknown in Ireland. In my father's youth, the guitar was unknown.

 

I must admit that these observations apply to the Irish musical tradition. So-called "ITM" may have different mechanisms - it may even have rules, which hollows out the "T". Tradition is not governed by rules - tradition is governed by the consensus of the population whose tradition it is.

 

If the populace says the bouzouki is OK, then the bouzouki is OK. If the populace says the tuba is irreverent, then the tuba is irreverent.

 

On a less spectacular level, if I play around with traditional material, and the populace likes it, it's in the tradition, and continues the tradition. If I play around with it, and the general opinion is that it is irreverent, then I'm just using traditional material for my personal music.

 

There are no rules, but you still can't do just anything with a folk tune and call it "traditional"!

 

Cheers,

John

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I must admit that these observations apply to the Irish musical tradition. So-called "ITM" may have different mechanisms - it may even have rules, which hollows out the "T". Tradition is not governed by rules - tradition is governed by the consensus of the population whose tradition it is.

 

If the populace says the bouzouki is OK, then the bouzouki is OK. If the populace says the tuba is irreverent, then the tuba is irreverent.

 

On a less spectacular level, if I play around with traditional material, and the populace likes it, it's in the tradition, and continues the tradition. If I play around with it, and the general opinion is that it is irreverent, then I'm just using traditional material for my personal music.

 

There are no rules, but you still can't do just anything with a folk tune and call it "traditional"!

 

Cheers,

John

 

 

So if the consensus of the average session population is that ITM should be played fast, than it has become part of the tradition. And the standard of playing need to be increased because playing fast well (technically and musically) needs a certain level of virtuosity. The youth is getting there perhaps and we old buggers can't keep up with it... :P

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Wow, spend the day with my kids and dog and come back to this! What a lovely punch-up...must be the moon. This one has more pepper than the Irish Music and the concertina next door. Just like old times, for it was getting a bit boring around the old neighborhood :P .

 

Since I have no dog in this fight being as I am happy to go to session and let whoever start it set it and the devil take the hindmost until I no longer wish to keep up, I'll watch and enjoy. Lovely day here in Massachusetts, the sun was warm, the sky blue and the breeze cool.

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So if the consensus of the average session population is that ITM should be played fast, than it has become part of the tradition. And the standard of playing need to be increased because playing fast well (technically and musically) needs a certain level of virtuosity. The youth is getting there perhaps and we old buggers can't keep up with it... :P

So if the tradition is such, that youth outdo the old poopers to the point of pressing them out, then become old poopers and pressed out - it successfully kills the tradition. So the logic is wrong here. And the logic can't be wrong, therefore I declare the old poopers to be safe, as far as tradition is concerned.

On wisdom and the right way issue.

One friend of mine, newly born Christian, told me of the dilemma:

Tradition is not a supermarket: "wrap me this, I like it, and that I don't like, so you keep it". Tradition demands that you take it all, like it or not and deal with it. There cannot be such thng as "taking the best part, and leaving the rest in the past".

For one, we don't know what's the best and what's not, despite our dated impressions.

For two, the best may as well be the result of the worst, and by separating them we kill it.

I think anglo-irishman allowed for a logical flaw.

A tradition does seem to demand the 'right way' of doing things, and doing things 'now', not the history of what was done yesturday, leaving today up for grabs.

Only this "now" is changing, as "now" should. It's not changing everyday, and for us, mortals, it may seem set in stone, if the right way is there for only 100 years. It's changing slowly and fairly, there are no revolutions in tradition. It's just Tradition shouldn't be taken as dead thing of the past.

The historical aspect of tradition is the tool for appoximation of the future through doing things correctly today, using the ways of yesturday.

Having said that, one must consider, that yesturday's approach shouldn't be taken for it's shop-window value. Let's say, African food is hot and spicy, deep fried and fat saturated. For us to use the approach today and in different climate, it would be wise to understand why. Having understood, that all of the above was a mean to fight off bugs, microbes and to supply vitamins etc. we can use this approach todaySo even when our food will not be deep fried, fat saturated and spicy, yet, it may be traditionally African in it's core aspect. That is real traditional approach, not mere monkeying shreds of wrapping.

Edited by m3838
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Traditional tunes are... just tunes - sequences of note values/durations.
Traditional music is, by and large, functional music, and to deny that cuts away at the meaning and value of the tunes.

Danny: No, tunes (not only "traditional" tunes) are not just tunes, though what else they are depends very much on context. The "what else" definitely includes the purpose of the person(s) playing the tune at the time.

 

Chris: Yes, it's functional music, but the function is also context-dependent. Tunes that you consider "traditional", that you know and love in one context, may be used by others in quite different contexts and for quite different functions.

 

In fact, quite a few traditional dance tunes served quite different functions in the past. Several Cotswold Morris tunes (which now exist in multiple traditional versions) are reputed to have started life as songs in old (17th or 18th century?) English operas. I'm not sure whether "The Lass of Richmond Hill" was one of those, but I have an American song book from 1803 that has it as a song. "Princess Royal" is supposedly a piece composed by the Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan, though it is widespread as an English Morris tune, in both major- and minor-key variants. And many a song tune or "air" -- e.g., "South Wind" and "Planxty Irwin" -- has been turned into a waltz.

 

The same is true with sea shanties: Several capstan shanties are to the tunes of popular songs of bygone days. For use by the sailors, the original words would sometimes coexist with other sets of words. E.g., among the Norwegian, Swedish, and German sailors there are at least half a dozen sets of words to Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races", and a few to "Oh, Susannah", as well. In the other direction, "Drunken Sailor" has become intolerably popular as "merely" a popular and pub song, and is considered a joke. (In fact, the punishments described could be quite real. A sailor found drunk on watch was considered to be placing the ship in mortal danger, and he might be lucky to escape a fatal punishment.)

 

I accept the correction that many traditional tunes are song tunes, but they are functional too. In instrumental sessions the vast majority of tunes we play are either old dance tunes or new tunes modelled after dance tunes. To take your position leads toward the old horse music argument, whereby traditional music loses any meaning at all.

No. If the music is played, though not the way you think it should be, it doesn't lose all meaning, even though it may not retain the meaning you ascribe to it. It still has meaning -- albeit a different meaning -- to those playing it. If it didn't, they wouldn't be playing it.

 

Form follows function, and nowhere more profoundly than in traditional music.

Chris, there are many different traditions, and some of them share tunes with the traditions you enjoy. If they play them in ways you don't enjoy, I think that's their privilege, even if I also dislike those ways. If they are not following your tradition -- or mine, -- then that doesn't make them "wrong"; it means they have -- or are developing-- their own tradition(s).

 

And relating this back to Danny's viewpoint, in our modern western society, entertainment for its own sake has become a function and a tradition.

 

Chris, you may fear that there is danger of newer, unattractive-to-you traditions and functions displacing those you appreciate and enjoy. Such a fear may even be justified, though the appearance of a new tradition doesn't require the death of an older one. But those newer traditions and functions are not inherently meaningless, even if they mean nothing to you.

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Tradition is not a supermarket: "wrap me this, I like it, and that I don't like, so you keep it". Tradition demands that you take it all, like it or not and deal with it. There cannot be such thng as "taking the best part, and leaving the rest in the past".

On the contrary, that's exactly what happens. The "best part" is what is retained and becomes the tradition.

 

The Irish musical tradition isn't static. It isn't composed only of tunes by Turlogh O'Carolan, nor even just those tunes found in O'Neill's 1850 Irish Melodies; it also includes tunes by Liz Carroll, and many other contemporaries. The current Northumbrian tradition includes not only tunes composed by James Hill or played by Billy Pigg, but tunes by Tom Clough and Alistair Anderson. Etc.

 

Tradition isn't about rules; it's about acceptance.

 

And just what qualities constitute a tradition -- even a musical tradition -- can vary considerably. The tune repertoire for the Sønderhoning dance from the island of Fanø in Denmark remained virtually unchanged for at least a hundred years, though I hear they've recently added a couple of newly-composed tunes. On the other hand, the United States has a musical tradition known as "The Top Forty", where the underlying principle is not the repertoire itself, but the fact that it is constantly changing.

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Tradition, to a great extent, suggests accepting a received wisdom regarding the way things should be done. I agree that tunes can often be played with, but for the tune to stay inside of the tradition, certain conventions must be observed.

 

Bill,

sorry to have to disagree with this sentiment - but disagreement seems to be the main tenor of this thread ...

 

Thats ok, a thread where there was no disagreement wouldn't be that much fun anyway :). As long as it remains cordial (which I define as being that if we had this debate over a pint in a pub, I would still be willing to buy the next round, and so would you :)) then as far as I am concerned, its all fun :).

 

Tradition as I know it has nothing whatever about "wisdom regarding the way things should be done". It has all to do with knowledge of how things have been done in the recent past.

No-one pontificates on how things should be done. If this had been a feature of tradition, we would have no traditional music from later than ... when? 1900? 1800? 1700?

 

I see I might have over made my point in response to the notion that traditional music is about making it up yourself.... I believe there is a received wisdom in any traditional art form. Generally, as in many art forms, those who are best equipped to expand the art started by mastering the basic techniques. You are, I think (if I understand you correctly) in your implication that traditional music must be a living and breathing corpus; not a static one. Each generation of musicians in a tradition will make the music their own, just as every generation makes a language their own. But like language, the most basic vocabulary should probably stay mostly intact changing only slowly over time. Yes the Irish Traditional Music of 2008 might be different than the Irish Traditional Music of 1900, but if we were transplanted back to 1900 and listened to the music then, it would still sound like Irish Traditional Music.. just with a different accent :).

 

What tradition does demand is a reverence for what has been handed down. Irreverent treatment of the handed-down material is usually rejected. But the "folk" reserve their judgement on what is irreverent from case to case. In Irish music, a tuba might be regarded as irreverent. A bouzouki is not, although it entered Ireland relatively recently. Today, younger people regard it as THE Irish plucked instrument (beside the tenor banjo), but in my teens it was unknown in Ireland. In my father's youth, the guitar was unknown.

 

I must admit that these observations apply to the Irish musical tradition. So-called "ITM" may have different mechanisms - it may even have rules, which hollows out the "T". Tradition is not governed by rules - tradition is governed by the consensus of the population whose tradition it is.

 

Consensus or rules, it is ultimately, I think the same thing. There are no written rules, but there is what the body musicians will accept. And often times, new musical instruments, or styles of playing will have to struggle for decades before it fully becomes accepted by the tradition. Mind you, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with whether the treatment is irreverent... sometimes the musicians are just stubborn :). That being said, I think that resistance to innovation (at least for innovation's sake) forms a necessary tension with those who wish to see progress in the music. Yes the music has to evolve it is to remain a vibrant living tradition, but that evolution has to occur slowly if it is to remain traditional music.

 

If the populace says the bouzouki is OK, then the bouzouki is OK. If the populace says the tuba is irreverent, then the tuba is irreverent.

 

On a less spectacular level, if I play around with traditional material, and the populace likes it, it's in the tradition, and continues the tradition. If I play around with it, and the general opinion is that it is irreverent, then I'm just using traditional material for my personal music.

 

There are no rules, but you still can't do just anything with a folk tune and call it "traditional"!

 

Cheers,

John

 

I think it is more than just the general populace liking it. A brilliant musician might be able to take a musical tradition and start playing around with it and then next thing you know, you have a new musical genre distinct from the old. Did Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs set out to invent a new musical tradition when they developed Blue Grass? Or were they just playing with the traditions they knew and loved?

 

Something to think about...

 

--

Bill

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I agree, but disagree. Songs and their tunes are extremely important, and many (most?) don't derive from dancing. But in sheer number, there are far more dance tunes than songs or song tunes in most of the cultures I'm familiar with. E.g., most Christian churches do more hymn singing than dancing, but both the Big Band era and the contemporary "Celtic" craze have far more instrumental numbers than songs. Rock & roll, on the other hand, seems to have very few pure instrumental numbers.

 

Well you may (or not) be right for some cultures (Irish, English?), I do not have any statistics on vocal versus pure instrumental music (you might surprised how many songs etc. there are, including the new ones made). But for instance here in Brittany (France) there was a huge singing tradition. People were poor and instruments were expensive. Singers were to be found everywere, instrumentalists were relatively rare. Most of the dance music played by instrumentalists started off as sung dance music (kan ha diskan). In Brittany certainly there were more songs than purely instrumental tunes, but with the recent (last 40 years) increase of instrumentalists this might change.

Hermann

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playing tunes like you would if there are people using it to dance when in fact most people are playing/listening for non-dancing pleasure seems rather meaningless

I take your point about song melodies being co-opted as dance tunes, but with regard to the above it might be worth mentioning that John Kirkpatrick has said more than once that he plays his music in a concert hall as though it were a roomful of dancers.

Doesn't seem to have done him any harm.

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