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Author Topic: categories and patterns in folk music  (Read 4580 times)

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accordion criminal

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categories and patterns in folk music
« on: December 27, 2012, 06:25:24 PM »

Deletion Devil was here.  >:E
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 02:23:25 PM by accordion criminal »
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Sandy Flett

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 07:44:50 PM »

I get a lot of pleasure out of finding good pairs/sets of tunes that all flow together, mainly on the categories of dance rhythm. I don't like to analyse too much, preferring to do it by "feel" for the tunes/music, but it is usually about structure - like putting single jigs with other single jigs.

Patterns I tend to think about more as "building blocks" of tunes - like partial scale runs, arpeggios/sections of chords, runs involving accidentals, etc. But for me, they tend to make up the uniqueness of a tune rather than make me think tunes with them are in a particular similar category.

But I suppose you can get categories of, for examples, "dark" sounding tunes in minor keys which can be any rhythm with any patterns.
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Sandy Flett

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 08:54:31 PM »

... past masters who had a particular "building block" often used in tunes they originated. I like getting the sense that two different tunes may have been made up by the same player or group of players.

Apparently the tunes Caddam Wood and Primrose Polka come from the same "author" who uses characteristic "accidental runs" in both.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 12:07:32 AM »

Some tunes are written specifically to accompany others. For instance, I remember Flos Headford saying that he wrote The Tanner Man to accompany Galopede.

On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people put together tunes that they think are similar when they are not. For instance, Michael Turner's Waltz often leads into L'Inconnu de Limoise in sessions, which results in L'Inconnu being played as a waltz rather than the mazurka that it is.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 02:43:56 AM »

While there is a whole lot of musical building blocks in song, the bulk of our repertoire here seems to arise from the social dances of the pre-electonic era. Several excellent comments above, and I too wince when someone abruptly changes from one style to another in mid flow. It offers no respect to the tradition behind the music and I have to say - most that delight in this have never danced.  So it comes down to 'what makes a style'?
  • Rhythm (and pace). To take simple 3/4s as Bob has done - the waltz, and mazurka are both 3/4 but must be phrased differently if they are to 'inform the feet'.  A 3/8 bourrée has to be pulsed or it ain't a  3/8 bourrée. The polka sounds 3 time but is actually 4-time. It is played much faster in France than Scandanavia and that's what makes it French! Meanwhile the Swedes phrase their 123 polskas |--3|1-3|1, deliberately off beat. Your Celtic 'jig' example .. quite different again ..
  • Scale and mode of scale. You've alluded to this in the comments about minors.  I too used to wonder why certain minors demanded specific chord changes. The key is in that pleural. Even on a simple flute or 1 row melodeon you can start your scale on any of the 7 notes. On a C whistle this generates different minors with different note intervals. They all have a common minor 3rd note - their 'colour' lies in the other intervals: starting our tune on various possible notes ...

   A minor - the 'sensitive note' here is simply #3 - the scale feels tempered and even
   D minor -  note #6 is now sharpened - the whole scale is brighter (very popular folk scale)!
   E minor - we are still using only piano white notes! Starting on E causes our 2nd
                 note to play flat! Instant Levant/Turkish feel. Why .. because that's the scale on
                 which musicians there based their melodies.  Musical 'mode' is also a cultural one

There are (4) more, and indeed others that derive from harmonic minor in folk or melodic minor in jazz.  Each relates to a stack of cultural baggage within our brains. eg very important in USA culture is to ignore the B and the F in that A minor 'mode' and then stick in the odd D# in the middle of the run. So called Blues scale.

Again there is massive cultural baggage involved, and moreover a cowboy in Nashville would phrase/pace his music quite differently from a dude in the Delta. They are just manifesting their cultural roots.

More on modes on http://chrisryall.net/modes (based on D one row). Yes, some lie completely naturally on one instrument, and not on another.  Melodeons are very modal instruments and as such tunes are best played in the 'sweet spot. That Moroccan melody will want to play on the E minor of a C one row ;)  I'm not one to medley much - prefer a session to 'develop'-  but if you like to run tunes sensitivity to the above seems a good thing and abrupt or insensitive rhythm changes are particularly wrong to my ear (and feet if I'm dancing).
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 02:57:12 AM by Chris Ryall »
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 03:56:22 AM »

With regard to the current ThemeOTM, I've been impressed by the ancient origins of so many carols. Many seem to have a similar feel with their genesis in old dance tunes.
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Malcolm

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 07:03:07 AM »

It's always interesting putting tunes together if they have some commonality apart from rhythm.  Pairs that work well for me include:

Bonny Breastknot/Bonny Kate - A right bonny pair of tunes.
Tip Top Hornpipe/Tip Top Polka - A tip-top pair of tunes.
High Tea/Grand Chain - One written for Willy Taylor and one written by Willy Taylor with both having very similar opening bars.
Jenny Lind Polka (The G/D version)/The Quaker - Both tunes used for the Bampton dance Highland Mary (a.k.a. Pram Pushing) and a neat reversal (G/D to D/G).
Clee Hill/Oh Joe, the boat is going over - Same meat, different gravy!

And so on.  I don't intentionally go out of my way to find a commonality but where there is an empathy between two or three tunes it does seem to add something and seems to be easier on the ear.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 07:30:09 AM »

It's always interesting putting tunes together if they have some commonality apart from rhythm.  Pairs that work well for me include:

Bonny Breastknot/Bonny Kate - A right bonny pair of tunes.

Would that be the Devon or the Sussex Bonny Breastknot(s)?  I can sort of see the Devon going into Bonny Kate, but the Sussex tune is a nice laid-back polka while Bonny Kate is more of a march.  Apart from the connection in the title I'm afraid I can't really see these tunes as easy bedfellows -sorry!  On the other hand, I'm perfectly willing to be convinced if you post a recording!  ;)

Graham
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Marje

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 10:25:55 AM »

Some tunes are written specifically to accompany others. For instance, I remember Flos Headford saying that he wrote The Tanner Man to accompany Galopede.

On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people put together tunes that they think are similar when they are not. For instance, Michael Turner's Waltz often leads into L'Inconnu de Limoise in sessions, which results in L'Inconnu being played as a waltz rather than the mazurka that it is.


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz, but makes a reasonably convincing mazurka.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 10:57:11 AM »

It's always interesting putting tunes together if they have some commonality apart from rhythm.  Pairs that work well for me include:

High Tea/Grand Chain - One written for Willy Taylor and one written by Willy Taylor with both having very similar opening bars.


I'm pretty sure that The Grand Chain was not written by Taylor, but is a Canadian in origin, as were many of the tunes he popularised.  The name is a corruption of the original title of Le Grand Chien.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 11:46:14 AM »

Some tunes are written specifically to accompany others. For instance, I remember Flos Headford saying that he wrote The Tanner Man to accompany Galopede.

On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people put together tunes that they think are similar when they are not. For instance, Michael Turner's Waltz often leads into L'Inconnu de Limoise in sessions, which results in L'Inconnu being played as a waltz rather than the mazurka that it is.


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz, but makes a reasonably convincing mazurka.

Reading this makes me feel a lot better  -  I tried to get started with MT's Waltz last night at a session in Todmorden, but after the first few bars ended up playing L'Inconnu de Limoise intead
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 12:15:07 PM »



[/quote]

I'm pretty sure that The Grand Chain was not written by Taylor, but is a Canadian in origin, as were many of the tunes he popularised.  The name is a corruption of the original title of Le Grand Chien.
[/quote]

That's right. And I think that the actual composer of High Tea is Michelle Soinne, though as Malcolm says, written for WT.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2012, 12:20:52 PM »



On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people put together tunes that they think are similar when they are not. For instance, Michael Turner's Waltz often leads into L'Inconnu de Limoise in sessions, which results in L'Inconnu being played as a waltz rather than the mazurka that it is.


Indeed, and even ignoring mazurkas, waltzes come with so many different 'feels' that one has to be quite careful in creating sets of them.
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Malcolm

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2012, 01:27:16 PM »

It's always interesting putting tunes together if they have some commonality apart from rhythm.  Pairs that work well for me include:

Bonny Breastknot/Bonny Kate - A right bonny pair of tunes.

Would that be the Devon or the Sussex Bonny Breastknot(s)?  I can sort of see the Devon going into Bonny Kate, but the Sussex tune is a nice laid-back polka while Bonny Kate is more of a march.  Apart from the connection in the title I'm afraid I can't really see these tunes as easy bedfellows -sorry!  On the other hand, I'm perfectly willing to be convinced if you post a recording!  ;)

Graham

For a bonny pair of tunes see here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knock-John-Chris-Wood/dp/B000025A79/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1356700776&sr=1-2 and for the Tip Tops try here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RyY7WDmkog. This pairing is on my recently released album as are High Tea/Grand Chain and Clee Hill/Oh Joe   - see here http://www.wrenmusic.co.uk/index.php/cds/241-cd018 and you'll find Ms Lind and the Quaker snuggled together here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cp5LFoDJmI.  As I say, they work for me.

Thanks also for the Grand Chain source - my source seemed certain that it was by Willy Taylor.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 02:13:52 PM by Malcolm »
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Bob Ellis

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2012, 02:25:40 PM »

Some tunes are written specifically to accompany others. For instance, I remember Flos Headford saying that he wrote The Tanner Man to accompany Galopede.

On the other hand, it makes me uncomfortable when I hear people put together tunes that they think are similar when they are not. For instance, Michael Turner's Waltz often leads into L'Inconnu de Limoise in sessions, which results in L'Inconnu being played as a waltz rather than the mazurka that it is.


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz, but makes a reasonably convincing mazurka.

Interesting. I had never thought of treating Michael Turner's as a mazurka. Havng always regarded it as a waltz, I visualise a waltz as I play it and give it the appropriate emphasis. Similarly, I visualise a mazurka when playing L'Inconnu, which makes them somewhat incompatible as a set. However, in the light of Marje's post, I have just tried Micahel Turner's as a mazurka, which works. It also makes it compatible with L'Inconnu, although I would still be reluctant to put them together because they are too similar for my taste: I prefer a bit of contrast when changing from one tune to another.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2012, 03:18:43 PM »


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz

Mozart thought it was, and he wrote it.......KV 536, No. 2, ‘Six German Dances’; Waltz in G

Graham
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2012, 08:46:52 PM »

I was googling "open action" and came across a google book I'll seek at my local uni.

The Companion to Irish Traditional Music

Wow, this is a two hundred dollar book. I want to know more about people who first popularized dance melodeon and this fills the bill amazingly. But I only allow myself to buy botany books because I can't eat accordions.

It's £35 on the UK Amazon. It's a veeeery good book/

Chris Ryall

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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2012, 05:47:55 AM »

It's always interesting putting tunes together if they have some commonality apart from rhythm.  Pairs that work well for me include: .. [snip].. And so on.  I don't intentionally go out of my way to find a commonality but where there is an empathy between two or three tunes it does seem to add something and seems to be easier on the ear.

Gosh - chalk and cheese! To me, rhythm continuity is all in a medley, though that wouldn't preclude developing out tunes that have A/B parts in a different rhythm glued together musically, or an AABA   structure. But the purpose of the 'bridge' is said to be 'to make the A music sound better'.

In sessions I sometimes find the abruption when someone arbitrarily switches from eg jig to reel so brutal that I often simply stop playing, It feels so alien to the roots of folk music, and is frankly something I've come only across 'on this Isle'.  Best examples have been a local group who felt it clever to do 'Oh, you New York girls ..' as a bossanova, and one 'beyond cryptic' mudley, heard in the pub at Upton/Severn.  I felt compelled to enquire

 ???   "Oh they're all Scottish, so I thought they'd go together well"  :-\
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 05:49:29 AM by Chris Ryall »
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2012, 12:05:19 PM »


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz

Mozart thought it was, and he wrote it.......KV 536, No. 2, ‘Six German Dances’; Waltz in G

Graham

Are you sure he called it a waltz? It looks to me as if it forms the "trio" of a 3-part piece. The sections before it are in 3/4 too but very un-waltz-like - possibly more like a minuet or even a laendler. Admittedly he wound't have called it a mazurka either, but I still think it doesn't make a good waltz tune - there are too many notes, which makes it too bumpy. That's why it doesn't seem to work when people stick a smoother waltz on to the end of it.
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Re: categories and patterns in folk music
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2012, 01:57:50 PM »


Then again, MT's waltz is not really a waltz

Mozart thought it was, and he wrote it.......KV 536, No. 2, ‘Six German Dances’; Waltz in G

Graham

Are you sure he called it a waltz? It looks to me as if it forms the "trio" of a 3-part piece. The sections before it are in 3/4 too but very un-waltz-like - possibly more like a minuet or even a laendler. Admittedly he wound't have called it a mazurka either, but I still think it doesn't make a good waltz tune - there are too many notes, which makes it too bumpy. That's why it doesn't seem to work when people stick a smoother waltz on to the end of it.
Mozart was very familiar with the Landler (no umlaut in the singular form) and often used the style in his writing. I've always thought  that the the German Dance No.2 (of which the trio section is the basis for Michael Turner's Waltz) definitely has a Landler feel to it.

Here is a link to the original score.

In anticipation of the question 'what is a Landler?', it's an Austrian or German folk dance, literally 'country [dance]' in 3/4 time traditionally danced by couples standing in a circle formation. The rhythmic pulse is often very much an oom-pah-pah with a strong emphasis on the first beat, and therefore heavier in feel than a waltz. Here's nice example.

Getting back to melodeon-type instruments, here is one of my favourite Youtube clips: Hochzeitslandler - Wedding Landler - played by Karin Seyringer.
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