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Author Topic: Breton Music  (Read 1377 times)

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arty

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Breton Music
« on: July 18, 2017, 12:58:43 PM »

Does anyone here have experience of learning Breton music from the site called Breizh Music? The lessons seem very good, with Alain Pennec listed as one of the tutors and quite reasonably priced I think. The site is here: http://www.breizh-music.bzh/details-du-professeur/cours-d-accordeacuteon-diatonique-celtique-avec-alain-pennec,12

If anyone knows from experience what it is like, I would be pleased to hear about it before signing up.
Thanks in advance!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 08:42:50 PM »

Don't know anything about "Breizh Music" but, I particularly like a lot of the Breton tunes. I'm very interested in how you get on, if you go for it.
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Greg Smith
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arty

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 10:12:20 PM »

Thanks Greg, I will let you know if I decide to try it. At 22 euros for a months trial, it's got to be worth a go!
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 11:24:23 PM »

Thanks Greg, I will let you know if I decide to try it. At 22 euros for a months trial, it's got to be worth a go!

Site looks well set up. 167€ a year for a subscription, hmm. Wonder what the tutor support is like. Would be interesting to see what the lessons are like once they get past rank beginners.
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Greg Smith
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RickC.

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 04:25:37 PM »

I started it about 6 weeks ago- coming from an Irish box mindset, it's a totally different world!  But the lessons are very good so far.

Rick
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-Y-

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 04:57:56 PM »

I do not have experience on Breizh Music, but although it may be a good idea for beginners to learn basic accordion techniques (Alain Pennec is quite good at that), I find that he might not be the most relevant Breton accordeonist to learn Breton style.
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Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

RickC.

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 05:30:09 PM »

Besides Alain Pennec, Gaël Cadoret and Samuel Le Hénanff also have lessons there.
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-Y-

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 06:05:01 PM »

Good news ! That makes a pretty decent panel of styles  :||:
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Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 06:23:21 PM »

Is there a verict on how good the course is yet?
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Greg Smith
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Ebor_fiddler

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 09:29:19 PM »

I have read through the site and certainly the courses look very thorough and I don't think beginners need be frightened off. From what I can read, the later progressions seem to follow on from the introductory lessons. If I was in this position, I think I would go for it.  :||:
Gosh - I've found that if you press what we are not supposed to call the Union Jack, the site changes to English!  :|glug
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 11:51:21 PM »

I do not have experience on Breizh Music, but although it may be a good idea for beginners to learn basic accordion techniques (Alain Pennec is quite good at that), I find that he might not be the most relevant Breton accordeonist to learn Breton style.

Y, Could you say more about that? I realize that his commercial recordings represent very stylized music but I’m not convinced that it’s fair to conclude that he isn’t knowledgeable about and capable of teaching traditional style.

RickC.

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2018, 04:18:13 AM »

Is there a verict on how good the course is yet?

Well, here's what I can tell you- and some are going to laugh at this but that's OK.  Like a lot of Irish box players (I play mostly C#/D in recent years) I have a small handful of Breton tunes under my fingers- mostly just melody, though if you play minor tunes in Em (or Dm on B/C) you can get some interesting left-hand stuff going on.  Not Bernard Loffet, Alain Pennec, etc. stuff, mind you, but it still can sound pretty good.

So I decided to bite the bullet and get a G/C box and start learning this music in the keys those guys play them in, and to do my best to learn the left hand-- or at least learn it better.

My thinking:  A lot of these tunes are in Am.  Hey, there's A Dorian right under you fingers on the G row and A Aeolian on the C.  Easy, right?

NO- they don't use either of those.  It's a totally different approach to the instrument-- which is not news to many (or even most) but it was to me.  I almost quit the first week.  (I have to play Am like this?)

But.. if you want to learn it you have to take your lumps and get to work.  And so I have.  Progress is slow (since this is SO different) but it's starting to pay off.  Even if a someone's French is non-existent, the subtitles make learning possible, and what I have seen so far is layed out very clearly. 

I would not worry about the lessons being too stylized- it isn't "Play guitar like Stevie Ray" or some such.

I can say that I learned  "Mayor Harrison's Fedora" in two or three evenings some years back.  "Trois Matelots" has taken me a month- but not because of the course lacking in some way, in fact, were it not layed out clearly and slowly as it is I would probably never get the left hand down.  But that's due to it just being so different from what I'm used to.  I'd think someone who is more accustomed to the left and right hands being totally independent would probably be a quicker study on this than I am.

So is it good?  To me, yes it is.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 04:21:30 AM by RickC. »
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Stephen Capo

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 05:52:30 AM »

I found this website with tons of all sorts Breton songs (and lots of GC versions of various other genres/songs too), with the tablatures and the dots!! Maybe you guys already know about it, but its one my favorite sheet music/lessons sites I've found so far. Especially because the recordings of each song are conveniently placed, they don't take forever to load, and one doesn't have to download a dumb midi file to hear what they sound like. Also, the sheet music is all in easy to read, clean, and well-made pdfs.

It's in French, of course, but my French melodeon terminology is pretty good now.  :||: :||: :D :D

http://erwan-diato.com/pages/tablatures/tablatures/musiqueBretonne.php

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-Y-

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2018, 09:14:01 AM »

Y, Could you say more about that? I realize that his commercial recordings represent very stylized music but I’m not convinced that it’s fair to conclude that he isn’t knowledgeable about and capable of teaching traditional style.

True! My little experience showed me that you don't have to be the best of players to be a good teacher, and vice versa. You mentioned his recordings, and they're a good example. I find it a bit of a pity that he doesn't produce music as good as it was on previous recordings, for instance Turbulences (where, despite the arranged nature of the music, his style is as traditionnal as you get).
So I'm 100% confident he's knowledgeable and capable of teaching. It's more that I find his style to be very typical of the 90's (which is not, in itself a bad thing, all the more when you consider what Alain Pennec did for accordion, which is basically setting the technical level several steps up, and leading the way for the following generations), hence my initial comments that there may be accordeonists with a broader panel of styles.
In this sense, the website linked by Stephen is a good example: Erwan is a quite versatile player (you should hear him play reels and such or musette on a G/C) and more representative of Breton style today.
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Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Andy in Vermont

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2018, 01:15:13 PM »

Y, that’s interesting. Thanks for this reply.

How would you describe the difference between the 90s style and what is current?
Could you send some links to YouTube as examples?

Thanks!

-Y-

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2018, 04:04:11 PM »

Large topic, but I can give it a try.
Accordion is kind of a "survivor" of the end of traditional society in Brittany, and it persisted in its traditional form until perhaps the 50's-60's, and some players were back in business in the 80's thanks to some people in the "revival" there was at the turn of the 70's-80's (mainly La Bouèze). Two of the most influential players of this generation being (amongst others, it's a personal choice here) Jean Debeix (a.k.a. « le Père Jean », its popularity went as far as having a vinyl disc recorded in his own name, born in 1902) and Jean-Marie Manceau (born in 1905).
Example of the first:
http://www.deezer.com/track/56104091
and of the latter:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TerCzftZrSI
(these players are from the Eastern part of Brittany, the western part having – roughly speaking – preferred the CBA).

In the 80's, you've got plenty of accordionists that learnt the accordion by fiddling, tinkering, and sometimes copying the style of older players such as the two mentioned above. From this time one can mention Alain Pennec and Yann-Fañch Perroches (and, also Yann Dour), that put a lot of effort in "translating" the old tradtional music into something that could be meaningful to the modern society (they are amongst the first accordionist to set up accordion lessons in Brittany around that time). It's kind of a long-run effort, one of the most relevant example would be the work of Perroches in Skolvan, from the end of the 80's to the end of the 90's (as, in fact, did so many players of other instrument of this time, like Jean-Michel Veillon for the flute).
It's the beginning of the accordion used both as a melodic and harmonic instrument (until then you had a left-hand accompanying that was mainly rhythmic and sometimes two notes "harmonies" at the end of some musical phrases). Arguably, Swing and tears (1994) is one of the best album of the band where the style of Perroches really shines:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gI3mRmLJQk
The other big influence of the 90's is Fred Guichen, mainly in its band Ar Re Yaouank. Perhaps more than Perroches, it is heavily influenced by Irish music (the same goes for nearly every Breton musician from the 70's to the beginning of the 00's), in addition to the obvious rock approach of the band. One amongst many:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtiOar5GIts

A good summary of the diatonic accordion style would be the Cocktail Diatonique album. I would summarize it as a bridge between now and the traditional players : plenty of style and also a lot of diatonic accordion "idioms" in the way they play.
http://www.deezer.com/track/64505375
(the invitation of Richard Galliano on the album is not anecdotal, it somehow prefigures the shift of style occurring in the beginning of the 00's).

If 90's players did begin the alignment of Breton music towards jazz, it's really the 00's accordionist that will be the most successful. In many ways, we're still in it. The first (and most important) player would be without any doubt Janick Martin. The masterpiece of that period is L'Habit de plume, from the Hamon-Martin Quintet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAkvblqYMP4

The main difference with the 90's lies for me in the role the accordion has nowadays. It has shifted from a self-centred instrument (accordionists playing accordionist stuff) to a broader instrument. It was made easier for players of this generation thanks to the earlier players, but people like Janick did forge a style listening to a lot more different styles than before (especially in L'Habit de plume you can hear the influence of CBA players such as Richard Galliano, listen to L'Allégresse, it's striking).
If you could say so, the style is more "fluid", where it was more "chopped" in the 90's.
Special mention to other players of the same age: Youen Paranthoën or Yannig Noguet.
These players did open many doors for younger players like me, and as they are still musically active, we kind of stayed in the same aesthetics, with some evolutions here and there, like Ivan Rajalu, a good mix between really traditional style and modern urban music  (notice the Eric Martin box) or Gweltaz Lintanf that has also what one could call "world music" influences (in addition to modal jazz).

There. Sorry for the long post, I felt it was hard to summarize more than that. I hope I was explicit enough, I kind of lack the vocabulary to describe all I would have to say :)
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Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Stiamh

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2018, 05:47:38 PM »

Thanks for the history, Yannick. I found some of those clips very refreshing, since my impressions of Breton diatonic accordion playing have been conditioned by a CD anthology thoughtfully given to me by my mother-in-law (who lives in Nantes) in the early 2000s after learning that I had taken up the box, which I found, with the best will in the world, rather dull. Perhaps I should go back to it...

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2018, 06:14:06 PM »

With pleasure! Do not hesitate if you want more references, clips, or mp3.
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Y.

Planchée, folk music from Eastern BrittanyIsidore et les sans-soucis, folk music from Québec

(please excuse any misspelling or odd wording, english is not my mother tongue)

Roger Howard

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2018, 07:00:27 PM »

Thank you so much for your post. As well as giving a perspective which would otherwise be very difficult to get, the illustrative clips are a joy in their own right, and point in directions I for one would not have looked. Brilliant!  :||:

Roger
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Andy in Vermont

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Re: Breton Music
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 11:24:58 AM »

Yannick, thanks for this very informative post. It definitely made me aware that I’ve only listened to Breton music up through the 1990s style, with the exception of Cocktail Diatonique as a transition.

Great links, too , that will be helpful to find more as well!

-Andy
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