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Author Topic: If something is played too fast for your taste ... why not try the next thread?  (Read 3219 times)

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george garside

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possibly at the risk of thread drift  there may be confusion  in some quarters  between ''English '' music and music played for ''English '' caelidhs, hoe downs, barn dances or whatever.  The former enthusiasts may focus to a high degree on tunes of eg Shropshire or Norfolk origin whereas the latter group ,which I think is perhaps the larger one, will play tunes of  varying  origin but in a so called ''English style''

But the question then arises as to what is ''English Style''  as there are  indeed several regional variations some or all of which may lie within a player of 'english' musics repertoire.

NOrthumbrian  music  has , to me, a level of exhuberance  about the way it is played but may well include Scottish, irish  , American etc tunes.   Moving South ,again to my ears, the exhuberance and bounce fades to some degree  but the tunes are likely to include Scottish and irish etc etc tunes.  Norfolk style seems very smooth but again the many origins of its tunes  whilst  the style of English miusic  played in devon and cornwall  regains the exhuberance  eg the late Bob cann, his grandson Mrk Beesely  and Ed Rennie and the  now sadly defunct Bismarks.

There is also different emphasis on the way the same tunes are played on the East coast and West coast of Scotland  ( not sure whats supposed to happen in the middle!) and in different parts of Ireland.

 With all that variation   each will have its adherence  and that's fine but why knock the ones you as an individual or less than keen on?
as  there is a bit of ''Heinz 57'' in most.
george
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Rees

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Cooper

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I think the melodeon and folkscene is always very kind to eachother. Which is a good thing, it makes it very enjoyable to be in it.

However, i think we sometimes aren't criticized enough to be become better at what we do. So yeah, please do comment with your opinions, don't hold back. But do it in such a way that you dont break the enjoyable atmosphere. That's hard sometimes.
W
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Jack Campin

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One angle on this I find a bit odd is when a tune is played way too fast by its composer and most people who cover it do better.

In Scottish music, two people who come to mind are Norman Mackay (Shand Morino) and Phil Cunningham (PA).  Their tunes are terrific but lose a hell of a lot at the pace their composers play them at; neither is much fun to dance to unless somebody else can get them to slow down.

In English music (or Anglo-French), I feel the same about Dave Shepherd's playing.  Nobody else plays his tunes as fast as he does, and I'd much rather they didn't try.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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...However, i think we sometimes aren't criticized enough to be become better at what we do....
W

You're  right but I think this honest and open discussion is, firstly,  about what constitutes better (that is, of course, a matter of opinion and taste) and, secondly, whether it is acceptable to offer an opinion (which is a matter of opinion and taste). I don't see why not. Certainly, in the original example I think we're referring to, that Stiamh posted, I haven't a snowflake in hell's chance of playing the tune better. I could, however, find plenty of examples of playing I prefer by other Irish (banish me to the bin as a racist if you must) style box players that I think would be better examples. I do love the Irish style, by the way. I just don't aspire to it any more. Feel free to disagree with me.

Edited to add that, actually,  I think the second point seems, to me, more pertinent.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 04:17:37 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Earbrass

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I find it pretty awful (even pathetic, if I were perfectly honest) that any members should take the huff over perceived insults, whether they're meant or entirely in the recipients head. There are serious things going on all over the world which actually effect people's lives, while here on Melnet, members are talking about not looking so often, or even leaving, simply because someone has had the temerity to disagree with their own personal taste. Give me strength!

Nail >>> head. What makes it even more pathetic and distasteful is the strongly implied accusation of anti-Irish racism against those who dare to air their entirely legitimate opinions.

Is it just me, or do the words "storm" and "teacup"spring to anyone else's mind...?

What sprang to my mind was:


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Stiamh

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Nail >>> head. What makes it even more pathetic and distasteful is the strongly implied accusation of anti-Irish racism against those who dare to air their entirely legitimate opinions.

Whoa there! That is not what is being implied.

Anahata

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The majority of members here are interested in English music and to a lesser degree French music. Then there is a significant minority whose main interest is Irish music. (And many other minority interests of course.)

The minority, generally, behave in a way that minorities do: it's unwise to upset the majority. The majority also behave in a way that majorities often do, which is - all too often - to look down on the minority.

In the much larger world outside of Melnet though, Irish music far exceeds English in public visibility and recognition, and English folk musicians have to face up regularly to their music not being recognised as English, and finding themselves to be a minority group in their own country. It is not uncommon for English musicians playing English music in England to be told by Joe Public that they are playing Irish music (or sometimes Scottish) because that's all Joe Public has ever heard of.

I was the same once. I lived in Cambridge and played Irish music because I hardly knew any English music except a few Morris tunes, then the 1970s English music revival overtook the folk scene and I thought that was the way to go.

On the speed issue, I think the playing in that video is fabulous, but it's obvious the guy is showing off for its own sake. We all like to do crowd-pleasers sometimes, but I'd have to reserve judgement on his general musicianship until I'd heard him play a few other tunes.

Another piece of background which maybe skews people's views about speed in traditional music:
Irish music seems to have flourished in an atmosphere of terrific competition - not only the organised Fleadhs but, especially in the USA in the early 20th century, the struggle by many musicians to get recordings made. In contrast, English country music nearly died out and was rescued via field recordings of a few musicians who were mostly elderly and past their best. We didn't have competitions all the time, except, interestingly, in the North East where traditional music has flourished and people do like to play fast!

I'm not suggesting we should be having lots of playing competitions, but that is part of what's happened and I think it has made a difference in our attitudes and expectations.
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...However, i think we sometimes aren't criticized enough to be become better at what we do....
W

You're  right but I think this honest and open discussion is, firstly,  about what constitutes better (that is, of course, a matter of opinion and taste)
Ofcourse, but if noone speaks his mind about he finds good or less desirable, then you wont know, and won't get better.

 
and, secondly, whether it is acceptable to offer an opinion (which is a matter of opinion and taste). I don't see why not.
Yeah, taht was my point. Please keep offering opinions!
W
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Stiamh

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In the much larger world outside of Melnet though...

Very interesting and thoughtful contribution, Anahata, thank you.

Rees

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Most Welsh dance tunes are pretty up tempo.
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Theo

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In the northeast of England most tunes are played at a tempo that would be viewed in the south of England as "too fast".  That's almost entirely because the style of dancing is quite different.  Morris is not prevalent, rapper is, and in social dance we take much smaller steps and cover less distance.  This style of dancing doesn't work with the slower tempos in the south, and the reverse is true too.  What is more important is the way the music is played.  I've heard superb southern style slow loping music, and lively jigs and rants from the NE.  I've also heard atrocious examples of both. So in criticising music let's concentrate on the overall quality and feel.
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Thrupenny Bit

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I was just about to post my view from down south when Theo got in first with the Northern view!
To my mind the typical dance step down here is a step-hop. By definition it's a bouncy slowish step, you can't really dance it fast.
Some bands play it slow and bouncy, others plodding. If played with bounce it gets hypnotic and you can dance it for a long while just getting off on the rhythm. It also allows you to express yourself within the dance and it just takes over. Just wonderful!

It only goes to prove that we might be in the same country but there is a great variation in the dances and music played to accommodate those regional styles.
One size does not fit all.
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squeezy

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People can say what they like and they frequently do!

My suggestion would be if you see a video clip of someone playing a tune that you think is just a little too fast or over-ornamented for your liking (even if it is technically brilliant) then you should say so and also upload an example of yourself playing the tune a little slower for us all to see how much better the tune could be!

That should sort the wheat from the chaff!

So I'm not allowed to have a view about things I can't do myself then? Rules out having a view abount 99.9999% of stuff in the world.

I was pretty sure I said the opposite of that Lester!

As for the rest of this thread: sigh :-(

Lighten up you grumpy old buggers ... it's music ... it's supposed to be fun.
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robotmay

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Most Welsh dance tunes are pretty up tempo.

It feels like the current popular Welsh folk is settling into a comfortable tempo now, maybe slightly slower than a few years ago, but it certainly whips along and I'm starting to get the feel of it a bit more the longer I live here ;D

Also thank you to this argument thread for bringing the referenced video to my attention, as I missed the post before and rather enjoyed it (:)

boxcall

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"Lighten up you grumpy old buggers ... it's music ... it's supposed to be fun."

I couldn't read this, until I put My old man Glasses on. :P

Where's the like button?
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Grape Ape

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It is Edward's post that cracked me up, as he often does.  As for your interpretation of T.H.I.N.K., Edward, that is spot on, but if I am sent to bed without my cocoa I will surely throw a fit the likes of which will make this thread seem like a quiet discussion in the back of a library!

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Bob Ellis

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There is an assumption among some people in folk music that those who criticise music that, in their opinion, is played so fast that phrasing and expression is lost are criticising Irish music, probably because there is a tendency in some Irish sessions in England to play very fast. However, there are two points to bear in mind here: firstly that the same criticism can be levelled at any music that is played at a speed that compromises the musicality; secondly, in some parts of Ireland, music is played more slowly and with more expression than in the fast sessions sometimes encountered in England. I can't comment about Ireland in general, but from my experience of playing at festivals and in sessions in Donegal and Kerry, and listening to local people playing their own music, they play more slowly and with greater expression, sublety and musicality than is sometimes heard in Irish sessions in England. Thus, it is not Irish music, which I love, that is being criticised when it is played too fast for the players to retain the musicality, but any kind of music.
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george garside

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I really like Irish music played  with expression   good dynamics and phrasing  , fast but  foot tapping  and not over ornamented  as often played in Ireland.  Unfortunately many English session players  think that playing ITM  is all about playing faster,  louder and rammed full of twiddles 
george
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richard.fleming

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Good to bear in mind that these kinds of divisions are also current in Ireland, where some players go a bit overboard with ornamentation and/or volume and/or speed and others play with more subtlety. That's partly what lies behind the revival of Csharp/D tuning, I suspect.
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