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Author Topic: If something is played too fast for your taste ... why not try the next thread?  (Read 3221 times)

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Steve_freereeder

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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.

How does the C#/D tuning make a difference, Richard?
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Stiamh

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The other day I was browsing my collection of classical records, and YouTube, trying to find someone who played Paganini's caprice no. 1 at a reasonable speed. Do you know, every single violinist has got the Irish disease, all playing hell for leather. Just so freaking unmusical. 

Julian S

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The other day I was browsing my collection of classical records, and YouTube, trying to find someone who played Paganini's caprice no. 1 at a reasonable speed. Do you know, every single violinist has got the Irish disease, all playing hell for leather. Just so freaking unmusical.

Yep - didn't that Paganini bloke have extra fingers, or made a pact with the devil or something...? >:E

J
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triskel

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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.

How does the C#/D tuning make a difference, Richard?

I'm sure Richard will make his own reply, but I'd like to make mine on this one too, if I may?

The highly ornamented style of Irish accordion playing is on the B/C system, which took over as the Irish accordion system after the release of the three 78rpm records of Paddy O'Brien (from Nenagh) in 1955, and the ethos of that style is to play "across the rows" as smoothly, and as much like a fiddle as possible, so trying to emulate both fiddle style and ornamentation - but that can sound heavy-handed and over the top on an accordion. Also some players have been guilty of playing lots of "wrong notes" in their rolls (ornamentation) because they were convenient on the outside row (a practice for which the accordion was disparaged by Sean O'Riada).

C#/D players generally use a more direct and rhythmic style of playing, mostly on the D row and more like a "melodeon with accidentals" approach.

Here's Conor Connolly playing a C#/D Paolo Soprani beautifully, as it should be, in "Joe Cooley style" - with lovely use of dynamics and ornamentation that both add to the tune and the impact of the music:

Paolo Soprani 3-Voice C#/D
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 05:23:34 PM by triskel »
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Stiamh

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Joe Cooley put lots of "wrong notes" in his rolls and so does Conor Connolly in that clip, Stephen. True, he does them so smoothly and lightly you barely notice, but they're there.

That is lovely playing, but if you want an example of someone playing without those "wrong notes", well I'd suggest... Damien Mullane  >:E

triskel

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Joe Cooley put lots of "wrong notes" in his rolls and so does Conor Connolly in that clip, Stephen. True, he does them so smoothly and lightly you barely notice, but they're there.

Shhh!  You're not supposed to notice... ;)
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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.

How does the C#/D tuning make a difference, Richard?

I'm sure Richard will make his own reply, but I'd like to make mine on this one too, if I may?

The highly ornamented style of Irish accordion playing is on the B/C system, which took over as the Irish accordion system after the release of the three 78rpm records of Paddy O'Brien (from Nenagh) in 1955, and the ethos of that style is to play "across the rows" as smoothly, and as much like a fiddle as possible, so trying to emulate both fiddle style and ornamentation - but that can sound heavy-handed and over the top on an accordion. Also some players have been guilty of playing "wrong notes" in their rolls (ornamentation) because they were convenient on the outside row (a practice for which the accordion was disparaged by Sean O'Riada).

C#/D players generally use a more direct and rhythmic style of playing, mostly on the D row and more like a "melodeon with accidentals" approach.

Here's Conor Connolly playing a C#/D Paolo Soprani beautifully, as it should be, in "Joe Cooley style" - with lovely use of dynamics and ornamentation that both add to the tune and the impact of the music:

Paolo Soprani 3-Voice C#/D
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richard.fleming

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Can't work out how to do the quotes stuff.
I think the difference between BC and C#D is complex. I've played both systems, but have finally settled on C#D.
The BC certainly lends itself -don't ask me to get technical-to playing a more fluid style with lots of ornamentation, but it also happened that that style was pioneered by BC players, as described by Triskel (above). I've never heard Joe Burke playing C#D but I'm willing to bet he wouldn't sound like Joe Cooley if he did.
I can remember when all the hopefuls at the Fleadh etc sounded just like Joe Burke clones. When some box players started to get bored with this Joe Cooley's style was something for them to coalesce around, and the C#D box a statement that they were playing a different style. And as Stephen says, it's played more on the inside row, (with accidentals), and maybe more push pull, so that it lends itself to old- style melodeon flavours. But you won't sound like Joe just by getting a C#D box.
I look forward to hearing what Stiamh and Stephen think about what I've said here. We might have got even more of a discussion going if there were more ITM players left on the forum. (Chunter, chunter....)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 04:05:55 PM by richard.fleming »
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Stiamh

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This discussion could profitably be split off into a separate thread, I reckon. Mods?

Richard, I think your summary is pretty accurate. I also agree that discussing the differences is complex. It's interesting to note that some of the older generation of players who went over the top with their chromatic ornamentation in the late 50s and 60s toned down these excesses in later years, probably influenced by what younger players were doing. Finbarr Dwyer, for example, developed a very intriguing style in later years that seem to have little to do with how he played on his early recordings (lots of "wrong notes" in those). Another example is Bobby Gardiner, whose recent performances seem to hark back to a melodeon style of playing. There's an interview with him somewhere on YouTube where he explains that he introduced one-button triplets into his playing relatively recently, doubtless after listening to Jackie Daly and maybe Tony MacMahon.

So you have the Cooley-Daly effect coming into play from the 1970s. Then the Sharon-Shannon effect from the 1990s. Still plenty of younger players showing the Joe Burke influence, though. And all things in between - a wonderful variety of styles and approaches.

triskel

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I think the difference between BC and C#D is complex. I've played both systems, but have finally settled on C#D.
The BC certainly lends itself -don't ask me to get technical-to playing a more fluid style with lots of ornamentation, but it also happened that that style was pioneered by BC players. I've never heard Joe Burke playing C#D but I'm willing to bet he wouldn't sound like Joe Cooley if he did.

Conor Connolly started out, as a child, on B/C accordion too (having lessons from Joe Burke no less!) - but Joe Cooley's influence is still in the air around South Co. Galway and he chose to switch systems years ago.

Joe Burke, on the other hand, started out, as a child, playing "along the rows" on G/G# (I've heard him say "at that time we thought the second row was in case anything went wrong with the other one; a spare" and "I was even told that one row was for jigs and the other one was for reels !") Then Martin Grace, an accomplished accordion player who had an unusual style for the time (playing across the two rows on a B/C), happened to visit the family farm with a threshing machine, and played a few tunes on the box. The young Joe had never heard this style of playing before and Martin showed him some of the basic rudiments of his accordion technique. (Martin Grace was involved with the renowned Ballinakill Céilí Band with Aggie Whyte in the forties, and he played with that band for many years.)

Bobby Gardiner used to play D/D# (and our mutual late friend Micilín Conlon had the grey one that Bobby played with the Kilfenora in the early '50s), before switching to B/C (he even had a Shand Morino for a while), and he can knock tunes out of a D/C# too (one time he played my old O'Beirne DeWitt one that Boxcall has now) - and he somehow still manages to get the "along the rows" life and lift out of a B/C box, that seems to elude most other players of that system...
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triskel

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Finbarr Dwyer ... developed a very intriguing style in later years that seem to have little to do with how he played on his early recordings (lots of "wrong notes" in those).

I'd hear the "wrong notes" as "flavour" (as long as they're only passing), though the wrong basses that some of the "old lads" used (more for rhythm than harmony) could be totally jarring...

Quote
Another example is Bobby Gardiner, whose recent performances seem to hark back to a melodeon style of playing. There's an interview with him somewhere on YouTube where he explains that he introduced one-button triplets into his playing relatively recently, doubtless after listening to Jackie Daly and maybe Tony MacMahon.

Those features have been in Bobby's playing for as long as I've known him though, and captured my ear on first hearing his 1982 Comhaltas LP The Best of Bobby Gardiner - which I'd consider his best album.
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Stiamh

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I'd hear the "wrong notes" as "flavour" (as long as they're only passing)

Well there's a passing A# injected at about 13 secs into the attached clip of a lovely old D-myxolydian tune that adds flavour all right. Bit like the flavour of a dog turd in your morning petit pain au chocolat...

triskel

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I'd hear the "wrong notes" as "flavour" (as long as they're only passing)

Well there's a passing A# injected at about 13 secs into the attached clip of a lovely old D-myxolydian tune that adds flavour all right. Bit like the flavour of a dog turd in your morning petit pain au chocolat...

I must have got inured to such things, with Irish box players...

Anyway, I prefer porridge in the morning!   :D
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Lyra

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I think there is [insert genre here*] music played very fast that picks you up and carries you along joyfully making your feet twitch and your face smile, so you arrive at the end breathless but happy. And then there is the version (often if you pick it apart played slightly slower, in fact) that makes you feel like you are on a runaway train headed for a brick wall and you get to the end breathless for all the wrong reasons.
Equally there is stuff played slowly that is heartwrenchingly beautiful, and others that leave you nodding off or reaching for the paper bag.
And then there is just plain bad.
I am capable only of number three.

* I've been in concert bands where the approach is "if we play it fast enough people won't notice the cockups"
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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I hear plenty of tunes that are staples played by Irish musicians that were just as common amongst English musicians over the last 200 years. Same with dances and tunes going the other way. Much as I love "No reels" and that modern way of playing English music (yes I do, and it is modern, and often "reconstructed" on meagre evidence), I would strenuously argue against that being the only way to play English dance music in it's various forms, dance styles and regional styles.

If you want to play strictly in that style, fine. But why should that conflict with Irish musicians (or even English ones wanting to take the music to different places both socially and regionally)? I suspect it's because of the intimate links between the different folk music styles on these islands and the unfortunate imposition of ethno-nationalism. I'm English, but I'm damned if I'm not going to influenced, and have a musical conversation with musicians who happen to cultivate Irish styles. This has been the historical norm for hundreds of years. I'll most likely end up still sounding "English" in some sort of way (and that's fine and normal too), but not straight-jacketed into a late 20th century fashion turned into a historical (even hysterical) orthodoxy by some.

There are many ways of being an "English" or an "Irish" musician.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 11:43:56 PM by Andrew Wigglesworth »
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richard.fleming

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"Much as I love "No reels" and that modern way of playing English music"
Can someone explain what 'no reels' and 'that modern way of playing English music' means?
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richard.fleming

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[quote Andrew Wrigglewsworth]"Much as I love "No reels" and that modern way of playing English music"
Can someone explain what 'no reels' and 'that modern way of playing English music' means?
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Theo

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Sorry Richard I've not heard of "no reels" as a thing.  But I am reminded that in William Vickers collection published in the 1870s there are tunes from England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Scandinavia. So mixing tunes from different cultures is most definitely traditional. I am very happy with that. 
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Thrupenny Bit

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I suspect Andrew is referring to the original Old Swan lp of the early 70's 'No Reels'.
Their reaction to the then current trend of playing reels and often Irish tunes at a speed.
They produced an lp of English music in what we'd now call the English style, lumpy and slower.
When I first came on the scene in '77 it was one of only 2-3 lp's available so it was a seminal part if the revival and hugely influential.
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Steve_freereeder

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'No Reels' was the title of an album by the Old Swan Band, released in the 1970s, which specifically foregrounded English country dance music. It came at a time when (as has been hinted at earlier) the general English public seemed to believe that folk dance music (apart from Morris music) was either Irish or Scottish in origin. The album was seen as instrumental (pardon the pun) in kick-starting the revival of English tunes and the mainly southern English style of playing.

Edit: Aha! - I see Q has posted much the same as me!  (:)

Here's a link to the album which has clickable sample tracks. Great stuff!
http://www.allmusic.com/album/no-reels-mw0000787404
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 09:03:45 AM by Steve_freereeder »
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