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Author Topic: Playing for Morris  (Read 2939 times)

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Steve C.

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Playing for Morris
« on: September 08, 2010, 05:09:47 PM »

Maybe others have already seen this, but it's quite good, imo only, as a beginner.

Especially the speeding up, slowing down part, of which I am guilty, often.

http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/morris/music-workshop.pdf

(note: I believe it OK to post this, per the notice, but please let me know, for future, if this is inappropriate, thanks)

--Steve
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summerstars

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 05:29:19 PM »

John Kirkpatrick ran a very good workshop on this very subject at Shrewsbury folk festival  -   he had us all playing Shepherds Hey for an hour and a half, changing aspects of the tune and timing to suit various dance styles and changes within the dances.  It was a very informative and enjoyable 90 minutes
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 05:30:50 PM »

Thanks, that looks really interesting, I've only read a bit of it but that's enough to decide that I'll read it all later on.
It's under the GNU Free Document Licence (GFDL) so there's no problem with redistributing it, in fact, it's encouraged.

Andrew Wigglesworth

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 05:33:44 PM »

Paul Hurst (when he was still playing for 7 champions) once did a little booklet, "Zen and the art of being a dance musician" or something like that.

I wonder where my copy got to, that was pretty good as well if my memory serves me right.

Bob Ellis

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 08:33:12 PM »

Thanks, Steve, for drawing this booklet to our attention. It contains a lot of sound advice, some of which I have picked up through the experience of playing for a side for the past twelve years, but some of which had not occurred to me before and will be the basis for future practice and experimentation.
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 11:05:43 PM »

Thanks Steve, I came across that document a few years ago. Its definitely full of sense and does a good job of trying to explain the necessary balance between musicians and dancers.

I think it is a good reminder for all of us who play for morris, whether regularly or especially occasionally.

Andy
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GPS

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 04:49:37 AM »

He says on Page 3 "Most percussion instruments can be too loud and cannot convey a tune".  I've met one or two melodeon-players like that........ ;D
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Guy

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 08:43:38 AM »

"Musicians should spent at least 6-8 weeks learning the dances...."
Perhaps it should work the other way round too...dancers should spend some time learning to play an instrument and then try playing for a dance...
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David J

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 01:45:42 PM »

As a non-dancing musician relatively new to the morris scene, I thought this made a lot of interesting points, so I'm going to circulate it among the side to see if it sparks a 'lively' discussion - I especially appreciated the remarks about percussion being handed out randomly to people who need 'something to do' during a performance. Nightmare!
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Ollie

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2010, 04:04:52 PM »

"Musicians should spent at least 6-8 weeks learning the dances...."
Perhaps it should work the other way round too...dancers should spend some time learning to play an instrument and then try playing for a dance...

I think that is prehaps going a tad far, but it certainly helps if the dancers have musical knowledge of rhythms. I remember it being very difficult to get my side to do the dotted sticking in Postman's Knock properly, as some had no comprehension of where beats came in the bar, of dotted rhythmns or anything like that.
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 09:56:58 PM »

Dancers don't need musical knowledge of rhythms and beats, but they do need to be able to 'hear them' in the music and dance with them.

And every side appears to have at least one enthusiastic member who really struggles to do this! Often it looks like they are just slow, but in reality they are not anticipating and picking up the audible cues in the music, but resorting to counting or even just watching someone else for visual cues to do something.

Andy
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Playing for Morris
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2010, 05:09:00 PM »

He says on Page 3 "Most percussion instruments can be too loud and cannot convey a tune".  I've met one or two melodeon-players like that........ ;D
DTN always insists that for Morris a melodeon is a percussion instrument...

Rob
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