Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Down

Author Topic: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?  (Read 9909 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

pikey

  • Addicted to squeezeboxes since 1975
  • Thread mod
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3303
  • If it moves, I'll squeeze it....
Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« on: February 10, 2012, 01:22:39 PM »

A comment on a post of mine about notes played in a tune for TOTM has set me thinking.

The tune I played wasn't the same as someone else played it, or as recorded on a record.  I was told I played the 'wrong' notes, to which my reply was not 'wrong' , just 'different'   ;D

So is there such a thing as 'right' ?

Every tune we play was composed by someone, sometime, somewhere.  The tune then transferred to others, either by written notation, or by ear. Let me explore each in turn:

Written notation

A lot of the tunes we play on melodeon came from late 19th and early 20th century compositions, mostly written for music halls and parlour music, with some written for piano, and lots for banjo.  Very often, other people then made and printed arrangements of the tune. So which is 'right', the first one, or the arrangement?
Discuss  (:)

By ear

This has always been the most common method of transfer for folk tunes. A lot of the late 19th century tunes spread this way after people like Alexander Prince (concertina), and Olly Oakley (banjo) recorded them on '78s, often recording the same tune, but with slight variants to suit the particular instrument. So who played the 'right' version. Discuss  (:)

Local musicians then learnt the tunes by ear. The nature of learning by ear is that you rarely get a 100% replica. It can be fascinating to 'watch' a tune through history, by playing a tune yourself, listening to the person that taught you play it, and then listen to whoever taught them play it (qv The Rakes, Jim Sharp, Me, Steve Thompson).  Also qv the numerous East Anglian box players and Pigeon on the Gate - lots of slightly different versions. Another great example is 'Oscar Woods Jig' - I've a recording somewhere of Oscar playing it live, and the Old Swan Band version is very different in some places, which is the version that has been handed down to most players today. When I play my version, which is more like Oscars original, I sometimes get told it's 'wrong'  >:( 

I recall a definition of 'Folk Music' from a convention in the 1920s, which defined it as 'music transmuted and transmogrified by the people'.  i.e changed as it went through the oral tradition.  Which is precisely why we have such a rich and varied tradition.

As a final challenge, get hold of a copy of O'Neills 1001 irish tunes, pick a commonly played tune, and compare it to how it gets played in your sessions. Then tell everyone they are playing the wrong notes, and duck!   ;D

So the next time someone says you are playing the wrong notes, politely tell them to go and get transmogrified   >:E

 
Logged
Still squeezing after all these years.
Mostly on hohners , with a couple of Dinos and a smattering of anglos - and now a Jeffries duet

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8278
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 01:28:20 PM »

Here's my offering to the current Tim Eady -  2012 Folk musician thread

   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHfJLhBV1e8

.. in my book, these guys are playing only two tunes in the video. Does that answer your question?
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Payul

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 31
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Flamencodiato#p/u/3/BK
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 01:42:44 PM »

In my oppinion it is very simle.
When you do things on purpose, it is right and when you do things accidentaly it is wrong.....although,......... if you are lucky it is accidentally right.  ;D

Ebor_fiddler

  • Chris
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2340
  • Hohner 1040 C One-Row, Sandpiper D/G, Liliput C/F
    • Ebor Morris
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 01:57:02 PM »

And accidentsals are wrong notes played on purpose!  >:E
Logged
I'm a Yorkie!
My other melodeon's a fiddle, but one of my Hohners has six strings! I also play a very red Hawkins Bazaar in C and a generic Klingenthaler spoon bass in F.!! My other pets (played) are gobirons - Hohner Marine Band in C, Hohner Tremolo in D and a Chinese Thingy Tremolo in G.

Ray Langton

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 159
    • Ray Langton Music
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 02:05:09 PM »

I heard a great response to that at Sidmouth many years ago when an enthusiastic person rushed up to the artist who had just performed and told him he'd played the Dark Island wrong and that it didn't go like that. The artist replied "thank you very much for pointing that out to me I must remember to tell my grandfather next time I see him that he plays it wrong as well".
Logged

xgx

  • Bagpipes & Musette Boxes... and Banjos, luv 'em!
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 998
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 02:11:33 PM »

Learning by ear... the music equivalent of 'Chinese whispers'

...send up 3/4d

 ;D
Logged
Graham

 N Cambs/S Lincs - UK   :|glug + :|glug:|||: = :|bl

pikey

  • Addicted to squeezeboxes since 1975
  • Thread mod
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3303
  • If it moves, I'll squeeze it....
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 02:49:04 PM »

I heard a great response to that at Sidmouth many years ago when an enthusiastic person rushed up to the artist who had just performed and told him he'd played the Dark Island wrong and that it didn't go like that. The artist replied "thank you very much for pointing that out to me I must remember to tell my grandfather next time I see him that he plays it wrong as well".

I love it!!  ;D
Logged
Still squeezing after all these years.
Mostly on hohners , with a couple of Dinos and a smattering of anglos - and now a Jeffries duet

Tom

  • Good talker
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 68
  • Stuff with sticks mostly, Sandpiper DG
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 02:54:37 PM »

I feel goaded into a mostly serious response... (oh dear!)

For me, folk melodies are treated like jazz 'standards' (well known jazz melodies or songs). In jazz, every performer will approach a standard differently, usually with reference to the ways they've heard it played before. Sometimes they will deliberately seek to recreate a previous performance ("lets play the Miller Band version of 'In the Mood'") where there is a clear definition of 'right' and 'wrong'.

But sometimes the performer approaches a standard in a radically different way (eg. Jamie Cullum's 'I Could have Danced All Night') perhaps altering the rhythm or underlying harmony. Here we are presented with a performance that is certainly 'different' but can it be 'right' or 'wrong'?
I suspect that what defines it's 'rightness' is whether the listener can still detect the original 'Spirit' of the tune in it's new guise or has it been lost - thus creating a new and distinct work? (one song to the tune of another anyone?)

Folk music is tougher in that some melodies only need slight alteration to become others (eg. Enlist for a Sailor/Unfortunate Taylor), but, assuming your alterations do not change the tune so far as that it is no longer recognizable as being the tune you claim to be playing and you dont play any notes in error, I'd say you're playing YOUR version correctly (right).

I must admit that the 'right' versions of nearly all the folk tunes I know are 'the way Mum played it' and anything else I hear counts as variations (usually divided into 'interesting', 'unwise' and occasionally 'too clever for his own good and probably desperate for a girlfriend')

Unfortunately, all forms of music attract people who are (spiritually) butterfly collectors - they enjoy the beauty of the butterfly by killing it and pinning it to a card. They enjoy music the same way - by killing it so that it can be nailed down for good. They would tell a butterfly that they didn't recognize that it was 'wrong' too.
Logged

Sandy Flett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 691
    • Accordion and Melodeon Blog
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 03:01:10 PM »

Well said, Tom!
Logged
DG Dino Baffetti Carnival II (plus accordions)
Accordion and Melodeon blog

pikey

  • Addicted to squeezeboxes since 1975
  • Thread mod
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3303
  • If it moves, I'll squeeze it....
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 03:06:10 PM »

I feel goaded into a mostly serious response... (oh dear!)

Unfortunately, all forms of music attract people who are (spiritually) butterfly collectors - they enjoy the beauty of the butterfly by killing it and pinning it to a card. They enjoy music the same way - by killing it so that it can be nailed down for good. They would tell a butterfly that they didn't recognize that it was 'wrong' too.


Spot on Tom - sadly in the past too many members of EFDSS and similar organisations had a lot of pins........
Logged
Still squeezing after all these years.
Mostly on hohners , with a couple of Dinos and a smattering of anglos - and now a Jeffries duet

Payul

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 31
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Flamencodiato#p/u/3/BK
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 03:12:36 PM »

And accidentsals are wrong notes played on purpose!  >:E

Lol.... :D

Sandy Flett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 691
    • Accordion and Melodeon Blog
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 03:15:02 PM »

Insert Quote
And accidentsals are wrong notes played on purpose! 

Lol ;D

Reminds me of my sister once saying, when playing cards, "Honestly, I don't cheat intentionally"
Logged
DG Dino Baffetti Carnival II (plus accordions)
Accordion and Melodeon blog

Ash

  • Good talker
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 72
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 03:25:49 PM »

I always thought folk music was about keeping traditions alive, not stifling them with conformity.

On a personal aside, it always gets me how Bacon's 'Black Book' of morris dancing is seen as a musicians' standard, when really it should be for instructing dancers. It's not a bad start point, for musical reference, but I find it sad if it is strictly adhered to. Many of the tunes are not in D / G anyway - so I don't know how that sits with the melodeon playing purists - although the real purists probably don't want melodeons anyway - a fiddle or pipe and tabor, I guess.

I think a session with everybody playing exactly version of a tune the same would sound awful. Many years ago I used to go to the West Country Concertina workshops at Sidmouth. Everything was played from music - this sounded wonderful with the advanced group who were playing bass lines (with appropriate massive concertinas) and harmonies (was it Nigel Pickles who did the same with his Mexborough Concertina Band album?), but down in the beginner / intermediate bit where I was, 10 concertinas playing identical (and not very confident) renditions of the same tune was painful to listen to, it just didn't sound 'right'.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:27:40 PM by Ash »
Logged
Chinese one-row C; Erica C/F; Sandpiper D/G; Cliff Mott 'Cajun Pride' C; Sternberg Hungarian 2-row (?); Liliput C/F; Castagnari Lilly D/G... Something's got to go. Any offers?

ACE

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 513
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 04:25:32 PM »

An old boy was asked by a young upstart why he did not follow the dots. His answer was he would love to, but it don't half bugger up the tune.
Logged
Saltarelle Horizon, Dino mini, Lachenal g/d anglo

Ray Langton

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 159
    • Ray Langton Music
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 05:02:02 PM »

Folk music, unlike classical music, is hardly ever written down to suggest in any way how the music should be approached but dot readers always give me a funny look when I suggest to them that it is only written down as a guide or aide memoire as though I have spoken heresy. Half my melodeon lessons seem to be taken up with persuading people to stop looking at the dots and play the music-but  they always recognise that they play a lot better when they finally achieve this.
Logged

Québécois

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1186
  • Accordez-vous donc, c'est si beau, l'accordéon!
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2012, 06:23:56 PM »

Use the dots in order to get the sense of the tune's melodic structure. Then add you own colors!
Logged
Hohner Morgane D/G, pre-Erica Hohner in C/F and G/C,
Hohner Erica A/D, Roland FR-18

jonm

  • Regular debater
  • ***
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 177
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2012, 07:06:24 PM »

Some time ago, a violinist from one of the big northern orchestras asked if he could sit in with the band at a do (I think it was his daughter's). At the end of the first set, he expressed his astonishment that none of us had actually been playing the tune as written. He couldn't cope with the level of improvisation.

Now DON'T get me started on playing the "right" tune for morris! The anal-retentive butterfly collectors (I like that - I shall use it as an insult in future) who tell you you've played two of the notes wrong, not having considered (a) the instrument it was originally collected from is fundamentally different from the one you are playing, (b) that the versions in Sharp, Bacon etc. are all different anyway, (c) the definitive version is not as played on "Morris On"....

Sorry, I shall go and pour myself a glass....
Logged
Castagnari Mory and Giordy D/G, Hohner Erica, four-stop in G, two-stop in G

CarolineC

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 21
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2012, 08:12:56 PM »

An interesting debate - in the past I was taught as a (far from brilliant!) classical musician, to play what is on the paper - and on other instruments I have found it almost impossible to play without the music in front of me and to play anything other than what is written down even when it was "folk" music.

Somehow the melodeon is different and I am not sure why - it is really useful to be able to sight read the melody from the dots  just to get started - but much better to play later as it comes and forget about the dots altogether. Half of the fun comes from just going with the flow, and seeing what comes out (even if sometimes it should be put firmly back in the box!).
Logged

xgx

  • Bagpipes & Musette Boxes... and Banjos, luv 'em!
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 998
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2012, 08:37:07 PM »

Use the dots in order to get the sense of the tune's melodic structure. Then add you own colors!

Now that is spot on ... but sadly beyond the dot-illiterati's understanding ;D

cue funny looks :P
Logged
Graham

 N Cambs/S Lincs - UK   :|glug + :|glug:|||: = :|bl

Gary Chapin

  • L'Accordéonaire
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1507
  • Melodeons are good for humans.
    • l'Accordéonaire blog
Re: Are notes Right / Wrong / or just different ?
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2012, 08:53:01 PM »

Use the dots in order to get the sense of the tune's melodic structure. Then add you own colors!

Agree!  Actually, when I'm learning a tune it isn't the wrong or right notes that bother me ... it's the fact that so many of them seem plausible.
Logged
Read the l'Accordéonaire French music blog:
http://accordeonaire.com/
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal