Sean nos singing

Sean nos singing

I’m curious to know whether I’m in a small minority or unique in finding it difficult to not alone like or appreciate but even tolerate listening to sean nos singing most of the time.I find it pretty tuneless and the main importance seems to be the story content.
I fail to understand the thinking that beautiful airs have their origin in sean nos since the melodies don’t tend to be very inspiring.
In fact I’ve only been listening to ITM for the last two years.Previously I was sensitised to the extent the ‘off’ button got pressed if ITM came on radio.I partly blame sean nos (and partly Comhaltas mass recordings/performances) for this.

What do you think?

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Well, whichever you are - minority or majority - I’m in the other group.

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What Weejie said.

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Well I really love sean nós singing!

To each his own.. :-)

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By the way, lucy farr:

What do you think about lilting?

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What’s lilting? I’ve heard the term but don’t know exactly what it is.

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Lucy, lilting is the diddleydeededoodeedah that you do when you’re trying to learn a tune. (That is my personal definition…I’m sure the Trad Police will correct me.)

And saying "I love sean nos" or "I hate sean nos" is like saying "I love music." Do you love **all** music, or just some? There’s good stuff, bad stuff, stuff that doesn’t interest you, and stuff that blows your socks off. Keep an open ear and mind, and you might be surprised at what catches your attention.

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Lilting as defined above is fine but preferably in private!
Yes,I’ll keep my mind open.
I did hear a lady sing recently,and her singing was tuneful and very different to the renderings I might have heard over the years,which without meaning to be sexist/ageist tended to be quite old men,in tuneless voices,singing songs that seemed to have about twenty verses.I respect this as an art that I can’t appreciate,but it really doesn’t seem to be very musical to me.

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I liked the fact that you tried to avoid presenting your subjective interpetation as objective, but then you failed really hard. Keep listening, and try not to make statements like ‘the melodies don’t tend to be very inspiring’. How you feel about sean nós is your own personal affair, but attempting to generalise based on your very limited experience doesn’t make sense. That you are unable to discern the melodiousness of sean nós songs is a consequence of inexperience and undeveloped listening skills. Generations of musicians and listeners have drawn inspiration from old songs, so to suggest that an entire musical culture is uninspiring is just nonsense.

You might find this inspiring, or you might not, but many would agree that it is a truly beautiful air:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8h0yR2Fj2w&;

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And if you’re not convinced that men can make beautiful music in the sean nós singing tradition, try the inimitable Iarla Ó Lionáird:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFUVn7884a4&

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Thank you Dragut.
Thereason I did the post is because I’m surprised by my lack of ability to appreciate this genre and trying to understand it.
I suppose it’s not surprising that I haven’t listened to a lot of sean nos actively.One tends to explore more what one enjoys when it’s a leisure activity not work/career.There’s only so much time in the day!

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‘I respect this as an art that I can’t appreciate,but it really doesn’t seem to be very musical to me.’

Then, sadly, you’ve probably not heard any of Ireland’s finest sean-nós singers.

Personally, I can’t imagine how anybody could not be stirred by the singing of, for instance, Darach Ó Catháin, Joe Heaney, Nioclás Tóibín, Séan ‘ac Dhonncha, Máire Áine Ní Dhonnchadha, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola or Roisín Elsafty. There are plenty of fine examples of their skills on Youtube and elsewhere on the Net.

Why keep lilting private? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxfcJCeIWQ

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MacCruiskeen,your definition of lilting is different from the one further up in this thread.
The lilting in your thread was grand,I could listen to that fine, thanks.
And I’ll explore those examples of sean nos.
That’s why I did the post,to try and understand more about an area of ITM with which I have difficulty.
As I admitted I’m a relative novice.

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Lucy, a lot of the airs played on the pipes are taken from sean nos singers.
Bear in mind that old men in pubs are probably not the best source of anything; although to be fair some of them may once have had decent voices.

This is only one fine example that I have heard often on the pipes —
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VGTio-tAOY

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Re: Sean nos singing

Go raibh míle maith agat.

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There’s a wealth of music to be learned from the sean-nós tradition, and I think everyone setting out to play irish music should listen to it, even if they don’t understand it at the beginning. The melody itself I find truly beautiful. The point was made to me by a very famous box player that all musicians can learn something from the likes of Joe Éinniú’s interpretation of the melodies. Listen to the control he has in the above link posted by Jim. He is in control at all times, which many musicians who play to fast and who lose their rhythm could learn from. Then consider the ornamenation, used at points to convey the emotion in the song. This could be compared to the "shiver" Séamus Ennis refered to when describing the way to play an air.

But of course the story behind the song which gives it its words is the most important part. Too often people write off this singing style because the songs are "about death, famine, misery" etc. Its true that this is often the case, but one needs to look at the songs in the context of the time they were written where this "misery" was often a reality, not the disillusionment of some old men in a oub.

Sean-nós helped me greatly in learning music and so I would hope everyone would just try it, you don’t need to listen every single day. On my part, I can safely say that I would give up the accordion if I could trade it for Joe Heaney’s magical singing.

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Took about three verses before I figured out that the melodic core of that song is "The Star of the County Down". I’d never imagined you could take it so far. Thanks!

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Well said, dinn2.

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Ah Lucy - you are not alone.
I didn’t even know it existed until a few years ago and that goes for the dancing as well. No duck and water here. Still walking around the pool. Maybe afraid to stick my toe in.
Lilting - I know more of but maybe it’s because I’ve heard a lot of bad lilters. A good lilter can really hold your attention.
Maybe it will be an aquired taste. After all I’ve moved on from strained carrots and peas to whole carrots and peas. As mother used to say "Eat every carrot and pea on your plate." (Think about that one for awhile - I’ll wait.)
And don’t be put off by the demands that you "get it". We all see what we can and maybe we get it and maybe we don’t. It would be a very boring world if we all like the same things. They would always be sold out.

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You know I really find that very reassuring Morgan YYZ. The people who’ve posted before you obviously have a genuine convincing love of it.And inspire one to do some more listening.But I was beginning to wonder was there something wrong with me because I’d see myself as being musical and being generally able to listen to any decent music of most genres though of cource with preferences.
So thank you.
Afterall like your carrots and peas, I used hate smelly cheeses as a child…..acquird tastes and all that….