New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Right - let’s get this one finished!

How come there is the argument that new tunes are rubbish and not part of the tradition?

This goes for technique in playing also.

Is it not that the tunes, instruments and techniques we play have been changing and evolving ever since their inception?

The Scottish Bagpipes had drones added, the fiddle hasn’t stayed the same for all time…

If people are calling for a conservatism, is there a date that they could agree on and stop claiming a superiority over people who just choose tunes based on their personal preference - be they ancient or modern?

Could we see an end to snobbery when it comes to tunes written in the modern period and just an acceptance that people have individual taste??

let’s get this finished once and for all!!!!

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

I don’t think it’s a case of people thinking all newly written tunes are rubbish. I think that most of us just prefer tunes to *sound* traditional. Lots of recently composed tunes get played in every session, as far as I can tell.

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The most insoluble mare’s nests of topics generally get the longest threads.

This is either because they’re really interesting, or because they incubate furious interpersonal rows, or both.

But it has to be significant. *Some*how…..:-)

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

That is true Irishfiddler32

I just feel it is lost on people, that when they say a personal preference of tunes/techniques is objectively superior they are just partaking in snobbery - something I’m sure they would hate.

This is especially true when it comes to traditional Music as many who partake in the mainstream music industry could easily hold all traditional Music as boring/samey.

I am sure that Lady Gaga is more fun for my 12 year old pupils though the songs are shallow and unoriginal. I’d be a fool to say my music taste is superior to theirs, this is because most of my trad stuff would actually be horrendous to them.

This flipping from personal taste to objective superiority I’ve seen regarding modern trad tunes/techniques is something I feel I should warn some against as I feel snobbery is not the way to keep our beloved sessions as great as they are…

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

That is true Irishfiddler32

I just feel it is lost on people, that when they say their personal preference of tunes/techniques is objectively superior to another’s they are just partaking in snobbery - something I’m sure they would hate.

This is especially true when it comes to traditional Music as many who partake in the mainstream music industry could easily hold all traditional Music as boring/samey.

I am sure that Lady Gaga is more fun for my 12 year old pupils though the songs are shallow and unoriginal. I’d be a fool to say my music taste is superior to theirs, this is because most of my trad stuff would actually be horrendous to them.

This flipping from personal taste to objective superiority I’ve seen regarding modern trad tunes/techniques is something I feel I should warn some against as I feel snobbery is not the way to keep our beloved sessions as great as they are…

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

who cares where a tune is from, or when it was first plyed, either its a good tune or its not , either its played well opr not. IMO good playing can make a poor tune sound well and vice versa.

I compose and some of my tunes are liked , some not , some I like a lot, some just ok. peer review :-)

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

At a session some think the progressive approach is good for the tradition, some think a conservative approach works. The great majority are somewhere in between. It’s the dynamic of both approaches that makes the tradition, probably always has and that’s why it’s so strong as it is; right now.
And remeber, some might say there is a certain snobbery in only being progressive as there is a snobbery among the hyper-conservative.
Don’t get your knickers in a twist over it though!

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Nice double post, Choons!

"This is either because they’re really interesting, or because they incubate furious interpersonal rows, or both."

Or for just the simple reason that someone gets off topic and then someone else goes off of that, and soon the conversation isn’t about the same thing as it originally was. Notice, this was the second comment of off-topicness that should either be ignored, or just not commented on so that we can get the original matter over with "once and for all".

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

"once and for all" implies the past and ‘tradition’ is very much a thing of the present and future- not the past.

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Informed by the past but…

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I told someone at a session this past weekend that I pretty much play Irish tunes, and old ones at that.

Then (not in this order) at various points in the session I played Frank’s Reel, the Rizla, some Gordon Duncan things, an Alan MacDonald tune, MacLeod’s Farewell, a couple Liz Carroll tunes, and what may have been a Niall Vallely tune, and some Scottish jigs. Oh, well. Grumpy old Irish tune snob fail.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

I like both, but I prefer not to play the same tunes week in week out. Variety is the spice of life and that is one reason to embrace new tunes. People get upset that "they don’t know that one" but sometimes make very little effort to learn anything new despite using the same tune bag for several years in a row. Another thing that doesn’t really work for me is somebody who does this and then looks over at me (while feebly playing some jig that sounds like 10 other jigs) like they think I know the tune they are playing because it’s one that "everybody" knows. As if I always just learn the most common tunes. But hey, maybe I’d learn it if you played it with some gusto instead of boring me to death with it.

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yhaalhouse, what’s wrong ?
you’re starting to make sense, have you stopped sniffing the wig glue ?

Tradition is a democracy, it will sort itself out if you leave it alone, have confidence in the youth they will eventually do the right thing.

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I don’t like these new-fangled threads. I prefer threads the way they used to be. 8-)

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It really gets to me to ethical, I wish linen would have never gone out of style.

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Linen’s out of style???

Anyway, dude, not that sort of thread. ;-)

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well in the states you are hard pressed to find men’s linen shirts sold retail, everything’s either cotton or some synthetic blend. And yes I was obviously making a pun.

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I like some modern tunes - those which still sound "a bit traddy", but where it’s obvious that some serious pattern-busting has been applied.

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"Synthetic blend"??? I really must get around to those genealogy sites I’ve been meaning to look at. You never know what obscure relatives you might unearth.

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I’ve noticed when somebody introduces a new tune into our session and it catches our ears and inspires us to learn it, nobody asks for a pedigree to validate it’s trad-worthiness. If it’s good it will last and be absorbed into the ever-morphing tradition that falls under the umbrella of Irish music. If it’s poor, it will drift off into oblivion as I’m sure many other poorly crafted tunes have done over the centuries.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Oh! Oh! This discussion is almost off topic!

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

I think its important to distinguish between new tunes done within the idiom of trad and new tunes with characteristics of trad and other genres like rock. In my opinion the former should be classified as a trad/(whatever its mixed with) hybrid not trad music.

Obviously music can’t exist in a vacuum but people can choose to play music in a trad style even if they do listen to other musics. The finer details of what is trad style changes over time but there will always be the first/idiomatic players of a style who set a example for what it really is like Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry for Classic Rock. In trad there is different regional styles just like classic rock and metal fit under the rock umbrella.Nomatter how much trad’s details change it will always sound like trad.When the idioms of trad change so that it is completely different it would probably be a new genre but the "old" trad would remain. Classic rock remains though it is completely different from its offspring metal.

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh in TG4’s Accent on Music series discussing regional variations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTPCXukpYNE


"It cannot remain stagnant. If it remained the same as 100 years ago it would die. I wouldn’t have meant anything to me as somone who grew up in the 60s listening to pop, rock and jazz.I didn’t incorporate those genres into my personal style but they were always there at the back of my mind.I had to make it contemperary without changing it perhaps by introducing a new perspective. Thats what every generation does. Each generation puts its own stamp on the music before passing it on to the next generation."

"Genuine players," as Breathnach calls them in the quotation at the top of this page, are those who are defining figures of the tradition. They have studied the past of the tradition with great respect and care, they participate in the current tradition to general praise from other traditional musicians, and they are helping to shape the future of the tradition.
http://www.alan-ng.net/irish/learning/

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

do you mean the latter, rather than the former?

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

most of the trad/rock I hear uses simplified versions of tunes that fit with a certain chord progression or groove. They may even combine the A part of one tune with the B part of another, or they write their own A or B part. These are definitely not tunes you would bring to a session. I don’t think this is the same thing as a trad band with drums and bass. These instruments can be used to mesh with the trad idiom if the players know what they are doing. Just because I play a trad tune on a distorted electric guitar doesn’t make it trad/rock, especially if I’m playing the tune with the same rhythm and feel as I would on the fiddle or other trad instrument.

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I think it’s reasonable to say that we don’t know yet if the new tunes are any good, it’s only their repeated playing in generations to come that will show they’re good.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Getting back to the point here, do you have uniqlo over your way? They do a nice range of linen shirts.

Posted .

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never heard of it, thanks though!

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Pete, do you say to your wife,"I think you’re a keeper, but I won’t know for sure until future generations confirm my gut feeling."? …

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I was going to make a joke about new fangled threads but ethical blend beat me to the punch.
FYI, did you know that the Book of Leviticus states that wearing blended fabrics is a sin (Leviticus 19:19, "neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee")?

**Not** tradition? ~ yet

Emily, you tune hog, your session’s better than I would have ever imagined. Why only one Alan MacDonald tune?

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Actually that was me that connected board threads with fabric threads. I’ve never come across a wool linen blend in all my years. Cotton or wool are typically blended with synthetic fabrics to make them more flexible.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

To answer the original question:
I love and encourage new tunes into the irish music circle.
Just remember, they need to be IRISH, not some irish-rock,
or irish-crap (excuse me, Irish-rap)

"ALL TUNES WHERE ONCE NEW"

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Yes, all tunes were once new. But a helluva lot of tunes in what is now thought of as the "Irish" tradition were not originally Irish. So I don’t think your proviso is reasonable, francie. Well, not if you want the tradition to grow and develop in the way it has done to get us to where we are today. If, OTOH, you want it to stagnate, then fair enough.

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BTW, look at the handle of the seller of that waistcoat!

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"Emily, you tune hog, your session’s better than I would have ever imagined. Why only one Alan MacDonald tune?"

I only know the one. :-)

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At a recent session I started a set of hornpipes. I played the Liverpool, the Manchester, and the Honeysuckle. All old tunes I learnt from the whistling of Séamus McGillacuddy from Drumslapagutter back in the fifties. Nobody joined in apart from the backers. Maybe they didn’t know any old tunes, maybe they don’t play hornpipes, or maybe they just didn’t like me. Well I enjoyed them anyway, so feck ‘em.

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i personally have no problem with people playing modern tunes. i do however feel that some modern tunes have a modern feel to them. i prefer the feeling i get from mostly older tunes. it is definately not black & white

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"Yes, all tunes were once new. But a helluva lot of tunes in what is now thought of as the "Irish" tradition were not originally Irish. So I don’t think your proviso is reasonable, francie. Well, not if you want the tradition to grow and develop in the way it has done to get us to where we are today. If, OTOH, you want it to stagnate, then fair enough."

OK, maybe i need to give a little bit. The tunes don’t strictly have to be irish, after all, many "irish" tunes started out french, or american. But just remember, they need to be in the tradtional style, and treated as traditional music. Please, Please, Please keep tradtional music and modern music (pop, rock, rap) separate.

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I doubt that many Irish tunes started off as French.

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Some people try it on though:

http://www.thesession.org/tunes/8758#sheetmusic

which is a tune from the Auvergne.

On the other hand, at a dance last friday night in Chateauroux I saw a set of slides played for a French dance. Worked fine.

Posted .

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Tunes arrive, have arrived and will arrive in the tradition from all sources. If someone likes a tune and plays it and someone else hears it and plays it, it’s on its way in there!
Back in the olden times before recorded music or maybe even the radio (for our purposes presumably in Ireland!) players would play any damn tune they fancied or heard. Then due to the Chinese whisper nature of learning that is the aural method, the tune would slowly develop a ‘trad/ Irish’ flavour or accent. A tune is a tune.

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When I was in India, one day, whilst eating lunch, I realised that the cook hadn’t cooked ‘Indian food’, they’d just cooked food but because it’s in India…
Same as music in the olden days. They were just playing music. Unless they had been to a concert or the music hall (?!) and heard some other musician from somewhere else, no-one would have known that they were playing ‘Irish music’. It was just music.
The advent of technology changed all that for ever.
As, I suppose, recipe books including Chicken Tikka Masala may change Indian food (in India).

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Breton tunes are commonly played by Irish trad musicians and some make it to sessions. Brittany is officially part of France.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Brittany may be politically part of France but has its own distinct musical tradition. If meant Breton tunes, I would have said Breton tunes.

Anyway, that’s just a quibble. I was more amused by the idea of "needing" to keep traditional music and "modern music" separate. I think people will play what they like.

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Much ado about nothing. This has always been a self-policing genre. Good tunes survive and bad ones don’t. No one can force a tune into the tradition. Its either accepted and absorbed or it isn’t.

Re: New tunes/Old Tunes Tradition/Not tradition

Much ado about nothing. This has always been a self-policing genre. Good tunes survive and bad ones don’t. No one can force a tune into the tradition. Its either accepted and absorbed or it isn’t.

Yes i agree, well said

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Stepping back a ways ~ where ‘snobbery’ is concerned, it works both ways… So much gas is generated over this, too bad it can’t be put to some positive use heating a house or bath water… :-D

I suspect cr*p tunes are nothing new, but they were dealt with more quickly in the ‘old days’, while they persist too long in the modern sense… Eventually they too will fade away, and out of that a few good tunes will survive… ‘Tradition’ isn’t as much about the tunes as it is the process…

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Think Darwin - survival of the fittest - the best tunes from any age will survive - there’s lots of ephemeral stuff that has its moment and then fades away……in the end the tunes that people like will get played

New stuff comes along and gets played often becuase it is different - a younger generation sometimes is self consciously being different. I wonder how may McGoldrick tunes will be being played in 20 years (well not his future ones, the ones everybody plays now)

As to whether it’s sufficiently "Irish" - phew - look at Patsy Geary’s for example

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PS And how many of O’Neils 1001 are popular today???

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Doesn’t mean that they won’t be "popular" tomorrow. Many tunes become popular for a certain period because some well-known "name" puts them on a CD. The surprising thing about O"Neill’s 1001 is not how many of them aren’t played, but how many of them ARE still being played.

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Agree Kenny - people can rediscover tunes that were almost lost and rekindle interest in them.

I’m suddenly reminded that apparently Fergie Macdonald almost forgot some tunes that he himself had composed - and also tales of telephone conversations in which he ‘relayed’ tunes to (?Allan Henderson) which allowed a record to be made of it (presumably in notation of some sort) before it vanished :)