So

So

Right oh … this is a "meta discussion".

Let me quote Jeremy:
"So from now on, I’m going to let meta-discussions stand. Now, that said, please don’t go overboard: I wouldn’t want to see the discussions section become a place where the only topic of discussion is The Session itself: I hope that the vast majority of discussions will be about Irish music. But I realise now that there’s a value in publicly sharing feedback, ideas, and criticism of the site, and I don’t want to discourage that."

So, let me reassure session.org members that this is purely a post about Irish music and is certainly not in any way a criticism about of this website in particular. It’s merely a plea to get people to put the internet into perspective.

So:
What would be the best resource for people who want to play Irish traditional dance music?
I’d say it’s being able to play regularly with family and/or friends who play the music to the highest standard and have rakes of tunes.

And so a lot of people who want to play this music don’t have this resource. It’s not their fault.

So what are other resources?

Teachers? Yeah, pretty good. Especially if those teachers are able to play regularly with family and/or friends who play the music to the highest standard and have rakes of tunes.

Recordings? Yep. Tons of recordings. And youtube is pretty good.

Tune books? No, not really. They can only be useful if you can already play.

Internet chat rooms? Who are you talking too?


Now this is important … I’m not dissing the internet or this website per say. I’m just trying to get people to have a bit of perspective.

And this is really important … I’m not dissing all the people who value the internet and this website as their valuable resource. All I am saying is that if they really really are committed to playing this music well, they have too manoeuvre themselves into a position where they no longer value the internet so highly.

Posted .

So, you say. By posting this here this discussion is de facto about thesite.org ~ which is now legal! :-D

The first, & last, resource has to be the tunes (even if that is a finite number of tunes). Most Irish dance tunes are readily accessible with their simple, straightforward repetition. A good tune is complete in itself, yet there are a number of ways to play the same tune. A single tune can be a resource for days on end. All the tunes are enough for several lifetimes.

Welcome back, Gardener!

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No

You have to be able to play the tunes first. Or at least have in your head how they can be played.

Please do not confuse those who are under resourced that a mere database is valuable in itself.

Yes, a single tune is a resource for more than a life time. But only if you can play it. To be able to play it, you need more resources.

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We could get awfully philosophical with this.

Sure, the tunes are the core of the tradition, of course they are, the first and last resource if you will. On the other hand thesession.org is not "the tunes". It is merely a compendium of the tunes in a crude, written form. Music is an aural resource and the tunes are out there in the players.

:-)

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Playing the tunes is not too difficult.

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Perhaps the value of chatrooms isn’t as a teaching resource, but as a form of social interaction.

I meet up with some like minded musicians once a week, but we’re usually too busy playing to talk much. The rest of the week I talk to my wife, daughter and the occasional shop-keeper, none of whom have the slightest interest in traditional music. So it is nice to come to a place like this and chat with people who share my interest. Admittedly this is the last place I’d come if I needed a factual answer to a specific question, or to learn new technique. But it’s still nice to hear other people’s opinions (even if most of them are wrong ;-) )

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I’m with skreech on this one about the lack of community. It’s only been 2 weeks since I moved and i’m already losing my mind that I haven’t been able to make it to a session. When I get settled, I will definitely have to try to get one started up if I can’t find one in whatever area I end up in.

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In other words, Mr. Gill, would you suggest that we collectively get a life? Agreed!

But for those of us who are stuck in front of a computer screen as a part of our day, this site is a …..Valuable Resource! Drama, petty bickering, buttloads of YouTube clips, and a database that can answer those nagging questions about the tune that may be stuck in your head. Works for me. Hooray for virtual social interaction!

For the record, I have a dumb phone, and take great offense when people are glued to their wretched devices when we are out for meatspace social interactions. So if Mustard Land replaces actual playing time, then it is definitely a mixed blessing. But you can say that about a lot of stuff. Jobs, for example.

I learn my tunes from friends, pretty much by osmosis, with an occasional glance at some sheet music to work out the stuff my ears just don’t get. Sorry, that’s just what I do. That was not the case when I started playing, but the helpful folks here dropped a few hints on how to proceed, and the rest was just time and materials. So I still vote for Valuable Resource status.

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Jerone, you are now in Hopkinsville? I fear that traddies are few and far between there. There is, however, a rich fiddling tradition thereabouts. Pay some attention to that—it is a Valuable Resource.

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Now that I think of it, this lends much weight to Mr. Gill’s argument. Jerone, if you live in an area where there are traditional fiddlers who do not happen to play Irish diddley, you are probably missing out on some insanely great music if you cling to this one genre. Those old guys are not going to live forever, so consider spending time and resources seeking them out. Just saying.

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Lighten up, it’s just another string to ones resources bow, people will make of it what they will…..

Lets be having more of your quality counterbalance, and less of your boom and ban. If it’s saving the world of Irish music from being murdered your after, can’t do much saving sat on the naughty step……..

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Happy New Year Michael!
Great to read your discussion, nice to see you back

All the best

Brian x

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Spot on Michael, and I think you’ve pretty well described the attitudes and approaches that caused Will to leave us. I’m a dots person sometimes and come from a background that enjoys "tilting" about musical issues, but I don’t confuse those things with "real music," be it ITM or any other tradition. I bless Jeremy for providing this forum, appreciate the tune database (but would generally use a different and more consistently accurate source), and treasure what I’ve gotten to know of some of you. But "it ain’t music."

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I do consider this website a valuable resource, mainly because it plays host to such an amazing worldwide community of people who care deeply about this music. I love the guys and gals I session with, but we don’t really sit around waxing philosophical about the music. These discussions have opened my ears, and deepened my appreciation for the music. I think it is fairly easy to figure out who knows what they are talking about and those who clearly don’t get it. Life would be quite painful without devolving that type of discernment in all areas and all types of interaction. Cyberspace certainly gets no pass on that front.

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I have to admit, I’ve learned some things from this site about playing
Trad fiddle that I’ve had to UNlearn later. The most valuable lessons
have been from observing or asking real people, recordings and YouTube.
Ditto for flute, although my background with other woodwinds and the
chiffandfipple have been useful too.

I have no family that know how to play this music, or friends either -
outside of sessions. Hardly anybody is actually *from* Ireland, although
a few have studied there or learned from Irish people.

The most valuable thing probably was to get an idea of what the most
commonly played tunes are. I had no idea before coming here and to
the irishtuneinfo site.

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"All I am saying is that if they really really are committed to playing this music well, they have too manoeuvre themselves into a position where they no longer value the internet so highly."

I don’t understand your summation; the internet is a great supplemental resource for learning the music. There are tune data bases like this one, and then there’s the video archives at places like Comhaltas and You Tube. I initially learned to play long before the internet was mainstream, but I would have loved to have the resources that are available now via the internet. Ideally I wouldn’t want it as my only source, a trad music community is vital of course, but why can’t you value the internet highly as well? If you didn’t have a music community you could still Skype lessons or take on line lessons at least… this wasn’t an option for me from the late 70s until 1985 when I moved to SF to be in the midst of the music community there.

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Ditto what Phantom Button said. How do you know how highly people regard the internet? Anyway there is a vast resource out there that our predecessors would, I submit, have jumped into without hesitation; but, as you said, you have to know what you are hearing or looking at. A few notes scribbled on a piece of paper have had to serve us down the years, with the resulting confusion of names and tunes. To my mind this is a good thing, because you have to decide what you like rather than being told what is ‘correct’. The collecting of these bits of paper, comments, illustrations and ideas in a vast e-pocket that everyone can rake around in is, to my mind, a Good Thing.
Having said all that, I would agree that written music is no way to learn. Libraries are a valuable resource, but you can’t learn to speak from a book.

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If you want to play Irish traditional dance music, it might also be a good idea to see if you can find some dancers to play for. They might have insights that you may not get if you play it in isolation.

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This thread proves the point that really this site, particularly the Discussion section, although a "valuable resource" and all that, is in effect a medium for trad players to socially interact at a distance.
Why does it prove that?
Because all of the points made here have been made in other previous discussions many times over. So all that is happening here is just people communing the points again to one another for something to say. As is this here, my "contribution".
Still, no harm done, it clearly relieves the monotony of some peoples’ lives.

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A "perspective" is about where you are looking from not what you are looking at. I think a lot of people don’t talk about tunes much with the people they are playing them with. How many would start a conversation about, say, modes at a session ? So from that ‘angle’ the Discussions section here is an *additional* resource (much as screech says above).

If one has heard a tune from an experienced player who has a rake of tunes and started to learn it is it a band thing to want to hear other ‘takes’ on that tune ? If not then the Tunes sections here, with its links to the Recordings and its Youtube clips is also a resource.

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"A perspective is about where you are looking from not what you are looking at."

It can be about that. A different perspective can be looking at something from the side instead of the front. But it’s also about field of vision. a long lens will shorten perspective, for example. But it’s a poor analogy and not one I intended. I used the phrase: "I’m just trying to get people to have a bit of perspective" merely in its straight forward meaning of putting things in proportion.

If you view this website as a "valuable" resource, then it is having a disproportionate influence on your music.

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Given your use of quotes, I assume that by valuable you mean of great value, rather than of some worth. Even so, it is perfectly possible to regard this site as valuable without it having any effect at all on your music. I believe the horse that you keep flogging died a while ago.

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Sorry Gam, I was caught up on that one before. I meant: "If you view this website as a valuable musical resource"

(And the horse didn’t die. The reason for posting this now was that I was dismayed by all the postings on those "new session.org design" threads from people saying just how valuable they find the place.)

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Heilsa, Mr. Gill!
Speaking for myself (I dare not for anyone else), the Mustard is a roadmap.

It can connect me to tunes, to sessions, to players, to events, etc.
I still have to get myself there, by playing, listening, interacting, and even,
occasionally, posting to threads.

In that sense, it IS a valuable resource.
Perhaps the point here is that nothing is a substitute
for anything else -
you are either playing or you are prepping or you are waiting.

My time spent at my keyboard here is NOT musical time,
merely research and support.

Does any of that make sense, or contribute to this conversation?
So, is the OP a warning message, or a gentle chiding of armchair players,
or is it something else, sir?

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Value, monetary or otherwise…

"If you view this website as a "valuable" resource, then it is having a disproportionate influence on your music."

It depends on what you mean by valuable. If you are in a position in life where time costs money - or effort is costly in other ways, then anything that expedites an action is of value. Someone pointed out that finding a tune on here can answer "nagging questions about the tune that may be stuck in your head". This happens to me frequently, as old age creeps forward.

Then again, talking about analogies can lead to enforcement of a bit of respite away from this site, which may or may not be of value.

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I think I mean something along the lines of, if you value it to the extent that without it, your music would suffer, then you should do something about it. i.e. get yourself some better resources.

If I take an example of somewhere the session.org has educated me - that "The Graff Spey" has nothing to do with a pocket battleship - then I would say that that knowledge has some value. Not sure what, but it’s certainly not valueless. However, it hasn’t changed in any way how I play the tune.

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The value of any information source is inversally proportional to your knowledge of the subject.

Michael Gill is correct again ….

I don’t find this site particularly valuable as a tune resource. Oh, once in a while I’ll use it to get the three or four notes I can’t hear easily. But there are plenty of places on my computer and on the net where I can find tunes— both as dots and as played. This site is a momentary involvement in a make-believe world where, on the net, anybody can pretend to be whomever he or she wants to be. Thus people who have been playing for a year pose as accomplished players and feel free to give advice to people who have been at it for six months.
It is fun, in a perverse way, to see what people have to say about the tunes and themselves. But there must be some algorithm that quantifies the amount a forum degenerates as new players enter the discussions and experienced players lose patience with the same old questions, repeated ad nauseum, and stop posting. Thus, most public fora get worse rather than better, over time.
I suppose if you are living behind the back of nowhere and can’t find people to play with (although I have lived there and have always found people to play with) you might find some help here. But for people with a long-time involvement with the music, direct email contact is quicker and more to the point. This thread can certainly help you find those people, and perhaps sort out some questions one might have about the music, session etiquette, helpful workshops, available teachers, etc.
Recently somebody from Germany asked about friendly sessions in the NYC area where he and four of his friends might be welcome. Frankly, I don’t know of any session that might welcome five "mediocre" (his word for their level of accomplishment) players. He would be better advised to ask here about a teacher in NYC willing to conduct a class for him and his friends, for payment. And perhaps that teacher could recommend an appropriate session. In fact, the best sessions — where people get together for the fun of the company and the tunes, where jokes and chat are as important as the music, and nobody makes much money — are seldom advertised and are wary of people who might wreck the session. And any instrument played badly can wreck a session.
Sorry for the long post. FWIW, the best use for this forum is the opportunity to find like-minded people in one’s area and to establish personal contact. I, like my Scottish friend, have been kicked off thesession several times for speaking my mind. It hasn’t left a noticeable hole in my life nor has it affected the music one bit.

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"I don’t find this site particularly valuable as a tune resource" says Mr Levine. Neither do I; but that does not mean that it is not a valuable resource of other things.

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"Recently somebody from Germany asked about friendly sessions in the NYC area where he and four of his friends might be welcome. Frankly, I don’t know of any session that might welcome five "mediocre" (his word for their level of accomplishment) players. "

I didn’t see the word "mediocre" in that thread. Moreover, the OP in that thread is a woman, and she is a reasonably accomplished fiddle player.

Perhaps a "value" of this thread is in the way it can reveal prejudice and strong opinions.

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Michael, how did you find out about MacDara Ó Raghallaigh’s CD ? Do you think listening to it would be of benefit to someone’s music ?

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"I suppose if you are living behind the back of nowhere and can’t find people to play with (although I have lived there and have always found people to play with) you might find some help here."

I live in the back of beyond and it is difficult to find people to play with. Or allow me to modify that: it’s difficult to find people who just want to play Irish tunes. It isn’t so difficult to find a few who are happy to play quite a lot of Irish tunes as long as they get to play their bit of bluegrass or Breton or whatever and sing a few songs. But I do get out, at least once a week, and I play quite a lot of tunes. Even though I play a funny instrument I’m in demand because I’m not the worst in the world at it and there are very few melody players round here. I suppose if I ever went to Sandy Bells or somewhere like that my relative paucity of tunes would be embarrassing (though I’m not especially embarrassable meself). I do dip into this site every now and then and I suppose it makes me feel a bit less isolated in an indefinable way, but I can say, hand on heart, that I do not come here to learn tunes. I just can’t do things that way. If you asked me how I’ve learned the few hundred tunes I know, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I’ve forgotten. It was a very untidy process in just about every case, I know that much. A lot of it is to do with my mates. Still is. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone else who posts here. North Cornwall has its compensations, however!

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Sorry Weejie, I stand corrected regarding your point. I should have said "intermediate and advanced" rather than mediocre.
What does "reasonably accomplished" mean? When a group of five people — all of whom have been playing together for a few years — come to one of our local sessions then it is either a band practice (for them) while the rest of us listen to their rehearsed arrangements, or we play our standard tunes while they flail around trying to play with us.
If your normal session is with twenty people then it won’t much matter. But if it is a session with only five or six people then five musicians new to the session shouldn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms.

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"What does "reasonably accomplished" mean? "
Well, she ain’t a beginner by a long chalk. Perhaps you should follow up the links in her profile and decide for yourself. "Level of accomplishment" is rather subjective.
I do think you are making assumptions about those musicians. Yes, some "groups" turn up at sessions in the expectation of "performing" their sets as a "group", but for all you know, this bunch of folk might be model sessioneers. Posting on this site in advance could be of value here, as at least there might be some communication between folk twixt Bayern and NY beforehand, and things like this could be sorted out before that date, avoiding the prospect of five musicians descending on a session unexpectedly.

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David, yes, I think MacDara Ó Raghallaigh’s CD would be of benefit to quite a lot of peoples’ music.

And yes, I heard about the fella first here. But knowing the fella and playing with him would be better wouldn’t it? Or even playing regularly with others who know him?

As I’ve said, "value" is relative.

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It’s a valuable resource for entertainment and social connections and for rambling or talking bollox about the music in a way you would not at a session. It is also a fine procrastination tool. One of the best.

I’ve made friends, who I have met and played tunes with in "meatspace" via this site. It has the added benefits of occasionally passing along information about the background of tunes, which I think can be interesting.

It doesn’t effect how I play tunes, except when I’m looking at The Session instead of playing tunes (i.e. now). Or maybe it does but I don’t know it, because I joined the site when I first started learning how to play Irish music so I haven’t a clue how I would have experienced the whole learning process in the absence of The Session. I did, in fact, begin with the bodhran so perhaps all the bodhran negativity here drove me to the pipes. ;-)

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It has made it so much easier to learn and identify tunes..I used to walk home after a session with snatches of tunes I’d heard flying round in my head. I wouldn’t know what they were called, I might have to wait for months before the musician Id heard play it would reappear and maybe, just maybe play that tune I’d been lusting over. Tune books were often expensive and unreliable. I really had to chase down tunes to learn and identify them, obscure fiddle tunes from Glencolmkille recorded on Sony walkman. Continually rewinding to grasp those fleeting notes on some tune you love but don’t know the name of. It was like being some kind of researcher, I really had to keep going along to the session every week and learning by ear and each week listening really intensely trying to hear what was going on and filling in the gaps in the tunes. The music I learnt like this has STUCK. Maybe learning straight from the book is too much like received information or received wisdom, what I am trying to say is the times I have really learnt something I have had to WORK to learn that tune, now its all on a plate and we can slow things down and analyze them , we have huge databases of tunes available for free on the interweb and tens of versions of many tunes available on YT. It has taken some of the thrill of the chase away for me, but I don’t have to wait months for that musician to show up again and play that tune. I find If I learn from dots the tune is a lot less likely to stick. The main source of my learning has always been the people I play tunes with in the session, written material and clips are just like a supplement or learning aid, I guess the map is not the territory. The arrival of the internet has definitely made it easier for people who want to learn this music, it’s a completely different sketch to when I started learning over 25 years ago.

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David Levine,
If you need any help in digging that hole for yourself, just raise your hand.

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"And yes, I heard about the fella first here. But knowing the fella and playing with him would be better wouldn’t it?"

Depends whether he likes you or hates you. At least with a CD you have no danger of it getting up and walking away when you disagree.

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"The arrival of the internet has definitely made it easier for people who want to learn this music"

I disagree.
I think it’s made it easier for people to be lazy, that’s all. What’s better? "To keep going along to the session every week and learning by ear and each week listening really intensely trying to hear what was going on?" Or to have striped down, overanalysed, superficial remnants of it handed to you on an electronic plate?

Bear in mind, the question is:
"What’s a better way to learn this music?"

Not:
"What’s the easiest way to acquire masses of series of notes that you can regurgitate at will?"

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In my case learning tunes at the session would require a lot of noodling. Much better to look them up here, work them out, and then play them with the fellas, I think. We all hate noodlers, don’t we?

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Double post…

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This forum makes finding a local session or nearby musicians a hell of a lot easier.

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Elf, Top tip for learning tunes on the fly without noodling:

Only play the notes you know are right. If you play a bum note, don’t play it next time round, listen for it. Then the time after that you will have it. If you keep at this method it’s surprisingly quick how you can get them accurately. Hard to keep them in your brain though so the other thing to do is to sing them to yourself all the way home and keep singing ‘til next week.

One of the troubles with looking up tunes here and then taking them to the pub is that the chance that the version here is the same as the version played down the pub is very small indeed. You’ll still be playing bum notes, but it’ll be harder to spot them ‘cause you’ll have a confidence that they are right.

If you have to have help on a bit of a tune, ask the fella who played it, they’ll more than likely happily show you how a little turn goes.

I’d say the only way that getting a tune from the striped down, overanalysed, superficial remnants of it handed to you here would work is that if everyone else in the pub got it from here too. And you have to admit, that would be a sorry state of affairs indeed.


"This forum makes finding a local session or nearby musicians a hell of a lot easier."
Not in my experience.

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Llig disagrees with me, Quelle surprise. Of course there is no better way to learn than getting it from sessions, the real deal straight from the horses mouth as it were. However, times have changed and people are learning from all kinds of additional resources too. I still think it’s easier thesedays, how is it harder? Of course you can’t get musicality, phrasing and style from dots , but you may have noticed that trad music on the internet is not limited to dots or ABCs, there is plenty of good stuff out there like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzi7OhSzysw


would you say this is ‘striped down, overanalysed, superficial remnants of it handed to you on an electronic plate’?

This ‘Folk way vs internet’ thing is a false polarity. I know people (brilliant players) steeped in the tradition from childhood who regularly use the web to pick up tunes. The internet contains brilliant clips like the above. What’s wrong with learning from it? How does watching stuff like this make it harder to learn ?The internet is what you make it.

There is, I think a good deal to learn from many sources, radio, Cds, people, sessions, internet, even dots.
There always have been and always will be ‘lazy’ learners, people who pay no attention to detail or phrasing. I’m not sure what medium they choose to learn from has much to do with it. .

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I agree. There is, a good deal to learn from many sources, radio, CDs, people, sessions, internet, even dots. I never said otherwise. And yes, there will always be ‘lazy’ learners. But please give me a lazy learner who payed no attention to their phrasing but just picked it up subconsciously from the good players around them … rather than a lazy learner who payed no attention to their phrasing but just picked it up subconsciously from a book … or heaven forbid, a midi player.

As I said, it’s perspective. One should list one’s sources in order of their value to you.

Read my opening post again

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This is an interesting discussion about ABC sources from over 8 years ago, "Norbeck’s weird settings??" http://thesession.org/discussions/5239

"It’s out of those struggles that the tune database here has developed into the terrific resource that it is—complete with a comment section for each tune that allows us to post critical reviews of one another’s work, which in the long run helps us all by improving the tune submissions. I’ve been posting tunes here since before Jeremy opened it to all of us (I sent Jeremy a few abcs early on, and he posted them), and I’ve certainly learned a lot in doing so, thanks to the eyes and insights of the membership here."
- Will (http://thesession.org/discussions/5239#comment110695)

Will also makes the (now) amusing point of having "played through all of the abcs in the session.org’s database, all of Richard Robinson’s tune collection, all of Reavy’s compositions posted by his son, all the dots in O’Neill’s, and a few other books." - maybe that’s why he left, no more abcs to play! :-)

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I see what you mean about trying to learn from books and midi, that kind of material will always be second best, I am lucky enough to have had a mis spent youth, gleaning tunes from local musicians in sessions and spending hours the next day playing on the street, trying to get them. I guess I ought to remember there are many who have not had this privilege. If a beginner was learning somewhere there was no session I would advise them value aural sources before written ones most every time .

I’d say you would be at a bit of a disadvantage if you tried to learn this music out of context of an aural session culture. There are plenty of clips on YT of groups of musicians, genuinely enthusiastic about, but clearly hopelessly unfamiliar with, this music, publicly murdering trad tunes with their stiff playing, dots and music stands to confirm this.

‘All I am saying is that if they really really are committed to playing this music well, they have too manoeuvre themselves into a position where they no longer value the internet so highly.’

In life you have to make the most of were you find yourself, a lot of people don’t have sessions to go to and can’t arrange their lives round trad. I know an excellent player deeply frustrated with the lack of sessions / musicians in his area. Thing is he was already a good player when he moved to his cultural desert. If I’d have been brought up there I would never have encountered the whole session thing and there wouldn’t have had a group of local players to learn tunes from. There are people who drive many miles to visit our session and they are spectators as well as players. It’s not at all easy to get jobs here so I wouldn’t expect anyone to go as far as upping sticks and moving here for the sake of a few tunes, but I do agree that learners should definitely make an effort or even manoeuvre themselves to at least sometimes visit a real session.

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What do you mean by "play the music to the highest standard’?

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I’ve just realised there was a real question hidden in the OP, a question which was unfortunately surrounded by a lot of spurious data…. and yes, I agree the best way to learn football, is on a football pitch, with one ball, and with many other players….. (thank god the questions aren’t difficult)

but on a cold and dark winter’s evening when your parents have gone to the pub, trying to score a couple of goals, with a tennis ball, between the legs of the armchair, against the dog will develop certain skills which will benefit you when the weekend comes around and you can once again play football on a football pitch, with one ball and with many other players.

Re: So

So, there was a question. I thought it was an ongoing didactic dicursive diatribe.

Posted .

"What’s the easiest way to acquire masses of series of notes that you can regurgitate at will?"
That would be bluegrass. :-D

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Re: So

What do you mean by "play the music to the highest standard’?
what he means , i think, is what he thinks are the highest standards, now that may be different from what a Comhaltas judge thinks is a high standard.
A purely subjective View, which in simple terms is encapsulated by the phrase" beauty is in the eye of the beholder"

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[*"What’s the easiest way to acquire masses of series of notes that you can regurgitate at will?"*]

I thought that was going to be troll bait for the jazz genre, but I can see instead, that you’ve picked a genre where your expertise shines :)

“family & friends who play the music to the highest standard”?

Re: the shoulders of giants
not quite the same topic, but I came across this flannery o’connor quote today…
"Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it. We hear a great deal about humility being required to lower oneself, but it requires an equal humility and a real love of the truth to raise oneself and by hard labor to acquire higher standards"
Posted by airport October 29th, 2009

Posted .

Re: So

I’d say that’s bang on topic.

Posted .

Re: So

… and would it be safe to suggest that if the measure of the quality of this music was merely in the ear of the beholder, whomever the beholder, whatever their experience or ability, it renders the whole effort needed to understand it meaningless.

Or to put it another way, those who have for whatever reason never been able to make the effort to understand the music, any suggestion that there is more to it than the appreciation of any mere beholder is meaningless.

Posted .

Re: So

""What’s the easiest way to acquire masses of series of notes that you can regurgitate at will?"
That would be bluegrass. :-D"

One of my bluegrass friends once said "You know, a lot of those Irish tunes are much more fun to play than to listen to."

Re: So

Llig, I was probably one of those who praised Jeremy for developing a ‘valuable resource,’ because I think this website is one. There is all sorts of good info here. Just the other day, I lost the ability to play the B part of a tune I have played many times, couldn’t remember how it went. Its not a tune in any of the books I have at home. So I looked it up here, and when I looked at the sheet music, realized that the beginning of the B part was very similar to another tune I was in the process of learning on the accordion. Which explains why my brain was getting tangled. There is all sorts of info you can find here that would be hard to find elsewhere (at least all in one place).
But does that mean that I do not value face to face learning or recordings? Hardly. Do I think this site is the only resource I would want with me on a desert island? Nope. If you have concerns that folks that praise thesession.org are turning their back on other resources, those concerns are groundless.
Just because I call one girl pretty does not mean that I find no other girls pretty, or have decided she is the world’s prettiest girl. It is not a zero sum game.
And I think the new looser rules about meta-discussions will help improve one of the site’s other features—being a world-wide community and virtual gathering place for those who love The Music.

Re: So

Al, I never said it was a zero numbers game. I said it’s about getting your resources into perspective.

So you couldn’t remember a bit of a tune. Could you not have asked one of your mates? Did you "have" to come here? Did you turn your back on your mates and come here instead?

Posted .

Re: So

AlBrown, if it’s not too much of a bother, what was the tune you couldn’t play the B part & what was the tune you were in the process of learning on accordion?

Posted .

"You know, a lot of those Irish tunes are much more fun to play than to listen to."
You know, that must certainly be an able technician who has not made a humble effort to understand what others are listening to.

Posted .

Re: So

Re: the shoulders of giants
not quite the same topic, but I came across this flannery o’connor quote today…
"Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it. We hear a great deal about humility being required to lower oneself, but it requires an equal humility and a real love of the truth to raise oneself and by hard labor to acquire higher standards"
Posted by airport October 29th, 2009
# Posted by Na éisc 2 hours ago.
Re: So


I’d say that’s bang on topic.
# Posted by Llig Leachim one hour ago.

Possible, but likely?
Some manner of ambition (not humility), driven by ego or avarice, is the force behind reaching for some conventionally measurable accomplishment. As I view the world around me, the level of success in artists drive for the heights is easily measured, for most, in their pockets, their pride, and their celebrity (however they define it). Seeking poverty, disgrace, and anonymity would be contradictory to the act of putting ones art or self on display, on any level beit a pub, a stage or a gallery, I would think.

All of this is simply being human, and desiring love, attention, and reward for our "creative" offerings. But the moment that offering is judged and measured, and the verdict is taken seriously and as important, there goes paradise.

In the meantime, I liked the youtube posting from Peter above. Do you suppose it was humility and some deep spiritual search that motivated those musicians on their path to excellence?
Rant over.
Good topic, Michael.
Good points, everyone.

Posted by .

Re: So

Who is seeking poverty & disgrace?

Posted .

Re: So

Perhaps those who try to earn a living playing music? It is often a quick road to poverty, and disgrace is also within easy reach of every musician! ;-)

Re: So

"It is often a quick road to poverty, and disgrace is also within easy reach of every musician! ;-)"

LOL
Not to mention anonymity, a worthy goal for any ambitious musician young or old.

And who are you, sir?
Or am I, for that matter
;-)

Posted by .

Humility

Cheers Al. I just didn’t get how humility suddenly became equated with tradsters being ascetics. Still, I doubt even the most humble of traditional musicians rely on music to pay the bills (O.K. Paddy Keenan hit a low spot once); punk & grunge are more direct swan dives. But there’s no disgrace in playing dance tunes ~ none, zero, nada, zip… Plenty of trainwrecks & bad, after hour dates where you have to garner all your will power the next morning to climb back up into the saddle ~ but never disgrace. Lots, & lots of Amazing Grace.
Most self respecting trad musicians have put in the time to work on their music. They’ve been humble to everyone who taught them.

Posted .

I get it!

You guys are playing with me. Right?

Posted .

That’s you Piece, not me…

"Some manner of ambition (not humility), driven by ego or avarice, is the force behind reaching for some conventionally measurable accomplishment. As I view the world around me, the level of success in artists drive for the heights is easily measured, for most, in their pockets, their pride, and their celebrity (however they define it)."

Posted .

Re: So

I can only testify to how the internet and this site helps me personally. I find the discussion forum a bit disappointing sometimes, but the real value is in the tune database. If I can’t remember how a tune starts I haven’t played in ages… I come here. If I want to find a recording with a particular tune on it… I come here. If I heard a tune and I only have a snippet in my head or a name… I start my search here. It’s a kind of Wikipedia of trad. (I hope that doesn’t insult Jeremy) I go to Wikipedia often for other issues, not as the end-all-be-all… but as a starting point. There I find links to articles and basic information to start the ball rolling… here is pretty much the same. I personally try to add YouTubes and such to the comment sections for tunes, and I appreciate finding them there as well. Sure there’s going to be people that don’t know enough yet to understand what this resource means… but so what… maybe in time they will. It doesn’t really matter to me… I would miss it if it weren’t here… so I find it valuable… warts and all.

Re: So

if i cannot remember a tune, I go to a recording and if i do not have that available i find it in manuscript, i have never used the tunes section here, partly because i cant stand ABC.
Either I listen or i read notated music.

Posted .

Re: So

"Some manner of ambition (not humility), driven by ego or avarice, is the force behind reaching for some conventionally measurable accomplishment. As I view the world around me, the level of success in artists drive for the heights is easily measured, for most, in their pockets, their pride, and their celebrity"

I couldn’t agree less with that with regards to traditional Irish music. The first sentence, possibly … but only very occasionally with players no one would ever want to play with anyway … or maybe the occasional misguided child who wants to win a competition (and these children almost always grow out of it)

The second sentence is wrong on every level. "The successes of a diddley musician is measured in their pockets, their pride, and their celebrity"? You really are havin’ a laugh.


… and I refer the right honourable Phantom to the statement I made earlier:
http://thesession.org/discussions/31159#comment668374
(Though I found the comparison with Wikipedia amusing: it being a sackable offence for journalists in any reputable publication if they are found using Wikipedia as a reference.)

Posted .

Re: So

Has Dick not discovered yet that all the tunes in this database are available in standard notation? And now, even all the submitted versions and variations?

Posted .

Re: So

… and to be back right bang on topic, if I can’t remember a tune, I ask a mate.

(and if they can’t remember it, it’s not a tune worth playing. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Why can’t people treat not being able to remember tunes as being a positive thing? There are way way too many diddley tunes anyway … and no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable.)

Posted .

Re: So

Jack wrote:

"If I heard a tune and I only have a snippet in my head or a name… I start my search here. It’s a kind of Wikipedia of trad. (I hope that doesn’t insult Jeremy) I go to Wikipedia often for other issues, not as the end-all-be-all… but as a starting point."

Far from insulting me, I take that as a great compliment. I think The Session is somewhat like Wikipedia in two ways:

1. Wikipedia is not a source of original material (as Michael points out, journalists must never rely on it as such) but it does gather together references to source material. I think of the tunes, recording, sessions, and events listed on The Session in the same way: they are pointers to the real deal …and having all those pointers gathered together in one place makes it, if not a valuable resource then at least a useful one.

2. Wikipedia is a group effort, with the sum of all the individual contributions creating something far greater than the parts. That’s certainly true of The Session, which is the sum of all your generous contributions. I just provide the framework.

And on a far more down-to-earth level, here’s another connection: Larry Sanger, one of the founders of Wikipedia, plays trad. :-)

Re: So

The sense of proportion expressed by Phantom Button seems to fit the discussions here better than the premises of the OP. In the OP Michael appears to be setting up a sort of collective straw man to knock down.

I stopped reading one reputable journal for a time due to it’s journalists inability to get basic matters of geography or sequences of historical events correct. Maybe there were other (re)sources they were not allowed to use

Re: So

" and no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable.)"

If ‘forgettable’ means a tune that can be tucked away in a folder in the mind, through sheer numbers of good tunes - maybe one that was a cracker, but for some reason was never fully explored, and then something triggers it back into the fore (like seeing someone submit it here f.eks), but a wee fragment has become lost in the brain-spaghetti, then I can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable. Some get intertwined with other good ditties forby.

There are a good number of tunes like this. It’s great fun when they are rediscovered.

Re: So

I agree Weejie. And the fallibility of memory is something that can be enjoyed. And of course, there are tunes I’ve deliberately forgotten or purged as I’d considered them a waste of space in my puny brain-spaghetti that have been stimulated out of enforced retirement by some novel and excellent playing.

But in the main, I find tunes that remind one of other tunes tedious. All the best tunes have such a dynamic individuality to them that, to me at least, they are utterly unforgettable. I wouldn’t forget them in a million years. It’s how I define quality in tunes … they are distinct and unforgettable.

Posted .

Re: So

no Llig ,
i had not discovered it because I got out of the habit of going to the tune section,because of abc
thankyou for pointing it out, I will now start using it.

Posted .

Re: So

" and no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable.)"

and no one can deny that some of the worst songs are also unforgettable … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0auCDOERZyE


people’s memory doesn’t have any notion of quality, it doesn’t work that way, memory works from repetition and association…

good tunes are played more often than bad tunes, that’s why we remember them… which is not something one could say about popular music.

Re: So

No. Most peoples’ memories don’t have any notion of quality because they don’t control the repetitions and associations they are subjected to. I remember things I want to remember because I deliberately use a quality control filter. i.e. I sing the tunes in my head all the time.

Posted .

Re: So

So Dick, if "The best part of this forum is not the discussion section" and you never came to the tunes section, which bit was the best bit?

Posted .

Re: So

you have a strange way of agreeing

Re: So

Sorry Theirlandais, you’re right there

Posted .

Re: So

"The second sentence is wrong on every level. "The successes of a diddley musician is measured in their pockets, their pride, and their celebrity"? You really are havin’ a laugh."

I would hope not, but read what you want.

Pride and celebrity come in all sizes, not just XXXL lazer show 20k seat halls
and paparrazi chasing you down.

They can manifest in ways as simple and low-key as someone clinging to "THEIR seat" at a session, worrying about who has more or less of anything stylistic or tune-wise, or even waxing rude and superior at a forum like this one.

"You really are havin’ a laugh"?

Nice, Gill.
And, how humble.

Posted by .

Re: So

Surely at the end of the day, Michael, assuming that your views and experience of this resource are the benchmark for *everyone* is as myopic and lacking in humility as the ego you decry in the music itself. Everyone sees and uses this website differently. Why, last night, myself and Mr. Spear realised we’d both forgotten a phrase in a tune we were playing and looked it up on here. Found a friendly transcription from Kenny. Shame on us for not phoning a mate at 10pm at night (we live in the middle of nowhere — nae sessions just up the road) to ask what that phrase was. The Yella Board told us in seconds.

Re: So

I’d say that it’s really one hell of a delusion to think that clinging to "YOUR seat" and "worrying" about who has "more or less of anything" is a manifestation of pride and celebrity. More like a symptom of paranoia.

I just don’t get it. "clinging to YOUR seat". Flipin’ heck. Surely if you’re sitting at a table with your mates, your mates wouldn’t let someone nick your seat? What are mates for?

Posted .

Re: So

I’m not assuming that my views and experience of this website are the benchmark for everyone. That’s the whole point of the post. If you are under-resourced, as you were the other night (or more accurately, impatient) then by all means come here. All I’m trying to do is to get the people who value this place so highly to realise that it is not the best way to learn. Read my opening post again.

Posted .

Re: So

Like the session I went to where one of the regulars said, "That seat’s taken, because so-and-so is coming in at 11." ;-)

Re: So

Exactly … If you’ve got mates to play with then the last thing you’re gonna worry about is having to cling to YOUR seat.

Posted .

Re: So

Yes, but you’re framing it in a pejorative way (quite deliberately and provocatively, no doubt), by using the words "under-resourced." Even if I still lived in Edinburgh, do you seriously think I would come into Sandy Bells and say, "Hey, guys, what’s the last phrase of the second part of Tommy Gunn’s?" I don’t think so. I will ask Mr. Spear to show me a phrase of a tune if he has it better than I do, and vice versa, but in the house, not the pub! So I suppose in that sense, I will ask a real live musician if one is available, but if the path of least resistance is asking the internet (or iTunes), then I don’t see it as being "under resourced." Just making good use of the resources available.

Re: So

Michael said:

"All I’m trying to do is to get the people who value this place so highly to realise that it is not the best way to learn."

But I don’t think there’s any evidence that people who value this site think it’s the best way to learn. Quite the opposite. It’s the people who are living far away from sessions and other musicians who find The Session, YouTube, and recordings valuable because they’re better than nothing. I’m sure they would all much rather be at a session or learning a tune from someone, but because that isn’t an option, at least they have resources like The Session.

I’m sure that no one, but no one, is using The Session and thinking of it as a replacement for face-to-face interaction.

Re: So

Well said, Jeremy.

I doubt that the majority of regular users see this website as the "best" way to learn the music. Michael’s setting up a straw man, the imaginary poster who thinks that thesession.org and YouTube will replace playing and learning Irish trad music with real live people, and castigating that made-up person.

Re: So

"I’m sure that no one, but no one, is using The Session and thinking of it as a replacement for face-to-face interaction."

But they are Jeremy.
Quotes from this thread alone:

"the path of least resistance is asking the internet"
"If I heard a tune and I only have a snippet in my head or a name… I start my search here"
"It has made it so much easier to learn and identify tunes."

Posted .

Re: So

One of the things I learned at school was not to waste people’s time (or my time with them) by asking questions that I could easily find the answer to myself.

Re: So

The person I’m talking about is the one who thinks that thesession.org and YouTube is, in the face of isolation (be it geographical or psychological) a reasonable second best replacement to learning Irish trad music with real live people.

Posted .

Re: So

Primary school

Re: So

I remember once asking for some face-to-face learning time with a very highly regarded piper (who rarely went to sessions, so it was not as if I could hear him play by going to the right pub on the right day) and he told me that once I had the technical basics down, rolls and crans and so on (which I did), there was very little for him to show me and I was best figuring it out for myself.

That was life in the fair city of Edinburgh…..

Re: So

"the path of least resistance is asking the internet"
Dr Spear is referring to the internet as a whole - YouTube, iTunes etc - like your Bothy Band records in t’owd days.

"It has made it so much easier to learn and identify tunes."

Likewise, Peter Well is referring to the internet as a whole. Not specifically this site. Which leaves:

"If I heard a tune and I only have a snippet in my head or a name… I start my search here"

And I can relate to that. It is a way of finding out more about a tune - not necessarily the means to learn it, but a starting point. I use this site often as a starting point when researching tunes. There are some informative comments on some of them too. Like WikiP, you have to take a lot with a pinch of salt, but it is improving. There are references to sources that can be followed up etc.
This doesn’t mean that you are using the site like a Bert Weedon book.
How many trad musicians have a copy of O’Neill’s 1001 in their bookshelf? The transcriptions in that book are not something you would want to play "verbatim", but they play their part in the big picture. I can’t any major difference in using this site in a similar vein.

Just need to get some of those problems sorted out regarding "false positives" an’ that.

Re: So

"One of the things I learned at [primary] school was not to waste people’s time (or my time with them) by asking questions that I could easily find the answer to myself."

I was never taught that. I was always taught the value of interaction. Maybe there’s a polarisation of different kinds of people here. Those that find themselves in a strange city and ask directions, and those that find themselves in a strange city and get google maps out of their pocket.

I’m not denying that google maps will get you there quicker, but you will learn more about the city by asking someone. (and that’s not even considering the people who never even go to strange cites, but just stay at home and read about them)

Posted .

Re: So

I for one, think the thesession.org being able to provide links to youtube (quality filter), so you can hear another "good" musicians take on a particular tune is a valuable resource and more or less helpful depending on where you are on the learning curve. Imagine, if by doing that you discovered that people don’t play the tunes the way they are written in the thesession.org tunes section (what a great educational day that would be)

Let me see now, I would put it at number 17 on the list of the best ways of learning Irish music.
number 16 being collective workshops, where the teacher play notes everyone copies, teacher writes down the notes for those that want them and then you all make noise together, and then you learn another tune..

Re: So

I like that too. I’ve been introduced to several good musicians this way.

I’m not really counting, but if you are, I’d probably agree that that’s maybe number 17 on the list of the best ways of learning Irish music.

Posted .

Re: So

Wouldn’t it be rather tedious for the residents of Edinburgh if none of the visitors had a street map and were forever asking the locals for directions ?

Maybe the visitors would end up asking each other for directions. Thus people who have been wandering around the city [playing] for a day [year] pose as accomplished ‘explorers’ [players] and feel free to give advice to people who have been at it for half a day [six months].

Re: So

Also, I included "or my time with them" .

Re: So

" but you will learn more about the city by asking someone. "

Reminds me of my truck driving days when we’d deliberately ask directions to a place that didn’t exist. We usually got directions on how to get there ("oh yes, it’s those new houses up so and so street" etc). Indeed, you learn about the city - particularly the kind of folk who inhabit the place.

Re: So

Indeed. My experience of high level sessions in Edinburgh, Dublin, Glasgow, and elsewhere suggests that providing directions to learners is not at the top of the agenda for many players of that calibre. When in such cities, I saw adult learners forming support groups that were essentially the blind leading the blind and actively avoiding the "good" sessions, even the good ones which were of the friendlier sort.

I would suggest that when you are already a good player, hanging out with people who are also good players is a lot easier. When you’re not, you either stay with people of your level, which is less socially awkward but you learn less, or you hang on the tailcoats of the good sessions and do your time suffering through feeling like you shouldn’t be there.

Re: So

You should come to Edinburgh at festival time if the sight of hapless and lost tourists amuses you.

One I did see once was someone stood on the South Bridge asking for directions to The Cowgate. The visitor being asked got out their Fringe Brochure and turned to the map at the back. This map had printed a cross roads where the South Bridge intersects the Cowgate. So there they both were, at the exact spot of the intersection, both looking splendidly bemused. (The South Bridge, of course, is a bridge six or seven stories suspended above the distant Cowgate below.)

Posted .

Re: So

If he had been carrying a bodhran, would you have told him to jump?
:-P

Re: So

SS says
"I would suggest that when you are already a good player, hanging out with people who are also good players is a lot easier. When you’re not, you either stay with people of your level, which is less socially awkward but you learn less, or you hang on the tailcoats of the good sessions and do your time suffering through feeling like you shouldn’t be there."

Increasingly, these days, it does often seem to be a case of "either/or" especially in the bigger cities.
The ideal situation, in my opinion, is where good players are happy to also have the company of less experienced and able players and be prepared to encourage them if the latter are willing to learn…….as long as it doesn’t result in "dumbing down" the proceedings to any great extent.
Unfortunately, it usually tends to be a very polarised situation, i.e. three or four "shecht hot" players in a small session(Not necessarily exclusive or unfriendly but space is often restricted) VERSUS a larger room with sometimes as much as twenty plus fairly average players either competing for attention or playing together as a large amateur orchestra.
There seems to be very few good arrangements which fall between the two extremes.

Re: So

Hi DrSS

Happy New Year to you and your Hubby, and when are we going to see you back at the Oran Mor.

The Session site, is mainly a source of amusement in my case, being in the main a bodhran player. I enjoy the banter here.

The tunes section is handy, in that if I am in a session, and I ask a player whose playing I am enjoying if they will play a tune for me, I can look it up on the site and get the dots/abc if they are unfamiliar with the tune.

If I am trying to internalise a tune, my particular method is to listen to it in as many different forms as possible, be that live, youtube, recording, whatever until I can lilt it whilst playing my drum.

BTW nice to see you back here llig.

David

Re: So

Bodhran Player: Hey, I’m enjoying your playing there.
Musician: Er .. Ta.
BP: Will you play a tune for me?
M: Well maybe not for you, but you can thump away if you must. Keep it quiet though eh?
BP: Do you know [such and such]?
M: Do you know it?
BP: Yeah.
M: You play it then.
BP: I can’t play it, I’m a bodhran player
M: Well, sorry, I don’t know it.
BP: Wait, I’ve got my iPad, I’ll look it up on the session.org for you.

(the rest of the conversation was, quite rightly, censored by Jeremy)

Posted .

~

"no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable."

Posted .

Re: So

llig leachim: "but you will learn more about the city by asking someone"

Why then (some months ago) did you post a discussion on session.org asking about sessions in Manchester, prior to to your visit to said city?

.. following your own logic, it would surely be better to have waited until you had arrived, then asked around …

If to others you beseech,
It’ s well to practise what you preach … ;-)

Re: So

Mix, how is posting a question about sessions in Manchester, or any city for that matter, not "asking someone"?

Posted .

Re: So

[*"no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable."*]

Please name one. Thanks :)

Re: So

Jim, if you don’t know one what do you are your mates do during sessions.

Posted .

Re: So

"Jim, if you don’t know one what do you are your mates do during sessions."

I’m not sure if Jim gets out of the house too often "insert stupid adolescent smiley here"

Re: So

"Why then (some months ago) did you post a discussion on session.org asking about sessions in Manchester, prior to to your visit to said city?"

Because I was giving the session.org the benefit of the doubt. Jeremy deleted it.

So I did ask my mates and one gave me a contact number and I ended up having really rather a splendid night out.

Posted .

Re: So

Christ Jim, the more you post the more I wonder if you even like this music!

Re: So

Thanks, Smash … made my day! Rickrolled on an Irish Traditional Music website. You da man :)

Theirlandais : no, I stay in all day on here, looking out for your posts xxx :)

Ben and Theirlandais : again, a simple question, expecting a simple answer :

[*"no one can deny that all of the best tunes are unforgettable."*]

Please name one. Thanks.

If you can’t, or won’t, then you can’t, or won’t.

No big deal.

Re: So

Re Jeremy’s comment that "I’m sure that no one, but no one, is using The Session and thinking of it as a replacement for face-to-face interaction.":-
Well I am!
I have a social phobia (seriously) which condems me to live a very isolated (but happy) life. I’m very passionate about my fiddle playing (which I mainly do by ear from recordings), but also about learning as much as I possibly can about ITM. Just about every morning for a few years now I eagerly reasearch information and comments on the tunes I learn, and then (usually) enjoy the new discussions. I have very little face-to-face contact and this is a very much appreciated resource to me. I must remember to make a donation.

Which tune(s) do you think unforgettable, Jim? :-)

Jim, I was hoping my response would serve as a confirmation of Llig’s original observation. Which is as simple as it gets. There are so many grand, unforgettable tunes. I woke up this morning playing a few (one jig I don’t even know the name). Some more this afternoon. Tonight I’ll be with my mates, which is grand.
Unforgettable? Certainly the first polka ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n91QryThu00

But don’t stop there.

Posted .

Re: So

Nice polkas! Nothing finer than a simple tune in the hands of a master (and his pals).

Re: So

Michael quotes someone: "I’m sure that no one, but no one, is using The Session and thinking of it as a replacement for face-to-face interaction."

Michael continues: "But they are Jeremy.
Quotes from this thread alone:"

Then Michael quotes me saying:

"If I heard a tune and I only have a snippet in my head or a name… I start my search here"

What you’re leaving out is that I came back from a face-to-face encounter with that snippet or name in my head and I wanted to investigate it further. If I find the version I was looking for… I learn it and return to the face-to-face encounter at the pub… and play along. The Session dot org is supplemental… NOT a replacement.

“Michael quotes himself” ~ Posted by P.B. seconds ago…

Let’s establish a baseline. We can begin with a ‘reputable publication’ gradient & proceed from there.
Going downhill until we’re covered in WikiMustard.

Posted .

So

He’s back!

Posted .

Re: So

Just for the record… my favorite way to learn tunes is by hearing them enough until the entire tune is in my head… then I figure out where the notes for it are on my instrument. This will happen mostly by hearing other people at sessions and such over time, but sometimes it’s from recordings. If it’s the latter, if I don’t already have the recording, I often will find it after visiting this site, finding the tune and studying the comments and recording links, etc. Sometimes I’m finding it right here… other times it’s just the starting point. Whatever the journey entails… I eventually end up with a recorded source to listen to and imprint the tune from. Occasionally my effort to do this fails and I end up relying on the dots… but rarely. Still… it could be someone’s version in the comments section for tunes on this site that I end up referencing to learn the tune.

Tunes ~ “hearing them enough until the entire tune is in my head…”

Something strange just happened (internetwise) & I’m assuming it’s a hallucination on my part, which frightens me. In any case, Jack, I appreciate what you just posted & I think it helps in keeping everything in a healthy perspective.
Ben

Posted .

Re: So

Phantom, We are all, including Jeremy, in violent agreement here that thesession.org is no substitute for face to face aural transmission of the tunes. Any evidence to the contrary can only be generated by taking things out of context and blowing them out of proportion, which is what was attempted with your perfectly reasonable comment.

Feel free to make a few mistakes.

I appreciate a frank discussion. The Old Mustard had ocassional blunders & missteps which I hadn’t quite realized how I would miss them until there was a way to make things virtually more tempered.

Posted .

~

If anyone has been attentively reading this thread during the previous hour I would appreciate a PM regarding whether or not Phantom Button posted a comment regarding "reputable publications". If not I’m resigned to the fact that I have just had a hallucinatory experience, which might be the best of all possible worlds.

Ben

;)

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Sorry, i’ve been busy. Michele, you’ve been around these parts? I’ll check out the other traditions, and see what I can find. I know a lot of people, i’m sure I can find something out.

Re: So

One of the things that strikes me about most of the comments on this thread is the seemingly insatiable desires for more tunes. You lot seem to treat tunes as acquisitions. And are willing to hunt out any means of acquiring those acquisitions, as quickly as you can. There’s a whole kind of rushed desperation about it. And you’ve found that the internet and this site in particular - both as data base and as a diddleypedia of links - is a "valuable resource" with which to feed your insatiable aquisitional desires.

I imagine you all with tall double fronted glass cabinets with shelves and shelves of tiny glass figurines. Mostly, you sit at home, but not really enjoying your collections as they stand, hardly ever getting them out and polishing them. Just scouring the internet for more.

Once a week or so, many of you pack up a small proportion of your collection, mostly your latest acquisitions, certainly the ones you acquired in the past week, and some old favourites. Then off you trot down to your local glass figurine collectors club to show them off to each other. And though most of you may well enjoy the evening - bar the odd person who’s paranoid that someone will knick THEIR seat - you come away with no sense of satisfaction, just more of your insatiable desires for more. There was this bloke, Paddy, who you kind of know to nod to who had this brilliant one. It was so shiny and lovely. It was quite a lot like a few you’ve already got (actually, you already have two that have the exact same back legs), but you just have to have this new one. Have to.

So you wake up the next day and you can’t remember what it’s like. You think you can remember a bit of it … so the hunt is on. Oooh … where to first? Why, theglassfigurinecollectorsclub.org of course. You can’t find it. But though you can’t remember what it looked like, you did ask that bloke Paddy for its label. So you look that up and bingo, there it is, right there on theglassfigurinecollectorsclub.org of course.

So over the course of the next few days you acquire and get it as polished as best you can and when the time comes, the same time every week, you pack it up with ones you acquired the week before last (and some of your favourites) and trot, again, down to your local glass figurine collectors club.

You’re really disappointed … that Paddy bloke’s not there. But you get it out anyway, and no one seems all that impressed. Perhaps you didn’t polish it enough? Anyway, you pack it up again for the following week and that paddy bloke’s still not there so you don’t bother to get it out. But then the worst thing that could ever happen happens … you nip to the bar and while you’re waiting you overhear three of your fellow collectors. During the week, they’ve all acquired that very same figurine and all got them out to show each other and they’re so pleased with themselves and you’re seething and you fumble to find yours but it’s all so fleeting and you miss the opportunity.

Crest fallen, you return your little glass gem back to the cabinet. It still comes out of course, fairly regularly, but the shines gone off it. Besides, you’ve got lots of newer ones by now. And you’re still having fun. Remember that day when Mick thought he had a cracker, but when he brought it out, you all laughed ‘cause it was just the back end of one and the front end of another, glued together. Ho Ho, that was funny.

But then, one day, that Paddy bloke comes back in. Six or seven months since you last saw him. You remember the label for that one he brought out and you ask him if you can see it. He can’t remember what you are on about, so you and your fellow collectors dig yours out. Nope, he still can’t remember what you are on about. But he say’s he thinks he might have another one with the same label so he gets that out and it was so shiny and lovely (though you can’t help yourself pointing out that the back legs are pretty much the same as yours).

So you wake up the next day and you can’t remember what it’s like. You think you can remember a bit of it … so the hunt is on. Oooh … where to first? Why, theglassfigurinecollectorsclub.org of course.

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I forgive you everything for coining the word ‘diddleypedia’.

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Michael, did you ever see an unfamiliar bird and enjoy watching its behaviour, but also wonder what it was called and want to know more about it ? If you have a field guide what is it for ?

Re: So

I’m sure most of us have gone through the phase when we have had an insatiable desire to collect and learn new tunes…even yourself(Llig). Some people never seem to grow out of it, I agree, but I’d suggest that we all have to go through this process to a greater or lesser extent before we reach the stage where we are quite content to let the tunes find us instead. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m quite there yet!

It’s a bit like a teenage drinker entering a bar for the first time and trying out everything on the gantry. If he/she survives the experience, then eventually they’ll be quite happy with their regular tipple or two on most occasions although a new brew of real ale, an interesting malt whisky, or an untried fine wine might "find them" now and again.

Re: So

Michael, I like your analogy.

But suppose that, rather than just being a collector of figurines, you were a figurine maker. Now what happens?

You see Paddy’s figurine, but next morning you can’t remember what it looked like. So you trawl through theglassfigurinecollectorsclub.org and all your catalogues, looking at all the figurines with the same label. You find one or two that looks almost as you remember Paddy’s, but some details are a bit different. Now you can make your own figurine, based on the catalogue illustration but modified to be as you remember paddy’s one.

That’s how I (and I suspect a lot of other people here) use tune the written tune collections here and elsewhere.

Re: So

Well I guess that’s what most people do who describe themselves as diddley figurine makers. Cobble together bits from here and there make up bits to fill in the gaps. It’s no wonder it all sounds the same.

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Johnny Jay, yes, I’ve been there, when I was a misguided kid.

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The Glass Figurine. A smashing name for a tune. Played with a lot of cuts.

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Sometimes a tune just gets stuck in my head and gives me no peace of mind until I can play it. Why does that make me greedy, or a junkie, or whatever?

Re: So

I think the reason it all sounds the same is down to the nature of sessions rather than the internet.

In sessions there is a necessity for everyone to be singing from the same hymn sheet, so tunes get reduced tot he lowest common denominator - a ‘standard’ version.

But in the wider world, once you’ve got a tune you can do whatever you like with it - speed it up and fill it with fiddly bits as a party piece, slow it down and simplify it for your students, arrange it for a band, improvise two hours of jazz variations, whatever. And for that, it doesn’t matter one iota whether you originally got the tune from your grandaddy’s knee, a bloke in the pub, or the internet.

Re: So

David, I went for a splendid woodland walk with my brother last week. He likes a bit of birdwatching, but he’s not as experienced as me. We were talking about birds he’s not seen and one that came up was the lesser spotted woodpecker. So, coincidentally, I spotted a pair shinning up the branches of a big old oak. He saw them too. But the light was bad and we could only see silhouettes and they were gone in a moment. He would never have recognised them and I only did because I’ve seen them before and am familiar with how they move. A field guide is very seldom of use.

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On second thought maybe I am greedy tune junkie. I suppose I can live with that. Far worse things to be addicted to out there.

Re: So

I think the reason it all sounds the same is down to the nature of rubbish sessions and the internet.

In rubbish sessions there is a tendency for everyone to be merging into the same fuzzy hymn sheet, so tunes get approximated to the lowest common denominator - not a ‘standard’ version, but lots of slightly different versions that kind of make up a messy chorus.

In good sessions there is a desire for everyone to be hearing and responding accurately, so tunes get honed over time and the accuracy increases.

But in the wider world, once people have kind of half got a tune, they do whatever they like with it - speed it up, fill it with fiddly bits as a party piece, slow it down and simplify it for students (how they dare get students is another thread), arrange it for a band, improvise two hours of jazz variations, post their versions of it onto online databases, whatever. And for that, it’s a shame that it doesn’t matter to them one iota that they failed to get the original correctly from grandaddy’s knee or the bloke in the pub.

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Nice story Michael, and consistent with your views expressed in this thread. But you didn’t answer the questions.

Re: So

Now you’re talking sense.

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..that was to Michael

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tee he Theirlandais, spot on there.

I imagine the collector looking into his glass cabinet and viewing an extraordinarily diverse menagerie. And inviting his neighbour round to share in it. The neighbour is embarrassed and a little awkward, for all they can see is multiple rows and rows and rows of this charming leprechaun pig

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Sorry David, what question again? (I think I might be losing the plot).

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The second of the two was "If you have a field guide what is it for ?"

(treat that as two questions if you wish)

Re: So

I’m guessing that my RSPB field guide is gathering dust on a long forgotten book shelf somewhere in the house. More than likely alongside my copy of O’Neil’s

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Re: So

>>"In good sessions there is a desire for everyone to be hearing and responding accurately, so tunes get honed over time and the accuracy increases."

Accuracy to what? The version that the person who brought the tune to the session happens to play? How do you know that that version is "accurate"? In my experience that isn’t what happens anyway - if you realize that everyone else is fluffing a difficult phrase you simplify it so that everything comes together, and "accuracy" goes out the window.

>>"… it’s a shame that it doesn’t matter to them one iota that they failed to get the original correctly from grandaddy’s knee or the bloke in the pub."

When you pick up your fiddle, what are you trying to achieve? Are you simply trying to accurately replicate the sound some other (probably long dead) fiddler made, or are you trying to make music? If your idea of playing the tune "correctly" is to accurately replicate someone else’s playing, you might as well buy a CD. The sound your fiddle makes only becomes music when you put something of yourself into it. And, by definition, once you do that your version of the tune will be different to every other. Or, in your eyes, "incorrect".

Re: So

So were you a twitcher* when you bought it ?

* collector - which is what this figurines business is about

Re: So

"Brendan immigrated to New York with his family in 1965. In the ’70s he traveled to Ireland playing throughout the country with his contemporaries and building a huge repertoire of tunes. During this time, he won the All Ireland Fiddle Championship. Later, Brendan moved to Birmingham, England where he played in ceilidh bands and with the many Irish musicians who had also settled in the English Midlands"

http://www.allcelticmusic.com/artists/Brendan%20Mulvihill.html

So how do you build that "huge repertoire" if you only go to a session once a week, where the other sessioneers are so put off learning tunes in case Mr Gill accuses them of "polishing figurines" that they stick to their usual sets?

There is no shame in building a repertoire. It’s what many of the well kent musicians do. It would be lovely if Mr Hayes or Mr Burke would pop in each week and give everyone a new tune, but until that great day, there are many folk who rely on recordings - be it CDs, YouTube or whatever - and this site serves its purpose in checking out those tunes - different takes etc.

You have to face up to the fact that all diddley players are in their own way like antique collectors, philatelists, computer geeks - they have their own wee niche interest and how they go about feeding it shouldn’t matter. We are all junkies. Learn to live with it.

"He would never have recognised them and I only did because I’ve seen them before and am familiar with how they move. A field guide is very seldom of use."

So some guy in a twitcher session taught you all you know? I rather doubt that you haven’t got some "field guides" tucked away in your bookshelf - and that you haven’t referred to them on several occasions. Without such things, you wouldn’t be calling it a "lesser spotted woodpecker" - you’d be calling it "that wee spotty birdie with a long beak".

Re: So

If you put three bouncers and llig into a telephone box, he’ll still manage to get out…

Re: So

Cross-posted - but the more folk pointing out things the better.

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LOL, Theirlandais.

How can one learn and polish the good tunes, the unforgettable tunes, but then, if they seek out that tune they heard that they really like, they’re just a figurine collector? And I am sure that Michael himself has a very small repertoire of tunes, a handful "unforgettable tunes," right? Oh….wait…

Everyone approaches learning Irish music in their own way, using or not using whatever resources suit them. I for one am not going to issue pronouncements over the internet about the rightness or wrongness of it. But that said, I find there are few things as dull as those sessions where they play the same tunes without fail every single week and the musicians have zero interest in learning a single new one. I also know that the session Michael plays in is not remotely like that.

Re: So

"Accuracy to what?"
To the best version, which may not be the version that the person who brought the tune to the session happened to play? How do we know which version is the best? It’s usually the version that the best player plays, for one of the reasons they are the best player is their accuracy

If your experience is that because everyone else is fluffing a difficult phrase you simplify it so that everything comes together, and "accuracy" goes out the window.then you do the tune and the music a disservice.

And one of the glorious dichotomies of good diddley music is the amount of freedom you have while playing accurately and correctly. If you have difficulty squaring this dichotomy then you need to relax more and think less.

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No, I’ve never been a twitcher. Twitchers seek out birds they’ve never seen and they keep lists. I’ve never done that. Twitchers watch flocks of gulls to try and spot the rare ones, I’ve never done that, I watch flocks of gulls ‘cause they’re great to watch. Twitchers drive hundreds of miles to remote places to see birds rare to these Isles, but common elsewhere. I’ve never done that.

The vast majority of people who own bird field guides are not twitchers

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"If you put three bouncers and llig into a telephone box, he’ll still manage to get out…"

sorry that wasn’t really fair…..

What llig will do is redefine the meaning of "out"

Re: So

I never said there was a rightness and a wrongness, I said there is better and worse.

I’m constantly learning tunes new to me, but I’m in no hurry about it. The really good tunes get played often enough for them to sink into your soul. Sometimes I’ll request them, sometimes I’ll get someone to show me a tricky phrase or two. Sometimes we show each other phrases that we can hear people getting wrong. But it’s all done together. I only play once or twice a week, some of my mates play every night. They get more new tunes than me.

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Sometimes you’ll think you’ve put llig into a telephone box with three bouncers.

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When you to compare people with figurine collectors the comparison carries with it other things that collectors do. Such as driving hundreds of miles for a rare occurance (I won’t go through and do the substitutions in the whole twitcher paragraph).

So is it time to play the ‘it was only an analogy/simily’ get out of the telephone box free card ?

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"Everyone approaches learning Irish music in their own way, using or not using whatever resources suit them."

I think this probably accounts for the general low standard of music of most people learning Irish music. If more of them used the best sources available rather than merely whatever sources suit their personal foibles and or impatient acquisition mania, the general standard might be higher

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I’m interested in your comments re "best version" and "best player".

I’d have thought that you could have two equally good and experienced players(In many cases, it’s a subjective opinion) who might know and play quite different and distinctive versions of the same tune. One of them would have to agree to adapt and play the other version on that occasion and, of course, that isn’t the same as trying to reach a "LCD" and producing a mish mash of the two different versions.

Also, would you agree that the "best player" and the "best version" may also dependent on the particular tune? Especially if it’s a session where there are a lot of good players?

Re: So

No, I think people will always learn how to play to the standard that they want to play at. If you want to play at a high standard, you’ll figure it out. Quite a lot of people are happy muddling through a few tunes at a mediocre standard and have zero inclination to become great players. That’s like saying, "why are all these riders perpetually stuck at the low levels of dressage and not pushing themselves to be able to ride the Grand Prix." Like with the music, someone who is suitably dedicated to riding at the top levels will seek out the resources and the trainers needed to get there. The ones who aren’t bothered (like me) won’t. Obviously each person’s reasons will differ, but the point is a lot of people are satisfied with having fun on their horse at low levels. Lots of people also have fun playing John Ryan’s polka badly.

Re: So

"Sometimes you’ll think you’ve put llig into a telephone box with three bouncers."

yep redefining the meaning of "in" works just as well, good thinking, you’ve obviously played this game before…

Re: So

Twitchers are the birdie anoraks indeed. However, if you see a bird you’re unfamiliar with, you can be fairly confident that there are umpteen twitchers who’ll be able to tell you what it is.

I had a snow goose come and stay with my domesticated geese for a few days - about two weeks all told (this was about 30 years ago). I was fairly sure that it was a snow goose. I could have phoned the local RSPB man, but that wouds probably have meant twitchers arriving by the busload (word gets around). I was quite satisfied in taking out a field guide from my bookshelf and positively identifying the bird as a snow goose from there.
Sometimes the ould book is preferrable to asking someone to their face. If the same thing happened today then I’d more likely use t’internet. Why did it matter what kind of bird it was? Well, I can’t say it changed my life, but it was of interest, as I’m sure it would be to most people.

Like when I was travelling in Sweden and I saw what was obviously some kind of buzzard - but not quite the same as the buzzards that flew around home. Most folk that were with me didn’t know what it was, but one guy said it was a "fjällvråk". This was good to know, but it was only a book that helped me reach the conclusion that it was a rough-legged buzzard. Was I better off knowing this? - well we are all curious to some extent. It’s not "acquisition mania" to want to learn something from this site - or anywhere on the net. Sure there are the ‘twitchers’ as well as those who are just take a keen interest - and want to learn more - and not just how to play it.

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I like Michael’s analogy. However, I prefer to stand at the bar and watch tunes whizz by, recording their names and thesession.org ID in my notebook.

Or is that trains?

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"those who are just take a keen" = remove the ‘are’

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I have to admit I had some sympathy with Llig’s point of view to begin with. But it’s gone from the sublime to the ridiculous now.

This notion that there are "best players" and "best versions" (or even "correct versions") of tunes is ludicrous. If a Clare fiddler and a Donegal fiddler play the same tune, it will be two very different beasts. How can you say one is "better" than the other, or that one is "correct" and the other is not?

And the same applies to written transcriptions and recordings. If you think a transcription is "wrong" it’s worth remembering that (transcription errors aside) what is written is what the transcriber plays - in their view that is the "correct" tune, even if it’s not the version you know and consider to be "correct".

In that respect the tune base here on thesession is better than most, in that it doesn’t attempt to be definitive - if you don’t like the version posted you can add your own. And anyone looking for that tune can then try all the versions, and see which they like best, or which is closest to the version their session plays.

Maybe what Llig was alluding to in his original post is that to be a good session player you need to be able to adapt to the session, and not just rigidly play the version of a tune that you first learned. But that ability comes with musicianship, it has nothing to do with whether you learned your tunes from the internet or your grandpa.

Re: So

The analogy of dressage and people being satisfied with having fun on their horse at low levels and not pushing themselves to be able to ride the Grand Prix doesn’t work because the Grand Prix is a competition.

Yes, diddley music at a low level is just people having fun with music. But diddley music at higher levels and right to the very best of it is still just people having fun with music. It’s not competitive. You might think it is, but your wrong. The only difference is that it’s more fun to play it better.

This "satisfaction with mediocrity" malarky completely mystifies me.

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Skreech, you forget that while there cannot be many correct versions of a tune when playing together, there can be many correct versions of tunes that can exist simultaneously in the ether. It’s about squaring the dichotomy.

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Yeah, But that has nothing to do with whether you learn tunes from people or websites, only on how adaptable you are.

Re: So

I remember Carl Sagan - I believe it was he - saying that as a small child he asked his father the name of the bird he had just seen. His father replied, ‘Well, it’s a blackbird; but that doesn’t tell you anything. Where does it live? What does it do? Where does it go? These are the things you want to find out.’ It was what (supposedly) started him out on his scientific career. Anyway, what his father had said stuck in his mind — and obviously in mine as well.

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To me, the lowest common denominator is - are you having fun and can you make the audience dance with glee?

Re: So

But it does have to do with it Skreech, learning tunes from the people you play with teaches you to be adaptable, in real time. It’s one of the reasons learning tunes from people is better than learning them from frozen recorded or written sources.

And Gam’s post was great … and bang on topic.
The thing about learning tunes is that it’s an art, it’s not an exercise. You hear poor players often bemoaning the fact that it’s hard to learn tunes off people who play them differently (but still correctly) every time. But there in lies the art of it. People who struggle to learn tunes this way, those who resort to exercises like slowing down recordings and going to internet databases for transcriptions will never be able to play well. It has nothing whatever to do with acquisition. Nothing whatsoever to do with collecting or lists or anything like that. It’s about gleaning knowledge and honing skills. And, of course, you never actually say you’ve finished learning a tune because you never close the door to new things to do with them … while continuing to play them correctly and accurately. And this is why you can’t learn tunes from frozen striped down, overanalysed, superficial remnants of them. All you can learn is series’ of notes. And that’s a long long way indeed from being able to play.

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"those who resort to exercises like slowing down recordings and going to internet databases for transcriptions will never be able to play well"

That’s a rash generalisation. It’s just one way of getting a tune. Some people can make diddley out of tunes that are not even diddley to start out with. It’s knowing what makes them diddley. Once you know this, it doesn’t matter where your source is. Many fine players have got tunes from the old manuscripts and made them their own. I’ve used slowing down software to find out what a particular player was doing - not to be able to emulate it, but just to be aware of exactly what was being played.
You are tarring everyone with the same brush, but underneath it all, this is just another "dots v ear" argument (or much in the same vein).

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I think you are mixing two separate things Llig - learning tunes and learning musicianship. I would agree that you can’t learn musicianship from the internet - that has to come from playing with real people. But you can learn tunes from books and websites. And that is what most people use these valuable resources for - learning tunes, not learning the musicianship needed to present them in a decent form. And even if you learn a tune from dots in the early stages when your musicianship is crap, later on when your musicianship improves so will your presentation of that tune. You don’t have to go back and learn the same tune from a real person before you can play it properly.

If you want to complain about people who play badly, complain about them not bothering to learn musicianship, not the way they find tunes.

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Hey Jeremy, can we have a like button? please, pretty please? some comments just deserve applause ….

Re: So

Just image if everyone who is leaning Irish music at all levels and all skill levels (in fact that means everyone who plays irish music) turned up at sessions all across the globe and learned all their tunes at the session and no where else.. What a complete and utter mess that would be..

so I encourage everyone in Edinburgh to get yourself down to Sandy Bells, to learn your music, there are some very understanding and welcoming musicians in that pub, don’t forget to bring the Kesh jig and Drowsy Maggie with you though, it’s nice to have at least one jig and one reel.

and if you can’t find the nice friendly musicians in the pub, check out the nearest telephone box.

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Aye, I wish could like Therilandais’ post. I agree that all learning musicians should pop into Sandy Bells on a Tuesday night. Michael and the other regulars will definitely appreciate it and they will be thrilled to show you the ropes.

Dressage doesn’t need to be a competition (it just happens to be). You can learn to ride and train the movements, from basic levels all the way to Grand Prix and high school, and never ever go near a show. Most people will never ever be good enough riders and trainers to achieve that, but they’re happy schooling nothing harder than a 20 meter circle in the arena and bimbling around on trail rides. So the analogy holds. Plenty of people are just as happy playing 25 tunes with dodgy phrasing and never put the work into become better musicians.

I think screech was spot on in differentiating learning tunes from learning musicianship. But even if one aspires to be a great musician, one has to start somewhere. Even when learning a tune off a real person, the teacher will break it down and play slowly so the beginner gets it. It’s quite plainly ridiculous to think that anyone who starts their Irish music career by using slowed down music will never become a good player. Expecting a beginner to learn tunes at full speed in a session is like teaching a greenbroke horse the piaffe and passage.

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The piaffe ? what like edith ?

(warning french influenced joke )

David

Re: So

Well, I’m off up to the city of fur coat and nae knickers soon, so I’ll definitely do a bit of fact-finding :)

Re: So

the carrot and stick approach then ! So you dangle a carrot and a horse naturally bounces up and down ? how strange
I thought it was this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFRuLFR91e4


;-)

I dont know which clip is best ………………………………………………………………………..

David

Re: So

Hate to say it, but Scutcher’s video is a rather funny piss-take. If only it were that easy…. ;-)

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Ah, TSS, you got me,

But don’t you just love this comment on that video, from Darlene Tytula (2 months ago):

’ This has not taught me a thing. All I see is a girl doing a piaffe with horse with something dangling in front of him.’

Apologies for temporarily derailing this thread, so I’d better state that, having learned my first tunes directly from musicians, I regard any other medium as a poor substitute (but I was lucky and many other learners are far less fortunate).

Re: So

I hope we’re not too far along for this:

The learning process is intensely personal and decidedly not linear. This is doubly true if you are learning for the sheer joy of it. And doubly-doubly true if you are learning this music later in life having not grown up with it.

You’ve heard the tunes in movies and on TV and on NPR, but never really heard them. Until one day you do and it hits you like a ton of bricks. You love the way it makes you feel, and then you want to learn it. But you also need to learn how to play an instrument. So maybe you find a secondhand fiddle or cheap whistle. And then, although maybe you know better and maybe you don’t but you just want to play so badly, you find the dots or ABCs to the Kesh. Maybe you can’t even read those, so you digitally slow down the most simple version of the Kesh you can find. But even that’s not enough, so you find something else, like the tabs for mandolin that you think you can apply to the fiddle.

And while you’re doing this you’re watching YouTubes about how to hold the bow and the fiddle and also reading about scales and modes and accidentals. And you know of course that somewhere people go to sessions, so you go too and listen and realize how incredibly far away you are from even remotely being able to play like that. So you listen quietly and enjoy and then go practice with more YouTubes.

And then you can play the Kesh. Both parts, even. Without rolls, though, those are too hard. But you know when you’re playing that you have a hard enough time getting the notes in a row, so the tune comesoutallmushedtoghether in some places and doesn’t sound a thing like that session you listened to. And you don’t know why so you watch a different YouTube with different advice about how to hold the bow, thinking that your problem is mechanical.

And you may have a mechanical problem but that’s not the real problem. Eventually you figure this out as you are learning more tunes. They all sound the same way, which is not the right way, so you try to find out why. You read about phrasing and can hear it with good players but can’t get it right yourself. You know you should play with others more often but are massively intimidated by exposing yourself. So you keep reading online, find thesession.org and read Trevor’s and Will’s and Zena’s comments from years ago about how to get that pulse, how to slur, etc. So you try that.

And things get better, but now you’re unlearning which is hard and it’s disruptive. So then things regress which is discouraging but you keep at it.

Then you kind of figure out that you do need to play with others. So the first other is a teacher who kindly helps you unlearn a lot more. But she helps you learn too. And the progress you can hear in your playing is a nice reward. Not because you’ve accomplished some great thing, but because now you can start to hear the tune when you play it, not just a bunch of notes in a row. And that’s why you put the time in, because the tune is beautiful and sublime, and when what’s in your head actually starts to come out of your instrument, you know that you’re on to something.

So then you feel more confident about learning from others. Sure you could have started there, and in theory it may have saved you time. But if you started there and became discouraged and stopped trying you never would have learned anything. So you walked your own path, doubling-back and circling round and getting lost. And somewhere along the way thesession.org was a valuable resource for learning the tunes. It wasn’t the most important part and it wouldn’t have been enough on its own, but it helped. A lot.

~

"you never actually say you’ve finished learning a tune because you never close the door to new things to do with them"

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Yes, Jim but keep in mind it’s a recording which was uploaded in 2007. The new things those musicians are learning from the tune (now) cannot be heard on the clip.

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Back to the OP, about perspectives when using any website. For me the most noticeable change, after the Mustard relaunch, is how much more accessible the site has become on mobile devices.
When Jeremy announced the beta site I did use it on a mobile format (otherwise I’m on a laptop). It’s very well designed for mobile. So I imagine mustard members who access the internet on mobile are finding the new design more useful. I’m still curious if use has gone up in sessions.
"Making the site work well across a range of devices was a high priority for me. I definitely want it to be useful on mobile devices so that when you’re out and about, you can find nearby sessions fairly easily. Or if you’re at a session, look stuff up quickly."
# Posted by Jeremy December 12th,2012
http://thesession.org/discussions/31016#comment666169

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Re: So

"I think you are mixing two separate things Llig - learning tunes and learning musicianship."

I’m dismayed that people think that learning tunes and learning musicianship are separate things. Utterly dismayed and depressed about it. The tunes ARE the music … you learn musicianship by learning the tunes … by the open ended act of learning and learning and learning the tunes. NOT acquiring them, learning them. (sorry for shouting).

However, at least I’m gaining insight into reasons why so many people struggle.

NewToItAll’s tale is a sorry tale indeed. Very sad. And I think that Jeremy should be taking personal responsibility for its grimness.

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Me: "those who resort to exercises like slowing down recordings and going to internet databases for transcriptions will never be able to play well"
Weegie: "That’s a rash generalisation."

I agree, it was a rash thing to say. Let me rephrase:
Those who have, right from the outset and continue to - as their default position - resort to exercises like slowing down recordings and going to internet databases for transcriptions will never be able to play well.

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Jeremy: "I definitely want [thesession.org] to be useful on mobile devices so that when you’re out and about, you can find nearby sessions fairly easily. Or if you’re at a session, look stuff up quickly."

The first one, "find nearby sessions when you’re out and about" seems silly. Can anyone imagine being out and about and carrying your instrument and looking for a session on your phone?

And the second one, "Or if you’re at a session, look stuff up quickly." If I ever see someone looking up stuff quickly in a session I’m in I shall immediately take their mobile device and crush it under my heel.

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"I imagine you all with tall double fronted glass cabinets with shelves and shelves of tiny glass figurines. Mostly, you sit at home, but not really enjoying your collections as they stand, hardly ever getting them out and polishing them. Just scouring the internet for more."

I have used this analogy for decades to describe my tune repertoire, but where mine differs is that I DO get them out and clean them or fix bits that fell off and such. I’ve even traded some of them for better versions… or replaced them with better examples and such. My collection is always in movement and always expanding.

But here’s what I don’t get about you. Michael; why do you even post here since you seem to think it’s such a waste of time? I think it was either SilverSpear or SmashTheWindows that posed the same query to me when I had said in my profile that the discussion forum was a "waste of time." I thought about that… and I left. I decided I wouldn’t come back until I felt I could remove that line from my profile and join in again in good faith. I have done that… but you seem to be stuck in that quagmire of hating it but staying as some sort of diddleymartyr. You seem to think this is the last place for anyone to pursue the music and that people who do use this site are clueless and doing it all wrong… and you need to tell them. Do you have a Messiah complex or something?

Re: So

Michael asked:

"Can anyone imagine being out and about and carrying your instrument and looking for a session on your phone?"

Yes.

Re: So

Yes, I do have a certain naive arrogance in my quest to save the music from those that would "murder" it. Is that a Messiah complex?

And I’ve never said that all the people who use this site are clueless and doing it all wrong. But clearly, many are.

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Jeremy, I’m glad that I wasn’t out and about a few months ago looking for a session in Manchester with my phone.

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Michael writes: "And I’ve never said that all the people who use this site are clueless and doing it all wrong. But clearly, many are."

I said "You seem to think"… I never claimed you said that. Thanks for confirming my point though.

Re: So

We’re happy to see you back, Jack.

And yes, I have looked up a tune in a session.

I have also been in a strange city, with the pipes or a whistle, and used a mobile phone to looked up where one might find a session. These things really do happen.

Re: So

"Arrogance" is the right word…

You’ll be welcoming all those beginners to your session with open arms, then.

Re: So

"However, at least I’m gaining insight into reasons why so many people struggle."

No. You seem to be basing your whole hypothesis on the assumption that all those who don’t do as you do - or differ in the way they go about the process of playing/learning etc, are somehow not trad musicians - or "have got it all wrong" or "are struggling". I think you are way off the mark.

Learning an instrument without any tunes wouldn’t work as much as trying to play tunes without being able to play an instrument would be far from ideal - but musicianship involves interpretation of the tunes - those tunes can be gleaned from many sources and in any format.

Re: So

Michael, I am pleased to hear that you have transcended the need to consult with mundane things like bird guides and tune books, can learn tunes on the fly at speed, and have mates willing to serve your every informational need. I have seen videos of your playing, and you truly are a gifted musician. But most of all, I admire your ability to come back and spend so much time on this website that you despise with all the lesser mortals, letting them know how feeble their efforts are, and all this despite the fact that they so obviously irritate you by their very existence…

Re: So

No, you miss the point. The music is the tunes. You learn musicianship by learning the tunes. If you try to learn the tunes separately from learning the musicianship, by the time you get around to learning the musicianship you’ll have to learn the tunes over again. (NewToItAll’s tale is a straightforward description of this).

However, the better you can play (and I’ve said this many times before), of course the better you get at creating good music from using frozen striped down, overanalysed, superficial remnants of it.

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that was at weejie

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Al, I don’t despise this website … I merely despair in they way it’s used

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:-O

Re: So

"No, you miss the point. The music is the tunes. You learn musicianship by learning the tunes."

I understand the point you are trying to make but they are not one and the same thing. They are intertwined but still have a degree of individuality.
You (or most people) learn the art of playing the music by playing the tunes, but you don’t (as you have suggested yourself) become a better musician by learning more tunes. There comes a point when you can interpret tunes as diddley. It might even be a tune you’ve heard as a doorbell chime. Likewise, you can transfer a tune to another instrument - involving different "disciplines".
If you have reached a reasonable level of musicianship, it doesn’t matter where you get your tunes from (hence the database here being a useful resource). You can interpret it all into diddley. If you are in the belief that the tunes here are to be played as written or such like, then yes, you have a problem. But you seem to be under the assumption that anyone who finds the database here a useful source of tunes must be under the illusion that they are played as written etc.
Ain’t the case.

"Al, I don’t despise this website … I merely despair in they way it’s used"

I don’t think you really know how it’s being used. You are not crediting people with enough savvy.

Re: So

That’s a good post weejie and I’m thankful that in the main we understand each other.

However, I feel I must insist that learning the tunes and learning the music are not merely intertwined, but that they are the same thing. I think they do not have a degree of individuality.

And I am not under the assumption that everyone who finds the database here a useful source of tunes must be under the illusion that they are played as written etc. Not at all. However, a heck of a lot are.

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"I feel I must insist that learning the tunes and learning the music are not merely intertwined"

I think we are at cross purposes. The instrument and the music (in the form of tunes), rather than the music and tunes. "Musicianship" involves getting to grips with a particular instrument, (that goes for voice too) as well as interpreting the music.

However, a lot of tunes from other "tongues" can be translated into the "music". They don’t have to start off as the "music".

Re: So

I’ve generally considered any written version of tunes as a snapshot in time of a specific player’s interpretation fed through the filter of the ear of the transcriber, hard to imagine someone thinking they are somehow "correct" in any form. Michael, I’m curious how you’re determining a "heck of a lot", is that via direct interactions with other members of the board either here or in real life, or just a general sense based on the reactions to your postings?

Re: So

It does’t getting any better than Late-Night Mustard~
"If you have reached a reasonable level of musicianship, it doesn’t matter where you get your tunes from (hence the database here being a useful resource)"
Here come those doorbell jigs.

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This thread is like reading a foreign language. It makes for really, really weird reading matter. What Michael is saying is so obvious that it sometimes seems like people are disagreeing with him just because he’s llig. It’s like he’s holding an apple and saying "this is an apple" and then people start chiming in and saying "no, I think it’s a pear", or "how dare you tell us what we should be calling it - we can call it what we like!", even though it’s quite obviously an apple.

So then I’m thinking - why would llig continue trying to explain the ins and outs of apples and seemingly not getting anywhere? The only answer I can come up with is that he is hoping that at least one person will come to the realisation that what he is holding is, indeed, an apple. The only other possibility is that he is genuinely interested in the reasons why anyone might refuse to believe that it’s an apple, or not know what an apple is, or even entertain the possibility that philosophically we should accept that what we are looking at might actually be something else. The first means he is a teacher; the second means he is a learner. Possibly a combination of both?

(Are we allowed to have meta-metadiscussions?)

Re: So

there is no try

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I think that the comment "The value of any information source is inversally proportional to your knowledge of the subject." by Theirlandais is really at the crux of the matter.

If you read llig’s OP, he clearly states that he’s not trying to belittle the people who find the internet the most valuable asset they have, but he IS trying to get them to "see the light", and understand that they can strive for more.

I’ll admit that I have found this website a valuable resource over the years (and honestly, maybe the 5 most influential things to me that have been said on this website were said by llig himself). I am an analytical person, at least in most of my life. And I find that analyzing things to detail has been helpful to me, not in how I play, exactly, but in how I think about and approach my playing. But as my playing has progressed, I think it’s fair to say that none of the things that I have learned from this website can really compare to the things I’ve learned from people face to face, either in formal teaching settings, or from informal playing settings.

In other words, the "value of this website as an information source" has waned for me over the years, exactly as it should have, and exactly as llig is encouraging other people to strive for…

Re: So

Thanks Reverend and Dr. Dow. A breath of fresh and cool air. ‘Nuff said.

Re: So

"Here come those doorbell jigs."

My doorbell plays "The Dashing White Sergeant" (it’s programmable).

Re: So

It started out in the OP as an indictment of the internet as it relates to playing and learning Irish trad… the discussion enlarged to include discussing the merits and/or misgivings of this site as well… since it’s part of the internet and focusing on sessions and the music. It devolved, if you like, into seeming to be saying something along the lines of, "This isn’t about you… but I think you are wrong." But aside from all of that, I personally think the best thing to come out of this discussion is Michael’s coining of the word, Diddleypedia." It’s kind of like the Obamacare of the Session dot org.

Re: So

Mr Gill’s OP is fine. It’s the subsequent posts that start to get woolly.

Stuff like "if you view this website as a "valuable" resource, then it is having a disproportionate influence on your music".

Re: So

Cross post with PB.

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You have to admire Llig, he’s like a rubber bouncing ball, the ones that kids (and myself) play with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP5J4W5GQ3w , it starts off with big loping bounces, almost dangerous, you’re afraid that it might break a window or knock over a vase, it then bounces off the wall and starts to pick up all kinds of strange spin and now you’re afraid it might hit you, it then bounces under the table and starts to get agitated and make a lot of noise, bouncing rapidly and you’re almost sure it’s going stop bouncing and come to rest, but no it comes out the other end of the table, albeit a little weary, tired and not bouncing very high, and what happens then is some naive kid comes along and gives the ball another whack in a different direction and off it goes again, big loping bounces ………


Re: So

"And the second one, ‘Or if you’re at a session, look stuff up quickly.’ If I ever see someone looking up stuff quickly in a session I’m in I shall immediately take their mobile device and crush it under my heel."

So last night we wanted to play The Duke of Leinster but nobody could remember how it starts. We played something else instead and while we did I noticed the guy next to me had the Session website on his phone, looking for the opening notes of the D of L.

I assume the talk about crushing the device is hyperbole, but do you really think what he did is "wrong" Llig? I carry a couple of books of common tunes in my fiddle case, would you take them from me and burn them if I took one out to jog my memory?

Re: So

After many years of slagging off people with mobile phones, I treated myself to a new one over Christmas. My last one which I purchased circa 2000 AD seemed to do the job OK as I never accepted incoming calls and I attended to most of my "online" business at home. I also had plenty of other gadgets, e.g. camera, IPOD, MP3 player, recorder etc. However, the batteries were "caput" and it was just as easy to get a new device.

It’s still my intention to use it sparingly though and, in many situations, it’s simply bad manners to be sitting there "keying in" loads of nonsense all the time. A music session would be such a scenario, IMHO.

OK, if the others agreed, it could be used for a specific purpose even for looking up a tune but it should be done subtly and not be distracting. Also, I wouldn’t have a problem using a phone to check information generally if you were visiting a strange town etc but there is always a time and place for everything.

Re: So

Yes, I think it’s wrong on many levels.

For starters, why on earth would anyone want to play a tune they can’t remember? You should be rejoicing in how your memory works. If you forget something (barring some unfortunate medical condition) it’s because you’ve not made the effort to remember it. It beggars belief really … an assembled company decide they want to play a particular tune … they can all remember its label, but not one can remember the actual thing itself.

And how antisocial to be looking up one tune while the assembled company plays another?

No, I wouldn’t burn your books … because I wouldn’t be found in your session in the first place.

I can only assume Marvis, that you haven’t read any of this thread.

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I used my mobile at a session to look up the comments of a tune that we had just played because a question regarding its authorship and provenance came up… and I remembered reading about it there. No one wanted to crush my phone, it didn’t distract from the music and the people who were interested were delighted that I produced an answer.

Re: So

I used Wikipedia the other day to settle an argument. It didn’t.

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For starters, why on earth would anyone want to play a tune they can’t remember?
easy, they may have heard it in a session liked it and asked the name of it at the time, and then when they got home could only remember the a part. what else were they supposed to do ,make up a new b part?

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You’ve obviously not read this thread either

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‘Josef” Miles — Playing tunes is like telling jokes. A friend of mine often takes out his mobile phone and reads off the latest gags that he has been sent. They rarely make me laugh. After a couple of hours he has memorised them, and I laugh when he tells them to other people. Nothing kills off conversation more effectively than the absolute loss of contact experienced when someone gazes into that blue glow.

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I make up new B parts all the time. :-)

I think Michael’s OP was fair enough and I agree that thesession.org and the internet should not be your primary method of learning how to play Irish music. And if it is, you’re under-resourced. Learning from actual people will always have primacy over anything else. Then, in the manner of many an internet argument, he went to the extreme ends of his original position, saying thesession has no use and that people who use it, use the dots, use slow downer software, will never be good players. Which is a preposterous claim. How can he know that everyone who started playing music using the information here and using slow downer software remained a mediocre player? And how can he know how much, or how little, good players all over the world use the site? His "mates" might not, but they are hardly a representative sample.

Lastly, my experiences of living in Edinburgh for two years showed that resources for adult learners of Irish music there were so fantastic and readily available that I started driving an hour or more to play in Dundee and then later, Glasgow about once per week. In other words, there were no teachers of my instrument in particular and at the time, there were no intermediate-ish Irish sessions populated by a few good players who could show how it was done, as it were. But it’s easier to pontificate on the internet than it is to actually do something in the real world that would be helpful to real life (and somewhat lost) players in your own city.

Re: So

I already apologised for that one:
"I agree, it was a rash thing to say. Let me rephrase:
Those who have, right from the outset and continue to - as their default position - resort to exercises like slowing down recordings and going to internet databases for transcriptions will never be able to play well."
http://thesession.org/discussions/31159?newcomment=668756#comment668687

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I think you’ve gone a bit daft Michael. We didn’t want to play a tune we don’t know, we all know the tune in question quite well, it was just that nobody could remember how to start it. That’s extremely common, in my experience, and it’s nothing to do with "not having made the effort to remember", it’s just ordinary human fallibility.

Re: So

Nope, I still think it’s daft to want to play a tune nobody can remember. Surly there were enough tunes to fill your evening with that you could remember?

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"nobody could remember how to start it"

I started another thread re forgetting how some tunes start quite recently. Yes, it’s not an uncommon occurrence and, as discussed, sometimes some kind of cue helps e.g. playing the last few notes which will jog the memory….as if going into a repeat or playing another tune first. Some people carry a small notebook with the first few notes of tunes etc.

In most cases, at least someone there will know how it starts or be able to work it out very quickly. To go to the trouble of looking the thing up in a mobile phone really is "a bit daft", in my opinion. Why not just play something else in the meantime until it comes back to you?
Surely, if nobody is able to start a tune relatively quickly, its not the time and place for it. Maybe its just meant for another night or even later on the same night?

Re: So

Sorry, Llig. We cross posted but you were a lot more precise than me.

Re: So

It’s almost like people are saying "But Michael, I see it as a cherry. Once I built myself a giant hand out of wire coathangers and papier mache, and I put said fruit in that hand. Then I made sure to place the hand with the fruit inside it in a featureless landscape containing only sand. Then I walked far away from the hand and took a picture of the whole thing from a distance with my mobile phone and, lo and behold, it was a cherry! I showed it to all my friends and they all agreed that it was a cherry!"

The fact is, you wasted your time and got all clarty messing about with the papier mache and ended up doing something that any sane person would regard as pointless and downright weird.

It was still an apple.

Why not do the obvious and just eat it and enjoy it?

Re: So

Sorry I just did a repeat post + edit :-/

Re: So

"To go to the trouble of looking the thing up in a mobile phone really is "a bit daft", in my opinion. Why not just play something else in the meantime until it comes back to you?"

But that’s what we did: we played something else, and while we were doing that someone who wasn’t playing looked up the tune we’d forgotten the start of. And it would make absolutely no difference to me if he had looked it up on the internet, or looked in a book of tunes, or looked in his notebook with the first few notes in (I have one of those), or if he just used his memory. I can’t see even the slightest harm in any of those.

Re: So

"I see it as a cherry…Once I built myself a giant hand out of wire coathangers and papier mache, and I put said fruit in that hand….It was still an apple…."

Thing is, we’re all fruit cakes. Nice with Wensleydale, the way they do it in the Dales.

Re: So

So the other week, when you were down at your local glass figurine collectors club, someone went, "Damn, I wish I’d brought my Duke of Leinster figurine, I love that one, it’s got such lovely … er … lovely … … err … Has anyone got theirs so I can remind myself what one my favourite figurines looks like?" And everyone else goes, "Na, sorry mate, we all left ours at home too. Darn good looking figurine though, darn good looking … … What does it look like again?"

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I’m not sure Dow. It seems like he’s holding up an apple, and accusing everyone else of thinking it’s a cherry. And most of us are saying "no, that’s an apple, but that’s okay. We can have apples now and cherries later". And he’s like "no. If you eat apples you can never eat cherries". Or something. Sometimes metaphors just suck.

Re: So

I’d say it’s more like a rake of people so impatient for cherries that they go to tesco.com and order rakes of them online. They don’t even have to get out of their comfy arm chairs. And the cherries get flown all the way from Africa and arrive all neatly and uniformly packed up at their doors. They pop their cherries in their mouths and they taste bitter. But they know no better so don’t even realise they’re supposed to taste sweet. (But at least they had the foresight to order seedless ones, to avoid cutting their teeth on them)

Many years ago, some nice people I met let me try their homegrown cherries. They were lovely. And these ones came with seeds, so I planted a cherry tree in my garden.

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Ce n’est pas une pomme, haha.

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Lovely cherry trees down by our local primary school. Problem is all those pesky birdies eat them all. Thinking of spreading the word that there are flocks of waxwings there. The twitchers will scare the birdies away, and I can get to the cherries. Then again, I can always go to tesco.com and save the bother. On the bitter side mind, but they’ll go with the fruit cake and cheese.

Re: So

Waxwings are too common this winter for the twitchers to bother with. But I just adore that noise a big flock makes. A very soft gentle trilling. It’s fabulous. I’d travel for that.

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"No, I wouldn’t burn your books … because I wouldn’t be found in your session in the first place."

How do you know? If you’re thinking of going to a new session do you contact the organiser and check that nobody will be allowed to look in a book or on the internet to remind themselves of the start of a tune? I think you’ve lost touch with reality.

Re: So

If you think, Marvis, that llig has lost touch with reality, just read the comment directly above yours.
Seriously though, some while ago in another discussion, I said something like. "you don’t learn to play an instrument, you learn to play the music". Llig remarked that I was joking; but actually what I was trying to say then is, I think, what Michael is saying in this thread.
Perhaps I can put it this way — For a long time I learned to play the way I was taught, this finger here, that finger there, etc, and religiously practised until I began to believe I could play quite well. Then one day in mid-tune my brain suddenly switched from what my fingers were doing to what my ears were hearing, and I thought ‘This sounds shight’.
It was a revelation, I can tell you.
You don’t learn ‘how to use your voice’ when growing up, you just begin to make noises, and gradually learn how to control the sounds. What you say and the way you say it is what matters — you don’t spend hours practising how to use your voice (unless you are an opera singer or a politician).
This is what I meant by not ‘learning an instrument’. It is the sounds you are learning to control, not the instrument. These are not the same thing. Before you can learn how to control the sounds coming out, you have to know what sounds you want to make, i.e. the musical language that you are learning. The tunes. The only real source is other people, and anything else is a poor substitute, as anyone who tried to learn a language from a phrase book will testify.
Speaking of tunes — an apple is an apple, and an apple fritter isn’t. This practise of changing the tunes around to suit your or your mates’ abilities does a disservice to the tunes, and possibly to the composer. Granted there is a degree of freedom in Irish music; but that doesn’t mean you can just change whatever you like on a whim, or because you’re bored with the way something sounds. The tunes are the buildings that make up the city, and while the city has a certain character of its own, it is nothing without the buildings. Go and explore by all means - take your pot of paint if you must, but please leave your hammer and screwdriver at home:- others are coming along behind.
Of course if this is not what llig is saying, I won’t be surprised if he says so.

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Re: So

"…you don’t spend hours practising how to use your voice (unless you are an opera singer or a politician)…"

Or several "traditional" singers I can think of.

"If you think, Marvis, that llig has lost touch with reality, just read the comment directly above yours."

I hope that wasn’t directed at my comment. Perhaps you are too obsessed with reality, Gam.

You cannae see t’wood fer t’trees.

Re: So

Ha Gam, yeah, It’s more or less what I’m saying.

I don’t remember disagreeing with you on your "you don’t learn to play an instrument, you learn to play the music" thing. There may have been more to it. But I can’t remember.

But yes, I’d say that being able to play an instrument is often a mere side effect of learning to play the music.

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"Waxwings are too common this winter for the twitchers to bother with. "

If I tell ‘em there’s a cedar waxwing in the flock, they’ll flock.

Just been out with camera to some fields down the road (twixt my last post and the previous one). Plenty of greylags and some whooper swans feeding on the stubble. All went well until a RAF fighter set them fleeing.

"But yes, I’d say that being able to play an instrument is often a mere side effect of learning to play the music."

Having to fart about with reeds is a side effect of taking up such a ludicrous pastime as playing the music for some.

Re: So

So are you the kind of guy who watches a flock of waxwings to see if there is a cedar among them? Ho Ho

I pass a football/rugby field on my way to work. This morning there was 87 curlews digging for worms. You don’t think of curlews coming in flocks (and though they were easy to count, they were a bit too far away to see if one of them was a whimbrel

Posted .

Re: So

"So are you the kind of guy who watches a flock of waxwings to see if there is a cedar among them? Ho Ho"

Nope. I’m just there for the cherries.

"You don’t think of curlews coming in flocks"

I’m actually more used to seeing them in flocks - but you don’t see them round here much.

Re: So

You counted them ?

Re: So

"I hope that wasn’t directed at my comment." No, weejie, when I said "the comment directly above yours", I meant "the comment directly above yours".

Posted by .

Re: So

It’s just that other comments can creep in between reading and responding to posts.

Re: So

Yeah, I counted them because I’d never seen a flock anywhere near that big before.

Posted .

Re: So

Get thee sel’ up north. You find them in large numbers in the Norn islands.

Re: So

I shall

Posted .

Simile

"It’s like he’s holding an apple…"
That’s an interesting twist on apples & oranges. The premise being, the topic (internet musical database resources~ specifically of the mustard variety) can be reduced to an objective observation in which an apple is simply that & despite similarities to a pear, a cherry, or various other fruits these are not apples.
So ~ What is the apple?
Possibly being face to face with another trad musician.
And ~ The pear?
Would that be the tune settings, how these function when using the database, the (assumed) preponderance of their literal accuracy, limited supplemental use, reliance on the settings as a primary way for a newbie to learn the tunes… ?

Posted .

Re: So

How many apples in a barrel of grapes?

Re: So

Sour grapes?

Re: So

If someone has shown you his/her way with a tune is it OK to accept an offer to record it for you ?

Do You Love __ ___?

The Pear: "I used my mobile at a session to look up the comments of a tune that we had just played because a question regarding its authorship and provenance came up… and I remembered reading about it there."

The Apple: "For starters, why on earth would anyone want to play a tune they can’t remember? You should be rejoicing in how your memory works. If you forget something (barring some unfortunate medical condition) it’s because you’ve not made the effort to remember it. It beggars belief really … an assembled company decide they want to play a particular tune … they can all remember its label, but not one can remember the actual thing itself."

Posted .

Re: So

Or is it the Apple and the Android?

Posted .

Re: So

David, imho as long as you’ve done your best to listen to your mate playing the tune it would be fine to accept anything else she or he might offer. Including abcs scratched out on a napkin.

Posted .

Apple Mash?

People Do Love their Androids.

Posted .

Re: So

Around here they’re all Cedars, and when a Bohemian vagrant shows up it causes quite a stir.

Re: So

I love how people question the usefulness of this forum ON THIS FORUM.
If you ask me, some people love to show off their philosophy chops. Wow I’m impressed that you can question the deeper questions. It’s a music community discussion and database, very useful, get over yourselves.
It’s like playing a fiddle in a session and in the middle you stop and discuss "what is a fiddle really anyway". Just silly.

Salt

Re: So

The questioning isn’t about the value of forum discussions. It is about using the abcs, tune settings, etc. for learning the music ~ "If you view this website as a valuable musical resource…"

Posted .

Re: So

Na eisc

I hate my Droid. But It does several useful things that allow me to be tolerant of it. Herself likes the Droid GPS because I always seem to find my way home from New York City with it :-)

Musically, I find my Ipod nano much more valuable- quicker to use for recording on the spur of the moment.

Droid does alot of things, but not alot real well. When I post things to this site from the Droid, everyone knows. ‘Spelling’ becomes a matter of chance.

Re: So

Sounds like the classic love-hate schtik.

Posted .

Re: So

Here, taste a bit of this apple;
X:0
M:3/4
K:D
"B-part, with triplets and second ending:

|:fg af dF|Ad c2 B2|ef ge cA|Bc (3BcB A2|
fg af dF|Ad (3cdc B2|ef (3gfe cA|1 Bc d2 de:|2 Bc d2 D2||"

http://thesession.org/tunes/1323#comment83252

Posted .

Re: So

The Tunes are ideas, thought waves that we individually and collectively manifest through our instruments. Whats relevant is how we transmit these ideas throughout the community . Fortunately you tube’ is at our fingertips via the links here. The educational value of listening and watching the experts play and listen to them teach is priceless. The facility to pick up the melodic ideas as contained within the form of a tune , and in fact many variations as well, via the ABC compendium is brilliant.
For those of us scattered around the world interested in relatively obscure and old styles of music forums like this and online resources are excellent ways to self educate . No one, that im aware of, has ever suggested that these resources are of them selves sufficient , they are merely tools to enhance our ability to manipulate information and create fresh new music rooted within old traditions.
The supplementary use of online videos and the like , with the wealth of them available is of much value to me and a great resource and im very happy to make the best of the facilities available. .

To question the value of the dots and ABC is IMO akin to questioning the value of the written word !!………you can imagine my astonishment when i encounter this kind of luddism or almost nihilism online. Someone vociferously condemning the value of a resource while themselves useing that resource to condemn it! kind of like a dog chasing its tail. Why would someone get so involved over so many years with something they apparently consider a waste of time ? Spend so much time and energy getting caught up in arguments and discussions ?
I think to question the value of the session.org is akin to questioning the value of a public library and virtual chat room, whatsmore a massive library specifically focused on a particular genre That can be transposed, slowed down pitch shifted ! whatever. Incredible resource .


Suggesting that because I and others consider this and other online resources as of great value that we are therefore under resourced flies in the face of the facts, the evidence and common sense.
Is the man who uses the library less resourced than the man who does not?
Are the illiterate better resourced than the literate?
I can understand the illiterate questioning and condemning the value of writing and of books , but i don’t understand those who can read doing so.

Re: So

"There is, I think a good deal to learn from many sources, radio, Cds, people, sessions, internet, even dots."

"As I said, it’s perspective. One should list one’s sources in order of their value to you."
It’s up there. ^ ^

Posted .

Re: So

Father Ted is amazing.

Re: So

I saw "The Crying Game" with a friend when it first came out. In an early part of the film my friend turned to me and said, "Look at those knees." "She’s a boy!"
That helped explain her Adam’s Apple.

Posted .

Re: So

OK, deep thought time.
Written music is like Schrödinger’s cat. Just like the cat can exist in two forms, both dead and alive, as long as the box is closed, a tune can exist in multiple settings when it is on a page (or in a database, I suppose). But just like when you open the box, and the probabilities collapse down to one outcome or the other for our cat, when you start to play a tune, all the probabilities collapse into a single setting of the tune.
What does that mean?
Damned if I know, but it seems to be pontificating time around here, so I thought I would join in.

Re: So

You surely mean "Written mewsic is like Schrödinger’s cat", Al. Just giving you paws for thought…

Re: So

You got me with that one…

Re: So

That first reply was for Steve, and the second was for PB! ;-)

Re: So

But Al, Schroedinger used his cat bit as an absurd example to criticise the contemporary thinking about quantum mechanics - that clearly the cat cannot be both alive AND dead. So I think you just inadvertently supported Mike’s original post.

Posted by .

Re: So

Yes… that’s the very same one I posted.

Re: So

For some reason in my browser it came up differently.
Cheers!

Posted .

Re: So

I must say that I’m heartened that the great Jig (aka Will Evans) has supported my statement so eloquently:

"music forums like this and online resources are excellent ways to self educate."

Perfection. I rest my case.

Posted .

Re: So

Oh yes, amazing resource, for example, last week I got a job in a Swing jazz band, not having much more than a vague clue about Jazz and having gigs booked for 5 days later it was a matter of going to youtube, downloading a bunch of bits and pieces, original reel to reels and scratchy vinyl , matched up the chord charts with the songs, learnt them and that was that Its no replacement for actually playing with the guys, but it allowed me to sit in and play my role adequately. Without this facility available things would have been considerably more complex. I was able to go away and research the material listen and practice at home and bring it back to the guys in a basic , but effective, manner.
No one is saying I, or anyone else, will master Jazz or trad like this , to master any genre can take a lifetime, but it gives us greater opportunities to progress.
I mean when i was learning there was no internet,Cds etc it was rewind cassettes over and over, feck that for a laugh, or more often learn from the other guys or just pick them up in sessions,
Now I certainly feel that this kind of groundwork , picking tunes up by ear in session, is immensely valuable, its a skill that takes time to develop just as all aspects of playing do, but its only one aspect of playing and IMO needs to be viewed in a balanced manner in relation to the numerous other skills needed.

All the technical aspects of learning and playing are mere adjuncts to the real core, singing the tunes through the medium of an instrument, expressing oneself in an individual, personal, and unique style , naturally and unconsciously with enjoyment and pleasure. If you dont have this, however you learn or play you have very little in relation to the bigger picture.

Our circumstance are different therefore our experiences and requirements are different . Picking up tunes slowly over the months by osmosis is all very well for those people like llig who play once a week with the same crowd, but for those of us who frequent sessions infrequently and play several hours a day in numerous different places, dont have this facility available .
LOl I can just imagine the consternation if anyone like DrSS actually decided to sit in with Gill and co, on pipes and learn the tunes like that, week after week. :-) The very ridiculousness of the idea puts into perspective the whole premise behind the OP’s contentions .


I am a great proponent of learning to play by ear, its how I learnt, and I think this skill is in need of development in many trad players of all levels. Im regularly amazed by players who cant just pick up a simple jig , reel or polka as it happens in session. that includes many many players of high calibre here in Ireland.

There is a big difference between being able to play, and the process one uses to learn the tunes to play. They are separate issues and as i approach my 4th decade of playing I more and more come to realise this..
For example one guy I play with cant pick up tune by ear, hes a brilliant player, really but he is lost trying to learn new tunes by ear unless hes in very specific circumstance. Is he a lesser player in some way because hes totally deaf in one ear and partial hearing in the other? Should he have decided his disability precludes him from being a great musician or that as his hearing went he should give up? Many great players cant read and many cant learn by ear, doesn’t mean they are any the worse players for it. Different strokes for different folks and if anyone wishes to suggest that their method is superior then let them demonstrate that facility and we can judge and adopt, or not, the suggested method accordingly. Im certainly willing to learn from anyone.

Draw it back to an earlier analogy of strangers asking for directions. Firstly as kids we took great delight in sending people who ask for directions in completely the wrong direction, in fact we would lie in wait for them and change sign posts too. snigger , somehow I wonder if certain posters here take a similar delight in misdirecting people….Secondly when you have a tourist misdirecting a tourist then a local corrects them but another bunch of tourist chime in to support the first misdirection then what is the local supposed to do?shut up and watch the game? or counter the misdirection with accurate detailed information ? suppose a big row starts up, one local and 10 tourists ? eventually the police come along and remove the local , now that leaves the blind to direct the blind… Who gains then? What it needs IMO is more locals to chime in, not more tourists. Where are all the locals? frightened off by mass crowds of aggressive opinionated tourists maybe…….

Re: So

Flippin’ heck Jig, you make this so much easier for me.

The internet’s great isn’t it? You can learn to play - to a professional standard - any kind of music you care to think of in under 5 days. Of course, the only criteria is that you must express yourself in an individual, personal, and unique style (though this is easier to get away with if you play with deaf people)

And I enjoyed your last paragraph. The blind leading the blind is a neat (if a bit obvious) description of the internet in general.

Anyway, with your new found skills, why don’t you go and join a swing jazz discussion forum? I’m sure they’d really appreciate your ability to express yourself, your individuality, your personality and your unique style.

Posted .

Re: So

Well Na éisc , in my own personal experience; The more I know the more the thirst for knowledge inspires me to dig deeper and listen closer, The more I play the more I want to play. The more technical issues I can master the better the expression and the better I can play leads to better music and a better buzz that leads me to investigate and study more.
The more I play in groups the better I get at it, the more I want to do it. Music is such a rewarding process, friendship, fun, material rewards appreciation , ‘as many mountains to climb’ as a man could want in a lifetime.

So the net is a huge resource for me. Just as are audio recordings of willie Clancy and the like. I cant believe how slowly I would progress if all I did was pick up one instrument once a week!
Music is a life long journey at times there are big obstacles and mountains to climb, so dont get stuck at a plateau and spend time telling the other coming up behind you that there is no mountain ahead in the mist, or worse mocking those climbing behind you and heaping scorn and derision because some people think they have arrived at the top of the mountain and in fact are merely stuck at a plateau way down the side in the mist.. Open your mind to the great potential of the universe, Like they say; the mind is like a parachute, it only works when its open.

Re: So

I’m reminded of that Ben Goldenacre fellow who writes that splendid Bad Science column in the guardian.

He went to Glastonbury once but he said it was no fun. Just shooting fish in a Barrel

Posted .

“The value of any information source is inversely proportional to…”

Cheers, Will. I will assume either you tend to disagree with Reverend’s post or you don’t understand what he wrote.

Posted .

Re: So

@ Ben; I understood but rather than respond as you suggested I explained myself in a manner that didnt reflect on the revs position, that simple propounds a positive proactive approach. After nearly 40yrs of playing I find there is more and more to learn every day.

Re: So

Will, it seems as though you (might) be suggesting the value of an information source is directly proportional to the user’s knowledge of the subject. Is this because the information source is not to be taken as static, but rather in a constant state of flux, & refinement; potentially being altered by input from the user(s)?

Posted .

Re: So

Very well put, I wasnt suggesting that but its a interesting idea . But it also depends on our requirements I might use a resource that has no interest to you, such as this place http://www.ceolsean.net/alttitles.html

for me this is an incredible resource. many others might find it of no use. am I somehow under resourced because I have access to this library and use it extensively??

Re: So

"for me this is an incredible resource"

It’s excellent. There are others, too.

Bringing things back full circle.

"it also depends on our requirements"
Yes, & in that case it’s important to keep in mind the part of this discussion concerned with musical resources (specifically learning & playing tunes) & their relative value to each other without ignoring the needs of the player using them.

Posted .

Re: So

"it’s important to keep in mind the part of this discussion concerned with musical resources (specifically learning & playing tunes) & their relative value to each other without ignoring the needs of the player using them."

Indeed, and Mr M C Gill’s opening post was basically concerned with learning and playing. However, some subsequent posts appeared to ignore the fact that there are many facets to consider when placing a value on a resource, not just its direct value regarding learning and playing the music.
Some of the quotes in those subsequent posts were not actually concerned with learning - or actual playing the tunes as they appear online. Although the point about information sources being "inversely proportionate" applies to just about everything put forward here, it also applies to most, if not all "repositories" and "learning facilities", including libraries, the education system and Hilda Wilkinson’s handbag. Moreover, the amount of information available isn’t static. It’s having an effect on certain institutions (though you’ve got to watch those punters who create a honey trap like an online search app for tunes, that, understandably, takes a wee while to process, and while this is going on, they try and punt teeshirts and instruments) too.
There will be few people who ken more already than what can be gleaned on t’net (I’m not specifically referring to tunes in ABC).

Ah weel, the posts are mounting up. Not even any need to consult Acts of Parliament too - this might outstrip the Weejie/Gall stats.

:-/

"though you’ve got to watch those punters who create a honey trap like an online search app for tunes, that, understandably, takes a wee while to process, and while this is going on, they try and punt teeshirts and instruments"

Posted .

Re: So

"Ah weel, the posts are mounting up. Not even any need to consult Acts of Parliament too - this might outstrip the Weejie/Gall stats."

You’ve got a way to go yet :)

No Acts of Parliament consulted, yet. But an Act of Mustard started the whole thing rolling.

Posted .

Re: So

Just picking up on the earlier phrase in posts of "play the music to the highest standard". What does this mean? Yes, one can point to any number of YouTube clips of The Big Boys and The Big Girls, but what is the "highest standard" in the context of this discussion? Yes, it’s a bit of a side-track to the real original thrust of the OP, but it is surely relevent.

Consider two of the ‘debatees’ here, Michael Gill and Will Evans. From what I can tell from past discussions and background, Michael has played for many years, once a week, in one session, in Sandy Bells pub in Edinburgh - well known for its tourists and its music.

Will has travelled the length and breadth of Ireland (and he lives there), plus he has gigged and sessioned in major cities in the UK, and abroad too, with a wide range of musicians.

So, to the point : surely there’s a huge difference in what is perceived to be a "high standard" of playing? I’m trying to put the concept of the ‘wider perspective’ back in here. Maybe Michael’s view of "high standard" is totally different to Will’s.

Have you ever thought about that, and it’s relevance to resources, ie warm bodies vs ‘the web’?

Re: So

Jim, your description of the Michael Gill & Will Evans reads as though it may have been derived from what you’ve read on this site. Fair play? I was wondering if you have personally met or played with either individual. If so, did that experience influence your description?

Posted .

What would be the best resource for people who want to play Irish traditional dance music?

I looked back at the first reference to "highest standard" for playing music;
"So:
What would be the best resource for people who want to play Irish traditional dance music?
I’d say it’s being able to play regularly with family and/or friends who play the music to the highest standard and have rakes of tunes."

It was used by llig in the OP giving his response to the basic question he is asking on this thread. The way the question is presented I don’t see a problem with answering the question itself even without knowing what llig means by "highest standard".
So, I’ll answer. The best resource for people who want to play Irish traditional dance music is being able to play, on a regular basis with at least one other person, preferably others as well, who are willing & able to listen to your playing; & you to their playing. For all those who do this a growing appreciation of the tunes is important to becoming a better player, getting to know the music (one tune at a time), having a session where everyone is friends & family, & always continuing to learn something each time you play.
I’d say that’s the best resource. Tons of secondary resources, but that’s the best of all.

Posted .

Re: So

"The best resource for people who want to play Irish traditional dance music is being able to play, on a regular basis with at least one other person, preferably others as well, who are willing & able to listen to your playing; & you to their playing."

I recommend getting married to one. Then they have to listen to you and you to them. :-)

As for Jim’s post, all I can say is that is the funniest thing I’ve read all week.

Re: So

[*Jim, your description of the Michael Gill & Will Evans reads as though it may have been derived from what you’ve read on this site. Fair play? I was wondering if you have personally met or played with either individual. If so, did that experience influence your description?*]

Ben, as my doc, you clearly have failed miserably. You missed the point, and what’s more, you just busted the patient-doc confidentialty agreement. I’m gonna sue your ass, man :)

No, I haven’t met either of the lads. I can only go by what they write on here.

Re: So

Sandy Bell’s…..aye. Back in yon time it was all the likes of Archie Fisher, Hamish Imlach, Barbara Dickson, etc frequenting the place. It was all chanting - maybe an occasional tune from Aly Bain or Finbar if he was in - or maybe Roy Williamson. Diddley was not so common. Had it not been for those vinyl thingies with Paddy Moloney, Donal Lunny, et al giving it laldy in the grooves it is unlikely you’d be hearing much diddley there now - they brought it to the fore. Don’t let folk try and fool you. Global diddley outside Ireland (and to an extent within) is mainly a result of recorded music, not somebody’s grandad who handed down the scrape box. T’internet with the likes of YouTube is just an extension of this. Obviously, there’s nowt like face to face interaction - but it’s not the way much of the present day diddley came to the sessions in places like Auld Reekie. Diddley has survived recorded music (and there was a heck of a lot of dots in books in the days before then - Edinburgh was famed for it) without going pear shaped for a fair while and it will no doubt continue to do so. I’m not saying all of it, but there is a kind of trendy "play by ear" movement, with an element of sound reasoning behind it, but nevertheless trendy, and full of myth. It’s when it’s allowed to become a lug learning Fascism that things will really get numptified. The equivalent of the finger in the ear movement that those chanters spawned.

I miss Roger Gall. At least he knew how to tell ‘em.

:-)

Dr Spear, you sound very happy! Congratulations on getting married.

Jim, I got your point, it would be hard to miss.

[**""So, to the point : surely there’s a huge difference in what is perceived to be a "high standard" of playing?""**]

Posted .

Re: So

I think she has been married for a while, Ben. Try to keep up, now! ;-)
And Jim D, like has been said elsewhere on this thread, take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt!

Re: So

Cheers, Al. I will.
The grain of salt helps when I’m sorting the importance (& wider perspective too ;-)) of every thing on my plate.

Posted .

Re: So

"Maybe Michael’s view of "high standard" is totally different to Will’s. "
I should bloody well hope so.

"Global diddley outside Ireland (and to an extent within) is mainly a result of recorded music, not somebody’s grandad who handed down the scrape box."
Yes, I think this is true. and my first exposure to diddley was recorded music (though it was my greatgrandad who handed down the shellac box). However, though recorded music is still a source, it wasn’t long before it wasn’t my primary source.

Posted .

Re: So

"However, though recorded music is still a source, it wasn’t long before it wasn’t my primary source."

But you’re still a relative nipper in the big picture. It took a fair time for diddley to get accepted as much as it is the noo. It has been the ‘glam’ side (The Lunny image) that has helped rear it from obscurity.
When you can let rip in Kilmarnock without the fear of sash wearing bully-boys disrupting things, you’ll know things are definitely looking up. And t’internet is helping in this respect.

Re: So

Yes. And I can admit to initially being as influenced by Donal Lunny’s long hair on the back of my dad’s "Well below the Valley" record as much as the music itself

Posted .

Re: So

Weejie, I think your description of the way the folk scene is influenced by the technology of the moment is spot on. You can’t stop the world. Irish fiddlers were playing Coleman’s records way back in the 1920s, & before that songs were influenced by printed broadsides etc. People have to start somewhere & we can’t all get to a session; besides, what do you do if you’re not good enough - yet - to play at a session. Yes, you can play with family & friends privately but YouTube etc will give you an idea of what to aim at, or what to avoid. All music, art, poetry etc is influenced by fashion which is why we have so many lovely individual ‘styles’ in history & from all over the world. ‘Bloom where you’re planted’ but be open to pollination by the trade winds! :)

Re: So

"Maybe Michael’s view of "high standard" is totally different to Will’s. "
I should bloody well hope so, seconded, When I talk of a high standard, I mean the likes of Jerry Harrington, Jackie Daly, Christy Barry, Mickey Dunne ,etc
It depends on the size of the puddle after all does it not?
This is one of the things that you notice when your involved in the trad scene here in Ireland; The general level of accomplishment is so high, especially amongst the younger players and the older players have such a quality to their playing and such generosity . For example Seamus Bugler, not only a wonderful player, plays to a very high standard IMO yet a more friendly welcoming gentleman youd be hard pressed to find.

Its not all roses though,a lot of players would give you no time at all until you earn their respect over time, there is , rightfully IMO, a high standard set by these players and they demand you match that standard or feck off. So Im glad to be able to report that Im welcome for tunes with my mates and in fact Mickeys coming over for tunes in a couple of weeks , so Im looking forward to the tunes and craic and I have to pull my finger out and get a few more gigs lined up.
cheers

Re: So

"For example Seamus Bugler, not only a wonderful player, plays to a very high standard IMO yet a more friendly welcoming gentleman youd be hard pressed to find."

Glaring non-sequitur or what?

Re: So

"a lot of players would give you no time at all until you earn their respect over time, there is , rightfully IMO, a high standard set by these players and they demand you match that standard or feck off."

It surely depends on the situation as regards "great players"? Presumably, many of them will still talk to other people in the street or in other situations, e.g. at concerts, doing other necessary business etc.
Also, loads of "top level" musicians are happy to interact with "lesser" players in the traditional music scene too, e.g teaching situations and even sessions. It’s not even uncommon for really good players to "drop in" at a fairly average session from time to time even although it’s not on a regular basis and they wouldn’t necessarily stay all night.

Of course, when they are playing with their own "musical friends" who are of an equally high calibre, they may rightfully and understandably be less welcoming. However, the rest of us should always be prepared to respect their wishes(and sometimes privacy) in this sort of situation. Surely?

Re: So

"Surely?"

Surely.
Common courtesy,too often
"un-common" nowadays.

Posted by .

Re: So

Piece,
I don’t know from which angle you are looking at things.

I would agree with that statement but add a qualification that it should always be a "two way street".

Re: So

It’s all very well saying you learn more stuff from your mates than from recordings; but you don’t know where your mates learned the stuff. Probably from recordings.

Posted by .

Re: So

I’ve been trying to learn Spey In Spate recently. The fiddle man who plays it in our sessions plays it so fast that I can’t easily pick up what happens at the ends of the A and B parts - those big downhill runs. So I’ve listened to about five different Youtube versions. While I was absorbing the dodgy bits from Youtube I was having trouble with (they didn’t all do things the same way, not by a long chalk), I noticed different approaches in all sorts of ways elsewhere in the tune. I also figured out that one or two things done on the fiddle would sit a bit more easily on the harmonica if I tweaked ‘em a tad. I asked our bloke to play it slow for me, which he did, and that also helped. When he wasn’t there one night, I asked the other blokes I play with to go through it for me as well. They were not doing everything quite the same as the main man, surprise surprise. I’m going to have a shot at it on my own this weekend (that is not the usual procedure, I hasten to add). I won’t be basing what I play note-for-note on what anyone else has done, because I won’t be able to remember it all. But I will know whether what I end up playing will fit in, because I’ve heard it a good few times. Once I get playing along with the others (there will be hiccups) it will no doubt get modified a bit more.

There ya go. "How Steve learned a tune." I’ve never heard a commercial recording of it. I didn’t even know there were any ‘til I looked it up here just now. For the first time in my life I got the tunes section here to play me the midi. Idle curiosity only. I won’t be bothering with that again.

Re: So

"Teachers? Yeah, pretty good. Especially if those teachers are able to play regularly with family and/or friends who play the music to the highest standard and have rakes of tunes."
The ability to teach well has nothing to do with musicianship. A good musician is not necessarily a good teacher, although a good teacher of music must have musical skills.

Re: So

"Yes. And I can admit to initially being as influenced by Donal Lunny’s long hair on the back of my dad’s "Well below the Valley" record as much as the music itself"

I saw Planxty around ‘73/’74 when they were the support act for Steeleye Span. They made the latter look boring. Cool dudes. That is where it was at for me.

Re: So

Christy Moore has such a wonderfully insinuating voice! :)

Re: So

It was pre-Moynihan. They were plugging The Well Below the Valley. Liam Og, Christy, Andy and Donal.
I reckon it was probably late ‘73, but it was a heck of a long time ago.

Re: So

"I would agree with that statement but add a qualification that it should always be a "two way street"."

Where is that not a 2-way street, sir?
Do we all have some kind of God-given "right" to drop into
an on-going session, even if we do not fit it well?
There is a session in my area I have never attended, as of yet,
because it is not my speed nor my repertoire.
I could probably elbow my way in easily enough,
but why would I want to slow down their sets, or infringe upon
their party?
I love Shetland fiddle music, but if I were beamed into a session in
Lerwick, I would not be unpacking my fiddle till I was sure I was
in the groove with what was happening.

I will not speak for others, but I choose to go where welcome
and compatible, and only sit down when invited or encouraged to do so.
I will always ask, even if there are friends present already.
I do not perceive myself to have "rights" where a session is concerned,
I only have the privelege of being welcomed into someones circle.

The only polite course, I deem.
Pardon my long-windedness on this issue.

Posted by .