ITM and STM

ITM and STM

I’m doing a school project on mostly focusing on ITM (b/c its history is more interesting and it’s more widely known), but I plan to focus also on the generalized differences between ITM, STM, and Cape Breton, as well as the most common instruments used in each. I more or less know the characteristics of each (since I play all 3), but the people on TheSession just seem to be so good at explaining things, I though I would ask…

Thanks,
Ben

Re: ITM and STM

you could talk about the roots and the influence on the sound, ie the scottish pipes influence on stm and cape breton (cbtm?) vs. the influence of the harp and uilleann pipes in itm. Im just pulling this out of my ass, but it might be worth looking into.

Re: ITM and STM

You could talk about when musical instruments were banned in Ireland by the british lilting was used to keep tunes alive and as a way of passing tunes on.

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Re: ITM and STM

STM has more of a history of being written down and, in the case of the Highland Bagpipes, being institutionalised (i.e., as a component of the British Army). In the Army, as far as I know, the bagpipes have to be played exactly as taught, down to the last ornament. Many fiddle tunes have known composers who left an original version, in sheet music.
I am sure these factors have not prevented Scottish players from varying and innovating the music, but they make it more liable to be played in a single "correct" way. Scots out there, shoot me down if I’m wrong.

In my experience of darkest Scotland, the instrument seen most often is the piano-accordion. A whole scene of clubs, stars and snowstorms of newly-written copyrighted tunes surrounds this instrument. Jimmy Shand records give you the idea - I like them, actually.

Re: ITM and STM

Of course Jimmy Shand didn’t play the Piano-accordian, he played the button accordion - it’s only his imitators who play the pa. He was a genius, his imitators………….. I did play briefly with a scottish band where the pa-player played everything 5% too slow and absolutely woodenly. Can’t imagine what inspired this musician.
On the other hand, much scots music is magnificent; The Battlefield Band, Capercaillie, Silly Wizard…….

Re: ITM and STM

Dont forget about the French influences in Cape Breton music and the English and Eastern European influence on/in Irish Trad. Music. You might get away with leaving out Italian influences though…

Re: ITM and STM

I was reading somewhere today that in cbtm (I like that, SI) many musicians say that the music is in part influenced by the Gaelic speaking patterns, and that musicians who don’t know Gaelic can’t play the tunes correctly. As far as I know, Natalie MacMaster doesn’t know Gaelic, but maybe she’s playing everything wrong 🙂. I had noticed that STM seemed to have more known composers, but it never really dawned on me until a few minutes ago.

Re: ITM and STM

Speaking as someone who plays a great deal for dancers, I think it may be worth your time to think a little as to how the different dance styles (Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton… both social dancing and performance/solo) would influence the types of tunes as well as the styles in which they are played.

Re: ITM and STM

But, in the case of dancing, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Re: ITM and STM

Nicholas is right about STM. I quote from David Johnson’s excellent book, "Music and Society in Lowland Scotland in the Eighteenth Century":
"Most people do not realise how far Scottish folk-fiddle music was influenced by classical music: it is usually thought of as an indigeneous growth, untouched by civilisation, transmitted by illiterate farm workers and vagrant players. But in fact folk-fiddle playing, as it exists in Scotland today [1972], was almost entirely an eighteenth-century creation; and it was developed by educated musicians, most of whom were at home in the classical music culture.
Folk-fiddle music was in the limelight in the eighteenth century; unlike other forms of folk music, it had a place in the contemporary fashionable scene."
It is also worth remembering that prior to this musical instruments and music in general had been discouraged and outlawed by John Knox and the Reformers.

Re: ITM and STM

Hey Maryland - "You might get away with leaving out Italian influences though.." surely not, after all, didn’t the Italians give us the Violin? 😉

Hey Ben, if you have any questions on STM, I’d pay a visit to the Footstompin forum. There’s a similar panel of *experts* over there who would be fit to answer all your questions:
http://www.footstompin.com/

There’s bound to be a Cape Breton forum too, isn’t there?

Good Luck

Re: ITM and STM

Thanks Guernsey Pete, I’d forgotten Jimmy Shand played a big button accordion! I should have included this instrument in my remarks about the piano-accordion.