"One man’s meat is another man’s poison."
At the session tonight we were talking about how everyone seems to have at least one tune they absolutely detest but other people really like, and vise versa. Which is that tune for you and why?
At the session tonight we were talking about how everyone seems to have at least one tune they absolutely detest but other people really like, and vise versa. Which is that tune for you and why?
Glasgow Reel - Tam Linn’s, and Music For a Found Harmonium. Mainly because I can’t play either. But also because the melodies of each comprise of just a few notes repeated. It’s just me, I know, but there ye go. Other people rave about either tune.
Try the Catharsis Reel. If you play it fast enough the punters will love it and the musicians will all hate it. Tamlin revisited would be an alternative title.
"The golden stud" is another one that appeals to punters, but bores the pants off musicians.
I hate the tune "Fanny Power" especially when played like a dirge.
It only makes sense to me to play it at quite a fast speed - plus it gets it over quicker. I like to think Carolan was having an off-day when he wrote that one.
That’s not to say I won’t play it if I have to, but I’ll do it at quite a fast speed.
I dare say there are things I love which others don’t like at all - so I’m sure it’s some sort of musical Karma.
I thought it was "one man’s fish is another man’s poisson" 😀 I can’t be doing with Fanny Power either in spite of its wonderfully-feminist moniker, and I always go for a jimmy when they start up Drowsy Maggie. A tune which dies the death in the B part.
The Newmown Meadow, in fact, anything to do with grass is really smokin’
oh i hate the glasgow reel
For myself, my least favorite tunes are usually the really over-played ones (locally, that is — at a strange session, for all I know they have not played a certain in years, and I will hear their treatment of the tune instead, making it more bearable for me).
While the objective at a regular weekly session is usually joining together on generally familiar tunes and arrangements, I sometimes have wondered to myself, upon hearing the Golden Keyboard, or the Butterfly, or Connaughtman’s Rambles for the umpteenth time:
"What about the other couple thousand tunes we could chosen from? How did they get into Roche and O’Neil’s if they were not worth playing?"
How about a polka once in awhile?
Can’t stand Brenda Stubbert’s, for some unknown reason. It’s the one tune I never join in. Anything else is ok by me.
I love polkas- mainly ‘cos I can play them, and’ I’m with Steve on Drowsy Maggie- tho’ didn’t know it had diuretic properties. Seems a great laugh at first speeding it up, but that soon palls- reckon it needs a C part to make it less boring.
Ditto Drowsie Maggie!
Crosses of Annagh (but aren;t there several tunes by this name?)
A lot of jigs in major bore the pants off me.
In order of horribility -
The Horses’ Branle (Brawl),
The King Of The Fairies,
Music For A Found Harmonium.
If computer ink be likened to real ink, I have expressed myself like an incontinent squid on the subject of these tunes in previous threads.
Drowsie Maggie is recued IMO by Matt Molloy’s recording, which also makes the tune easier to play than the standard version, whether or not it is done to say such things.
The Soldier’s Joy - It reminds me of a fiddler from America who sat in our session some years ago. It was the only tune he could play and boy did he play the LP version of it. Had to be 10 minutes long.
Also that selection termed ‘The Blackbird’ by Sharon Shannon. Really drives me bananas.
"Glasgow Reel - Tam Linn’s, and Music For a Found Harmonium"
maybe cos you don’t like playing them at home alone?
I’m a bit that way - I play music for pleasure, so tend to play things at home that sound good to me alone on the mandolin.
In a session, I can enjoy just about any tune. The music exists in the moment, with those people playing, and even with those not playing.
But it’s hard to practise and learn the ones you don’t enjoy playing on your own.
P-K - there is a 3rd part to "Drowsie Maggie".
It’s played far too often and often played far too badly.
I did hear someone playing it recently and enjoyed it, but more often than not I hate it when people play that tune.
Also regarding Drowsy Maggie if you’re bored with it try the Donegal version, it’s very interesting. The well known version is also nice played very slowly
Tam Linn, and yes, wormdiet, all those dreary little major jigs. So what do peole do when these tunes get played? Do you play along? Or look at the floor/fuss with your drink/look superior etc., etc.?
I agree. I think it’s more about hating the way most people play certain tunes, not the tunes themselves. Cooley’s for example is a great tune. But it’s not one I’d start in certain company, ‘cause I know it would get wrecked.
We like to play Drowsie Maggie with The Humours Of Tulla in G inside it, 1st part of DM, the 1st and 2nd part of Tulla then the last part of DM. so it makes a four part reel in singles. Try it.
A terrific fiddle player mate played Dennis Murphy’s polka the other day. I was astonished at the gaul of it. It must be 30 years since I’ve played that tune. But heck, she plays polkers really really well, and to hear it played like a proper polka was thrilling.
Well, if the reason exists it’s a good time to hit the men’s room. If I’m there it’s usually more fun to play along than to watch.
The funny thing about Drowsy Maggie is it seems to be every non-ITM fiddler’s cardinal example of an Irish reel, yet it is virtually never played in actual Irish sessions in my experience.
For my meat/poison, the first thing that jumps to mind is this four part, two key signature jig that the local fiddlers seem to swoon over in the last year or two. (Not Jig of Slurs, which I know, though I’m not terribly found of that one either.) Even though I’ve heard it so often now I could probably learn in it ten minutes if I put my mind to it, it holds absolutely no musical appeal for me.
Kenny- can’t find that elusive third part to DM in the toons- two at most. Worse, the sheet I have for it has it all boiled down to one! Good to know that DM still has legs in other versions.
The lads round my way call Jig of Slurs "Jar of Slugs." Likewise, The Tarbolton gets called "The Taliban. " 😀
I can’t think of a tune I detest. It is the lack of tunes that I dislike. Any evening with a tune in it is good with me!
Ignore these grouchy DM detractors - it’s a great tune (*when played well* - listen to Swarbrick playing it with The Hielan’man
Cooley’s is also a beaut and I’ve not come across anyone who disagrees (until this thread!) 🙂
My personal cringe-inducing tunes are
The Cup of Tea - that one really ‘takes the biscuit’ (sorry!)
Si bheag Si mhor
Going off at a wee tangent, this thread reminded me of a session I went to recently, where a ‘newbie’ started up something like The Kesh or Ryan’s polka. Some of the inner sanctum , who are actually a lovely friendly bunch, stopped playing, with a roll of the eyes. Some of us carried on, to give the lad some support.
What do YOU do when a visitor, or a novice launches into a tune that either is on your ugh! list or is so overplayed that it’s a bit cliched?
Frankie Gavin played a terrific Drowsy Maggie on his recording with Alec Finn. Lotts of veriations, followed it with Star of Munster—-I can listen to that any day.
Banish Misfortune. I used to think it was an ok tune,and I played it, along with the rest of the session. Now I simply can’t stand it. I’m sure a lot of people just love it though. II’ve banished it.
Kennedy - I agree - Frankie’s DM is V V G - I bought that CD just last week.
I don’t like polkas that much to begin with, and then those high A’s always seem to be out of tune…Just earsplitting nasty
I usually make a big stink and immediately halt the newcomer:
"Ahem. It appears you’re not familiar with the fact that the poor, pathetic tune you’re beating to death is considered by all here to be horribly worn out. There may be an actual decent human being among us who will play with you, as should be done, but for the most part, we’re all going to go ‘tsk tsk’, roll our eyes, look at the ceiling, engage in loud conversation, go the bar, the bathroom, talk on the cell phone, try to hit on your girlfriend and generally act like elitist, snobby, miserable effers. Thanks for coming to our session. Carry on."
Sorry, that was to answer domnull’s inquiry.
Just to back Cooleys as a great tune- both parts equally good!
Domnull - excellent point! Although some tunes become weary from years of playing and others are rightly or wrongly labeled "Beginner tunes" they still can give joy to a person playing it for the first time. I use to be an "eye-roller" until someone I respect gave me a kick in the shins under the table when I audibly moaned my discontent when a beginner kicked off a well-worn tune. "Don’t be such as @ss" she said. It reminded me not to let my weeds of cynicism grow over a somebody else’s musical growth.
Red Crow, If it is the high A that grates on you, try Sullivan’s in another key (G or D for example). Of all the tunes packed into a single octave (and there are not a whole lot), it is one of my favorites. But now that you raise the point, I do not care to hear Planxty Irwin, for one, played on the whistle, and especially, not played by more than one whistle at once. Many people do not have the skill needed to hold a high B for an extended note without wandering off pitch….
There was a lad in the other week with an unfeasably large and loud piano box who started up Cooley’s. Nobody played along, eyes rolled etc. it was a real cringe. Straight after he’d finished, I played it.
For some reason, the Congress reel has always grated on my nerves. But I usually still play it whenever it comes up. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with trying to vary it a bit so that it doesn’t feel quite so much like nails on a chalkboard. I can’t point to any one bit that gets me, but the B part just annoys me all around.
Unfortunately, I have been vocal enough about my dislike for that tune that people in some sessions that I play often say "let’s play Pete’s Favorite" - bah! 😉
Jig of Slurs and Atholl Highlanders both get to me too. Although, I generally play on them as well. (But I always go out of my way to look bored when I’m doing it…)
..and what did the wretched soul do then, Michael? Join in? Leave? Sit it out? Go on - let us know !
Llig, yours must be one hell of an intimidating session. Why do that to some poor kid?
Oh, and I have a friend who leads a number of sessions who mentally collects everyone’s least favorite tunes so that he can pull them out at opportune (or inopportune - for you) times.
So, dangerous thread if he happens to lurk around the mustard board! I’m OK, because he already knows mine 😉
He plonked himself down with a hell of an atitude and began to play more than twice as loud as everyone else put together a tune he couldn’t play that well. And way way too fast. He deserved what he got. He left.
Obscurantism is always odiously self-congratulatory.
Le Pétomane no doubt sneered at mere amateurs who could only fart out a few popular melodies.
"And way way too fast"
I have found that it is very often those on the piano box (more than any other instrument) that are guilty of this - any takers?
Obscurantism? Come come now, there was never any opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge. Your man was too loud and he couldn’t play. He was asked very nicely to turn some of his reeds off, which he did, but one by one he turned them all back on again. And I don’t even think he realised I was playing the same tune that he’d just murdered.
Intolerance is not pleasant - maybe what you did Michael was honest and forthright but it sounds somewhat intolerant, unpleasant and perhaps touched with arrogance to my head. Maybe you should keep these things if they happen to yourself? Otherwise it’s like a canker.
I would leap to the defence of the poor man shafted by llig’s calculated odiousness, but clearly, as a box player, he was asking for it .
Domnull, I’ve suffered at the hands of the perennial speedy box player, who not only drowns you out, but speeds up and mangles the tune you start to the point of meaninglessness (weird word when written, eh?).
On the plus side, I also play one-to-one with a very considerate box player- so maybe they are not all bad- unlike llig, obviously 🙂
The instrument was not to blame. And yes, I admit to a little callousness. But I reiterate, he had it coming. He was treated very well at first, as is every newcomer, even feckin bodhranists. He was asked very nicely not to play too loud. He was asked very specifically to turn some reeds off which he did, but then turned them ALL back on again. I absolutely refuse to painted as the bad guy on this one.
Some perspective as to the speed issue - it is very easy for a player of a more humble skill level to get swept up in the speed and tempo of a session with skilled players. As a result, when they attempt to kick off a tune, it often is at a speed above their comfort level. Not intentional - just a result of the overall "session high." Eventually through trial and error, the lesson of speed vs skill is learned. I suspect some of you jaded rock stars may have lost sight of that.
Llig - sounds like the poor boy earned your wrath.
It was the way you told it, Michael. You seemed to be going out of your way to paint *yourself* as the bad guy.
I t was just the context of Cooley’s. The guy murdered it. So I resurected it.
The Pinch of Snuff - it goes on for ever.
Ballydesmond polkas, certainly the way we play them.
There are only two tunes I refuse to play - the Washerwoman and the Rakes of Mallow. The reasons are due to some childhood incident that remains buried in my subconscious.
Any tune can turn to poison if it becomes part of a litany that must be trotted out at every session, but becomes meat again if it’s given a sufficiently long rest - say a month or two.
its definitely the ones you hear or play too often that you end up hating, but I wouldn’t say a month or twos rest is always long enough. Dingle Regatta was done to death as far as I’m concerned 30 years ago when I was involved with a club called Dingles so we had to play it every week. I still avoid that tune if I possibly can!
Michael - what are sessions in Bells like on a monday? I feel like a road trip.
"The guy murdered it. So I resurected it."
Fair enough. Done that myself.
Bell’s Monday? Dunno
I’m not as frequent an attender at Bells these days but I still believe it’s Gordon Turnbull and Co.
This session is quite "flutey", although there’s fiddles etc too, and predominantly Irish. It was lively and friendly enough with plenty of reels when I attended about a year or so back.
I wasn’t chased or sternly revoked but then I didn’t come in with a PA or bodhran. 🙂
They even gave me a pint.
Oops, I meant to say *rebuked* not revoked. 🙂
Loud, fast, brash young piano accordionist? Hell’s teeth, Michael, you should have put the plastic dog-turds on the spare seats as soon as you saw him coming. You have my full sympathy, and I play the harmonica. You were too bloody nice.
I suppose I’m the odd one out here — Tam Lin is one of my favourite tunes.
Tunes I can’t stand and never want to hear again?
St. Anne’s Reel
I used to not care for Fanny Power, but then some weird fundie refused to play it because it was "dirty" and now I love playing it. 😉
Tunes I was surprised to hear other well-known musicians trash include:
Boys of Malin
Land of Sunshine
The Boys Of Ballinahinch
Personally, I enjoy all the tunes mentioned above. If I thought more about it I could come up with more examples of tunes I’ve heard about well-known musicians trashing, but as far as the local musicians go, there are people I play with locally who I’m careful not to start certain tunes when they’re present.
I’m not sure why these tunes fall into this category, but I suspect that much of it has to do with guilt by association. With that in mind I always question my own dislike for a tune. I try to imagine what my impression of the tune would be if I was hearing it for the first time. Sometimes this will help me to rediscover tunes that have been worn out and I’ll have a fresh approach and can breath new life into them – at least for myself.
I would say the tunes that this has no effect with are the ones that seem to be too gimmicky or just a novelty. These tunes seem to be punter-pleasers for the most part, but there are great tunes that fall into disfavor simply because they are over-played or worse, over-played poorly.
Right! I’m never speaking to you again, David!
[Storms off, affronted]
… oh … hang on …
… the man hates Tam Lin
OK we’re friends again now
We crossed turds.
re Tam Linn,
I don’t mind it too much now that I’ve learned it and especially if I’m allowed to play it in my own way. However, this tune and others of the "same family" eg The Tongadale, Anvil and many more are generally abused by mediocre players for "showing off" with all sorts of cheap tricks eg moving up and down a string, speeding up on successive rounds etc, etc.
Never seen the point in that but the punters seem to lap it up.
There’s also the tunes which we can’t "quite get"…usually a couple of bars throw me and it’s probably common for us it to grunt and say "I don’t like that one, anyway!" Sometimes, with a bit of effort we can grow to like them.
Also, there’s those tunes you actually like a lot but no one else seems to get them right or they get played differently wherever you go. This can be very frustrating indeed!
Auntie Mary, Doggy Doggy Bark at the Cat, and Jim Hodder’s reel absolutely kill me!!! Especially Doggy Doggy, but they’re so popular that they’re practically unavoidable!
i hate quite a few of the Common Denominator Session Chestnuts. but i can’t always tell whether it’s for some admittedly subjective reason related to the tune, or just being sick of the tune. i HATE "fanny power." and there are a couple of sickeningly sweet planxtys that i really hate, and i hate the "kesh." but i don’t share the hatred for "the butterfly" and "kid on the mountain" experienced by some.. oh, and then there are tunes one hates because of people beating the sh&$#@!@$$% out of them—-"farewell to erin," and "gravelwalks" are on that list for me.
currently in transition: i used to HATE "st. anne’s" and "the cameronian" but of late am finding certain turns in them kind of fetching.
yes, but what about REAL bulgarian stuff??? it’s da bomb! Yuri Yukanov for president!
Ralph McTell’s "Streets of London"…
I love to see the jaws drop at my local session when I launch into IrishWasherwoman
yeah, the air to "danny boy" is actually one of my favorites….spine-chillingly beautiful….
"Never seen the point in that but the punters seem to lap it up."
Slightly OT, but I was at the 40th Anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’ in Golden Gate Park Saturday before last and I was watching the crowd as much as the show. The best stuff from the stage was the big hits from the 60s era and seeing the bands reunited more or less, but most of the music was basically blues-based since a good amount of the acts were configurations of musicians from various 60s era bands where all the members either weren’t living, weren’t there, or weren’t talking to each other. When these blues-based jams were happening the music seemed to all run together — much the way ITM does to the casual listener I would guess. The only time the crowd responded noticeably was when some sort of three or four note riff would happen that they could shake their fist to, or thrust their hips to. It seems that’s what the casual listener responds to — something they can clearly hear and mark in some way. They would look at each other and acknowledge the riff as though it confirmed how great the music was and how much fun they were having.
I think the trade name of the plastic whatsit is "Naughty Fido".
That’s the "musical hook" Phantom Button - a.k.a. "Ear Candy"
this site is starting to sound like journalism which by giving us the opinions of the uneducated, keeps us in touch with the ignorance of society!
Firstly as regards tunes, i don’t accept that there are such things as good or bad tunes, only good or bad musicians. all they are is notes… why don’t ye play around the key, meter, tonality, and even at that, you’ll notice a big change, or change the structure of where the major motif is located… you can really invigorate a tune that way and if you don’t like it, it’s not as if you were killing something beautiful!
secondly, where as i sympathise with Llig leachim on his near death experience, but i think his comment(s) are grossly immature… starting the sentence, he talks of a *young* accordion player… if he’s young, why do you expect him to be at the same level as old codgers like you?! rolling your eyes at someones lack of ability is down right rude,… why couldn’t you have made a greater effort to help him? if you were rolling your eyes from the start, your possible advice was to be seen as a big shot rather than helpful and then the ultimate in arrogance; "I PLAYED IT" this young guy was coming into a session of strangers (probably) and therefore already nervous at having his music evaluated so i hereby call on YOU mr llig leachim to submit your playing of cooleys reel on a site so we, fellow strangers and musicians can listen to it and give you OUR opinions…
how you feel now: that nervous streak; is how someone feels when they’ve been made feel like an idiot in a social environment… not nice is it?
P.S. to clear the record, as llig leachan is Scottish, n i haven’t played trad out in a while, it wasn’t me he was talking about! 🙂
He wasn’t that young, mid to late 20s, we often have realy good players still in their teens turning up. We never rolled our eyes from the start. We did make an effort, though we gave in when he deliberately eschewed our request to play quieter.
And I have nothing to prove.
(And I bet it was you)
Martin, nobody in this thread said anything about tunes being "good" or "bad". People are certainly allowed to dislike particular tunes. The tune doesn’t care! And this is a lighthearted discussion about what tunes we might dislike, and why.
I think our mr llig is not really the ogre he pretends to be—he just gets carried away with playing the curmudgeon.
But it is true that "talk is cheap"…. eh, leahcim?
Martin, stop rolling your eyes at the thread contributors!
This isn’t meant to be carefully thought-out and presented journalism; it’s meant to be chat, gossip, and fun. Well, this thread at least.
where can Iget lessons on how to play the curmudgeon? Is it difficult, or do you have to learn stuff like embrochure, bowing, and so on?
prove you have nothing to prove! 🙂
oh and i never stated that anyone in this thread DID say there was good and bad tunes… that’s entirely my opinion…. re read the paragraph and tell me whom i quoted..🙂 i know people are allowed to dislike particular tunes but there is no reason whatsoever to find negativity in actual tunes!! that’s why i’ve given a few suggestions on how to change something you don’t like into something interesting and beautiful.
and as regards the "lighthearted discussion about what tunes we might dislike, and why." if people here actually explained WHY they don’t like tunes it would be quite an interesting conversation… if you know what you don’t like in a tune, you’re half ways there to changing it..
i hate the whole randomness of statements where with no explaination given as to why they’re said, there is no reason to believe that the person who said it, even gave it any thought at all!
here’s a suggestion for someone with more time on their hands… start up a new discussion, taking the tunes that are listed here under the dislike section and then submit your own better version of the tune to the tunes section providing a link to it in the new discussion page..
Once again, I find myself thoroughly on Michael’s side here. It worries me, frankly.
What you don’t like about someone’s playing of a tune can not be expressed in abc.
And to play the curmudgeon is not difficult. All it takes is a healthy disregard for politeness
i think he might have meant post a youtube link or something like that
I’ve met some extremely polite people in my time who were also curmudgeonly bastards. Tories, mostly.
I dislike some tunes not because there’s anything inherently wrong with them - there isn’t, and i used to like them at one time. But it’s like very funny and clever advertisements on TV. The first few times you see them and enjoy them with friends, they’re great. But after several months you grow to detest them.
Except this ad: you could never come to detest this one…
I was kind of hoping for explanations for why people didn’t like a particular tune, and I believe I said that at the start. I remember for example hearing about how a well-known musician was going on about the Otter’s Holt not going anywhere and that it was too repetitive etc. I don’t know if I agree, but it was interesting. Maybe people could expound a bit about why the tune they detest deserves that distinction.
i’m not talking of the playing of the tune… we are talking about TUNES which are liked or disliked here… and they can be changed nicely by, as i said, trying a different tonality, (i.e. changing it from major to mixolydian) changing the key (cooleys played low in G minor or A minor is quite nice..) adding in chromatic passing or accented passing notes, giving motifs different harmonic implications, or changing the structural placing of the primary motif (usually the first bar or two which is repeated between 1 and 4 - usually 3 times in a part and often in the last 4 bars) i could go on…..
changing the style that you play the tune in too can also have a big effect, slow, medium, fast, legato, staccato ( anything inbetween or a combination) or where one places the accents.) now that can’t be expressed through abc’s but what about the former paragraph? yes! there is plenty to work with lads and i retain what i said in the previous post(s)…
if there is something which we don’t like, the clever and musical thing to do is to work out why, and artistically change the it into something of beauty.
cooley’s still sucks!
well then use one or more of my other suggestions!!! try changing the first appearance of the 7th degree in the a part to a flattened 6th for example and note the difference my friend!
Now see… I think Cooley’s is a great tune. If I think about how many times I’ve heard it played poorly by beginners it gets a bit tarnished, but I can easily shake that by playing the tune and enjoying it for what it is rather than what it might be associated with. Personally, I associate it with the student of Cooley’s whom I first heard it from. That was many years ago, but that’s the association I prefer and the one that keeps the tune alive for me.
association is a big issue in the appreciation of irish traditional music interestingly… in donegal at least, the old fiddlers, such as john doherty, used to attach a romantic story n different title to tunes to make a crowd take interest in them!!! that’s all well and good as long as people don’t forget that there’s usually around 256 notes in every 16 bar a section, 2 part traditional irish reel, n a whole lot of fun can be had with every one of them!! 🙂
One of our fiddlers gave a fine solo rendering (I’m carefully not using the "p" word) of "Fanny Power" last week. A young lady fiddle player who hasn’t been coming to sessions all that long asked what the name of the tune was. She was told straight, and the general reaction in the pub was not entirely unexpected - we’re a dreadfully common lot in Bristol!
The next tune on the list is going to be "An Phis Fhliuch", and of course everyone knows that the literal translation of _that_ is "O’Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick" 😉
i was only taking the p*ss!
I think the old saying ‘s/he could sing the phonebook’ applies to ITM. A great musician can make any tune sound great, I’ve heard some people play Cooley’s brilliantly, I just hate it when it comes up in a session unless the session happens to have some truly brilliant musicians. I hate the old hackneyed way of playing it, it just ends up sounding ‘nah nah nah nah nah…nah nah..nah nah nah nah nah nah……..etc.’
Luckily where I live now I get the chance to regularly listen to and play with some truly great musicians and they can play Cooley’s or any other iTM classic as often as they like and I’ll still enjoy it.
k! i’m def coming to galway now to play cooleys; fast, brash, and loud: just to p*ss U off!!! ha!! but your phis fhliuch’n around was a change for me to elaborate on my point and give further examples so i took it… now to check out bus timetables from dublin!!!! ;)
i love that tune ‘An Phis Fhlíuch’, I can’t get enough of it in fact…not too pushed about it’s sister tune ‘An Phis Thirim’……….
ha!!!! for anyone who doesn’t speak irish, get it translated!!!!
my absolute unfavoritest tune in the whole wide world is the Rakes of Mallow. followed by the Irish Washerwoman.
" The Drowned Cat" ????????
To get back to the original topic (although I have enjoyed the hijacking):
Music for a Found Harmonium, because it would be a hassle to learn it, and it seems that many of the posters here find it tiresome.
That said, I have enjoyed many of the tunes of the tunes listed here as "most revolting."
But not Danny Boy. We all have our limits.
Ack. Yet another typo ("of the tunes" repeated). This board needs a "do-over" option, for klutzes like me. ;>}
But…….. it’s wise not to neglect poor Danny if you’re busking! He’s been awfully good to me anyhow….
about the tunes… rakes of mallow, is a tune that appears in many diff countries (manx tradition also) and versions.. the strangest having the a part in d harmonic minor and a completely diff b part… quite interesting…
for the irish washerwoman, check out the millions of versions of it in the donegal fiddle repertoire.. see if people up here didn’t like something, we’d change it in order to continue liking it. beats being negative… so check out con cassidys beautiful version… liz doherty plays in on her quare immagination album… i strongly suggest you get it… it’ll open your mind…
then for danny boy, it is actually the most amazing melody for having just millions of harmonic possibilities… i love sitting at a piano and harmonising it as many ways i can… everything works!!!! it’s incredible! try it!!! also i find the romantic words on it to be really beautiful.. don’t let bad performances put you off anything which has the potential for beauty either……
"see if people up here didn’t like something, we’d change it in order to continue liking it"
I’m not sure if I agree with that approach. If you don’t like something don’t play it or listen to it. there’s plenty of other tunes from which to choose.
Certainly, I don’t think we should deliberately tamper with tunes for the sake of it. Fair enough, if the setting or version of a tune evolves natuarally through time and locality. Obviously too, you would tend to play it in your own style.
re ‘danny boy’ ,there’s a really souped-up harmonization of that tune done by percy grainger.
i don’t mind that song at all but i prefer less ‘exotic’ chords!
Sorry Johnny J if you don’t agree with the appraoch that is an important part of the Donegal tradition and many other traditions for that matter. In fact perhaps the reason there are so many versions of tunes is the very thing Martin mentions, players change the tune to suit
(a) their instrument (melodeon players have to do this a lot)
(b) their musical taste
(c) ensemble playing
The tune versions you are used to are probably developed from the latter approach. If you compare O’Neill’s versions of tunes to the ones that are played commonly today you’ll see a lot of differences, rather than being mistakes it is probably the fact that he took the music down from individual players with their own versions that makes the differences.
So far from it being wrong to ‘tamper’ with the tunes, it is actually a part of the tradition to do so for years and years, if you disgree with it then please feel free to give out to John Doherty, Tommy Potts and Con Cassidy when you get to heaven!
Check out Tony McManus’ version of Danny Boy:
Of course, I don’t think that the written versions are necessarily correct either. They’re not so in (probably) most cases and are usually "the bare bones" (discussed recently elsewhere).
The a, b,and c quoted here are more examples of adapting the tune to a particular style, ie either that of the locality or that of an individual player or even the type of instrument as you suggest.
I don’t have a problem with that as such. It’s more the deliberate alterations which I don’t like and I’ve often heard from people who have no real understanding or appreciation of the music….
I’m sure that’s not what Martin actually meant though.
i think frisbee answered for me there but as regards deliberate alterations, if a tune doesn’t please me, then i’ll use my musical ability to whatever extent to make the tune into something possitive, artistic, and exciting for me.
the deliberate alteration of something from a negative to a possitive is something which i’m happy to take credit for… and i’ve been blessed with a real enough understanding and appreciation of music (thankfully) to go against your stereotype!! why would anyone leave a tune in a sorry state just for the novelty and ego boost of being able to say they didn’t tamper with the tradition?!! it’s absurd but happens all the time strangely.. music is music, leave novelty out of it! (not a direct rant at anybody btw..)
Re Danny Boy, I was once sitting in my room in a B&B somewhere in Ireland and entertained myself (I was VERY bored!!) trying out the most appallingly throat-gagginlgy, projectile-vomitingly syrupy harmonies I could - just for a laugh. The next morning at breakfast an Irish couple said just how much they’d enjoyed standing outside my door listening to the wonderful music…
…not sure what the moral is to that one!!
Mark, the moral of that story is "One man’s poison is another man’s meat" 😉
Of course, I’ve also done things like add extra ornaments, triplets etc, changed the style of the tune slightly with emphasis on different notes etc, etc.
However, I’ve not set out to change the basic melody itself if the tune doesn’t suit me.
Actually, I’d suggest that you must actually like the tune..just a little bit… in the first place to feel that it’s important to go to that effort in the first place. Otherwise, there’s lots of other tunes you could tackle first, surely?
I generally agree with you Johnny J. If you have to make real fundamental changes of the tune to make it palatable, then why bother.
You’ll notice in my first post in this thread, I mentioned that I generally still play the tunes that I don’t particularly like, and try to vary them to make them less like nails on a chalkboard. The variations that I do tend to not really change the underlying melody. Choosing different phrasing and ornamentation can help too. And so I treat it like a mental exercise, instead of sitting there thinking about how much I dislike the tune…
But as far as "tackling tunes" that you don’t like. A number of times, my dislike for a tune doesn’t form until after I have learned it!
well i can see a bit of a difference between us in that i suppose i don’t normally sit down and learn tunes… they just sink in after listening to them enough (by chance normally) and then rear their heads in the spontaneity of a session…
1:2 in the gospel according to Reverend; as far as i’m concerned, you answered your rhetorical question in the first clause. i’m not suggesting that we set up a beauty salon committee for trad music, but changing the tune, whatever way into something you’ll ultimately enjoy will:
1) the obvious, give you a cool tune and something which you’ve had the pleasure of putting a personal craftmans stamp on.
2) increase the general quality level of traditional music (and it works, look or better listen to my irish washerwoman example mentioned above: this *was* common practice as i said…)
3) if you’ve changed it enough, then you’ve written a tune! might even get royalties for that!
one more hit at the why bother argument.. "when an artist suddenly starts seeing things for what they really are; they are no longer an artist." (oscar wilde)
Having listened to the snippets of your recording, Martin, you certainly have more experience playing this music than I do.
It is true that I still generally have to sit down and learn a tune, although, the lines on that have blurred a bit over the last year or so. I do play tunes in sessions that I have never sat down and worked through specifically.
But don’t you think that the tunes that "sink in after listening to them" are generally the tunes that you enjoy? Are there tunes that you play that you like more than others? Are there tunes that you play that you dislike and actively rework them to make them interesting? Or is this all something that just happens automatically?
Do you end up picking up every tune that gets played in sessions there? Or are you subconsciously filtering, and invoking my rhetorical question of "why bother"?
I’m actually not taking the p*ss here, I am curious as to the answers to those questions…
Back to tunes that irk: slides and polkas played at about half the speed of a garden snail. Was it on this that generations of Kerryfolk hurtled through kitchens and roused their spirits for generations? I doubt it. But it’s aided the spread of the unjust notion that these tunes are rather dreary and boring.
As has been said in the past by someone here whose name I won’t mention for fear of stirring up a nest of vipers: "there are already way too many tunes." As very much a part-time musician I don’t have a lot of time for prettying up tunes that don’t hold appeal for me. There’s lots of other fish in the sea.
Having said that, I’ll try to learn most tunes that my session mates like to play - they all have merit (provided they don’t go for the Rakes of Mallow or the Washerwoman.)
if Ed Reavy, Paddy Fahey, Charlie Lennon, Paddy O’Brien etc., subscribed to the notion that "there are already way too many tunes" then the repertoire of ITM would be much, much poorer.
I’ll concur with Reverend about your playing level, Martin. The snippets are indeed excellent. I’m actually tempted to buy the album!
However, there’s also the difference between "performance" and "session" playing…I know that’s a well worn debate here but we’ve not had it for at least a day or so. 🙂
Therefore, I can understand why musicians might wish to rework tunes for an album or concert performance. I don’t think this is necessarily appropriate for day to day business in your/my/our local session. Of course, the new "improved" version might well seep down into "the sessions" and be taken up by musicians there. This does happen a lot, as you say.
I’m still not sure why(As Reverend also observes) why you would wish to *deliberately* alter a tune you didn’t like when it seems more natural to play those which appeal. Unless, it’s an automatic or sub conscious thing which would suggest (as I already stated) that you don’t entirely dislike the tune.
By the way, I hope I didn’t cause offence with my
" people who have no real understanding or appreciation of the music"
It certainly wasn’t directed at you. However, I’ve frequently encountered (usually) fairly mediocre musicians who insist on "improvising" certain well known tunes with which they are obviously quite bored. The result isn’t always that succesful and it also means that the rest of us can no longer play them in the session as they are now sometimes almost unrecognizable!
Have you got a link for your version of the IWW, by the way?
I think that was my point, frisbee. I am nothing like Ed Reavy, Paddy Fahey, Charlie Lennon or, from what I gather, yourself. I love to play the tunes in a session but I’m no musical genius, nor is it something I can devote the greater part of my time to.
So I play the tunes I like or that my session mates enjoy playing, and pass over the others. Thanks to Ed, Paddy, Charlie, and many others there’s lots more to choose from, and I’m grateful.
But not being a musical genius or full time musician doesn’t disqualify me from contributing to a chatty thread that asks which is the one tune I detest. That’s one of the nice things about the discussion part of this site, though I suspect it irritates the hell out of some people.
Grego I never suggested you’ve no right to contribute to this or any other thread. You have as much chance as anyone of making valid points.
I just thought the comment "there are already way too many tunes" seems a bit generalised, there are not too many tunes for me, I know I’ll never learn them all but I hear new tunes almost every time I go to a session and sometimes these are very new tunes.
Maybe it could be rephrased "there are already way too many tunes for me"
To me there can never be enough music of any kind, I’m always going to want to listen to and learn new stuff whether it be a neglected ancient air, a new version of an old standard or a new Paddy Fahey tune. This doesn’t stop me from listening again to familiar things and still appreciating them
great! this is the conversation i’ve been dying for Reverend! interestingly, it’s all sorts of tunes that sink in… even ones that don’t have much asthetic appeal… and often when i go to play them then, i’m only remembering the half of it so the prettying up comes naturally to fill in the gaps!
but i had the brill experience the other day of sittin down n playin the musical priest for about 10 mins n had such a buzz exploring the different rhythmic and tonal possibilities… my prettying up theory applies to good tunes also then i suppose.. it’s just more relevent, especially in the context of this discussion to denote it to the negative sense…
as regards picking up every tune; certainly not! some are harder than others! but i always try to learn as much of it as i can in a session as a sort of mental excersise… and next time i hear the tune, i’ve a good grounding to pick up the rest of it.. of course if i hear a tune i really love, i’ll make extra effort! maybe record it on my phone also…
there are tunes which i’m always playing such as the boys of malin but thing is that i just never let them get to the stage that i wouldn’t like them… that comes from always playing them differently and trying out new things… improv is a big part of this… but it makes it so much more exciting and yeah johnny j,
the counterpoint would have to be tonally relevent for it not to get in the way of the other musicians…
finally the version of the IWW i was talking about was con cassidys version and played by Liz Doherty on her Quare Imagination album.. great cd it is… you can get it at www.lizdoherty.ie the donegal fiddle albums prob have more versions also… but it’s well worth listening to the old donegal fiddlers who epitomise what i’m talking about… espeicially con cassidy… there’s a new cd out of him, you should google and find it… great…
OK. My mistake. I had thought you did a version.
I’ve actually got a copy of Liz’s album so I’ll have a listen tomorrow and I believe that I’ve one or two other Donegal versions too.
In the meantime, I’m going to my bed. 🙂
Interesting that a thread dedicated to what people hate rather than what people like has attracted so many contributors.
I have my suspicions.
Well, chuneboi, the "what tunes do you currently like" threads get old… This is a good one because it was actually interesting (and heated at times) 😛
It’s just like the evening news, I think. The negative things are more sensational, and therefore get more notice…
Yes I see the the point Rev.
But I just had a vision of a rather
wild eyed wooly haired 50 something woman, airborne, empty bottle of Heinekin poised and ready, sailing over the session table toward me, 5 bars into Haste to the Wedding, ….screaming……………..
I’m not that comfortable knowing that my choice in a tune could potentially cause a fellow human being such discomfort and despair. I am doomed to remain musically flacid in such a situation. I fear I am too sensitive.
This thread wasn’t intended to be about tunes people hate as much as it was about how other people might love the tune that another person hates. It’s about how hating a particular tune is more about you than it is about the tune.
Unfortunately, it seems that bad news sells paper, and negative comments make threads grow. Sometimes, I think this crowd could find the dark lining in any silver cloud…..
the stool of repentence and out in the ocean are ridiculously overplayed. I hate them both now.
For me—- its" the three B’s"—-Banish Misfortune, Blarney Pilgrim and……..well, I’m sure their’s another one that begins with B.
Reel Beatrice (that gypsy sounding tune you always hear at Irish dance competitions);
Whisky Before Breakfast
What a great discussion thread!