ITM food chain

ITM food chain

Hello!

Last birthday but one I was given a Bodhran - on the basis that my good wife would not get me a drum kit. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I got well into it but soon found out about the stigma that goes with playing an instrumenent at the bottom of the ITM food chain. Trying to learn the tunes I listen to music all the time but it doesn’t seem to go, in so I joined the dark side and got a fiddle and lessons. It is going to take at least a 100 years to turn screeching into tunes so was advised that a mandolin was a good way to learn tunes and can be played quiet - ie at work, so have got one aswell.

I am curious to know where - in the fight for life that is "the session" the mandolin fits into the ITM food chain, it seems to me that you could organise the food chain into two main groups, the melody and the backers, but as too which are the hunters and which the prey? and where does each instrument fit?

Also if two animals from the same group had to take one another on which would be the victor - could a melody playing guitar take out a chord playing mandolin for example?

I realise that for a first post this is probably going to get my virtual head kicked in - as a bodhran player I am like ITM pond life anyway - but am really just saying that does it really matter what we play? isn’t it how we play that is important?

Cheers to all

Clunk

Re: ITM food chain

Hi clunk - welcome!
It doesn’t matter here about where you fit in on the pecking order/food chain/whatever, because, as you may have noticed, this is actually a web site, not a real session. Here we’re more concerned that people have informed discussion about the multifarious aspects of The Music. Also it helps, and you’ll get more out of it, if you remember, that everyone treat everyone else with mutual respect (which your post indicates you are well-capable of!)
Of course, in a real session, it probably does matter, and bodhrans tend to be quite far down the pecking order. But a good bodhran player is a real bonus to a session, whereas a crap fiddle player, or piper can detract from the session quality. This is my opinion of course.

My view is, Rome wasn’t built in a day. All these things take time (including good bodhran playing). Maybe you could try picking out tunes at your own pace on the tin whistle, in D…just a thought…

Keep it going anyway,

Danny.

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A good idea to get a whistle even if you never
mess with it that much. I never did take it too
seriously till I heard an old timer play it.
Then I went bananas for TW - even though I was
terrible on it. Funny thing about the lessons if
they could be called that - more of a tay and
interogation session to find out which tunes
I knew - anyway my main instruction was slapping the
foor with me boots.

Now in order to achieve that effect it was necessary
to getup onto a stool and thus drag the feet a little
ways over but not touching the floor.

Next blowing a two finger off on pattern I had
to play bits of The Heather Breeze, a reel in G.
Not noticing what I was realy playing - pre-uccupied
with kicking the floor, I soon had the first part
of that tune. To this day I cannot rightly remember
where I stopped practicing and shtarted playing.

I next got a slowie in C and G called I think Jimmy
Morrison’s. Next I got bits of Mrs Monohans. A lot
of this stuff lacked second parts but what did I
care twas only for fun and I was taking sparks out
of the flags as I tootled.

It is not too hard to, and if I can do it anyone
can - since I am lazy, mean, forgetful, and bad
tempered as well so uncoordinated I have to make
plans for opening a can of sardeens.

Re: ITM food chain

Um. Yeah.

Anyway, Clunk, welcome, and yeah, almost anything can drown out a mando but I still like how they sound, though I like the bouzouki better between the two. Fill out your bio, you sound an interesting sort.

Zina

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Can almost anything drown out sorefingers!??? just kidding:)

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Clunk999 - Mandolin is a beautiful instrument in Irish music. But in a big session in a noisey pub, it usually cannot be heard very well as it is so quiet. A music buddy plays both mandolin and banjo. At the session he brings his banjo which can be heard just fine and it blends nicely with the pipes, fiddles, concertina, & flute…..

Joyce

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Re: ITM food chain

Back to the point. Clunk, Funny screen name! IMNSHO The mandolin & the banjo for that matter sit into that fineline between backing & melody, you can obviously play a melody on them. The thing is that a mandolin or banjo note decays in in about a second with a very hard attack, kind of like a drum. This gives them aspects of a percusion instrument - so where do banjo’s & mandolins sit in the food chain? Probably somewhere between the guitars/CBOM’s & the fiddles flutes pipes etc. In the shady area of neither melody or backing.
That’s where the oh-so-witty phrase "tuned spoons" started.
Just remember your mandolin will get drowned out at a session & the banjo may overpower other instruments.

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cheers for the reply’s

so, for the budding fiddler a mandolin would seem like a good thing, you can sit in a corner quietly feeling your way and learning tunes without upsetting everyone else?

Took it to work today and experimented in the store cupboard with the door shut and a friend on the other side with the tv on at various volumes, and with the tv on 8 and my mando on level 0.5 not a thing can be heard - exellent! Reckon the squeak I get on the fiddle ( even with an atomic mute ) would still go thru lead walls. Thats going to quadruple my practice time!!!

So only another 10 years to go till I can play the melody at sessions - splendid.

Cheers again, now officially delurked.

Clunk

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How old are your two tiny fiddlers, Clunk? A family band, sounds great!

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Tim is 8 and Ross is 6, all going to a festival in the Scottish borders soon, their second. Mainly to see Flook who they both love, but also to keep the enthusiasm up. Untill they came along to our local folk festival all they had seen of fiddles etc was the school band, they didn’t know that traditional music can be cool.
Cept when I play that is!!

Cheers

Clunk

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Clunk - I keep reading the words "mandolin" and "carpal tunnel syndrome" in worryingly close proximity …

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would that be some horrible medical thing that happens to your fingures by playing too much? hmm, and if you get it from your mandolin I suppose it takes more than a but of ointment to get rid of it?

Have to look that up, started to get sore hands just thinking about it.

Cheers

Are you in scotland? or is the "wee" from another origin - I’m in the north east.

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We are all carpal (small in big sea), sea-bed feeding (I was going to say bottom) and the better ones rise to the surface occasionally.
(No clever comments about carpal being fresh-water)

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Clunk - I’m from Manchester, but in London. Tall, but dubbed "weegirl" by taller, more Irish person. Who thinks I’m nasty. Which is also untrue.

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do i know you?

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Clunk:

Just keep taking that fiddle to the session and cause as much trouble as possible -tune wise. However also be respectful and play lower volume than the alpha players of each predator instrument. When they break, take over with your tunes.

-dogma

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Welcome Clunk!

It’s important to note that only BAD bodhr

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bigdave - If you mean me, we’ve met at the sessions at the D of E and the Woodman, yes. The one with the notoriously large record collection, and notoriously small social life. How’re ya fiddlin’?

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thanks for the encouragement breandan, at the last session a lass said to me "nice bashing", felt good untill a grizzled guitar player said something about any bodharn player that is not getting bashed himself should think himself lucky!

Mandolin for fiddlers

"The mandolin is like a violin with training wheels."

—-Michael B., mandolin player

The mandolin will probably do fine things for your left hand for a while; you’ll get the tunes patterned in nicely, and they won’t be too hard to pick up when you go fretless. Ornamentation is very different for the left hand on the two instruments, because of the mandolin’s lack of audible sustain when compared to a bowed instrument, but for the basics, the mandolin will doubtless be a big help.

However (and this is crucial), for me the right hand on the mandolin is completely different from the right on the violin, and I’m not just talking about the way you hold that long hairy pick. On a fiddle, the bow affords enormous opportunities, responsibilities, and options accents and rhythm via the direction of the strokes. On the mandolin, it’s gotta be down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up for the reels, DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down-DOWN-up-down for the jigs. The reason for this is that rhythm is all-important, and without a strict stroke pattern on the mandolin, you really easily lose the groove. (Chris Thile’s video, mentioned elsewhere here, outlines this better than I ever could.) In addition, the plucked note decays very quickly, so for sustaining a note, you have to use double-strokes or tremolo. With the fiddle, you can compensate much more easily, since with a deft bow, you can sustain a note for a good-o long time.

I’ll doubtless recount more experiences here as I’m learning to play without the frets and with the hell-stick.

—-Michael B.

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Cheers Michael

Hell stick is just about the right word!! Had any problems with your carpel tunnels?

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I’m glad you said ‘Long Hairy PICK’, Michael…

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I know a very good fiddler who years ago started out on mandolin, and he swears that he thinks of the bow as just a pick. I’d never have guessed that hearing his long-bow fluid style, but there it is.

LOL, "long hairy pick…" Careful, or you’ll have us all making verbal boners, er, *bloopers!*

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I thought that fiddling would improve my mandolining by giving me a complete new "mental map" for the GDAE fingerboard, which would stop me using my "guitar map" and trying to remember to extend it by two more frets before changing strings, which was a bit inefficient, to say the least.

What happened instead though was that my "fiddle map" is based on finger positions and "feel" and it actually didn’t translate all that well to the mandolin frets i.e. on fiddle for say B and Bb on the G string, I’m thinking "put middle finger down in normal position" or "reach back" but on mandolin it’s "2nd fret" or "3rd fret". One’s touchy-feely, the other’s a bit more visual. I am better off, but not by as much as I thought I’d be!

(The other problem is that with mandolin, if you need to note something down while playing, you can put your pick in your teeth, flip the mando over on your lap and scribble on the back. Not so easy with bow and fiddle…)

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My son, Ryan Flynn (Mando Flynn), started on classical violin at age 10. He still plays violin in the school orchestra, but at age 12 he began playing ITM on the mandolin, and at age 15 became a member of my band. He is a very important lead player in our local session, as he has a memory like a steel trap and can pick up a tune at full speed the first time he hears it. He is 16 now, and gets duo gigs all the time just for himself and another teenage fiddle player. Sure, in a big session the mando can be drowned out. I think you’ll have great fun with it, as you can switch from chord accompaniment to melody.

Have fun.

Alice Flynn

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Cheers Alice

My two lads - 6 and 8 - have both just started the fiddle, how did your lad get on with it at the start? am trying to encourage them but as I am learning too, even they admit that we sound pretty bad!!

Cheers

Clunk

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Goodness me what a load of toss from the clunkmiester.

reading an old discussion is probably like listening to a recording of the first few months.

Thank goodness I dont have one.