Tunnel Session

Tunnel Session

I had a bizarre experience over the weekend: a session inside a 2.5 km canal tunnel involving 20 morris men split between two narrowboats. It was about 50:50 songs and tunes, and the sound was phenomenal. Tunes included Le Canal En Octobre (naturally), Out on the Ocean, Over the Waterfall, Salmon Tails Up The River, Messing About on the River, and many more nautically themed ones (and plenty that weren’t thus themed). Most of the songs were shanties.

Any other strange locations for sessions that worked brilliantly?

Re: Tunnel Session

LOL - Which way was the tunnel pointing - I think the echoes must have been heard for miles!

Re: Tunnel Session

I used to paint municipal water tanks. When you were inside there was such an echo that you could sing or whistle a note, and then a harmony note a second later. That was kind of fun (or maybe it was the paint fumes). I don’t think it would work with very much of a group, or with fast tunes in general.

I also remember playing in the ice house at Augusta (Elkins, WV) and just being amazed at the racket (an ice house is usually a stone cylindrical building, so the room is quite "live"). Especially when there was a hammer dulcimer!

That doesn’t answer your question, but I just thought I’d throw that in.

Jeff

Re: Tunnel Session

At a rough guess there would be eventual attenuation of the sound, as no surface reflects perfectly, so by the time things reached the tunnel mouth they would be much reduced for a start, and secondly fairly directional by that point too, so they would not spread much from the direction they were heading in anyway. So, the ducks and the moorhens probably had a surprise, but I doubt it would have even reached as far as the next canal-side pub, and certainly not spread sideways across the countryside.
I do understand that, on the boats, it must have seemed amazing. Domed roofs anyware give these great ( or infuriating ) acoustics, depending on what you are trying to achieve - in my experience, using pa systems, they usually cause chaos.
Some of the ‘30’s tube station foyers, with their domed roofs, have a fast rattle if you clap your hands once - Hanger Lane is a particular favourite of mine.

Re: Tunnel Session

I almost had a tunnel session a few months ago. Was coming back from a session and there was a huge back up in a tunnel. After becoming restless and getting out of my car, I got a call from one of my fellow sessioners who as it turns out was in the car immediately behind me in the tunnel. We agreed that if traffic didn’t move in five minutes we were going to start having a few tunes. Unfortunately things cleared up shortly after the phone call, so the session never happened. Considering the tunnel was located in a major US city, I like to think that the threat of a traditional Irish session caused the backup to end 🙂

Re: Tunnel Session

Played a gig at the Maldon Folk Festival one year about 2 hours northwest of Melbourne. It was a disused gold mine tunnel. It lead to all sorts of comments about being an underground band, what sort of pick to use, were we now a rock band, gold records, "taking" off the Stones, getting shafted etc.

Re: Tunnel Session

A lighthouse on Lundy Island….well, that’s where I did a bit of flute practice, since that was our accomodation, when we went on a rock-climbing trip to there many years ago. Lovely haunting echo sound. But also we had a kind of session in the pub on the island (population 12 persons) comprising of flute, guitar and spoons.

Re: Tunnel Session

Ah yes, the acoustics in that lighthouse are fantastic. Had a slow air session with Briantheflute in the top of there once. Still have the minidisc somewhere 🙂