What is traditional?

What is traditional?

Found this in another context, and thought it would be a good stick to stir the pot here. Discuss.

The late Bizen potter Kaneshige Michiaki (1934-1995) said of tradition:

Tradition is sometimes confused with transmission. Copying Momoyama pieces is transmission. Producing contemporary pieces incorporating Momoyama period techniques is tradition. Tradition consists of retaining transmitted forms and techniques in one’s mind when producing a contemporary piece. Tradition is always changing. A mere copy of an old piece has not changed; it is nearly the same as its prototype of four hundred years ago. Tradition consists of creating something new with what one has inherited.

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That’s it.

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It’s a shame, so many people are trying to play this music in new ways without studying or paying homage to older generations of musicians.

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@Slainte
True words!

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The copying, the transmission, is a vital stage to go through first.

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It don’ t mean a thing if it ain’t “retaining transmitted techniques and forms in one’s mind.”
A sensible view, that explains how a new tune in one musician’s hands can sound more traditional than an old tune in the hands of another. But certainly not a phrased in a way that will stick in my mind………

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I think slainte made a very good and pertinent point about studying and paying homage to older generations of musicians. Based on my varied experience from many, many years of playing various types and genres of music, if you don’t study what previous generations of musicians have done, you don’t really understand and really can’t understand whatever music you are trying to play whether it be ragtime, blues, classical, or something else (such as the music which we are supposed to be discussing here).

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I have trouble enough learning this so it pay homage to the people who preserved it to fool around with it and try to ‘improve’ it.

Humilty precludes futzing with a tune other than proper ornamentation if at all

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Great quote, w.m.

Very few folks add anything worthwhile to a tradition. I’m grateful that people try, but even more grateful for fast forward and eject buttons.

“Mannered” art, music, and literature is piled to the sky with the output of people doing a lousy job of extending a tradition. Most should just stick to transmitting.

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I think transmission-vs-tradition is an artificial distinction. In fact, I’d say the original quote is mostly cock-eyed, as all of the activities described therein are vital parts of a tradition.

“Tradition is always changing.”

Now that just sounds bassackward. Tradition allows respectful change, but surely a salient feature of any tradition is a healthy resistance to change.

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‘Tradition consists of creating something new with what one has inherited.’

Definitely not - that’s innovation.

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Certainly, emulating/paying homage to the old masters (transmission) is the starting place. And most attempts to branch out from there will be forgettable, with luck. As well be most all attempts to copy the masters, in the name of purity, preservation, whatever.
I recently heard Liz Caroll and John Doyle’s latest CD. To me, it is a good example of continuity of tradition, in the sense of the original quote from Michiaki. That might be easier for some to accept in Liz’s case than in John’s. Awareness and appreciation of the great work of earlier times is the natural brake that keeps traditional development from veering off into the realm of untethered innovation.

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Nononononononononononono….
Cecil Sharpe, whom I often quote on this, said there were three strands to define folk music;
Continuation, selection, and variation.
If it ALL changes, then obviously it is no longer folk ( traditional ) music. It must continue, at least in part, in its original form.
A distinguished Hampstead poet once played me a recording of a Danish folk-song, translated into english, set to a new tune by a friend of his, and sung by a bel canto singer.
I asked where the folk-song had gone ?

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So, I’m sorry, help me out here, what should I say I’m playing? Transmitted or Traditional Irish Music?

Sounds like you’ve caught something nasty, ‘transmitted’.

Oh wait, wrong thread, the swine flu one is over there…

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Virulent Irish Music.

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Well, I had always thought that the trumpet would have no place in Irish traditional music, or most traditional forms of music for that matter, but after hearing Ionut Tanta playing trumpet in Romanian music, I might have to think again. Could it successfully be incorporated into Irish trad? It would have to be played at this level of virtuosity though:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaGkkooIJl0&feature=PlayList&p=05321190CC8BBB82&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=79

Traditional

The original remarks refer to changes taking place over several generations.

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Charles Hennon said the “tradition is what changes without you noticing it…. the part about the trumpet made me laugh : why not in ITM : if the musician is able to play the tunes on the trumpet with the drive, the rythm and the ornaments that make it sound irish, then why not ? if one can’t accept trumpet in ITM, why should we accept bouzoukis, banjos, accordions… it’s the same thing as having a trumpet…

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Aye the Trumpet Nikita.

Well, how about the Saxophone:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zGsuXXbpIA


Or how about this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KQ-368Q5wg&feature=related


If it wasn’t for innovation, tradition would stand still
…. & we all know what happens to water, when it stands still for too long! 😉

I can just picture Seán Ó Riada’s ghost heading into O’Donahues to check out the Irish Session in a few years time though, to be confronted by four bearded guys on Bouzouki, Saxophone, Trumpet & Djembe …… belting out the tunes! 😀

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Thanks, will morgan:

Wonderful quote, and quite true, IMHO.

One can attempt to copy or clone, but that is all you will be doing. To personalize, while retaining the “traditional” aspects and values, seems to me a far grander thing.

Probably just as satisfying, too.

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OK, the link was huge so I tiny’d it, it’s to Google Books, it’s safe, but check out this classic picture of O’Leary’s Irish Minstrels:

http://tinyurl.com/p3agwa

Box, fiddle, trombone, trumpet, piano, banjo and drums. 1930s Boston.

There is historical precedent for brass playing Irish dance music from the 30s onwards.

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Aye Fiddler, so I guess we could say that people have been trying to introduce brass instruments to the Irish Music scene since the 30s …………… & still they haven’t been accepted!

The words horse, dead & flogging spring to mind! 😉

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lol Mr. P! If at first you don’t succeed? Up ‘At The Racket’! 😉

That book is a great read. Apparently the halls in Boston would have upwards of a thousand folks packed into them any given Saturday night during the golden age. Flutes and fiddles disappeared in favor of brass, banjos and boxes, with a piano and full drum set to fill the hall.

Of course, this allowed them to do a little swing and foxtrot with their Siege of Ennis as well…

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Aye Fiddler, an’ right good they are too, but have you heard the expression ~ “One swallow doesn’t make a summer” 😉

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I had not, but I like it and will use it!

Isn’t there one about ‘everything old being new again’ as well?

Hey, I’m no brass champion, just a history nut. 😛

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Are history nuts similar to pea nuts, Brazil nuts, and wall nuts?

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Fauxcelt, it’s taking everything I have not to make ribald jokes about ‘nuts’ so I’ll just exit stage left here.