Too Fast, No Heart

Too Fast, No Heart

I’ve heard it said many times before on this site that people often play too quick and or don’t grasp the rhythm/beauty/concept of the tune (it’s little difficult to paraphrase).

Although I’ve always understood and appreciated the comments and feelings, today I feel this truth. The typical ITM player plays too quickly. The typical session, I believe, is more chaotic than a Slayer mosh pit.

I feel the spirit of the music is lost.

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Our man Kenny has a really good saying that goes something along the lines of….
"There’s lively music and there’s fast music,some people just dont know the difference" …
I think he’s got that 100% right….
I also agree with you Pete D …

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I think that it’s fairly subjective issue.

A player is only playing too fast when they fail to convey all that is mentioned in your post Mr Pete. Many play too fast and thats a fact.

I’m minded of a comment from an ancient text (from around 5-700AD I think) where the writer comments on the speed of the playing and the rapid fingers of the Irish bards & minstrels he came across on his visit to Ireland ………. It’s been going on a long time.

As to the source I’m uncertain, I feel sure of the dates though, but it could be, Geoffrey of Wales; History and Topography of Ireland, in which case it’s from the eleventh century, still a long time.

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Unfortunetly too many folks dont know the difference between speed and ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….timing .

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I´d like to comment on two threads, the one here and another one just a little while back, "A nice waltz". I also feel that a lot of musicians are playing their tunes way too fast, and the spirit of the music gets completely lost - bluegrass, which I´m also listening to, is another case in point here. In ITM, what Martin Hayes does with his tunes (especially on "The Lonesome Touch") is an interesting and beautiful approach. Another point: since I love playing waltzes, I followed the thread on "A nice waltz" which brought me to "Fil et Bobine" , which was in the tunes section recently. "Recordings of a tune by that name" in turn led me to the recording "Relative minors" by a Canadian group, Les/The Bachands. Clicking on the playlist of their record, I found a very interesting list of tunes, and a comment on the record which couldn´t have been more positive ("one of the most interesting groups playing in Canada, fantastic way of dealing with tunes, astounding technical level, et al). Finding them on youtube, I saw three musicians barely out of their teens, playing their tunes verrrry fast, with a complete lack of feeling - at least in the guitar player, who can´t be older than 14, but also in the flutist - which, I think, just goes to show: too fast, and definitely no heart !! I do not want to knock young musicians, but there is something to be said for age and mellowing…

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Re: Too Fast, No Heart, NO TECHNIQUE!!

The problem is that there are far too many numptys out there who look at this music as nothing but 32bars repeated with the oul upbeat anacrusis thrown in for good measure. They then just learn tunes from sheet music, listen to modern bands who make it sound easy (these are mostly people who have spent a lifetime perfecting the nuances of the art) and plow through the tunes with no respect for rhythm, nuance, phrasing or any notion that this is and always will be DANCE MUSIC.

oh and god forbid that theyd listen to the likes of Coleman and morisson with their outdated recording techniques, terrible backing, and squeaky fiddles.

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Fast tunes get the blood flowin..as does wishkey..

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Launching a critique of fast playing doesn’t factor in the particular musicians or level of musicianship involved..Perhaps people who agree with your post are too far out of their comfort zone..

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I cant even bring myself to quote this time, to hung over and a match to play..Too fast = No heart..opposite is true..

The music is there to be played not conform to your preferences

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"The typical Irish Traditional Music player plays too quickly. The typical session is more chaotic than a Slayer mosh pit."

This is indeed true. But the gist of it has nothing to do with the objective speed of it. Or indeed whether it’s played with the heart or not. It’s simply that the vast majority of the players of this music are just bloody rubbish at it. Putting your heart into it is not enough.

Sure, one of the reasons that the vast majority of the players of this music are just bloody rubbish at it is because they play faster than they can play. But that’s just one of the reasons it’s a bloody racket.

There’s more to it than that. Sure, slowing it down a bit might help them a little, but for the vast majority, it would still be rubbish. The vast majority of people who "try" to play this music are merely deaf numpties. They won’t/can’t hear the music. They don’t understand it, they are incapable of discerning the good from the bad. They fall into this music because it’s sociable and easy to play.

However, the fact is, that playing fast is great. And if you understand it, and have the ability to throw your heart and your head into it, then there is little to beat the exhilaration of cranking it up down the boozer with your mates.

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I would just like to say that, from a younger person’s perspective (at 22 do I count as one of these young people you speak of? Or is it mainly just teens that you mean?) I agree with pretty much everything that’s been said so far.
Here in Victoria, British Columbia, there are a lot of young fiddle players, including the young fiddler from the group that alexweger mentioned above, who play the tunes ridiculously fast and hard (as in their bows need to be restrung after each gig/session), with what seems to be an air of intense desperationg to prove to whoever’s listening how fast they can play. It makes me cringe, sitting in the local "Irish pub" and listening to one of these "up and coming fiddlers, so young and so talented!" pumping these tunes out at 250bpm so that the tune gets completely lost in this frenzied need to impress. The pub patrons usually clap and cheer at the end of a set, having no idea of what was just murdered on stage; they just see that this young person can play an instrument really fast so that must mean he/she is really good.
My respect goes out to the players that can control the tunes’ tempos, putting everything h/she can into them so that what comes out are the player’s portrayals of the TUNES, and not some vomitted mess of notes. This is how I strive to play anyway.
I like what you said, llig, in your last paragraph; I agree. If the player has the ability to play really fast but it’s still controlled (as in the tempo isn’t all over the place) and the spirit of the tune is not lost, then that’s great; I like listening to that stuff.
"Too fast" doesn’t necessarily MEAN "no heart," it’s just that the two concepts are usually seen together with players these days.

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Maybe there are mischievous influences on tasia’s side of the Pond, in the form of what they’ve turned the Ir & Brit tunes into - i.e. Old Timey, which they brutalise and race hell for leather as a matter of course as far as I can tell. (My hands are up, there are great OT tunes, honest! But is there something in this suggestion?) Maybe people just expect ITM to be the same.

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You could be on to something, nicholas, there is A LOT of Old Time over here…perhaps your theory has some validity.

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I was once told that the average punter listening to ITM just wants to feel that the player is doing something that the listener couldn’t. You do notice people staring at yer fingers in a mesmerised fashion.

Having said that, quite often the tunes that get the biggest round of applause are the simplest (Si Beg, Si Mor for example), often played at a nice sedate pace. I still can’t guarantee the response we’ll recieve for the same tune, week after week.

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And they (the punters) like to see a lot of bow flailing - especially if it’s done on stage by someone with the obligatory low neckline ;-)

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Definitely a skill vs speed thing. Your average player can only play so fast while getting the right feeling. At a certain speed, it just seems like a race.

I’m sure Pete D understands this, and also understands that of course there are exceptions to the rule.

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I went to session in Boston a couple of days ago where I
played with four 20-somethings. I’m old enough to be their father.
Two were Irish (ie, from that island, not from the USA).

The pace was at times fast but we also played a some super slow reels and some too fast hornpipes. It certainly wasn’t just hell for leather with no feeling.

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@ llig - again you’ve hit the heart of the thing …. lot’s of people can play fast well. and lots of people can play fast badly- Most "Listeners" can’t tell the difference…
i offer this- it "sounds" slow, but it "feels" fast . Lovely stuff….
cheers, pipewatcher

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Thats it, its not the actual speed, but the feel, if tis got space to be fluid, room for the tune to move thats the point, How fast it goes does not matter as long as there is room for music.
It never fails to astonish me how when trying to play along to a tune on a great recording it always seems faster to play with than to listen.
I know that womeone is bound to say well if you had better technical ability you would not be so supprised, but thats not my point, the feeling of space in a tune does not have to get lost at speed.

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Its just that its really difficult to do.

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No. It’s not difficult at all. That’s a large part of the problem, people playing the music and finding it difficult. If you find it difficult it will sound difficult. You have to get out of that mindset to play this music well. It has to be easy. It is easy. Easy peasy.

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This relates to my phrasing thread a bit back. Some of the phrasing gets lost at a high speed. Gently manipulating the nuances of the rhythm will go out the window.

But it’s still my position that the music *gains* something when it starts going fast, and that is that the turns in the melodies become more abrupt, which is interesting to the ear. So the melody gains a level of interest. I’m not an advocate of playing everything fast all the time. But listening to the "lonesome touch" style of Irish music gets pretty old for me after about one set of it. It’s all nyah, and no lift or drive. So variety is key.

The thing is to make the speed sound (and be) effortless. You can tell when someone is playing faster than they are comfortable with. But listen to some of the greats, and it doesn’t sound fast, because it doesn’t sound strained at all. Then when you try to play along, you realize just how fast it really is…

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Oh Michael, then if its easy, why can’t I do it!!!!!!!
You have said this to me before, maybe 2/3 years ago and it has stayed with me, and remembered you saying it when I typed that.
Yes the bow moves across the strings and the fingers move up and down, replicating what you hear in your head. Like Jenson Button going round the corners faster than the rest, easy.. Easy when you can do it.

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Playing fast (or even just playing) with accuracy really is hard or next to impossible if the player’s technique isn’t up to it - and everyone goes through that stage. You don’t acquire technique in five minutes; it needs a lot of slow and thoughtful practice with attention to the fine detail of fingers and bow, which implies the watchful eye of a teacher who shows you how it’s done and corrects you when you make the mistakes you don’t realise your’e making.

A difficult passage - and they occur in most tunes even if it’s only a couple of notes - needs to be practiced slowly with attention to detail and looped until it’s right, and then you speed it up a tad and repeat the whole process, finally incorporating the passage in the tune at something approaching normal playing speed.

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Reverend, you said that - "… the music *gains* something when it starts going fast, and that is that the turns in the melodies become more abrupt". I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that rolls and cuts in Irish music are essentially percussive and so pretty well independent of the speed the tune is played. It follows that when you practice a tune slowly you are still playing that percussive roll as if you were playing the tune up to speed (and a slow cut would be a contradiction in terms). Of course, if the roll is played like a classical "turn" (with identifiable notes) then its speed would depend on the overall speed of the tune at that moment.

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Curiously I have found that the speed issue tends to come from those who prefer slower music. I rarely hear fast players commenting negatively about more steady players.

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I was taught that the speed of the ornament should relate to the speed of the tune. That its exactly because they are percussive that they need to rhythmically match the tune.

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Not so - listen to Tommy Peoples play a slow air.

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I think, lazyhound, that by "turns in the melodies" the Reverend was referring to the melodic movement of the tune (and thus by extension the implied chords, the head fake to D into B minor, the unexpected B flat, that sort of thing) and not so much to the ornaments, nor to the B part, sometimes referred to as the "turn" if I’m not mistaken.

So the idea was that as the pace accelerates, the tune becomes more exciting because the zigs and the zags come faster - sort of like my father’s driving. Although some would say that exciting is not the word for that case.

What I like about this idea is that it captures something of what I think is important about music, which is an element of surprise. Not surprise, as in a tricky arrangement that leaps into a polka at some unexpected moment, but the sort of surprise that a good tune pulls when it leads your ear to expect one thing, and then gives it another. Like the A part of the Maid Behind the Bar, to pick an obvious example. And it’s true, if you’re good enough to play the tune (not just the notes) at a brisk tempo, those surprises can gain some effect.

What I don’t like about the idea is that it implies that one cannot be surprised at a slow tempo, and I just don’t buy that at all. Listen to Julie Langan and Verena Commins’ record of a few years ago if you don’t think a tune can have drive at a slow pace…

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I don’t see what Mr. People’s airs have to do with session tunes. Please explain the connection.

And all rolls are NOT the same length regardless of the tempo. They are absolutely not independent of the speed of the tune. Percussive? Articulation would be a better word. Rolls, trebles etc separate notes, and as such timing is crucial. Next somebody will say that a triplet is the same length regardless of the tempo. Good grief!

BTW, on many, if not all instruments, the cut can be lengthened or shortened. My teacher uses longer cuts occasionally very effectively.

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As for the ornamentation question, I just did a little experiment. I took John Carty’s recording of Jim Donoghue’s - in which he starts off at a laid-back pace, speeds up a few times, and ends with a last pass through at a slow, stately pace.
Using Audacity, I singled out one particular point from four different times through the reel - the first A, as a matter of fact - and listened to that what he does to that particular note each time. Now, I’m not a fiddler, so I can’t say exactly what he’s doing there but it sounds like he hits that note with about the same thing each time, and if you clip down to just that note, I really can’t hear a difference in the timing of the ornament he’s playing there, whether it’s at the medium, the fast, or the slow pace.

Now, that’s a very limited set of data, but it’s my sense from listening that lazyhound is right above, where he (pardon the assumption) states that timing of ornaments is independent of the rhythm of the tune, and for me this tends to confirm that impression.

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The timing of some articulations are independent of the "speed" of the tune, never the rhythm.

It’s typical that on a thread about speed, people are getting speed mixed up with rhythm

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*

sorry for the link above. The recording is there, along with lots of ads.

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Well I was informed one night over a few pints by session mate (name drop warning) Jackie Daly that the speed of ornaments relate to the speed of tune and until I can play as well as him I am not arguing! :-)
The ornaments should not stand out at the listener but sit back in the tune, this is what I was taught.
In Tommy’s tune above all the ornaments are integrated within the rhythmic structure of the tune.

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Think that was the point I was trying to make Michael, that to play with good rhythm is difficult.

I ski well, used to do it for a living. When I ski it is easy, don’t even think about it, and it happens with grace and style!!!!!

To say that cos I can ski easily now does not mean that is was always easy.

I think that to concentrate on how hard something is would be negative - relax and let it happen. There needs to be time spent letting the good stuff happen and getting rid of the rubbish.

So, is what you are saying ; that this music is easy to play if time is spent learning how to do it?

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No, I’m saying it’s easy. period.

Sure there are some motor skills to nail, but they are not difficult. Not difficult compared to most other forms of music. And the music itself is very simple. Limited range of notes, short melodies.

One of this music’s greatest strengths is the ease of it. Great art doen’t have to be difficult and/or complicated.

So if you come to it with the mindset that it’s difficult, you will fail, no doubt about it. I too think that to concentrate on how hard something is would be negative - relax and let it happen.

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Obviously Its only easy once you can do it. If anyone doubts me then simple try playing these ‘easy’ tunes well once you swap arms and bow with your left hand.Not so easy now eh ;-)

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So it just comes down to learning the simple motor skills, listening to the music and letting it come oot o yer heid?

Why cant everyone do it?

Prob cos most bad players don’t actually listen to what they do and vice versa?

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That’s exactly what I said near the top:

"The vast majority of people who "try" to play this music are merely deaf numpties. They won’t/can’t hear the music. They don’t understand it."

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ok.

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I’m not having a go, just glad to get some agreement

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This discussion about playing too fast with no feeling or emotion reminds me of the warning which I have frequently seen on ragtime piano pieces about not playing the music too fast. Yes, I know the subject of this web site isn’t ragtime music but I do have a lot of experience playing ragtime on the piano and listening to discussions about the proper speed for playing ragtime.
There are too many people (whom I sarcastically refer to as "speed demons") who are technically very proficient pianists who like to play ragtime but they play it much too fast because they think they are showing off how much better they are than other pianists who don’t play this music as fast they do.
What these "speed demons" don’t realize is that they are leaving no room for improvisation on the repeat (which is customary in ragtime playing) because they are playing much too fast. There is no room for nuance or phrasing because they are trying to play at the speed of light and each individual ragtime piece has its own particular speed at which it sounds good.
I usually have to play a ragtime piece through a few times to figure out at which speed it sounds best to my ears.
If you play Irish music much too fast and don’t leave any room for ornamentation, then it doesn’t sound as good and supposedly you aren’t playing it correctly.
Also, like ragtime, I thought you were supposed to play Irish music at a steady speed and with a steady rhythm.

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Jon, thanks for putting me right on my misunderstanding of what Reverend was saying.

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"llig" - when you made the statement " the vast majority of people who try to play this music are merely deaf numpties. They won’t /can’t hear the music. They don’t understand it.", were you including the traditional musicians who live and play on the island of Ireland ?

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I was not implying that the honorable gentleman for bells south was having a go, just could not think of anything to say, and did not want to ignore! Should have put one of those smiley thing on the end.

I understand the point, and appreciate the distilled way in which it has been said.

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Lazyhound - thanks for an excuse to trot out my "surprise" theory of How Music Works…

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Interesting point, fauxcelt, I’ve seen that admonition at the top of ragtime scores: "Not too fast" and never realized it was addressing a specific issue. It does apply to This Music as well. Cool. Of course, what is "too fast" for one person’s abilities isn’t the same for another. But good to keep in mind.

I think that one reason that playing too fast sounds mechanical is that when you’re concentrating on one thing — speed — the other important stuff can fly out the window.

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If you’re concentrating on speed, you’re playing too fast.

Kenny, I think it’s probable that the proportion of the deaf numpties is lower on the island of Ireland than eleswhere.

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"If you’re concentrating on speed, you’re playing too fast." YES.

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"… admonition at the top of ragtime scores: Not too fast"
I had a copy of Scott Joplin’s rags where the composer complained in the preface that people generally tried to play them too fast - hence the admonition.

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This discussion makes me think of two of Raymond Smullyan’s anecdotes, which relate in a sort of a way.
One concerned a score for a piano piece, and I can’t remember who the composer was, which began with the instruction "To be played as fast as possible". A few pages in came the instruction: "Faster".

Another concerned an organ grinder, who was cranking away one day in Vienna, when a gentleman walks by and says "Pardon me, but I’m Richard Wagner. I wrote that music, and I must tell you, you’re playing it too fast." Well, the next day the composer walks by and he sees the organ-grinder again, cranking out the same music - and at the correct tempo - under a sign reading "Student of Richard Wagner".

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Approximately twenty-five years ago, I heard Jo Ann Castle (who used to play piano on the Lawrence Welk Show) perform. I didn’t like the way she played Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin. Her performance was all technical brilliance, dazzle, and technical proficiency as if she was trying to show everyone that she could play Maple Leaf Rag faster than anyone else. There was no feeling, no emotion, and no improvising either.
Some of Joplin’s contemporaries were "speed demons" who thought that ragtime piano music was all about showing how fast you could play as if being able to play faster than anyone else proved that you were a superior person and a better musician.
Unfortunately, this is equally true of Irish music also.

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"To be played as fast as possible". A few pages in came the instruction: "Faster".

Jon, sounds like that composer was Erik Satie - he was a bit of a joker and that’s the sort of thing he did.

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"One of this music’s greatest strengths is the ease of it. Great art doen’t have to be difficult and/or complicated.
So if you come to it with the mindset that it’s difficult, you will fail, no doubt about it. I too think that to concentrate on how hard something is would be negative - relax and let it happen"

It’s the same as the difference between being able to ride a bike and being a proper cyclist. Cycling is easy and is a great joy, though you wouldn’t think so when you see these huffing, puffing, sweaty, sinewy, lycra-clad miseryguts, arses wagging in the air, wrestling with their cranks. If you are obsessed with worrying about hills or scared to death about the risk of punctures you will never be a cyclist. Irish music and cycling are easy. It’s only eejits who make ‘em look/sound difficult.

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Yes, and you often hear people who talk about improving their music making by competing with themselves. It’s ludicrous.

I like the bike analogy. It fits well with the generally accepted notion that there is no destination, no end to the journey that is this music. Just get on your bike and sit up straight, head up, and enjoy the view. If you stick your head down you won’t see the view. And all that your fellow cyclists will see of you is your arse in the air.

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Is there anything, which has not been said before, one may do to improve their music making?

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Ha ha! Steve and Llig, that analogy is crap - music
isn’t a sport and sport isn’t an art. Well actually it’s not
crap - I just have a different idea of where to go with it.

If you want to really express yourself and share it with the
world and maybe make some money then you have to free
yourself from the technical limitations and find your true
voice.

So that means lots of blood sweat and tears and trial and
error to get there. It’s not about ‘winning’ - leaving
aside those fleadh contests - which are a means to an end.

But if you’re in it for relaxation and fun - like most of us who
write stuff on the yellaboard - and if you ride to get to work
or sniff the fresh air, then yeah I guess you guys are right.

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I agree, sport/music analogies are crap. But this one seems to work precisely because there are two kinds of cyclist, the sport and the no-sport.

But the point I’m making about freeing yourself from the technical limitations is that the amount of mere technique you need to play this music is hardly any at all. With a bit of focus and a bit of time, anyone without a physical disability can get this stuff under their belt pretty sharpish. It’s just like riding a bike. It’s mere balance and confidence.

And because the techniques required are meagre, the music allows the non-professional (i.e. the part time) musician to get a great deal more out of it than mere relaxation and fun. It gives the freedom to be able to create great art … in your spare time.

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And the most annoying thing about the simplicity is that the typical Irish Traditional Music player plays too quickly and the typical session is more chaotic than a Slayer mosh pit.

People acquire the techniques and then just leave it there. They are content with their relaxation and fun. They don’t even attempt to understand the music, it washes straight over their heads. They can’t/won’t listen. Just bang away, week after week, content with amassing an utterly pointlessly huge repertoire of tunes they make all sound the same. They have to write them down because they can’t remember them. Collect them in data bases. And play them faster than they can so they can cram more of them into an evening, tick them off.

They are like twitchers ticking birds off a list. Never taking time out to sit and watch the common ones. They are like joggers, mindlessly and adictively ticking off their mile-a-day. Their minds are obese with the flab of repetition blocking up their neural connections with the clouding cholesterol of mundanity. Sitting there week after week, churning out the same old cack, sleeping at the wheel.

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And these are the typical players. The majority. Wake up, you know not who you are.

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Jon, Trevor: it was told to me it was Schumann who wrote: so schnell wie möglich; noch schneller.

He was not a joker. He went mad.

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Stop and smell the tunes! Or, speed up and smell the tunes.

But please, smell the tunes!

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Llig is correct.
Unfortunately, his comments apply equally well to other types, styles, and genres of music speaking from my too many years of playing music.

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Thanks for clarifying my point there, Jon. You are correct in what I was referring to… And the element of surprise is part of it, for sure. That’s part of the "magic" of the tunes, that we feel when we first hear a cool tune, which sometimes dissipates a bit once we’ve learned the tune - because the surprise is gone.

But it’s not just surprise that I was referring to, when talking about the twists and turns in the tune becoming more interesting at a higher speed. It becomes more like a roller-coaster, where even when you know the tune (or the roller-coaster), it’s coming at you fast, and there’s a sense of exhilaration from the ride, not necessarily from surprise.

As I mentioned, some of the expressiveness of a tune goes away when you’re playing fast, but if the ornamentation and articulation go away, then you’re playing too fast for your ability and it probably shows. As I have learned to play faster, it has been a battle for me to relax enough to the point that my ornamentation can still fit in, but I think that’s still important. And at higher speeds, different kinds of articulation become more prevalent. Parts of the phrasing can become more noticeable, because they stand out more against the backdrop of the flow.

So while speed may kill some of the "heart", and you shouldn’t play faster than you can sound good doing so, I still think that speed is part of what makes this music so great, when it’s done well.

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Part of the problem may be people who have only a shallow, superficial acquaintance with this music but they try to play it anyway because they think they understand it and they haven’t taken the time, energy, and effort to "internalize" it.
I was guilty of this at first but I was smart enough and well-trained enough musically to be able to understand this music eventually after I had studied it thoroughly.
I had enough sense to realize that I needed to Listen.

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There truly is nothing worse than a reel being played poorly and too slowly. It’s the musical equivalent of quicksand.

Also, speed? It’s dance music, right? Isn’t it supposed to be a certain speed to dance to? [ducks, runs for cover]

[Expected response: "I hate when some so-and-so brings up the fact that this is dance music!" which means "I can’t play it fast enough for anyone to dance to, so I get really cranky when someone reminds me that I’m playing dance music."]

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HA HA! Oh goodness, I’m so sorry, not sure where that last comment came from. I’m feeling better, cranky SWFL is gone now, carry on.

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Another parochial thread with a pile of parochial comments. As if tunes played too fast (for some) have no heart no matter what or as if playing at a moderate speed means you have heart. Rubbish.

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

‘parochial’? odd concept.

Respecting any piece of music is not a parochial comment. whether it is Bach (actually a very good parallel there with ITM with many players going too fast-‘machine gun music’ as it were), the Beatles or that tripe we play at Church from the Chicago Church music Sausage Factory you don’t have to be good to play it fast and badly.

I am with Ilig he spirit that playing at speed can bring if it is done well. It’s just that there are so many speed players who are showing off or trying to ‘one-up’ everyone. Doesn’t make it good.

Regardless of speed, the Music needs to be played well and understood by the player. What are we playing for? To bring out the music or do an exercise under the influence of testosterone since many musicians are bloody rotten footballers and can’t show off for the pretty girls there ;-)

I am going to get blasted by the ladies on that last comment!

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

I am with Ilig about the siprit that playing etc…….can’t type worth a damn

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

It’s not a ‘concept’ at all, just an obvious observation. "It’s just that there are so many speed players who are showing off or trying to ‘one-up’ everyone." - True, there are some who may do that but playing fast generally has nothing whatsoever with one-upmanship.

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

Actually, the issue is often "one-downmanship." If it’s too fast for me to keep up with, it has no heart. Likewise, if they’re playing a tune I don’t know, it’s obviously one of those obsucure "new" tunes that can’t really be traditional.

I’ve secretely been guilty of both those sentiments in the past… before I grew up. :-(

Posted by .

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

Bogman is right, of course, There are plenty of players who play too fast but still with plenty of heart. I said the same right at the top of the thread. Heart is not enough.

Posted .

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

The trouble is many people have their own definition of too fast.

The same speed is not too fast for every player or every tune.

I have met people who clearly played everything way too fast, for their own ability. Sometimes they appear to be under the illusion that their playing is particularlay impressive becuase it is fast, but in fact it is awful because they have lost all sense of rythym and phrasing. Without knowing the individuals better it can be difficult to tell whether they could play better by slowing down to a pace where they can contriol their rythym and phrasing better, or whether they simply have no rythym and phrasing at all and use huigh speed to hide this.

I also know some other players, particularly ounger players, who don’t realise how much better they sound when they slow down a tad. These guys are frequently very good, but get caught up in the adreneline-rush and play just too fast to sound at their best.

I’ve also known plenty of people who can play fast, sometimes very fast, and sound great. But these guys never sound too fast, because they can play at that speed and still keep everything together.

There is no one standard of speed that can be applied to every player. If the music is played so fast that it starts to deteriorate, then it is too fast *for that player*.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly fast player, but I know I sometimes play fsater than I like/intend when I’m nervous or if i’m trying to be heard across the table in a very noisy pub. Even if the tunes don’t breakdown, sometimes i’m left thinking wihs I’d played that a bit slower, the tunes lost something there. I can rarely recall thinking, "wish I’d started these a bit faster".

Anyway, who wants to play at the same pace all the time?

- chris

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

Good players can make any tune sound interesting at any tempo they play at. Good and smart players don’t play at tempos they cannot play at. Dedicated players strive to improve their playing so that they can become good and/or smart players.

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

Too much ostentatious showing off.

Re: Too Fast, No Heart

Yeah, if you are going to show off, at least have the decency to do it without ostentation. :-)