Irish Music

Irish Music

I was in the Azores Islands last week and was staying with a group of Portugese. They asked me what Irish Music was and I was shocked that I found it so hard to describe. How would you describe the music to foreigners who have never heard the music? I had some cds with me and they enjoyed listening to them but I just couldn’t describe it in words.
any help appreciated,
thanks,
sl

Re: Irish Music

I’ve had the same - I remember I went on a 4-day Anti-nuke march, with a host of CND people… lovely, lovely, intelligent, peaceful, spiritual, holistic, veggie kinda people, but maybe just a wee bit too puritanical in a greenie kinda way, for me…but I nevertheless made some friends that I kept in touch with for a few years.

So. Anyway. I had brought my flute, and played a lot of the time we were marching. All Irish tunes. But, as they do, people would come up to me and ask me what kinda music I was playing. Irish, I would answer. So what did that sound like(!?!?) someone asked…after me playing it for the last 10 miles!…but this person meant, what does it sound like with a group of people playing, and where does it fit in, in the scheme of things, ie, is it classical?, is it jazz?…genuinely curious. It goes to show that many people have genuinely NEVER HEARD The Music.

I think I said some crap like its sort of a bit like classical, but simpler…but it’s played like jazz..you do improvisations but inside the tune…the usual p!sh…and I’m sure the lady was none the wiser.

Moral of the tale? Using those analogies is like using apples and pears as yer means to describe a bag of spuds.

Danny.

Re: Irish Music

I’d have said something about songs and dances. The ITM we mainly talk about here is the dances. As opposed spuds.

Re: Irish Music

"Sort of a bit like classical" is an especially lame analogy Danny 🙂

Re: Irish Music

if you could accurately describe any music in words it would n’t be a music worth hearing,i think.

i’m sure it was some C19th german philosopher head who said that music begins where words leave off and i’ld go along with that.

i supposedly studied music at university and i can tell you that none of the teaching staff there knew how to talk about it either.eg.:"debussy’s music is…very french".
i ask you!
in comparison with the german department it was all very woolly indeed except for the practical side.

so,carrie,this is just a long-winded answer saying that i don’t think you should be too worried about not being able to explain as imo it’s not possible.

ok,someone prove me wrong!
best wishes

ps- is it hoffman? (the german fella,i mean)

Re: Irish Music

Carrie, if you’ ve been reading some of the other discussions on this site, you’ll have realised that we can’t agree among ourselves what Irish music or should be-let alone explain it to somebody else. It varies from region to region, over time, the context in which it is played and there are all sorts of debates about which instruments should be used.

So, if I were trying to explain ( The majority of Irish and Scottish people probably don’t understand what traditional and/or folk music is-it’s hard enough explaining to them), I would keep it as simple as possible. Probably playing the music or letting them hear CD’s is as good a way as any to start.

John

Re: Irish Music

Dow - yeah, "a bit like classical" is lame, and I did say it was crap, so let’s hear you do better, big boy.
Tee-hee…

Re: Irish Music

I’ve seen that before. It sort of defines it, rather than descibes it though, don’t you think? You couldn’t *imagine* a jig or a reel after reading that!

Re: Irish Music

Right, Danny! Words can’t accurately "describe" an experience, as every jig or reel is it’s own "sack of spuds". Maybe similar to others but very "unique" and "alive" and "fun" for some, but very "strange" and "uninteresting" and even "boring" to some hearing it for the first time. It "grows" on you like mange on a dog. Hee, Hee! Love the stinkin’ mange at times, don’t you? If we don’t love this music when we are playing it, and I don’t mean to be redundant, why play it? I don’t mean I love the mange all the time or even every "sack of spuds" but why not enjoy some of it while we can? And just keep scratchin’ the itch!
I still like some other kinds of music such as jazz or classical, but concentrate for the time being on what makes me "really happy" and scratch away to make every "sack of spuds" my very own if it is "palatable"! For what it’s worth, if anything.

Don

Re: Irish Music

Yeah, slan, It’s hard to, maybe even impossible, to describe the Music with WORDS to someone who never heard it before. It is truly, in my opinion, an ONGOING EXPERIENCE. Hope this helps!

Don

Re: Irish Music

Thanks every1….got a lot of ideas.
Sl

Re: Irish Music

So, g’won, Carrie, Tell us what the Azores was like!

I for one am always interested to hear what these far flung places are like to visit. And were the people you met up with Azores-Portuguese or Portugal-Portuguese. Post some links, or whatever!


Danny.

Re: Irish Music

My mother in law just bought me an Eileen Ivers cd - the one called traditional irish music and after listening to track 6 I thought of this discussion. For those that don’t have it the track is an arrangement of Pachelbel’s Frolics which starts classical and then goes all ITM.

Now I agree with all the previous comments about not being able to describe music with words and that the music should be defined by how it sounds, but on this particular track when the classic arrangement slides into the irish bit I just smiled - and thats how I think of ITM, musical smiles.

Re: Irish Music

What sound does yellow make? Where does love go? It’s like trying to describe the color blue.

Re: Irish Music

Or the smell green. Where does love go? Ouch!