Pressed For Time

Pressed For Time

Does anyone know the middle section of the song Pressed for Time. Most of it is written down in the tunes archives but when it is played by Flook, it has a middle part. If you know how it goes and you could write it down, it would be very helpful.



Josh

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Have you got the CD? Why don’t you learn it off that?

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Llig you’re funny.

Why don’t you answer peoples’ requests rather than ask questions? Sorry Josh I don’t know, neither does llig by the looks of it.

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The entire tune is in the tunes section here. It is true that in the Flook version they have a short break (47 seconds) in the middle. Most of it is just playing around 3 notes though and then there is a very brief and simple melody with a bit of rhythmic whistle underneath it.

The point I would make is if you are able to play the actual tune Pressed for Time then there is no way that you couldn’t work out Flook’s middle break. It is hardly an easy tune, particularly with all the acrobatics that Brian Finnigan throws in. I certainly can’t play it.

If you can play the tune then work it out for yourself. If you can’t play the tune then the break is the least of your concerns just now.

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And it’s not a song.

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It’s not a tune either - it’s just a bunch of notes

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ha, I’m interested in your distinction. I’d like to hear your specific deffinition of what makes a bunch of notes become a tune. I’ve always argued the other way round, in that scales are just c r a p tunes.

I disagree though. I wasn’t familiar with the name of this particular tune when I posted my first reply. But I looked it up and now recognise it and really, it’s a pipe tune. It’s written to make the pipes sound great. It’s a bit silly on the fiddle, but on the pipes is bloody brilliant. It pops.

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Good to have Dow back amongst us.

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I got the rest of the song besides the break down well now so it is just the middle i still have to learn. Not bad for a 15 year old who first picked up the Penny Whistle this Christmas eh?

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Weird, I just started learning this tune, too. I just got the "Gordon Duncan’s Tunes" tunebook in the mail last week. I figured I played so many of his tunes (all learned by ear Llig) and figured it’d be good to send some money to the foundation set up in his memory. A small way to say thanks for the great frickin’ tunes Gordon.

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"Bowen Constrictor" - are you telling us you can play "Pressed For Time" on the whistle after playing for only 6 months ? I flat out do not believe you.

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BC if you are still after a Overton high D I have an original for grabs if you want it drop me an email.

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Kenny - "I flat out do not believe you"

Oddly enough, neither do I. It would be a musical feet indeed. I also repeat that if you can play it then working out the middle bit would be easy-peasy. It is also still not a song and why bother learning the middle bit anyway? It is not part of the tune and you will never hear it in a session - ever!

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Flook’s version is not great. So much of the tune is completely missed out and replaced instead with that horrid shotgun tonguing. It sounds more like banjo playing than piping. (quite like the alto boem flute though)

And I agree with Kenny. If, in the future, Bowen Constrictor has stuck to the whistle, or any other instrument for diddley music, he/she will look back on that particular boast with embarrassment.

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Ditto you guys. Unless he/she is a musical prodigy of course…

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Take time to listen to Gordon Duncan’s own recording of it.
It is more spacious and less frenetically frantic-sounding than the Session A9, Flook etc fiddle versions. Probably just as fast but it doesn’t sound like it. I know at least that it is very hard to play on a banjo or mandolin without sounding like a complete mess

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on pipes…

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No offense but that recording is far too wooden to give a decent example of the tune.

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im surprised to hear you say that - he’s no virtuosososososo but he plays well and it is , after all a bit of a different tune on the pipes

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Gosh of all the people on thesession.org I had llig pegged as someone who could recognise a crap tune when he sees one but it seems not - I’m surprised!

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hears, of course, not sees.

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Brilliant tune. You obviously don’t know the instrument Dow.

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"ha, I’m interested in your distinction. I’d like to hear your specific deffinition of what makes a bunch of notes become a tune. I’ve always argued the other way round, in that scales are just c r a p tunes."

That’s a difficult one but I’d like to put my perspective on it, if I may. First of all scales are not just crap tunes. Scales are simply the main notes used in the tonality of Irish music played in sequence, and they are necessarily made up of the notes that sound when you go up and down in step on a whistle/flute etc. You could say they’re largely arbitrary, but not really because when you look into the science/maths of them they behave in strange ways. The scales we have now have been around for thousands of years. People have dug aeolian flutes up from the ground that dirty, hairy people dressed in rags and talking in grunts were twiddling on eons before Irish music was even a zygote in the collective Irish cultural womb.

In my opinion, a bunch of notes only becomes a tune when those notes are juxtaposed such that the phrases refer thematically to other tunes in the tradition (which of course doesn’t mean that it can’t be a unique sequence of notes). Pressed for Time doesn’t do that to my ears.

Also even if the notes are organised in a recognisably Irish (or Scottish in this case) way, it’s not a tune unless it’s played properly by someone who can play. If those notes are played by someone who can’t play, it’s still just a bunch of notes.

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@ bogman no I don’t know the instrument cause I don’t play pipes, but I love many GHB tunes - they make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Pressed for Time does the same thing but in a bad way…

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Hi Will πŸ˜‰

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Don’t you get it Dow? Just because you don’t like a tune doesn’t make it a crap tune. GD was amongst the very, very best of Scottish trad tune writers. He wrote some tunes I’m not keen on either but never in my wildest delusion would I say he wrote a ‘crap’ tune. Tunes appeal to different people in different ways and it’s a very strange thing indeed to believe you can judge that a tune is crap, despite the fact it is widely played, recorded and enjoyed by many.

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Of course, it’s my opinion that it’s a crap tune. You think it’s brilliant - that’s fine by me! It’s all opinion. Opinions are good - the world would be a boring place without them

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"GD was amongst the very, very best of Scottish trad tune writers". That would also appear to be, dare I say it, a personal opinion…

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No, not just a personal opinion. You will be very hard pushed in the current trad scene in Scotland to find many who would disagree. But yes, opinions are good, so long as they’re not portrayed as fact.

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Well, I would seem to me that you’re presenting your personal opinion as fact, but never mind

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Like I say, that would be general opinion here in Scotland, but never mind, we’re just getting bogged down. For interest, here are some of Gordon Duncans other tunes here on session.org, though the versions here aren’t great in general.

https://thesession.org/tunes/2639
https://thesession.org/tunes/5386
https://thesession.org/tunes/4428
https://thesession.org/tunes/1948
https://thesession.org/tunes/439
https://thesession.org/tunes/2478
https://thesession.org/tunes/2526
https://thesession.org/tunes/7872
https://thesession.org/tunes/4420

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Ah, dear Dr Dow. I hate to bring up the concertina, but I think there’s an inextricable link between the instrument and the way you perceive tunes as mere sequences of notes. It’s something about the very basic mechanical act of pressing a little button to make a note, the lack of effort. A very complicated little machine who’s interface culminates in the orderly nature of those little rows of little buttons. It concentrates the mind on sequences of pressing buttons.

The GHB however, is a monster of effort and the history of creating music on such an animal (it is technically a machine, but somehow that word seems more appropriate to the concertina) is the history of creating interest out of such little range. It’s about creating range out of articulation, creating soundscapes out of sound. It’s about invention. It’s about Gordon Duncan.

Take that tune off the GHB and it looses it’s essence. It does become a mere sequence of notes.

I’ve often said that all the best tunes can transfer to any instrument, even the bloody banjo. But I’m wrong. Once in a blue moon a real cracker of a tune is written for and performed on one instrument. This is such a tune. Is it good because it merely shows the instrument’s capabilities? Partly. Is it good because it shows the player’s prowess? Partly. But mostly it’s good because the composer was one of those very rare individuals who not only mastered the instrument, but was a genius in his ability to think out of the box.

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I think it’s likely that anyone who thinks the concertina is "orderly" has never tried to play one. The fellow who developed the fingering, Wheatstone, is best known for developing one of the pre-computer ciphers (used in telegraphy), and therefore a master of bringing chaos out of order. The concertina is fine example of this knack - a few rows, each one arranged in the same orderly pattern, the rows themselves arranged in an orderly pattern… leading to complete chaos, totally non-linear thought patterns, confusion, despair, and wondrous beauty when handled properly. Like a good cipher, really.

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I have Pressed for Time, but it is in my head.

If you’re a mind reader you may have some luck.

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All alleged "evidence" to the contrary, the concertina cannot be played. I tried. It cannot be done. Do not be duped by reported "sightings" of people actually playing this instrument.

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hee-hee, what a fun debate.

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fueling that is.

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Is llig impolite for answering a question with a question?
I don’t think so.
A student once asked his rabbi, "Why do you always answer a question with a question?"
And the rabbi replies, "What makes you think I do?"
We learn as much from questioning as from answering.
And welcome back Dow—the discussion you spurred made me realize how much my button box is like a typewriter for notes…….

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Al - I’ve sometimes referred to the box as the "Galway typewriter", on analogy to the "Clareman’s trumpet".

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I’m not sure I said that I view tunes as mere sequences of notes - I don’t actually. The notes of the scale are only a tiny part of what makes up a tune. There are the notes in between (which right enough you can’t get on the concertina), but not just that, there’s the articulation (cuts, rolls, pops, hiccups, squeaks, scratches) and phrasing, and so many other things.

What I was trying to say was that Pressed for Time is just a sequence of notes, but maybe I’m being a bit cruel. I’ll be nice, then, and say it’s a tune. I still think if it’s a tune it’s a crap one πŸ™‚

Some of the Gordon Duncan tunes listed above I quite like. I’m not saying he wasn’t amazing player or that I didn’t like all of his compositions. Look who posted Zito the Bubbleman if you don’t believe me.

It’s just Pressed for Time, I don’t bloody like it. But you know that already.

You know what it is about it, actually? It’s that the first time I heard it, it was played by a w@nker of a fiddler who played it ALL the time to show off, over and over and over again, and I came to associate the tune with being bored sh*tless, and have loathed the tune ever since.

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And let me preempt llig here, who I think will probably say something along the lines of "tunes aren’t just things made up of notes, articulations etc, they’re abstract holistic entities".. well I’d agree with that wholeheartedly and don’t think what I said contradicts that idea - it’s just a different perspective on the same entity. One single note of a tune, after all, with it’s articulation, volume, tone etc is an abstract entity itself too.

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That last para would be true for quite a few folk Dow.

I first heard of it (as opposed to heard it, which I probably had done already in similar circs to Dow) when I was sent a list of tunes to learn for subbing at short notice in a ceilidh band. That is why it’s still titled in my scrapbook as "Pressed for F*cking Time" . I looked at people playing it on YouTube but it made no sense at all. Then I got GD’s recording and it made sense.

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I just reread what llig said and might have misinterpreted what he said a bit, sorry. I see what you’re saying llig - that it’s all the stuff you can do on the GHB with Pressed for Time that makes it a good tune. That’s where we have to disagree: it wouldn’t matter to me what soundscapes someone was creating with it, or how flash their blips and blops, the underlying "hook" of a good melody isn’t there for me personally.

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with ITS articulation - (I’m rooted today, can’t do apostrophes)

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The album I have with this tune played on has Gordon playing it on the practise chanter. This tune really works best on a bagpipe where the lower notes are stronger than the higher notes, so the Scottish smallpipes are a great instrument to play it on. The rhythm the comes out in a way you won’t get on any other instrument. Just a thought.
πŸ™‚

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