The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

Im doing some research for an ITM project, and one of the areas I want to focus on is the increasing presence of different instruments in traditional playing in the latter half of the 20th century to present day (e.g. bazouki, mandolin, saxophone, harmonica etc)

I was wondering how you guys perceive the increasing instrument base focusing on your own experiences in playing or playing with, or listening to specific instruments as mentioned above. Do you feel its having a positive impact? Do you feel its moving away from the traditional melodic roots to more percussive and harmonic elements? Has it helped traditional music evolve? Does it allow ITM to maintain its vibrancy etc….

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yeah johnny has a fair point……

mind you, the bouzouki has added much beauty to the music and sits very well in among the fiddles, banjos, accordian, guitars etc

Much more interesting and fitting to my ( bouzouki playing ) ear

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I had a quick look through the posts in those links llig. For the most part I agree with you, but I think I may have misinterpreted your discussion on the concertina.

Do you really have a problem accepting the concertina as a traditional instrument? I think when played well, it is one the most traditional sounds available. I’ve always thought that the "nyah" seems to come very much to the fore when listening to a good concertina player.

Listen to Micheál O’Raghallaigh for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqERHgM7Kv0


My brother is a really nice concertina player (taught by Micheál as it happens), and is always welcomed very warmly to any session he turns up at. As a fiddle player, I always love playing with a nice concertina player.

I think I’ve probably got the wrong end of the stick with what you were saying, but any comments would be welcome.

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I can’t say I like the concertina much. It just doesn’t have any depth of tone, it’s just parp parp. I’ve heard Micheál O’Raghallaigh and am not convinced … too flash. However, I can listen to Edel Fox all day. I think she’s terrific.

The discussion I posted the link too was just some twerp who hasn’t a clue (and thank christ his clip has disappeared). But there were some interesting points in it made by other people.

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Interesting. I like Edel too. Hard to imagine liking one and not the other though. Still, there’s no accounting for taste.

So are your feelings towards the button box similar?

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It’s clear that, in line with the times, the introduction of fretted string instruments to the music is mainly because they are initially easier to play than fiddles flutes or pipes. And the same is true of the various concertinas and accordions. No patience. Silly really. Anyone can pluck a string or press a button. And the two things that are lost lost are the articulations that developed with the music on fiddles, flutes and pipes (and whistle) and all that space between the frets.

I’m particularly interested in the impact of the Boehm flute on Irish music between about 1850 and 1890. It took about 40 years for the boehm system flute to completely replace the "simple" system flute in classical music and during this time, a great glut of old flutes flooded the market. Before this, your average traditional musician with a fiddle or flute did not play really good instruments. Really good instruments are expensive. But then, almost overnight, you could get an absolutely top notch flute for a fraction of the price previously. It must have been a wonderful time. Old flute players picking up amazing flutes. Youngsters getting great instruments to learn on. What a bonanza. The fiddle players must have been jealous indeed. And, of course, the upshot of this was an incredible explosion of really great flute music throughout this period and lasting well into the twentieth century.

So if you are looking for a list of instruments that have unreservedly had nothing but a positive effect on the music, put the boehm flute at the top of your list.

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I quite like good button box playing. It can have a terrific energy to it. Also, it just has more of a voice than the concertina. It can have great variety.

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What! No bodhrans in the approved list? Documented in traditional Irish music from the 1450’s onwards.

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Concertina probably not ‘new’ within the time frame given in the OP. But does Edel Fox play with a not often heard regional style, a not often heard older style or a new style ? By ‘not often heard’ I mean not often on the radio or internet.

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Edel plays with a not often heard *skill*

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Yes. But you can’t be suggesting that most of the difference between her and Micheál O’Raghallaigh is skill rather than stylistic choice. Otherwise you would not need to say "there’s no accounting for taste".

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Micheál O’Raghallaigh plays with a not often heard *skill*. Edel Fox has something more.

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To me she seems to be giving the tune a ‘feel’ that fiddlers usually do but concertina players usually don’t.

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"not often on the radio or internet. "
unless you happen to be listening in Co. Clare.

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Sorry llig, crossed. Not wanting to go off topic but she seems to be defying your ‘articulations’ argument if lack of some articulations is not preventing ‘something more’.

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One can’t defy the ‘articulations’ argument because that’s about the physics of instruments. What she can do though is to subtly circumvent it. And that’s the joy of it really.

To get it back on topic, that’s what all the really good players of the "new" instruments do. Tony Macmanus does it. There’s a couple of banjo players can do it.

But it beggars the question why? Why, when it all sits so comfortably with comparably much less skill on the fiddle and flute?

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Not sure I’d agree that Edel has something more. Something different certainly, but I wouldn’t call her "better" or "worse" than Micheál.

Edel and Micheál are two highly skilled musicians at the top of their game. Which you prefer is largely a matter of taste.

David, I didn’t get from your post that you were comparing the two. I thought you were just asking as a general comparison to what you might hear from run-of-the-mill players. So of course you are right, the difference between them is style rather than skill.

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llig, you seem to be suggesting that the only instruments that should be played in traditional music are fiddle and flute.

Wouldn’t that get a bit dull?

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No, I’m not really saying that. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the pleasure of players like Edel Fox. I think it’s terrific that I can be entertained by someone on an instrument I don’t really like.

I suppose what I really wonder is, when people decide what instrument to learn, do they do it because the like the music or the instrument? If the answer is the music, then why make life harder for yourself? I like the music. I like playing rolls and stuff. I like sliding up to notes, I like being able to hold long notes, I like to be percussive, I like dynamics. I like variety. I like to play the music as it is and was traditionally played. I like to play like the pipes and I like to play like the flute. All things a fiddle does with ease.

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I bet the answer these people have would be both. They like the music and they actually like boxes and banjos. Angelina Carberry & Martin Quinn, for example. That sound, the box and banjo, is pretty much considered traditional now, regardless of spot on points about articulation!

…but you keep on fighting the good fight Llig. Good man. 😉

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I suppose it all depends on how cognisant of these things you are when you start to learn. I started on the tin whistle when I was 6, and went on to the fiddle when I was 9. I think I just thought it looked kinda cool. Shiny varnish and the like.

At that point, my younger brother had just turned 6. It was time to start him on an instrument. We assumed he’d start on the whistle like most people. My parents asked him what instrument did he want to play and the little guy piped up "Concertina". It was the biggest word he had ever said in his life. We had no idea where he’d even heard the word, let alone the instrument.

Anyway, my parents dutifully got him concertina lessons, and he went on to become a very fine player. Even won the all-ireland 3 times in a row with the Ennis Ceili Band.

No idea what he was thinking when he decided that was the instrument for him. But he’s never touched any other instrument since.

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So the harder an instrument is to play, the better it suits Irish Traditional music, Fiddles, flutes and pipes are hard to play so they are better. But instruments where you only have to pluck a string or push a button are not hard to play and therefore are not as good

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No, quite the reverse.

Fiddles flutes (whistles) and pipes are easier to play traditional Irish dance music on than guitars and bazoukis and banjos and button boxes etc. For the simple reason that that’s where the majority of the music developed.

Guitars and bazoukis and banjos and button boxes etc. are easier to get an initial note out of when first starting, but because of the unavailability of certain articulations peculiar to the music and the "space between the frets", you will very quickly find them limiting. And your only option is to subtly circumvent these limitations.

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The late Johnny Keenan played whistle, fiddle, and pipes but favoured the banjo, apparently because it posed the greatest challenge - I imagine for the very reasons you list above, Michael.

I imagine most people come to those instruments for less masochistic reasons. Some of the reasons might be because they played folk and blues on fretted instruments, so maybe that’s an easier "way in" to trad, or because they were taken with the sound made by a Barney McKenna or a Kieran Hanrahan. All instruments appear daunting to the complete beginner, so I don’t think the simplicity of plucking or puhing for notes comes into it.

By the time the ability to apply certain articulations comes up, the instrument that chose you is the one you play.

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Its interesting to discuss what makes an instrument sound traditional? There seems to be an overriding concept, above even ornamentation that just makes a tune ‘sound right’, i.e. in accordance with the tradition, thats inherent in all of us as players. However, I think theres a difference between tradition and a ‘living tradition’. If something is to survive as part of a living tradition then it may be subject to change, even evolution.

The influx of new instruments has led to a rise in counter melody and percussive and chord accompaniment. Is this a sign of the tradition evolving? I agree with llig that some instruments are limited in imitating the playing techniques that we perceive as traditional, but by circumventing these limitations creatively, are you in fact developing the tradition in a positive way?

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Concertina is not my favorite instrument, but it does seem to have it’s uses. My wife commented recently that when she grew up step-dancing that concertina is very prevalent, and one of the easiest instruments to dance to. It seems that banjo has made it’s way into ceili music as well. That makes some sense, as such instruments provide attack.

That’s my perception of why it has become so prevalent. I’m sure someone with more knowledge in the history of the music can ellaborate or correct me.

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Llig Leahcim: When you refer to ‘articulation’ & ‘space between the frets’ are you eluding to tempered and non-tempered tunings? If so one could have a non-tempered fretted instrument specially built, as long as you only ever played in one or two keys or modes. And of course that would be entirely appropriate for ‘this’ music.

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In terms of button instruments, I much prefer the accordion to the concertina. I just don’t think the concertina has the same range of sound that the accordion has.

That being said, I don’t have anything against new instruments just because they are new. I really like the bouzouki and the dobro and the sounds they bring to a traditional session. Traditional music has always been about evolution and incorporating new instruments and new sounds into the tradition, and I think we’re just seeing another stage of that evolution.

But none of this applies to djembes. I can’t stand djembes in traditional sessions.

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We have a great tuba player that joins in at our sessions, and he sounds fabulous, especially on O’Carolan tunes. I certainly don’t think he is doing the tradition any harm. Not as much as some of the lousy players of fiddle and flute could do…

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I must admit, I thought Comhaltas had cornered the market on elitism within Irish Music, with their idiotic competitions creating that destructive hierarchy system that prevails within so many session environments these days …….. until I read this thread!

So now, if CCE get their way, in future only All Ireland Champions will be good enough to perform & if certain people here get their way, only Fiddles, Flutes & Uilleann Pipes will be allowed within the hallowed walls of an Irish Session!
What a load of PISH!

We are surely all entitled to prefer our instrument of choice, but I really hate to see musical snobs looking down their haughty noses at other musicians, especially when their only crime is to decide for themselves, which instrument they like the sound of.

We had more of this bloody nonsense recently here, when an Accordion player got on his high ‘rocking’ horse about Bouzouki players, although he seemed to forget that it wasn’t so long ago, Accordion players themselves, were the pariahs on the scene!
Why is it, some people aren’t happy, unless they’re looking down their noses at other people.

I guess there’s always going to be a few po-faced, self-styled prima donnas who reckon they have all the answers & that there way is the only way, but fortunately, back in the real world, most musicians are pretty open minded & they realise that one of the joys of Irish Music is in fact its versatility & the variety of musical sounds that are involved in creating the magic carpet of sounds, which most of us love.

Yes, my favourite instrument is the Fiddle & I do love playing with Uilleann Pipers, but how can the Flute be regarded as the perfect instrument for playing Irish Music, when so few of the darned things ever seem to be in tune, throughout a session. However, I’d never be so crass, as to tell anyone they shouldn’t be playing a Flute or any other instrument for that matter, just because I didn’t particularly like the sound of it.

I’d hate to see the day when only Fiddles, Pipes & Flutes were allowed to play Irish Music & if I ever sink so low as to start telling other people what instruments they should or should not be playing ……………………….. just stick me out to pasture!

Cheers
Dick

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Ptarmigan -

You really need to come out of your shell and speak your mind. 🙂

Seriously. Well said. If you’re gonna be a snob, do it with the punters, not fellow sessioners, if ya gotta do it.

llig - I hear you as well. You often get derided as a snob. You may very well be one, I don’t know. But let’s not confuse a snob with somebody to simply loves the music. You certainly love the music, and it clearly motivates your instrument preferences. I am trying my hand at fiddle and am prepared for it to take several years before I sound decent, but right now, it it hard. I’m squawking alot and driving my family bonkers. So be it, they still support it. I chose plectrum at first because it’s something I know, something I could get up to speed faster than any other instrument. Not that that’s the right reason for picking an instrument for this music, but it was mine. I also happen to like mando, and zouk, and banjo, but fiddle is what I am drawn to, so come hell or high water, or 10 years, I’ll eventually get it, but the damn bowing is frustrating as hell.

I don’t fault anyone for a instrument preference, just like I don’t fault anyone for disliking an instrument. You can’t be a snob for having a preference. How you treat others, that’s where snobbery comes in.

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Personally I don’t like accordians - don’t like the sound of’em. But when it comes to playing Irish music I don’t care what instrument someone wants to play it on. I do agree with Ptarmigan however, people get too far up their own backsides when it comes to Irish music, its history etc.etc. People seem to want to set down rules and regulations within the context of playing and if you don’t adhere to these rules (of tradition- do things the way our predecessors did) then you don’t know how to play game properly and should be sent off!

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Synthesized spoons with a digital bodhran machine….

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one of my favorite slags….

Q: What’s the difference between a bodhran player and a drum machine?
A: You only have to punch the rhythm into the drum machine once.

😎

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Oh Dick
Take heart and do not despair! It’s only one opinion being expressed and like a beautiful ship in full sail……
Just look around, here, and on the net and in pubs, kitchens and stages and you’ll see people playing away, having a great time on all kinds of instruments. I can imagine the ridicule and derision the first pipers must have faced way back when.
In the end it goes beyond the instrument and relies upon the music being pulled out of it.

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What about saxophones? Anyone play it or play with a sax player? Was that just a phase that went out?

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I wanted to! Never did find me a sax player. My Dad used to play one back in college. I tried to talk him into renting one from the music shop and trying out the jigs and reels on it. He wouldn’t do it. Stuck with the whistle, but then…

(wait for it)

…he bought a button box. 😛

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Well put, Twisty!

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…and I don’t think Llig is being snobby, he’s just trying to explain the whole articulation thing again for the 47th million time.

This music goes deedlee deedlee dee. Right?

What instruments go deedlee deedlee dee the easiest?

Flute, pipes and whistles.

What instrument is the best mimic on the planet and can copy deedlee deedlee dee sounds the easiest?

The fiddle.

What instrument goes plunkety plunk and doesn’t go deedlee dee?

Banjos.

What goes honk honk and not deedlee dee?

Boxes.

Not rocket science, it’s really not.

That being said, I personally think that the limitations of the instrument, as far as being unable to go deedlee dee, have created an accepted means of articulation. These things box and banjo players do to get around the deedlee dee limitations imposed by the physics of the instrument are themselves now valid and accepted articulations.

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…so, perhaps eventually other instruments will overcome their deedlee limitations and create work around articulations that will be accepted by the tradition at large.

…and, I’d wager that the more their articulations sound like deedlee, the better chance they have at being accepted.

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"I suppose what I really wonder is, when people decide what instrument to learn, do they do it because the like the music or the instrument? If the answer is the music, then why make life harder for yourself?"

A false dichotomy. Perhaps we simply like the music played on these other instruments. You might argue that it isn’t the music anymore, but I believe a great number of people would argue otherwise. It comes down to a matter of taste. If you believe that the "necessary articulations" are the only possible articulations that the music can bear, then that is your opinion.

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I used to hold views like Michael’s about the unsuitability of banjos, etc. about 30 years ago. Over the years I grew up - or rather, relaxed my anal sphincter. Feels better!

Mind you I never want to hear one playing Port na bPucai…

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But I don’t say "necessary articulations", I say traditional articulations. If you move the music away from the instruments capable of the traditional articulations, then the tradition loses what was created. I’m not arguing that it isn’t the music anymore, just that an important part of is lost. I’m not being judgmental. People are welcome to think the new stuff is better, just so long as they are aware that their choice of instrument forces them to discard a large part of the tradition.

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Interesting thread. I was going to mention that accordions and concertina’s are both "new" instruments from my (a piper) perspective. But the point has already been well made.

That being said, wouldn’t a real traditional Irish session consist of the harp being played in someones parlor since the session itself is a fairly recent invention?

Really, we’re just nitpicking. If the music doesn’t evolve it’s going to die. If you want to see the most important stuff stay the most important stuff, then keep playing the important stuff and let that be your contribution to the tradition.

But I’m a piper so I always feel I can look down my nose at everyone else. Well, except the harpists.

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"The tradition loses what was created" or is simply expanded by new possibilities? There are compromises and limitations to any instrument. I understand what you’re saying, but I think that most people would agree that in the relatively new tradition of the session, these other instruments contribute a valuable sound to the overall music.

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"if the music doesn’t evolve…"

The music will always evolve regardless!

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Isn’t the fiddle itself a relatively new invention in its current format, oh and the guitar, and the flute and yes, even the pipes in their current format - maybe we should all just go back to bashing out rhythms using rocks and twigs.

I can’t help but feel that it is "traditional" for Irish music to embrace change and not to tell it to F off because it couldn’t possibly add anything new to the "tradition". It’s like telling us all that we should forget instruments that conform to equal temperament because they’re not traditional. Maybe we should all dress in period costume too when we play it?

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You know guys, I used to be fairly puritan in my younger days. I was all judgmental and critical of those who were trying to do “fancy” stuff to my beloved music. I think I’m still a bit or a puritan, but the new stuff doesn’t bother me as much any more.

I’ve spent the last 14 years going off on tours around Europe as part of a European Cultural Festival. I’ve seen enough people from various countries in Europe trying to preserve, or resurrect their dead culture to appreciate what we’ve got.

These people learn their music from books in dusty old libraries in the “cultural history” section. They have costumes made which harken back to the days when their culture was alive. They practice and go around performing their music and dance for people to show the what life was like back then.

We don’t wear costumes on these tours. We wear modern trousers and shirts. We put on a waistcoat for good measure, just to look like we’re making an effort on the costume front. They wear the clothes worn when their culture was alive. So do we.

One night in Bolzano, Italy 4 years ago, we were all performing in the town square. The rain suddenly came down and everyone scattered. The foreign groups stopped their performance and went to find shelter. There was no audience anymore. The Irish group pulled in under a canopy and kept playing. They thought we were mad but they didn’t understand. We weren’t playing for an audience. We were playing for ourselves. That’s how we socialise. Ours is a living culture.

We are not “preserving” the music. We are not “saving” it. That has been done by the generations that have come before us. That is their gift to us. Our culture is vibrant, alive. We are not preserving it. We’re celebrating it.

Let the new instruments come and go. Let the new tunes come and go. The music can take it. Let’s keep it strong and allow it to grow. That’s what living things do.

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Thanks for all the replies folks! Some very thoughtful discussion in this thread. Whenever I thought about this topic first, I imagined a piper giving a fiddle player funny looks in the early 19th century, and then a fiddle player doing the same to a bouzouki player in the 20th, and yet now it is commonplace to have all three happily playing together in one setting, which to me is a perfect example of a living tradition.

The half-door is always open, and all are welcome…

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Let’s hope so sligeach!

Thankfully it is a living tradition that is for ever evolving. After all, if it weren’t, then we might still only be playing Planxtys & Airs on Harps, Whistles, Cruits and Psalteries & those strange Alien inventions, the Uilleann Pipes, would have been chased from the country, along with all those other satanic-like Flutes, free reed yolks & stringy things, that dared to came afterwards!

I suppose there will always be those who will resist change at all cost, but for balance & common sense, there will thankfully, hopefully, be far more people, who will have a more realistic & practical outlook & nurture progress, rather than throw the baby out with the bath water.

The finest way to travel on our roads may well be in a Rolls Royce, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to travel on them. Can you imagine someone saying you weren’t allowed to travel on the road, unless you had a Rolls Royce? Many folks will prefer to use smaller, less expensive vehicles, while others know that a bicycle is the only way to go, if you want to really experience the sights, smells & sounds of our countryside.
However, the idea that one person should be allowed to dictate to us all, what mode of transport we were allowed to use is utterly preposterous, as is the notion that we should only play this music on 2 or 3 instruments, because the others don’t meet the requirements of an individual!

Cheers
Dick

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The pipes as we know and love them were only developed in the 18th century. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that long ago. Someone must have looked at a bellows driven set of conically bored bagpipes and said, "Do you know would be really cool? If we stuck a couple chanters with KEYS on them to the side of the drone stock and they could play CHORDS along with the drones and chanter and these bagpipes would sound kinda like an ORGAN. Dude, this is going to be awesome!"

Undoubtedly some curmudgeon out there complained, because these bagpipes were way too complicated and self-accompaniment was just not what bagpipes did. And lets face it, they don’t do it as well as piano or organ type instruments. The regs are hard to play, they’re a pain in the arse to keep in tune, they can sound horrific in the wrong hands. If you want to play these big chords along with the melody, learn the bloody organ!

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I read recently that some evidence (I don’t know what) suggests that bellows pipes with regulators might have been pioneered on Tyneside. But they didn’t catch on, or endure, in this part of the world.

Surely the Irish dance bands of early c20 or previous New York and other American cities were pretty catholic in their intake of instruments? I’m sure they used saxophones, anyway.

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Would the music lose if all the guitars and bazoukis and banjos and button boxes etc were barred? Of course it bloody would. Get off your high horses about thinking I resist change. Feckin read what I write, not what your blinkered preconceptions think I write.

Though would the music lose more if the pipes and fiddle and flute were barred?

Again, I stress, that you are welcome to think that the music would be "better" if the pipes, fiddle and flute were barred and the guitars and bazoukis and banjos and button boxes kept. That’s a matter of personal choice. But you’d be plain wrong if you thought that the music would lose less if the pipes, fiddle and flute were barred instead of the guitars, bazoukis, banjos and button boxes.

But these are hypothetical questions of course, ‘cause we ain’t gonna lose any of them and I’m glad of that. But please let’s have a bit of pragmatic perspective about it.

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I have a hollowed out bone with some holes cut into it that I blow across. My friend has two great rocks that he pounds together. We are totally offended by all the modern posers that pretend to play real music with instruments that haven’t existed for at least 10,000 years.

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You are not illustrating a point there, you’re just being facetious.

Read what I wrote further up about the contribution of the boehm system flute to the music.

The simple system flute started out as a hollowed out bone with some holes cut into it that you blow across. And was perfected in the eighteenth century with very precice holes and a very precice reverse conical bore. But it’s really the same intrument. The music had early beginings maybe thousands of years ago on the hollowed out bone and between 1850 and 1890 went through an explosive creative period when supreemply good examples of this perfected instrument became available.

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SilverSpear, I agree the regs will never be as good as a full organ which is why I always drag a full organ along to sessions. I’m hoping it will become a trend.

Glad to see the thread stay so cordial. Great points all around. Maybe someone with some experience playing Old Time, or Welsh or Swedish traditional music can post something on the reception of new instruments is those traditions.

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llig, I’m not sure what your saying, unless it is the tired rant about certain instruments being "better" at Irish music than others. strictly Traditional Irish music, you have a point. Session music, not so much. Sessions changed things, culturally and musically speaking.

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Of course if the world’s economy / ies completely tank and stay down, we box players will one by one fall silent because our instruments have built-in obsolescence and are dependent on the existence of a comprehensive modern infrastructure of economics and technology for their manufacture and maintenance. They can’t be whittled from trees, I’m afraid…

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TaoCat, you identify my point succinctly. Yes, certain instruments are "better" at playing strictly traditional Irish Music. And yes, session music, not so much. A tin whistle (high D), for example, is a perfect little instrument to play traditional Irish music on. perfect. But next to useless in your average rowdy session.

The rise of the pub session has changed things in many ways. And whether this is progress or regress is largely irrelevant. The music moves and shifts and that’s as it should be with a living tradition, as tradshark illustrated so well further up.

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Re: The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

>It’s clear that, in line with the times, the introduction of fretted >string instruments to the music is mainly because they are >initially easier to play than fiddles flutes or pipes. And the >same is true of the various concertinas and accordions. No >patience. Silly really. Anyone can pluck a string or press a >button. And the two things that are lost lost are the >articulations that developed with the music on fiddles, flutes >and pipes (and whistle) and all that space between the frets.

Could be partly ‘cos these instruments are (or appear to be) easier. Could also be in part that people started playing them as they (a) became available and (b) they liked them.

The articulations used on fiddle, pipes, flute etc after all started out as a means to an end, a way of articulating notes on the flute/whistle/pipe. They certainly became part of the music in themselves, and were copied on fiddle. Box and fret players have devised similar (but not identical) tricks that play an analagous role in terms of emphasis and decoration (actually don’t like that deco word, but I’m blanking an another and have to rush 🙂) even though they are not essential to actual articulation on those instruments (as indeed they ain’t on the fiddle).

The very fact that so many players of trad music have adopted these box and fret intruments, and that they have retained their place over decades, show that they are now a part of the tradition.

- Chris
(oh and on the side issue of boxes: accordeon over concertina for me, though I like both)

Re: The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

Sorry, forgot to attribute the quote: twas Llig

Re: The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

Yes, guitars, bazoukis, banjos and button boxes are now part of the tradition. Though the saving grace is that they are not supplanting the more traditional fiddle, flute and pipes and I cannot foresee them ever doing so. In among the enormous rise in fretting string players of late is also an enormous rise in fiddlers, fluters and pipers.

Yes, these new instruments develop analogous ways of doing what the fiddle, flute and pipes do, and for the most part, when played together in various combinations, it works better than merely OK. There are a couple of very traditional things, the slow roill for example, that the fretted instruments in particular have not come up with anywhere near a reasonably analogous way of doing. But just as long as the new instruments don’t try too hard and instead, just leave the space for the more traditional instruments, then this more often than not works out fine also.

However, when fiddles, flutes and pipes play with guitars, bazoukis, banjos and button boxes, it’s worth noting where specific momments in the music are compromised . The so called "sweet" Cnat is a good example.

Posted .

Re: The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

It’s ALL worth noting Llig, and reminding, again and again.

It’s not a snobbish hierarchy of what instrument is better than others. It’s just the facts about this music and the instrumentation.

Carry on Diogenes.

Re: The Impact of ‘New’ instruments on ITM

by the way - accordion and saxophone are the same age approx - certainly invented within 5 years of each other.