“Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

“Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

http://journalofmusic.com/
http://journalofmusic.com/article/1099

"The language we use around traditional music isn’t about making new music but about old music. We are judging today’s traditional music on the basis of what we imagine happened in the past, restricting the creative freedom of today’s artists. If the traditional arts are to flourish in the future, we have to start challenging the language of a past agenda." ~ Niall Keegan

One point only from this article, the language we use to describe and discuss our passions here, beginning with and focusing on just the author’s opening statement, which you may or may not agree with, or your own notions may be somewhere in between or indecisive, developing, please share them.

Here’s a little bit more on the given topic ~

"~ the political use of such language ~ are we forever doomed to create music according to the agendas of past generations?"

Restricted and restricting? Doomed?

Inclusive or exclusive of ‘new music’?

As the author uses terms freely without clarity, we can only guess what is meant by ‘new music’, which without the language to define must be all encompassing, or whatever isn’t ‘old’. :-D

Does the language we use, our ways of describing our passions, "act as an agent restricting artistic expression"? Has it in any way? If so, what? ~ how? If you’ve personally felt such restrictions please tell us what your experience is of such limits? Or, are they self-imposed, and if so, why? What reasons? ~ to what end? ~ with what purpose?


Making demands on us eh? ;-) “Let go!” ~ Alright, let fly!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

What about ‘self important’ restricting agents? ring any bells

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Tradition: a practice, custom, or story that is memorized and passed down from generation to generation

Old: Having lived or existed for a relatively long time; far advanced in years or life.

New: not of long duration; having just (or relatively recently) come into being or been made or acquired or discovered.

"We are judging today’s traditional music on the basis of what we imagine happened in the past…" - Niall Keegan

I’m not.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

You know what happened in the past, Gary?

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Ok, I’ll bite.

I think the use of the term "traditional" is a complete dead end when it comes to any reasonable discussion of diddley and other music styles which are the legacy/resurrection of traditional music practice.

In fact, in the terms "Irish", "Traditional", "Music" don’t really help. They have to be a circular definition: ITM is the music played by people who play ITM. My practice is not Irish (I’ve played tunes with only half a dozen Irish people), it is not traditional, unless learning tunes from teachers and at sessions counts (in which case, all musics are traditional) and hopefully it is music. How then, will we find a definition which includes and excludes the right people?

Which leaves us with music played in a certain style. And the most important of the three words: "Music".

The first question which should be asked of any musical activity is "is it good music"? But our obsession with the completely meaningless word "traditional" leads us instead to ask "is it traditional?" And the answer to that is going to boil down to personal preference. And that’s how it should be. The collective personal preferences of all the people playing diddley music are going to dictate whether something remains diddley music or not. What is liked becomes traditional.

The problem arises when we assume that we should shape our own preferences to reflect the word "traditional" and to do that we look to the past, rather than trust in our collective good sense. (If you distrust in the collective good sense of players of diddley music, then you have your work cut out for you - I know I do - but I also know it’s a pretty futile battle).

I think that, instead, we should go back to the question of "is it good music?". Is it music which makes good use of the constraints and allowances of the genre?

Which leads me to ask what are the constraints and allowances of diddley?
- exploration of non equal-temperament
- use of certain modes
- does not follow predefined harmonic patterns
- variation, articulation, interpretation and improvisation are blurred
- the relationship between variation and underlying harmony is of a special kind (i.e. you can play a note in "the chord" and have it be "wrong", just as you can play a note outside the chord and have it be right)
- exploration of tone
- rhythm is impossible to write down
- music is tightly associated with a unique dance form — one might say it "makes" the body dance in a certain way.
- music is not about performing - or an arranged performance (i.e. the core of the music is not about deciding how to pre-arrange parts for the benefit of an audience)

All these things are common to all european traditional musics. And they make each traditional music important, not for its own sake, but because without them, we (as an artistic animal) would be stuck with the extremely narrow-minded view of music which is taught in music schools in most of the western world.

Together, they give wonderful artistic liberty and provide innumerous sources of creativity. Niall Keegan, in his playing of music uses them in a wonderful way. It tugs at the boundaries of the "diddley" box - some of it, in hindsight will be crap - other parts will be great music, but not diddley - and some of it will be in the box.

Lunasa, on the other hand (and just to take an example), rejects nearly all these liberties, replacing them with the conventions which non traditional music is used to (and thereby making a very "modern" sound which attracts a lot of people to the tradition).

But in both cases, asking the question "is it traditional" completely misses the point. It doesn’t matter. It is great music, using very different constraints in music making. This reaches far beyond diddley music and is our best hope for taking music out of the horrid straight jacket which it has been shoved in for the past 50-100 years.

I think this is what Niall might be getting at. And I would agree with Ceolachan that he doesn’t get at it very well. Re-reading myself, I haven’t got at it very well either :/

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

@random_humour
If GaryKelly is the same fella that I think he is (flute, lives in Cork) then yeah, he does know a thing or two about what went on in the past and pays regular homage to the music of his family on his cds. If it’s not the same fella then please disregard this.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"You know what happened in the past, Gary?" - random_humour

Well, yes, I wasn’t born yesterday y’know. And I’m not judging anything by imagination. The ‘we’ is entirely presumptuous and is intended to tar us all with Niall’s imaginary brush.

@Patkiwi, flute yes, Cork no, not the same fella.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Fair play, Gary. You know more than I.

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I think Niall Keegan thinks a bit too much into things

Traditional Music is flourishing in Ireland, there are more young people playing today than at any other point in our , Ireland’s, history.

So the vast majority of people aren’t messing about with the tradition with fusions,
Niall Keegan as most people know plays with a Jazzy stlye, very good musican with great sound but Is he trying to say that trad music on its own is boring or unfufilled?

You’re going to get people who frown upon "new" influnces, but these opinions aren’t restricting musicians today…
Musicians will take their own path.

Denotations & connotations

Enjoyed your contribution Tirno.

For me ‘traditional’ is not an exclusive club, no a definition made narrowly to exclude certain perceived miscreants. That said, I know that some define it to a point that would exclude me. Some take it so tightly that on close inspection it would not include the likes of Donegal fiddler Johnny Doherty. For me, personally, ‘Tradition’ and ‘Traditional’ is more how it was freely given and shared with me, in a context greater than just the music and the dance. The term represents for me those folks who welcomed me in, it is that welcome, that open door, the hot cup of tea, the home baked bread, the chat, the laughter and the concerns, the craic. In that and extending outward are endless other connections and mixes, some distant true, and not all of which I’m comfortable with or fond of, would choose to avoid ~ but I don’t see them being denied by any definition I value, realizing a ‘core’, the roots.

In my opinion there’s a lot of cack ‘new’ music, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time putting down someone else’s distraction or obsession, knowing some people fancy it. It’s just not for me, though sometimes someone does something I enjoy in the way of ‘new’, if rare. For me, from my experiences and perceptions, it is much more than a tune or a dance, a twiddle or a step, it is a state of mind, an attitude, that welcome and sense of humour, a full and rich life that includes music, at the roots. While I’ve known some hard headed so-called purists, and been accused of it myself, there haven’t been that many, thank goodness… I’ve ran into more hard-headed new-ravers and anarchists, and big egos where they’re greater focus isn’t the music so much as what they can do to it, and what attention they can draw to themselves.

How much of Niall’s concerns are paranoia, or just another disgruntled ‘arteest’ who didn’t get his Arts funding and feels a grudge against others who were successful? Is he unhappy that he’s not getting the attention he thinks he deserves for his ‘artistic expressions’? The use of sweeping generalities, like the attack on ALL media and the whole Arts funding mechanism, suggests that maybe his anger has overcome sense.

‘Roots’, not forgetting the trunk and the branches and the leaves, fruits and seeds, and the various pests that eat away at it all. Some of those branches will rot and fall and be composted down into the soil again. Some of the seed will blow away, and some of that will set root and bring forth new growth. How ever much we react to changes and challenges, they won’t go away. We each choose what we want to support and nurture.

Any restrictions I’m dealing with are self-imposed. I do not feel doomed, and sometimes I play recent compositions, even some daft ones I’ve given air to once if never again…

I prefer to keep all my communicative options open ~ past, present and future.

As Premierflute puts it ~ "Musicians will take their own path." ~ & risks…

We are, on the whole, a curious lot ~ and I mean that in several ways.

‘Tradition’ is a plural for me, ‘traditions’…

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

" Is he unhappy that he’s not getting the attention he thinks he deserves for his ‘artistic expressions’? " I think you have it


"Any restrictions I’m dealing with are self-imposed. I do not feel doomed, and sometimes I play recent compositions, even some daft ones I’ve given air to once if never again" On the ball the ceolachan!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Tradition and innovation are like yin and yang, different but inseperable. To compare the two is like contemplating a koan or dialectic, a puzzle that cannot be reconciled.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Niall Keegan’s article is VERY wordy and it is at times extremely difficult to see what his main thesis is, despite several readings of it, as he comes to it, or near to it, from various angles. Fair enough, one can bring all sorts of arguments to justify a position and, therefore, as Irish traditional music evidently has (in abundance!) geographical, ethnic, political or religious under-and-overtones - whether we like it or not - it’s a valid enough method to use these influences to illustrate a particular point of view.

So, what is his argument? It is, I think, that he feels the need for the invention of a new language to describe, write about, discuss, lecture on - whatever - the peculiar entity that is Irish traditional music. This position is very much an academic stance. Hence the need to explain in order to tutor and to expand the minds of potential students of the discipline. But this position stands or falls on the premise that the music has an underlying (and sound!) structure or foundation to enable it to be codified or structured to suit academic scrutiny. He obviously is not satisfied with the existing (and simple) system, or structure, we have all grown up with and which every collection, as far as I know, has utilised - that of breaking up the tunes into Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, etc., etc.

The fact that he brings an example of a (possibly) inarticulate musician and his inability to expound elaborately on simple processes within his playing says, I think, more on the academic’s failure to deliver an explanation rather than the musician, on his own turf, just doing what he’s good at - playing the damn tune! And it’s here where I would disagree to this type of academic approach. What is fundamentally more important - the music or its analysis by some bookish individual who may or may not be an active participant in its performance. But what for me is most interesting in this exchange is why it registered so memorably in O’Suilleabhain’s mind and, subsequently, in Keegan’s. It is, in my opinion, simply their obsession on the need to restructuralise a system which has existed for possibly centuries using the simple structure I mentioned above. As a consequence, Keegan, via O’Suilleabhain, falls into the same trap he accuses some ethnomusicologists of falling into, that of assessing something that HE perceives to be important. At the risk of repeating myself, was it SO important that the musician didn’t understand the concept of ‘up’, as O’Suilleabhain understood it, that it overrode the importance of getting the tune across? For me, the way Keegan illustrates it, the tune comes in a poor second.

Now, it may be that Keegan is correct in that there isn’t the language out there to put into words or structures that the trained academic mind can accept. However, I would even question whether Irish music can justify such an approach. Does it have the substance? For example, what are we dealing with? Basically most tunes have 16 bars. Fine, they can be repeated several times but that’s it. The intellectual challenge, if it can be described as such, then comes in the building-up of a repertoire, retaining and/or expanding it and, finally, delivering it through one’s instrument. Nonetheless, most of the tunes will have the obligatory 16 bars although, as we all know, some will have 24, 32 or whatever. What we are not dealing with, however, is the intellectual concept of a full symphonic orchestral work. Therefore I ask, is there enough intellectual substance within the genre of traditional music to warrant the invention of a new language? I’m afraid my jury is still deliberating on that point.

When Keegan illustrates a further point in mentioning Messrs Hayes, Bradley, etc, I’m not sure where he’s going with this particular one. He is correct in saying that ‘some of the greatest traditional music’ has been generated by soloists but, and I know this as fact, neither Hayes nor Bradley would play in their ‘solo style’ in the midst of a normal session. They would play, because they CAN play, in the usual traditional mode in which they have been steeped in order to join in and participate. Both are gentlemen and are very much aware of the fact that a session doesn’t particularly like prima donnas. Therefore, they JOIN in! They PARTICIPATE! But Keegan doesn’t appear prepared to acknowledge this as the norm as a traditional music outlet. He puts his own Indian sign on it in his fears that ‘we are forever doomed to create music according to the agendas of long dead musicians’. For God’s sake, hasn’t he read what’s written on the tin? "TRADITIONAL" Music. And, as for language acting as an agent ‘restricting traditional expression’? He just shoots himself in the mouth here, given what he has already said about soloists doing their own thing.

While I recognise the frustrations Keegan is obviously experiencing in his thwarted attempts to arrive at a satisfying means by which to describe, or to have everyone describe, what traditional music is about there’s that little devil in me thinking he is attempting to justify his own job as an academic in creating as much verbiage as he can muster to obfuscate matters. If you can’t blind them with science, blind them with bullsh*t, in other words! What is most important to me is the expression of the music at the point of delivery, either in a session or in a solo performance. Anything else is a diversion or a distraction. Articles like Keegan’s, may make nice, if not quite relaxing, reading over a nice glass of wine but, ultimately, the music is king.

Some of my arguments above may appear that I’ve a thing against academic research or courses on Irish music. I must say immediately that I have not and that I wish the people involved all the best in their endeavours. It’s just that at times some of their debating points are so far up their own asses that they fail to see daylight at the end of their own tunnel! Several of Keegan’s points are worth further discussion and it’s obvious he has given a lot of thought over the years in being a part of the Irish music fraternity and where the music stands as part of an artistic culture. But, in the final analysis, his is a view from the sidelines and , as a consequence, he doesn’t quite come over as an active participant. It may be his own language is at fault here but he sounds to me like an outsider looking in, trying to grasp that imaginary bar of soap, which is, in the end, what makes Irish music tick in the first place.

All I can say, in my own opinion as a session player, I can get through a whole evening of music with no more than a few cursory comments like, ‘God! That’s a great tune!’ or ‘I have a different turn to that, give me that again’. OK, a bit of banter and crack is an added bonus, but it says an awful lot for language being a formal, verbal means of communication! In the ‘structure’ of the session, language very much takes a secondary position. Nonetheless, music is one of the most powerful means of non-verbal communication we possess. It has the power to stir your mind and your heart. It is capable of creating all sorts of feelings within you - joy, sadness, excitement, fear, etc. It is also, consequently, a joint participatory event, be you a player or a spectator tapping your foot. Therefore, just let it do its job for, as far as Irish traditional music is concerned, you may as well try to analyse a sunset.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"you may as well try to analyse a sunset"
Well said Gerry.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Nial is an academic and as such tries to describe the music within certain self defined parimeters . In otherwords he puts the music into the lingustic box he has created .
Unfortunetly or fortunetly depending on your point of view not everyone seems to feel the need to box the music ,we are more about enjoying the moment and playing tunes .
But then most of us are not trying to justify our exsistance.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

< as far as Irish traditional music is concerned, you may as well try to analyse a sunset. >

Here is the Answer…
jim,

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Thanks, Gerry, for a very well reasoned critique of the article.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I think the point Niall is making is that we already *do* analyse people’s playing. We listen to them and say things like:
- nice steady playing
- plays like he doesn’t like the tunes
- not traditional
- not to my taste
- no lift

None of these *mean* anything, not clearly. They are a way of putting across a subjective judgement and give a hint of what’s "wrong", but in doing so, they don’t tell us what would be "right", or what steps should be taken to move in that direction.

The comments on here are very tiresomely anti-academic. Niall isn’t saying "I want to use the linguistic box I’ve created", he’s saying the linguistic box we are using doesn’t fit (lack of precision and link to a preservationist agenda).

Typical response here about comhaltas is how it has the disadvantage of flattening everything out and creating a bunch of fleadh-winning copycats (we can probably be more nuanced and note that the truly outstanding musicians speak with their own voice - it’s the average musician who suffers, not always given the freedom to find their own voice).

One of the reasons for this, I would suggest, is that the vocabulary used by comhaltas in teaching and evaluating is laden with conservatism.

Same thing with Tony McMahon, who everyone loves to criticise. "I didn’t hear the beauty, the lyricism of irish music in that performance". Again, words which are heavily loaded.

Unless you want irish music to go the way of mainstream music, where learners are not encouraged to find their own voice, but told (usually mistakenly, just listen to the horribly uniform sound coming out of classically trained violins) what they should do.

This is why I feel the subject is important. Most of us are average and feel that we should be content to enjoy playing music and without looking for any further "artistic" merit or meaning. I think this is the most horrible result of the current state of music. What if that assumption were completely wrong? What if we all embraced the fact that making music, as an artistic activity, is not something which is reserved for a select few, but something which is available to everyone.

If we did that, I think, those people who claim to "not want to conform" would not be able to spew out the crap they are spewing out, overwhelmed by the number of people who are playing not only playing ITM, but seizing their right to take it wherever they feel like going. (I don’t think we’d end up going very far but I’d rather choose to stay in a garden with an open gate than feel that my only choices are to stay inside a closed garden or skip over the wall).

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Tirno wrote:
"What if we all embraced the fact that making music, as an artistic activity, is not something which is reserved for a select few, but something which is available to everyone."

Well put! I think such a liberating concept is worth repeating.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Hold on a sec, Tirno. Nobody’s trying to box anyone into a straightjacket. Keegan mentions one or two examples of people taking an extreme position. This is not the norm. It may be acceptable, up to a point that is, at a dedicated summer school but it is not, in my experience, what normally happens in sessions around the country. Now, I’ve got no real love for Comhaltas, not since they tried to copyright all our tunes in the public domain, but if you are talkiing about CCE organised classes - well, it depends on what age group or level you mean. Students will invariably ape the style of their tutor, either voluntarily or otherwise. Again, that’s perfectly acceptable until he/she gets to a certain standard. Then there’s no stopping an individual who shows promise. There aren’t any barriers to musical development. Keegan, in his article, even refers to the soloists ploughing their own furrow.

That’s the beauty of ITM. In a session every musician is a chief as each is playing melody. But each instrument and player has a different method of delivering the same tune which adds to the overall colour of the music. That said, each musician is bouncing off the other and picking up bits and pieces from his colleagues as he goes along. Therefore, given the dynamic and ever-changing ature of a session, I fail to understand how you haven’t grasped that a session musician is ALWAYS developing and expanding his perimeters. There is nothing static about ITM, such as a piece of Mozart - magnificent though it may be - but it is preserved like a fly in aspic. The same cannot be said about Irish music. And thank God for it!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Quite right, Gerry.

But I think it’s very easy to set barriers to our own playing which amout to a sort of "self chosen peer pressure", based on what we think (or have been told) is "traditional": not tonguing on the flute, for example, always slurring into the beat, etc.

Maybe that doesn’t happen so much where people have lots of opportunities for immersion.

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Loosen up your attitude to consider the ‘new’ and the variants

As I prepare to go out and indoctrinate others in the ways of my mentors, I’m enjoying this read, thanks, much appreciated.

CORRECTION ~ I need to correct my previous use of ‘restrictions’ with regards to things self-imposed, they are ‘demands’ I make on myself, including to keep in mind those lovely characters who shared life and music with me, with respect, including in spirit.


ON TOPIC ~ hopefully ~ ;-)

To move a language forward one has to have some skill with the history, the tradition of that language, someplace to start from, a good grounding. So often the frustrated, including in music, will jump skill acquisition and understanding and seek something unique and new for themselves, self-driven, so they don’t have to go through the steps laid out by others over time. Any ‘new’ language needs to be connected to what preceded it, unless one wants something along the lines of Klingon, or a secret code between select members of a clique…

However, I think the gist of Keegan’s wants, as I understood it, was not for a language for ‘Irish Traditional Music’ per se, enough words exist that will suit most needs, but a way with language, and attitude, that would be progressive, inclusive, open, less burdened with myths, fantasy and fictions ~ developing a way that would be more accepting and welcoming of variations on that basic core, the ‘new’, the avant-garde, rather than an attitude and way with the use of language that tries to tie down and limit ITM to some manufactured fantasies of ‘pure’, ‘authentic’, sacrosanct, inviolate, exclusive. By ‘language’ I don’t think it is words as much as this point of attitude that is his concern, that his desire is to move beyond those hackneyed limitations, as some people define and talk about ITM. While it is obvious he didn’t make a clear argument to this end, I think his basic desire is to exorcise these politically loaded and restricting ways of describing ‘the reel stuff’, to open up the discussion to include all the branches, side shoots and mutations, to be using the language of ITM in a more open and welcoming way. That’s what I suspect, but he did a shight job, in my opinion, of getting his point across, and probably because he took it on as an agenda rather than an open discussion. He managed to do exactly what he was ranting on about, closed, and with another set of fictions and foolishness as premises.

If that was his intent, for a more open and welcoming language, one not burdened, at least not too much, but the mythology and the politics, then, basically, I’m in agreement with that wish, supportive of ‘open’ discussion, and active listening…

Keegan’s condemnation of whole groups of people did not help his cause ~ the media ~ ethnomusicologists ~ etc… In his general use of language, and his structures and unclear argument, in my mind, he comes out poorly, not someone who should be asking for a ‘new language’, not until he manages to get to grips with the old…

If our language is more open and inclusive we will also have clearer points of distinction, comparison, difference, agreement and categorization. It could mean a better description of the whole tree rather than just the roots. It can only raise appreciation and understanding. We have the language, it is how we use it, or abuse it, whether we use it as a tool to increase our understanding, or a weapon to deny or denigrate others…

As Tirno puts it, I’d rather leave the garden gate without a lock on it. I think back on some gatherings I’ve been at in Ireland where someone would take some time to sing a country western number, or something else of kilter, and everyone would appreciate it, except possibly a few visiting tourists from elsewhere, like Dublin or Paris, London or Los Angeles…

~ something else ‘off’ kilter ~ like the Star Wars theme on uilleann pipes… :-D

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Without Irish Traditional Music, Niall Keegan’s flute-playing would be ignored, because he’s a middling technician. He needs the tradition to exist, and he needs to subvert that tradition to be seen. His tactic is a selfish game where he grabs the tradition, claims it as his own, but without much support from our tradition’s masters. They wouldn’t think he’s up to the challenge of conjuring the soul that a real player can only conjure. So he must reject them existentially, or he will be ignored. Instead of living up to the evolving standards within the tradition, he must reject them, and inject his own bullsh*t style on everyone else, as the "new" tradition, when in fact he’s only doing bad jazz in an Irish mode. His music is ok, but his ability to redefine the tradition from the fount of his own madey up aesthetic should be deeply unsatisfying to people who understand the soul of Irish music. The professor crowd are not the soul of the music. The masters who are the direct connection between the modern and the very old tradition are the ones who have and will continue to decide the tradition. Keegan and the rest are posing as masters, attempting to usurp the masters who have already chosen their successors, and Keegan is not one. People like Keegan can’t cut it in the inner circle of Irish music tradition, and so they attempt to create their own authority with meaningless degrees and institutional affiliations which are not where it’s at. Appropriately, he is a wind-bag, and his essay should be taken as full of heartles non-sense, like his flute-playing.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Keegan speaks of ‘the past’ and ‘old music’ as though it were a bad thing. Why?

And why is he obsessed with politics? In one of the letters in the link at the top, Keegan goes on to say:
"I agree that we can and must seek example and inspiration from past performers, and it is implicit in the nature of traditional musicians to do so, to some extent, but we should be conscious that all such discourses with the past are political. "

To some extent? To some extent! When you’re learning a tune from your teacher who had it from his teacher who had it from his, that’s "to some extent?" And where’s the F in politics in that?

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Crap writing from a crap player.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Strong words from ScratchYours… I happen to think what Niall Keegan does has it all (at least when handling a flute, maybe not when handling a pen/keyboard).

So I figure… who is this ScratchYours and can I find anything which would indicate that his opinion is of any value whatsoever. And find that his opinion floats all over the place:

"Lastly, whoever these nasty nerds are that feel it their right to rip into musicians on these discussion boards, I can’t begin to say how much it disgusts me, and I’m sure other decent people. The spirit in which these comments are made is so hostile and counter-productive to the project of Irish cultural renaissance, I am surprised there is so little objection to their obnoxious know-it-allism."
https://thesession.org/discussions/20117

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I wouldn’t insult people’s playing normally, except that Keegan’s authority is fake, and his manifesto, a selfish self-justification.

Tradition is funny about respect for the past. It’s the hardest thing for newbies to learn on whistle or any instrument.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Is that a statement you can justify in any meaningful way? So you think his playing is crap, technically sub-par, and a subvertion of the tradition. Why?

So he fecks the tunes up a bit (in a solo/concert setting - there is a comhaltas video where he is much more restrained - probably because, *gasp*, he is playing with other people).

But apart from including a few chromatic runs here and there, I don’t get what is wrong. It’s still dance music, it has lift and drive.

Unless you’re happy to say "I know what the tradition is about and his playing is not", without any more rigour to your statement, I think you’ll find that Niall is right. To criticize his music fairly (or, in my case, to defend it, not that it needs defending), we need words.

Otherwise it’s just the famous "I don’t know much about art but I know what I like".

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

People who want to abolish something’s past and re-jig it so as to be ‘modern’, ‘relevant’, ‘for the future’, etc., etc., may be operating out of a bolus of complexes that don’t originate in their involvement with the particular thing in question. They might be reacting against some status quo, or way things were done, that intimidated or snubbed them when they were little.

Not that I am claiming this is true of Keegan, about whom I know nothing but what this thread indicates.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

ITM is like language, as Keegan compares, but he messes up the metaphor.

It would sound stupid to talk of French or Chinese as being "political" or "arbitrarily rooted in the past."

Traditional music is "conservative" like language in that it has a vocabulary and meaning accrued and understood by the INITIATED (usually from early early childhood).

It is only natural for people with authority complexes participating in this culture as guests, to want to subvert Irish authority rooted in the people’s history and replace it with authorities based in the academy or in clichés about art.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Like language, Irish music is conservative and radical. The most annoying thing about Keegan’s essay is how profoundly he misunderstands how innovation takes time in ITM. A language will evolve over time and by the miracles of particpatory choices. Music is like that, and especially Irish music, because it is so much performed like conversation between musicians.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

The comparison with language is apt. The people who say we shouldn’t split infinitives, end sentences with prepositions and all the rest of the prescriptivist nonsense are judging today’s language use based on what they imagine happened in the past.

Exactly the two problems raised by Keegan:
- conservative agency: evolution happens at its own pace, regardless how hard people try to tug on it from the front or hold it back from the rear. For that reason, judging an artistic/communicative practice based on how "front/back heavy" it is, is a pretty useless exercise.
- the conservationist agents often have completely imagined rules.

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I have written to Jeremy to ask him to withdraw my remarks on the Musical Food For Thought the on the same topic and hope that anyone offended by these remarks will take this as a sincere appology. These remarks were made in the heat of the moment decision and were not reasonable so. I think when one resorts to personal remarks one compromises their position. it is the system that is at fault rather than individuals for allowing things to go through without resonable disscussion across the interested parties. This full article has now been withdrawn online and only a brief inroduction remains to be seen whether it is the magizines normal policy or an attempt to quell any further discussion is anybodys guess.
One thing all of us have to face is that irish traditional music is now global. The grants given by government are not necessarily for the good for the health of the music but what makes economic sense. Of course the way we think about the music is different depending on the background. I can only give my opinion having been brought up and playing traditional music nearly fifty years I resent these acedemic types and think that their egos know, know bounds. I think that the comom people that carried this music thhough their generations have been side lined except for a chosen few. If it was not for these people there would be no traditional music.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I would like to avoid personal criticisms of Niall Keegan in relation to his music of which I know nothing, although I have previously alluded to my impression of him as an outsider looking in. However, I do take issue with his attempts to restructuralise ITM using a different language. I would be interested to see an example of this language he imagines would suit his aspirations. It took me at least four goes to understand his initial piece in current English and I would consider myself to be an educated guy - 3rd level, professional, etc. If his current use of English is so difficult to penetrate, in other words, is inaccessable to the educated masses, who the hell is he trying to reach? It cannot be directed to your average session muso, who, as I said earlier, can get by in a session using a minimum amount of words. So it has to be directed at other academics who can impress each other using verbal gymnastics, codes and contortions which mean absolutely nothing to the rest of us but enables them to have a clearer view of their navels. So how can this advance the music? I’m fckd if I know, as the wise Socrates was once heard to say.

If thefore Keegan wishes to invent, as interpreted by Ceolachain in his phrase ‘a way with language, and attitude, that would be progressive, inclusive, open, less burdened with myths, fantasy and fictions’, I’m afraid he has already failed on the inclusivity aspect. As for the others, what’s wrong with the myths and fantasies? We know them for what they are, we haven’t fallen off our perches as a consequence and I would suggest they add a little bit of, dare I say it, ‘magic’ to the mixture. Personally, I would prefer the magic to the cold hand of academe sterilising the music at birth.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Thank you Tirno for keeping things calm and balanced and calling people on the unnecessary personal attacks - it’s a shame there aren’t more people like you on this site. Oh well..

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I would agree with you there, Gerry.

In the article, no "language of the present" is proposed (indeed it is not clear whether the author means "language which was used in the past" or "language which refers to the path").

It may be just a very roundabout way of saying that ITM stands perfectly well on its own as music. The fact that it is "irish" and "traditional" are things that add character and culture to the mix, but it could be argued that they are not necessary.

If that’s what Niall is saying, then I agree - I think ITM stands very well on its own with its history of recordings and its current batch of practitionners as guides and means of its evolution. You don’t have to factor "traditonalness" or "irishness" in there at all (the two main "words of the past" as I interpret the article).

Now I understand that this is something which is not to everyone’s liking, but it is very different from some academic trying to out-bullsh*t everyone.

Posted by .

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

On a similar line of thought, the language of the "future" is also something that should be let go of. That is the agenda of novelty, evolution and innovation. Also leading to disastrous artistic results.

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Keegan’s article, I get a general uncharitable, anti-academic vibe from contributors to this website which I find really, really disturbing. And I don’t think it’s to do with Keegan - it’s just that his article gives people an excuse to have a good old academic-bashing session, trotting out a whole load of cliches motivated by suspicion of the unknown and probably also jealousy. Pathetic. Poor show. I’m so disappointed, having been involved with this website for about 7 years now…

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Tirno, if Keegan is implying in his thesis, as you would seem to suggest, that ‘Irishness’ and ”traditionalness’ (?) are not a necessary part of his argument, perhaps you, or he, could explain what he’s doing as course director of the MA in *Irish* *Traditional* Music Performance at the *Irish* World Academy of Music and Dance. Perhaps he’d be better off as a bricklayer where you don’t need either to qualify!

Anyway, I don’t think he’s saying that at all. He may be, however, trying to change their parameters. If so, the final product may not then, in the end, be ‘traditional’ in the strictest sense and not ‘Irish’ in the sense that it is open to all to contribute. It’s all very confusing - not helped, of course, by the density of his prose style and some self-contradiction.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Dow, apart from castigating others engaged in the rough and tumble of debate, do YOU have anything to say on the matter? There have only been a couple of overtly anti-academic contributions to this thread. I’m not sure they deserved two finger-wagging, wails from the wings.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I’m suggesting that "irishness" and "traditionalness" (among other "agenda-laden" words) are not the way we should evaluate the merit of any artistic activity.

I would add that artistic activity should be grounded in culture, which is what gives it meaning and direction. I would say that we have a music genre called ITM (by some) which is no longer neither irish, nor traditional. However, to understand this culture and produce a meaningful output, exposing ourselves to the "pure drop" of ITM is the best way to go about it.

(of course it’s called "irish trad music performance" - it has to have a name that sells better than "diddley")

In other words, people belonging/wishing to belong to the ITM culture should attempt to be guided by the past (and its words), but the result should be judged on artistic merits alone. (it might later turn out that some artistic lack comes from misappropriation of the culture, but perceived misappropriation of the culture should not, on its own be grounds for criticism)



I don’t think Niall is trying to change the nature of the beast. He’s saying that the way we look at it and talk about it is biased.

Gerry: "[it may not] be ‘traditional’ in the strictest sense"

I don’t think we’re going to agree on this, but, in the strictest sense, nothing we do today in the western world is "traditional". In a slightly less strict sense, everything we do that people did before us is traditional. The third half after football matches, where everyone gets p*ssed is traditional…

There’s one indication of this bias for you: everyone and their uncle is dead certain they know what "traditional" means. But when it comes down to it
a) it’s really hard to pin it down
b) it doesn’t matter whether something is traditional or not when evaluating it - if it’s crap, it’s crap.

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Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"[…]
I know a man
Who’s back to front,
The strangest man I’ve seen.
He can’t tell where he’s going
But he knows where he has been."

from Spike Milligan’s Two Funny Men

Tim, you make a good point:
The ‘future’ concept, if ever legitimate, has been totally compromised by generations of ill doing men of words and influence. The ‘progressive’ agenda as ideology and spin is a most worn out concept, yet it serves on: People continue to buy it at election time right left and center (you don’t need a real agenda if you say you’re a progressive). It helps further and fund some of the dodgiest science ("science without conscience ruins the soul" -Rabelais). It is the end that justifies all means and has underwritten some of the worst pages in history: From the agricultural ‘improvements’ and ‘reform’ movements that led to the loss of commons in England and Ireland to the ‘Manifest Destiny’ of the WASPs on native ground -still ‘meted out’ on the Peruvian section of the Pan-American highway as I write these lines for instance, with the loss of communal ownership of the land and consensual decision making it entails.

‘The Future Belongs to our Children’ becomes corrupted in this context, not the least since children relish nothing more than being cared for in the present. For example, once customary education disappears, the educators can move in: This applies to the history of Irish and Dance teaching in the Republic, of music teaching in France or Germany, for instance. Instead of getting it right and flexible from a variety of sources (e.g.: picking up tunes and techniques and concepts from different traditional musicians and sources) you get it ‘correct’ and formal from an accredited tutor with whom -and whose shortcomings- you might get stuck for the rest of your learning life. (If you’re not sure how ‘Progress’, the ‘Individual’ and ‘Care and Education’ are related, read
Ehrenreich & Hochschild’s Global Woman -about: ‘Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy’)
Perhaps N Keegan’s call is for a communal redefinition, but it has been pointed out above that the very language he uses and the forum he chooses belie his purpose at best, at worst his intention.

The problem is that the future doesn’t exist, really. Not as a ‘finish point’ anyhow. Starting points can sometimes be identified but there is no ‘end point’ (except when the dodo is dead! ) So, wanting to define or redesign a future for ITM is like announcing its death. It’s like announcing it doesn’t exist already and is thriving and is a source of contentment for thousands!
FUTURE may not exist but we know from experience that achievements are the fruits of LONG TERM commitment and involvement of MANY if not all concerned. (Time to re-read La Fontaine’s “The Stagecoach and the Fly” http://www.sterlingtimes.co.uk/fable.htm perhaps?)

But saying ‘let go of the past’ doesn’t amount to advocating some vague notion of progress. It might just be a call to free the present, opening the door of the bird cage without necessarily getting rid of the cage or the tree where it is hung.
Even if you picture the starting point as a single seed, the ‘future’ can be many flowered and many fruited,. Depending on the location of the fruits on the tree, their taste can be sweet or sour, while plum or pear boughs can be grafted on a healthy apple!

Ireland today certainly is in ‘transition’ and it is important that we give consideration to the changing scenes and discourses we ‘live in’. But there’s nothing new to this. Ireland has been ‘modern’ for a hundred years and more and ‘native’, ‘dance’, ‘Irish’ ‘folk’ ‘trad’ or ‘session’ music has been part of that scene all the while.
Keegan’s might be a call for freedom and space: As long as his appeal for ‘redefinition’ is not applied like a universal medicine (like pruning to a healthy tree or -as might be the inappropriate case again- to a dying tree, depending on the species and the illness), I think, along with other contributors here, there is place for many trees in the arbour, many blossoms on the tree and many colours on the blossom’s petals! All down in the bog in the valley o!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

By the way, music is not known to have any specific effect on plant life, just in case you wondered! But there is no harm in trying! ;- )

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

correction: o ws referring to Tirno’ comment not Tim’s

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"If it’s crap, it’s crap." Ha! Indeed. It’s all bias. It’s all opinion. Some opinions are based heavily on what has come before, and some are not.

Intentionally or not, subconsciously or not, I’ve created my own bias and opinion of the music based on those that I have learned from, mentors, elders, etc. They simply played the music. There was no need for ‘this is crap and this is not’, they simply did it, they still do it. I think this is part of the natural process, dare I even call it ‘traditional’?

I think it’s fascinating and wonderful that there is able to be a (very rough!) group consensus on what is traditional and what is not without any sort of rigid rules or new languages. Isn’t the music itself the primary language?

There really is no way to codify or discern any hard science or language to describe this process, in my opinion. We’re dealing with intangibles, not physics, and I for one am very thankful for that.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

In truth, all I’ve read of N Keegan’s article are these lines (from the above link)…

“Let US get it over with and introduce possibly the most hackneyed phrase in contemporary musicology: ‘Talking about music is like dancing about architecture’ […] However, talking about music can indeed be a frustrating affair. All of US have seen the stifled yawns when WE try and explain the…”

…but tell me, isn’t this academic ‘WE’ (my highlights) ‘traditional’, isn’t it time “to start challenging the language of a past agenda” ?
For who is to talk if no one listens? Or if we (the people!) are forced to listen? N Keegan’s methodology might very well be old fashioned if he has to deliver all the talk himself and have all the insights. The comments in this section (not least the last) clearly show that trad musicians are perfectly able and willing to talk about music, if you only hand over the mike to them!
A mike is THE tool of sound ethnomusicology. Apparently, some musicologists are still trying to come to term with it!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

and I apologize if ‘handing over the mike’ is what he does in the rest of the article or as part of his normal practice. This is all I’ve read of his stuff and the first time I hear the name. But you don’t want to spend too much time arguing or researching*: there’d be less time for life and music!

*Unless you get paid for it of course! ;- )

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I would disagree, SWFL. There is a general concensus about whether or not it is diddley, which is very different from the question of whether it is traditional or not.

If it really were "traditional", we wouldn’t be referring to it as "traditional". Same as the guys back in the 20s didn’t refer to it as "traditional". (And neither do some people in ireland today).

Not to be misunderstood, I think your opinion and judgement are most likely perfectly sound, except when you say "traditional", you mean "diddley".

Posted by .

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Sure Tirno, and that illustrates the exact problem: Using words to describe music.

Crap or not crap then, I suppose, to avoid the T word! ;-)

What if we had a forum & no one used words?

More random humour … I think I have it … I’m not playing traditional music, because if I am really playing traditional music I would not be referring to it as traditional music. I refer to traditional music often, which really means I don’t know what is traditional music. I do play diddley music, by which I mean diddley, not traditional; which is not to say *non-traditional* ~ simply diddley … or is it diddly … :-/
?

Posted by .

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Right. It’s neither Irish nor Traditional. Nor is it music. Also, c’est ne pas une pipe, and there is no spoon.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Tirno, I’m afraid we’ll end up in a semantic, downward and doomward spiral if we carry on like this. Look, I play Irish traditional music and have done so for most of my life. I’m happy with that description and I’m more than comfortable with it. I don’t consider it to be laden with any agenda whatever unless someone wants it to be or wants to use it for a political or religious purpose. It has been in the past as Keegan mentions but, thankfully, only the rarest of individuals these days waves a flag in a trad music environment. The music itself has overcome these distractions and, happily, the greatest majority of people just get on with the job of playing for the sheer enjoyment it engenders. Incidentally, that particular factor is singularly lacking in Keegan’s piece.

However, this is where the academic and the practitioner part company. The former wants to place it in an identifiable, alphabetical box like an insect on a pin for further examination, while the latter just wants to play. Now, that might be a tad simplistic but it nevertheless helps to explain the chasm between the two. Both perform a valuable service, provided it is done properly but, fundamentally, they are two completely different disciplines with separate agendas in mind. (I refer back to my comments on the meeting between Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, an anonymous box player and the gulf of (mis)understanding between them). But my major fear with whatever Keegan has in mind, is that this chasm will widen and the two will lose touch with each other entirely.

To date, it has been an uneasy but symbiotic partnership. If we follow Keegan’s thinking on the invention of a new language, however, I’m afraid that there will be no common ground or viable means of communication between the two so that one will disappear up his own ass in a shower of academic papers and the other will continue to play, come what may.

So, have another pint and let the fiddler play the tune!

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

I’m still about the block… I was reading more of (not quite) the same at:
https://thesession.org/discussions/24667
Just remember that there’s another thread on the same subject there for some themes and comments are being churned over now. This other thread contains more rants but ‘food for thought’ as well -including int the rants! There is even a few contributions from the editor of The Journal of Music himself, Toner Quinn…
…Who doesn’t tell us why viewing the article online is, now, restricted to paying users! Perhaps that’s too obvious!

”~ the meaning of ‘tradition’, or the concept nearest to it, is what is current ~”

~ "The academic Jesuit priest Walter Ong has shown ‘us’ that ~" ~ Niall Keegan


Re GerryMcCartney ~ I too love the magic…


Re Dow ~ "jealousy" ~ ??? :-/ ~ On my part, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no intention of ‘academic bashing’, just a reaction to poor writing, in ‘my’ opinion, with some examples easily dragged out, as others have already done, including Tirno, GerryMcCartney and others… My basic sense of Keegan’s confusion is as Gerry put it, a desire to "change ~ parameters" of how we discuss, use language, with regards to terms like ‘Irish Traditional Music’, that the gist of his wants are to widen the view, the perspective, to work against the straight jackets he sees as imposing limitations on artistic expression, by definition…

Dow, if you seriously think this is ‘good’ writing, well structured and ‘clear’, amongst the best academia can muster on the subjects, that you’re convinced it is well thought out and presented, please, convince us, tell us how ~ with examples…


"I don’t think Niall is trying to change the nature of the beast. He’s saying that the way we look at it and talk about it is biased." ~ Tirno

Biased, yes, that the language and approaches to ITM are generally coloured, loaded, political ~ plenty of evidence for this can be found on this site… And, on the issue of the term ‘tradition’, often used toward setting limits and exclusions, on the wider front ~ EVERYTHING we do is connected to some ‘tradition’, to traditions, has roots, including insanity…


Dear birlibirdie ~ I love the Spike Milligan quote, but I am decidedly biased anyway when it comes to Spike…

"The ‘progressive’ agenda as ideology and spin is a most worn out concept" ~ birlibirdie

Yup, and moth ridden, downright musty!


SWFL ~ Sadly some aspects of that ‘tradition’, relative to this shared passion, are forgotten by some. While I never heard any of the old school bad mouth a tune like "Soldier’s Joy", it and the dances were just good fun, that isn’t true of many of the newly arrived… In those moments with my elders, they were just as appreciative of the county and western song someone might chortle out, and without harsh comment or judgement, just appreciation.


"~ happily, the greatest majority of people just get on with the job of playing for the sheer enjoyment it engenders." ~ GerryMcCartney

Happily! :-)

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

what is the secret to getting to read this thing without paying gobs of money to become a subscriber? same with the tony macmahon memoir excerpts….

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"Dow, if you seriously think this is ‘good’ writing, well structured and ‘clear’, amongst the best academia can muster on the subjects, that you’re convinced it is well thought out and presented, please, convince us, tell us how ~ with examples…"

I’m not concerned about anyone’s opinion on the article. In fact, I couldn’t care less, to be quite honest. Everyone is entitled to their opinion - positive or negative. What I’m concerned about is the inappropriateness and total lack of sensitivity shown in some of the posts on these 2 threads. But if you seriously think that the writer of this article has been given fair treatment on this message board (in this and the other thread), then fair play to you.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

"Re Dow ~ "jealousy" ~ ??? ~ On my part, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no intention of ‘academic bashing’, just a reaction to poor writing…"

OK perhaps you’re right and it’s not jealousy. In that case I’d love to know what it is. Just a generalised, vindictive, spitting resentment coming through in people’s "reactions to poor writing"?

I guess this IS just an internet forum like any other, and not a place for well reasoned discussion, and I should just accept that and not assume that this corner of the net should be "better" than any other.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Dow ` "~ if you seriously think that the writer of this article has been given fair treatment on this message board (in this and the other thread), then fair play to you."

No, I don’t, and some comments were more like attacks and not directly to do with the article, such as dragging in one’s opinion of the writer’s flute playing. That made me wince, but it wasn’t the only place where that happened.

As to reactions to the melee of ideas poorly put, there were still ‘ideas’, content we often raise here in one form or another, such as the one about ‘performance’, others about the ‘new’, in tunes and treatment and attitudes. It was the mess, the waffle, that shook me up first, but with the intention to catch one or two of the ‘ideas’ and see what others thought, as was the intention with this thread.

As to well considered discussion, sometimes, not unknown in this digital quagmire, the bits of reason get mixed in with the unreasonable, the bizarre and the half baked. After all, this isn’t a structured and creditable university debate, and sometimes it’s closer to a bear pit. In case anyone wonders, the bear will beat the lion every time… Maybe it’s more like a cock fight? ;-)

Keep trying to strike a balance, but by now you should have learned some folks are nigh impossible to move from the unreasonable and petty to the reasoned and considerate.

As the pen writes ~ would we were more considered online, eh? :-/

Don’t reflect the sense of discourtesy you perceive, work around it, and offer something of reason… I should listen to my own guidance, having lost it a few times myself, of just choosing to remain shtrum and go elsewhere for a more considered read, including with regards to this article. Someone else was poking me with it, and I replied as requested. Would that this article were better considered and thought out, and rewritten a few more times before submitting it.

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Well, it seems that some of the posts have been removed - that should tell you something :-/

Re: “Let Go of the Language of the Past” ~ Niall Keegan ~ #1, in the beginning

Yes, Jeremy was sent a note on this, but not by me…

I haven’t checked, but I hope the worst, the least considerate, have gone…

Nope! :-/

Musical Food For Thought ~ Jim’s related and earlier thread

# Posted on May 22nd 2010 by FIDDLE4
https://thesession.org/discussions/24667

Some rudeness was removed from there too, when things got a bit too personal between posters…