Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Let’s first assume that your session is an open and public one.

Let’s say the fiddler’s playing is barely or even questionably sessionable, though he knows a few tunes and mostly keeps quiet.

Let’s say the hammered dulcimer player is pretty good, has an instrument without a ton of sustain, knows when not to play, and sticks to the melody on tunes he knows. Let’s assume there are no other hammered dulcimers at your session.

Which would you rather have visit your session (given that "none" is not an option and the question is a serious one?) Which would you tolerate better, and why?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Depends on how shaggable they are.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

How agout someone with a couple of geology hammers whacking an old piano with the sustain peddal stuck in the on possition?

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

We haven’t had any hammered dulcimer players at our session. But we get plenty of hammered fiddle players. Especially at the end of the night.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

If he’s a good dulcimer player he’ll know better than to try to play the whole time. And on that basis I’d go with the dulcimer.

Our problem at the moment is autoharps. I’d rather have a hammered dulcimer any day.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

My question is a serious one. Your answers thus far are completely unhelpful.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Skreech, my apologies - your answer posted just as mine did, and I appreciate your response.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Claiming you have a "serious" question and only want "serious" answers on the Yella Boards is basically like writing, "Please, please slag me."

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Come off it, it’s not a serious question at all. It’s a half-arsed attempt at a loaded - so meaningless - straw poll. What were you gonna do with you poll anyway? e-mail links to the fiddler you obviously despise? And is it you, or maybe your wife, who plays the hammer dulcimer and just wants to feel better about it because some other fiddle player at your session complained about the din?

OK, I’ll answer. The fiddle player any day. Because they at least have the potential to make some half decent music.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Furthermore, when you ask a loaded and lets face it, ridiculous hypothetical question because you seem to be using it has a weird, backhanded way of dealing with some dispute (maybe you’re not, but that’s just how it reads) the only thing you’re really going to see is how funny and clever Mustard Board denizens can be with their wise arse answers.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Whoops…. cross posted with Michael.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

All depends what you mean by "reasonably good" and "very mediocre". And it depends on what you regard as the qualities that make a musician good, bad, mediocre etc. Among others, i would say that, for me, one of those qualities has to be the ability to choose the right instrument - i.e. an instrument that you are capable of playing in a manner that fits the context. If somebody can play baritone sax or autoharp in such a way that complements the other musicians in the session, then they’re welcome, as far as I’m concerned - the same goes for a hammered dulcimer player. But when playing an instrument that is markedly different from those established in the genre, it takes that much more skill to be "good".

If you are judging musicians primarily on their technical ability, then I am prepared to be very tolerant, provided they are "sympathetic" - i.e. they strive to complement the other players. If a musician lacks sympathy in their playing, then i would probably tire of them very quickly, unless they are redeemed by their other qualities to such an extent that I would be content to just sit back and listen all night. But they would have to be *very* good. Probably like most of us here, I turn up to a session with the expectation that I am going to play, and communicate through playing, with the other musicians - if there is a musician present that inhibits this process, it is very frustrating.

I have thus far managed to avoid giving a straight answer to the question. But the general thrust of it is this: if faced with the choice of a fiddler that is hard to play with and a dulcimerist that is a pleasure to play with, I’d go for the latter every time.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Has some nasty fiddler told you to fling your hook then Mr Worthy?
I’m not sure if I’d sooner session with an alledgedly schight and presumably forthright fiddle player or an apparently stroppy but highly talented hammered dulcimer basher.
It all depends on the hot water bottle collection.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Throw ‘em both out and find a good tenor banjo player!

Let them both stay so long as they buy every other round.

It is a silly question and it matters not what people here say, what do you want at YOUR session!?!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Michael you are being a bit unfair. I listened to a hammered dulcimer player (a tiny grey-haired chinese woman) in a park in Hong Kong, years ago, who played with subtlety, taste and virtuosity. It was wonderful to listen to and she would be welcome at any session I was at. Perhaps the instrument lends itself better to oriental melodies.

P.S. As a result of stopping to listen to her we missed the ferry to Lantau Island that would connect with the last bus up the hill to the monastery hostel where we were staying and so we had to walk a couple of miles in the dark. We got attacked by a pack of rabid dogs which we managed to deter with a lot of shouting, stick throwing (I didn’t think that one through) and arm waving, and only later did I find out that all the local cobras came out from the bush after dark to lie on the warm tarmac. We were lucky. Bloody hammered dulcimer players.
Happy days.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Geoff:
Not that he in any way needs or wants it, but:

In Llig’s defense, I think your post is perhaps a bit apples and oranges.

I am not all that partial to Irish trad on HD much of the time, for me it does not always work, and it takes a very fine player to make it work for me (snob that I am). A band I play wioth has a fine player, and I can enjoy jamming with her, but she does not seem to take it where it probably should not go.

I am a bit more into the Chinese version of the beastie (the yangqin, I believe) but only when it is playing music specifically written and arranged for it.

But please, not ceili music.

My two cents, FWIW.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Very mediocre fiddler.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Well, personally speaking, I enjoy playing music with people, not instruments, & preferably with people I like, regardless of which is their chosen instrument.

So I hope I will never live long enough to ever display the sort of arrogance that would turn any musician away from our session, simply because of whatever instrument they happened to bring with them.
Surely, that’s a bit like judging a person by the colour of their skin & I like to think that I am just a little bit less bigoted than that.

For that reason, I agree with those above who have pointed out that the question itself is surely flawed.

I too enjoy playing the HD myself, in certain circumstances, but to be honest, if your so-called "reasonably good hammered dulcimer" was actually an arrogant know-all, but your "very mediocre fiddler" was a warm friendly individual with a good heart & approach to the music & his fellow musicians, then I’d surely prefer to share my session time, with the Fiddler. …. or vice versa, if you see what I mean ;-)

So, like so many questions asked here, the solutions have very little to do with instruments & technique etc & so much more to do with the players & their personalities.

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I agree Rook, I was only really disagreeing with the comment that only the fiddle had potential to get half decent music. But you are right about it in relation to apples and oranges.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Hey worthy … it’s you isn’t it? You’re the hammer dulcimer player who describes himself as: "pretty good".

And it is you who’s being a right moaning minnie because someone who you regard as beneath you has been favored.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

We use to have a session just outside Larne - And a Local Man
Nat Magee R.I.P. would play a Dulcimer. He would turn up now and again, He would Play along with us, sit out the Set’s he did not know.. Change the tempo on a slow air or Carolan tune,,, It was far more Entertaining for ” all ” there.. Than the Wall to Wall Reel’s and Jig’s session we Normaly had..

For a pleasant change - I’d Choose the Dulcimer Player….

jim,,,

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I can play jigs and reels on pedal steel guitar. I play them at home and use them as practise exercises. I don’t bring the steel to a session because I don’t think it’s an appropriate instrument. Neither are saxophone, trumpet, trombone, etc although I’m certain there’s plenty of brass players able to lash out some reels. Like the proverbial dog on its hind legs……

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I’d rather have a mediocre (ie quite good) fiddle player who is open-minded than a quite good (ie mediocre) know-all dulcimer player with a chip on his shoulder.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Oh dear, oh dear. Somebody’s eating a can of worms for their breakfast. Yummy…

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I you bought a can of worms in a shop, would it have "Open other end" on both ends?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

This is a traditional forum for traditional people. There’s nothing for you here. Isn’t that right, Tubbs?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Wouldn’t mind a hammered ducimer joininig our session though

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

JEZUZ! Why don’t you just get really hammered ‘worthy’ then he won’t bother you. ohh and sorry guys, but i think that some of the posts you’ve put up on here are kina harsh. :s

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Quote from Ptarmigan:

"Well, personally speaking, i enjoy playing music with people, not instruments, & preferrably with people I like, regardless of which is their chosen instrument."

That’s about the only statement in this thread that makes any sense (to include the OP).

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Mr Worthy: which wig glue do you prefer and is this fiddler a secret hotwiter bottle collector?

:-/ Curious

Does "very" mediocre mean dreadfully mediocre or the best of all mediocre players under consideration?

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Can I just say how refreshing it is to know some female sessioners also consider the shagability of other musicians as well?

Mr. Worthy - you’re obsessing on the wrong things at your session.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

If only I could claim complete intellectual ownership of what I wrote in that post…….. :)

But seriously, do people think about other things when sitting out tunes they don’t know?

Would you rather have a reasonably good shag or a very mediocre fiddler?

Very shaggable yet mediocre, is that reasonable?

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

So would you rather a very shaggable but very mediocre fiddle player, a butt-ugly but brilliant hammered dulcimer player, or a slightly shaggable hammered fiddle player that requires you to be hammered as well?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Come now, it’s a session ~ not a performance.

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Probably the 1st ,"a very shaggable but very mediocre fiddle player." But you’ve put me on the spot. I have to be off to work at this very moment. Which is a sad comment, considering how much fun you’re all having.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I agree with Random - Since I’m a happily married little elf of a man, I no longer seek potential shaggability partners, just a little eye-candy from time to time. Therefore, with one chair left and three pipers asking to join, I’m most likely to invite the gal with the larger set of bellows.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

How do you know how good either of them can play if they’ve just walked in the door?

Flawed question, obviously, which is why rating them on the length of their pipe or the fullness of their bellows is more appropriate.

I figure you give everyone a shot, then apply slagging and/or abuse if necessary.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

…and worthy, based on your description it appears that neither of your two examples is deserving of slagging and/or abuse. I’d be happy to session with both of them at the same time.

Especially if they have long pipes or full bellows, needless to say.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Where I play, we always give anyone a chance.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I’d vote for the fiddler, *provided* he gave me/us the impression that his playing would, over time, improve. I’ve seen this happen.

This is on the basis of the instrument: given the straight choice, I’d sooner hear a fiddler than a hammer dulcimer player. But I’ve very seldom actually heard one of these. One may yet convert me to thinking more favourably about the instrument…

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I am more amused by this thread’s path than I expected to be.

I am both the fiddler and the hammered dulcimer player in the example. Yes, me, an actual person, who actually plays the fiddle and actually plays the hammered dulcimer and actually wants to know which would be better received at a session if I happened to visit one somewhere eventually.

I like the music. I like sessions. I am actively improving on both instruments. I seem to have been gracefully received and kindly mentored by the locals, for whatever that is worth, but based on things I read here, I assume that they must be merely tolerating (or pretending to tolerate) me. That is not a pleasant feeling. I thought a poll here might help me gain further useful perspective.

I am not sure how I might better have worded the question, but I was afraid I’d have mud flung at me (for good reason, apparently) and so sought to avoid putting myself personally in the line of the mud.

It sounds like the very mediocre fiddler wins the poll.

Though I won’t comment on how shaggable I might be.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"(given that "none" is not an option and the question is a serious one?)"

Wait, is this session on a desert island or something and the musician who loses the straw poll is summarily offed and fed to the survivors? If not, exactly why do you have to choose one and only one of these two people? I don’t recall this particular ethical dilemmas from Philosophy 101, but that was over a decade ago.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Cross-post. Damn, I far prefer my scenario.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

In my defense, if the other musicians aren’t going to have to resort to cannibalizing one of their own in the forseeable future, then "none" is certainly an option.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy, if you had half an ear and were truly interested in playing this music, your question would never have arisen.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Lets start the mud flying at a higher speed, what about Uilleann Pipes Vs Piano Accordian ? any takers ?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

If you already have the music in you, then it won’t take long for your fiddle skills to catch up to, or surpass your ability on the HD.

So if your main goal for the music is to play in sessions, I would suggest you take the fiddle. Both a mediocre fiddler and a good HD player can muddy up the sound of a session, but the fiddle will blend more. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it, obviously.

And, as has been pointed out, it’s not us you should be asking, it’s the session that you want to attend. It will be easier for them to be honest if you give them the choice between the two as well.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Thanks, Illg. Absolutely right. Of course I should quit and take up some new hobby. I’ll put it on my to-do list after Hunter’s House and the Shores of Lough Gowna.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Taking it as a serious question, I can see how a hammered dulcimer could be OK. The player would have to be sensitive (understatement), probably not play all the time (or even most of the time) and understand the principles of damping (yep, I’ve seen good HD players make very good use of damping and it really helps, although it’s a very long time indeed since I’ve seen one in an Irish session). OTOH, whilst I’d be happy for such a sensitive HD player to play some of the time, I’d rather a crap fiddle player played none of the time. Too many of them out there. Think they can play.

Sorry if I’m supporting any undisclosed feud, as some of my mustardy chums seem to think …

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Thinking about it a bit more though, it’s a strange question to ask. I mean, it would depend on the person, wouldn’t it? (Kind of like TSS said, only less overtly sexual. I.E. If they’re a really nice person it would be different from if they were a really horrible person.)

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy -

I do agree that your original post was put forth badly. No offense meant to you. It just came across as highly suspect. I’ve certainly presented my share of OPs that were similarly received. Had you presented your case more along the lines of what you posted more recently, I think you would have fared better. llig is the exception. I have no doubt he would have pounced all over you in any case. His experience and input are frequently valuable, but he is also a professional antagonist.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy, it depends on the session. At the risk of sounding like a prat, a fiddle is better at the good sessions. Nothing wrong with sessions which have fretted instuments & fixed pitch instruments, they’ll love your hammer dulcimer, but I really don’t see how you can go wrong with the fiddle. If you don’t feel you can play on all the tunes keep in mind it is best to listen, & you do not need to always play.
Conversely if you bring the hammered dulcimer it just seems like you’d expect to be playing on most tunes.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy, now that we know you play both & why you are asking, the solution is simple.

Might I suggest that you do what I do, every Saturday night.
You take both & every now & then you play your HD, but spend most of your time on the Fiddle.
That way you’ll keep up your skills on the easy to learn HD, while giving yourself loads of time to work on your Fiddle, which is after all, always going to offer you a challenge.

Cheers
Dick

Would you rather …

While I do play with multi-instrumentalists, & it is wonderful they can play more than one instrument, in a session I, personally, would rather play with a musician who chooses one instrument, brings one instrument, & sticks with the one. Different instrument next week, fair play. This is how I rather like things to be, humbly. I have received flak for stating this sort of opinion.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Why can’t you just take both instruments, assuming there’s enough space to safely put down the fiddle while you’re playing the dulcimer? You can come along and do that at my sessions, and welcome.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Random_humour, you are of course entitled to your views, just as I’m sure you must believe that other members of your session are fully entitled to their own views, too … true?

So can we assume that, in this atmo of democracy, you don’t actually lay down any rules which prevent anyone from bringing more than one instrument, if they wish?

Surely the beauty of a truly open session, is that there are no rules?

If you do stipulate this as a rule at your session, then I wonder, do you also enforce a dress code & a swear box & a special seat for each musician & perhaps you decide what tunes are to be played & which must never be played etc etc etc :-P

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not a big fan of Rules at sessions. ;-)

So can we just agree, that we won’t tell each other how to dress at a session, or what tunes to play ………. or what instrument to play? :-)

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

All that matters here is what the folks at worthy’s session would prefer. Ask them.

Since you’ve asked us, here’s my spin. Given that worthy’s bio says s/he been on the dulcimer for only 2 years, and s/he says the fiddle isn’t at the same level as the dulcimer, I’d rather you brought your fiddle to the local tune learning session and learned more about this music before you start launching tunes at the regular session. Play the HD with a string band, and learn this music on fiddle. Everyone, including yourself, will be happier in the long run.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

let them both in. Whats wrong ? Not enough stools ? ;-)

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

To be clear, I have been a very quick learner on the HD. I have played fiddle for approx. 1-1/2 years now, but not with the same ease. I do a *lot* of listening at the session and only play tunes I can play well at speed (or that is the standard I try to keep to, at least). I can’t play anything at speed on the fiddle yet, except maybe a couple of polkas. I’m not ready to play fiddle in a session, but I hope to be eventually. But I can keep up and play respectfully on the HD (I know, that’s a matter of opinion, but it is my opinion and I’m sticking to it).

I hear beginning fiddlers disparaged and I hear HD players disparaged…and I’m just NOT anything but those things right now…I can’t offer anything but those options, and humbly so. I’ve been at the local session every single week, with rare exception, for nearly two years now. I love it. Sometimes I get to play three tunes; sometimes I get to play twenty, but I doubt ever more than that (in 3-4 hours). I really like Irish music and the people here who play it are good folks.

I am absorbing all the earnest responses here and they are helpful even if they don’t agree with each other.

Time to read my bio and make sure I haven’t misrepresented anything…

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy - when you say you hear "beginning fiddlers disparaged" - where does this occur? I think it’s a pretty rare thing to hear an earnest beginner getting slagged simply for being a beginner. It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things at your session - playing on tunes you know, absorbing as much as you can by listening, making friends with the locals, etc - what set off to write this topic in the first place? A random harsh word or look? Or is this just a case where the demons of self-doubt prodded you to seek some validation?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Variety is the spice of life. Mediocre fiddlers are two-a -penny, but not many sessions have an HD player. So if you are visiting other sessions you are more likely to arouse people’s interest with the HD (providing you don’t try to take over the whole session).

But if you are playing at the same session week on week it’s probably best to play mainly fiddle, so that you can join in everything, and just bring the HD out now and again.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

off topic question for Worthy - is that HD that easy to learn to play well? Because maybe I should give up the fiddle since after seven years I would still call myself mediocre.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

If you want to arouse people’s interest, turn up to the session naked. If you want to learn to play this music, play the fiddle

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Turn up at the session naked…. There’s an idea!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Eejit, demons of self-doubt.

MaryMargaret, I am not sure, I only know that I took to it quickly.

I will not be turning up naked at a session, now or ever.

Eejit, not that beginning fiddlers are disparaged, just that it has been my impression from comments here that they are encouraged not to play at a session until they are at a much higher level. Perhaps I have misunderstood. Only play at a session when you can lead a tune thoroughly well and up to reasonable speed, right? Which is above beginner or even advanced beginner level, IMO. (Not that I knew this when I started playing, but now I know it, and so…I think it will take years…and I am not willing to quit the session in the meantime.)

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Worthy, sounds like you’re on the right track. Perhaps ask yourself this question: Do you want to play THIS music in Irish sessions? Then focus on the fiddle. It’ll take a few more years before you’re really playing up to session standard, but that’s okay.

If any folk music will do and you’d enjoy an old timey or string band jam or playing for contradances as much as an Irish session, then save yourself the frustration of fiddle and stick with the HD. Just don’t expect many Irish sessions to save a seat for you.

I have yet to hear a hammered dulcimer in a trad setting where the clatter didn’t muddy things up. Even with padded hammers and a damper on the dulcimer and a light touch. It creates a wall of sound that smothers all the sweet nuances of good melody players on fiddle, flute, whistle, etc.

Posted .

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Nonsence. All the good players I know are more than happy to play through tunes at a snails pace with a biginner. Not all night of course, but once or twice a night is no problem at all. All one asks of a beginner is that they make progress. It’s only when they loose interest and stop making progress that they’ll be shunned.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Nonsense to worthy, not you Will

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

There aren’t any shortcuts.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

understood


In my experience, the easier an instrument is to learn, the less likely you’ll fit in to a decent trad session. Ukulele is fun and easy to play—lots of one and two finger chords, and you can pick single-line melody fairly easily. So what? It might provide 10 minutes of comic relief, but uke’s not a serious session instrument.

If you want ease, learn kazoo. If you want Irish traditional music, go with whistle, flute, fiddle, or pipes.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Hi worthy. Sounds like you’re a regular at a session. Others have said it earlier, but I’ll say it again: talk to people you know at your session about this. My experience is like llig’s - people don’t mind playing a few tunes slower when someone is learning and making progress on an instrument. I enjoy it, personally. So, ask the people you play with what they think. Good luck and have some fun!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Lots of ‘easy’ instruments to get a tune out of; lots of ‘easy’ instruments to play really well or even superbly?.
The music comes from the musician not the instrument.
Normally, Will, I think your posts are germane and well thought out - maybe not this time?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k


Not diddley but something of a different order…check it out.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I pretty much agree with everything Ptarmigan has said above. I am more concerned with what kind of people I play with than what kind of instruments.
Although I imagine our publican might react to a hammered dulcimer the way he reacted to a string bass: "I don’t like havin’ that thing around. It takes up the room of two payin’ customers!"

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

John, I’ve seen lots of Shimabukuro’s stuff on YouTube. He’s a fine player. But even someone of his caliber wouldn’t make a uke work at a typical session. It’s too quiet. Sure, you could flat pick jigs and reels on one like a mandolin, but no one would hear it. And it would be a very poor substitute for a more typical trad Irish instrument on which the various twiddly bits so vital to this music evolved. That was my point. (And I picked on uke because I play uke, too, but I would never waste my time trying to adapt it to play Irish tunes on for serious session playing. What’s the use?)

And my purpose in making that point was to help worthy understand that if s/he genuinely loves this particular music and wants to play in trad sessions, there’s little point in pursuing instruments (such as HD) that don’t really fit in well (for all sorts of reasons).

The only flaw in my previous post was that I left all this for people to extrapolate. But germane and well thought out it remains. :-)

(Before anyone else jumps in thinking "but whistles are easy to play!" I’ll add that I would agree with that, but whistles aren’t easy to play well, and most people find it takes more than 2 years to play whistle well enough to contribute more than not on a whistle at a middling to high level session. Lordy there are enough out-of-tune, overblowing, mushy rolled whistlers out there already….)

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Where I play, we always give anyone a chance.

# Posted on September 27th 2010 by llig leahcim

OK, I’ll answer. The fiddle player any day. Because they at least have the potential to make some half decent music.

# Posted on September 27th 2010 by llig leahcim

Cognitive dissonance? And yaalhouse joining in on the slagging. An uke player. Irony?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Will, I have to say that I agree with you that a uke would be a highly unusual and peculiar choice of instrument which our ears would not be accustomed to. No, I don’t think it would be heard in a session with more than half a dozen musicians and nor would it, in my opinion, contribute anything under such circumstances. As for the sound the instrument makes, hmmmm. Not sure about that either.
In an ‘ideal’ session though? Lord help us if Jake was to decide to turn his hand to the Irish :) Can you imagine the impact he might have? Wall to wall ukes…(shudders) I think I need to lie down for a bit.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

John, I’m thinking of starting a local uke club, the Helena Ukulele Philharmonic (HUP for short). :-)

See, that’s my point. Ukulele is no more peculiar than hammered dulcimer at an Irish session. (Yes Ptarmy, I’m aware that HD’s have been played in sessions in Ireland for donkey’s years. But then so have bodhrans and spoons. :-P ) If, as worthy says he does, you really want to play this particular music, why settle for a peculiar (ill-suited) instrument just because playing it came easy to you?

I sometimes play tunes like Sunshine of Your Love and the Tequilla song on my fiddle for a laff, but I wouldn’t take my Irish fiddle twiddly bits to a Cream or Champs jam.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"Because maybe I should give up the fiddle since after seven years I would still call myself mediocre" says MaryMargaret. Stick with it. I took up fiddle lateish in life and after three years I was appalling, after 5 years, embarrassingly bad, after seven years, mediocre, and after ten years…starting to take shape a bit. Just need another ten years that’s all.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

RichardB - no worries - I can’t seem to quit my fiddle. I look forward to when I am "starting to take shape a bit." Thanks for the encouragement.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Hey Will, I must take issue with your suggestion that a Uke is no more peculiar at an Irish Session, than a Hammered Dulcimer.

For a start, the history of HDs being played in Ireland goes back for hundreds of years, some might argue that it goes back further even than the present form, as they believe that ancient Irish instrument, the Tiompan, was an earlier form of this instrument. In any case, it’s smaller predecessor the Psaltery goes back 3,000 years to Greece & was almost certainly being played in early Medieval Ireland. Perhaps these two earlier instruments were one & the same, so when they actually hit the strings of the Psaltery, instead of plucking them, they called it a Tiompan … just a thought.

In any case, it’s long history in & association with Ireland, is not in question.

The Ukulele, on the other hand, was only invented on the other side of the World, in 1879 & it’s 1st appearance at Irish Sessions is I believe, only a fairly recent event, so historically speaking, they have little or nothing in common.

All Ireland Medals have been won on a Hammered Dulcimer, how many have been won on a Uke?

Many LPs of Traditional Irish Music have been recorded using the Hammered Dulcimer, have any ever been recorded using a Uke?

Derek Bell played Irish Music on his Hammered Dulcimer in an Irish Music line up with the Chieftains, all around the World.

Has a Uke ever been used in this way?

In any case, you also imply that Bodhrans & HDs also have something in common, but I fail to see the connection there either, given how uncommon the HD is at sessions but how utterly ubiquitous the Bodhran is, so one is clearly far more popular than the other. ;-)

In any case, the fact that you don’t see a HD at most sessions, surely has little or no bearing on whether or not it is actually accepted as a member of the greater family of recognised Irish Musical Instruments. After all, the Harp is also a rare sight at an Irish Session, but few here would think of it as anything other than one of the true Irish Instruments. In fact, the true ‘metal strung’ Irish Harp, as opposed to the Modern European Gut/Nylon strung beastie that most folks play today, has a lot in common, sound-wise with the HD. Its strings too, tend to ring on & on & on, so much so that a completely different technique & style of playing is required, making it sound very, very like a HD. Is anyone here honestly suggesting that a Wire Strung Irish Harp would not be welcome at their session?

Anyway, as I have already said above, I would encourage Worthy to carry on playing Irish music on his HD. Why wouldn’t he, if he loves the sound & enjoys the experience. However, I would also strongly recommend that he devotes far more of his musical time to exploring the joys of learning to play the music, on the Fiddle.

Like I said earlier though, the original question is flawed, as it should NOT be a question of either, or!

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Bodhrans & hammered dulcimers? Do you not get the sound out of both by hitting them with sticks?

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I’m not clicking on that. Life’s too short

Posted .

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Depends if you want some chips making.

Try some tunes in Eb and see whether they can play the thing or not.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

So apparently it matters not if I preempt you, Dick, you’ll still give me the history lesson that I don’t need. :-P

(See my previous post: "(Yes Ptarmy, I’m aware that HD’s have been played in sessions in Ireland for donkey’s years. But then so have bodhrans and spoons.)"

Posted .

Would you rather …

It is a question asking my personal opinion, quite different from, "What does my session allow or not … , i.e. ~ those alleged & imagined rules.
Ptarmigan, sorry to break it to you like this. There have been circumstances where I have told certain musicians not to play. Just the same, I never said anything about formal rules. But, it would be ignorant of me to assume that everything brought into a session contributes to the music.

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I agree with Will Harmon, "All that matters here is what the folks at worthy’s session would prefer. Ask them."

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

So Worthy - did you get your answer at long last? The HD is a nice once in while treat, but most folks would rather play the majority of tunes with you on the fiddle.

Sound cool? - Oh, and don’t ever let the demons of self-doubt poison your inner well. Enjoy the journey.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Eejit, yes, that is what I gathered. When my fiddling is good enough, I will likely switch over. I’m not there yet but I will keep it in mind.

I guess I should talk to my session mates too.

AlBrown, the harp got the boot from the publican, but the HD didn’t. I guess that says something.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I’d just like to say that my wife sometimes brings her uke to the sessions, but it mainly gets played when it’s a tune that she doesn’t play on flute or whistle, and she’s got tired of bones, spoons, and bodrhan.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Well, I play HD, and love it. Does it work for Irish music? Depends on the player and the particular instrument. It need not muddy a session much at all. Less so than a bad bodrhan and less so than several weak fiddlers who can’t quit play the rhythm. (To say nothing of the box player who thinks he can really play the basses but can’t). So, situation, player and instrument. Know those issues and you have your answer.

That said: I’m working on more traditional instruments to play Irish Trad on for a bunch of reasons, among them space available at sessions and the fact that instruments around which the tradition grew up can cope better with the technical issues of the music.

Going to a new session I’d be likely to leave the HD at home until I could get acquainted and find out if I fit in with it. Unless of course Ptarmy was there!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

@ cboody Hey, welcome anytime, because of course we run open sessions around here, where we don’t prejudge the musician or their ability to play, whatever instrument they choose to bring along.

I know there are still some old school, hard liners around, who might prefer to see only Flutes, Fiddles, Whistles & Uilleann Pipes at Irish Sessions, but just think for a minute of all the absolutely fantastic Irish Music that has been created, even just over the past 50 years, using a whole host of different instruments, many of which have now become part of the mainstream Irish scene.

I reckon it would have been a great loss to the tradition, if the ‘No, Nay, Never Brigade’ had managed to keep them all away from the music.

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

You don’t prejudge? Well, where’s the fun in that?

:-P

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Every time an instrument that is incapable of the articulations, the cut’s, rolls, crans etc of Irish music, gains popularity, some of the music is lost.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

that comment should be good for another 100 posts llig

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I don’t think it was a particularly controversial comment … but it is interesting. It got me thinking - the addition of things you bang, things you strum and things you pluck, push/pull … is what we’ve gained worth it? Also, Michael’s comment does presuppose that the pre-existing instruments - by implication, the ones that have been in the tradition longer - are those where you can play "the cuts, rolls, crans etc". But this isn’t true. Or, at least, I don’t think it is. For instance, bellows instruments and/or mouth organs have been in this music for a very long time - not quite as long as the Uilleann pipes, but arguably about as long as the flute, say. At any rate, apparently back to the beginning of the 19c, which is quite a long time, really …

I don’t know where my argument goes after that. I shall continue musing …

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I think new instruments only add something, at the very least a new voice, if nothing else. The natural process then decides in time, if that voice is accepted or not. Thankfully the purists do not, as they would wish, have the final word, but rather everyone who plays has a little part to play in the final decision.

Some may feel that the presence of new instruments somehow dilutes the purer sound they prefer, but of course over the years, despite their grumblings, many other instruments, apart from the big five: Fiddle, Pipes, Harp, Whistle & Flute, have been accepted. I think few would argue against the fact that the more recently ‘accepted’ instruments have actually added greatly to the many & varied sounds that now make up the overall sound of Irish Traditional Music & have in fact enriched it, not taken anything away from it.

The truth is, none of us were even around when only the big five were the only instruments playing this music & of course it has never stood still anyway, it has always been adapting & changing.

If we were to take the purism approach to its extreme, then perhaps we should be trying to create the perfect Irish instrument that was on its own, capable of creating all the cherished articulations. Sadly though, for the purists at least, that instrument has yet to be created and the fact is each, yes even the glorious five, have their limitations, so none are in fact perfect. Thank goodness for that I say, because each has contributed to the overall sound we all know & most of us love, today.

The new instruments then add a little more colour, light & shade, but the precious core remains intact. If the purists simply had a little more faith & confidence, then they would see that the core is much, much more resilient than they give it credit. So I reckon we have nothing to lose & perhaps, just maybe, something to gain from keeping an open mind.

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Any time somebody starts abusing their instrument to put in articulations, cuts, rolls and crans the tune doesn’t need, some of the music is lost.

Has anybody worked out who "worthy" was talking about? Is anybody going to tell Jack Bethel to get lost, for example?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"Worthy" was talking about himself, Jack.

Anyway, it’s not unlikely that when some pipemaker in 1770s-80s had the ingenious idea of making a chanter with four or five holes, putting keys on those holes, and sticking one to three of those sideways into a drone so you could play CHORDS with your bagpipe, someone else thought he was a complete tool.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

*a drone stock, I should say. That’s what I get for multitasking.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"Any time somebody starts abusing their instrument to put in articulations, cuts, rolls and crans the tune doesn’t need, some of the music is lost."

Ah, there’s the rub!
WATCH OUT! The Articulation Constables are around every corner, just waiting for musicians to play too few articulations, or too many, or catch you using them in the wrong order, or in the wrong places!

Believe it or not, there are people out there who really do believe that there is only one way to correctly play any tune …… & of course, surprise, surprise, that’s the way THEY play it!

Can you imagine how crap, boring, stilted & quickly ….. DEAD Irish Music would become, if there really was only one correct & acceptable way to play each tune?

Come back George Orwell … all is forgiven! :-P

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

>Anyway, it’s not unlikely that when some pipemaker in 1770s-80s >had the ingenious idea of making a chanter with four or five >holes, putting keys on those holes, and sticking one to three of >those sideways into a drone so you could play CHORDS with >your bagpipe, someone else thought he was a complete tool.

And lets face it… :-D

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I don’t believe that there was ever a time when "the big five" were the only instruments used in Irish trad - which was partly where I was coming from in my post up above. There have always been other instruments being introduced, or, for that matter, routinely played, in the tradition.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

”If we were to take the purism approach to its extreme, then perhaps we should be trying to create the perfect Irish instrument that was on its own, capable of creating all the cherished articulations.”

Ah.. they did, Uilleann Pipes.:-)

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I woiuld agree with you ethlical but you forgot to mention instruments falling out of favour

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Yes, instruments that are "routinely played" and widely derided and lamented, still.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

@ Spellbreaker Aye, Uilleann Pipes may well be judged by most folk to be the most complete Irish instrument & would probably come closest to being thought of as the perfect Irish instrument, except for the fact that so many great Irish tunes actually travel below bottom D! ;-)

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

It was supposed to be part of what I meant, Bazouki Dave. What’s your instrument, btw?

:-D

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

@Dick ; fair enough, you would go and mention those tunes ;-) like The Gold Ring, Galway Hornpipe… There ways of getting round that.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"There are ways of getting round that." Yes indeed Spellbreaker, I agree & they are called compromises, & it’s these which every musician has to use skillfully, no matter what instrument they are using, to make the most of their chosen instrument. Part of the joy of Irish Music is surely hearing how these varies compromises come together magically to produce the rich, varied & glorious tapestry of sound, we know & love as Irish Music!

There are always going to be elitists out there, sitting in their self-inflicted ivory towers, gloating over how their particular chosen instrument requires fewer compromises than the next fellows, & no doubt singing a chorus of Na Na ne Na Na, but don’t worry about them, they are more to be pitied than scolded! In their delusional striving for an impossible goal of utter perfection, they may well be missing so much, from the glorious sounds the rest of us enjoy & take for granted, as part of the norm.

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I say get back to basics. The good old human voice, and pounding rocks and sticks together. None of these newfangled instruments like bone flutes, or frame drums covered with animal hides. If it was good enough for our ancestors, it should be good enough for us.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

I still miss those big old bodrhans with the big jingles on, that you see in the odd woodcut and print, they must have been a fun instrument to play, along with whatever melody instrument was around !
My late lamented friend Carol passed on to us her bodrhan, with a bunch of big morris bells attached to the crossover point of the back braces, so you could give it a good jingle if you wanted it.
Meanwhile, to get back to the original question, I wouldn’t mind at all if anHD player doubling on fiddle came to our session. You’ld be very welcome, sir or madam !

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Pete, thanks for the invite, I appreciate it.

So I’m going to work up to bringing my fiddle along when I’m comfortable enough with my playing (key word there is "when") and in the meanwhile I’m going to keep frequenting my local session, being conscious of the potential for overplaying and especially sensitive to keeping my contributions tasteful (using common sense and basing my continued presence on the ground that their reaction to me continues to be positive).

I’ll consider asking the others what they think. But I think their responses to my playing are reliable indicators. I have seen some players given the boot (or a polite but pointed suggestion to change approach or not return), and lo and behold, I have not been among them. I have given the regulars numerous openings to tell me I’m unwelcome or that I’d be better off elsewhere. I am curious to see how that might change if/when I show up with my fiddle.

I have enjoyed the insights and the encouragement shared in this thread, even when it has covered unanticipated ground.

One thing that I wanted to mention is that I always get attention from the punters who want to hear me playing on more tunes. I tell them they’ll have to stick around and wait for it. It’s not my fault; my instrument is big and shiny and pretty, and it catches the eye. But I do my best to redirect their attention toward the die-hard regulars who have been playing this music for years.

Scottish Hammered Dulcimer sold on Flog It today!

Please excuse the diversion! ;-) A Scottish Hammered Dulcimer was sold on ‘Flog It’ BBC 2 this afternoon!

Owned by a lady in Paisley, Scotland, whose father used to play it in a local social band. It was very like the typical Co. Antrim Dulcimer in shape & size, with 3/4 strings per course, black sound board, gold coloured Chessmen Bridges, but it also had two soundholes, which were triangular & almost arrowhead in shape, with two shamrocks on a stem, in each!

It sold for £90!

Wonder if Jack Bethel was adding to his collection! ;-)

Cheers
Dick

Scottish Hammered Dulcimer sold on Flog It today!

You can watch it again here:

Flog It! http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008zmnj

It is discussed from 3:15 to 5:50 & sold from 19:38 to 21:12!

N.B. It belonged to her Grandad & is described as a C19th instrument!

Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

That’s very interesting, Dick; thanks for posting. I can’t watch the video because it’s "not available in my area." Too bad - I would have liked to take a peek.

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

"How agout someone with a couple of geology hammers whacking an old piano with the sustain peddal stuck in the on possition?"

Now that’s funny. Cruel, but funny. :) :) The Old Gill never changes!!!

I hear fiddles all the time, so it would be nice to have a dulcimer for a change. It’s just for one session, right?

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

What a long ‘discussion’! Just like to say a) I’d choose the hammer dulcimer and b) it is not possible for a mediocre fiddle player to be shaggable, the two concepts don’t go together!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

If fiddle virtuousity made one more shaggable, there would be a lot more people taking music lessons…..

Everyone deserves an orgasm

Sometimes you simply needed to make beautiful music with someone to become inspired to make beautiful music.

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Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

OK Worthy .. here’s a tailpiece to this discussion: a Hammered Dulcimer being played along with Uilleann Pipes, Fiddle & Bodhran in the corner of my local Session Pub!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJ3Z8jac1I


Cheers
Dick

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Hammered Dulcimer? No. No, no, no, no, no. NO.
No.
Mediocre fiddler? Shaggable or not? Absolutely. Evertytime.

A hammered dulcimer has no place in traditional Irish Sessions, IMHO. It cannot keep up with the melody and ends up just a noisy mess of sustain.

It is a great instrument by the way. Just not in a session.
Sorry!

Re: Curious: Would you rather have a reasonably good hammered dulcimer player or a very mediocre fiddler show up at your session?

Simon, I’m going to have to disagree with the "No. No, no, no, no, no. NO. and No" comment. Providing the hammered dulcimer is properly tuned, a mediocre fiddler (in the sense that every non-open string fingering is a 16th to a quarter-tone flat) will advertise their lack of skill most profoundly. BTDT when I hauled my HD rig to an open mike one night only to have said mediocre fiddler volunteer to play along. So, I beg to disagree on at least that score per that specific circumstance. I do understand the sustain comment though, I wish my ancient HD had dampers but if it’s sustain that’s considered evil, than the drones of bagpipes, uillean pipes and hurdy gurdy’s must surely fall somewhat into the same category. Inasmuch as I really do understand the HD disincentive, when I do haul the awkward beast to a session, I play it only for specific tunes and concentrate on the bouzouki, banjo or mandolin for most of my session playing. You would not however, wish to have me try a fiddle. I would make the most mediocre fiddle player sound like Yehudi Menuhin playing a Stradivarius.