Playing Simple

Playing Simple

I ran across a quote by Neil Young that makes sense to me:

"I like to play with people who can play simple and are not threatened by other musicians thinking they can’t play.
And that eliminates 99 percent of the musicians."

This, I think, has definite application to people who play Irish music. Sometimes I want to give it all up after looking at all the youtube phenoms, esp. the young peeps you commonly see on "Comhaltas" postings playing cleanly and competently at a blistering speed.

But then I am reminded of what Neil says. In my mind, playing "simple" is not easy. And speed and ornamentation have their place, but only their place.

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A lot can be said, with just a couple of notes. One of the deepest, intriguing pieces that i’ve heard, is composed with proggressive intervals. 2 notes at a time. Arvo Parts’ "Fur Alina"

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Jim, that’s hardly fair, choosing a beginner and a Canadian fiddler as your two examples in contrast to Charlie Lennon! 🙂

That said, I’ve never liked the downhill triplet runs that every fiddler since Coleman puts in Bonny Kate. Sure, they’re integral to a Sligo style, but 100 years later, can’t we come up with something different yet still Irish?

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Charlie, trying to hold back the laughter, a bit too ‘country western’ for my tastes. 😀

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There is room for us all, and all of our variations. Just not necessarily all together at the same time !!

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While carignan was certainly greatly influenced by Coleman he is much more important than "a Canadian fiddler" or "every fiddler." If you listen to other Quebec players, both fiddle and accordion, you can see how important he has been.
But I must admit I agree about the speed. He had a version of the Rimouski Reel that was so fast and complex I could not hear the tune.

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Well I was mostly Talking about Speed..
Although Bonny Kate maybe not a good example as its more a showpiece tune.
But Irish must to slow, or to fast be ye form Mesopotamia, still
sound’s like nonsense to me.

This guy’s ok and he’s from Spain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9-cLIC_seE&feature=related


jim,,,

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Legend!!
Nice clips Jim!
Dave…

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Of course Carrignan was a brilliant fiddler and a HUGE influence on fiddlers across North America and elsewhere.

But he never pretended to be an "Irish traditional" fiddler. He was firmly in the French Canadian tradition.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the clip of him sounds too fast and straight to ears accustomed to Irish fiddle.

That’s all I was getting at.

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Well Will..
Your likely right by far there, for it think the French Canadian tradition is Fast, But brilliant at the same time.

This may be the answer to it all <ears accustomed to Irish fiddle>

jim,,,

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I agree with Will, Jim -

Comparisons with Mr. Lennon are rather cruel, eh?
(and I agree, great swing and lift, but somehow it sounded a bit C&W or Texas Swing[?] to me)

But the differences in tempo were not, IMHO, huge - it was more the amount of ornamentation thrown in with the Canadians, making it sound strained and crowded.

Good point, though, Jim.
(When you visiting New Hampshire, USA?
Your pints are waiting…)

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I’v always told my students. It is not hard to play a hard piece poorly. Now take a simple tune and play it with feeling… That requires musicianship.

Comparing Carrignan with Irish fiddle players of his era is like comparing French to English. Although they may share common words, they’r two different languages with their origins again in two different languages.

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