No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Some strong claims in a new article about Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh’s new experimental group:

"It is surprising … how little genuinely creative genetic engineering with the elements of traditional Irish music has been produced by those within or semi-resident in that community since the 1960s. Surprising, because what has changed most since the 1960s is the near-impossibility for all kinds of musician of remaining unaware of the multiplicity of musical idioms in the world."

It’s from a review of one of his live gigs over here:
http://journalofmusic.com/article/1203

I’m sure there are examples of exceptions to the rule, but in general I think he has a point…

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I think it might all depend on your definition of "creative".

I think people are probably playing more newly-written tunes now than at any other time. Isn’t that "creative genetic engineering"?

But if, by ‘creative’, he means using different instruments, different rhythms and structures, or incorporating influences from other genres, it’s hardly surprising there is no creativity in traditional music - as soon as you start doing that stuff it ceases to be ‘traditional’, and gets filed under some other label.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Why can’t some people leave well enough alone?

As an engineer (I hate to admit that anymore), I have spent a career watching people change things for the sake of change. Doesn’t make it any better. Usually worse.

Have heard some nice new things. But the old seems more than just tunes.

Leave the genetic engineering to the drug companies. And based on their track record, they will c**k that up too!

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Just because you *can* doesn’t mean you *should.*

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

What’s the point in that video? If that was a "traditional" concert I paid money for, I’d be very unhappy.

Just coming back into the trad fold after 8 years away, I am very impressed with the amazing techniques I am encountering, especially via youtube, but not impressed with the music. I’ve never been a big fan of groups, preferring the solo or duet, competent musician exploring the depth of the tune.

An example, a slip jig I’ve always played with a certain mournful quality was played in a very happy setting on a well known fiddler’s CD. I’ve listened to that many times, trying to figure out how he finds joy in that tune, where I find melancholy. It’s not the technique, its what the musician feels about the tune. I think if you are too busy trying to dazzle, you miss the point.

If the video reflect his idea of tradition, we have different dictionaries.

Mike

‘lilywhitebrow’

‘lilywhitebrow’ ~ yet another instant alias? ~ just arrived and just too start this one thread? 😛

Every new mind, good or bad, is a new creation. The lack of awareness of ‘creativity’ is in the observation. Too often we hear and see what we want, not what is necessarily so. Sometimes it works well as an excuse for going OTT… "We’ll show ‘em!"

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

By some definitions, traditional means something that at least harks back to ancient roots.

That isn’t to deny the evolution of the tradition, but I suggest that the basic format remains pretty much unchanged for all that. I expect some people will argue that it is just the generic name for a certain style of music, but the word nonetheless derives from its wider meaning.

Experimental music is, by definition, the opposite of tradition. A bit of me also feels that there is a difference between what that clip shows and simply updating what is already there - though I can’t really pin down why. Even fusion music is experimenting with existing genres rather than trying to invent new ones.

Far better, IMO, to concentrate on quality of performance rather than type. If you want to be progressive, why play music that is stuck in, and explicitly defined by, its own past? Play jazz or modern classical instead.

This stuff too often degerates into a load of self-referential precosity - while I understand that pro musicians might feel the need to move forward, I am rather surprised at Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh going in this direction.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

[No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?]

what you are calling "creativity," is the purview of musical genres other than traditional music. in a traditional music form, you are in a box whose contours consist of the signal parameters of the genre. in that context, there is huge room for "creativity," but not in the sense you mean. once you get "creative" in the way you mean, you are not playing traditional music.

mr. Caomhín Ó Raghallaigh made his name as a traditional-music fiddler, within the confines of the box. and he is an exquisite one. but he is unhappy in the box. he feels confined in the box. he wants out of the box. he wants to be an experimental musician, a composer, an "art" musician. he has stars in his eyes over the art music now being made in europe by (usually academic, conservatory-trained) composers who may have "traditional" ELEMENTS in their music, but who are playing, composing, and teaching art music, often in the univeristies. he wants to be one of THEM. and he has every right to…..though he may find that while just about any halfway intelligent person can "compose,"……..few can compose something memorable. and i must say that, from the examples of his "compositions" thus far, he is at this point one of the many, not one of the few.

again—-he has every right to get out of the box, and he has every right to do "experimental" projects, PLUS "traditional" projects, as he seems to have been doing. what i part ways with him about, is his comments in certain interviews whining that the TRADITIONAL world is not experimental enough. he seems ignorant of the fact that the music he is currently gaga over is not primarily done in TRADITIONAL contexts or a product of traditional contexts, though some of its composers use traditional elements in their work and play traditional music on the side. i’m talking about musicians and projects like Vasen of Sweden—-mr. Ó Raghallaigh has gone on and on about how places like sweden supposedly have more "experimentation" and "creativity" going on. what he seems not to have discerned is that the people in Vasen, though they can and do play traditional music, are university art-music people. if this kind of thing is missing in the irish university music programs, perhaps mr.Ó Raghallaighand will be the person to change that. but it is not a legitimate complaint about, say, ULimerick’s traditional music program, which is unique in being an actual university program for the study of actual irish traditional folk music. it is almost impossible to find thisin the u.s. or europe outside of ethnomusicology departments, though these emphasize research over perofrmance or composing. in europe, you do not study folk performance in universities. rather, folk elements are thrown into conservatory-style art-music programs in a classical-meets-jazz-meets-so-called "New-Music"-meets-"experimental." if ireland’s university music conservatories do not have this, erm, "creativity," and Ó Raghallaigh is longing for it, perhaps he can chair a new department somewhere….but it is not traditional music and it is not a "lack of creativity" for tradional music not to be doing it.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

"…genetic engineering with the elements…"? How did this geezer get a job as a writer?

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I think ceolachan has the right of it. Both with the question and the statement.

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I was just about to say much the same, gam. Genetic engineering? What a pretentious turn of phrase to use regarding traditional music. Does this person actually have a clue what genetic engineering actually is?
And,
"Surprising, because what has changed most since the 1960s is the near-impossibility for all kinds of musician of remaining unaware of the multiplicity of musical idioms in the world."
is a clumsily written sentence, being too long winded and vague, not making its point emphatically enough (with which I do not entirely agree anyway.)
As for the music video, I quite enjoyed it, but I prefer some nice lively jigs or reels. I have been exposed to the multiplicity of musical idioms, yet that’s my preference.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

It was kind of them to let the drunk have centre stage for his dancing. Then again, I suppose he did liven things up a bit

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

It feels like they are trying to learn a tune. It’s very halting, like there walking on eggs.

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Welcome to the Forum!

Lily, you remind me of someone. 😉

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

"Surprising, because what has changed most since the 1960s is the near-impossibility for all kinds of musician of remaining unaware of the multiplicity of musical idioms in the world…"

Sure, but pick-and-mix without a pretty secure grounding in one thing or another tends to lead just to PoMo pastiche. I’ve yet to listen to the O’Raghallaigh clip though - I hope to, as he strikes me as a serious musician.

Way back, The Incredible String Band did pull this kind of thing off rather well, but (a) they were grounded in certain genres to begin with, and (b) they were permanently on acid. They could walk on water.

But people who want to reference (aaagh!) other musics just to seem natty and cosmopolitan risk producing forgettable stuff that is irritating to listen to while it lasts - IMO, anyway.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

He’s doing folk-influenced Jazz. It’s no crime - Jazz *is* folk
music. I’d love to see Martin Hayes go in this direction too, but
I think Hayes should go towards "Gypsy Jazz" - the Stephane
Grapelli / Django Reinhardt thing …

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

…Hayes did that album "Live in Seattle", but it was just peeking
around the edge of Jazz, not jumping straight in.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Ó Raghallaigh has a background in maths and physics which
is useful for Minimalist-inspired music and the sound textures he
work with. Philip Glass and others had that sort of training too.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

The tentative, whimsical dancing with Greek overtones put me in mind of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

The ending was too sad. 🙁

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No creativity in traditional skits since Monty Python?


MOUSEBENDER:
Have you got any Limburger?
WENSLEYDALE:
No.
MOUSEBENDER:
That figures. Predictable really, I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:
WENSLEYDALE:
Yes, sir?
MOUSEBENDER:
Have you in fact got any cheese here at all?
….

you may laugh at the end, but it is too sad for me

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Presumptuous road apples for the reviewer to think that just because people stay with the music they love that they must be ignorant of other musics.

Irish traditional music is alive, changing in many ways, absorbing new influences, and not being overly diluted in the process. The reviewer simply doesn’t grasp that.

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

P.S. The OP clip? The drum kit was a nuisance, and the jazz pretensions without genuine jazz chops left me cold.

O’Raghallaigh may be enjoying himself, but he’ll likely be doing it in front of ever dwindling audiences.

The old saw: what’s the difference between a rock guitarist and a jazz guitarist? The rocker plays three chords for an audience of thousands, the jazzer plays thousands of chords for an audience of three…..

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

[The Incredible String Band did pull this kind of thing off rather well,[…..they were great. red clay ramblers also did it, increasingly with each album, and they were great. but neither were "traditional" once they got going with the experimental, mixnmatch stuff….somebody like riley baugus on the other hand IS traditional, and he is NOT "lacking in creativity." you don’t have to change an art form to be "creative." martin hayes has talked very perceptively about this issue in more than one interview. it is different ways of being creative. this is what i feel is being missed in the POV represented by the OP and others…..ironically, i believe history will show that charlie lennon and liz carroll have written more memorable melodies that will last and continue to be listened to and handed on, from inside the confines of the traditional box, than many of the supposedly experimental artiste composers are now doing from outside the box. i am an admirer of vasen, own more than one of their recordings, and have seen them live. and the original arty composed music they play has been without exception pleasant but completely fungible and forgettable, while the traditional melodies, which not coincidentally probably survived precisely because they were memorable, haunt ya. same with every youtube, mp3, or cd example thus far of the original compositions of mr. O’Raghallaigh. generic, ambient muzak, though again, fair play to him if this is what floats his boat…..

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

fungible road apples… who says you never learn anything in Yellowland?

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

>Irish traditional music is alive, changing in many ways, absorbing new influences, and not being overly diluted in the process. The reviewer simply doesn’t grasp that.
Concisely, perfectly, exactly true, Will. I googled the guy and he seems to be a lecturer in English at some Yooni in Dublin. It doesn’t say whether he plays tunes or goes to sessions. I’ll leave members to draw their own conclusions.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

"a lecturer in English"?
Crikey, his English is terrible

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Last night we talking about musicians primarily associated with the Scottish scene who had stepped outside the box. Lau is an obvious one which comes to mind. But I think to be considered Scottish or Irish traditional music, it needs to fit in a certain box, a box with some room for maneuvering but still a recognizable box. While the guys in Lau are amazing trad musicians, what they’re doing isn’t traditional music. It’s something else. It is certainly influenced by traditional music, but it has gone far beyond those familiar signposts. And fair play to them.

So I suppose if one wants to break free of the musical forms familiar to traditional players, one has to accept that those forms are quite fundamental to the very nature of trad, so what they’re doing won’t be trad music anymore. In that sense, Caoimhin’s right. The opportunities for creativity are limited if one’s creative urges demand they separate themselves from the recognizable structures of traditional tunes.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I think some players of great technical ability just get bored and seek another oulet. The problem comes, as I’ve posted before, when the less informed mistake what they then produce for traditional music.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Genetic engineering? WTF? Why is he trying to make trad music into an inaccessable ‘high’ art, he is isolating elements of the tradition and trying to make it into something else for the wannabe academics and intelligencia. Maybe a bit eugenics will get rid of the riff raff???

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

What the writer of that article stupidly failed to realise when he wrote, "what has changed most since the 1960s is the near-impossibility for all kinds of musician of remaining unaware of the multiplicity of musical idioms in the world" was that it’s only been since the late sixties that anyone has given a flying feck whether any particular piece of music was "traditional" or not.

I still don’t care

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I do want to respond to some other posts here that have attempted it - the writer of the article is the one who called this music traditional. Caoimhin o’Raghallaigh did not, and from my best sense of him I’d say he wouldn’t, either; Caoimhin’s idea of experimenting within the tradition usually means listening to older players, hearing sounds or techniques which they used but which have fallen by the wayside, and then recovering and recombining them to make something personal and new. He would likely call this experimental, not traditional. I recall him saying once, in an interview, that he didn’t bring "Where the One-Eyed Man is King" to Willie Clancy week because he knew that was just a different thing entirely.

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

tee he, seen it before, but I love that video

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

we should not confuse technical ability with the art/creativity of playing the music. It’s not a criticism only involving the traditional music forms.

In my alter ego musical life wunderkind powere pianists and organists (particularly ones who do not apprecaite the power of a 32 foot bass pipe) are technically amazing and interable to listen to.

One of the problems with speed in ITM. When done well it is amazing- Someone mentioned Martin Hayes. I am a box player, but his music is so impressive. When played super fast without a sense of the music- "machine gun music".

Poorly played high speed Bach, Rachmaninoff etc is the same way. Fingernails on a blackboard

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

intolerable to listen to

too early to type

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Road apples??

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

My word, stop the presses. Jazz and Irish traditional music you say? Heavens. How utterly radical. The author is correct. We should all be ashamed that none of us have thought of this since the 1960s. [/sarcasm]

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I can only say, with utter sincerity ,that if I was to impose any dancer on an unsuspecting audience, it would most certainly be our friend from the above clip posted by Toppish.
Such joy and creativity!..Oh to be immersed in, and at such familiar ease with the music…As opposed to that chancer from the local tennis club (in the OP) with his irony-free Jacksonesque twirls. For de love of Jaysus lads…😉

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Nice videoes.
I have two cents ready, though:

Firstly, I cannot find anything to pick on about that dancer in front of the stage. I watcheed most of it.

He was having a good time apparently, harming no one, he kept his mouth shut (when not sipping) so everyone could hear the band, and he kept his clothes on as far as I watched. Not any problem or nuisance I could see.
I just hope he was not driving.

Second, as for the vid of Mr. Ó Raghallaigh and Company - I was not knocked over by that particular set, nor the choreography, but what I cannot understand is,

Why was it posted here?

It had absolutely nothing to do with traditional Irish music of any genre I have heard yet, except that the musicians are all apparently skilled at irish trad as well as, what —-
Jazz?
World music?
Instrumental improv?

What is it doing here?
Tell me, someone?

One function was served, for certain:
At the least, that posting opens the door here at the Mustard to discussing all other types of music, regardless of nationality, culture, period, or instrumentation.

Cool.

And there have been no advances in music since the invention of the PA system.

This breakthrough made straight performances of acoustical music audible to larger audiences.

George Beauchamp and Les Paul
were evil aliens bent upon destroying us.

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

I’ve seen the O’Raghallaigh clip. Intriguing. I see the dancer is described as "an American dancer" - so not necessarily (though I suppose it’s possible) an Irish dancer first and foremost. Not knowing about dancing, I couldn’t have told from his movements whether he was a professional or not, or clued-in to Irish music / history / culture or not; for all I could tell, he could have been someone found at the bar at random and asked if he’d like to have a go - which is to say, the music wasn’t such as to reveal a sharp difference between those who know specific dance steps and those who don’t.

The Greek Zeimbekiko dance involves likewise a single, sometimes solipsistic figure making up his steps and movements as he circles, with (as far as I know) a mixture of learned / traditional and subjective input into these movements, so the filmed piece did remind me a bit of this. Zeimbekiko and other Greek Rebetika music and dance had a harsher genesis, in an underclass between the wars, but became enduring forms that certainly *work*, with fine tunes and arresting lyrics in the repertoire.

I continue to see O’Rallaghaigh as a live wire and an interesting artist.

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

"No creativity" ~ not that it’s the seed to all this, but so often a cry like this is made by someone who feels their ‘experiment’ and/or ‘genius’, their ‘creativity’, is not as appreciated as they feel they deserve. Such delusions are not just amongst musicians…

Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

Ceolachan, your quotation marks are from a phrase used on this thread, not from the article by Barra Ó Séaghdha.

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Re: No creativity in traditional music since the 1960s?

You can’t call Mike McGoldrick uncreative!!!

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