speed (again) ethics at sessions

speed (again) ethics at sessions

After having read the speed thread a few days ago, a question occured to me. Please let me explain first.
At our sessions, there´s a very strong tendency to play way to fast. You know this kind of reels and jigs with lots of tones and little detail. Just fast forward. Also, if someone starts a set of, lets say, reels, its normal that this person is the one deciding the set and when to change from one tune to another. And its considered bad ethics when someone suddenly start playing other tunes in a set.
My problem is that when I start a set of reels which i consider should be moderate speed, then the second tune is being played at a fast speed and the 3rd at a super fast speed. Sometimes I might not be able to go from tune 2 to tune 3, and then I´m being told that i have to be able to play my whole set, which I can if i was allowed to play it my way.
To me, this is very annoying and it feels wrong, so here comes the question:
¿What are the ethics when it comes to speeding in someone elses set of tunes? Shouldnt the other players respect the speed that I (or another player) sets?

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Yes. Players should play the speed set by whoever started the tune set. It’s bad manners to speed up someone else’s set of tunes, though I’m sure most of us have been guilty at one time or another of absentmindedly doing so. Sometimes you get fixed on playing the tune the way you play it, or you can’t hear the set leader because it’s a loud pub, but really, players should try their best to keep to the set leader’s speed.

When someone speeds up one of my sets of tunes, I start stomping my foot, loudly, on the intended beat. LOL.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Stamp your foot and glower meaningfully.

Posted by .

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

yup its some glower ……………………………..

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

It’s the height of bad manners to speed up a tune someone else started. It also shows poor discipline and, in some cases, an inability or unwillingness to listen to others and adapt to them.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

It’s the height of bad manners to speed up a tune someone else started. It also shows poor discipline and, in some cases, an inability or unwillingness to listen to others and adapt to them.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Glow glower glowest!
or
Glow glower incandescent!

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

It’s a dilemna or dilemma even - do you just keep trying to play and struggle on or simply shrug your shoulders and put down your instrument? Either is not very satisfactory but that’s life on the learning curve. The only way to defeat it, is to play tunes no one else really knows but then you’ll end up playing on your own which kinda defeats the purpose.
I sometimes observe better musicians than I, deliberately start a set with an obscure tune and play at their own tempo - then carry into better known tunes, whence people will join in. Problem still arises if it’s a very well known standard though - the speed just picks up.

Posted .

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Thanks for your replys.
It gives me some ideas of what is going on. I like the idea of starting with a tune that noone knows or very few knows. Then maybe the groove will be set before the next one. (if I´m good enough). So standards and classics in the end of a set. good idea. I´ll make some new set combinations.
This with only playing tunes the others dont know is a bit empty. I could as well stay home.
When my set is taken over by a speed freak, then i normally struggle and if its to bad, i stop playing.

In the end, it depends a lot on who is there in the session. Sometimes, things just roll nicely along with reals around the 105 - 110bpm. Sometimes it goes a lot faster and then bow triplets, rolls, cuts, whatever, is just impossible.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

I know a session where a very good player started a well-known tune at a reasonable speed. Almost inevitably it got faster and faster, but our man the VGP deliberately didn’t and finished on his own a couple of bars after the mad scramble finished. One hopes they felt ashamed, but probably not.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Your fellow players are inconsiderate, but spare a thought - they probably don’t undersatand what they’re doing wrong because they probably think that playing the right notes in the right order as quickly as possible is all that ITM’s about.

Until they’ve worked out for themselves that it isn’t, there’s little point in trying to tell them, because they won’t know what you’re talking about.

Try to find a better session.

Posted by .

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Your fellow players are inconsiderate, but spare a thought - they probably don’t undersatand what they’re doing wrong because they probably think that playing the right notes in the right order as quickly as possible is all that ITM’s about.

True, but what if you have leadership or co-leadership responsibilities with the other regular players and you are invaded by a speed freak?

I can forgive young people for not knowing better. A man in his 50s who still thinks playing music is some kind athletic event or a genitalia measuring contest based on who can play the fastest deserves nothing but scorn and derision.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

Well, finding another session is not on my mind. I´m alredy driving a total of 180km to this one.

No, it depends more on who is there than anything else. For the moment I´m not going to do anything radical about it. maybe a little hint or so but its been good to know your thoughts.
To be honest I had my thoughts, but I wasnt really sure if I was right. Thats why I asked. And it seemes that I was right.
But somehow, I also have to respect the dynamics of the session. Its not my session, but everyones. And I´m happy it exists.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

There’s nothing wrong with gently saying, "Boy, we really sped up on that set." Maybe several other players will vigorously agree, which shows there is some support for controlling the tempo. Then maybe start a set and say, "Let’s see if we can keep it steady." Self deprecation is always useful. "Wow, I just can’t keep up when we accelerate so much." etc.
It is understandable that people get excited and speed up, but speed can drain the life from the tunes, unless all the players are top-notch—-in which case they wouldn’t speed up unintentionally.

Dan

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

I was at a summer school last year and at an evening session after the classes one of the whistle students plucked up the courage to start the Cliffs of Moher, at their own relaxed pace. The whole session of about 20 players joined in but maintained the original speed allowing the whistler to enjoy playing the tune three times through. Smashing. This really impressed me as the other players made the effort to show respect for the whistler, and it must have been a thrill for the student to lead that tune in the session. We shouldn’t forget we all started somewhere, we should even be in awe of learners a little bit, as they are playing with all the handicaps of their lack of experience - yet they are out there giving it a go.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

I just look at the offenders and say, "Gee, I know a tune that sounds just like that one, except it’s a lot slower…"

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

One little trick that can help you keep control of the tempo is to shuffle your sets. Don’t always play the same tunes together, but change the combinations or order. That way, each time you change tune ‘the pack’ have to stop and listen for a couple of bars to see what tune you’ve changed to. That gives you a chance to set the tempo before they join in. It’s not ideal, and spoils the flow, but sometimes needs must. And if their listening skills are so poor that they don’t notice you’re not playing the tune they expected, then it really is time to find a different session.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

I’m told that when Aly Bain was a young man the most experienced fiddler on the island wouldn’t play with him, because he said he played too fast. So people do grow out of it.

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

If it’s going too fast, just put your instrument down pointedly and go for a pee. Don’t forget to scrape your chair noisily on the floor as you get up. There are certain risks; last time I did this, when I got back to the table somebody had stolen me spoons…

Re: speed (again) ethics at sessions

This is such a common problem, I think every board I’ve ever been on has discussed it. I have sat in with a slow play beginners session and been asked "how fast should we play" or can we play that again faster, when i could all ready hear many in the group couldn’t keep up to begin with. I shot back rather sharply with "to what end do we play faster?" And went on to explain that at the tempo we were just at we were steady, but still lacked any feel for the tune.
Somehow the idea is out there that ITM=fast. Maybe a good dose of Clare music might change that, I dunno. But it seems to me the problem happens more with intermediate players who lack the understanding of the music, the swing, but use speed as a substitute. The better players I play with don’t seem to have that problem, though I do occasionally get asked what’s the rush? But then, I started the set.