Repeating lines - twice over

Repeating lines - twice over

In certain tunes, such as Sixpenny Money or The Longford Collector, the first line is repeated and then as the whole first section is repeated, you have to play (and listen) to the same line four times.
I try to put in some ornamentation or scour O’Neills and other sources for variations that would avoid this but sometimes I fail. I know I can play them ‘singly’ but that doesn’t work at a session. Any other solutions?

Re: Repeating lines - twice over

Usually when tunes have a line repeated in this manner, the first two times have subtle differences — often at the end — that would suggest a different harmony should such be present. I am thinking of the regulators of a set of pipes, or double stops on the fiddle, bass buttons on a box, or an accompanist who knows the tune. The difference can be as little as one passing note, or a dotted quarter note as opposed to three eighths. The second time you play it through, you repeat the pattern of the first two. Imagining the ‘tonal centre’ shifting in this manner, rather than just thinking of it as a simple repeat, changes the structure of the tune, even if the actual notes are practically the same. In the same way, a little section played twice can sound different the second time just because it follows itself rather than the preceding section.

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Re: Repeating lines - twice over

"Any other solutions?"

It could only be regarded as a solution if it was seen as a problem. I don’t see it as a problem, but an opening of possibilities, that may or may not be followed up, without detracting from the tune.

I don’t see it as a problem, but an opening of possibilities…

You can say that again!

Re: Repeating lines - twice over

Be glad you don’t play a type of music where riffing is frequently used. Where you would repeat that phrase over and over and then over and over and over again…

Re: Repeating lines - twice over

"Sixpenny Money or The Longford Collector"

Using these two as examples (in the latter, I assume it is the B-part to which you refer):
Sixpenny money (A-part)
fAA fAA|BAG FGE|DED AFA|dfd efg|
FAA FAA|BAG FGE|DED AFA|dfd e2 d:||
(copied and pasted directly from here https://thesession.org/tunes/387)

The Longford Collector (B-part)
~g3f gedg|e~B3 d2ef|~g2gf gedB|ABBA GEED|
~g3f gedg|e~B3 d2ef|gbaf gedB|ABBA GEED|
(copied and pasted from here https://thesession.org/tunes/563)

As transcribed here, both these tunes have small differences between the two lines. If I come across a tune that does have an identical line 4 times in succession, I almost always introduce some kind of small variation, like those in the examples above (I had intended to do so with these two examples but found that there was no need). For me, it is important for there to be some difference, not just to avoid monotony, but to mark out the structure of the tune. This kind of differentiation becomes second nature after a while.

Remember that a ‘setting’ of a tune, as you find it in a book, manuscript or online database is like a snapshot of something that is constantly on the move. So it might include variations played by *one player* on *one occasion*; or, very often, it is simplified to a kind of ‘lowest common denominator’ version. But if you listen to any good player, you are unlikely to hear much exact repetition - even if the difference is only in the phrasing or ornamentation.

Re: Repeating lines - twice over

I love it when seemingly repetitive tunes have the changey-tone stuff worked in like gam mentioned!

I’ve always struggled with how to tastefully use variations in repetative tunes like e.g. Julia Delaney (A part) which gets played a lot but can sometimes sound jumbled especially if there’s a large group playing different variations at once. In a smaller group though it seems to be a lot easier and more fun to try lots of different things.

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Re: Repeating lines - twice over

The worst culprit for this is the slow tune called Down By The Sally Gardens.

I love the tune but it is basically AABA and the second part of the tune even has an A in it so you get 4 As for every go round, which becomes dull after a while despite the fact that it’s such a good tune and indeed such a godo song when it has words to it.

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Re: Repeating lines - twice over

Repeats in dance music are all part of the dance, the phrasing. How you play a tune is far more important than how you adorn it. Many are adept at constipating a tune, but few, if any, in the extreme, manage to do so without it being uncomfortably obvious, at least to listeners and dancers. Too often decoration can be top heavy, intrusive and in the way of the melody and the dance. Poorly handled or OTT it can and does suck the life out of a tune. Many, across history, have and do play the music relatively straight and fru-fruless, but masterfully, in a way that makes your feet tap involuntarily, can awakens emotions - tears - smiles, and with an understanding and drive in their rhythm that makes you want to dance. Such talent, understanding and respect brings the music to life, lifting melody and feet. Constipation is just a nuisance, a pain in the backside. To dance with ones instrument and music of choice, or to move with others through the dance while being motivated and guided by the music in the hands of such a considerate musician ~ that’s wondrous… That’s being at one with it all, rather than fighting it or mangling it…

Re: Repeating lines - twice over

I frequently play these tunes singly as it is better for my muse - or so my muse tells me. I suppose if I were playing with others or for dancers I would have to play doubly but would do my level best to get in some didly bits for variety.