How many tunes do you REALLY know?
In a recent discussion …
… session.org member Ben Hall suggested: "1500 is about the number of tunes that an average session player, but one of no particularly great shakes, might be expected to know."
(Albeit that later in the thread he implied that his comment referred to session players in Ireland, rather then elsewhere).
-And in earlier threads, some members have claimed to know “thousands of tunes”.
Of course, it rather depends on how you define “knowing” a tune. So here’s my (rather strict) definition of “knowing” a tune:
On being given the title by someone, you should be able to play it (with reasonable competence) through at least three iterations without the support of anyone else joining in and without reference to dots or a crib sheet of any kind.
Q1: On this definition, how many Irish session tunes do you really know?
Q2: Also on this definition, how many “western” traditional tunes do you really know? (i.e. to include Irish trad tunes, Scottish trad tunes, Shetland trad tunes, Welsh trad tunes, English dance tunes, Morris dance tunes, American old-timey tunes, Cape Breton tunes, Breton tunes, etc., etc., etc).
Before responding with a number (to either question), consider this. To back up your claim, could you make a list of your “known” tunes, take it to a session and solo through any tune(s) selected at random by fellow session members from that list?