Speed Kills…………

Speed Kills…………

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old but having watched coverage of the Sligo Fleadh on TG4 TV I was amazed at the speed that most of the artists played reels and jigs. I could never see me keeping up with them in a session. The old fingers just couldn’t take it. There were times I thought that they were in some sort of a competition to see who could reach the end of the tune first. Its sad to see the music been played so fast that the ‘gist of the tune’ is starting to sound like a jumble of notes. Maybe its time for me to stick to playing a few ‘auld waltzes’ and let the youngsters get on with it…………

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I could not agree MORE with you Free Reed.
To me now, the difference between a fireworks display, and pure poetry.
But, maybe your also very right with < Maybe its time for me to stick to playing a few ‘auld waltzes’ and let the youngsters get on with it………… >
* It could be an Age thing !
When Young I tried to play like this - Starts about, 2.57
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUa5BDh3Yw4

But, Now I’d love to just play like this - Start’s about, 0.21
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80Z0P2bcbr8

f4

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Well, the Bothies played reels and Ben Lennon played hornpipes. No wonder there’s a difference in speed.

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What’s the 2nd tune they play in the first video?

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The Flowers of Red Hill.
As it says, and as DL says.

Yes, I don’t enjoy the music being played too fast either.
However, I sometimes find myself in sessions which are too slow. Pure boredom.

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There is a world of difference between tunes being played on the slow side but with life / lift / lilt / bounce / whatever (The most obvious exponent of such playing probably being Martin Hayes), and tunes being played slowly where it sounds like they are just being trudged through

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Uh, yeah, those are hornpipe in the second clip, like Jeff says, and for hornpipes, they’re not hanging about.

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Just to clarify the speed I like to hear or play my reels at, listen to these musicians from my era, 60s/70s, playing Planxty Davis followed by a reel at 24.10 on this recording. The reel is lively, and has got a great lift. Yet there is no rush…just perfect. The program was recorded at the Hibernian Club, Fulham Broadway, London in 1978.
http://youtu.be/QY-EwpmJN_s

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Off topic but 🙂 the bit about Miss McLeod just before Planxty Davis.

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@David50: Thanks for that link. I was inclined to offer a comment but the link said it all. The conversations with Carty at end being especially appropriate. 🙂

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Not my link, it was Free Reed’s. Thanks to him though - I had not seen in before and am still watching from the start.

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@David50: The link I was referring to was the paper by Gerard Foley, "A Short Examination of the History of the Tempo of Irish Recorded Music". I thought you had posted that link.

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@RTH Oops. Sorry. It was posted on an earlier discussion and I remembered enough key words to find it with a search.

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A lot of us tend to forget WHY the music is played (or was in the past)… We play for dancers! Even if there are no dancers, we should play as if the "audience" is actually participating in the music. Unless they are 12 year old gymnasts, people probably couldn’t dance to some of the stuff "out there" now! Maybe we should all play at a couple of dances now and again to get back to our roots (my group is playing for dancers next weekend, actually). Sure, it’s fun to go fast sometimes, but not so fast we lose the feel of the music. Trouble is: it’s become the accepted way to do things now and if you don’t go at warp speed you are looked down on in some circles.

Posted .

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Free reed, don’t let a bunch of hipsters stir you. U know what it’s supposed to sound like,

Kids these days need lots of reminders

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And get off my lawn!

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plunk111: Yes your right its called ’ Irish Dance Music ’ .
But even there, there’s two different speed’s are asked for.

Festival Irish dance OR, The girl’s with Curl’s 🙂
Slower, disciplined, and very Correct .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Irish_dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjlEFGP4Ecc&list=PL-cvo8HDcx5PIZ25ip9LZLBR1RsbJNnFS


Irish Ceili dancing FOR, Adult’s who just want to have Fun 😉
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceili_dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2SovTmKlbE



And then there’s This - f4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8EXDtoGfrs

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Ah, the girls with the curls… My mother always refers to them as ‘The Leppin’ Book of Kells’ !

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Don’t quite know what that clip was that you linked to for ceili, Fiddle4, but when it comes to playing for the Irish sets there’s no hanging about, reels will be somewhere around 60 bars/measures per minute, at least.
(Tempo put like that to try to avoid the type of incredibly tedious discussion where some aren’t sure whether 120pm means crotchets or minims, 1/2 or 1/4 notes.)

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I didn’t watch very much of FleadhTV yet this year, but what I did catch was similar to what I saw last year. Very flashy playing by big name musicians and bands, carefully scripted for club and television audiences. The same musicians might play very differently in sessions.

The reel with Roger Sherlock, et. al., from the Hibernian is played around 112 bpm.

Here are a bunch of fairly recent videos of young players playing reels at reasonable tempos. They aren’t hard to find.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54CGBPxukpY starts around 113 bpm and ends around 117 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D0QSho3zFY starts around 107 bpm and ends around 111 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eGuQ-kGAas starts around 111 bpm and ends around 114 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNaStAQQPrA starts around 110 bpm and ends around 113 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvlkTRqLZBA reels are constant around 109 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXSz—sPmNg starts around 105 bpm and ends around 106 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4RnjuIT6pI starts around 98 bpm and ends around 100 bpm


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfEcIFIcouM starts around 112 and ends around 114 bpm (very nice bodhran playing, too!)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRxfY7V10jI starts around 96 bpm and ends around 94 bpm

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TomB-R : < Don’t quite know what that clip was that you linked to for ceili, Fiddle4 >
Was just trying to show different Tempo’s/Attitude’s to Irish Dancing the ceili,
was the Fun side, while the other two being Festival Irish dance, is competition and Judged.
Where Riverdance is just Staged / Show.
I like Ceili’s where it’s more like Family Fun . I use to play for wedding’s, nothing serious,
just good fun ! Something like this ( But, I dont see a Band here ) still, it looks friendly enough 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y15mPo8Px_M

f4

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The practice of playing tunes too fast has also become more commonplace in Bluegrass music. Throughout its history, it has been common to rip a fiddle tune or breakdown and delight the audience with the facility of the musicians, but in recent years I’ve seen many top name professional groups get up on stage and play an instrumental so fast that most of the instruments are missing notes, slopping through the tune, and struggling to stay on the beat. It’s terrible. And the band is proud and the crowd loves it…

Volume Kills

I was at the Sligo fleadh for a couple of days and, if I had to describe it in one word, it would be LOUD. There was the main stage pumping out decibels, shops, stalls and cafes playing piped music, some of the pubs even piping their own sessions into the street through a PA system - and amid all this, scores of (mostly child) buskers, placed no more than a few yards apart, trying to make themselves heard above each other, with others just trying to have a street session. If you tried playing inside one of the pubs, you had several hundred shouting punters to contend with. Lots of good music, no doubt, but too much all at once for my liking.

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CreadurMawnOrganig, I had been kicking myself for not taking a couple of days off work to have a look around the fleadh, but I feel a little better about it seeing your comment 🙂 That variety of mayhem is why I tend to avoid the fleadh (and even Willie Week to an extent) and go instead to the more manageable mayhem of Drumshanbo!

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Yeah, I try and make Drumshanbo as chaotic as one man can make it. 😉

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Ben, you are a menace to sobriety!

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ayedbl: < missing notes, slopping through the tune, and struggling to stay on the beat. It’s terrible.>
Yes ! Yes !
This is what happen’s when most musician’s go down the, Speed Kill’s Road.
ie/ ” Music Kill ”
f4

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CreadurMawnOrganig: I just read you comment’s < I was at the Sligo fleadh for a couple of days,,,etc, >
I was also asked, to go down for a couple of day’s . ” I’m Glad I Did’nt Go ”
Thank’s !
f4

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I should have spread this negative PR about the fleadh beforehand, then there might not have been so many people there.

To its credit, the competitions - for many, the heart of the event - were kept well away from all the madness (although some may consider music competitions themselves to be a form of madness).

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The advertising hype beforehand in Ireland was that the Sligo Fleadh would be the biggest celebration of Irish trad music in the whole world…. somehow I was wondering what that meant. The most musicians, the biggest crowd of punters, the most cash splashed, the loudest, the fastest, the best music played?? Some answers above I guess.

Tie this in with a recent tourism report that quizzed holidaymakers coming into and exiting Ireland as to what their expectations were etc. Visiting an Irish pub and hearing trad music was high on the list. Maybe that’s where CCE is going with the fleadhanna competition system - train the kids up so they can busk on the streets and play gigs in the pubs to keep the visitors happy,

Auld cynic, aren’t I. But I think Colman has it right above, the smaller festivals and local sessions maybe where it’s at.

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Errm…. Ehhhh… Drumshanbo? No, it’s awful… Total chaos… Better off staying well away… 😀

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"Ben, you are a menace to sobriety!"

We aim to please. 😀

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CreadurMawnOrganig : Did you consider going, around the outlying villages. ( Pub’s )
That is usually, what the the Great and the Good do, to get away from the maddening Crowd .
And have a tune in Peace. Yes, secret session’s, I know.
But if it went on in my time, I’m sure it still goes on, Today.
f4

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Slow sessions are really boring.

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Fiddle4: "Did you consider going, around the outlying villages. ( Pub’s )
That is usually, what the the Great and the Good do, to get away from the maddening Crowd ."

I might well have done that, had I been there longer. As it was, I was staying with a friend the other side of Ballymote (when I planned my trip, I had not clocked where an when the fleadh was happening this year, so it was only by chance that I was in the area), so I was only in town for a few hours on Friday and all day Sunday. On the Sunday, I met up with some London friends, ostensibly to spend the day playing tunes. We did actually go to a pub a mile out of town, tipped off by a very fine flute player who was booked to play there. What he did not realise was that it was a miked up gig - C&I and Ballads interspersed with a few jigs and reels. The landlord was falling over himself to have us all join in, making sure we were never short of a drink. We were told that he PA would soon be switched off and it would turn into a proper session. Eventually we did get to play a bit, but was clear that what the punters (and one or two of the musicians) wanted was not quiet tunes in the corner, so the mikes were switched back on and it turned into a kind of Carrie O’Kea session. At least we managed to finish the night listening to Eileen O’Brien and friends having a quiet session in a hotel.

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I visited Sligo on monday, there were many musicians in the streets in various states of recovery from the mighty session the night before. I chattted to several Shop owners about their fleadh experience, and all thought it was a great success ..sales were up and it brought millions of pounds to the economy. Yes that’s a great thing in these times, but is this what a showcase for Irish music is all about money….. None mentioned the music.
We were in Ballymote on the Sunday night a great crowd , music played from the heart freely, and a great pint
Sure you couldn’t beat it with a big stick…..or perhaps some would

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"C&I and Ballads interspersed with a few jigs and reels" - presume that "Country & Western and ballads interspersed with a few jigs and reels". Either way, sounds fairly typical musical fare in most of rural Ireland these days.

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"We were in Ballymote on the Sunday night a great crowd , music played from the heart freely, and a great pint"

Why did it not occur to me to look for music in Ballymote?

"C&I"

…by which I mean ‘Country and Irish’.

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Yes most tunes around here these days would have a few non trad songs throughout the night it goes down well. I find it lift things a bit, creates a stir.

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To Free Reed’s OP, as Jim and others have said, we may slow down some with age but it might also be because we find more things of interest in tunes we have played for years. I’ve had this discussion with our younger sessioners from time to time with this advice: Fair play if ye wanna play it "flat-out" but that’s the way it’ll sound: "flat".
I could listen to this guy all day and never get bored:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny2beJky_KM

Buddy MacMaster died yesterday at age 89. Weejie posted this video on another thread:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PMbs_EUze4


I’d like to think some of the youngers might preserve a little of his style.

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What a lovely tribute to a great player, and what a pleasure to listen to him. May he rest in peace.

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‘When we are playing, we should play as if the audience were dancing and adjust our tempo for that.’

Does this mean I have to say "pardon me" even if I burp and I’m alone?