Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

What are some instruments that you have seen/heard in a session that just didn’t belong??? Tell your stories.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Let’s not go there…again..

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Good one, goldfrog! :-D

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Guitars in plural. Bodhrans in plural. Djembe Drums in plural.

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Anyone else want to pull the strings and make the puppets dance?

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Flutes.

(Of the champagne variety)

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Recorders get my goat.

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Goats get my recorders.

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I lost a Zoom H4n to a goat

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All Of them, in ITM.
For there all Foreign Import’s of some kind or another !
f4

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I’m not sure what that is DSS, but I need one!

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Well, that badger teremin video was just wrong on all possible levels. It just made me sad..

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Tread carefully here, everyone! I was compared to an Islamic fundamentalist last week for suggesting, in good humour, that somebody should stop calling them "penny whistles"…

In my experience - recorders, washboards, tenor and bass saxophones and trombones have never added anything to any session I’ve been at. It’s very subjective, of course… some might say "whatever emmdee’s playing" would be the answer.

m.d.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Does anyone have any feelings for/against electronic instruments at sessions?

I’ve a Mandobird, an electronic mandolin. I think that with it’s own wee amplifier it could probably hold it’s own in a session.

But I’ve never tried, because I think it would be mad.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

If you have to plug something in to make it work, it doesn’t belong IMO. The only exception would be maybe an electronic piano simply because they can sound so much like real acoustic pianos. But I don’t like pianos in trad music anyway so..

That’s really the only rule in my mind. As long as it’s an acoustic instrument. Some other instruments might get weird looks like a 5 string banjo or a hammered dulcimer, but what matters more is the player for those "unusual instruments"

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

My father was a carpenter as well as a piper, and it wasn’t unusual to see him playing his saw, using the edge of his rule as a bow.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

A friend of mine once played an automobile

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Generally speaking, a seismograph does not belong in a session. But in certain parts of the world, it might be pertinent.

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Gam, thanks for not saying "ruler" :)

m.d.

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A bombard(e) and its owner once turned. Fortunately only one tune was played on it.

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These responses were very fun to wake up to, but from all of this I know that I really want to invest in a carnyx…

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I can imagine a bombard ALMOST working… unless it plays fast. Those champagne glasses though…..

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oboe. yuck.

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As a joke, I tried to think of what the worst instrument could possibly be. But we have YouTube don’t we? So let’s see what treasures it yields:

Lord help me, this is freakin’ delightful!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTbdh0KVeqM

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Vaginal photoplethysmographs.

Will the plague ever cease?

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Michele, I’m LMITMAO!

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Ailin, That doesn’t even sound Irish, it sounds like Island music from hell…..

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Michele Sims, these are welcome in my session anytime…

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Ailin, That doesn’t even sound Irish, it sounds like Island music from hell…..

# Posted by ethanrohrabaugh

You are welcome to not like it, but if you think it doesn’t sound Irish, I respectfully disagree. It sounds more Irish than many a player I’ve heard on a more traditionally played instrument. Their playing has exactly the right feel and tempo - just a very different sound. It accompanied the dancing remarkably well, I thought. Do I like ITM on steel drum? Not really, but if you are going to have a go, the band did the music great justice.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Well, I quite liked the steel drums. And I usually can’t stand the Glasgow Reel (Tam Lin). But that was different.
However, not sure how the steel drums would go down in a session…..

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@Ailin … all I can figure is that the place must have been double-booked and the steel band/Irish dancers performance was the compromise ;)

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Steel pans are great. But can they be played quietly enough to fit into a session?

The same goes for GHP (Highland pipes, bagpipes, warpipes) - except that I know the answer to the question.

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@Ailin,"Island music from hell" was not an insult. More of a reactin of shock and awe There’s plenty of music my ears haven’t become accustomed to yet that I am sure I will fall in love with after hearing it enough so I never reject anything after the first listen. ;)

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Nothing wrong with the steel drums and the dancers were brilliant to watch. Gave me the tingles.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Wow = fun thread and great stuff people are digging up.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Mmm.

Steel drums, electric acid rock guitar, screaming plastic Pac-men, giant tubas -

I think I’ll just sit, sip, and listen to the Midis in the "Tunes" section for awhile.
(Where did I stash that bottle of Powers?)
;-)

Fun people here.
Cheers.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

A trumpet playing ITM with an effects pedal. There really are no limits except the ones we create in our mind.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

But that’s not Irish trad, it’s Jazz!

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Trumpets are used in Classical music [Haydn Trumpet Concerto].
It is how they are used that makes them Jazz or Brass Band or Classical or anything.
There was an English Folk Band called Brass Monkey that used Trumpet and other Brass

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

"It is how they are used that makes them Jazz or Brass Band or Classical or anything"

I think that was my point Richard. The guy is actually playing an Irish tune but in a jazz style. This would not fit into an Irish session (In my opinion… having never been to one)..

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

"Whereas one of these is a good replacement for a bodhran…"

Well, that makes my father-in-law a virtuoso on the John Deere 40.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Most jazz musicians would say that for music to qualify as jazz that at least some of it must be improvised, and that trumpet player did not improvise on that clip. (Jazz music is notoriously difficult to define, it’s true.) IMHO he played the tune very well, and adopted the ornamented stylings of ITM to his instrument admirably. You still end up with a bastard child that Gobby won’t call ITM and I won’t call jazz. Sort of like when the first zookeeper said ‘hey, that lioness is in heat, let’s put her in with the tiger and see what happens.’

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Regarding the trumpet performance, what would lead one to call it jazz is the style and rhythm of the percussion, not the trumpet itself (which was awful - he couldn’t find the beat). Take a listen to The Easy Club, who did most tunes and songs and in a swing style, whilst still remaining fairly traditional in overall performance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHTg2oe-ssg

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I did say jazz is notoriously difficult to define. Part of the problem is that lay people (so to speak) tend to have looser criteria for what makes ‘jazz’ than musicians, writers, critics, aficionados, etc. do, and will call anything from Rhapsody in Blue to Kenny G ‘jazz’. There’s also certainly a broad gray area of music *influenced* by jazz that can’t necessarily be *called* jazz. I would put our trumpet friend and his easygoingness about the beat (a characteristic of jazz soloists) somewhere towards the middle of that gray. But I wouldn’t call him jazz, and I don’t think any other jazz musician I know would (and that’s a large diverse group) because he does not improvise. Funky beat or no.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

tdrury, I take your point and mostly agree, but for the sake of discussion, consider the following: Jazz allows and encourage improvisation, but does not demand it. By your definition, Count Basie is not jazz. There are improvised cadenzas in classical music, but it ain’t jazz. Leonard Berstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs is completely composed and arguably pure jazz.

If the trumpeter had inserted an improvised solo or riff, would that magically transform his performance into jazz? What makes that question interesting is that a listener would have determined whether or not the piece was a jazz interpretation long before the soloist either did or did not improvise.

BTW, his meandering in and out of the beat was, IMO, not style but an act of being lost.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

From how I (too casually) interpreted it as being jazz, both tdrury and Ailin are right. I hadn’t stopped to listen if the trumpeter was improvising or not. I just didn’t like it. But I had already kind of made my mind up by the time he came in. It was the percussion. Whatever, you wouldn’t want any of it at a session. (No ligers or tygrons please).

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Jazz is about improvisation.
Traditional Irish music is also about improvisation but not the same kind of improvisation.
For example a good Irish Trad player will vary his melody a bit or will not play the Melody exactly the same every time.
But that kind of melodic variation is very different from jazz variations or improvisations

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

He claims that he plays that in the style of Mat Malloy, and okay, if it was played on flute I may like it, but it just sounds like crap to me on a trumpet.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Not all improvisation is jazz - I, like Richard above, consider the melodic variation that occurs in ITM to be a form of improvisation, but I know plenty of people prefer not to use the word. Not every second of jazz is improvised - some composers/arrangers, and Basie’s a good example, wrote pretty intricately (but Basie and his orchestra did improvise quite a bit). And improvisation is not the only necessary condition for jazz - rhythm is a critical component also. And I don’t really want to get in a fight, but, as Richard above confirms, if a music is to be called jazz, there needs to be improvisation.

I didn’t like the trumpet either, Gobby. I thought he played well, and I had no problem with his rhythm, but I just didn’t like it. Like you, I’d have rather heard a flute or pipes.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Did anybody mention…Cowbell?

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The trumpet player’s good, but his rolls aren’t tight enough. Still, close enough to tell that it does sound good. Would sound good with concertina or fiddle.

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I saw a didgeridoo in one once … but played with such skill that it was almost appropriate.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Music "jazz" is beauty. It can’t be defined and it has no genre or style. It always was and always will be. We are the music makerz. ;)

This is our dream.

Keep ya mustard, leave my ketchup alone! Love and peace

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Well Joeey, if Jazz is what was happening in the clip with the trumpet then you’re very welcome to it. :-)

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I must say I agree. He is a talented guy but a flute would sound better. The trumpet just has too much of a honk to it. Maybe if he picked a slower piece it would work. I bet he’d be an incredible jazz player though. Haha the digeridoo ALMOST works haha but I thought the bodrhan player was just breathing heavy at first.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Jazz cannot be sorted, defined or put into a mustard box is my point.

I hadn’t said what I like or dislike, just that jazz is beauty. Some itm is jazz although some is not. Truth and beauty take shape in the eye of the beholder.

All music has potential to be "jazz…"

All music should be jazz

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

You sure you’re on the right site?

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I thought this was the cheeky elves anonymous meeting?

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This thread seems to be all the jazz today.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

which reminds me…tenor saxophones don’t belong in a session

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I love the stuff in the clips above and Neil Yates is a great jazz and trad. player (imo). He would never call the above jazz btw He is also a very fine whistle, bodhran player and general percussionist. The group recording is live and not of high quality or good sound balance, so it is not showing him at his best.

It is rather a difficult one to try and restrict the type of instrument in a public session. When Neil wandered into our session about 15 years ago with a trumpet shaped bag over his shoulder, we all thought "Oh sh*t", but then he played …!

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Everyone and everything belongs, traditional instruments haven’t been played in 3200 years.

The most traditional instrument will be invented in 29 1/2 yrs from now.

And I agree with Levine, "anything belongs" it’s what you do with it.

U don’t know Jack……

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Nope. Jazz is a word that describes a specific kind of music whose definition can be fuzzy but isn’t meaningless or arbitrary. Sorry, what you wrote sounds nice but it’s just not accurate or helpful.

Oh… and that’s an alto saxophone, not a tenor, so it’s OK. ;)

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Someone is just being Kooky.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I did consider that possibility.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Kinda just remembered that the bouzouki wasn’t even introduced to ITM until the 1960s and was a instrument of Middle Eastern origin. So at the time it was probably weird not so much at all anymore. Correct me if I’m wrong on above info.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I believe that is just about approximately right. Various heretics brought in instruments and musical/rhythmic
bits and pieces from Eastern Europe and the Med, and viciously inflicted them upon us all.

Like those riff raff from Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, the Bothy Band, Boys Of The Lough, DeDannan, Silly Wizard,
and many more culprits and their accomplices.

They just spoiled everything.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAngo7S9AFI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=831h8s92aaY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBz8PUWAczg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LApf2DKOBOs&list=PLf_Crk1Mrx82WyGiN41sZJFkT2wEnrhcR


And the final word from the final authority:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQWLA2GHfO8

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Sorry Mr. Moynihan, but my bouzouki just arrived in the post earlier today. I’m afraid it has earned its place in the music and is here for the foreseeable future.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Cheeky Elf @Pierce. I’d say at this point the bouzouki is throughly embraced. Which is amazing because the instrument has only been in ITM for 50 years and ITM has been around for…idk… WAY longer. @callison, about time someone posted something electronica related. That "instrument" unless doing ambient background noise will never work.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I also want to add that I am glad noone has said viola yet.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Pierce, I also am amazed he said that. I thought the introduction of the bouzouki opened new doors. If it wasn’t for the bouzouki I doubt the mandolin would have been as embraced as it is now in the tradition.

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The mandolin is "embraced?" :-)

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It’s the only way to hold it still.

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@Jason, If I do say so myself. I’ve seen countless videos of mandolin playing ITM. They all sound beautiful. I’ve never experienced anyone rejecting mandolin for Irish traditional.

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I’ve got away with using a nyckelharpa, but I’m not so sure about taking the sousaphone.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

The Session as a musical form is still a recent phenomenon - it didn’t exist before Sean O’Riada & The Chieftains et al got things moving, so is is a very recent innovation. One of the first exponents, Paddy Mooney, is still at it for goodness sake!

I love the standard session stuff, and also anything off-centre as long as it is musical & fun. Musical forms that aren’t evolving are musical forms that are dying. Like all music, a combination of the expected and the unexpected makes for something new to get hooked on.

Bring on a session with Viola & Sousaphone (whatever that is!). With the right talent & the right material it will always work.

If The Beatles had stuck with traditional forms & musical conventions, where would they be today?

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

FWIW, Troll:
My wit may be on the dry side, I admit it. Sorry you took me for meaning the above remarks.

But seriously, my friend, I was aiming to be sweepingly satirical of the "folk-lordy-lords" who
try to draw lines on some musical map, establishing boundaries for what should
and should not be accepted. I deem that they shall have no trouble finding many
fine musicians of like mind happy to play with them, including me, but unlike myself they may miss out on
some of the very funny and memorable moments which can occur when cultures and styles collide.

That should be OK with anybody, as it is not their thing.

I am un-ashamedly guilty of playing bodhran, ‘zouk, mando, cittern, didje, and berimbau at sessions.
It was weird for a moment, an interesting novelty, and changed nothing for anybody there about what the
core of that particular session was about. No one (myself included) cried "heresy", except for a laugh.
:-)
We had fun at the moment, and a good chuckle about it later.
One could do worse, IMHO.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I always figured the reason we let people play mandolins in sessions is to distract them from picking up guitars.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

A guitar player and a mandolin player both slip and fall off a cliff.
Which one will hit the ground first?

The guitarist.
The mando player had to stop and re-tune half-way down.

Have a happy.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Melodica (looks too much like a breathalyzer to me), and cajons. Just sayin’.

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@Piece, no worries. I kinda figured. I eventually want to pick up mandolin or the zouk not sure which yet.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

@Troll:

FWIW,
I got more mileage out of my ‘zouk than my mandolin.

I found that with a capo, I could get into mandola range for mixed melodic/strumming playing
as a backer and I was in a range and of a tone that added something different from the more
"guitarish" sounds that you nay get from a long-neck ‘zouk.

Your choice of ax will determine how she likes being strangled by a capo, but
I found it worked pretty good.

See my posting above, first one in I think -
Phil and Johnny.
That is the sound I like, anyway.

My two cents.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

PS:
I occasionally sing when asked, and accompanying myself on a mandolin
did not seem to agree with me at all.

I went to my musical mentor, who ran some tests, and diagnosed that I suffered
from mando-backing. It is treatable, but there is no known cure without a fretboard
of at least 18 inches.

Maybe someday.

Till then, remember to give generously to the
Slim Whitman Institute for Ultrasound Research.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBuk1HXcz1k


Enjoy.

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Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.

The only time I ever hear halfway decent arguments for particular instruments not being allowed in a session they are accompanied by reasons/explanations that involve poor musicianship.


- Bodhran/cajon players banging away too loudly, out of time or with the wrong rhythm
- 5-string banjo players playing Bluegrass style against a folk tune
- Mandolinists playing Bluegrass/country chopping rhythms
- Too many guitars making the session too loud
- Guitarists that to play the wrong chords or multiple guitarists at sessions playing different chords to each other

etc etc etc

If a person is playing an instrument too loudly, in a style that doesn’t suit the style of music being played, with the wrong chords, etc then it is musicianship that is at fault not the instrument.

It annoys me why so many people suggest banning instruments before they consider doing something crazy like actually offering a person a little help to fit in or to learn how things work?

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@Mark M: Instruments that don’t belong in a session., 5-string banjoists (banjoers?).

Sorry Mark. You’ve probably never heard Kevin Burke’s early-on LP record (1977, Folkways), or you’d not say that. Henry Saposnik plays beautiful frailing five-string banjo on The Mason’s Apron and on some other tunes: The Bunch of Keys, The Girl That Broke My Heart, George White’s Favourite, Coleman’s Cross. He also plays beautiful autoharp on Tuttles and Maids of Mitchellstown. Again, it’s not what you have but what you do with it that matters.
http://www.discogs.com/Kevin-Burke-Sweeneys-Dream-Fiddle-Tunes-From-County-Sligo-Ireland/release/2567023

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Last year I attended a session with a guy who came in with a bass clarinet. My first knee-jerk thought was to mentally roll my eyes. Bass clarinet is hardly a traditional Irish instrument. To everybody’s great wonder what he did with it and the pure musicality he demonstrated…well I’d say he’d be welcome anywhere, except to those sessions ruled by some iron-clad rigidity. He played sparsely, with great rhythm and lift. I wouldn’t say it was pure ITM. I would say it was very good music. So yeah, the "fit" probably has more to do with the player.

It sorta begs the question…what’s more important, making good music in good company or playing in rather strict compliance to a set of rules (that seem to change according to the notions of whoever you’re talking to). For what’s worth, my preference is ITM with a little breathing room.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

David, you are right, I haven’t heard that particular album, but I have heard lots of banjoists, and none of them has ever done anything I would consider "beautiful" (the same goes for autoharps). So however good that album might be it probably wouldn’t change my opinion.

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Still an interesting thread.
I will never like certain instruments for ITM in any form. For those instruments, I have listened, and my initial reaction remains unchanged.
I will not leave the room over it, nor ask any player of said instruments to leave, but that is simply the way my tastes run. And no apologies asked nor given for either POV.

Sound reasonable?

Re. Autoharp, for me to enjoy it you better be playing at this level:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX09ktVzsYo.

And this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P03xvBdZZRI

Hope you enjoy, I did!
:-)

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Obtusion…?

"So however good that album might be it probably wouldn’t change my opinion."

No matter what I read, I still think Saddam Hussein caused 9/11. ☺

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

Sorry, David, but I’ve just listened to some Burke/Sapoznik tracks that someone linked to in another thread (I think it is probably the recording you referred to), and it hasn’t changed my mind. The first one I listened to (Bunch of Keys) I actually thought I’d accidentally started two different tracks simultaneously by mistake - it’s a nice fiddle solo, but there is something else that seems to be completely unrelated going on in the background. I presume the producer felt the same way, and that’s why he kept the banjo so low in the mix.

It’s not that I’m anti-banjo, I really like banjo music played on a banjo. But if you try to play music that isn’t appropriate to the instrument the results tend to be disappointing, no matter how good the player is. Frailing 5-strings in ITM is just one of those situations (heavy metal on a ukulele is another).

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

I’m with you, Mark M. Maybe that kind of accompaniment "worked" some decades ago. Around the turn of the century (on another forum) I was nearly skinned alive when I commented on a certain fiddle+guitar combo where I found the boom-chick guitar very annoying.

As I wrote in the related thread:
"In order for any instrument to work in say, an Irish context, either play melody (like everyone else does) or play very subtle accompaniment (which on a 5 string would be like Bela Fleck does on the Transatlantic session videos on youtube). Anything else than a very subtle approach would be in the way for most players , and plonking away like in a bluegrass setting is probably out of the question."

https://thesession.org/discussions/35422?newcomment=749223#comment749181

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

[*Rock on Dude.*] - I do think the bass player should take his gloves off :)

****

Not sure if they ever ‘could’ belong in session in the right hands, but I’ve heard these over the years :

5-string played Scruggs-style (was mentioned before) - why not melodic Keith-style?

4-string banjo with no r/h damping at all

resophonic mandolin

1/4 tone whistles

hammer dulcimer with zero damping

mouth organ in the sucky-bendy style playing the ‘melody’

bongos

djembe

castanets

stereo bones

spoons

piccolos

Re: Instruments that don’t belong in a session.,

The thread is drifting…. Mark, I bet if you were in a session with Henry you’d enjoy his playing. My tastes are so "severe" that I prefer unaccompanied melody — and melody instruments — just about all of the time. But I would not want to eliminate people from a session based on their instrument of choice. How they play it is a different story altogether.