Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I will just be getting into the playing in a video then all of a sudden my heart sinks as I hear the ‘funky guitar accompaniment’ pitch in.

Totally cheapens the sound.

Like the brash drunken uncle butting into every conversation uninvited.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I love guitar playing. Are you just talking about jazzed up playing?

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Guitar is just an instrument - it doesn’t play itself. It can be sublime or awful,
like any other instrument.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Oh my, we’re at it again. Really? We’re gonna pick on guitar players ( and I assume everyone else that’s capable of playing a chord) again? So soon? Ever play with a fiddler who thought he was the center of the universe? Or any other instrument? Of course you have unless you spend all your time alone. Every one of them is capable of bringing on that sinking-heart feeling. Mostly I feel that way about pipes unless they’re played very, very well. Good guitar players, like any other good musician, including pipers, add to.

Still, some players will continue in the belief that they have the one true path. Hopefully there’s some value in living in a one dimensional world even if I don’t know what it is. The world is so much better when we look in more than one direction. As of now I’m done arguing about it.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Are you a hermit or something?

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

My favourite CDs are those with no accompaniment. But I enjoy much of the accompaniment I hear in Irish trad. I prefer DADGAD over standard tuning.

In the "mountain music" of my native West Virginia I strongly dislike guitar, which destroys the magical interplay between clawhammer banjo, and fiddle.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

John Doyle’s guitar on Liz Carroll’s "Double Play" album sounds really fantastic - that jumps out as one of my favorite albums with guitar on it right now, where the guitar plays an important role in taking the tunes to another level. Sure I’d love to listen to Liz fiddle solo, but the guitar adds something (a lot) and doesn’t take away.

But yeah Arthur if you’re sifting through tunes on YouTube, you will definitely find some annoying and horrible guitar players.

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

You got some nerve, Arthur! After all your posts seeking help, advice and tips for improving your own playing here you start a thread with the only purpose is to thrash other players! Come on!

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

For me, its not the guitar as an instrument. Its that wide, muddy, somewhere near the downbeat, folky strum that a lot of people never advance beyond.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I agree with Arthur. For every Dennis Cahill there are hundreds of clueless thumpers. In the clip with Liz and Doyle a bodhran would have served as well as the guitar. It’s a lot more fun and of some comfort to have somebody out in front with you but it doesn’t always make the music better.

Is it a generational thing, do you suppose? The older I get the more I appreciate the bare bones of the music. I still think that the true sound of traditional Irish music is the sound of one person playing alone in a stone cottage, sitting in an old car seat close to an iron range, with just a single overhead light bulb. Now I suppose it’s mostly paid gigs or bright stage lights, and smoke machines. You don’t have to tell me I’m getting old.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Thank goodness I don’t bother myself with Irish music. I’ll stick to Scottish where this ultra-conservative attitude is not so prevalent.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

A lousy guitar player or a guitar player who doesn’t ‘get’ Irish trad music can trash the music, sure. But same goes for players of any other instrument - I have heard many potentially nice sessions ruined by crappy whistlers, fiddlers and pipers (usually either because they had zero sense of rhythm, were playing WAY out of tune or were apparently trying, and failing, to play along on tunes they didn’t know).

I for one am more than happy to have a good guitar player at a session or on a recording. I must admit that I absolutely cannot stand when a good guitar player plays nothing but lots of jazzy sounding chords, but one could argue that such a person doesn’t ‘get’ the music.

Guitars have their place in the music. I’m not sure I’d want to hear a guitar player on ‘Kitty Lie Over’ or ‘I Cnoc na Graí’, but I think if you removed the guitar from Lunasa or Providence recordings you would miss it.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

No.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I suppose it isnt in keeping with the all inclusive attitude of trad in general that anyone can join in and have a go. So in that sense of course they are welcome.

But i still personally feel the guitar is not aurally suited to a session. Just the sound of it is too out of place imo. Like bodhrun (however you spell it) and pipes etc all complement the gloriousness of the fiddle. Of course they will never be on the same level as the fiddle master race but they are worthy minions.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

@tøm
You almost had me 🙂
@arthur
From now on most people here will probably not take anything you write seriously.

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

From now on? You mean, people did?

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Well, many of the good folks here have tried to give constructive feedback to many of Arthurs threads with impressive patience and good intentions, but it does not seem to make a difference for his selfcentered and black and white view of music, ITM and probably the world in whole. It is getting tiresome.

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I’m with Ketil on this one Arthur. You be trippin’ man. Seriously, it doesn’t get much more folk than guitar. Do you like Irish music or not? All these contradictions and insults makes us wonder why we even help you.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Me, me, me. I don’t like it so it must be wrong and people shouldn’t do it.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

[*I will just be getting into the playing in a video then all of a sudden my heart sinks as I hear the ‘funky guitar accompaniment’ pitch in.*]

@Arthur, I think your whole point is that if you’re trying to learn a fiddle tune from a clip, then hearing it solo is best. Correct? Yes. So, just say that. OK? Yes. 🙂

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Word

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Good contributions to the discussion, Tom. An audio clip is worth a thousand words!

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Arthur says ‘Worthy minions’ 🙂

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Like it or not, our (modern Western) ears are generally attuned to harmony and a baritone/bass "floor" for music. Listen to pretty much any popular music from the past 300 years or so and it’s a vocal/melody line over a chordal or bassline accompaniment, often with harmony lines to the melody (or sometimes full-blown 2-, 3-, or 4-part harmonies throughout the song). There are exceptions obviously, but even with more complex or unique songs those features often remain. The people recording Michael Coleman evidently thought accompaniment was essential because they threw the piano player on there…

Now sometimes (as in that case) accompaniment hurts, mainly because the accompanying player doesn’t quite know how to work around Irish tunes. But saying guitars (or pianos, or bodhrans) "trash" Irish music is ridiculous.

To paraphrase the NRA (and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before!), "guitars don’t trash Irish music, people trash Irish music."

Also, "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a banjo is a good guy with a gun." (I should mention I’m a banjo player myself…)

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I like tunes with and without guitar. You can hear more of each other when a guitar isn’t playing, but a good guitarist can bring a real lift. We are blessed with Alistair at our local session who is a great asset. And to whoever was slagging Tim Edey ..i don’t think i’ve met many better accompanists, great rhythm, great chords knows the tunes well enough to intervene with melody runs that together can bring a great lift.

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

"And to whoever was slagging Tim Edey"

I think you may have missed my joke…

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Dennis Cayhill is one of my favourite guitar players in guitar music. He really makes Martin Hayes’s music so much more, as for Liz Carroll. Sean Og Graham is another amazing guitar player.

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cayhill - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EddkHXuVz4


Liz Caroll and Sean Og Graham (skip to 20 seconds) - http://youtu.be/V6eV9l1QE_Q?t=30s


I’m generally not a fan of accompaniment, but in certain cases such as these. It just works. I almost always prefer solo fiddle, however there are exceptions. A calmer, less intense guitar will almost always make the music much better, but if you’re just going hard and loud on the guitar it just ruins the music.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

"I think you may have missed my joke…"

Subtlety is lost on me! Thank goodness for that!

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Ketil: "…his selfcentered and black and white view of music, ITM and probably the world in whole. It is getting tiresome."

Yep, I spotted that view a while back. Hence I rarely contribute to any discussions Master Gonadlor starts. Only, as in this case, to record my views such as those presented now.

Thus ends my contribution to this pointless thread.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

There is a lot of truth here. I’m delighted, to find a heavy topic for debate. Guitars have ruined real musicians. Any fellow can go into a pub with a guitar, and do a gig. Here in Ireland, the scene is rampant with country music. Anyone who can sing in this style and play a guitar, can go into a pub to do a gig. This style of music, is the poor man’s talent anyway. Phil Coulter once said on an Irish television show, "If you have 3 chords on a guitar, you can sing 100 songs". He’s right. Having said all that, fellows like Paul Brady and Arty Mc’Glynn play the guitar, but can offer some technical ability on it.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Depends on who’s driving

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

"Guitars have ruined real musicians"

They haven’t ruined me Michael Dineen. Are you suggesting I am not a "real musician"?

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

[*Here in Ireland, the scene is rampant with country music.*]

Michael, that’s because (statistically) it’s the most popular music. Not an easy thing to accept, but one must.

It’s got no bearing on ‘guitars have ruined real musicians’, now - has it?

Anyway, the OP was a bit of a bum steer, and generated needless and pointless debate. Arthur complained about guitar accompaniment in fiddle tunes because it got in the way of his learning the fiddle tunes by ear and watching the vids (although he omitted to say that at the time).

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

[*Are you suggesting I am not a "real musician"?*]

Any man with a zero in his name gotta be good. ;)

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Is that a zero in Tom’s name? I thought it was some sort of Scandanavian vowel or something.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Indeed. Tom Zero. Man of the moment 🙂

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Apparently, Michael Dineen hasn’t seen a real country musician.

These guys can walk in with nothing but a guitar, a voice and their songs… and tear your guts out by the roots.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

There is an old CD by Tommy Peoples, "Fiddler’s Fancy" with 50 tracks of tunes. It is a companion CD to a tune book "50 Irish Fiddle tunes". Some tracks are solo fiddle, whilst others include guitar backing by Manus Lunny. The interesting thing about the CD for anyone who doesn’t want guitar backing when learning a tune is that on the fiddle-guitar tracks the fiddle and guitar are on different stereo channels with no cross-talk between them; and on the fiddle-only tracks the fiddle is on one channel and the other is disconcertingly blank.

Personally, I found the guitar distracting, and so tuned it out, even though I wasn’t using the CD specifically for learning to play tunes. My guess fwiw is that on this CD the guitar was added in post-production on at least some tracks.

More comments about the CD are on https://thesession.org/recordings/1099

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Trevor, I have that book (with cassette … hehe … before CDs). There are some tracks with guitar and bouzouki as you said.

I think it was common recording practice in the 80s to hard-pan instruments left and right, for Irish trad. At least one of the early De Dannan CDs was done that way.

One CD (can’t remember the title) had ‘Boys of Malin’ on it. Frankie Gavin’s fiddle was panned hard left, and I was actually able to record the track on to a 4-track ministudio, then play along with it (recording my playing on a separate track), then mix it down to stereo, having muted out wee Frankie.

It was fun and satisfying at the time.

You can’t do that with later recordings 🙂

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Haha! This thirteen-year old post on IRTRAD-L tells a story about Vincent Milne doing something similar:

"Vincie went so far as to make a brilliant tape of all Coleman’s recordings with his playing dubbed onto it complete with him hissing and crackling like the 78s. The duet was uncanny. He caused a major panic when he sent it off to a noted broadcasting company under a false name asking if anyone was interested in old recordings of Mickey and Jimmy Coleman!! The panic that ensued was immense such was the level of credible fidelity."

https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0202&L=IRTRAD-L&P=R20013

🙂

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Paddy O’Brien (Minnesota) has been playing his button box for over sixty years, has won several championships and knows a couple of thousand tunes. If he goes round and invites Daithi Sproule (guitar) to accompany him on a whole CD who are we to argue that it’s not traditional? The result is a joy to listen to (Bright and Early, with Nathan Gourley/fiddle).

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Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Basically, new stuff today which lasts will become the new "traditional".

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

I just love threads like this. What’s traditional vs What’s not? Let’s go on for a bit about certain instruments/players and how we’d all be better off if they weren’t used. We have in one corner, the self proclaimed purists, and in the other, those who see the music as being open to interpretation both old and new as an evolving art form. The other two corners are occupied by those of us who wonder what all the shite is about.
Franky, I’ve ran into many fiddlers, pipers, accordionists, flautists, and Bodhran players who can all join in equally to trash a song. Yes, there are many three chord wonders that really don’t add a whole lot to the music, but to make a statement such as "Guitar playing trashes Irish Music". Come on and pull your head out.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

It most certainly does at more than a few Irish sesions in England where there could be two or three guitarists all playing through tunes and sets, each one with his own take on the chords/rhythm. In my experience of sessions in Ireland, there seems to be a kind of etiquette where only one guitarist at a time will play accompaniment.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

There is a particular style of guitar accompaniment that I just never could warm up to because it so dominates any ensemble that it becomes "all about that guitar." John Doyle popularized it here in the NYC/Chicago corner of the ITM world and it seemed to become the thing for other guitarists and guitar students to emulate. I think it found fraternity with the Irish-fusion movement…maybe…I’m no authority.

For a long time the style of playing so predominated that I began to cringe at the mere mention of a guitar in connection with Irish music. I still do, despite the fact that there are some really good guitar accompaniment styles and players out there.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Barry, I tend to agree. Are talking about the Devil’s own DADGAD tuning? It just seems to me that the more obnoxious a player is the more he’s apt to be there. Personally I prefer the tuning that God and the Spanish intended (put smiley face here, I don’t know how)

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

While I wouldn’t say "totally trashes", in the sense of actually destructive to a whole musical tradition, I can say that I really don’t care much for it. I suppose we should make a distinction between playing the tune and playing chords as "accompaniment". There are some players I enjoy playing with but those are ones playing melody. I find chords at best unneeded and at worst difficult to listen to. What I find excruciating are bluegrass, or worse rock (!) players who think that (1) all they need to know are "the chords", (2) think they are to set some rhythm that the rest of us should follow, and (3) always seem to travel in multiples.

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Seems there are other fellow haters 🙂.

It is more the sound that is out of place so I don’t think its a matter of skills. I suppose that is being instrument-ist 🙂.

It seems as out of place as say an electrice guitar would.

Lol mr dorans putting words in my mouth about my intent of the thread. No it had nothing to do with me following along wiht tunes i listen to on yt just that I ifnd the guitar out of place in general in the ITM setting.

Wow how about those eery halloween style smileys :D

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

This, unsurprisingly, looks like drunk typing (with its ensuing drunk opinions).

Re: Anyone else find guitar playing totally trashes irish music?

Ross, It’s the carpet-bombing approach to strumming and chord changes that doesn’t appeal to me. I’m fine with open tunings in general.