Learning tunes vs. noodling?

Learning tunes vs. noodling?

I’ve been attending an old time jam for years. I get glared at if I don’t play even if I don’t know the tunes, so I have learned how to learn on the spot. I start with a few notes, add some common little phrases that always seem to turn up in these tunes, fill in more notes until I’ve pretty much almost got it. If they play the tune enough times, I can usually get most of it and if lucky, I’ll at least have it playing in my head and can teach it to myself at home. Over the years, as I’ve sat next to different people at the jam, I’ve sometimes noticed they play it differently than how I thought it goes so I’ll relearn it. And there are some tunes that I’ve never gotten parts of until years later and finally I can "hear" it and do it. Usually this happens when I forget that I "know" it and think it’s new or when I forget that I can’t play it.

Is this way of learning a tune what you guys call "noodling?"

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I thought "noodling" simply meant playing more or less at random but in key as a kind of counterpoint, but I’m new here so …

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Miss out this bit: " add some common little phrases that always seem to turn up in these tunes" and you’ll be fine. Find the foundation notes and then gradually fill in the blanks, but don’t play stuff that isn’t in the tune, that’s noodling.

One problem you will encounter is that unlike old timey jams where one tune goes round for most of the night, in ITM they only go round 2 - 3 times, so you probably won’t get anywhere until you’ve heard the tune a few times over the course of a few weeks.

Oh, and in a session no one will glare at you if you don’t play on every tune, that is expected. But playing on tunes you don’t know at all isn’t, and will get you glared at.

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hi sbhikes

What you describe is not noodling. It is learning the tune ‘on the fly’. In my mind it’s a good way to go.

Noodling is a kind of mindless improvising that has nothing to do with actually playing a tune. It suggests that the noodler is unaware of and unconcerned about everyone else in the session.

For me it’s not improvising harmonies to a tune either. In some genres that can be acceptable and in others unacceptable, but at least it is paying attention to the tune. Noodling pays attention to only to the apparent vacuum in the noodlers head.

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By " add some common little phrases that always seem to turn up in these tunes" I meant that in old tim music, there are repetitive bits that you can pretty much see coming a mile away, like you can totally predict how the tune is going to go and 9 times out of 10 you’ll be right. I realize Irish tunes aren’t quite as predictable so I probably wouldn’t have half the tune memorized before I ever heard it all the way through like it seems with old time sometimes.

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All this time I thought noodling meant learning a tune "on the fly" as ronald said, as that’s what’s implied given that sessions aren’t places for practice, or learning tunes "on the fly".

sbhikes, they glare at you if you don’t join in??? Goodness, they’re hardcore about their sessions.

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They glare at you if you don’t join in?

Is the name of the pub "Tyler Durden’s?"

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I get glared at at the old time jam. Once one guy said "What’s the matter, you don’t play C tunes?" I said, "No, I don’t know how they go, I can’t figure them out." He said "So?? How are you going to learn if you don’t try?" It’s a lot different vibe from Irish, that’s for sure.

The thing is, over time I’ve gotten pretty decent at learning on the fly. There’s a finer line between knowing and not knowing a tune. I don’t know if this "skill" would carry over to Irish music or not, but I could see forgetting I am not supposed to play or starting a tune I forgot I don’t know all the way or joining in even though it’s way too fast. At the jam I’d just play fewer notes if it’s too fast.

Edit: I don’t want you to think everybody just glares at the old time session. Not at all. The conversations I’ve had when I’ve been encouraged to play tunes I don’t know are more supportive than I made it sound. Just one guy is a little hard-core about it, and to me specifically, which is weird.

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Old Timey is much easier to pick up on the fly than Irish is. OT has more the structure of song and the melodic line is more easily remembered. Some can pick up Irish on the fly, but after over 30 years at it, I can’t and I have a good ear. When it comes to contemporary music, I can play a melody that I am familiar with without having ever played it before. The message here is to tread lightly at an Irish session. If you don’t know the tune, better to get it recorded, have someone teach it to you or find the sheet music. Whether you call it noodling or something else, trying to learn it on the fly probably won’t be appreciated if you can be heard unless you are a lot better at it than I am.

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Oooh, I thought noodling meant learning on the fly too…

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I’ve always heard the term "noodling" applied to the highly annoying habit of playing around between tunes either randomly or some melodic bit from a tune. C’mon, start a tune, or start a conversation, or go for a pint, just don’t wander aimlessly on your instrument busting up the quiet. Yeah, there are times when a bit of melody needs some immediate attention or you want to be sure you remembered a twist the fiddle player gave a phrase, but these times are the outliers, not the norm, and certainly done with a purpose. Even worse is the sight-reader who pulls out the music and tries to learn the tune (often without even hearing it) before the set starts. Now I’m not an anti-sightreading nazi, reading is a useful skill, sparingly applied, and not used as a substitute for learning the tune, the whole tune, and not just the notes.

i just read Ailin’s reply and I’ll second that! Like reading, learning on the fly is a most useful skill and just as difficult to cultivate. Some can, some can’t and some are good at "approximating" a tune and I dunno where I stand on that. I suppose if the "approximation" doesn’t get in the way I’ll let it pass. As said, if you don’t know the tune, best to let it go and learn it later by whichever method you choose.

And, Old Time is a LOT less twisty, less "notey" than ITM. Among other differences, much of it (but not all, just enough to make a generalization) is a simpler structure and relies more heavily on common phrases, at least more than Irish. I don’t have to work nearly as hard to learn and play an Old Time tune as I do Irish. Full Disclosure: most of my OT playing is done on mandolin and alone. When I perform I usually play bass where knowing the tune is a definite plus so that I’m not stuck in the 1 - 5 rut.

We’d all do well to put ourselves on the Honor System. If we don’t know the tune and we’re playing anyway, are we really trying to learn it, really? Or are we just not happy sitting one out? You know the answer and you know what to do. As for "noodling" between tunes, you know what to do, or better, what not to do!

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If a tune comes up week after week, I try to
play as much of it as I can every week - bits and pieces.
Eventually it’s in my head and working out the technique
is a routine practicing job. Noodling is playing stuff
at random in the key and rhythm. That’s alright for a
blues jam but is extremely irritating at an Irish tunes session.

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My notion of noodling exactly matches that described by ross faisson.

When I learn tunes ‘on the fly’ I tend to do it one phrase at a time. It might be the first, second or third, ‘motifal statement’ or small musical phrase, that I hear and know that I know how to play. Next time it comes around I play it and listen out for the next one I can add to it. I’m not playing the whole tune yet, just the odd phrase. There is sometimes an end of line phrase which I won’t get without working it out (quietly) after everyone has stopped playing.

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sbhikes - you’re learning tunes on the fly. Last week, I filled in the blanks on tunes I’ve heard the same people play TWO YEARS ago (and never since).

Say you’re playing a new CD track and figure out along the way how the tunes go. At first, you may only get a few notes right (and maybe "the big picture"), second time a lot more, and so on. For each subsequent time, you’re ironing out the wrinkles/grinding away the bumps.

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Learning on the fly almost always sounds like noodling, at first anyway. Which is why both are pretty annoying at an Irish session. It’s a simple, considerate, social rule of etiquette: Play the tune if you know it. If you don’t know it, don’t play it — practice it at home until you do know it.

What the hell is the deal with people who can’t just sit and listen?

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^^ what joe fidkid said… I know one or two people who can genuinely pick up a tune of average complexity on the fly, fairly unobtrusively, and be able to play it by the third time around, but they are the exception. I have heard several very competent musicians try to pick up a tune on the fly and make a horrible mess of it. If I don’t know a tune, or if I realise after the first few bars that I did know it and have since forgotten it, it’s time to put the instrument down and listen / go to the bar etc.

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After 40 yrs picking up tunes by ear and 30 yrs of doing so in sessions I only really have problems with very notey reels and new tunes I haven’t heard and played along with for yrs. that doesn’t mean I can catch every ornament but the basic melody , not a bother, befor I get slagged this is just a statement of fact , please don’t read anything more into it than that.
This IMO is why many of us stress ear learning over the dots. Obviously my past record here is to strenuously defend dots as a useful learning tool but I come to the dots from ear learning and IMO it’s the ear that is primary. I know plenty of top musicians that don’t read dots, it’s all by ear.
IMO the instrument we play will help or hinder ear learning. The whistle for example drives other players nuts if someone tries to pick up tunes at pace in a session

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Hmm most of my post got eaten sorry about that .

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After 40 yrs picking up tunes by ear and 30 yrs of doing so in sessions I only really have problems with very notey reels and new tunes I haven’t heard and played along with for yrs. that doesn’t mean I can catch every ornament but the basic melody , not a bother, befor I get slagged this is just a statement of fact , please don’t read anything more into it than that.
This IMO is why many of us stress ear learning over the dots. Obviously my past record here is to strenuously defend dots as a useful learning tool but I come to the dots from ear learning and IMO it’s the ear that is primary. I know plenty of top musicians that don’t read dots, it’s all by ear.
IMO the instrument we play will help or hinder ear learning. The whistle for example drives other players nuts if someone tries to pick up tunes at pace in a session ………………😀 pipes too! fiddle mandolin and guitar are far less obtrusive and can be played at low volumes and in a half chord half melody approach so are far easier instruments to pick up tunes on the fly with. The bodhran is the easiest 😀.
I know nothing about old time music being a trad musician primarily but I started with reggae and punk so IMO the simple melodies are the place to start.
Just jam in with a guitar player playing a 2 chord trick for example, so there is only a chord pattern to pick up .
The art of picking up what someone else is playing is IMO a basic skill that all musicians should work at and accomplish.
It’s all about being in the flow of the music , being a part of what is happening ,leaving the ego aside and being open and at one with the whole experience. Preconceived ideas just get in the way, pressure does as well so any pressure is counter productive unless you are seriously able to perform the skill sets needed to attain the required goal.
It’s all about bring open minded and listening and also of having a clear mind / instrument connection where the fingers find the notes from familiarity, you just know where the sound you hear is found on your instrument. This is where scales, patterns and arpeggio come in so useful!
Then of course there are different octaves and it can complicate things for some people when say a fiddle is picking up a tune from a banjo or vice versa.
The word that really comes to mind is: practice! It’s not particle physics ! It’s just a matter of complying what we hear and see. Just like kids learn to walk and talk. Get stuck in and have a go. It’s easy once you let yourself make mistakes and experiment. Obviously a fast paced high skill session is not the place to start, rather find someone who will sit there and play a simple tune 100 times in a row, then you can swap roles. Good practice on many levels.

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I agree with Will that picking up tunes on the fly is very possible and perfectly acceptable (it was the original purpose of session playing). But I would emphasize that you need to be familiar with the tune first - it might be something you played years ago, or that you’ve heard a number of times before. If not you are going to have to sit out and listen to begin with, because if you just wade in and start playing you won’t be able to anticipate the twists and turns of the tune - it’s very common for a phrase to start off sounding like something familiar, so you think you know where it’s going to go, but then it does something completely different.

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Learning tunes on the fly isn’t impossible. I might not get every single ormanet (even note) correct, but that’s usually on a micro-level. Some phrases are more open to variations - ~a3e/a2ae/a3e/agae/etc., it doesn’t really matter.

And tunes that fall into the chestnut category (including any polka and slide) are usually a lot easier to pick up right away, than say, a new composition by Liz Carroll/an Ed Reavy or Pady Fahy tune/some very local setting of an otherwise straightforward tune.

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I don’t think ‘learning on the fly’ is the same thing as ‘learning by ear.’ I have no problem learning by ear.

Learning by ear is just learning a tune by listening to it, without referring to a written score . It especially includes playing a tune you’ve heard many times before and can lilt, but have never actually tried to play. Listening to good fluent players and their way about a tune is very very very important.

To me, learning "on the fly’ means attempting to play a previously unheard tune, the first time you’ve ever encountered it.

And maybe you DO sort of get it sometimes by the 3rd time through, but the first 2 times were excruciating to everyone around you. Sounds like a rather selfish, self-involved approach to ensemble playing. God please deliver me from the clueless who delude themselves that they are ‘picking it up’ on the fly.

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Learning on the fly is learning by ear. To me ‘on the fly’ doesn’t mean trying to play a tune you’ve never heard before, it simply means learning the tune by ear in the session. The process is exactly the same as learning from a recording at home - you listen until you know the tune, then play the skeleton of the tune, then flesh it out.

I don’t think that whether it is acceptable or not has a clear yes/no answer, it depends on how good you are at learning by ear, and sometimes on the complexity of the tune. If your ear is good enough that you can play along without playing any wrong notes, even if you are not playing all the notes, then there is no problem with learning on the fly. But if your version of learning by ear involves ‘trial and error’ to find the right notes, then that should be done at home.

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Reading back my last post, I want to be clear that I didn’t mean to imply that Will, Jeff and Mark, or indeed everyone who learns on the fly is a session wrecker. I’m sure that the posters above are considerate, accomplished musicians who are great craic. I’m just a little burned by some local characters who really suck the life out of a session by treating every unknown tune as a hands-on learning opportunity.

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Mark, to be clear on the distinction, learning on the fly is of necessity learning by ear, but learning by ear is not of necessity learning on the fly. The distinction is that learning on the fly occurs in real time, whereas for most, learning by ear is a process of slowing the tune down, working out a phrase at a time, and repetition of each part until it is committed to memory.

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Yes, I know exactly what you mean. But the root of the problem isn’t learning on the fly, it’s stupid people.

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I often learn tunes ‘on the fly’ by playing along, sometimes actually playing ‘on the fly’.

How? I usually have heard the tune before, but never played it, so I play along with the bits I know, at a fairly low volume level. When it comes to the bits I don’t know, I keep ‘playing’, but decrease the bow pressure to almost zero so that no sound comes out (but I’m listening intently to the tune so I can pick it up).

I then come in again at the bits I know, and by the second round I usually have the bits I missed previously, so I can start sounding the notes again.

No problem. It doesn’t upset musical neighbours (often they are not aware of what I’m doing), and the fact I’m not seen to be ‘dropping out’ is a plus too.

Some call it learning tunes ‘on the fly’, but really it’s ‘faking it’ 🙂

It goes without saying that it’s really easy to do on fiddle, but not so easy on whistle or pipes, etc.

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I have met several skilled musicians over the years who, having grown up listing and learning Irish music, can pick up tunes on the fly. They have the background and familiarity with the style to recognize phrases and reproduce them easily as the tune is rolling by. This is a rare and wonderful skill to observe and see in action. However, this ain’t what we’re talking about here. More often than not, "noodling" is randomly searching for notes while somebody else is playing a tune and hoping you’ll get lucky and latch on to a phrase here and there. Worse yet, if you’re doing that noodling loudly enough to distract the person who is actually playing the tune, it can be quite annoying. My only suggestion is for those that think that "noodling" is an essential step to learning tunes on the fly - have some care and consideration for those around you. Don’t be a distraction. I play banjo. God knows you wouldn’t want somebody like me plucking about randomly when you’re trying to focus on what you’re playing.

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Yes, yes, yes…Will, Mark, andJeff. Learning on the fly is a learnable skill. I wish I was better at it! When I taught bass students years ago, I suggested they sit in front of the TV with the bass and the remote and flip through the channels looking for original jingles. They come in all genres, are short and "hookey". The student had seconds to learn the bass line. At first just getting the key and a note seemed impossible. After a while they all got better to one degree or another. The skill takes time and practice just like learning to skillfully read a score and the two most important parts are, second, familiarity with the instrument and, first, listening. Like any other human endeavor it’s best to be cautious with it until you’re fair to good at it. One way to develop the skill is learn on the fly from recordings first before trying to do it in session. and it often helps to learn from recordings of instruments other than the one you play…more like the real world that way. The most useful skill of all may be a sense of when it’s OK to learn unobtrusively on the fly and when it’s not, a sense of situational awareness. Maybe that’s the difference between learning and noodling.

(This meant to be helpful and certainly not the only way to do it.) I have more success learning a tune on the fly, from a recording, or from a knee to knee encounter, by listening to how each part ends first. Then I work backwards from there concentrating on how the individual phrases end. For me it seems like I get lost less often if I have an idea of where I’m going. (There’s a neuroscience to it and a psychologic foundation for doing it that way, but this isn’t the place for a doctoral thesis.) It somehow feels better to end well from a rough start than to start well and break down.

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@sbhikes: "The thing is, over time I’ve gotten pretty decent at learning on the fly. There’s a finer line between knowing and not knowing a tune."

My $.02… In an Irish session, the only line you need to worry about is whether you’re contributing to the group’s expression and enjoyment of a tune, or distracting the other players. That’s the line to avoid crossing, I think. If there is a chance you’re falling more on the side of distraction, then you’re basically telling the other players that it’s more important for you to learn the tune than it is for everyone else to have a good time playing the music.

That said, I’ll often try to join in on tunes I’ve never heard before, always taking the cautious approach. The first time through the melody, I’ll finger the notes I think I’m hearing without actually playing them. I might tentatively play a phrase here and there on the next repeat. The second I think it’s not working, I drop out and just enjoy the tune. It’s a judgement call whether I’m contributing or distracting, and it’s usually pretty clear whether it’s working or not.

One thing not mentioned yet (I think?) is that some instruments lend themselves to non-distracting "on the fly" playing better than others. I can play my mandolin so quietly that I doubt the fiddler next to me can hear it at all. I can’t do that on my flute, which is a fairly loud. I’ve seen fiddlers pluck the strings when playing the first round or two of an unfamiliar tune, rather than bowing. Concertina and Box players don’t have a quiet option, but all the free-reed players I’ve ever known have had huge tune repertoires. They just sit out the few tunes they don’t know.

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Jim Dorans makes an excellent point that I hadn’t considered in my own posts: I do indeed play along with tunes I know fairly well from hearing, but have never taken the time to learn. I do exactly as he does on those tunes and while that may considered to be noodling, I don’t consider it annoying. At least I hope it isn’t.

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There are probably precious few fast reels I’ll ever learn at all let alone on the fly. But there are easier tunes. OT is sometimes crooked and those are kind of fun to learn because you can see the person who started a new crooked tune chuckling like it’s a great big joke or something.

Anyway I only ask this because I attended a session as a listener last weekend and they kept trying to hand me a whistle but I refused. I haven’t played any Irish music for years now and in those years I’ve learned to play OT (on fiddle/mandolin) and because we all learn at the jam, it’s a totally different scene. I’m not sure I want to give Irish another go or not.

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Some sessions are much more relaxed about learning right then and there, while others are more focused on playing the best possible music. There are even slow sessions where the main aim is for people to learn tunes. So depending on what kind of session you’re sitting in on, the social etiquette may be different. If folks were putting a whistle in your hands and urging you to play, then it’s probably cool to do that.

I guess the difference between noodling and ‘learning on the fly’ isn’t black and white, and there is certainly some overlap. At its most painful, noodling is freely improvising in the same key or mode of a tune without a lot of congruity to the actual melody, as if it were a blues jam. But a backer playing countermelody or a bass line does just this—and if they know what they’re doing, there’s usually not a huge problem (unless there are multiple backers all doing a different line, etc). It’s the unsuccessful attempts at learning a melody on the fly that can be indistinguishable from pure noodling.

As pointed out above, Irish tunes usually only get played through 2 or 3 times so it all goes by a little quicker and can be harder to pick up than an old-time tune, which often has a simpler structure and gets repeated 8 or 9 times.

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As far as the "common little phrases that always seem to turn up in these tunes" go, I would think of three tendencies here: (1) Since the tunes have reliably formulaic aspects, one *could* anticipate, say, how a phrase might end (etc.). (2) But the thing is that the distinctions that come about from tune to tune — even with so much consistency in material — is what gives them their identity. And the rub: (3) then even the distinct tune is not invariable. So, one could progress from anticipating something that is not the same but close enough (to get by and make sense, if not thrill the guy to the left), to getting it "right" (matching what the gal on the right plays), to finding that that right is different from what the devil across the room is playing, which may also be right.

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I have to point out I said picking up tunes on the fly as opposed to learning them. I pick up tunes and play them but I don’t learn them this way. That requires a different approach for me which involves memorising by repetition and lots of attention.
I can play a tune like a jig or slip jig pretty much as it happens but I couldn’t repeat it 5 min later! Not a hope unless it’s one I’ve already half learnt or picked up many times before. They get all mixed up over the years.
I use the dots mainly for learning because as a traveler I use a wad of papers with my ‘work on ’ tunes. I don’t go to that many sessions these days and when I do ,it would be as a guest or at a festy.
If I had a regular weekly session that played the same sets regularily then learning by ear that way would be easy enough. But I don’t . I m traveling so much that it’s impossible. I used to host a session in my 20s but these days I m mainly playing Scottish pipe tunes. Cheers

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"I’m just a little burned by some local characters who really suck the life out of a session by treating every unknown tune as a hands-on learning opportunity."

So am I - you’ll never know if the others will play something else after three rounds.

I never have a go at a tune (in real time) that’s completely unkown unless it has a really simple (maybe repetitive) structure (polka, slide, etc.) and that’s basically it - the tunes I might choose to learn are the tunes I figure I’m ABLE TO learn straight away. That excludes tunes that don’t sound remotely similar to anything else, quirky tunes, tunes with lots of chromatic runs, fluctuating thirds and sixths…

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And all this time I thought I was noodling vs "learning on the fly"….. You learn something new everyday!

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A great advantage of just sitting and listening is that you have more time for that imbibing that essential refreshment.

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I thought noodling were what you eat when you’re too lazy to cook dinner.

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Bottom line - if we can hear someone futzing about and they’re not playing the tune everyone else in the session is playing, that person is noodling. Please stop it. Go home and learn the tune on your time. It is not dissimilar to the notion of fishing "noodling" where you wait with two hands in the water and hope the fish swims into your grasp. These notes are not going to swim into your grasp unless you are an experienced fisher of tunes. Practice reeling in your reels at home first.

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when we go "noodling" we’re waiting for a catfish to bite our hand, then you just pull him out of the creek by his bottom jaw.

but your way makes a better analogy

also, if anybody needs to get a snake out the back of their resonator banjo, just give me a PM

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Every person who is learning on the fly adds a bit of muddiness to the sound. One doesn’t gum things up too much, but get two or three folks just sketching things out, and the session tends to get bogged down and sluggish. The first step to learning is listening, and many people would be well advised to listen to a tune the first time they encounter it, and then try learning it on subsequent encounters.
And a noodler, who is not trying to hit the notes of the melody, but merely notes that fit the general chord structure, adds enough muddiness to sink the session up to its axles, and stop the craic dead in its tracks.

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I have heard different uses for the term noodling. Originally I heard it used to refer to someone playing bits or phrases of the tune, other times an interlude played tongue-in-cheek (like a few bars of Kingston Town in the middle of Willafjord), or someone simply playing a variation. So, to answer the question in your original post, sbhikes, in years past I would have considered noodling to include when someone might " … start with a few notes, add some common little phrases that always seem to turn up in these tunes, fill in more notes until I’ve pretty much almost got it…" At that time, given that meaning, noodling might have been used to describe part of a learning process, or a bit of whimsy, or just good crack.

Also, when my fellow musicians used the term noodling (pre-mustard) it typically was not a type of playing disruptive to the music. We expressed those conditions with more assertive language. {why risk confusing numpties?}

I think some people still use the term noodling in the way I first heard it. However now, when I read about *noodling* on this & other ITM websites, *noodling* is typically used w/absolutely negative connotations, exclusive of ambiguity; with the following definition widely accepted ~ " Noodling is flailing around trying to learn tunes by trial and error while everyone else is playing. Capital crime, immediate expulsion."

So to answer the original question posted, sbhikes, from what you described regarding your process of getting the tunes in your head, practicing what you’ve managed to retain at home, then revisiting/relearning when you sit next to different players & or hear different things I’d consider everything you’re doing part of the process of learning tunes. Some of it an integral aspect of learning. There’s always room for improvement, of course, but I don’t see anything you’ve posted to suggest you’re disrupting the session. Hopefully there’s someone in the session you can talk to personally who will give you good guidance about learning some of their tunes & how the members like to play during session.

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I find there to be a fine line between ‘noodling’ & learning on the fly. An accomplished player can add some nice surprises when flying by the seat of their pants. Of course, Purists ‘Paul parrots’ hate this, as it only serves to remind them of their musical limitations.

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There are so many tunes to learn and play without the dots. My violin making boss, told me to go to the session and listen. Then try to play the tune. You may not get all the notes on the first attempt, but they will come. Still coming, lol. I live in Brisbane outer area now, and it is dam hard to find fiddlers that will teach. Ones that know their stuff. I call it a life style thing. Fiddling has changed over the years and not just the music, apparently you can’t get wasted any more. Tuff times. lol

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And there lies the definition: if you’re straight you are learning on the fly, if you’re wasted then you’re noodling.

Re: Learning tunes vs. noodling?

First, I want to thank AB Steen for using the word "numpties." It brings back fond recollections of my two trips to Scotland, where I have not been for some years. The word is so useful and colorful, be we don’t say it in the U.S. To the point about the different uses of "noodling," my harp-playing partner uses it to describe the fills I play against his melodic line. In this instance, the term is positive.

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Re: Learning tunes vs. noodling?

I think Mark M has made a good observation here!