Hup’ping

Hup’ping

We are having a problem at our session with huppers (2 guitar players) that have a tendency to hup at an inconvenient time (the very last second before the switch to the next tune) or not at all because they forget. Our melodies players are mostly flutes and whistles - so it’s not easy for us to hup. So we can either tell the huppers when we need them to hup and get the “well I just won’t hup at all then” response OR we can just not say anything and deal with it OR we can go ahead an hup ourselves (which also gets the “I just won’t up at all” response). We’ve asked nicely, but it’s starting to get frustrating and none of the melody players understand their reaction(s). Any suggestions?

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You can always raise your foot & exchange glances.

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Tell them to hup off.

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Accompanists are not permitted to hup. They are only allowed to emit vocal utterances expressing joy or exuberance in appreciation of your playing as they follow slavishly your every whim in changing tune, key, rhythm, speed etc.

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Eye contact and or nods.

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If you are pre-arranging sets to the point where you can tell someone else when to hup, why not just tell everyone how many times through each tune, and then no one needs to hup. If your playing is more spontaneous, then it really has to be the leader (who won’t be a guitarist) who hups. If you have an instrument stuck in your gob then (as has already been said), you can use a visual cue like raising a leg or making eye contact.

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Place an air-horn underneath your foot to announce the change.

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By the way, the German word for air-horn is “Hupe”!

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The “hup”. the foot raise, the “look” have all been recently argued at length on the Session. Everybody seems to have rational thoughts on what works best. As for your guitars, well, how old are they? Sounds to me that their retorts, “we just won’t hup at all”, are really substitutes for “we want a juice box”.

You are the melody player, you get to decide, when to change tunes. It’s just not that hard for flute and whistle players to “hup” if that’s what they choose. Most flute players I know, including me, do it all the time.

Small exception, at one local session the guitarist is the one who “hups”. or “one mores”, but only because his voice carries over a sometimes large group and only when signaled by the one who started the set. Works pretty well. And hey, I kinda like the airhorn (or at least bicycle horn) idea.

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Thank you all so much for the comments and suggestions. I’m thinking seriously of having a bike horn under my foot! Love the “we want a juice box” comment – actually laughed out loud on that one. Nailed it!!

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I have no problem with someone else signalling a change or “one more” or even a new tune (if the mood is right). But then I’m not playing in unmanageable settings, with random people of unknown skill levels. I guess we’re lucky.

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Have you thought about having a melody player lead you through a set of tunes, and letting her/him do the “hupping” via eye contact and smiles?

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Usually it’s not a matter of when the change comes but rather *if* there is a change to the next tune.
So long as the B part (assuming a 2 part tune) is played the same number of times in each iteration
there are only 2 possibilities ~ keep playing the same tune or change to the next tune.

In any case it’s helpful when a melody player takes the lead. In that case it’s easier for other players
to follow melody rather than guess about what to play based on chords.

As to signals; eye contact works best for me. I’ve found once you begin using it it can be more effective
in session communication than calling out (Hup!) or raising a foot.

FWIW I can play flute or whistle and Hup! to indicate a change. Also, I can (when required) raise one foot
to signal a change, which I would time after the start of the last repeat, no later than the penultimate measure
& only keep it up long enough for the majority of players to see.

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Its very simple:
the person who starts the set leads the set.
he or she chooses the tunes.
a standard 3 times through each tune , is a good place to start, three tunes a set and generally keep it that way so its expected.

The only communication needed is if the set leader decides to stay longer in s tune, if its going so well or they can’t think of a tune etc.
It occasionally happens that a “ name player “or ego tripper,( and) railroads a set but its bad manners and rude.

the guilty culprits generally go down in every one elses estimation, not up…….
if the set leader panics they can hand the set to someone by sending desperate looks 🙂 rolling eyes head shaking, etc.

I think i dont know anyone who ’ hups’ ….When i lead a set i either choose standards that everyone knows , or i start with a tune no one knows play it a couple of times ( not 3) then go into a standard, then end on a real well known standard.

starting on a standard then going to a rarer tune is selfish and inconsiderate .

it means people who dont know have to stop and the overall music and spirit of the occasion suffers.
its simple effective dynamics , and courtesy to think of your partners and plan your sets in this manner.

if I think ; well everyone knows’ banish misfortune,’
start it is as the 2 nd tune. and no one joins in! it means 2 things,im playing with kids or beginners.
at least learn your standards before the fancy modern tunes, have a bit of respect for the roots!
If this happens i will only play it once, if that! i may just slip straight in to another bog standard , if they dont know that! im in the wrong session and its see ya later lads. 😎

Build the energy up in a session ! dont bring it down!!!
who wants to be that guy…. the face everyone winces when they are seen walking throgh the door , fiddle in hand…… glances exchanged and eyes down. do you think if we ignore him he will go away ?(people think.)

if this resonates with you… now maybe you know why 😎
Be sociable and considerate of others feelings, needs and desires, or be an ass.
cheers

oh and another thing, share the sets, take it in turns, even just round a circle clockwise.
Dont be a tune hog , however good you are , IMO sessions are not about jerking off in public, rather satisfying everyone, players and listeners. 🙂

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Good man Will, all good advice there.

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My advice, just feel blessed to have two willing souls that will play rhythm. Trust me, it could be worse.

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Yeah, there could be three.

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Every willing soul needs to play rhythm. Otherwise it’s just a random stream of notes.

Hup!

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Just to emphasise my last point from above, it is sadly all to common outside Ireland to see this ; a table of players basically ignoring each other, basically ignored by the crowd and in turn ignoring the crowd.
tediously blasting through tunes with next to no spirit , perhaps vieing hetween each other as to who is ‘best’
as if its a competition!
listen to each other, look at each other. be aware, alive! We will be in our graves quick enough as it is, make the best of what we have while we have it.

untill you can draw the crowd in with your music your still a beginner IMO or its a damn hard crowd 🙂

music is more than a mechanical repetition of noise( though youd be hard pressed explaining that to the rave generation! ) its like a Russian Doll.
dont be satisfied with just the outer layer, open it up, you might be surprised what you find in the middle.

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Good post, Will.

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I live outside Ireland, but I’ve never seen a session as described above.

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I live far from Ireland too, and see it all the time and that’s sad. It is my fundamental belief that music doesn’t happen till musicians play with each other. Nothing bores me more than to have to listen to several talented people all playing at he same time, and as if they were the only one playing. Even when they’re playing in perfect unison they may still not be playing as one.. Does that make sense? It’s hard to describe but very real and obvious when you hear it. A session is all about forming a close, even intimate, relationship with at least one other person. When that happens everybody, including a hard crowd, notices.

Yeah Will, I get it.

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Is the thread wandering away from the OP’s question?
In any case here’s a bit more along the same line from an interview w/Kevin Burke,
“One student commented on sessions where vast numbers of tunes would be strung together and Kevin replied, “I hate that. It’s not like a marathon. I really hate it when it becomes an endless litany of tunes, usually played in a pedantic way and the only thing is to prove you know yet another tune. I was at a session with Paddy Canny, the first time I met Paddy Canny, a great fiddle player from Clare, an older farmer. I listened to him when I was a kid and I was a big fan. I never met him until I was about 35 years of age and he was playing in a pub near his home and there was a bunch of other musicians there, two or three locals but five or six young fellows who were from elsewhere but their parents brought them along I think.

These young fellows were really good, they were probably fifteen, sixteen. They were still at the stage of the guy who knows 30 tunes is twice as good as the guy that knows 15 tunes. To prove they were really good they would play that little bit faster than everybody else. I was sitting down with Paddy Canny who is the very opposite in his temperament and his music and just about as I was getting bored with these young fellows, Paddy laid down his fiddle and he leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “I’m lost.” I thought “Yeah, I’m lost too.” You see he could eat these guys alive if he just put his mind to it. It’s not a test of endurance. I used to love playing with these older guys, these country guys because there was all kinds of humor and humorous things going on.“

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“starting on a standard then going to a rarer tune is selfish and inconsiderate .”

That’s an unusually strong sentiment there, Mr Evans. Who is to decide what is a “rare” tune? Personally I don’t mind it at all if a person drops in something new or rare into a set of standards. I like to build sets on the fly depending on who is in the room at the time. I like challenging myself to remember tunes other people know, and mix them into whatever set I’ve kicked off. However, that shouldn’t preclude me from throwing in a tune I personally like that others may not know. If somebody plays a tune I don’t know and it really inspires me, then that person just motivated me to learn a new tune. That’s not a bad thing, nor would I consider that person to be selfish for playing it.

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I love new or rarer tunes, but start with them , not in the middle of a set! have a bit of consideration for the others who may not be as strong players.
i can play all most any tune by the third time through and can play all night with anyone as a backer. its not about me.
if you think thats an unusually strong sentiment there you dont know me 😎 im pretty restrained here,Ive had enough warnings to last a lifetime!

thing is I say ,what others think! but wont say , unless theyre Dutch perhaps! 🙂 i dont mess around with my words, music or my life.

let the other players have a go, let them warm up and relax! how would you ( generdlly) like it if you were left on the outside nervously waiting to play a tune, only to be cut off at the second in a set. give then a chance,.
Its not hard to find a few standards to play to be sociable, there are hundreds to choose from.
start on the rare tune, then go standard and then let everyone join in for the last tune with a golden oldie.
the whole vibe of the session, of the pub, of the people will react.
if you show consideration, it allows the energy to flow, thats where the buzz comes from!!
its not the notes, or the rolls rtc or even the tunes!!
its the feeling , the spirit. the fun and enjoyment that people really react to.
the emotion in music.
emote: to express emotion .
have fun but let the others have fun too and the whole occasion will lift and everyone will feel it from the barman, to the drunks, to the Girls, to the landlord and everyone one in between.
Consciously try it like that, and at the end of the night if its not one of the best sessions ever, you can have your money back. 😉

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Mr Evans - as I’m wading through your last reply, I get the primary point you’re trying to make, which seems to be a focus on inclusiveness whenever possible. On this matter we agree. However, all your other sidebars about nervous, marginalized people getting cut off because somebody slips in a lesser known tune in a set presupposes that every player in the room knows the set list of every other player in the room. Again, one man’s rare tune is another’s bog standard, depending on the pub, town, or country you’re in. Although it’s a nice sentiment to build a set starting with a rare tune and finishing with common tune, in many cases, there’s just no way to know unless you’re playing in your regular session with a room full of familiar faces.

Sorry for the thread hijacking Just Whistle - “Hup!” - now back to your initial set of tunes.

Melody players should control the transitions in my humble opinion.

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Ya“know if I step back just a little I think Will and JNEejit pretty much say the same thing. The point is inclusiveness, in the choice of tunes and in the sense of playing as one. I pretty much know what’s on the tunelist of the people I often play with, we’ve been at it that long and I’ve gotten most of my book from them. Some of us have books of a few dozen tunes, others a few hundred. Knowing that, the goal is to find a way to include everybody (no one is marginalized) and yet not live in the realm of the lowest common denominator. One way is to give those with short books every opportunity to start sets and play enthusiastically with them. What an insult to play heartlessly along. Other players deserve better from you. Personally if I wanted to start a tune I got from someone else that they didn’t know I’d lead with it and move on to those we all know. I’ll be paying attention to their reactions and decide if I want to throw it out again another time. That seemed to be the way new tunes get added to the group. On the other hand if an unknown tune pops into my head in the middle of a set, I’ll go there. I’d likely not end a set with a tune nobody but me knows. That doesn’t feel right to me. From what I’ve read I don’t think anyone has hard feelings about either approach. I do think we all agree that hijacking a session, playing a one-man show is rude, a real buzz-kill, to say the least.

To further complicate matters we all agree that every session has a different set of common tunes. There’s a lot of overlap for sure, but I’ve often seen the reaction (and not meant rudely) “I thought everybody knew that one”. So maybe the answer is to not overthink the problem. Play “together” when you play together, play tunes you know and like occasionally, and don’t be “that guy” ever.

And yes, melody players get to drive the changes, most often the player who starts the set.

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who here doesnt know drowsy maggie? or who doesnt know silver spire? or the banshee ? any of the basic repertoir ? everyone knows these tunes surely !
sure if they dont know boys of blue hill and the cork hornpipe then what are they doing in a session? 🙂

if I start a set with duntroon, (who here knows it? Im curious, its a brilliant tune). then go into ’throw it accross the road ’ then finish with st Annes as a very random selection that makes a lot more sense than the other way round no?

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Even a high level session can build up with say 4 starting a tune , then a couple more joining in for the second tune and an old chestnut for the newbies at the end.
It pays back in dividends , the punters love it. the newbies appreciate it , it does you no harm and you get a good reputation as well, plus the landlord will happily pay for a lively healthy session that brings in the crowds …..
I mean why play in public if you pretend yr still in your bedroom with a CD player? !
theres more to music than dots on paper or notes in the air…. a lot more.
I agree you cant get it right every time but at least show a bit of spirit and generosity. IMO of course. 😎

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You’re right Ross - we are just talking in circles now.

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I usually signal a tune change at the point of the beginning of the last part of the tune or repeat of the last part. This gives people a chance to think about what’s coming next. I start looking around during the penultimate part seeing if anyone is paying attention. I hup if I fail to make eye contact with the other players… even if I’m playing flute. Sometimes the guitar player will see me attempting eye contact and failing and will help me out by letting out a “hup” if I’m on flute.

Usually the person who started the set of tunes is responsible for orchestrating changes. Usually it’s 3 times but if the parts don’t repeat it could go 5 or 6 times. Sometimes even tunes with repeating parts might go more than three times at the discretion of the person who started it.

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Will evans, it depends though. If it’s a regular session, then you know the other people’s usual tunes. The only way to introduce new ones and stop things going stale is to play them. You can throw in the odd new tune into familiar sets, but there’s no harm in playing a new set for a couple of weeks and seeing if people pick it up. If you do it all night, or keep doing it when no-one is biting and asking for the tune names or joining in, then you’re going to ruin things, but I personally quite like it when one of my friends plays a set I haven’t heard before.