Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?

Re: Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?

1. It is what it is.

2. I thought we weren’t doing this any more?

3. Pop up a clip of yourself playing it. With soul?

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I guess this is what happens when Irish music meets showbiz - Corrs fans will think its great and wouldn’t know or care that legions of fiddlers the world over could play it a hundred times better

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I’m seconding Himself’s no. 3 suggestion.

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Chances are you " might?" be able to play it better, but I doubt if you’ll be payed as much for your efforts.

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I hope the backing band were paid well.

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I won’t comment on that video, but it reminds me of when I asked a friend (who is a professional sax player) for recommendations of sax players to listen to.

One of his recommendations was a guy who has Grammys and has played with big names and though his playing was technically impressive it left me cold.

So later I told my friend I had listened to so-and-so and he asks "what did you think?"

I told him how I felt, and he replied "yeh listening to that guy is like watching somebody do a math equation on a chalkboard."

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I think her playing is a bit pedestrian, with little in the way of dynamics, but at least it’s in tune and clean.

As for posting clips of people playing, there are good and bad examples, even of those players who are held in high regard.

Is this post mean-spirited? Possibly. It might have been better to post the clip with the question "what do you think of this?", rather than the "isn’t this soulless?" sentiment.

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I really want to know, what this ‘soul’ is.

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@Tat, I think the ‘soul’ mentioned here really is just meant to mean something like ‘life’, ‘lift’, ‘dynamics’, ‘balls’, ‘punch’, ‘swing’, etc etc…

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Reminds of a time in the 1950s when the Radio Eireann Light Orchestra often played a program of Ceili Music on the radio. All different arrangements of the tunes and I hated it….One thing about Sharon Corrs rendition. It’s straightforward and repetitive with no frills. Just the job if you are trying to learn the tune…….

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On the plus side, the Corrs have (if my memory serves) when asked, made the point they aren’t really trad musicians, and acknowledged they don’t really stack up against the greats. Which is commendable, and I don’t begrudge them a living.

But, it does piss me off that e.g. sometimes my non-ITM friends hear the Corrs play Toss the Feathers and because of commercial music telling them what is good rather than using their ears, assume that cos the Corrs are making mega-bucks, that it will be superior to e.g. Martin Hayes playing it. And even *after* being shown the other, will assume the Corrs version, is, inexplicably, better. Even after i pulled out my whistle and deconstructed the Corrs version and the Hayes version ….!!!!!! OK, that was an extreme example, but that has actually happened. The point is, people think that the Corrs is trad irish music, or more particularly its apotheosis. And i think the young ladies and fella in the Corrs would disagree with that themselves, they are a pop band from ireland, who occasionally play a couple of jigs or reels. I don’t blame them. I blame the big commercial thingy of plastic manufactured music which people are swamped by.

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Green eyed monster alert.
It is music.

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Your attempt at attacking this successful women who has for years entertained an maybe inspired other people to ITM really has left me feeling ill.

While I am not a Corr’s fan. Their style has its place in society and obviously there are a lot of people who enjoy this stuff.

Apparently your criticism reveals who is the soulless one..

So get off your high horse and go look in the mirror .

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Well that’s me telled. I’m glad they get rather a lot of money for this but I’ll buy tickets to see someone else.

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Now lads, don’t be too hard on the lass - she’s doing as well as any MIDI playback I’ve ever heard.

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I rather like the MIDI playback. Well, at least it makes me feel better about my playing…:-Q

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I think it is extremely unfair that she was made to get up on a stage and do something so obviously out of her comfort zone. The look of relief on her face at the end of that clip says a great deal (as does the blatant editing).

As for posting a discussion on a public forum inviting people to have a bash at her - that really is soulless. I wonder how many beginners have read this thread and judged their own playing accordingly?

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I thought the banjo playing was rather good…

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I myself am with Himself.

To judge soul? Not my job. I like what I like and pass on what I don’t like.

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Sean, I think that’s a better version.

Yes, she’s more relaxed, and the sound quality is much better too.

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Given your assessment I just don’t see the point of posting the clip!

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"As for posting a discussion on a public forum inviting people to have a bash at her - that really is soulless. I wonder how many beginners have read this thread and judged their own playing accordingly?"

I don’t know that that’s such a bad thing. I think this discussion would benefit a "beginner" plenty: by taking a more critical look at something he or she might have accepted without question.

I agree it’s not polite to criticize her - she’s a violinist trying to play ITM and her pain is clear. I feel sorry for her having to go through something so obviously painful. But I think this discussion can he helpful to just those "beginners" who may be looking for a better understanding of the genre.

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My question to the OP, assuming your intention is to be helpful for beginners, do you have any ideas or advice for the performer which might have made her playing soulful (hypothetically speaking)?

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"…do you have any ideas or advice for the performer which might have made her playing soulful (hypothetically speaking)?"

You asked the OP, but I’ll jump in and say that watching this clip might help a beginner to get a sense of why bowing is important to ITM. She’s using single bows for everything - this is nowhere near the way a trad player would bow this. I think her bowing accounts for much of the stiffness.

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I have a few things to say as a beginner. First off she could put some emphasis (lengthened or shortened) on a few notes to make it feel less robotic. She also could have added a few more triplets and ornaments in there. Added some variations perhaps. Also she could have put a bit more energy and emotion into the performance . These are just things that you can add but aren’t 100% necessary. The main thing that I’ve noticed that I personally like about the players I listen to is that they put alot and I mean ALOT of feeling into every note. Something that the person in this performance doesn’t really do IMO. I don’t know I’m just a beginner so take what I say with a grain of salt.

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Nice points, Kellie.

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Thanks Ergo! I really thought it would sound condescending glad it didn’t.

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The emphasis is implied. I inferred it to be on the terms "the" & "most".

Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?

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"Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?"

Probably not.

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Hindsight?

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Kellie,

You’re a sharp observer of the music. Hardly a beginner.

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I agree!

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Fair play.

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"Hindsight?"

I don’t know if this was directed at me, but No there’s no hindsight for me. I never said that it was the worst or most soulless performance.

Also, thanks everybody!

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I only just now listened to the clip of Sharon Corr playing in the original YouTube post.

My first impression is that she had to walk onto that stage, with lots of attention, a good band, very good banjo and plenty of lights & cameras. Good gawd, how is any of that natural? How does one warm up? How do you deal w/butterflies in your stomach? How do you not throwup?

It’s not the easiest gig.

What’s easy is watching a YouTube clip of a fiddler’s opening tune and working out everything which was wrong in her first set. Definitely unfair to her if she played several sets after the one we watched.

If this discussion is instructive that is grand. I don’t see how the OP’s question is fair. Is it?

I don’t think it’s fair because I did not experience the entire show. But I have seen/heard some of the best trad players begin a concert on the wrong foot and manage to recover from there admirably.

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First I don’t play either violin or fiddle, but I certainly would never venture to attempt anything musical in, what, four inch heels!!

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Four inch heels? No postie, you’ve got the wrong discussion , we already have a current thread running on footwear for fiddling. Plenty of soul in that guys shoes!

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I disagree Gobby, the thread pertaining to four-inch heels should be the thread about lift!

Re: Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?

Ah, are we going to be talking about in-souls then?



I’ll get my coat then, shall I?

Re: Is this the candidate for most soulless performance?

No.

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The main issue for me is not whether this performance has ‘soul’ or not - we all have bad days, days when the effort and concentration of getting the notes right leave no room for feeling. What irks me more is that she sounds like she has never listened to traditional music in her life (she’d probably make a good orchestral player). Perhaps she has always been too busy with her professional (and family?) life to be immersing herself in a ‘new’ genre of music. But then why would she go out there and play a poor imitation of that genre? Judging by the pained expression on her face, probably because her manager told her it was a good idea… and, from a commercial perspective, the manager was probably right.

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"I agree it’s not polite to criticize her"

She’s earning enough not to care in the slightest what a bunch of no-marks on the Internet think either way. Why should politeness be an issue?

It was a technically clean but utterly rhythmically lifeless performance, I don’t see any need to look for excuses for her. I imagine the audience were entertained, the performers got paid, so as long as no-one decides to use this as an instruction video no one got hurt, did they?

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Sharon Corr is far from the worst out there.
Here’s my nominee. And don’t say it’s unfair/unkind/whatever to post this - the musician herself posted this on a trad Irish Facebook page in an apparent bid to invite admiration. She makes the Corrs sound like Bobby Casey.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzKXAZEGny8

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I actually think that’s quite a feat!

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Dave, do you know which Facebook page she posted this on? She posts a lot on Facebook Violinists.

I think that clip was just a bit of fun, after the real gig - and not meant to be taken seriously.

She is a very fine violinist, actually.

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She posted it to a group called ‘Traditional Irish Music’, Jim. I do not doubt her ability as a violinist for one second.

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It would be better if she could, you know, dance.

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I thought it was an interesting and entertaining rhythm to apply to those notes.

It reminds me of something but I can’t recall what. Some other folk tune worked into an orchestral piece I think.

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Sean nos, right?

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David50 this? Percy Grainger’s work was really quite something wonderful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTMcSdjKt_8


As for that concert violinist’s video of the Swallowtail Jig: I’ve never really been a fan of all that ignorant prancing about that people feel has to happen anytime they play a jig. Irish dance is a very complex and ornate art form, the video smacks of pure ignorance.

For the performer to then share the vid into such a trad specific facebook group is odd~ again total ignorance shown there.

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Yeah, I must agree with irishfiddleCT about the stupid dancing while fiddling thing. It’s bad enough when Natalie McMaster does it, but the above example is truly cringe-worthy.

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To be fair on Natalie MacMaster she is a renowned Cape Breton fiddle player and Cape Breton stepdancer who is totally authentic in her traditional performance. Big difference.

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Yes, I’m actually a fan of Natalie McMaster, and she is unquestionably very talented in both her music and her dance. It’s just a personal opinion that I prefer it when she separates the two. I liked it at first, but I feel like she overdoes it. I hadn’t actually intended to compare that above woman with Natalie in terms of any talent.

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[*For the performer to then share the vid into such a trad specific facebook group is odd~ again total ignorance shown there.*]

Caroline Adomeit-Gadd -

She tends to share her playing in a variety of groups online - Facebook Violinists, Facebook Fiddlers’ Association, Violin Players, and a load of others.

As a violinist, she’s just trying to get some exposure, that’s all.

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Dunno about the performance, but the clapping was pretty wooden

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If playing the fiddle and dancing at the same time was good enough for Michael Coleman…

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"If playing the fiddle and dancing at the same time was good enough for Michael Coleman…" doesn’t mean it’s good for the viewing audience. And that woman in question is no Michael Coleman.

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"As a violinist, she’s just trying to get some exposure, that’s all."

As a violinist, she should stick to violining.

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Is that Rule 19, Ergo?

;)

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It’s not even good violining. There’s been a tendency in this thread to "we shouldn’t be rude to this person, it’s hard to stand up in front of a crowd and make music" but for goodness’ sake, all those people paid good money. I don’t necessarily see the value in posting simply to point out how awful something is, but I certainly don’t see the point in trying to pretend that this is not awful.

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AB:

Yes. And parts of Rule 26 as well.

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What is Rule 26?

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After Rule 25 and before 27.

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Is one of them ‘we don’t talk about them’?

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Yes. Oops - I just broke a rule.

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… ergo, it’s a bit late for that now, bunny 🙂

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Just a bit of perspective on the Caroline Adomeit video - on the Traditional Irish Music group on Facebook, it got 14 Likes, 1 Love, and not a single negative comment.

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> I don’t necessarily see the value in posting simply to point out how awful something is, but I certainly don’t see the point in trying to pretend that this is not awful.

I see your point. Good art needs good criticism (and I’d argue it’s something that traditional music lacks to a certain extent), and I mean criticism in the intelligent review sense. I’d be very happy to see someone like Jim post a commentary on the original video, say, from which I’m sure I’d learn a great deal that I wouldn’t have gotten simply from watching the video.

I don’t think posting a video for the purposes of letting us all have a bit of a laugh at it comes anywhere close to that.

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I kinda liked it!

I’ll have to try that while playing Irish pipes!

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Calum, I’ll tell you what I find distasteful about this performance. Every note is the same. Same weight, same inflection, same importance. A classical violinist would find this as unacceptable as a fiddler would. The life in the music comes from making the notes actually do something instead of just standing there in a row. What exactly you make them do varies from genre to genre and music to music across humanity, but they’ve got to do something, go somewhere.

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"… ergo, it’s a bit late for that now, bunny 🙂"

Never too late, sweetheart 🙂

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I thought Valentine’s day was finished!

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"ergo" = therefore, "bunny" is a reference to Alpinerabbit’s last comment 🙂

[*I’d be very happy to see someone like Jim post a commentary on the original video, say, from which I’m sure I’d learn a great deal that I wouldn’t have gotten simply from watching the video.*]

I pretty much agree with what’s been said already. I do think her playing is a bit pedestrian, and laboured as well, with little in the way of dynamics or ornamentation. If she had made her bows a bit shorter, it would have made a difference - even putting a regular accent at the beginning of each bar would have helped a bit. You know, some people go to the other extreme and play a tune far too quickly, crammed tight with ornaments and little in the way of dynamics, so it ends up as a note salad, and not much more.

On the plus side, at least she’s playing at a reasonable tempo, cleanly and in tune. I don’t know much about her musical background, but she’s obviously a competent player of the instrument, and possibly just pattern-locked. I’m sure yer avearge punter would find it to be just fine.

On a little aside, I think it’s important not to judge a player just on the basis of a single clip.

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She is a perfect example of a person who knows about Irish music but doesn’t know it.

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Entertaining is sometimes vastly different from playing great music. Look at all the pop musicians who aren’t qualified to pack the lunches for many session and jam players in the world.

The other thing is ‘soul’. Seems to be a little elusive to define. I remember reading a post years ago about two of my favorite five string bluegrass banjo players, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka, in which they were described as ‘soul-less’. It astounded me; I consider them to be two of the most passionate players in music (if one were to allow, as I do, passion to be assigned to banjo playing).

I suppose one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

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I don’t think it so much soulless. It’s evident that she’s getting into the tune and enjoying the playing of it even if it’s not of a very high trad standard standard. The corrs version of toss the feathers is pretty much an arrangement copy of the toss the feathers version of the tune (love it when a band of any type does a tune or song of their own name) and yes, agreed with whoever else said so, this is a good version for learning the tune from. I’ve managed a couple of bars after one listen and it’s one I’d never tried before nor picked out for specific listening tho heard plenty. It’s the sister bouncing round on the tin whistle gets on my tits, gonna get a whistle thru the roof of her mouth one day if she’s not careful. Ever seen the bad film the boys and girls from County care? Dunno which one of them it was but they looked uncomfortable in session scenes

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And yer one bouncing about during swallowtail irritates too… The clapping drowned her out mainly. Bouncing fiddlers do my head in and it is certainly not jealousy, moving and getting into it yes, not a problem but full on jigging and hair shaking no. It just makes a thing look very fake and the sound average no matter how good they are it does not for whatever music they are playing.

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Myles said- ‘She’s earning enough not to care in the slightest what a bunch of no-marks on the Internet think either way. Why should politeness be an issue?’
Wow. Are you assuming that money equals happiness and wealthy individuals don’t feel anything?
I doubt she doesn’t care what people think of her. It’s human nature.