Learning from notation.
Being very new to Irish music I have read a lot about learning tunes and about how received wisdom is not to do so from notation. I am definitely not new to music though. I am a pro recorder player and have played cello and trombone in orchestras and conducted and composed all of my life, which means that my approach to notation might be a little bit different to that experienced by some.
That is to say I look at the notation, hear it in my head, and play by ear what I am hearing. I could of course tell you what the notes are called but as part of the music this is pretty much irrelevant. And incidentally on a recorder play it any of the twelve keys available. Of course on keyless flute this a pretty much redundant skill.
Now I take people’s reservations about not learning tunes from notation because the style will not necessarily come with the knowing the notes but they do need to understand that in a lot of classical music this is equally true.
That notation is only a series of right notes with more or less the right length of notes. Conventions like shortening the last note in a slur can’t really sensibly be notated.
My real problem is not reading or even playing by ear. You play it and I can play it back absolutely no problem. The problem for me is remembering these tunes many of which to me sound very similar.
In fact give me a guitar or something else playing chords as a backing and I can improvise tunes that sound pretty much like the real thing but they are not because I have just made them up and I couldn’t play exactly the same thing even if I tried. Can someone tell me In a folk tradition where is the borderline between traditional time respected tunes and people playing them in lots of different ways and someone who starts with the few bars and then makes up,something
totally new with appropriate ornaments that fits with the bass and the chord instruments but really is not the same tune?