How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

This might be a slightly contentious topic.

There have always been diversions, drifts etc in the various discussions here but it is clear that many of the more recent topics, tune submissions, and recordings etc have little relevance to the original ethos of this site.

Like one or two others here, I feel a little less than comfortable about some of the content here although I’ve also been guilty of one or two "abberations" myself.

However, as I said elsewhere, there can be "grey areas" and the site itself is probably robust enough to handle a few "peculiarities". Hopefully, it’s still fairly clear, or should be, to most members what its main purpose is.

There are a few members though who now just seem to look upon The Session as a general "folk(I use the term very loosely too) music" site and I don’t suppose we can do much to change their outlook but does it matter?

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

In a modern beautiful global world of culture, it is bound to happen.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I think as long as we can discuss topics and voice objections and disagreements with mutual respect and good will, we’ll be ok. But I too have been concerned about this site turning into another Mudcat, or dominated by people who confuse Welsh, English, Scottish, American Old Time, Cape Breton etc. with Irish music as if “it’s all the same, innit?”

I recently responded to a request for notation for an old Irish-American vaudeville song, and being a sucker for all things vaudeville and dance hall, was happy to help out with a transcription. Only then did I read the ‘Blantyre Explosion’ thread and saw the confusion of folks as to why a folk song wasn’t in the data base, seemingly oblivious to the differences between song and tune. Made me feel guilty and like a bit of an enabler.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I think Jeremy will determine the limits how he sees fit. I know I once made a post that was in poor taste and it disappeared relatively quickly so I know that he’s actively monitoring what goes on here on his site. You don’t see much in the way of of "pirate music", sea shanties, ponderous celtic themes from tv shows etc so I would go so far as to say that the general operating level of thesession is mainly Irish with derivative styles of trad found elsewhere.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

There has always been a little drift here and there, for as long as I’ve been reading the Mustard Board (which is longer than I’ve been posting). I don’t get the impression that it’s becoming worse, but then I don’t read every thread.

Something to keep in mind, is that many famous ITM artists and bands will often include material in performance and recordings that isn’t strictly Irish. Whether out of boredom, an intent to expand their audience, or because they’re genuinely interested in other styles. Like Altan’s recent obsession with the links between ITM and OldTime music. Or Kevin Burke’s digressions into Breton or even Venezuelan tunes. This leads to a mix of tunes in the database when people transcribe the album tracks, and a mix of tunes talked about in the Discussion section.

Personally, I enjoy the crossover discussion of Scottish, Cape Breton, Shetland, Breton, etc. tunes. I’m not aware of any other site than the Mustard where instrumental music in those genres is widely discussed, and people are so knowledgeable about it. It doesn’t diminish the core focus on ITM.

At least with folk songs (the ones we wouldn’t expect to show up in an ITM session), we can be a little more proactive in steering the discussion to other sites like Mudcat. Not attempting to quash the conversation, but just a helpful note that a person might find more discussion and interest on Mudcat or elsewhere. Not everyone knows about these other sites.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I tend to think of the forums and the tune archives as separate entities, but you’re right - they’re intertwined in the identity of this site. So I don’t usually mind when the forums stray a bit, but I wouldn’t necessarily like to see the tune archive cluttered with widely different styles… To me, discussions about playing different kinds of music can still be useful for learning things, which is why I don’t mind some discussion drift. But, like Carl says, it is really up to Jeremy to determine the limits, since he’s the only one that could enforce them…

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I must apologize because I am probably guilty of doing much of the above. I sometimes get carried away because I don’t really have anyone else to talk to about trad (any kind of trad) in real life. As I had mentioned on an earlier thread, though, once I saw that others were adding English and Welsh folk to the recordings section, I felt that was a bit of a "green light" for me to do the same.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Apart from playing style, isn’t there a huge overlap between Scottish, English and Irish melodies? It seems a bit daft to have to wait on some famous Irish musician or band to canonize a non Irish tune…

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

It’s Jeremy’s house. End of.

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"Apart from playing style, isn’t there a huge overlap between Scottish, English and Irish melodies?"

Yes, there is. But what is significant is the way each tradition treats the tunes, to the point where they become distinct Scottish, English or Irish versions, often different enough to be regarded as different tunes. It is interesting to compare different settings from different places, to observe their differences and their similarities. But it is a shame to lose sight of what makes a particular version of a tune sound ‘Scottish’, ‘English’ or ‘Irish’. Playing style is part of it, but tunes get ‘weathered’ by being played in a certain way over time, so they bear an permanent imprint of the style - and if that same tune gets re-absorbed back into the tradition it from which it was originally borrowed, it may well be considered a different tune from its forebear.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"There are a few members though who now just seem to look upon The Session as a general "folk (I use the term very loosely too) music" site and I don’t suppose we can do much to change their outlook but does it matter?"

Johnny, I suspect that I might be one you may include in this category.

To your question, "I don’t suppose we can do much to change their outlook but does it matter?".

There is likely no changing my outlook on this, and trying to change it probably won’t be productive for you or me. Nor would the opposite scenario likely be fruitful either.

I thoroughly enjoy Irish music, as well as, some Scottish, some English, some Quebec, some contra (not sure how else to label this one), plenty of Newfoundland, and little bits of other related idioms within the folk realm. As far as I see it, they are all different in their own ways, but they are all close cousins, to varying degrees. Some might be first cousins, some might be third cousins.

There’s also overlap in the tunes themselves, some that get integrated into the various traditions. Sometimes I prefer the Irish version of a tune, sometimes the Quebec version, etc. etc.. Take St. Anne’s reel, for instance. It has a Irish-y way of playing, and a Canadian/Quebec way.

When I post tunes/recordings here on thesession.org, my intent is simply to share music I’ve enjoyed, and sure, maybe not everyone will also enjoy it all, but I’m sure at least a few people over the years to come will. I do enjoy songs as well, and I recognize this is a tune website, so my tune/recording posts have been strictly tunes/albums with at least some tunes, rather than albums of solely songs or song abc postings.

Personally, I feel uncomfortable with this topic of non-Irish vs. Irish music, for the exact opposite reason Johnny and some others do. Which is interesting.

The push back on "non-Irish" (but related tunes/idioms of folk) feels exclusive to me. I know all I want is to feel part of the community by people who enjoy similar music, and at times it can feel like being excluded for liking something similar but not exactly the same as ITM. Have experienced this both here, and at sessions. Isn’t one of the cores of this tradition about community, about being inclusive? ITM is already pretty niche as it is, excluding its’ cousins in Scottish/English/etc. makes it even more niche.

On the opposite end of things, I’ve come to realize that the "cousins" of ITM might feel exclusive to those who like/love mostly Irish music. Not everyone likes this trend of expanding borders to ITM, and I may or may not have a decent understanding of why this might be … like the deeper reasons, the personal ones.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but for those who are pretty much strictly into Irish and not really much of the "cousins", the introduction of lots of non-Irish cousins can feel a bit exclusive to you? One reason being, if you know mostly Irish tunes and someone plays say a Quebec tune, you may feel excluded if you don’t know the tune & cannot pick it up quickly enough to join in? Is that at least part of the deeper reason, wanting the sessions to be inclusive to everyone?

In regards to this site, it represents the global ITM community, and as such, it seems natural that the music here would reflect the music played at Irish sessions. Many of the tunes here certainly will not be played locally for each of us, but at some Irish session, those same tunes will have been played occasionally or regularly at some point in time. So I would think this site is more far reaching into the cousins of Irish traditional music than the average Irish session, given it encompasses many different regions of the world where the Irish sessions are.

At the end of the day it’s Jeremy’s decision what is acceptable here and not. I’m grateful for the great resource and community that this site is, for both Irish and Irish-cousins.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

FWIW, I don’t think these are the same thing: "Isn’t one of the cores of this tradition about community, about being inclusive?" - I think one of the core parts of the irish music tradition is community, but I don’t think inclusivity is inherent in that.

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

NfldWhistler: "Correct me if I’m wrong, but for those who are pretty much strictly into Irish and not really much of the "cousins", the introduction of lots of non-Irish cousins can feel a bit exclusive to you?"

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it’s not always about feeling excluded. Not everyone here has been playing this music all their lives, so many of us are in learning mode with this music. Or even lifelong learning mode for the old-timers. There is an opportunity cost in spreading oneself too thin, if you’re trying to learn a specific style of music.

Personally, I’m one of those distracted cosmopolitan types. I play a mix of roughly 60% Irish, 20% Scottish, 15% Cape Breton, and 5% Breton tunes. And one Venezuelan waltz (thanks, Kevin Burke!). This means I’ll never be as good a player of Irish trad as I would be if that was my only focus. That’s my decision and I realize the trade-offs. I can certainly respect someone who wants to focus only on Irish trad. None of us lives forever, and there is only so much time to attempt proficiency in a given style of music.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

You focus on Irish trad and end up playing the Tarbolton anyway, so what’s the feckin’ point in losing sleep over it?

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

On one hand, I suppose I can understand where these who only want this site to be strictly "Irish" are coming from. I have just started getting into Lithuanian and German folk as well, and would never consider adding or posting about any recordings from these traditions.
On the other hand, I think negative comments on or about recordings that aren’t Irish are not necessary, and don’t get anyone anywhere. It’s ultimately Jeremy’s idea whether or not he wants to keep a recording, regardless of what any other posters think (positively or otherwise).

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Thanks for all the responses so far.

Although some of the input on the site certainly "puzzles" me, I am still fairly tolerant and I do think the site is so well established and with a strong enough identity that no real harm will come to it as a result. I certainly don’t worry about the overall content being "diluted" to any great extent.

Anyway, as others have pointed out, it’s up to Jeremy to decide what is acceptable or not.

@NfldWhistler
I wasn’t actually thinking about yourself and I’ve no objection to traditional tunes from other areas or even new compositions in the trad idiom finding their way here. There is, of course, overlap between the music of Scotland, Ireland, Cape Breton, Scandinavia and so on. Also, singing is very much part of the tradition too and it’s natural that songs will be discussed here too from time to time.

However, I don’t necessarily wish to see songs added to the tune section unless their melodies are also generally played as "tunes" in their own right. Also, it is much more useful to submit recordings where at least some of the album content comprises "tune sets".

As I say, I’m still fairly easy going about it myself but I’ve noticed quite a few posts from both sides in recent weeks to the effect of "What is this doing here?" or "Why shouldn’t this be here?". Some have been a little "sniping", unfortunately, which is a shame.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Tricky one, as I guess that I have downloaded a number of tunes form here that are NOT Irish: Scottish, Scandinavian, Breton, Canadian, American, even some people’s own compositions, and am thankful for the opportunity to acquire them. Having only been a follower of this site for relatively few years compared with some, I note an increasing tolerance of these non-ITM items: if you look back at some of the older posts from 12-15 years ago, people who ventured to post anything non-ITM got firmly stamped upon!
I agree that the site should probably not expand into songs, unless, as you say, the song tunes are played in their own right as standalone non-sung tunes. Mudcat is a huge and welcome resource for song lyrics, but not all of the songs there by far have a tune posted with them.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Define ‘Irish’ then.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Right, thank you for the clarification Johnny.

I’ve had a few of those types of comments come my way ("you shouldn’t post that here"), for postings that are not too far off from "Irish", hence my response. Not sure what you mean by "sniping".

Conical, that’s a fair reason for focusing on one or two specific realms of folk. It takes time to build your repertoire, there’s only so much time to do so, and we each gravitate to certain types of tunes more than others. I don’t see it as a reason to be dis-pleased with others putting non-Irish out there though.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Perhaps the stuff on this forum is ‘nominally’ Irish. And since Ireland is a tiny, tiny bit of the British Isles/ Europe (or wotteffah!) the global view from a distance is gonna blur the edges with other parochial cultures such as Scottish, Welsh, London und so writer. In the same way that some wrap South Asian culture (w.g. food and music) from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan et cetera into ‘Indian’!
And anyway, in my experience, the actual, real, live Irish music in the pubs of South London is at least strong enough to stand carrying the occasional Morris, Bulgarian or shijt original composition.
The persons that get purist and protective are tending towards sentimentality and old skool nationalism.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I am guilty as charged.. I have posted both topics and links to music that is not traditional irish, I have even posted links to a couple tunes of my own. My recent link was removed pretty quickly and to be honest I understand that (it was a cover of "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx played by myself on dobro and low whistle). I got a bit carried away.
I use this site very much. I read almost every single discussion and I have learned tons of stuff about learning irish music and learning music in general. I dont go to sessions (there’s none to go to) but I enjoy reading about other peoples experiences in sessions. I don’t see any harm in the discussions getting a bit sidetracked from time to time, but I agree that the tune section should be kept "traditional".

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

It very much is!

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

To me (an outsider, not Irish) the purpose of this site has always been clear: to provide a source for and discussion of the music that one would encounter at a typical "Irish session".

It’s called "The Session" after all.

Well, then, what’s "a typical Irish session"?

We can do a deep dive into semantics etc etc but using common sense I think we all know what a typical Irish session is.

As far as what’s allowed, that’s the site-owner’s business.

But it seems to me that other genres have their own sites, and it would be redundant to repeat their material here.

Re: …original purpose?

thesession.org began as a (very) small group. thesession.org’s original purpose was to share tunes & that is still happening for anyone who comes here to meet, greet & share. Inevitably those who came before may feel discomfort as the group grows. Yet the sharing continues. There are good days & bad days.
The most important thing is to share what is good & talk about what makes us uncomfortable so
*it* doesn’t become multiple points of contention eroding what thesession.org has to offer the lot of us.
Ben

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Thanks for the link AB.

Interesting that on even the very first recording submission, there was a debate as to whether the music was Irish or "Celtic"…. :-P

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

AB "Yet the sharing continues. "

Yes, I agree. We can all still do the very things which we always did here and the facilities have also been enhanced too.
There are and always have been what I would describe as "distractions" but we don’t really need to check out threads, tunes, recordings, events etc which are obviously of no interest or relevance(Members views will obviously differ, of course).
Arguably, this thread also falls into the above, of course. :-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I have posted a fair number of Scottish, Cape Breton and a couple Québecois tunes, and I’ve posted Scottish, Cape Breton, and contra recordings. My general reasoning is that these three styles have a preponderance of music that blends well with Irish music. My feeling is, if it sounds like a reel or a jig and has clearly-defined parts, it’s good enough, because one might hear it at a session or because the tune is great and deserves to be spread. As far as recordings, I do try to limit my submissions to albums with tune sets, and particularly to albums which have multiple tunes that already link (some Scottish, CB and even contra recordings fall into this category). I’m not very into English or Welsh trad at this point, so I don’t know whether I’d consider posting tunes from those traditions. I certainly would not be posting German or Italian or anything else. I think there is a limit where one might not consider a style related enough to ITM to post things from that style, although I’m not sure where that line is exactly. But again, it’s Jeremy’s decision in the long run what happens to all of this content.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

There seems to be a general consensus that Cape Breton, Scottish, Shetland and Quebecois music [though each having its own individual sound] are so entwined with Irish trad that it would be counter productive to even try to seperate them - other less closely related forms, Breton, Klezmer, Bluegrass, etc might get the occasional look in but its only ever a minor diversion. This leads me to my particular point, over the May weekend one of the local morris teams played an English jig that I took a liking to but no one knew its name - I debated posting the ABC here [I know there are a few members who are morris fans] but decided against it for the various reasons already stated above - Jeremy may well have allowed it but I felt it was probably stretching diversity too far…………..

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

‘Personally, I enjoy the crossover discussion of Scottish, Cape Breton, Shetland, Breton, etc. tunes. I’m not aware of any other site than the Mustard where instrumental music in those genres is widely discussed, and people are so knowledgeable about it. It doesn’t diminish the core focus on ITM.’ - @Conical Bore, above.

I agree with this. Well said.

Tunes and songs have cross-fertilised between Scotland & Ireland and England & Ireland since the Middle Ages. One of the Child Ballads I studied, The Maid and the Palmer, exists in a seventeenth century northern English manuscript, in a fragment remembered by Sir Walter Scott from his childhood in the later eighteenth century, and in versions collected in the later twentieth century from Irish Travellers - it was a ‘secret song’ of theirs, passed down through the generations.

And at ‘Irish’ pub sessions of recent years, we find Scandinavian tunes, East European tunes, American tunes, and Klezmer swirling around and increasing the public stock of harmless pleasure, in Dr Johnson’s phrase.

On this site, from the Sunday update, I found out about a twentieth-century pipe tune & could learn about its origin & hear the midi & print out the music. It is now my husband’s favourite tune - he is a Scot with Irish ancestry and his Irish roots are in Donegal, which has a special tune and playing style relationship with Scotland.

What a wonderful resource The Session’s Tune Section is. In our house, I can learn by ear, but my husband needs the sheet music, for our own personal daily ‘session’ of fiddle and concertina.

Not only that, but there are members of this site who know a thing or two not only about ITM but also about Scottish & trans-Atlantic traditions, or northern English barn dances or whatever. I don’t think it detracts from the site to have these related areas represented, any more than it detracts from a classical music site I belong to, which also has sub-forums for jazz and film music.

It would be a shame to lose the Irish emphasis - but it would be a greater shame to ‘narrrow’ the site down, and probably impossible in any case, given the cultural exchanges & influences which have always been there, and now more than ever.

Thanks, Jeremy, for this fabulous & unique site.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@Christy Taylor, I wish you’d posted your English jig.

One of the well-known dance tunes popular in the English tradition, The Princess Royal, may or may not be a descendant of an Irish tune, Miss McDermot, which may or may not be a Carolan composition.

It really is difficult to build walls between traditional musics, and should we do it anyway?

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

As @Fiddle Aunt says, my roots are from Donegal. One style of playing is to be a Kerr’s man i.e. somebody who knew all of Kerr’s Merry Melodies which is mainly Scottish. This was in part because of the tradition of moving to Scotland for work. Another strand is the Highlander or strathspey played in reel time with little snap. There is also the tradition of playing higher positions again borrowed from the Scots style. Much of this was deprecated by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann who wanted a more "Irish" style. This discussion seems to be suggesting that we adopt a purist approach to music selecting only the "real" Irish whatever that may be.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"It really is difficult to build walls between traditional musics, and should we do it anyway?"

For me, it is not about building walls, but about appreciating the (penetrable, crumbly and mobile) walls that already exist. I enjoy various forms of traditional music, some closely related to Irish music, some not (and some not traditional at all). Where there is overlap in repertoire, I enjoy the different ways in which each tradition shapes the same tune. Whilst I will happily play Irish, Quebecois, Galician and Klezmer tunes in the same session (if it fits the particular session protocol), I like, as far as I am able, to be faithful to the tradition behind the tune - and I would get just as much enjoyment from a ‘purist’ session in any one of those traditions (although in any tradition other than Irish, I am likely to be doing a lot more listening than playing). That said, however, I find it very convenient that I can look up non-Irish tunes in the database here. ;-) So I suppose I sit uncomfortably on the fence…

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@CreadurMawnOrganig - since I am not suggesting that the main emphasis on The Session should not be on Irish Music, I am on the fence with you.

But traditional music works by being changed & influenced.
People are composing ‘Irish tunes’ today - it’s just that we know the names of the composers - and inevitably changes will occur in the style because of the influence of other musical culture and fashions.

I say, embrace that. And celebrate the glories of the musical past too.

Irish Traditional Music is and should be a ‘Living Tradition’.
Long may it thrive.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"This discussion seems to be suggesting……."

That wasn’t my intention behind starting this discussion. As you will see from my own tune submissions and other inputs over the years, I enjoy most "related" music(s) and my own repertoire comprises Scottish, Irish and beyond. So, I’m certainly not suggesting that all the submissions should be "Pure Irish".

However, I’d personally prefer that this should remain a "tunes" site and that these should be either traditional, composed in that idiom, or generally accepted and played by traditional musicians. That should give us all plenty of scope!

Songs, traditional or otherwise, and other genres of music are also part of the lives of many members here and I see no reason why reference can’t be made to them from time to time in the passing within discussions and so on but that should be as far as it goes.

Of course, as has been said quite a few times, it’s up to Jeremy as to what is allowed.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Huh, I had just started a post with the same quote from Fiddle Aunt and gone on to refer to CreadurMawnOrganig’s post of yesterday. But CreadurMawnOrganig just said it better.

My concern when people talk of ‘crossover’ is that there is a danger of things degenerating (my view) into some sort of ‘Celtic blur’ and the interesting bits getting forgotten. Discussing the differences (e.g. the things the The Pianist mentions above) helps me recognise them and we couldn’t discuss them without going beyond Irish tunes and style.

It bugs me (and others a lot more) when, at an Irish session in England, people play single jigs in a lumpy English style. But it also bugs me when at a more ‘English’ session people play rants like Irish polkas. French tunes learned from Mike Mcgoldrick recordings are another thing - he knows what he is doing changing the style and it sounds good - some of us may not know until it is pointed out.

On the other hand, playing rants like Irish polkas can be fun…

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

From Conical bore.. "Personally, I enjoy the crossover discussion of Scottish, Cape Breton, Shetland, Breton, etc. tunes. I’m not aware of any other site than the Mustard where instrumental music in those genres is widely discussed, and people are so knowledgeable about it. It doesn’t diminish the core focus on ITM."

Christy Taylor "There seems to be a general consensus that Cape Breton, Scottish, Shetland and Quebecois music [though each having its own individual sound] are so entwined with Irish trad that it would be counter productive to even try to separate them -

I agree with both of these, and I don’t know where you could really begin to draw any sensible, workable boundaries. I don’t want to anyway. If a tune has been moved around and adopted and then taken on a different life within another tradition, what are we to do…. vote on if a tune is ‘Irish’ enough? I value this site, and for some of the other related traditions I definitely do not know of an equivalent…. so we make this place work. I think the emphasis here is still predominately Irish, and there is a good mix of related stuff. There is a ton of information here,much of which I will never get to or look at. I dig for what I AM interested in, and leave the rest of it aside.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@FiddleAunt I got some negative reactions a few years back for asking about a Bill Monroe tune so I tread warily these days!
ps there was an interesting discussion last week about the Princess Royal - did you see it?

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@Johnny Jay, Melody Player - I am glad to read your post above.

It would be sad if The Session lost its special flavour of ITM. I am sure we all agree on that.

But what are you actually suggesting then?
That Scottish, Cape Breton, American tunes etc are part of the Session scene and The Session site, but that ‘songs’ are somehow a different category and should be restricted by Jeremy?

You say,
‘Songs, traditional or otherwise, and other genres of music are also part of the lives of many members here and I see no reason why reference can’t be made to them from time to time in the passing within discussions and so on but that should be as far as it goes.’

As far as what goes?
As we all know, songs are composed using dance tunes, and the tunes of songs are used as dance tunes, and are often part of a traditional session.

I honestly don’t think there’s a danger of people forgetting that this site is primarily about Irish Traditional Music with the focus being on Tunes - thanks to Jeremy.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@christy taylor - no, I missed the discussion of the Princess Royal & will look into it.
Thank you.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I didn’t read the post I am quoting before I posted last, and I wish I had.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
‘From Conical bore.. "Personally, I enjoy the crossover discussion of Scottish, Cape Breton, Shetland, Breton, etc. tunes. I’m not aware of any other site than the Mustard where instrumental music in those genres is widely discussed, and people are so knowledgeable about it. It doesn’t diminish the core focus on ITM."

Christy Taylor "There seems to be a general consensus that Cape Breton, Scottish, Shetland and Quebecois music [though each having its own individual sound] are so entwined with Irish trad that it would be counter productive to even try to separate them -

I agree with both of these, and I don’t know where you could really begin to draw any sensible, workable boundaries. I don’t want to anyway. If a tune has been moved around and adopted and then taken on a different life within another tradition, what are we to do…. vote on if a tune is ‘Irish’ enough? I value this site, and for some of the other related traditions I definitely do not know of an equivalent…. so we make this place work. I think the emphasis here is still predominately Irish, and there is a good mix of related stuff. There is a ton of information here,much of which I will never get to or look at. I dig for what I AM interested in, and leave the rest of it aside.’
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Excellent post, @Adrian W.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@Fiddle Aunt

Not so convinced about "American" tunes :-) but, even there, there is still overlap. After all, the "old timey" music is closely related to Scottish and Irish music. There’s also Scandinavian music, of course, and that of Brittany, Galicia, and so on.

"songs are composed using dance tunes, and the tunes of songs are used as dance tunes"

Of course. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the site that melodies of songs are fine if they are regularly played as "tunes" in sessions, recordings, and elsewhere. Arguably, it’s OK if one or more members enjoy playing them even if they aren’t too common. After all, quite a few of the tunes are already obscure.

However, I’m not sure if just transcribing a melody from a song just for the sake of it is that useful. I also wouldn’t go down the road of submitting song lyrics in the tune section either(It is possible and there are one or two there already but not many).

Anyway, as I say, it’s not up to me. :-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

@Johnny Jay, Melody Player.

Then - with all the things you’re not too bothered about - Houston, do we actually have a problem?

I don’t think anyone happening on this site for the first time is going to think that it isn’t a vibrant, informative, and inclusive site about what goes on at an Irish Pub Session, which will mainly be Irish Traditional Music, but there’ll be related spillage.

The laugh of it is, I am a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist in my tastes - I always like the older tunes from Scotland, Ireland, England or wherever - even the late eighteenth century is going it a bit for me - but I don’t think the feeling of restriction helps a music site, and I think Jeremy is to be trusted to keep it right.

I am glad it is up to him.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I think one of the reasons I started this discussion was that there does seem to be some "polarisation" here between a minority(?) of members which leads to the occasional "argy bargy".

Most of us, including myself, are probably somewhere in the middle although some aspects of what goes on may irritate us slightly although not too much. ;-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I Reckon what callison said, is Very True !
[ I think Jeremy will determine the limits how he sees fit. ]

But remember, ” Variety is the Spice of Life ” :-D

- JIM,,,

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?"

About as far as somebody’s version of a tune can differ from mine, and we both agree that it it’s the same one. :-)

Or as far as any session is allowed to deviate from the "consensus" (assuming there is any). Standards, some sets ripped from recordings, a French Canadian tune or two, something from Scotland, half a dozen contemporary compositions, at least one set of Ed Reavy tunes, another based on Paddy Fahy tunes… ;-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I recently submitted my first tune.

Now, I have loads of Highland pipe tunes I could submit, but this isn’t a Highland pipe site, so I won’t.

I wish there was a Highland pipe site like this one, but AFAIK there isn’t. In fact the most popular Highland pipe site has no "tunes" section, and furthermore bans people from including a written-out tune in a post.

It’s like someone said above about various other genres of music, this is the best place for discussions of them even though this site’s focus is on ITM. There have been better discussions of Scottish tunes here than I’ve ever seen on Highland pipe sites.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Why not Richard? Tunes like Atholl Highlanders, Drunken Piper, Jig of Slurs etc are part of most peoples repertoire and I for one wouldnt mind expanding that repertoire a bit!

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

This seems to be a VERY polite version of the some of the "purity" discussions of old.

The thing is, what you define as ITM and what someone else define as ITM will, most likely, not be the same.

If a discussion irritates you, don’t read it. To say that the discussion is not worthy to be on the site only says that it is not worth anything to you. For others, it may be the exact discussion that they are looking for.

I have not seen any posts about Death Metal, Chinese Folk Tunes, or how to play Jazz changes over modern Gospel Music in the last week or two, so I think that we are doing alright.

Pete

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

The Chinese Hornpipe was added 4 days ago… ;-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

As far as I know, the only "Chinese folk tune" on this website was recorded by the "Chieftains". The original post wasn’t about what ISN’T on the website.
And what’s wrong with "polite" ? Would you prefer the alternative ?

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

OK, there is nothing wrong with being polite. I was pointing out that this discussion IS polite. That is a good thing.

As for the musical examples I included, they were to emphasize that the board had NOT drifted too far away from its original purpose. They are negative examples to prove the positive. Every discussion that I see is about ITM or a relative of ITM. These can be forbearers, concurrent traditions, and offshoots of ITM (Scottish, Cape Breton, etc.). So, yes, no Death Metal.

Maybe I should have added a lot of smiley faces.

Pete

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Ooooh I have a trad Chinese tune in Em I could upload :-)

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

To Richard’s comment above regarding pipe tunes, if a lot of recordings on thesession.org feature a certain pipe tune, then I might add that tune,perhaps based on one of the recordings listed. Otherwise, I might add a few of my favorites. I’m not a piper, so in my case it might only be 1 or 2. But there are already plenty of GHB tunes on the site and I don’t hear anyone complaining.

Also, I’m curious, what’s the rationale behind banning a written-out tune in po, even if only for contextual purposes? Seems a bit harsh to me.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

*in a post

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I think that maintaining the central theme of a site is good, when it’s not entirely close-minded. Then again, I’m not sure if it makes a huge difference in the long run. Having seen a fair amount of message boards arise and die, the scenario was as follows:
a) After years of use, original members go and with them leaves a part of the spirit.
b) The message board’s theme does get exhausted to some degree (of course there are SOME new things happening, but most topics of depth were already covered many times).
c) This usually leads to:
c1) The board broadens its focus, which often makes the "core" members lose interest even more and they leave. The sites tended to lose cohesion and went into a state where there were many spontaneous and heterogeneous posting, with the site eventually dying and becoming deserted.
c2) The board keeps its focus fairly narrow, which often makes potential new blood lose interest. Old members slowly drift a way as well, and the site dies and becomes deserted.
… and the surviving members of all groups then migrate to/create another message board and the process of rebirth continues. Or not, if the topic goes generally out of fashion.

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Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Alasdair Fraser, a gifted Scottish fiddler does a great illustrated story about Mrs MacLeod of Raasay from her Highland roots in the key of A through her travel to Ireland were she changed key to G, then to the US where she flattened out, put the B in front of the A, and got a new name: Old Molly Hare.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH USA

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

isnt Old Molly Hare the Appalachian version of the Fairy Reel, not Ms McLeod?

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

1.2 standard deviations - no more

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I try to avoid Stephen Foster-isms when playing .keeping it reel

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I’m sorry. What, exactly, is a Stephen Foster-ism? And yes, I know who he is.

Matt

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

I guess I think the core of the board is Irish traditional music and then the rest is what makes those of us come here individual musicians. We each add one (or many traditional tunes) and maybe one other from our personal set list that isn’t traditional but has become part of our core of session music and we arrive where we are now. Irish with a smattering of the rest of the world’s music.
I’m pretty purist in my taste but I play a Breton-style tune Keith Murphy named for a friend and it pops up a lot locally in sessions; I don’t think I’d hesitate to share it here. Thankfully we have the graceful arbitration of Jeremy and the group to keep it from tumbling over into an anarchy of American children’s songs and kazoo.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

Having just discovered Mudcat from a post in this discussion:

“…a person might find more discussion and interest on Mudcat or elsewhere. Not everyone knows about these other sites.”

I took a look but didn’t find it “folky” enough for my liking!

I have many friends who are excellent players of ITM (much better than me!). I also have a copy of O’Neill’s.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

As far as Jeremy wants.

Re: How far should the focus of this site be allowed to drift away from its original purpose?

"Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that.
That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise." ~ Grace Hopper

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