Ideal Session

Ideal Session

So, what is your ideal Irish music session? mine is one accordion,three fiddles, three flutes,uillean pipes, and a couple of concertinas.

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My ideal session has no more than 7 players, all of whom are a ton of fun to hang out with, and share similar sensibilities toward the music with me. I like a mix of instruments. No more than one of anything, except *maybe* fiddle.

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For me, it’s about the players, not what they are playing. That goes for all styles, not just ITM. That said, a nice balance of instruments does help.

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3-5 tunes players, no accompaniment

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One set of pipes, one concertina, one box, two fiddles, one flute, and John Doyle.

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Sometimes it’s just two people that are on the same page. Sometimes it’s more - but they’re all on the same page (page not being dots in this instance, just to be perfectly clear). When it "clicks", it’s truly grand.

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I’m not particular about the mix or quantity of instruments, but I do prefer to be the only flute. Two or more (or even low whistle) do not blend well, imo.

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One fiddle.

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It’s not in the same pub as our Scottish music session.

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Seriously, can’t speak for Irish music as I’m not Irish, but for Scottish it would two or three fiddles, max one set of border pipes, one or two small pipes, one bohdran, a mandolin and a flute.
Oh, and one guitar (me). I like sitting next to the flute - I can hear the tunes better.

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Three to five players seems to be the sweet spot for a really good session Imo. I don’t mind an accompianist as long as they’re the same level as the other players and preferably not John Doyle

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Likewise I don’t really mind any number of melody players, as long as at least some of them are the same level as the accompanist.

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that’s a really great recording, although I must say it’s strange for him to point out that the flute player is well known but not actually identify him (unless I missed a name somewhere)

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Harry Bradley

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thanks!

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Ideal session? 10ish pm. I just had a cup of tea and am enjoying a little dram of something stronger. Me on my pipes. flute, and whistles. A good fiddler who doesn’t want to play tunes in A or E major all night. A flute player who knows his or her arse from a hole in the ground. No bodhran. One very good bouzouki player. No singers, unless we choose to do something, off the cuff. Punters who know what they’re listening to and have the decency to kindly shut the f*** up when we’re playing tunes. No requests for (fill in the blank).

Heaven.

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A Obviously, a #

Kenny is a very much respected member here at The Session, and perhaps he didn’t want to be seen to embarrass someone by giving out their identity.
Sometimes it’s nice, simply, to hear good music.

All the best
Brian x

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Clare, Brendan, Paul, Benny, Mark, John, Kate, Angela, myself.
(fiddle; pipes; flute; fiddle; banjo; box; bodhran; whistle; acoustic piano/ baritone ukulele)

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2-3 fiddles or flutes and one accompanist, all of whom have known each other for years and can read each others’ minds.

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Mark that’s very important.

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10 banjos and nothing else. I will never stop loving that video that got posted here recently.

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I was really talking about the author of the video, not Kenny. I was just curious really. Didn’t mean to annoy anyone.

And you’re right! There’s nothing better than hearing some simply good music.

Cheers
Em

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That was me who posted the audio / video - my "Youtube" channel.

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Oh right, well sorry about that anyway. I really liked the playing, wanted to see if I could find more of it on youtube. I really appreciate you recording and posting the video so thanks for that.

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Same session, I suppose?

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Sometimes the box can be played very loud and seems to take over the session or should I say the box player. No doubt the box is an important instrument in a session but should have balance and in synergy with the other musicians. Also I have seen many sessions where there are too many fiddle players and also take over. So balance is the ideal.
I have played a couple of sessions where there is a harp player. This is a beautiful instrument and adds a wonderful sweet backing to the overall effect. Of course when it’s played as an individual instrument in a session a great hush descends and everyone listening shows their appreciation. So let’s not forget the Irish harp

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My ideal session: 4-6 good players, who are also in good sync when it comes to perception of rhythm.
I’m not picky when it comes to the instruments. Fiddle, flute, whistle, concertina, box, banjo, pipes. And one backer on bouzouki/guitar. And perhaps a good bodhrán player.

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I was in a lovely wee session yesterday — fiddle, guitar, accordion, bouzouki/mandolin, flute/whistle, and whistle/border pipes. Heard some new tunes, played some tunes I hadn’t played in years, and everyone was listening to each other, beautifully in sync with rhythm, and creating a nice groove.

Then Random Wasted Dude sitting at the bar, behind the session, started with attempts to sing "Fairytale of New York." A few minutes later, he staggered to the session and lurched into the chair next to me, nearly taking out the drones and regs because he was far too smashed to realise I stick out about a foot and half to the right. He was sort of swaying into me. And he clapped along to the music, loudly, and not even in the same universe as ‘in time.’ I put the pipes away and fired out the door, because f ** ck that sh ** t. Shame, really, because it had been the ideal session up to that moment.

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Sorry to hear about the Random Wasted Dude… Where was the session though? Sounds worth a visit if it’s a regular one.

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It was at Nice’n’Sleazy’s, and it happens the second Sunday of every month.

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Yeah, I could tell by your poker face expression that you were not enjoying it very much @DrSilverSpear. He continued to "sing" the chorus of the songs that other lovely chap sang for us. It was a kind of sad but very funny situation.

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Yeah, I wasn’t. I suppose if you’re not an 8 stone female, and he’s a ragingly steaming man over twice your weight, more or less sitting in your lap, it’s easier to see the funny. I find those situations rather threatening and stressful and will generally get the hell out of dodge.

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We had my ideal session yesterday afternoon. Seven of us played for the first hour and a half with one each of banjo, concertina, guitar, fiddle, flute, mandolin and whistle, all played by good players. We were joined for the last hour and a half with two more fiddlers to finalize a really good session.

Also, the pub was quieter than usual so we could hear ourselves better than usual. As much as I love a lively audience when we play on stage, it’s really fun those times we can hear ourselves clearly.

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Variety is the spice of life. We meet every week with a core group of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and, yes I know, bodhran. We’re very tight after 10-20 years together, and make a pretty good sound. The group can grow to 7 or eight, but the real pleasure comes when someone like Mark Harmer turns up with his harp, or a couple of local youngsters with their instruments and songs. Then the session can then go off anywhere, with us all improvising along. That to me is an ideal session.

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Between 3 and 7, any instruments really, assuming they know their stuff. This also means that there shouldn’t be too many backing instruments at once (but of course they should know this). One of the best sessions I’ve ever played in had 7 musicians with one main backer and the rest melody players (with a handful of secondary instruments).

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Wondering if the players in Kenny’s recording are Colm Gannon and Connor McEvoy. Any thoughts on possible contenders?

Session Power!

Back to gooseinthenettles original post. My ideal session [assuming I’m there to play] has 4 key elements.
- I’m relaxed but alert.
- Everyone in the session is playing their personal best
- The players are listening & even though outside distractions happen… (so bad I cannot breath) still I
take a trip to *wherever* I can forget there are always going to be arseholes… & then; having forgotten.
- I get back into it {because this is my ideal session}.

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"as long as at least some of them are the same level as the accompanist." that was new 🙂 🙂 :=)

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Speaking of the ideal session, what would be the minimum number of musicians? Three? Two? How long would you carry on? Would the session eventually dissolve on its own?

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I’ve played 3 hour sessions with just one other player before… Not my preference, but still can be fun!

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"I’ve played 3 hour sessions with just one other player before… Not my preference, but still can be fun!"

That all depends on the player. I’d much rather have three hours of tunes with one player that I ‘click’ with, than three hours with five players just ‘playing along’ to one another without any real connection.

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Agreed, CMO

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Sure, in an ideal session you’d click with the musicians. I’ve also played such two-man sessions, for various reasons. Sometimes "neutral ground" is the most suitable place. Sometimes it’s more convenient to meet in somebody’s home (and especially if you’re only two musicians).

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I don’t think my ideal session would be anything perfect. That’s for recorded music & performance.
My ideal session would be about musicians listening & sharing. But it wouldn’t have to be a
private session with no distractions. It could also be a public session with any manner of distractions
(even a few derailments) yet the music & the crack come together. Sometimes it’s overcoming the
distractions, sometimes it makes you listen to the music better, sometimes it’s right on the edge but
the tunes shine through the extraneous chatter.

House sessions are ideal for house sessions. Sometimes it’s worth it to get out of the house & find out
what is happening in the world. You kind of have to if we are talking about Irish sessions.

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