Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Gan Ainm is the stupidest tune title and it should be banned from The Session. Discuss.

I’ve been playing with TunePal and the most common match is with tunes in The Session.
For fun, I played Will the Barber into it. It was 84% likely that I was playing Gan Ainm, (https://thesession.org/tunes/6770)

This is also there as Colonne De La Gavre, AKA La Gavre, Albinia
Now I have edited it there are two entries for the same tune. Unnecessary duplication, but one less Gan Ainm.

Where did this Gan Ainm nonsense start from was it Bulmer and Sharpley or early Ceolthas CE publications.
It should be banned from the session. Why is Gan Ainm superior to "Nameless Tune"? Because it’s Irish?
Air sans nom, Aria senza nome… all useless. Leading to duplication of tunes which is bad enough here.

Discuss

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

From my understanding, sometimes people use the term "Gan Ainm" on their albums when they have learned a tune but don’t know the name of it. I don’t see anything wrong with that. In my opinion, if you want to play a tune you have learned from someone else but don’t have the name, it’s better to use "Gan Ainm" or "Anon" than to just make up your own name.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Hi there Philip,
It seems like changing "Gan Ainm" to "Nameless Tune" will not fix your problem. TunePal, instead of saying that it’s 84% likely that it’s Gan Ainm, will say that it’ 84% likely that it’s "Nameless Tune". What you’re describing seems more like a TunePal problem than a Gan Ainm problem.
May I suggest that you stop using TunePal? I’ve never understood why people use that app. Whenever I’ve heard a tune that I don’t know, like at a session, I always ask the person who played it the name of the tune. It’s a lot more reliable than using an app. Smartphone apps are a relatively new thing on the trad music scene. I prefer to stick to the more aural way of hearing tunes and learning them, which has well worked for hundreds of years.
So I don’t think banning "Gan Ainm" will solve much and isn’t really worth the effort of cracking down on people with Gan Ainm as a tune name.

>>>:"Why is Gan Ainm superior to ‘Nameless Tune’? Because it’s Irish?"
Yes. Exactly that. Irish is cool.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"Where did this Gan Ainm nonsense start from"

it doesn’t look like you have the right mindset for a discussion..

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Irish music we’re discussing here, Gan Ainm is Gailge for "without name"
What’s the problem.

Posted .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Certainly hasn’t been any problem up until now.
1 - It’s not a "tune title".
2 - "Why is Gan Ainm superior to "Nameless Tune"? Because it’s Irish?" You got that right, anyway.
3 - And you spell it "Comhaltas".
4 - "It should be banned from the session". It’s not up to you what is banned at "thesession.org".

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"Why is Gan Ainm superior to "Nameless Tune"? Because it’s Irish?"

Yes, because it’s Irish, it’s an established convention, and because any substitute would have the same issues with TunePal.

Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Apologies

First of all apologies to CCE for misspelling "Comhaltas". I have no early copies anymore of their journal Treoir so I cannot check that the term originated with them.
Conical Bore is correct that it’s a convention as I have Bulmer and Sharpley’s first volume published 1n 1974. They have tunes titled "Port Gan Ainm" and "Ril Gan Ainm". So 35 years at least, that’s a convention alright.
The question is not about Tunepal which I found out about just five days ago. I was using it as a toy but might occasionally use it in a session. It’s better to ask the player who might also say where it was learnt and other interesting info. However, they might not have a name for it or might be across the room from me.
I was not suggesting that Nameless Tune replace Gan Ainm. I doubt whether anyone would enter a tune into the Session with that name. That was my point. I’m interested in avoiding duplication in the session, as there does not seem to be Wikipedia style way of any editors reducing them later. I am an admirer and user of the session and a very minor contributor.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Jeremy can merge duplicate settings as they are found. Send him a message and ask to merge the one you found.

People submit Gan Ainm’s for several reasons. It’s natural to expect duplicates, when the submission isn’t flagged as a duplicate immediately (for whatever reason).

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Philip, I’m really confused about what you’re asking for.

On the one hand, there’s the issue of duplications. That’s an ongoing issue. But as others have said, if you find duplicates, drop me a line and I’ll merge them straight away.

But what does that have to do with Gan Ainm tune titles?

Are you asking that nobody submit tunes unless they know the name? There are plenty of tunes that genuinely don’t have names.

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"First of all apologies to CCE for misspelling "Comhaltas". I have no early copies anymore of their journal Treoir so I cannot check that the term originated with them".
I do have early copies of "Treoir" - but why does it matter where the term originated ?
"Bulmer and Sharpley’s first volume published 1n 1974. They have tunes titled "Port Gan Ainm" and "Ril Gan Ainm". So 35 years at least, … " I make that "45 years, at least".
We’re all interested in "avoiding duplication".
"Gan Ainm" probably first surfaced on recordings of Irish music, where the recording company had to put something in the sleeve notes, and I would be pretty sure it existed before Bulmer & Sharpley’s books.
I could research it, but really can’t see the point.
If you have a solution to your perceived problem, please let us know.

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Thanks for the reply, Jeremy. I’ll submit the duplication that I am referring to.

If you, as the originator and maintainer to whom we are all grateful, do not mind Gan Ainm as a tune title, then this discussion is closed.

Thanks for the wonderful thing that is The Session.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Painters use "Untitled" all of the time, and that’s by the original artist. We don’t really have an equivalent name in music, unless you count "Opus No. 2". "Gan Ainm" is the best we’ve got.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

To be fair, there are no clear guidelines written down on what to do if you find a duplicate—you kind of just have to know that the solution is to send me a message.

On the one hand, I don’t want to clutter up the interface with instructions for what it is generally a rare occurence. On the other hand, it’s perfectly reasonable that someone like Philip W would get frustrated by finding a duplicate and not having any clear next steps on what to do about it.

Perhaps there’s room on the "edit this tune" page to include a brief note on what to do if you think you’ve found a duplicate?

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Forgive me if I’m wrong but I seem to recall that Ceol Rice na hÉireann, vol. 1, Breandán Breathnach, mostly ‘as gaeilge’, predates Bulmer and Sharpley by some 10 years or so.
I’m sure that ‘gan ainn’ occurs as a tune title.
Perhaps B&S were simply tipping their hats to ‘the tradition’

All the best
Brian x

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Monty Campbell wrote:
"May I suggest that you stop using TunePal? I’ve never understood why people use that app. Whenever I’ve heard a tune that I don’t know, like at a session, I always ask the person who played it the name of the tune. It’s a lot more reliable than using an app."
Umm, no. Very often you get incorrect titles when asking at a session.
As for TunePal, what’s wrong with that? Long before TunePal people were asking tune experts who had done some research for tune names. Here in Stockholm people don’t seem to use TunePal very much. That’s because they’ve got their personal tune pal (myself). Now there’s an app that more or less does the same as asking me.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"There are plenty of tunes that genuinely don’t have names."

Oh yeah? Name one!

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Apparently it’s not so much a title as an admission. And to hnorbeck: I use TunePal because when I ask players the names of tunes they usually can’t remember, since they so often learn the tunes by ear. Of course, I’m in the US, so perhaps their memories aren’t as good.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Nigel

That is hilarious!
Thank you so much for such a laugh

All the best
Brian x

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

>>>:"Very often you get incorrect titles when asking at a session."
Not sure how things are working for your session, but whenever people have come and played at my session, or whenever its a tune somebody has started, 9 out of 10 times they know the name of the tune. That’s far more reliable than anything I’ve ever gotten out of TunePal.
Sometimes the person doesn’t know the name of the tune, but eventually, I find the name of the tune, or I’ve already learned it by ear and figured out its name by listening to recordings or somebody at another session knows it etc.
Just saying that I’d trust the way that’s worked in the many decades before the introduction of smartphone apps than rely on the smartphone apps.
>>>:"That’s because they’ve got their personal tune pal (myself). Now there’s an app that more or less does the same as asking me."
I think you’re more likely to know the name of the tune than the app, so I’d rather ask you if you started a set.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

If you think TunePal isn’t useful, just wait until you’re sitting at home and have a tune running through your head… you start to play it, and realize you can’t come up with the name. Maybe you have to be getting up in years like me, when the memory ain’t what it used to be, to realize the advantage. But TunePal has led to many head-slapping moments of refreshing a tune name during home practice. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s good enough most of the time.

It saves me from yelling across the house to my fiddler S.O. who is much better at remembering and identifying tune names (and entire tune histories) than me, asking what the heck I’m playing.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

I agree with Conical bore, TunePal can be very useful for finding the name of that earworm that is driving you mad.

I’d say at my session, with many of us over 50 years old, we’re lucky if we remember where we parked our cars, much less the tune names.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

When I first started attending sessions, donkey´s ears ago, I would plunk myself down beside an excellent fiddler who seemed to know and play along with nearly every tune. If I heard a tune I liked, at the first opportunity I would ask her the name of the tune. She would supply the name, or as often as not say something like ¨fuggediveyeno¨. After a few tunes with this title, I stopped her and asked how they could all have the same name. She then more clearly enunciated her phrase, which Jeremy would not let me repeat. This absolute tunehead knew the tunes, and really couldn´t be bothered with their names!

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"There are plenty of tunes that genuinely don’t have names."…… "Oh yeah? Name one!"
Nigel… you wrote that 8 hours ago and I’m still laughing!

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Thanks for the laugh, Nigel!!

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"May I suggest that you stop using TunePal? I’ve never understood why people use that app."

So you don’t understand why people use the App, and yet you suggest that people should stop using it, do you not see a problem with a lack of knowledge being used as the basis to provide a recommendation ?

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"There are plenty of tunes that genuinely don’t have names."…… "Oh yeah? Name one!"

Very humorously put but also a very good point. I don’t believe that there are that many tunes in circulation which are genuinely nameless, just a lot of players that don’t know the names of the tunes they play. Many traditional players could only name a very small proportion of the tunes in their repertoire, simply because they have picked them up in sessions ‘on the fly’ and have never had the chance to ask the names. But, even if a tune was not given a name by its composer, it soon acquires one when it enters circulation - perhaps after the composer, the musician that it was learned from, the place or situation it was heard in, the TV program it was used as the theme tune for, a verbal description of the tune itself or just something completely irrelevant - and the same happens to tunes whose names have been forgotten or that were learned without knowing the names.

Gan Ainm not useed in Ceol Rince na hÉireann vol. 1

This discussion seems to have carried on last night while I was out a session. It was well worth the flak for Nigel’s hilarious comment. Brilliant!

For briantheflute, Breandán Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉireann vol 1, first edition 1963, might seem to support my view about nameless tunes. He does not use Gan Ainm. He includes a tune from Willie Clancy which had no name and gave it one; Ard an Bhóthair, The High Part of the Road. It’s here under https://thesession.org/tunes/183

By the way, thanks to the same Nigel Gatherer, traditional music’s best example of nominative determinism. He publishes on his wonderful site the translations into English of the notes of all five volumes.
http://www.nigelgatherer.com/books/CRE/index.html

Having looked through them briefly, I see it stated that in vol 3 the tunes are all transcriptions from recordings. "Gan Ainm" entered the collection with this volume Perhaps this is where the custom came from, vinyl records.

Gan Ainm - origin in commercial recordings?

As suggested by Kenny above.
98’s as well of course.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Hi Nigel,

I think you will find plenty of examples … for instance, in the splendid, voluminous edition of Gan Ainm music, …. on page 22 there is the wonderful tune, " ", followed by the much shorter jig, " ".

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

@Kenny: The last tune on your list already has two alternate titles.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Many "named tunes" will not really have names either, of course, or perhaps not the correct ones! It’s often just a convenient "handle".

Also, I don’t think Paddy Fahey named all his own tunes or those he played after himself either. 🙂

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

@CMD : "@Kenny: The last tune on your list already has two alternate titles." Aye, but not good enough. Nobody has provided any source or reason for those 2 titles. I already knew it was associated with Lucy Farr - and pointed that out 10 years ago - but so are several other tunes. Naming it as "Lucy Farr’s" would just give rise to a load of spurious "links". I have just made the correct link to the tune on "Buffalo In The Castle", which is the only recording I’ve come across it on.
@ Philip W : "Having looked through them briefly, I see it stated that in vol 3 the tunes are all transcriptions from recordings. "Gan Ainm" entered the collection with this volume … "
Wrong again. There are over 80 "Gan Ainms" listed in Breathnach’s Vol.2, published in 1976. Vol. 3 came out in 1985.

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Kenny wrote:
"Naming it as "Lucy Farr’s" would just give rise to a load of spurious "links"."

But that is also true if you give it an also-known-as of "Lucy Farr’s"—the links are derived from the title *and* the aliases. So a Gan Ainm tune should never have an alternate title.

If you know a genuine title for something that’s listed here as Gan Ainm, the thing to do is to update the tune title rather than adding an alias.

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Nigel G,
There’s that one that goes “Om Pom tiddly om Pom Pom te Pom …”

(With apologies to P. G. Wodehouse)

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

The problem is entirely of your own making. The combination of Tunepal and thesession (and other databases) is great. You learn that what you’re playing is 84% similar to a tune setting someone else transcribed, you can see all the other names people have called it, the transcription sources, notes and discussion, what on earth is the problem? Better to have a tune archived without a name than lose it.

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

‘There’s that one that goes “Om Pom tiddly om Pom Pom te Pom …”
(With apologies to P. G. Wodehouse)’

Wodehouse? A A Milne, surely!

Posted by .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

That tune is called "For the sake of old decency" it goes Rom Tom tiddly etc.

Posted .

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

"Om Pom tiddly om Pom Pom te Pom"

In Highland Scots music you have tunes with titles like that!

In Waulking Songs a song might be referred to by the first line of the text (which is ordinary Gaelic) or by the first line of the chorus (which is nonsense syllables)

Ho Ro Hug O Hug O

In Highland piping, much of the old Ceol Mor has come down to us without titles, and the pieces are known by the first line of the melody it its Canntaireachd:

Hiharin Dro O Dro

Hiharin Dro O Dro

Thanks Bro!
🙂

All the best
Brian x

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Gan aim is not a title. Gan aim simply means "without name". It’s a statement that the tune lacks a name. I think Tunepal is a great app and we use it a lot to search tune collections, find the names of tunes, to learn tunes, to collect tunes we want to learn, to listen to tunes, to look up tunes we’ve forgotten, or haven’t played in a long time

Re: Gan Ainm should be banned as a title - Discuss!

Thanks for your comment. Please read the original post and the whole thread before commenting further.
You will find;
- I have been very familiar with the meaning of Gan Aim since I met it in the Bulmer and Sharpley vol 1 in 1974.
- I made a not very well informed suggestion as to where this usage in tune collections might have originated
- When I wrote my original post, I had been aware of Tunepal for 5 days since a session where someone was demonstrating it to the player next to me. I was quite impressed by the success rate in identifying the runes in a set of reels being played. It’s a clever implementation. I was trying it out on a very distinctive tune. Thanks for contributing that you find it very useful.
This was never a question about Tunepal. I do have a question about Tunepal. I’ll see if it has already been answered in a previous discussion. If not, I’ll post a new discussion. I’ll use a less inflammatory heading.
Have a wonderful holiday with some tight sessions.

My reply to Steamwilkes - see above

In case it was not clear, the reply above is my response to Steamwilkes.