The Purpose of thesession.org

The Purpose of thesession.org

It started being an archive of Irish music + sessions, events, recordings along the way. It has grown into an archive of tunes from all over the world. Many object to its straying from the original intentions of the site.

Myself I love that it has broadened and hey, it’s great to have a resource with tunes from all over to get to know. You can stick to Irish if you so wish - though sifting necessary. For an odd analogy, a few Jews in Palestine started the Christian faith. What would they have thought of present day world-wide Christianity, so multifarious for good or ill? Perhaps they would have been entranced by the variety of it all, or maybe loathe it, I dunno.

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Susan, you seem to have made it your purpose in life to expand this site into something that it wasn’t intended for… But it’s really up to Jeremy. This isn’t a democracy, and Jeremy has ultimate control over what happens here… Maybe Jeremy doesn’t care, but it seems like every time he responds to a post like this, it’s a pretty consistent message — This site is focused on Irish Traditional Music and sessions, period.

If people continue to try to broaden its horizons, Jeremy may combat it for a while, or he might give in, or he might decide that it’s not worth the hassle, and just shut it down for all we know…

So I’m not sure quite why you seem so focused on broadening the niche, and I would suggest that if you have a vision in mind for a more inclusive broad traditional music site, that you are free to go start your own site…

For the record, I don’t mind chatting about this, and debating the merits of allowing other kinds of music here, but it seems like we’re having the same debate repeatedly, and we’re verging on a "meta-discussion" that Jeremy frowns upon…

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I agree 100% with Reverend.

If only there were a service where you could find groups for almost any kind of music, or create your own group if you didn’t find one that meets your needs. Sort like a Book of Faces of people with similar interests.

Someone really needs to make such a service, I’m sure hundreds of people would be interested in it. 🙂

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I agree with the 2 comments above.
"Many object to its straying from the original intentions of the site". Correct.
And please -like the sessions I’ve been going to for nearly 50 years now - leave religion out of it.

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I wasn’t being religious I was merely making an analogy. I don’t care if I am unpopular by liking to see this website broaden out - Jeremy could have put a bar on non-Irish tunes had he so wished. So clearly he is not very anti diversification. I just love good music and if I find a tune from outside the Irish tradition here that I find beautiful, I rejoice. I merely look at this site to find good tunes and I’m certain others do the same. So there.

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The Session is dedicated to traditional Irish music.

The *occasional* non-Irish tune or recording is fine, within reason (e.g. it’s a tune you play at your session) but the focus of the site is very much on Irish tunes.

If someone is adding too many non-Irish tunes or recordings, I have a quiet word with them and encourage them to balance their contributions with more trad Irish stuff (e.g. about 4 or 5 Irish tunes for every non-Irish submission).

Hope that’s all clear. 🙂

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PS I am technically unable to start my own website. Full stop.

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I agree with the above posts of kenny reverend Michael Eskin well said all of you

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And I’ll stick my neck out for keeping religion and ethnicity out of it as well. This site is brilliant for a reason and personally I wouldn’t want it made meaningless as an archive of Irish Traditional Music by bedroom noodlers.

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I’m also on total agreement with the majority. I think Reverend covered everything succinctly and fully.

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The primary purpose of the site is Irish traditional music. Specifically it is centered on tunes played in sessions.
That’s all I have to say for now. Other than that I have nothing to add.
AB

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"It has grown into an archive of tunes from all over the world."

Actually the tune category options help limit the tunes to the dance-idioms used for Irish traditional dancing, except for a couple dance idioms like Waltzes and Polkas that are danced in a number of northern European countries.

Just staying within Europe, to serve Bulgarian dance music you would need the categories Rutchenitsa, Kopanitsa, Daichovo and several others. These dance-idioms have a rhythmic structure that cannot be accommodated by any of the Irish dance music rhythms.

I think The Session’s mission is clear, and I think it should be maintained. There are other sites that cater to the traditional music of other places.

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When it comes to "session music" as opposed to Irish trad, on an international site, there is bound to be a spread and influence of other cultures. Irish and Scottish music are traditionally linked, Cape Bretton, American Folk, Australasian folk and so many different nations have an ancestry if not derived from ITM then at least influenced by the fact that there were people there who couldn’t run away fast enough or didn’t want to. What does have a slightly worrying downward tug on the vast wealth of the resource on offer here IMO is the drag and drift that is not coming from session musicians, performing hobbyists, touring bands and their releases but from enthusiastic and excited music lovers who just want to see everything as a melange, a collection of some kind of humanist common culture. There may indeed be a need for such things to be recognised however there is an old saying I think holds true here, " think globally, act locally". Irish Trad doesn’t, like it once so recently nearly did, need preserving in aspic but it does need to be represented as what it is and in its many influences.
In that respect I have, courtesy of Jeremy, a platform to partake of the offering. A wealth of players, tunes, bands, venues that I would never have known otherwise. I don’t ever mistake that for an ability to contribute to it.

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Yes, we should respect Jeremy’s wishes.

There’s no harm including occasional tunes from other traditions especially Scottish music and so on as the music(s) are closely related and there is often an overlap. If it is something which you might hear or play at your local session or even want to play there, then I think there’s no harm either. To be fair, I will have submitted more Scottish tunes myself.

However, there has been some weird and wonderful stuff submitted of late which I don’t really think fits in very well here. Also, I believe the site is more suited to tunes than songs which was the original intention. I’ve had the occasional moan about such things in the past but, as other members have pointed out, it’s up to Jeremy at the end of the day.

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"… but from enthusiastic and excited music lovers who just want to see everything as a melange, a collection of some kind of humanist common culture"

Nailed it!

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I have nothing new to say about this. Just letting you know in case, you know…
Multifarious: brilliant.

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There is a ton of overlap between, say, Quebecois and Irish trad.—I don’t think an occasional tune like that is out of place—it’s if someone starts posting Texas breakdowns and African tribal chants that we ought to call a halt.

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I come here for Irish Traditional Music. I go to other sites for different styles of music. It is that simple.

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Keep the session Irish!

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OK it has been decreed by most folk here that this website has a specific remit and that maintaining some "purity" of content with some, say, Scottish, Welsh, Breton tunes and others included (specially if already played in sessions) an encouraged bonus. I don’t see that any real line is drawn to exclude tunes (unless posted incorrectly for instance and that’s right). I make no apology as a musician (and passionate about music) for using the resource simply to find, play, listen to and explore music that I find speaks to me and has beauty and emotion. Isn’t that the purpose of music? Insisting endlessly that the original Irishness intended by Jeremy when he set up this resource is inalienable is as boring as my beating the drum for my different opinion.

I’m angry about the several moans about my mention of religion. If you read what I wrote you’d see that I offer no opinion of any kind about Christianity (or try to advocate it) - I was merely making an analogy using a certain piece of history. Why not, I wasn’t preaching.

We’re all music lovers aren’t we? We can explore music without this compelling need to put stuff in categories. If The Session evolves and changes over the years but remains fascinating and gives us tunes and all else, would that be a major problem? It can be valued however things change over the years, is that an awful thing to say?

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It’s inevitable that thesession.org will evolve over time. Nothing stays the same. But I think the majority would hope that the bulk of what is here remains stuff they might come across in sessions or on trad recordings.

It’s a truly wonderful resource and very welcoming, but that means that sometimes people feel emboldened to contribute (and perhaps over-contribute) often poor quality transcriptions of tunes that are of dubious relevance here.

We can say that it’s Jeremy’s job to moderate here, but I think we all have a personal responsibility to think hard before posting what we desire to share with the world on this site.

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Yes, poor quality transcriptions are a problem and when there are so many examples of some tunes, it’s time-consuming finding one good, for you or for a session?. You can’t limit numbers in case a brilliant transcription turns up later, and folk won’t agree sometimes on the quality of examples - partly a matter of taste?
And again, sharing tunes with the world - you will always get disagreement about quality, and a tune may be fun without fitting closely the tradition, should you exclude it? I’ll bang on and say again, let’s just find and play music we enjoy. End.

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"I’m angry about the several moans about my mention of religion." Well you said yourself Susan, that it was an ‘odd analogy’ to make. I see no real relevance in it whatsoever. And more generally, the thing about meta-discussions such as this one, is that they do tend to bring out a level of hot response from people. That’s why they are against the rules (as is talking religion and politics).

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I have nothing to add to Reverend’s post. However, I do have a question. I have been an active contributor since 2004. Can someone tell me how the site has supposedly "evolved"? Seems like the same good ol’ mustard board to me. Did I not get the memo?

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"PS I am technically unable to start my own website. Full stop."

You’re probably technically unable to build your own car, but it doesn’t mean you should go on the motorway with your skateboard…

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I would say keep it Irish, with a dash of Scottish and Northumbrian. And definatly keep religion and politics out of it.

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I merely meant to say groups, fashions, cities anything and everything changes over the years and gave an example that was slated simply because the word "Christianity" appeared. Not a propaganda mention of religion mate so I didn’t think it taboo.

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"poor quality transcriptions are a problem"

There is obviously a difference between the above and a correct transcription of less enjoyable or "poorer setting" of a tune.

It’s OK to submit the setting of a tune "as played" in a particular session or from a recording as long as it’s correct and just not poorly transcribed. So, obviously, there will be more appealing settings than others but these should be submitted as accurately as possible.

Of course, we can all make mistakes when submitting tunes and I’ve been guilty of that myself. However, the goal should be to provide an accurate transcription of the tune "as heard" or "as played" etc. Of course, sometimes, this may also be "as written" if indeed this is how you happen to play it.

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Now THAT was a good analogy Theirlandais. …..
"Can someone tell me how the site has supposedly "evolved"?"… In my opinion it has evolved into a safer and more civil place. But here we go… meta-discussions again!

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"You can’t limit numbers in case a brilliant transcription turns up later, and folk won’t agree sometimes on the quality of examples - partly a matter of taste?"

I disagree, Susan K. The quality of a transcription has nothing to do with taste. The quality has to do with the transcription having notes that work, the right number of beats per bar, bar lines in the right place, anacruses balanced by tune endings, and lack of fermata (often included when things aren’t quite right but you can’t put your finger on it).

Transcribing is a skill not necessarily related to technical expertise on an instrument. I know plenty of players whose transcribing skills I would describe as poor but who are, nevertheless, very good players. And I know plenty of good sight readers (better than me) whose transcriptions skills are very basic.

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Ailin, I would guess (though I have not checked) that there is a higher percentage of recently composed tunes here than there was when you joined. I think that was one of the ways that I was thinking in which thesession.org might have evolved.

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Thank you DonaldK for introducing me to a new term, fermata. You learn something every day 🙂

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I concur with you, Gobby, about the site being more civil and pleasant. I guess that’s because the quality of the participants has evolved. The content and mission seems unchanged. Perhaps as some topics have been discussed to death, the kind of topics Jerone and AB bring up have become more commonplace, but I don’t see the site broadening its scope in any substantive way.

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Read the page brief before posting or debating, it’s not complicated …
https://thesession.org/

“ The Session is a community website dedicated to Irish traditional music.”

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Hello! This is a fab resource and a bonkers forum.

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My understanding is that this site supports people who play in Irish trad sessions. Anyone who does and has a lot of experience understands what the repertoire consists of. I can’t imagine a trad session where someone shows up and suggests were start playing tunes that aren’t normally played at sessions and getting very far. Occasionally a tune from a different source is played, but it’s the exception and not the rule… a novelty more than a rule. The title of the site isn’t "Irish Session and All Other Kinds of Music."

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Let’s put this to rest already and just play the freaking tunes!!!

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AMEN to that!

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I believe that "thesession.org" serves its original intended purpose very well.
P.

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Sure, some slip through, but when they do cautions are proffered by the site runner warning against continuing adding them.

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"Sort like a Book of Faces of people with similar interests…" LOL, Michael

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What Reverend, Micheal Eskin and quite a few others said! 10X!

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I would prefer for the site to be predominantly Irish. If you want tunes from all over the world, there are other sites like Folk Tune Finder that cover all.
My problem is that I’ve landed up with two lists - of tune sets I can play in Irish sessions and tune sets I can only play in more general sessions ! The intention was to widen my Irish repertoire but I kept being drawn towards other tunes - as a good tune is a good tune whatever its origin!

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A frequent debate this and it’s had a long enough innings above. Let’s end this discussion NOW, cheers, Susan (who erred in starting it doubtless!).

Tarrantella "a good tune is a good tune whatever its origin" - exactly my feeling.

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"a good tune is a good tune whatever its origin" - nobody here has ever said otherwise. The debate is about whether or not you should play it in a session of Irish traditional music, or post it here on this website.
Beethoven and Mozart composed "good tunes".

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I agree, Kenny.

It’s the "grey areas" which seem to be contentious, however.
I think if a non Irish(Even classical) tune does start to get played in sessions or picked up by Irish musicians, then I understand why some members would wish to have it included here.

This is quite an extreme example, I guess.. https://thesession.org/tunes/15342 🙂

However, just submitting random tunes for the sake of it is not in the original spirit of this site.

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I would be amazed if anyone played Queen of Sheba at any of my local sessions - I ‘ve had a few cracks at it over the years but had to admit defeat!

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I know… 🙂
As I said, an extreme example.

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Yikes! 😲 I think I’ll take a pass on that one.

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FOR GAWD’S SAKE. I ASKED FOR AN END TO THIS THREAD. PLEASE JUST STOP, STOP, HOWEVER MUCH YOU ARE ENJOYING ARGUING ETC. I’m sure a similar theme will start up sometime in the future then you can begin again dear people…

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Susan,

We’re not arguing. Just having a discussion. There have been one or two differences of opinion here but the thread isn’t particularly heated in comparison to many I’ve seen here before.

However, if you really wish the thread closed, why not drop Jeremy a quick message and see if he will do so your behalf?

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I think it rude to ignore a plea from the poor (bust hip) sod who posted the discussion.

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OK, Susan. I’ll respect your wishes and not post to this thread anymore. It’s still best that Jeremy officially closes it though.