Ubiquitous Tunes

Ubiquitous Tunes

Red-Haired Boy. St. Anne’s Reel. I’m sure there’s more but all my computer gives me when I ask it for "trad. tunes identified as ubiquitous" is the definition of ubiquitous and polypeptide chains. (!?)
I was in a bluegrass jam (heretic! cast her into the outer darkness!) and they told me to pick a tune and I’m like, dunno any. They knew I played ITM and so they played Red Haired Boy, and they got mad at me because I used ornaments. Well, not mad, but they got confused because their chords didn’t work with my version. I got a crash course in Blackberry Blossom (I was so confused, the b part is literally just chords), then they played St. Anne’s Reel. Again, I ornamented, they didn’t.
We finished St Annes and one guy said, Nice Irish tune, that. And I said to myself, Isn’t it French Canadian? But I learned it originally in old time…and they all knew it in bluegrass…

So, what do you do with ubiquitous tunes? And are there others? And if you go into a session and everyone’s playing a different version of Red-Haired Boy than you, with different chords, how do you cope?

Help.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Listen. Adapt.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

everyone across the genres knows Miss McLeods Reel and Manchester [Ricketts] Hornpipe, surely? Also Over the Waterfall [Girl with the Blue Dress ] theres probably loads more…………..

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

What Michael Eskin said

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Embrace, extend, extinguish. Resistance is futile.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Different chords? No problem. Almost nobody plays the same chords as I do anyway. Life is too short to get disappointed because of that.

Different notes in the melody? Usually that’s not a problem either. Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong. Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe we’re all right. Maybe I can pick up some interesting ideas.

Adapt and adopt.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Reminds me of a story. I was at a large music party with all kinds of trad musicians. I joined a room with five fiddlers, none of them Irish players. They formed a circle around me on flute and we broke into Redhaired Boy. Suddenly, they all went into an oompah-stled pizzicato, leaving me the only one playing the melody. It was great, but I confess I was scared I’d make a mistake and bring the whole thing to a crash. That didn’t happen and I loved the spontaneity of the moment.

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Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

I like the way "Miss Macleod’s" has so many different titles. In US it is "Hop High Ladies" or "Hop Light Ladies" - American names are nice as they reflect the octave jump at the beginning of the tune.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Yes, Miss Macleod’s is cool. I know it as Have You Ever Seen the Devil Uncle Joe?

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Looking at it the other way round, when you have mixed bunch of people, try to find a tune that everyone knows and can join in: in a mixed Scottish/Scandi session with a group of visiting Danes, that tune was "Soldiers’ Joy"; the Danes called it by a different name, but pretty much the same tune.

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Some more tunes that are ubiquitous in old tune books from Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland and America:
Liverpool Hornpipe
Sailor’s Hornpipe
Fairy Dance (=Old Molly Hare)
Lord McDonald’s Reel

Re: Ubiquitous Tunes

Prehaps best to avoid bluegrass jam sessions if you wish to play Irish traditional music. Strange that they asked you to pick a tune, but went ahead anyway and played their bluegrass version of Red haired lass, and then they had the audacity to get mad/confused at you because you used ornaments in your, I presume Irish traditional, version of the tune. I suspect they also believe that their mad leader is doing a great job. Avoid them Emily and find an Irish session.