Interesting session experience

Interesting session experience

We had our session group gathered outside spaced according for a private house performance. The sun was hot and expectedly the fiddle and guitar went went flat quickly but did not expect the flute too. The flute, wooden, slowly went out of tune and became tough to get a reasonable sound. Some notes became flat while others were sharp. Adjusting the slide in any direction did not improve the intonation. It became a very interesting performance especially when the bodhrán went flat. However a good time was had - many smiles.

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Do you have no restrictions about gatherings where you live? In the uk, even outside, sessions would be limited to a family group!

Lucky you then!

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Yeah, I flatly refuse to see what good that was for anyone really. Sounds quite selfish. Placing a few tunes above the health and well being of your health workers and wider community.

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Well, considering BC, Canada is planning on Phase 2 of lifted restrictions in a weeks time and you’re out in Kaslo, risk of transmission is much lower in the interior than the Lower Mainland. Most of our outbreaks have been linked to metro area care homes, meat processing plants, mining camps and prisons. Glad you got some tunes in, though I wouldn’t advertise it on a public forum as many people here are still dealing with lockdowns and huge infection rates among other things. Maybe when this is all over I’ll head out that way for some tunes, but in the meantime, stay safe.

Cheers,

Melany

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"I flatly refuse to see…" is not a great starting point in the search of comprehension ….

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Yes, it may be quite safe and legal where Kit resides.
Of course, the rest of us may feel a little jealous and very nervous about such things but he’s not necessarily doing anything wrong. At least, I hope not.

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Our worst thing, with the tuning of the instruments, was when we had to sit in front of a waterfall to play.

In the cool mist the stringed instruments went sharp, the wood flute and uilleann pipes went flat, and never the twain did meet.

And the drum? It sounded like wet cardboard.

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All the negative comments are unnecessary we are allowed to gather in a group of 50 or less as long as we keep social distancing as I mentioned we did in my first posting. Just because high infections areas are more restricting we as a small community have maintained strict distances in all local stores and hand washing etc. My point was maintaining tuning in during a beating down sun.

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I wonder if outdoor sessions could, in theory, be carried out in a way that is safe right now?

Let’s say that you had a large, very quiet outdoor space where 4-6 people could stand in a large circle, all spaced 8 feet apart from each other along the circumference of the circle. I could see that being workable, musically. (Softer instruments would have a hard time, but you could allow modest amplification from a battery-powered amp).

There are places in and around Chicago (like the forest preserves) where I could see this being doable.

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"Let’s say that you had a large, very quiet outdoor space where 4-6 people could stand in a large circle, all spaced 8 feet apart from each other along the circumference of the circle. I could see that being workable, musically."

Playing outdoors is already tough with acoustic instruments because you lose volume outdoors with no reflecting surfaces. The outdoor air eats sound. If you have ever run a PA system outdoors, you’ll know how that works. It’s like being surrounded by a soft blanket that absorbs sound.

I think a "tailgate session" might work, in a public parking lot or some other area where people can park their cars in a rear-facing circle and open the rear hatch (where that’s possible) to play together. You’d get some natural acoustic amplification from the car interior, so the sound would project forward into the circle and not be lost to the ambient air blanket. I’ve heard of at least one amateur music gathering (not ITM) doing this in my area.

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During the Summer, I would often sit down and have a quiet tune on the mandolin on a seat or some other place in the open air.
Lately, this hasn’t been possible for obvious reasons and the outdoor spaces are now far too busy since the the lockdown. A bit strange considering we have all been told to stay indoors!

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" I flatly refuse to …" obviously my attempt to interject my serious point with a little bit of a cross reference to the op’s observations on the limitations of the environment and the sounds produced passed you by holandais

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"Steve T" you’re digging yourself a bigger hole

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Here in California it’s 6 feet of separation, and it wouldn’t be difficult to have a decent-sized session in a Church hall. Here they’re often sized for basketball, so a very large session circle could be done. (I can hear the jokes already, but yes, many Church halls here have retractable hoops/backboards on each end, and the wood floor is properly painted. One end of the room has a stage so the room can be used for concerts and dances.)

They’re usually pretty echo-y spaces, that might be a problem.

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"Let’s say that you had a large, very quiet outdoor space where 4-6 people could stand in a large circle, all spaced 8 feet apart from each other along the circumference of the circle. I could see that being workable, musically."

To add to Conical bore’s statement, if you have 6 people that are staying 8 feet apart along the circumference of a circle, then you have a circle of just above 15’ in diameter. In an outdoor setting, that might be pretty difficult to hear each other well enough. In the outdoor sessions I’ve been in, we end up grouping ourselves fairly closely to be able hear, especially if there are no surfaces that can reflect the sound back to you.

Maybe we could all sit in these: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_Chair (without the padding). It might help a bit with the instruments going out of tune too 😉

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If everyone in a session was playing "warpipes" they could keep, oh, say a mile or so apart, which would solve any health objections.

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Outdoors air surely dissipates aerosols better than recirculating indoors air. Sound dissipates as well, which some have commented on.

What about a patio or courtyard space framed by two walls? There is a county government office near me that has a wonderfully resonant space in the entry courtyard.

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My whistle carries very well in a forest clearing. Must reverberate off the trees.

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Whoops 🙂 just goes to show what can happen if we don’t read before responding doesn’t it saucy?

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Richard mentions church halls above - one of the classic pieces of contact tracing so far was the case of the church choir practicing in a church hall the size of a volleyball court in Mount Vernon, Washington, USA in March - 60 singers, 2.5 hour session, one asymptomatic person, 45 people infected, 2 dead. And they were careful by all accounts, they sanitised their hands, no handshaking, kept apart. Apparently, singing aerosolizes droplets way more effectively than talking. Indoor gatherings are definitely more dangerous, it seems. I suppose you could ban singing from sessions.
see: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-29/coronavirus-choir-outbreak
It’s going to be a long haul. I was lucky that I got to three sessions the week before the lockdown here in Ireland but had to forego a weekend’s free accommodation in a west Kerry pub for five of us and our partners for playing a session. The licensed vintners association here put forward a reopening plan last week for July or August with social distancing etc - but specifically mentioned no live music.

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I also live in a relatively low-infection area, where socializing with other households is now allowed at appropriate distance and in small groups. We tried a small outdoor session over the weekend (5 people) and hearing the others really was a struggle. Still, if it’s that or nothing, I’ll take that and feel lucky indeed to have it.

That said, the biggest (and most unexpected) issue was finding flat ground to put the chair on! I ended up leaning a little sideways and back on a hill, and was surprised by how much it affected my playing. Wish I’d thought to play standing up.

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Churches, and church halls, are all closed here. Our usual band practice is in a church hall, so we haven’t net, other than on Zoom, since mid-March.
As for instruments carrying unamplified in the open air, one of our group used to get very uptight if we didn’t have a chordy instrument, such as a guitar, when we played in the local market. But it is actually the higher tuned instruments such as whistles that carry best. (whether in a forest enclosure or not!)

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Surely if a bodhran isn’t flat, it means you’ve whacked it too hard.

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Interesting. I hadn’t thought of sound dissipation. I had hoped perhaps some of our church musicians (there are 6-7 of us) could eventually get together in the church parking lot at a suitable distance (currently this isn’t allowed but at some point it will be and of course all those not playing wind instruments could be masked). But, you’re right… I had initially thought we’d all be able to hear each other, but that’s unlikely.

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In our area there are plenty of empty school and church parking lots, and it’s not hard to find a flat area. Also you can find shade trees although that takes more looking. Sure the sound is thin if you’re outside and 8 feet from your neighbor but I think it’s way better than zoom or Skype. And this is all we’re going to have for many months yet here in Colorado USA. We did learn to carefully check the weather report for windspeeds, we got hammered the first time we tried this and the flute player got the short end of the stick. We bring our own chairs and drinks, there are no bathroom facilities and no hugs or handshakes. Our new normal, but at least it’s real live musicians.

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As long as reasonable health restrictions were followed, I don’t see this as problematic.

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Not really a session, but a friend and I just got together to play outdoors in a very remote county park. I’d guess the 100 hectare (250 acre) park had no more than 30 people in it at any one time.

We sat a suitable distance apart on benches inside an antique covered bridge that had been moved to the park. We were perfectly legal, the sound was lovely, we got quite a few compliments on our playing, and I very much doubt we’ll experience any disease. We’ll see.

Oh, and on a perfect day with mild temperatures and the shade of the bridge, our instruments stayed nicely in tune. A near perfect experience overall.