Oops—What tune was I playing?

Oops—What tune was I playing?

I can always play "Drunken Landlady" and keep myself in the right tune—it never turns into "Pigeon on the Gate." But sometimes, I do the other way—Pigeon on the Gate suddenly turns into Landlady—there’s one note in the turn.."Maid Behind the Bar" sometimes becomes "The Wise Maid" during the turn…You see, there’s this phrase end in "The Ash Plant" that can get me into "Primrose Lasses…" Or, am I the only player in the world that literally "takes a wrong turn" if my mind goes too far astray while playing?

We have had some very serious and educational discussions going here. May I invite you to share—what two tunes are your favorite to accidentally switch around?
I think I’ll go practice now…

Cassie

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Last Nights Fun and Lucy Campbell’s are two which come to mind - only to be attempted early on in the night before imbibed lubricants begin to take effect!!

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Why limit it to two tunes? I can scramble Lark in the Morning, Frost is All Over, and House in the Glen in the blink of an eye. It’s that |Add fdd|ede fdB| phrase that’s found in all three. For reels, my downfall is the B parts of Cup of Tea and Charlie Lennon’s. And then the whole famn damily of Bank of Ireland, Rakish Paddy, Nine Points of Roguery, and Jenny Picking Cockles. Is it actually possible to play more than one of these on the same night and not go astray?

Come to think of it Cassie, I think you’ve uncovered a not-so-hidden talent of mine. I mean, there’s the B parts to Rambling Pitchfork and I Buried My Wife and Danced on Her Grave, and the B parts of the Cameronian and Dick Gossip’s, and Peeler’s Jacket and a reel I know as Tommy Peoples’, and The Blackhaired Lass and the Chicago Reel, which both resonate in my ear with the Congress Reel and Maids of Mount Cisco. Then there’s the start to An Comhra Donn and the Wicklow (Delahanty’s). I could go on and on, but I already have!

Oh, and polkas! Aren’t all polkas the same tune, just in different keys?

I try to convince myself that this foible is actually a sign of accomplishment—that I’ve finally learned enough tunes that each one can’t help but be related to another. Sort of a Kevin Bacon 7-degrees of separation but for tunes. It’s also a natural progression, I think, from beginner (where all tunes sound alike) to intermediate (where you distinguish tunes by their impossible parts to play) to advanced (where all tunes again sound alike because you’ve absorbed all the cliche phrases and found them to be interchangeable). But there must be a stage beyond this, where *music* finally happens…. sigh. πŸ™‚

Posted .

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Oh, Lord. I rarely can get out of the Clare version of Toss the Feathers without going into another tune, and I don’t even know what tune it is — Jackie Coleman’s, maybe?

I have to school myself severely during the slow sessions. I tend to do this unpleasant thing when we’re playing the just-learned tune very slowly over and over after I’ve taught it, and around the fifth time through I start thinking about the grocery list, or the next tune we want to teach, or that interesting shirt over there that I might want to buy, and suddenly I can’t remember what I’ve already played or how many times we played it.

Dirk and George joke that I just can’t count to two. πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

I noticed this happens when I’m trying to let another musician know that I’m going to change tunes. Especially when you have to do everything short of kicking them (I don’t like that technique) I the usual goofs are the "Pigeon on the Kerry Reel’ & oh yes I’ve met the "Wise maid behing the Bar". If I’ve played tune ‘A’ through acouple times & accidentally play the ‘B’ to another tune I’ll just go with it & act like I ment to switch the tunes on the ‘B’ part. But more often than not I’ll play a set of tunes & end up reverting to a previously played tune. Where I’ll just get back on track with the tune I’m playing

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

This is a funny discussion - and I totally identify with all of you. Each tune has its own pattern and it seems that if I make one note error I’ll either crash and burn or go sailing off into some other tune. I do this regularly with Maid Behind the Bar. If I’m lilting it, trying to teach it to someone, I invariable start lilting The Clumsy Lover - which, as a hornpipe for highland pipes, is about as far from the poor Maid as I can get. Miss Macleod’s also morphs into the Silver Spear without any rhyme or reason - even in the middle of a part! Someday I’ll get my head checked…

And yes, Will - polkas are simply variations on one theme - in different keys.

TC

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

There’s different keys in polkas? Gosh. I hadn’t noticed. *grin*

Zina

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

I lose track and change tunes all the time - rarely airs into jigs, but everything else is fair game. But then, I often forget what I’m saying in mid sentence, too. Once, at a session, I heard a whole group switch tunes mid stream, it didn’t all happen at once, but, by the end of the 2nd time through the tune, pretty much everyone was playing the other one. You could see this ripple of confusion and consternation passing through as the new tune took over. It was truly weird.

Sosaidh

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Thanks for a great thread! I just had to explain to some co-workers why I was laughing out loud at my computer!

When I was learning Calliope House (the D version) I kept slipping into "The Muckin’ o’ Geordie’s Byre." There’s a short passage in both tunes that’s identical. I finally put them together as a set (Calliope House first) which forced me to really pay attention. Actually, this didn’t matter, because when I finally played this at my usual session and got to the second tune, most people seemed to think I was playing "Dennis Murphy’s slide" and they went right into that. Until then, it hadn’t even occurred to me to mix that tune up with the other two, but once I heard it, I had no trouble doing this myself!
Zhenya

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

This happens because there’s really only one great big tune and all the others are just pieces of it.

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Ah yes, Jeff, the Collective Consciousness Theory of Irish Music, or The One Great Tune Schtick! Terry Pratchett could do rather a lot with that, I’d think… πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

yes,much of the above plus the B part of the hunter’s purse can either go into the sligo maid/star of munster and vice versa.And that can happen without even one drink!

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Oh bless your heart Zhenya for playing Calliope House in D. As for my likeliest snafu, lately it would
be crossing Banish Misfortune with Langstrom’s Pony. They have the same start but the fork in the
road arrives soon and after that you’re past the point of no return.

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

Don’t assume, because I don’t drink, that I am nececelery sober.

I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol for ten years, yet I have the same problem. It occurs as a result of being on autopilot - letting your fingers get on with the tune while your mind is somewhere else. I’ve found it’s been happening to me a lot recently, as I’m beginning to find the freedom to improvise my own variations. This often involves borrowing a few notes from another tune, which hapen to fit. Sometimes my fingers just momentarily forget that it’s only supposed to be A FEW NOTES from another tune, not the WHOLE TUNE, and before I know it, they’re off! If I weren’t in a session, surrounded by other players, I might never notice.

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

And for the older folks among us, there’s always the convenient excuse of Alzheimer’s - I think I’m up to the "z" or "h" on that…

Re: Oops—What tune was I playing?

As Jeff and Zina noted, physicists are developing the unified tune theory - wherein at the
sub-bar level, an eleven-dimensional cleff formation ties all tunes together in a single law of
unified music. This is the source of tunes such as "The Drunken Pigeon," and the
"Silver-Haired Maid’s Spear Behind the Bar."
Some metaphysicists have gone beyond the unified tune theory to suggest that a unified
conscious field of music uses our apparent confusion as the ultimate creative force which we
draw upon for writing new Irish tunes.
I know of this because I read something about this in a pamphlet I found on the counter
at the barbecue restaurant in Berthoud. πŸ™‚
-Dirk

Posted by .