Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Well, that’s what a couple of guys did last night at the start of a particular session. They were there early, in fact, and had unpacked their instruments ready to play. Then a chap arrived with his "bag of tricks". Admittedly, he’s eccentric and an acquired taste but the other two immediately "packed up" and said "Cheerio. See you another time".

Now, I’ve been in many’s a session where things haven’t been to my liking. Sometimes I’ve had a good moan or avoided a particular venue because of certain people and circumstances. However, I’ve never stormed out or made things look quite as obvious. In addition, I don’t think it’s fair on the others there and we should all be giving each other our support.

This particular session is just a monthly affair and mixture of songs and tunes. Perhaps, part of the problem is that many of those who attend wish "to perform" and be heard. A few months back, a singer stormed out "in the huff" because there "were too many fiddles sawing away". He never came back which was a pity for him because this was a "one off" night and the following month it was back to the usual mix of singers and musicians.

Now, I’ll freely admit that this isn’t my ideal type of session but it’s just a few yards from my house so I like to support it. It’s also what most of those attending seem to want- a mix of songs, tunes, and whatever. However, it just reinforces my opinion that singers and musicians don’t mix.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

John - is it fair to describe your leavers as being "in a huff" if they said "Cheerio, see you another time". Were they only voting with their feet for a particular kind of session content?

I’ve never walked out in a huff.

On the other hand, if I’m not enjoying a session - which might be for any one of many reasons, not necessarily someone else’s behaviour, I pack up and go - I’m there to enjoy it, not out of duty.

Just one time we arrived at our regular session to find a guy sitting there who was known to be "unable to assess appropriately the ethos of our particular session". (i.e. He comes along about once a year and completely ruins it for everyone except himself, by dominating the session with a lot of things we don’t normally do). So we put our instruments under the tables and sat talking for about an hour, totally ignoring him, until he gave up and went away. Then we had a good session. That was mebbe four years ago. He never came back.

Dave

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Oh come on both of you, spill the beans. I want to know what the "bag of tricks" is, and what the things are that Dave’s crowd "don’t normally do". It sounds as though even the thought of him embarrasses you. What does this guy do, turn up and play in the nude or something? LOL.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

We’ve no problem with nudity at sessions - see the bar staff. But it’s worse than that Dow - he’s a sort of a "Music Hall act" - he plays a piano accordian and sings so-called "Funny" songs. He belongs in a working mens club (preferably one that’s on fire).

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I go to some sessions where very odd people are wont to appear. They might be not exactly what you’d want, but are rarely, in my experience ‘session wreckers’. They might use up some of our precious time singing things we’d rather not hear, or might add a strange dimension to the music by playing inappropriate instruments. But if they do it too much they can be told to toe the line. I think in the sort of session you describe, you have to live with what comes along - it doesn’t sound like yer two chaps who walked out were regulars(?) - maybe they had ‘their own agenda’ for the session and it was better they left.
I don’t think I’d walk out of a session in a huff if I didn’t like it, I’d probably retire to the bar to see what developed. Unless there was another session round the corner to go to (!)

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Plays the P.A. and sings music hall songs - is that all?
You don’t know yer born!
;-)

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I never walked off in a huff but I left in a car once.

Posted by .

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Singes and tune smiths don’t go together?

In my experience that is absolutely right.

As a tune smith, I want people to join in and play WITH me.

Singers, it seems to me, want to ‘perform’ and be listened to. They, on the other hand do not want to listen to tunes. If they play the guitar to accompany themselves, they often strum the three chords they know when you’re playing and muck up the rhythm, ‘cos they can’t do some of the ITM stuff.

The Hag at the Churn is one tune most guitarists just can’t get into.

I’ve only left a session once in a huff when someone knocked a pint of beer over my flute and then offered to buy the chap whose beer it was another pint! No matter that my flute was wrecked. No apology…nothing!

We now call him the flute slayer. It helps me anyway.

Sue

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

For a moment there I thought you were speaking franglais and talking about monkeys.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I only leave sessions because they end, the last bus is due, I need food or exercise, the smoke has become too much or they have completely broken down. Sometimes I keep going after the session has broken down and packed up.

I will listen all evening if I don’t know the tunes. I happily join in with attempts to sing the "Wild Rover" to the tune of "Mull of Kintyre" and sing along with choruses like "I caught AIDS from a one night stand I didn’t even enjoy" (real song) - and my plucky little mandolin will join in with Piano Accordions playing "Among my Souvenirs". I take in good part suggestions that I should stay at home to practise. I don’t mind if someone else is sitting in my favourite seat…

I’m a saint! Why has nobody noticed?

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I’d make a guess that the bag of tricks contained assorted recorders, an Eastern European clarinet and perhaps an ud? Perhaps not.

Yes, I’ve walked out of sessions in the huff, two or three times. Every time it was because I was very tired through work, and angry that there were players in the session who insisted on speeding up everything, no matter who started the set or tune, and what speed he/she started at. Usually I manage to do something about it, but sometimes it’s like trying to control a runaway horse.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I’ve left a few - but not in a huff. I just accept there are good nights and bad nights. Bad nights for me are when there are too many songs (especially dirges with about 30 verses) or there are too many other types of music creeping in - one session I went to was being used as a rehearsal for a blues band! Occasionally I’ve left because the level of smoke has been too high or a session has been so crowded that there hasn’t been enough room or opportunity to play. Sometimes I have to leave because I have early starts and some of the sessions run on well after closing time!

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Nigel, you’ve got it in one but we’d better not say any more. :-)
Did you get my e-mail the other re the mandolin cases?

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

We have two characters who both attend a local session regularly but do not speak. Whoever gets there first plays in the session, the other stops in the next room.
A most odd set-up - I am informed their disagreement was nothing to do with the session.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I think it’s true that everyone comes to a "session" with an agenda, and obviously your guy with his bag of tricks was too much for these others.
Who was the loser ?
I reckon it was the two huffers - they weren’t prepared to stay and give it a try, they used a set of preconceptions and found the implications in this bag of tricks showed the session to be lacking in what they were looking for. They only knew what they didn’t like, and walked out. They learnt nothing.
Personally, I’ve never walked out of a session unless it was too late, or I was too tired. If I’m up for it I try to stay and learn. There’s always something new to learn.
If these guys were "singers", people needing an audience to empower themselves, as opposed to sessionistas, who only need other musicians, then they might have the problem themselves.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I’ve left a few because I wasn’t enjoying myself, but generally without making a fuss "Well, I’ve got things to do tomorrow and want to get a good night’s sleep…" etc etc.
I wouldn’t leave in a huff because the people I play with are generally people I have played with for years, and it is better to address a problem that go the "drama" route.
We generally try to confront unsuitable behavior up front—no sense letting something go on that is making folks miserable, and the regular crowd knows one another well enough to signal when something is going wrong and address it.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

There’s a (to my cloth ear) good didgeridoo player comes out from the potteries. He only plays when invited. He was invited to play the other week and then everyone looked at Sully, known for rising to occasions. "A" he muttered, and struck up "Drowsie Maggie".

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

There’s a session I go to where one, admittedly very good, player takes over everytime he turns up (once every 5 sessions on average) and seems to start sets of tunes he has never heard us play before, and of course, the remaining six or seven of us sit like plonkers for half the night. I’ve not left in a huff, or in a minute and a huff (thank you Groucho) but I’ve sometimes asked a session friend to let me know of that player was there, before I bothered setting out.

Posted by .

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Cath’s post reminds me of a session in Edinburgh where an extremely good Irish fiddler used to go. Trouble was, like Cath’s guy, he played tunes nobody else knew, so it had the effect of being a one-person concert. He didn’t do this ALL the time, but regularly. Good to hear such great playing, but it’s not what most people go to a session for.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

That’s right Nigel, the whole point is to play together as much as possible, I think. Maybe introduce one new set over two or three weeks and see how it catches on. It isn’t right to think that other musicians want to just sit and listen to the one guy. Besides, I know even better players who would never do that, but make sure they include everyone when playing tunes.

Posted by .

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Good point, Cath. The health of a session can be a precarious thing. But how does one introduce a new tune or two to supplement the ones that are played to death without inconveniencing someone who may not, shall we say, embrace change? I hate to see folks sit and not be able to join a tune, but I also can’t stand stagnation. I will play a tune to death if it means that someone gets to play it because it’s the only one they are comfortable playing with others.

I realize that this is a bit different from someone hijacking a session with a recital of their greatest hits, but to some people, introducing a new tune to the session is just as great an affront. Can I justify being a bit peeved with that behavior?

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Yes, I suppose you can, although a lot of it depends on whether anyone in the session is of the level that can pick up a tune on the fly — lots of people are afraid to try (if only because they don’t want to be accused of noodling), and if they didn’t bring a recorder of some sort, no new tune.

Of course, the easiest way to deal with it is to get together with one of your sessionmates (or two) outside of the actual session and teach them the tune you want to introduce to the session. Roundabout these parts, we send each other mp3s.

Anyway, no, I’ve never walked out in a huff, that I can remember, although I’ve certainly put my fiddle down or away if I felt I couldn’t or shouldn’t or didn’t want to add to the session (or even the one set) as it currently was. That includes the time that there were 18 fiddlers in the one session. My fiddle never even made it out of the case.

Even if there’s someone there who is making the tunes difficult (at least on a one-off basis), you generally just sort of grit your teeth and wait for them to go away. On a regular basis, though, you either talk to them about it (if it’s your session), or you find another session to go to (if everyone seems to be okay with it and you aren’t).

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I was left a session in a huff. One of our young fiddle players used to start Morrison’s jig at about 200 bpm every five minutes or so. I asked him to stop. He didn’t. I left after the third or fourth playing. Yes, in a huff…my car was in the shop at the time, and my bike had a flat. Damned if he didn’t keep showing up though.

Good on him too, because the funny thing is, he grew up and got quite good. Okay, really, he’s freaking brilliant. And on top of that turned into one of the nicest, most patient players around. Go figure. Ten years later, I can’t wait to play with the guy.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Zina wrote - ‘a lot of it depends on whether anyone in the session is of the level that can pick up a tune on the fly — lots of people are afraid to try (if only because they don’t want to be accused of noodling)’

I’ve never heard anyone in the real world actually being ‘accused of noodling’ - I always assumed it was just some sort of esoteric debating subject for the session website(!) ;-)
We had a fiddle player who would frequently play tunes we didn’t know, or tunes of his own devising, but we would accompany him - chords on the concertina, ditto on the guitar and madolins, and if the flute and fiddle players liked the tune, they’d follow his fingers.
If he didn’t like the quality of the accompaniment, he’d have to play stuff we had a chance of knowing (in reality, by doing this, we’d pick up any tunes we fancied within a session or two anyway, and if it sounded a bit ropey the first time through, quite honestly the punters there wouldn’t know the difference anyway)

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Ah, they don’t always call it "noodling", Mark — sometimes they accuse you of being a Tweety, or will tell you to practise at home. :) Speaking of which, don’t you think it’s rather unfair that most instruments can play quietly enough to get away with trying out a tune under everyone else, but everyone KNOWS when the piper doesn’t know the tune?

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Or the piano accordionist …
It’s actually quite difficult (for me anyway) to play the flute very quietly without going flat all the time.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Well, Zina, ours is definitely a ‘noodling’ sort of session . That’s why I was so taken aback by the daggers flying from the eyes of one of my fellow players when we played a reel not to her liking. I’m just writing the whole evening off as a lesson in ‘you can’t please some people.’ I have almost recovered from my incipient huff. ;-) ( I would have had to left on my Huffy, anyway, as I had no car.)

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Batlady, every week, ask her what new tunes she is working on. Then say, "Me, oh I just adore this tune and have been really working on it…"

:~)

Posted by .

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

I haven’t exactly walked out of a session, but I have repaired to the bar until the anchor finished with his Stephane Grapelli-style musical monologue. Previous tactics of those of us who didn’t like it (from facial expressions, I gather it was pretty much everyone) were simply to endure until he finished. Trouble was, the musical monologues were getting longer and longer.

That sort of music has its place, but not in a Celtic session. There’s enough of that available in the SF Bay Area.

Another time, a well-known session spoiler chose me to sit next to. She believed fondly that she could harmonize with tunes she did not know (most of what we played), but she sounded as if she were playing a completely different tune! I finally moved over to sit near someone else. Mean? Possibly. But she was absolutely ruining the session for me, one that I must drive many miles to get to.

And, of course, the worst part of it when someone acts like that in a session is wondering whether I’ve ever been that bad.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Hmmm, I’m not sure about this "huff" business. It just seems a little rude, not to mention childish/pointless/etc. Me thinks words should be had, and if they can’t be put nicely then don’t say them at all :p

NTAV

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

To quote a fellow countryman "NEVER". I mean, me, huffing? The very idea.

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Deffinition of ‘noodling’ in my neck of the woods, is when guitarists (usually) SEEM to be going to sing/play, but keep on and on and on going over the same bit as if they’ve lost it and can’t find it.

Everyone sits and waits patiently and then the guitarist stops, leans on his guitar top and slurps his beer.

We’ve all wasted good playing time listening to a noodle. Now I’ve learned, I either ask if they’re noodling, or just land in with a tune.

Seems to work. Either way they stop.

Is it only me, or is it very annoying?

Sue

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Hee Hee!
The irresistable gravity of the eternal noodle-debate begins to exert it’s pull.
Why doesn’t everyone say what their definition of noodling is, and then we can all argue at cross purposes (yet) again….

Just take your pick:

Noodling = playing new age harmonies over traditional music (The tweety scenario)

Noodling = what pain in the arse guitarist do between tunes because they just LOVE the sounds of those chords and just can’t stop fingering them (probably some latent sexual thing to do with not getting in sufficient self-abuse in adolescence)

Noodling = anyone making an effort to pick up a tune on the fly

Noodling = people who just want to join in, but don’t know the tune, playing varying degrees of poor interpretations of what their hearing.

Now just grab one of those definitions, find someone who’s using one of the others, and have a lengthy and acrimonious debate where you pretend that the other person is referring to YOUR sort of noodling, when of course, they are not

Or, Susie Lee, just go and read one of the interminable threads that already exist on this ‘subject’…
;-)

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

Ha ha !!!

Ottery it looks like you’re ready to walk INTO a session in a huff !

Posted by .

Re: Have you (or would you) walked out of a session in the huff?

:-)