A point of etiquette

A point of etiquette

Have I spelt that right or is it 2 double t’s?
Here’s my situation. I’m a visitor in a session I don’t usually attend. I start a set at my own steady pace. Session leader speeds it up. Everyone follows session leader cuz he’s the session leader. I keep playing at the pace I started. Find that the tune has run away from me and decide I’m not prepared to try and keep up. Stop playing and put instrument down. Start drinking instead. Tune ends w/o being followed by another tune. Get scolded for starting a set and then chickening out halfway thru’.

Who’s right? Should I have kept up with the others and played at a speed I wasn’t comfortable with? Should the session leader have followed me? Was it rude of me to stop playing and not continue my set? Should I even have started a set at all?

Which takes priority in your opinion - the "rights" of the visiting person who starts the set, or the "rights" of the session regular who wants to play at a different pace?

Re: A point of etiquette

Well, I would have to say that you did the right thing. While it may not look good, you can just say, "The timing of the tune got away from me, and I’m not able to play it that fast!" Add a little sheepish look, and folks should not get too bent out of shape. You had tapped out the time before starting, correct? If so, then there’s nothing to be done.

I’m not a fan of playing tunes just blazingly fast simply because you can. Tunes have their own timing, and if you work at it, you’ll find it.

Good luck, and keep playin’!
-P

Re: A point of etiquette

Although it seems right that they should follow your pace, I think that if you are new to a session you should listen to the sort of speed that session plays at and lead at least your first couple of sets with them at that sort of speed. A lot of unconfident people start sets that they depend on other players to keep going, and maybe they thought that you were just diffidently starting up a tune you wanted to play and you expected them to take it up a notch(?)
I think it might have been a bit unwise just to ‘throw in the towel’ - maybe they did it deliberately to test your mettle …..

Re: A point of etiquette

Sounds like the "session leader" was being a bit rude, though it might’ve been wiser to wait a while before heading to the bar - perhaps trying to see if the same thing happened again before heading there.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

As in most matters, I believe common courtesy should prevail. When someone starts a tune at a particular tempo, I think it’s rude to overrule them by jacking up the tempo. I suppose it’s possible that the speedup was unintentional. I’ve known folks who could play some tunes only at a gallop and coudn’t cope with a slower version.

Re: A point of etiquette

Some people do the Matt Molloy thing where you start a tune slow for the first few bars and then crank it up - are people expecting that behavior? I’ve been guilty of it myself.

Re: A point of etiquette

Without any shaddow of any doubt whatsoever dow, you did nowt wrong at all at all at all.

However

You could have handled it a bit differently
Dropping out halfway through and reaching for your pint may be OK if the "halfway" was half of 20 mins or something. But one tune three times through at pace is hardly time for the dts. I’d have come back in with a second tune at half the pace I started the first, and if the same thing happened agian I’d have come in with a third tune a quarter the pace of the first. They’d have got the message

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

I’m really far too busy to answer this as I have a £5million budget to look after….

Only joking.
It’s hard to know, as we don’t whether this tune is part of a set they normally crash out at breakneck speed, or some other such unknown factor. But the subtext/hidden agenda seems to be "don’t think you just can wander into our session and start playing a tune at YOUR pace", which is of course rude and arrogant (of them, or him, not you.)

Did you ask them beforehand if you could start a set? Or if they knew this tune? And what was your response after getting scolded? ….some people get twitchy over new people coming in, especially if the new person is a good player.

I guess you won’t be going back there in a hurry?

Re: A point of etiquette

I’m glad we all agree that "they were aout of order and not Dow. But life aint fair and sometimes it’s nescesary to head of rude people at the outset. I agree with Pingu. If you are sat for a while in a hell for leather hell hole, it might be wize before you start your set to say something like, "I’d like to play a few tunes, but can I play them a bit slower than you god damn awfull crap speedmerchants please?"

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

We have guys at our session who disagree about the speed that a particular tune should be played - but they have the basic human decency not to try and change the speed when the other has started. That would be plain rude, now wouldn’t it?

Re: A point of etiquette

Our unwritten custom is that the person who starts the set establishes the pace and starts subsequent tunes. We often bring new tunes to the session, and it is no fun to roll out your new tune, and then have it played faster than you can keep up.
It is always better to pause than to continue when you cannot play well. Ragged playing, such as that forced by excessive speed, is not fun, nor does it contribute to the overall quality of the playing. And lifting a pint is always a good response, unless of course, the session is nearing its end, and you are about to get behind the wheel.
But then again, you were on new turf. In that situation, I would not start a set myself without first consulting with the regular crowd regarding whether they know it and how they play it. That might have headed off any hurt feelings or misunderstandings.

Re: A point of etiquette

I agree that the behaviour of the leader of this session seems rude and/or insensitive, but it’s not really any big deal is it? Were the other players who followed him rather than Dow just as rude? Rude, but not as rude? Even ruder? How many players were at this session? Were they all rude? Was Dow the only one there with a thread of politeness? Maybe they thought Dow was rude for stopping half way through something he started? I dunno! It sounds like not a lot of meaningful communication occurred in either direction.Unless someone talks to someone else about it actually there on the ground, in the session, no-one knows. I think this sort of adversity is good for a player. Why not play at the faster speed and just think of it as a practice? It’s not going to do your playing any harm is it, and since you don’t care what anyone other than the musicians think of the tunes 😉 why does it matter anyway?

or alternatively ….

Rather than trying to sort this out in a rational way go back next week and every time they finish playing, start playing ‘The Butterfly’, very ‘expressively’.

That’ll teach ‘em…

Re: A point of etiquette

Playing slow should not be regarded as "not playing well". Joe Cooley was never a "speed merchant" nor for that matter is Martin Hayes - in fact I would say quite the reverse. Can anyone imagine a session leader ramping up the speed if Martin Hayes starts the set! This should apply for any musician and I think it’s the height of ignorance if someone deliberately alters the tempo of a tune started by someone else. Dow, you did the right thing in heading for the bar and I hope the rest of the group got the message!

Re: A point of etiquette

Well obviously the person (I hate this “leader” business) who sped up the tune was rude.
And I don’t agree that you over reacted either. It sounds like you didn’t go to the bar, but put your instrument down and started drinking the pint in front of you.
(It might have been a bit sulky if you just got up and went to the bar, but from what you say it doesn’t sound like you did that).

Anyway, I hope when you were scolded afterwards that you explained politely that the reasons for your “chickening” halfway through was because someone change the tempo.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

I love Junior Crehan’s take on tempo from a Recorded conversation with Barry Taylor, Ballymackea, County Clare, 8 July 1976.

"One thing I’d advise young people is to play slowly. I’ve heard a lot of groups and they’re going a hundred miles an hour … you can’t fit in all the little decorations if you’re going too fast. So anyone starting on the fiddle should go nice and slow - even when you’ve perfected don’t go too fast, you’ll ruin the whole thing, you’ll leave out the nice little passages … "

Re: A point of etiquette

This has happened to me. Not very often, as I usually start out quite fast anyway. However on one particular occasion I wanted to play a set of reels at a nice slow pace as they were that type of reel. I was asked to start a set so I launched into the aforementioned reels. A flute player who sat next to me started to speed up. Add to that the fact he was way out of tune and I was not a happy bunny. Finally I stopped playing, shouted at him "Would you f***in’ slow down?" and returned to the tune. It worked. It’s also the first and last time I tried that, but only ‘cause he was an ignorant so-and-so.

Re: A point of etiquette

Talkin’ about me again Conán?

:~}

Re: A point of etiquette

dude, I’m right here!

😛

I really really really hate my sets being sped up by other people. Frankly, I think it’s the only thing that really bothers me at sessions. I can tolerate the shakey eggs and out of tune squawkers even, but I have been known to stop playing, scowl or even just get up and go outside for a cooldown when some high and mighty gump sped up a tune or a set I had started.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

damn - cross posted, Danny
%7P

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Dan, Matt don’t worry guys. I would never take your name in vain.
Danny I’d be surprised if you hadn’t met the chap in question on your travels.

Re: A point of etiquette

Hmmm…You’ve got me thinking now….I have a couple of vague ideas but I can’t be certain…..The Kilkenny perchance?

Re: A point of etiquette

It was Colonel Mustard, in the Oblong Library with the alto flute!

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Dow, if you were playing the right kind of concertina that would never have happened and you’d be able to play at the right speed.

😀 hahahahahahaha

Re: A point of etiquette

Ahhh! Now know! Dow was paying a surprise visit to San Francisco…..

Re: A point of etiquette

…now *we* know…

Re: A point of etiquette

Dow - I’d have done exactly the same as you.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Speed is relative; of course it is rude to speed up tunes and hijack sets. But don’t sessions have a flow, a pace to them? And isn’t there a difference to being called out to play tunes or starting a set within the flow of the session? And isn’t there a difference between being a "visitor" and being someone new to the music?

In Dow’s scenario, I would guess that he didn’t just plonk down and start up his set. I would guess that he was involved in the session, playing along with tunes at the leader’s established pace. And if he is really talking about himself, I would say that he is not a beginner/learner/newbie.

So Dow starts a tune, and leader and friends say "hup, great tune" and off they go at the established pace. For Dow to just stop in the middle of this set, to me, would be a bit rude. He knows the established pace, and has probably been playing at that pace, so he shouldn’t be so sensitive about it.

If it is too fast for him to enjoy, then if he wants to start another set later, he can just say "Hey, the pace is a bit too fast for me, can we play this set a bit slower?" And if they run over him then, they are being rude.

Now if the scenario were similar to Conan’s, where he was asked to start a set, well then that is different. No?

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

I’ve been sped up. Whether it annoys me or not depends on who’s doing the speeding. If it’s the root / host / leader / custodian (whatever term doesn’t rub you the wrong way) of the session, and he or she knows buckets more about the music than I do, I’m happy to be steamrolled. If it’s an enthusiastic but mediocre player with a piano accordion, I get annoyed. I’ll tough it out though, and the next tune I start will be one the PA player doesn’t know, so I get set set back. I might even slow it back down if I can get a guitar player to come for the ride.

From the perspective of "what to do in this situation", the main thing (for me) is not to bother sulking about it. 99 % of the time I don’t head off sets until there’s pretty much nobody left at the session but me, so I don’t need to worry about keeping a large group informed, on time, in key, on the right version, etc. With no preconceptions of proper behavior or a compulsion to "get my tunes in" I have a much, much better time.

Re: A point of etiquette

Danny I couldn’t possibly comment

Re: A point of etiquette

A good leader (that’s probably a topic for another thread!) shouldn’t impose a set pace for the whole night as many tunes have their own distinctive speeds - the Chicago and Bank of Ireland reels are nicer at a steady pace while tunes like the Reconcilliation and Foxhunters can be belted out. In any case I feel a session with the same pace all night would be a very monotonous affair and it’s the variations in the sets of tunes that make the difference between an average and a great session.

Re: A point of etiquette

I agree with you Bannerman, variety is a spice that I enjoy. I felt that pace or flow was a generic enough term to take in a variety of tempos, and a variety of tune styles to include jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slides, barndances, etc. That is also why I said that speed is relative.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Well the only thing to do is play tunes nobody knows.
There doesn’t seem to be that many sessions in Sydney that you can afford to be falling out with these "leaders".
Watch the parking meters.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Well I’d hope most of us wouldn’t sulk if our set was sped up.
That’s only very slightly annoying, and could be put down to any
number of reasons, and possible laughed off afterwards.

But I’d be fairly peeved (I’m sure I’d still hide it) if I was then scolded afterwards for being the one at fault - as what happened to Dow.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Well, he got scolded for stopping half way through …
But isn’t scolding people for ballsing stuff up just part of the crack at a session? A bit of needle adds some fun. It’s better that such things are said in the open - You don’t want to be at a session where everyone is complimenting each other and being nice to each other all the time - they’re the one’s where they get really nasty about you every time you slip off to the bog!
"It’s better out than in!"
as my flatulent granny used to remark.

Re: A point of etiquette

I can recall lots of times when I’ve started a tune that got sped up a bit and I felt it was not done consciously. That’s bound to happen occasionally. When you’ve played a tune for decades, you tend to have a natural groove that you fall into, even when you aim for a slightly different tempo.

But one time I remember, I had started the tune at a hornpipe tempo and with a swing to it (it *was* a hornpipe), and another fiddler jumped in on the second A part, flattened out the rhythm and sped it up significantly. Then other people joined in. I felt it was a clear declaration that he thought I was doing it "wrong" and required correction. I played through the tune one time and then slipped out to another session in another room. It was a big party in a big house.

There’s a group dynamic thing that happens in a session when a confident, assertive person takes the lead. "Mob mentality" is too strong a term, but it’s something similar. When the assertive person took over, instead of everyone jumping in, someone could’ve said, "Wait, let’s settle on the tempo before we go on". But most people are not confident or assertive and will follow the leader, even when they don’t exactly agree with him.

Also - Dare I say it? - there’s a bit of a performance aspect to a session, in that once the tune is under way, it’s not generally acceptable to try to stop it to change the parameters.

Re: A point of etiquette

STOP - You get that hornpipe turning into a reel thing happening from time to time. I either stop or play it as a reel. Then afterwards say, "sorry, I know that one as a hornpipe."

But you are right, people usually plow ahead and then talk about it later maybe. That’s why stopping is a fairly strong statement.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Yes I know he got scolded for stopping halfway through.

And yes taking the p*ss is half the fun.

I’m just saying in response to other threads that:
Yes, it’s not the end of the world if someone speeds up a set you’ve started.
Nor is it a bad thing that someone slags you in a nice (but maybe pointed way).
But Dow has a right to feel slighlty hard done by, when someone speeds up a set he has started and THEN slags
him off as if he had done wrong in the first place.
That’s all.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Stopping isn’t a fairly strong point when you:

"Find that the tune has run away from me"
and
"played at a speed I wasn’t comfortable with"

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

A message from ‘YOUR LEADER’ - KEEP UP, OR F*CK OFF!!!

Re: A point of etiquette

Whoever the guy was I suggest you break his fingers Mark. Now where did I put that case of Newcy Brown?

Re: A point of etiquette

Hurrah !

Conan’s here !

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Ah Jesus! We’ve got broadband and I just installed a wireless router. No escape now! Don’t tell the neighbours - they’ll want to piggyback on the signal.

Re: A point of etiquette

Oh CONAN — shall I have Pete talk to you about security? 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

I’ve set up a firewall with XP but I haven’t bothered configuring it in any great detail Cheers for the offer could be very handy!! On another point of etiquette I shall bid you goodnight! 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

Wow what a lot of interesting comments. Thanks lads. Just thought I’d clarify the situation a bit more as I think there might be a couple of extra little complications that I didn’t mention.

Firstly, I did drop out quite early - maybe after twice thru’ the tune, but it was because it was simply too fast for me. Maybe you have a point that I should have kept up for the practice, but I simply wasn’t enjoying playing the tune anymore. I hadn’t started it particularly slowly, mind you, it was just what I think was a nice, steady pace, and then it just got faster and faster while I tried to stick to my guns and keep the pace, until it ended up that we were playing different parts of the tune, and I thought, god this is ridiculous, and put my instrument down and picked up my pint (not in a hurried, huffy way, and I didn’t get up and go to the bar).

The complications were that:

1) there was a handful of set dancers at the session who get up and dance maybe once every 5 sets or so, and they like to dance to very fast tunes and stamp their feet very hard. There’s this understanding between them and the session leader that there have to be tunes available to dance to, so I later thought that that might have been one of the reasons why it got fast, and that it might have been a deliberate effort on the part of the session leader (but I’m not sure about this), and

2) I had deliberately chosen to start tunes that I knew for sure that everyone else knew so that I wouldn’t be considered rude, so I started the Foxhunter’s Reel in A. It’s not a tune I’d normally choose to start, but I started it nice and steady, swingy and "curly-sounding". The problem is that the Foxhunter’s is one of those tunes that people tend to like to play at lightening speed, especially if it’s in A for the fiddle.

It was interesting what Jode said about the "flow" of the session, and that it might have been considered rude of me to disrupt that. Aside from the fact that I started the set, there is the issue of "flow", and maybe that takes priority. But what do I do if I want to start a tune? I can’t start it at a pace I’m not comfortable playing at, so do I just *not* start tunes, or do I just go to a different session?

Re: A point of etiquette

Oh and my reaction to the scolding was just to smile and shrug my shoulders.

Re: A point of etiquette

lightning.

Re: A point of etiquette

Does everyone there start tunes? If yes, then you should be able to start a tune at whatever speed. If no, then there is probably the whole hierarchy thing goingon.

Is there another session nearby? If yes, I’d check it out and see if they played more at my speed. If not, hang in there and learn to play lightning fast, or stick to your guns and play your speed. Tapping out the indicated speed is a great way to indicate that you are deliberately starting the piece at that tempo.

Do you have friends or other musicians that you would like to play with? If so, play with them. Form your own session with its own obscure rules that will confuse everyone. If not, find some and then do the above.

In all seriousness, I think it’s rude to speed up anything that someone else started. Whether there is a set tempo to the night or not, a steady tempo is a lot nicer then a racing one. If they ask you to start a tune, or if everyone is taking turns starting tunes then everyone should be able to start a tune at a speed they are comfortable with and not have it sped up by anyone else. It’s basic common courtesy.

Re: A point of etiquette

"Form your own session with its own obscure rules that will confuse everyone." LOL, yeah like tapping your head 3 times whilst facing north and saying the word "aardvark" in a high voice before starting a set 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

That is SO obvious. Tap your left shoulder 3.2 times whilst facing north-by-northeast and singing the word "prolepsis" in a C# diminished chord. Damn! I gave away our secret!

Re: A point of etiquette

Exactly.

Re: A point of etiquette

Dow, for a while there I really thought someone had hijacked your identity. This whole thread just didn’t sound like you. Firstly you have too many good musicians to play with to be putting up with a scenario like described. Secondly you are not the sort to be lost for words. Thirdly you are probably good enough to play most standards at a more than adequate speed.
Anyway didn’t you know the other musicians well enough to give them lip straight away and didn’t they know you well enough not to muck up your set. Maybe the set dancers were to blame as they do seem to like tunes at an incredible speed.
I hope this doesn’t indicate that there is trouble in the Sydney session scene.

Re: A point of etiquette

Not at all - in fact there are more decent sessions now than any time since I first arrived. I think I decided to make this into a thread because I’m genuinely in 2 minds about the whole situation. The whole thing’s no big deal. I totally exaggerated the "scolding" aspect of it and made it sound as though this person had a go at me, which wasn’t the case. But the implication was that I was in the wrong and had made a "statement" by dropping out, and my first reaction was to think that they shouldn’t have altered the parameters of a set I started, but then I started thinking about it, and wondered whether it’s a bit more complicated than that when dancers are waiting in the sidelines, and with me being a visitor in an "established" session which has its own particular feel/pace/flow/whatever. So I was thinking maybe I was in the wrong to have even started a set w/o first stating expicitly that I was going to play slower than the previous sets. Maybe in that situation I should sit back and just follow other people’s sets rather than try and start anything myself…

Re: A point of etiquette

I know it’s been said before but it really just comes down to manners and courtesy.I’ll be around your neck of the woods in a few weeks but I might stay in for a quiet one if these guys "lead" your tunes up there.

Re: A point of etiquette

Dow, what were the circumstances regarding the starting of tunes? Did they ask you to start a tune, or did you just start it up unannounced? Were other people starting up tunes randomly without being asked, or was it understood that anyone could start up tunes wherever they pleased? What was their modus operandi regarding this sort of thing?

Re: A point of etiquette

Failing all that can we just find out where they live? 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

Horaldo no don’t stay in for a quiet one - I’ve made it sound worse than it actually is!

As for you, Mr. Phantom Menace, I’m just deciding whether to deign to answer your question.

Oh alright then, I’ve had a few beers so I’m feeling charitable, even though you do play a spazzy instrument 🙂

They didn’t ask me to start a tune. Other people were starting tunes randomly w/o being asked tho’ so I presumed it was ok. It was a beginner-welcome session, and there were some Scottish players there with some Scottish tunes too. You get the picture. I had met everyone at the session before, and some of the people I know quite well, so I wasn’t just turning up out of the blue. I often play with the same people in other sessions, it’s just that I don’t often go to this particular session because it’s on a bad night for me.

Re: A point of etiquette

In a large boisterous session I think you just have to accept that if you’re not a powerful player of a large instrument, then starting a set is a bit like shoving a cart off the brow of a hill to see how fast and indeed where it ends up going.
All the politeness/rudeness/etiquette stuff becomes sort of irrelevant. In a session with a lot of beginners this is exacerbated do to their tendency to respect/follow the strongest players rather than do ‘the right thing’.
Smaller sessions are different, and generally more genteel…..

Re: A point of etiquette

As most accompanists demand a list of tunes and key signatures before starting a set, perhaps we should provide a suggested metronome setting as well.
Obviously this would not apply to melodion players, who would be able to speed the set up whenever they felt like, as usual.

Re: A point of etiquette

A few years after I started playing, I decided to be brave and try and start a tune (Hunter’s House) at a pace I was "comfortable with". Well this was a well known tune at this particular session and generally played at warp speed. So there I am with my little whistle, feeling a bit brave and I start playing. It was at a ‘nice’ speed as I’m not a fan of warp speed tunes (they lose all their pulse). Well, I wasn’t 5 notes into the tune when the warp speeders took over and left me in their dust.

I couldn’t keep up.

But darn it, I’d practiced this tune all week and I was going to play it by hook or by crook. So when the dust settled from the warp speed version I just calmly picked up my little whistle and once again started the same tune. I got bug eyed looks and gasps from a couple of friends saying "we just played that!". I replied with "I know, but now I’m going to play it at MY speed". And I did.

I’m so proud of that moment. I have become much less "brave" in years following that. Don’t know why.

Re: A point of etiquette

Only joking Dow.I’ll be there with bells on,provided I can get my Djembe through the door.

Re: A point of etiquette

Mark, blame the dancers. That explains the whole situation, IMO. I was at a session last night that I thought was warp-speed already, when the friend of one of the stepdancers in the pub leaned in and said "She’ll dance if you play something fast." On the other hand, I went to a set-dance once where the musicians were used to playing at "session speed", ie- a fairly relaxed, upbeat but melodic (as opposed to driving and rhythmic) pace - the dancers looked like a bunch of octegenarians shuffling to dinner in an old folks’ home. I danced four sets and didn’t even break a sweat.

Re: A point of etiquette

there’s a problem with this thread. I think people are getting mixed up with the obviously very rude thing of hijacking someone’s set and speeding up, with the perfectly acceptable, indeed often desireable, thing of playing really really fast.

Now I’m not someone who says you should play really really fast all night, mix it up I say. But there is no getting away from the fact that to play really really fast is one of the things you should have in your bag of tricks.

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

Damn right you keep your pace son! I have been at sessions where there are so many grooves and tempos that any decent musician is forced to listen to what is happening with groove and/or tempo to be able to play along properly. And with so many tunes starting off so fast, it looses the inherent groove. I am a somewhat reformed speedmeister so I speak from experience.

I think it’s the leaders job to listen bloody hard to what’s happening to help mesh everything in. If someone starts something at the sessions I play at, that’s the tempo it gets played at. If you can’t play along or it’s too slow for your liking, don’t play. We do, after all, have choice as musicians and thinking people whether to play or not. It’s not like someone has a shotgun to our heads (or do they?)

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Wait a minute.

Am I the only one with a gun to his head ?

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

It seems like the presence of the dancers, and the agreement the dancers have with the session leader, makes this a fast session, and perhaps even a ceili/session. I think that changes the underlying theme and therefore the ettiquette. If tunes are played at set-dance speed, then starting a tune slower than that, and giving up on a set you started might both be breaches of ettiquette.

You know how those dancers are. They could hear a nice tune and halfway through it, they want to get up and dance a set.

Dow, obviously I am advocating for one side just for kicks.

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

I wish I could dance sets without breaking into a sweat—even at a modest pace, it is a lot of work for a (ahem) "portly"old guy like me. And personally, I can take dancers and enjoy playing for them whenever I can, it’s the mothers that come along with the wee ones that can be a problem!!!!!!

Re: A point of etiquette

There is a name for someone who can control the pace of a noisy set, and it’s "Piano Accordionist".

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

When I’m hosting a session I make an effort to maintain the tempo that visiting musicians establish when they start a tune. When I’m visiting other people’s sessions I don’t expect the hosts to do the same. I think it’s courteous, but it’s not mandatory.

Sometimes a visitor will start a tune I don’t particularly care for at an excruciatingly slow speed. Instead of joining in and speeding it up — I listen. (sometimes from the jax or the bar) If this person takes it upon themselves to start a lot of tunes this way without being asked — I get tempted.

Re: A point of etiquette

I agree Jack, for the most part. That’s the funny thing about Dow’s scenario. He wasn’t truly a "visitor", since most people already knew him. And he is obviously not a new player, just learning. And it sounds like he was playing at their tempo on previous sets.

Ettiquette wise, I think it is important to honor visitors and beginners, and give them a chance to play a tune at their own tempo. It is debatable whether you need to dedicate your whole night to that cause, however.

The question is, at what point does a visitor or "new local" start hi-jacking your session by slowing everything down?

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

"The question is, at what point does a visitor or "new local" start hi-jacking your session by slowing everything down?"

Actually I’m a lot more forgiving a relaxed about all of this in the sessions we host. In this forum I’m offering my perspective, but in practice people will get away with a lot before I’m compelled to do anything about it. Luckily our sessions have been problem free for the most part for quite a while now. We have visitors from all around the world at a wide variety of levels and they’ve all been very well mannered mostly. On occasion we’ll get someone who will start a string of tunes and when they’re over they’ll immediately start another… and another, but this is easily remedied by suggesting that others have a chance to choose some tunes.

The other thing that tends to happen is the noodling (my pet peeve) but I actually let people get away with that unless it’s really interfering with the enjoyment of the music by the musicians and punters alike. There are usually obvious clues on the faces and in the posture of the musicians. Sometimes I’m across the table and can’t really hear it, but I’ll see it on people’s faces and the way they’re sitting. I’ll find out later how they wanted to shove the whistle or whatever where the sun don’t shine.

Tempos are an interesting thing too. We don’t play at break-neck speed and I’ve noticed some of the more novice players will be able to keep up just fine. But sometimes when they start a tune, or they’re leading a set — they’ll speed up out of nervousness. In those cases I try to maintain a relaxed tempo so it doesn’t spin out of control.

Re: A point of etiquette

Well done, keyedup! Thanks for that "Tale of Two Tempos." Even though I’m just a bodhranai (and purportedly one who is a bit more sensitive to tempos that others establish), I am occasionally frustrated when I see/hear someone "run away with" a tune that someone else started at a much more "comfortable" pace.

Re: A point of etiquette

According to Michael Gill’s claim that "to play really really fast is one of the things you should have in your bag of tricks," and in light of Joannie Madden’s observation that the fathers of the members of Cherish the Ladies can’t play as fast as their daughters (brought up in the last tempo thread), it seems that Mike Rafferty and Joe Madden and Jim Coogan, etc. aren’t playing with a full bag of tricks.

Re: A point of etiquette

Yes. Life moves on. If you play this music because you like living in the past then you are in it for the wrong reasons. Me? I hate folk music.

That’s not to say I don’t love a tune with some slower old boys. If anything, I prefer it. But I like a tune with the furious young uns too.

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

Yeah of course. There was nothing bad meant by it and I’m up for tunes whenever, with whoever, as long as they don’t mind me noodling. Did you notice how Jack managed to slip that in there even though this thread has nothing to do with it. God Jack it’s always "me me me" isn’t it, with you, eh? 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

Oh come on Michael, isn’t your great granddad from Mayo? You should get in touch with the misty Celtic blood that flows through your veins. I’ve totally misjudged you. To think I always took you for a romantic 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

ha ha

Though I never said my great grandad was from Mayo. I said: "If I were to say that my great granddad was from Mayo."

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

Yes. My memory’s not that selective!
Don’t get all defensive now Michael, my floaty, druid-like friend.

Re: A point of etiquette

ha ha again

Though I never said I didn’t have a granddad from Mayo either (??)

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

Well if you haven’t I don’t know how you expect you’ll ever be any good at Irish music 🙂

Re: A point of etiquette

I had great grandparents who were Irish, or great great grandparents or whatever, apparently. Therefore I couldn’t really *not* play Irish music. In fact, despite the fact that I’m English and have only been to Ireland once for 5 days in my whole life, the Celt in me is so unbelievably strong that I was lilting tunes in the womb before I was even like *born*.

Re: A point of etiquette

do you remember which tunes those were, Dow?

Posted by .

Re: A point of etiquette

Of course not, nobody can remember when they were in the womb, silly.

Re: A point of etiquette

I remember it being quite difficult to lilt with a throat full of amniotic fluid

Posted .

Re: A point of etiquette

Liar.

Re: A point of etiquette

2 cents: There’s plenty of things to do in a pub. The regulars like to do what they like to do. Kind of clickish but different players have different agendas - yea?