What’s wrong with noodling ?

What’s wrong with noodling ?

Recent comment from distinguished contributor complained about people "noodling" between tunes at sessions. Sometimes one can’t tell whether they are trying out bits of the last tune, or might launch into something new if they could remember it……
Personally, I quite enjoy them. I find them much like the little phrases people insert in conversations as a filler. Obviously "Know what I mean ?" is more annoying than something more erudite or characterful.
Perhaps a brief noodle by , say, Kevin Burke or Liam O’Flynn or Aly Bain might be perfectly acceptable to most people on this forum.
Perhaps the complaint was about the quality or grade of the noodle, or noodler ?

PS I noticed, as I started this discussion, that this was page 733 of discussions, at 10 to the page of listings, and that seven out of the current 10 were started today. Why aren’t you guys’n’gals out playing at sessions ? ( Alright, I’m not either, tonight.)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’ve known people who dominate sessions by noodling quietly between tunes. The effect it has is that others who might like to start a tune, (but are polite about it,) will think that the noodler is trying to start a tune and will try to hear what the noodler is playing. The noodler will see people waiting for them to start a tune — and then they do. Often the noodler is practicing a tune they would like to start, but the effect is that no one else will start a tune until the noodler stops. It’s passive aggressive session domination.

Besides all that, I just like to clear the air between tunes and maybe even talk to people — what a concept.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Nothing.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Noodling can also act as a filter keeping you from recalling the great new tunes you have been practicing all week.
I don’t know about passive agressive ,for me it is a bit like the fog of war.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

aggressive

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Some people noodle to *help* them recall tunes.
Some people noodle to keep the flute or whistle warm, the fingrers limber.

The only thing passive aggressive I can see in jack’s scenario is being too "polite" to start your own tune just because someone else is knocking a few notes around.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

All of the sessions I get to attend (*) are Round Robins; ie, the choice of tunes goes in a circle. This is a fair way to do it, but (aside) I ve found that the energy never get sup there like the free- for- all type.

What a concept …. we only get a couple of hours to play together, YOU CAN TALK ON THE PHONE [insert expletive of choice}. I will initiate a quiet slow air if the conversation takes over. This is to remind "Next" that it’s about the music instead of somebody’s ex’s soap opera lifestyle.

Some will hollar, "Wait!!! it’s Clytemnestra’s turn!!!!" and I agree, and look her square in both’s eye’s and say "Well … What shall we play?" I wouldn’t call it "passive- agressive session domination; I call it politely pro-active- agressive re-activation.

* "Why aren’t you …out playing at sessions? "
I’m at work, what’s your excuse?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"The only thing passive aggressive I can see in jack’s scenario is being too "polite" to start your own tune just because someone else is knocking a few notes around."

I’ve done that, Will, only to find out I rudely tromped over someone else’s tune they were trying to start. It’s hard to tell what the person is doing. It’s also a little annoying to have this plink plunk toot toot constantly going on by one or more people. Makes me want to say, "Practice at home — we’re trying to have a session here."

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"Why aren’t you …out playing at sessions? " - I was out sessioning tonight thank you, but I’m back now. Aw, ain’t that sweet, smiles all round!

Fraid I find it very, very annoying, that old noodling malarky. Isn’t there a law against it?
If not, there should be.
How the be-jeaasus are you expected to think of a tune when some prat is tootling or plucking or scraping away in your ear hole?
I think a habitual doodler should be made to sit in the session’s Electric Chair - what do you mean, your session doesn’t have one?
Then, every time they doodled, someone would give them a few volts.
I’m sure they would quickly get the message.
Well, sometimes you have to be cruel, to be kind, don’t you?.

But, of course, I wouldn’t dish out this punishment in a nasty, evil, spitefull or rude way.
No, no, I’d have a pleasant smile on my face each time I flicked the switch! :-D

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Jack, then they weren’t noodling, were they? They were starting a tune.

Gee, this "no noodling" stuff gets complicated.

At last night’s session, someone asked me to start Mullingar Races. So I did, nobody else joined in, and that was fine. But I hadn’t played this tune in a long, long time, and when I got to the turn, I somehow managed to mutate into the Shetland Fiddler. So I "noodled" around a bit, trying to recall the B part. Then I started over again, and nailed all of Mullingar Races, and played it through a few times so the others would maybe remember how it goes, or bother to look for the notes or a recording somewhere.

And the moral of this story is that absolutely no one in the room was bothered by the noodling. I work a day job, help two sons with high school homework and learning to drive clutch, do most of the grocery shopping, cook dinner, walk the dog, etc., and I don’t get paid enough (heavy sarcasm) to worry about having to noodle my way around a tune at a session now and then. Other people sometimes also noodle, often for the reasons I stated above. I’ve never heard anyone complain about it. I can understand how constant noodling between sets would get old, but I’ve never been at a session where that happened either.

It strikes me as somewhat strange to be so bothered by stray notes tossed into the room between tunes. Most experienced session players learn to cope with a myriad of distractions, from noisy punters to football on the telly to loud ceiling fans and punk bands in the bar downstairs. People distracted by twiddling on a tune between sets must find it hard to play in a session unless the atmosphere is remarkably controlled.

But it strikes me as *really* strange to be so "polite" that you won’t speak up when someone’s behavior is ruining your evening. As though resentment is a virtue. I don’t get it.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Here’s one strange downside to noodling- at my session, which is held in a long and narrow room next to the bar area (so it’s hard to hear everything), someone will start noodling, and the tune will be picked up by those nearby…and the very same thing happens at the other end of the room, creating sub-sessions until those in the center try to make sense of it all.

I can just imagine that smile on Ptarmigan’s face…bzzzzzzzzt…

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, can you start The Mullingar Races?

Okay, everyone.. to your marks…get set…GO!!!

Bx

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

DEFD E~A,3….

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hi I’m Brad & I’m a compulsive noodler. Mostly it’s tunes I would like to play but can’t remember that juicy bit in the high part etc. I don’t think it’s as evil as some of you make it out…

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’m amazed! I only thought guitarists noodled!

We’ve never had a flute noodler, or a fiddle noodler.

What other noodlers are there out there?!

Personnally, I ask the guitar noodler if they’re noodling or playing! Seems to work as they say noodling (99/100) and then I can get started!
No problem.

Sue

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, we aren’t talking about solo noodling mid tune because you forgot the B part. We’re talking about noodling in between playing. You know — during the time you might talk to other players or just take a break from the music.

"Jack, then they weren’t noodling, were they? They were starting a tune."

That’s just it really — it’s hard to tell. There are some people who are always noodling between tunes so you can’t distinguish it when they’re actually starting a tune. I’ve sat listening to noodling trying to recognize the tune I thought was being started only to have the person stop and say, "I’m just working something out." Most people are either playing or not playing. Noodlers are enigmatic and annoying creatures.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Greg, I’ll send you a photo! Ha Ha, dat’ll ruin ‘your’ day, for sure! :-D

The Mullingar Races? - Ah, that Kathleen Collin’s LP Mmmmmmmmmmm

Oh Mad, it is, it is, please believe me it is!
I bet other folk at your session are, right now, sticking 6" nails into little dolls with your likeness!
Well, do you feel anything yet?:-D

Susie, as far as I can see, any instrument could be used for noodling, & really, one’s almost as bad as any other, but I personally find the Whistle to be the most annoying instrument of torture.
I love whistles when they’re playing TUNES, but when they’re actually being used for noodling, I see red.
What I need to do when it happens, I suppose, is call in the ‘In denial’ man - I’ve heard he looks like Arnie Swarts-is-name, so I’m sure he’d have no problem in bending the offending instrument over his knee.

‘Will’, I personally don’t consider what you had to resort to as noodling. Well, at least, the sort of thing I’m talking about is the person who does it between every set.

Something like a whistle being tootled between every set, just bits of tunes & we bits of ornamentation practice when they happen between every set, you get to making the sets longer & longer to avoid ending at all.

To me, it is akin to a form of chinese torture, like dripping water. When you describe it in black & white it sounds pretty harmless but in reality it can ruin everyone else’s night!

Could someone, with a sharper wit, perhaps come up with a sign which we could display at sessions where noodling was forbidden? i.e. like the broken ciggy with the red cross through it, prohibiting smoking.

A red cross above an instrument being smashed over someone’s head might do the trick, or…………….

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Dat’s it Button. It’s a bit like ye olde ‘crying wolf’ fable. They doodle around each time, so you are never quite sure whether they are starting a tune or just Pi**ing about.

So, each time they are actually trying to start a tune, you should dive in over them with a faster louder tune, watch the pained expression on their faces & perhaps, after a few of those, they’d get the message!

If not, well, at least you’d be getting some fun out of a wasted night! :-)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Well, I think there are sessions where it’s ok to noodle a bit, and sessions where it’s a major pain in the ass - it just depends. I hate ANY accompaniest noodling, no matter what session - why do some insist on doing that? Where noodling might be OK, is in a, not quite flying/beginners type of session, and I’ve done it myself on the fiddle at such sessions; however, for me, it still is a bit of a "fog" ("but not a fog of war") - and yes, it does stop me from recalling tunes - which I guess is why people are noodling in the first place! Catch 22. The sessions where noodling is a no-no, for me, are the ones that are really trucking - there’s simply no place for noodling in that type of session, full stop.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"I hate ANY accompaniest noodling, no matter what session…"

Ron P, I can see how you come to say that, being an accompaniest yourself, & a fine one too, I may add, but I think it’s just the same for melody folk in a session to hear other melody folk noodling away at tunes.

I believe most of them would say - I hate ANY melodiest noodling, no matter what session..!

I think, if you just leave out the small phrase " in that type of session", from your final statement, then it says it all - i.e. there’s simply no place for noodling, full stop. How’sat?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Now look, this is getting ridiculous.
If we are going to have all these different sorts of noodling, we need to differentiate between them, otherwise no one knows which sort of noodling thread they’re getting into.

Might I suggest that the sort of noodling described here (irritating twiddling between tunes) is henceforth referred to as noodling.

The sort of noodling when someone is playing a tune they don’t know (guilty me’lud, but I would claim in my defence that I didn’t realise I didn’t know it till it was finished and someone told me what it was called, honest Jack! Now put that banjo down, Jack! … Jack!) - might be called footling.

The sort of noodling when someone is actively trying to pick up a tune ‘on-the-fly’ is called Picking up a tune on the fly.

And the sort of noodling where someone is playing what they think are cute harmonies on the whistle (usually) should be called tweetling, and should be punishable by having your skull stoved in with that banjo Jack was trying to hit me with.

Will, you say, "I’m learning to drive clutch". That’s a wonderful expression, such an un-English use of English! - very John Gierach :-)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"I think, if you just leave out the small phrase " in that type of session", from your final statement, then it says it all - i.e. there’s simply no place for noodling, full stop. How’sat?"

Well, I understand what you’re saying Dick, but should/could that be controlled - I certainly doubt it that it COULD ever be controlled. So really, in certain instances, it may be best to take it easy and go with the flow.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I will sometimes noodle when playing the guitar in a session when a set or tune finishes but only because during the playing of the set I was inspired with the thought of a different approach to one or more of the parts of the set or tune. I often times do not have the confidence to execute my new approach full gallop as it were, so I noodle a little bit whilst the tune or set is fresh in my mind. Sometimes it is a matter of working out a better compliment to the way a melody player that I do not get the opportunity to play with a great deal executes a turn, a change, or other phrase (obviously the key here is to remember who it was that I worked out the modification for). All this said, when the session is hot and the tunes flying or in fact feel my noodling will be a distraction I do my best to remember the inspiration for later, or at home, and fasten my seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

Peace,
Ed

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Excellent idea Ottery!

This means I can stick to my guns & go with the phrase "There’s simply no place for noodling" & agree that sometimes there’s room for a bit of "footling" & for "Picking up a tune on the fly"

- but of course, one must always refrain from trying to stove in someone’s head with a Banjo - after all, you might break a string! No, just carry along a fence post, just in case……..

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

With the fiddle you can noodle silently just by putting the bow down and practicing the fingering. It’s obvious then that you’re not going start up a tune just yet.

Trevor

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

“I’m amazed! I only thought guitarists noodled!”

As one of that scoundrel breed, I’ll admit we may be the worst. And here’s why:

Even if we’re able to play some tunes, we inevitably spend a lot of session time just playing accompaniment, which is an exercise in subtlety and restraint. When I sit with a bunch of musicians, holding a guitar for a long time, it’s hard to resist taking advantage of a pause in the proceedings to plunk out something melodious. When I sit alone at home playing, I play tunes, not accompaniments.

If you’re a full-time melody player, try to imagine spending your entire next session just playing drones or rhythmic pulses or simple counterpoint lines, all in restrained support of the melody players. I don’t mean that it’s something to begrudge, just that it tends to build up pressure to burst out playing a tune.

After a gentle scolding years ago from Herself, I’ve learned to control that urge. Mostly.

Maybe session leaders could take a page from the orchestra conductor’s book. Let the players noodle for minute, then tap their glass on the table and call for the next tune. Or shoot the next noodler as an example. Either one should work.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oh, I know the sort of noodling I described above was different than this noodling between sets. I was just making the point that all noodling isn’t bad. It depends on who’s doing it and why. Which means, as a session player—because noodling is a common session occurrence—it’s up to you to develop an understanding of this behavior so you can discern when it’s aimless noodling and when it’s useful noodling (aka footling and picking up a tune on the fly). Much like developing the knack for learning tunes by ear, or identifying tunes in one measure or less so you can adroitly leap from one tune to the next in unannounced, spontaneous sets. These skills go a long ways toward helping us be a happy, contributing participant in many a session.

I think noodling between sets serves many worthy purposes. Sometimes I noodle between sets:

(1) as a cue that we’ve been chatting long enough and it’s time to foist another reel set upon the punters. As soon as I get someone’s attention, I stop, so they can start a set.
(2) to see if I can recall a long-lost tune. Often it’s the B part I’ll noodle on just to make sure I don’t have another Mullingar/Shetland moment.
(3) in hopes some random sequence of notes will spark a tune we haven’t played in eons, because otherwise we’ll just keep ploughing through the same merry melodies we’ve recently been playing week in ,week out.
(4) to prevent the backers from unilaterally starting their favorite chord progression, er, tune.
(5) to annoy the person sitting next to me who’s having a brilliant conversation about the shoe sale down at Macy’s on her cell phone.
(6) to determine whether I’m too inebriated to start that Reavey tune in Gm and not fumble the e flats.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

People who do choose to noodle between tune sets always have a good reason. The problem is they haven’t taken into consideration the effect it has on the other sessioneers. I’ve mentioned the "snippet method" of suggesting tunes to be played before where you play just a small bit of the tune until your cohorts recognize it. I like this because, besides letting everyone know what tune I’m suggesting, including the back-up who can figure out the key, it allows me to reinforce for myself how the tune starts. My cohorts might finger the notes or repeat the snippet to do the same and it becomes a bit of a dialog about the tunes before we actually launch into them. Often we use this method to spontaneously devise a medley. If someone is noodling around it makes it difficult and confusing. Also, the noodler can’t participate in putting together a set of tunes with us.

Now I realize sessions have different styles wherever you go and at sessions where no one talks about what they would like to play before starting and just expect some sort of telepathy to take over, the idea bobhimself suggested of tapping on the glass to quiet the noodlers before playing could work quite well. But when I go to a session I don’t go to be part of an orchestra – I go to socialize, drink and play tunes with my friends. By the time we get to the session we’ve already learned the tunes we play, the back-up expects to follow as best they can — so there’s really no reason to noodle between sets.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"By the time we get to the session we’ve already learned the tunes we play, the back-up expects to follow as best they can — so there’s really no reason to noodle between sets".
I think that sentence is very telling, Jack. If that’s the case, the sessions you go to sound far more regulated than the some of the ones I go to. Many sessions I go to I have no idea what ‘tunes we play’ - I indeed have no idea whether I’m going to be playing with anyone I’ve played with before, whether I will be with friends or strangers, whether I’m going to end up dragging ancient tunes from my remote and troubled subconcious, and whether or not some of the people might be inveterate noodlers(!)
Personally, I hate having people noodling between tunes - it causes confusion and feels oppressive, but I can live with it, it isn’t the worst thing that can happen at a session …

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You misunderstood me, Mark, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. What I meant by, "we’ve already learned the tunes we play" is that we aren’t learning the tunes while at the session. I don’t start tunes I don’t already know, and I don’t play on tunes I don’t already know.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hmmm…so it’s *not* noodling if you play snippets of tunes to see what everyone wants to play next. How would someone new to that session know this? Or might they assume you’re just noodling and start a tune over you?

I love how Jack takes it for granted that he can read minds and knows what other people are thinking, or aren’t thinking, as in the case of noodlers not considering the effect it has on other sessioneers. Yet he doesn’t seem too keen on telepathy, preferring to pre-arrange sets via Clause A-13, the "Snippet Noodling Exception" to the otherwise rock solid Noodling Prohibition Rule 7B (Which We Are Too Polite to Mention Except Online Where No One Can Hear You Noodle).

I know some very good players who noodle at sessions, actually intending to have a specific effect on the other players—mainly to get them to loosen up and extend themselves musically a little—maybe learn a simple tune on the fly, or pick up a cool varition on an old standard. Or get the shy one to quit feeling so self conscious and feel free to make some noise with the instruments stuck in their laps.

I guess I prefer more free-wheeling sessions where sets are mostly spontaneous, tune after tune, and picking up a tune or three on the fly is encouraged, and it’s okay and even welcome for players to provide drones and rhythm when they don’t know the actual melody, and the lead players can stay on task and even thoroughly enjoy themselves rather than feel distracted by other players occasionally making music without prior permission.

The better session musicians I’ve seen in action seem to feed off the noodling (rather than being crippled by it)—taking it for inspiration to start a tune that wouldn’t have occurred to them otherwise, or recognizing when a noodler is really just someone too shy to start a tune at full volume and they’re fishing to see if a core player will jump in and help them along, or even catching someone between sets in the act of trying to pick up at least a bit of the last tune so they can learn the whole thing at home, and whup!, here’s the core player, seizing a lull in the action to play the A part four times in a row at half speed so the other fellow can tag along and learn the tune.

Of course, not all sessions work this way, but I’m glad many do. The sessions I’ve been to that discouraged picking up tunes on the fly and spontaneous sets felt scripted to me, rehearsed and predictable, more concerned about perfecting the music than having fun with it. I suppose if a session was a *job,* a paying gig, I might understand that approach. All the more reason to avoid "working" a session.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

i’ve only noodled once, and that was because someone was letting me try out their olwell and i didnt know any of the session repertoire. and that being said, i went on the other side of the bar into another room so no one would hear me and think i was playing with them. i would never had done that with my own flute because i can take that home with me.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I think, when all’s said & done, the bottom line for me is that I can, of course, cope with the odd constructive noodle, but what really gets to me is the person who does it between EVERY set of tunes!

It kinda gives the impression, to me anyway, that they couldn’t be ar*ed practicing or even playing at home, so they are doing that at the session & they just don’t give a sh*t if it ruins anyone elses evening!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, I don’t know what it is with you the way you seem to lie in wait for me to say something you can misconstrue to trash my session concepts. There’s a big difference between someone noodling away aimlessly between the tune sets and someone who says, "How about this tune?" and then plays a snippet. How you came up with your interpretation of what I said is anyone’s guess.

I’m sure your sessions are great and everyone has a good time and famous people show up and lavish praise etc., but not all sessions run like yours. Just because we don’t prefer the free-for-all style noodle & play session doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the way we like to go about it. Our sessions aren’t "scripted" or " rehearsed and predictable" and we have plenty of fun thank you very much. We just don’t care for noodling. Why that threatens you is a mystery to me. If you like to play tunes and have people noodling along with you, and noodling between sets — more power to you — I’m not going to hold it against you or tell you it’s wrong or bad in any way – for you. Why you feel compelled to put down our way of doing it makes no sense to me. If I visit your session I’ll know that I’ll have to except noodling and tunes on the fly. If you come to ours – please don’t noodle. That’s fair isn’t it?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"The world comes in many shades of grey" - My shades are black…………….I just don’t like habitual noodling, sorry!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

WOW! A whole ‘nother noodling thread!

Jack: "we aren’t learning the tunes while at the session. "

Liar!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Very astute Kerri,
of course
you may learn the notes at home,
but you learn the tunes at the session.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Touche!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I wondered how long it would take Jack to complain of being victimized again. But it’s okay for him to call noodlers passive aggressive in the first response to this thread.

Oh well.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, I never said ALL noodlers were doing that — I said I’ve known some to do that. (passive aggressive session domination) Again, you misconstrue what I’m saying to paint me in a negative light. I don’t know what your problem is. Take a break, go for a walk, go play some tunes, make love to you wife or something — just chill out… ok?

Yes Kerri, we do learn tunes at sessions — but not by noodling. ;-)

Father Jack, sure there’s gray areas, but usually I see red when incessant noodling interferes with the normal course of a session. I suppose noodling in between sets is a nice shade of gray for people if the session style is basically a tune-learning workshop.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Father Jack, my initial response to this thread wasn’t about "a few bits of wee twiddling here and there" but rather about people who seem to always noodle around between sets. These are people who don’t seem to ever stop playing regardless of what everyone else is doing. But according to some people in this forum any criticism at all is practically a capital crime. Just because I advocate that people refrain from compulsive noodling doesn’t mean I can’t accept any other form of it. Ultimately, as always, people have to exercise their own sense of what good manners are. I happen to think that a lot of noodling between tunes is impolite. But like I said: if the session is more of a tune learning event — it’s perfectly reasonable.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Jack, you’re the champion of the pot calling the kettle black. You’re the one making it personal way beyond sessions and the music. Read your last post to me and consider where on this thread I’ve said anything close to what you’re suggesting I do.

You give your opinions, casting people in a negative light with your amateur psycho analysis, and then take it personally when someone disagrees or posits a different way of thinking about the issue. Someone offers a contrary opinion and you whine about being painted in a negative light, all the while telling us we’re passive aggressive, insecure, and compulsive. That’s rich.

Hup. I’m off for some much needed noodling.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, anyone reading this thread can see that you singled me out and cast a negative light on my session preferences. If you can’t see this — I don’t know what to say. I have never put down your session preferences so it’s a one-sided effort on your part. I have stated in this thread that ‘between tunes noodling’ is perfectly fine in sessions where it’s practical and appropriate for that session’s style. There are other sessions where it isn’t – that doesn’t make them bad sessions – they’re just different. Maybe you wouldn’t enjoy that sort of session, but that doesn’t mean you need to characterize it as some sort of up-tight snob fest. It’s just a different way to do it.

All I can figure is that you find it difficult to accept ideas that are different from your own definition. Maybe you would benefit from traveling to other parts of the world, specifically Ireland perhaps, and revisit your assumptions about how other people may go about this sort of thing. I really am pleased that you find so much satisfaction in your personal approach, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but just remember — it’s your approach relevant to your location — not necessarily everyone else’s.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey ‘thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter’, don’t take it too much to heart, the loss of your "Derek and Clive reference". I too had a silly link to a POT NOODLE site deleted. He’s only trying to help keep this battle on a musical track, is all. & fair play Sir!

Incidentally, I too can cope with "a few bits of wee twiddling here and there", but that constant, doodling from the same person between EVERY set of tunes, is a hateful habit we should all try to discourage, whenever we meet it, out in the field!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

This battle is going on, I believe, not so much because of the different views on noodling, but because of the use, early on, of the phrase "passive aggressive session domination"!

Guys, why not shake hands & get ‘that phrase’ out of the way, & then perhaps Ottery would do the honours & ring the bell, & then you can both come out for ‘Round Two’ - with no baggage?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"I’ve known people who dominate sessions by noodling quietly between tunes…. It’s passive aggressive session domination."

"It’s also a little annoying to have this plink plunk toot toot constantly going on by one or more people. Makes me want to say, ‘Practice at home — we’re trying to have a session here.’"

"Noodlers are enigmatic and annoying creatures."

- The Great and Wise Gilder (who says he doesn’t put down other people’s session preferences)


FWIW, I’ve traveled the world no small amount, lived overseas more than once for years at a time, been to all 50 states, played in sessions on both US coasts, even been to Ireland. I’m not sure how relevant any of that is, but Jack apparently thinks he’s talking to a bumpkin who’s never set foot beyond the Montana sticks.

Dick, Jack has used this strategy before, insulting other people’s ideas about sessions and then claiming he’s done no such thing, that in fact he’s the poor aggreived soul. Apparently he feels he’s being demonized when anyone disagree with him and offers their perspective. Must rack up a heck of a monthly exorcism bill…..

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Pet Hates -
1) Yorkshire Terriers.
2) Clowns who "noodle" the previous tune played because they can’t play it.
3) Clowns who "noodle" the same daggy tunes week-after-week and still can’t play them.
4) Accompanists who "noodle" with chord "sequences" containing 3 chords.
5) Beginners who won’t play in public but "practise noodling" in sessions, in front of an audience of musicians.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Yorkshire Terriers? Why not P(n)oodles?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, I was putting down noodling, not your session preferences and not you. I don’t get it; are you telling us that your sessions are basically noodle fests? Do you consider yourself to be a noodler primarily? When I’m referring to the problems with noodlers I’m talking about it in relation to the sessions I’m involved with here in SF, not your sessions in Montana and certainly not you. If you like to noodle and everyone that goes to your session knows they can noodle all they want — cool. If they come to a session I’m involved with — I’m not going to be as open to it. There’s nothing wrong with either session… ok?

The pattern that happens on this board is that I’ll state something about session behavior that I don’t care for as it relates to sessions I’m involved with. It seems that the things I don’t care for should be considered universal session policy according to Will. I end up being attacked as though I insulted Will personally. I’ve pointed this out before but it doesn’t seem to do much good.

Will has quoted me (above) about my feelings regarding noodling. None of those quotes are about Will, but he has quoted them to demonstrate how I have insulted him. For Will, this justifies his insults directed at me… I guess. I would like to state for the record that I have no ill feelings toward Will or his session and I never have. If I talk about session behavior I don’t like here on this board – IT’S NOT ABOUT WILL OR HIS SESSION. Is that clear enough?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

LOL, nobody attacked you Jack, you just take it that way whenever someone voices an opinion different from yours. Makes it very hard to have a normal conversation.

If you’d not so willfully ignore what I actually posted here, you’d see that what I said was, "The sessions I’ve been to that discouraged picking up tunes on the fly and spontaneous sets felt scripted to me, rehearsed and predictable, more concerned about perfecting the music than having fun with it."

No mention of your session Jack because I’ve never been to the P&S. Just saying that such sessions that I’ve been to feel scripted TO ME.

I also tried to suggest that your tune snippets might be miscconstrued as noodling by someone new to your session. In contrast to your "passive aggressive session domination," I couched my idea in a little joke about the Snippet Exception to No Noodling Rule 7B, but maybe you were too worked up to get it.

In return to all this, you tell me to go take a walk, bring my wife into it, and mistakenly suggest that I’m apoplectic over this. You also hint that I’m an ignorant, untraveled hick who needs to see the world to improve my understanding of sessions. I wasn’t aware that we’ve met and exchanged life histories.

Of course, you’ve ignored all the positive things I’ve offered up in a calm, even humorous tone about noodling’s place in the session tradition. Perhaps even that is too threatening?

But this is a waste of both our time—we’d be better off working up those new tunes (so we don’t have to resort to noodling or sitting on our hands when they come up at the next session). I’m currently tinkering with variations on three polkas I learned on the fly at a session a week ago….

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Ottery , question for youooohoooo…..

I like your distinction definitions….but now I’m worried.
Is the counter melody backing on bouzouki, guitar or mandolin
considered footling ? And does the banjo punishment stand ?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Sorry, Will, in these cases you get defensive about your session style based on something I said. You refer to me by name and then try to paint my session concepts in a negative light, sometimes with clever sarcasm. I never called you an "untraveled hick," my point was that you seem to think your session style is standard and perhaps traveling to Ireland and elsewhere might open your mind towards the various session styles that exist.

Now as I said, I have no problem with noodling in the context of your chosen session style. I prefer a different session style than you. Any comments I make are NOT about YOUR SESSION. I am NOT arguing with you right now, and I wasn’t before — I’m simply attempting to clarify my point. Please stop taking my comments personally – THEY AREN’T ABOUT YOU.

I do think we have the potential to engage in friendly discussions about our various session styles without taking it personally. I look forward to that kind of dialog.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You could start by refraining from telling me what I think, and perhaps base your responses instead on what I actually post. I never said or implied that my session style is standard (you and I both know there is no such thing as a session "standard"). I also never suggested that I think you’re talking about my session or about me personally, except when you tell me to go dally with my wife, which is clearly none of your business. You keep shouting that I think your comments are about me, but I’ve never indicated that, either.

In fact, you routinely put words in my mouth that I never said, ascribe thoughts and emotions to me that I don’t harbor, and then tell me I need to open my mind to experiences you can’t possibly know whether I’ve had or not. That doesn’t sound like the recipe for a friendly dialogue to me.

Try this on for size: since sessions apparently originated in London and the States (according to Hammy Hamilton’s Ph. D. dissertation and Mick Moloney’s research), isn’t it also valid to go to sessions in these locales to see how they work? Particularly if the participants at those sessions are primarily people born and raised in Ireland? I’ve been to many such sessions in East Coast and West Coast cities—they take all shapes and forms, and I’ve enjoyed the variety. I’ve sessioned with old timers and their musical progeny from Mayo, Donegal, Cork, Galway, Clare, the Bronx, and Chief O’Neill’s backyard. I suspect they know what they’re doing, noodling and all.

I’d rather take a rest from this—it’s not productive, and no one else here wants to watch us joust endlessly over nothing.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hmmpf, so Jack, you were talking about my session then?

I think the difference is between the person who noodles between every bliddy set of tunes, and the person who does it every once in awhile.

I certainly don’t mind someone searching for a tune. I don’t mind cause I do that. You know, when you are trying to find that G tune that starts like all the rest and it’s at the edge of your mind.

Or the person that might play a few notes from the set that just finished in order to lock it in, save it to memory.

But if someone does it all night between every set, it’s as unattractive as drooling.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Sorry BegF, I’m keeping my head down around here!
But I think the banjo punishment, or in extreme cases, The Banjo Stand Punishment, should definitely stand …

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

So it is footling then ? I need to know.
Can we have another term for what Alec Finn does ?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oh, I see what you mean! You’re just trying to get me into trouble!
I only said ‘what they THINK are cute harmonies’. I didn’t say that all harmony playing or counterpoint was annoying.

You know perfectly well what sort of tweetling I’m talking about ….

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Jode, no, I wasn’t talking about your session either, but that’s exactly my point. It’s the "person who noodles between every bliddy set of tunes" that I’m referring to.

Like I tried to say at the onset — sometimes it can be used as passive aggressive session domination. The incessant noodler sometimes will place himself next in line to start a tune because everyone will be waiting to figure out if he’s trying to start one or not. It’s also very hard to do the snippet method of starting tunes when this sort of noodling is going on. Anyone who feels defensive when I suggest this can pick it apart and make it look like our session would be a stuffy snobbish affair, or a "performance," but the truth is just that our session style isn’t the default free-for-all that most sessions seem to be where noodling might be more acceptable. There’s nothing wrong with free-for-all sessions if that’s what the people who started it want, my point is that other ways should be allowed as well.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Bon appetit !

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

had green curry and pad thai for lunch…

*burble*

Jack, please tell me that you knew I was joking. I’m not a smiley sort of guy, although I have been monikered "smilin’ joe" on occassion.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter

You wrote, "Jack obviously has a clear concept of the kind of ‘noodling’ that he detests, and appears to be refusing to acknowledge that other people may have different ideas of the word."

My statements don’t support your claim.

I said, "Will, we aren’t talking about solo noodling mid tune because you forgot the B part. We’re talking about noodling in between playing. You know — during the time you might talk to other players or just take a break from the music."

Obviously I’m acknowledging and accepting Will’s first definition.

Then I said to you: "Father Jack, sure there’s gray areas, but usually I see red when incessant noodling interferes with the normal course of a session. I suppose noodling in between sets is a nice shade of gray for people if the session style is basically a tune-learning workshop."

Here I’m acknowledging your shades of gray and trying to clarify what I was referring to and how it might be different based on session styles.

Then I was very clear about accepting and acknowledging forms of noodling when I said: "Just because I advocate that people refrain from compulsive noodling doesn’t mean I can’t accept any other form of it. […] if the session is more of a tune learning event — it’s perfectly reasonable."

How much more clear could I possibly be?

More quotes where I made this clear:

"I have stated in this thread that ‘between tunes noodling’ is perfectly fine in sessions where it’s practical and appropriate for that session’s style."

"I have no problem with noodling in the context of your chosen session style."

"Jode, no, I wasn’t talking about your session either, but that’s exactly my point. It’s the "person who noodles between every bliddy set of tunes" that I’m referring to."

Do us all a favor, thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter, review the thread carefully before making accusations. Cheers.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I knew you were joking, Jode. I was just clarifying it on account of the errant attacks on my statements. I feel like I need to include a disclaimer now after everything I say. *sigh*

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

LOL at "errant" and "tune learning workshops." Obviously no slights intended. You’re too cute, Jackie Oh! :-D

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I do now Ottery.
I plead innocense though, I just wanted to know the places and people I’d be El Kabonged by, just so I can bring a hard hat.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

No need to be smug,Will, that’s the way you described your sessions on other threads, it’s not meant as a slight. You have said many times that people learn tunes at your session… "on the fly." You have indicated that it is the normal process and that noodling is perfectly acceptable. To refer to your session as a "tune learning workshop" fits the definition you provided. I have never said there’s anything wrong with it and I have accepted the concept as a preference you enjoy.

One question

Will, what puzzles me is why you assumed I was referring to your session as a "tune learning workshop." Even though it more or less fits your own definition, I was talking to Mr. Ecumenicalmatter when I said it, and I was using it in a general sense and not pointing it at you. I suppose you might have thought I was referencing a past thread where you and I discussed it, but I’m still curious as to why you assumed I was talking about you in particular. Care to explain?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oh, I’d never try to out smug the smugmeister.

Go ahead and label my session any way you want, Jack. Whatever makes you happy.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

LOL, just because I quoted your label about tune learning workshop doesn’t mean I thought you were applying it to mine—until you did. Hellooooo???

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I give up. It is insane to be sane in an insane thread.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I see you guys got backed into your own corners on account of making baseless accusations… I guess you’re only way out is to either cop to it or abort the discussion. Pity you chose the latter. See ya fellas.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Is noodling a performance, or just noodling?

Leaving…

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

LOTS! LOTS! LOTS!

I’[ve looked at this thread and watched it grow, sad to read and see that so many get personal attacks at others…

Surely a session is about meeting up, having a nice time, sharing tunes.

NOODLING as I understand it, means to be working out a tune or hinting at a tune ( which you canot lead ) or simply when you don’t know how it goes, does not apply to what constitutes a session - given that I GREW into a session tradition.

When I’d got myself a new tune ( Dear me, did I ever get new tunes! 3 dozen a week? YES!!) I’d lean over to Sean Mac(N) or Peadar Finn or Eamonn Coyne and whisper do you know such a tune, get the nod and they’d take you through it. If you didn”t get it then,believe me they’d take you through the tune at a pace for you, but never to disrupt the pace of the session.
Same in Glasgow, Edinb’, most places I”ve played, do the one to ones outside of the sess, don’t stop the flow.

Same when I met up with anyone I wanted a tune from! There’s always a space, corridor, OR EVEN the invite back to the house for a tune!!!

Quite simply I undestand an ITM session to be a place to play and enjoy music and each others’ company. Learning takes place outside of that immediate place called a session.

To practise one’s instrument OUTSIDE of a session is more important!

Enjoy your playing!

Brian xxx

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hi Brian, you say that ‘learning takes place outside of that immediate place called a session’, immediately after describing how Eamonn Coyne would take you through a tune in a session. I’m confused(!)
Your point that whatever you do at a session shouldn’t interrupt the flow, and that practising your instrument OUTSIDE a session is more important, would seem to be the right sentiments exactly, and I think succinctly cover most of the issues thrown up in this thread!
Mark

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Just a little observation, Jack, when Will points out that some of your language could be considered insulting, I’m pretty sure he’s doesn’t necessarily mean "to him". He just means "to someone", perhaps, and objects to the insulting language itself, not your attitude.

Anyway, you’re overstating your position.. You’ve let slip since the last noodling battle royale that you sometimes discover you’re able to play a tune you’ve never played before at speed, in a session, with a few slip-ups, that you have a friend who picks up tunes on the fly all the time and that you play a phrase or two once in a while between sets, etc.

I still think we should just admit that there’s people we like and people we don’t like. If we don’t like somebody the temptation is to whine about their playing and how they’re ruining the session, whereas the people you like can get away with all sorts of similar behavior without having an angry thread written about them on the internet.

Anyway, last night we had a real clown drop in (literally - a professional) with a nose flute and all manner of godalmighty percussive noisemakers. He played pretty much all night. Spoons and shaky eggs AT THE SAME TIME! Random accordion noises! Improvised cajun music with gibberish instead of words!

I’ll send him down to your session at the Plough and Stars, Jack, to put your noodlers in perspective.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I once heard of a group called The Bothy Band. They did a live LP called After Hours and just before starting Farewell To Eireann, their fiddle player was clearly heard to noodle.

Now I happen to have this man’s name. Should I tell the guards or wha’?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Throw him in a tub of curry, I say.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You wrote: "Anyway, you’re overstating your position.. You’ve let slip since the last noodling battle royale that you sometimes discover you’re able to play a tune you’ve never played before at speed, in a session, with a few slip-ups, that you have a friend who picks up tunes on the fly all the time and that you play a phrase or two once in a while between sets, etc."

All of these examples are completely different than what I described as noodling that puts me off. If you want to call a "snippet" a noodle — that’s fine, but I know what I’m playing to produce the snippet. In other words I’m not fishing for notes — I’m actually playing them.

And regarding the times I discover I can play a tune I didn’t actually sit and work out: These are tunes that I have heard played week after week, month after month or year after year and if it’s simple enough it comes out to my surprise with hardly a glitch. This is far different than fishing for the notes of tunes that I may have only heard a few times or not at all.

And my friend who is extremely skilled at picking up tunes by silently fingering the notes on his fret board while listening and then playing flawlessly when he lifts the fiddle to his chin. He isn’t noodling when he does lift the fiddle to his chin – he’s playing THE TUNE.

But this thread isn’t about any of these types of noodling — it’s about noodling between tunes. It’s a different animal all together.

You wrote: “Just a little observation, Jack, when Will points out that some of your language could be considered insulting, I’m pretty sure he’s doesn’t necessarily mean "to him". He just means "to someone", perhaps, and objects to the insulting language itself, not your attitude.”

I think you’re right about this, and I agree, but the problems between myself and Will seem to develop when ever I suggest that there are different session styles for different sessions. At that point it seems that he compares what I’ve described as a personally favored style to what he prefers. Instead of acknowledging the difference he will make derogative sarcastic comments about my session preferences. My response is to reinforce that there are different session styles and they’re all perfectly legitimate, but he will usually suggest that I should put up a sign to alert visiting musicians that there’s something different about our session that strays from the norm. Then he’ll characterize my session as some sort of strict and stuffy performance event that’s out of context with a proper session. This is where I get mystified and wonder why he becomes so defensive. All my attempts to ask for an explanation are met with escalating negative innuendo. I suppose a better course of action would be to simply ignore his comments at the point where he begins to disparage my session preferences.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oops :-O That last post was for Kerri.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hmmmm - you have kind of a bad habit of backing your personal preference up by saying "that’s how it’s done in Ireland" instead of "I like it like this". That opens you up wide for anyone who’s been to Ireland to call bullshirt. That’s why I keep chipping in. I tend to agree with will that every session is totally different, so whatever turns your crank is pretty subjective - there’s no "right" or "wrong" way to have a session (unless it’s attended by a professional clown). What you often refer to as rudeness, passive aggressive behavior, cluelessness, and a lack of common decency sounds to me more like visitors who aren’t familiar with your particular subjective list of preferences because they’ve never been to a session like yours before. It seems to me that treating visitors poorly because they can’t read your mind is more passive aggressive, less decent, and more impolite than it is for a visitor to fail to read your mind.

(Before we get into the issue of "treating visitors poorly", I should state that sitting off in your little corner loathing them silently despite a pretense of good humour and nonchalance counts.)

Anyhoo, I don’t see any defensiveness here, just total miscommunication and some shoddy psychoanalysis.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

This is just silly, but in the interest of promoting a peaceable discussion board….

Just to be clear here, not once in this thread did I characterize Jack’s session in any way whatsoever. When I talked about sessions that feel scripted to me, I prefaced it with "sessions I’ve been to." I’ve never been to Jack’s session, so I clearly wasn’t talking about his session.

When I made the joke about the Snippet Exception to the No Noodling Rule, my point was that one person’s snippets may be another’s noodling and vice versa. My point is simply: if you don’t know why someone is playing notes that do note form a complete tune, then it likely sounds like aimless noodling. But it may have a perfectly good reason behind it that actually contributes to (rather than detracts from) the flow of the session. Playing tune snippets to line up the next set is a good example of what I might think of as useful noodling. Playing a tune with only a few fumbles that you’ve heard 200 times before but have never actually fingered yourself is another example of valid, useful noodling.

Show me where I spoke poorly of your session, Jack, and I’ll eat my words.

Yet Jack feels free to characterize my session, even claiming it’s how I’ve defined it myself. I have never called my regular session a "tune learning workshop" because it isn’t, and that label strikes me as patronizing. (I used to lead a monthly slow session for learning tunes, but that is not my regular session, nor is it my idea of a regular session.)

All of which creates a thread that is about as much fun as a clown at your session…..

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Kerri wrote: "you have kind of a bad habit of backing your personal preference up by saying "that’s how it’s done in Ireland" instead of "I like it like this"."

This isn’t a fair or accurate representation of how I present my session preferences. Ever since I began advocating my preferred session style people have asked me where I got the idea. I have always explained that I didn’t make it up but rather observed it at sessions I visited in Ireland. I have never implied that it’s the only session style there, or that it’s the only correct or authentic style, all I’ve said is that I like it.

You wrote: "What you often refer to as rudeness, passive aggressive behavior, cluelessness, and a lack of common decency sounds to me more like visitors who aren’t familiar with your particular subjective list of preferences because they’ve never been to a session like yours before. It seems to me that treating visitors poorly because they can’t read your mind is more passive aggressive, less decent, and more impolite than it is for a visitor to fail to read your mind."

Actually I don’t treat visitors poorly, just ask anyone who’s visited our session. The opinions I express in here are rarely aired at sessions or to visitors. Many visitors are already familiar with this session style and they fall right in with the flow. The ones who don’t are free to proceed however they please. The only time I intervene is when they do something that disrupts the flow too much or if they’re rude. (this is a very rare thing) Otherwise I’m actually very tolerant. This forum (session.org) provides an opportunity to discuss these issues.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Will, for the same reasons you offered, I will try to explain my feelings.

My comments to Kerri are about discussions in this forum in general and not specific to this thread. The trouble seems to take root when I submit my session concept and your response will often imply that my session idea is out of context with the standard. In this thread it began here:

“Hmmm…so it’s *not* noodling if you play snippets of tunes to see what everyone wants to play next. How would someone new to that session know this? Or might they assume you’re just noodling and start a tune over you?”

Like what has happened many times, you infer that a visitor will show up with a preconception based on a model similar to yours and that my style is so unusual that it won’t be recognizable. On other threads you even suggested I post a sign to that effect to alert unsuspecting visitors.

Then you continued down this path when you said:

“I love how Jack takes it for granted that he can read minds and knows what other people are thinking, or aren’t thinking, as in the case of noodlers not considering the effect it has on other sessioneers. Yet he doesn’t seem too keen on telepathy, preferring to pre-arrange sets via Clause A-13, the "Snippet Noodling Exception" to the otherwise rock solid Noodling Prohibition Rule 7B (Which We Are Too Polite to Mention Except Online Where No One Can Hear You Noodle).”

Now I realize you’ve already defended this statement, but it’s still basically a negative criticism. You think you’ve uncovered a contradiction in my thinking and then add a cute witticism that portrays my session concept as something overridden with unnecessary and silly rules.

Even though I was talking to David when I said “tune-learning workshop” you seemed to assume I was referring to your session. The fact is that I was talking about a session style I’ve seen – not yours. I didn’t say there was anything wrong with this sort of session. When you made a connection with your session to my statement it did make sense to me why you might do that. Consider the following quote.

“I guess I prefer more free-wheeling sessions where sets are mostly spontaneous, tune after tune, and picking up a tune or three on the fly is encouraged, and it’s okay and even welcome for players to provide drones and rhythm when they don’t know the actual melody, and the lead players can stay on task and even thoroughly enjoy themselves rather than feel distracted by other players occasionally making music without prior permission.”

You said “picking up a tune or three on the fly is encouraged” hence “tune learning” and you opened the door for noodling when you say, “and it’s okay and even welcome for players to provide drones and rhythm when they don’t know the actual melody.” My impression is that people are free to use the session to learn tunes if they like and can even hammer out the details by noodling if they like.

In other threads you have gone even further saying that at your session you might concentrate on particular tunes and phrases during the course of the session. I have no problem with any of this, and when I said “tune-learning workshop” it wasn’t meant as an insult. I was using the phrase to describe a session style where noodling would be perfectly appropriate. If you don’t think that phrase describes your session I’m not going to argue, but I wasn’t referring to you session when I said it.

Now I can’t help but wonder what you were implying in the following.

“The better session musicians I’ve seen in action seem to feed off the noodling (rather than being crippled by it)—taking it for inspiration to start a tune that wouldn’t have occurred to them otherwise, or recognizing when a noodler is really just someone too shy to start a tune at full volume and they’re fishing to see if a core player will jump in and help them along, or even catching someone between sets in the act of trying to pick up at least a bit of the last tune so they can learn the whole thing at home, and whup!, here’s the core player, seizing a lull in the action to play the A part four times in a row at half speed so the other fellow can tag along and learn the tune.”

I could be wrong, but based on the nature of your responses to me this could be taken that if I was a better musician the noodling wouldn’t put me off the way it does. It’s subtle, but I wonder.

Now I realize you weren’t singling out my session because you’ve never actually been to it, but in this next quote you describe other sessions according to your interpretation of how I described ours and intimate that it’s “scripted” and not any fun and more like a “job.”

“Of course, not all sessions work this way, but I’m glad many do. The sessions I’ve been to that discouraged picking up tunes on the fly and spontaneous sets felt scripted to me, rehearsed and predictable, more concerned about perfecting the music than having fun with it. I suppose if a session was a *job,* a paying gig, I might understand that approach. All the more reason to avoid "working" a session.”

The impression is that there’s something wrong with sessions where you’re not encouraged to pick up tunes “on the fly” etc. – the way I described ours. Will, I have never described a session similar to yours and then talked about how bad and wrong it is, why do you choose to do this? Can’t you see how I might take this? Can’t you see how it might accumulate with the other veiled disparaging remarks?

I think I’ve addressed this already, actually, and your response was:

“You give your opinions, casting people in a negative light with your amateur psycho analysis, and then take it personally when someone disagrees or posits a different way of thinking about the issue. Someone offers a contrary opinion and you whine about being painted in a negative light, all the while telling us we’re passive aggressive, insecure, and compulsive. That’s rich.

Apparently he feels he’s being demonized when anyone disagree with him and offers their perspective.”

This is baseless and insulting. You claim I said everyone is “passive aggressive, insecure, and compulsive.” I never said anyone in this forum was any of these things and I challenge you to substantiate it. I also resent your characterization of my comments as “amateur psycho analysis.” If you can’t recognize the negativity in this sort of discourse I would suggest you might benefit from some professional psychoanalysis.

What’s very clear is that you and I are unlikely to reconcile on this. All I can suggest is that we take our impressions of each other into consideration before responding to anything we say in the future.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Wow. Seems we’re on different planets.

Jack, I heartily agree with your last sentence here, and I’ll be hard pressed to waste my time interacting with you here any further.

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You mean you aren’t even going to show us where I said everyone in here is “passive aggressive, insecure, and compulsive"?

That’s ok… I knew you couldn’t anyway.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Jack, don’t be more idiotic than you’ve already been. Please.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Zina, it’s predictable that you would defend Will, but I’m surprised that you would contribute to the insults.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

LOL what a great thread! Just reading this I can’t help imagining Will and Jack acting in some over-the-top play like a Shakespeare comedy, all dressed up in period costumes with long stockings and huge floppy velvet hats, entering the stage dramatically and delivering soliloquys to an audience using a loud voice and sweeping hand gestures. Keep up the good work lads. By the way Will, maybe people from Montana would’t know this, but Shakespeare was a playwright from another country called "England".

Enter Zina, warrior princess, stage left?

*giggle*

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hahahaha… good one Dow :-D

And what’s more, I faced all of Master Will’s weaponry unarmed — I didn’t fire off one insult. I really feel like my new log-in name has meaning and intrigue now.

Signed — The Phantom Button (cue theme music)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

No Jack don’t kid yourself you’re both as bad as each other, and both equally adept at being horribly insulting and wording it carefully to cover your tracks for later. But what’s really hilarious is the way you both deny it and claim the moral high ground. Reading what’s between the lines is more interesting than the thread itself! I’m in Japan again and this makes for great on-the-road reading. Jack, I’d love to see you in a session with Will. Mind you, I think you’d need to do a bit of practice first if you’re to work your playing up to his standard.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

There’s some great trout flycasting technique in this thread.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Actually, I think Jack and Will are both fine gentlemen who let a bit of discourse get out of hand. You don’t even seem that far apart on the real issue. Dow is right in that you’ve both been off the mark for firing insults at each other. Sure, they’re not phrased as insults per se, but they are insulting and I find it difficult to believe that neither of you will admit it.

Come on, Jack. I respect you very much, but you did imply a few things that were probably better off not stated. And you certainly never tell a man to feck his wife. :)

And Will, you reacted a bit strongly there. Jack may have been out of line, but you know he’s not a bad sort. And I think you know what he meant, which is not necessarily how he phrased it. Passions run a bit stronger than language is allowed to convey.

I feel stupid for engaging in this conversation (blame it on the drink, do I), but it seems that that’s become the topic here anyway. I believe Zina was wrong to call it stupidity; it was emotion, heartfelt but ultimately meaningless. You don’t even disagree, really. Now it’s down to who insulted whom. Who does that benefit? Two good men at odds over some misplaced words. A sad world it is tonight.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Laitch, where were you when I was in Vermont this last month? I was in Vermont for a graduate residency, and couldn’t find a session to save me from acadameia. Some old-time stuff in Montpelier, but that was it. And a fellow fly angler to boot, unless you’re funnin’. Sessions and streams…hmmm……

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Sitting on the bank of Preston Brook reading a dogeared copy of "The 8 Steps of Conflict Resolution" that I found in a dumpster in Montana.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Huh. I actually had some down time for the first time in weeks, & look what I found? Ah well. Plus ca change…

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey a breath of stale air!! :)
Only joking Em! How’s it going? Where are the photos? Stories? Anecdotes?

Yeah the lads are at it again. They should be locked up in a large padded room with a couple of Pugil-sticks and left to sort it out there. Personally I think it’s a waste of good finger muscle, otherwise.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Waste? Conán, you couldn’t invent this stuff if you tried!
Just some of the high points from this magnificent thread, for those who can’t be bothered to read all the blather:

"It’s passive aggressive session domination."

"it is a bit like the fog of war"

"politely pro-active- agressive re-activation."

"I’d have a pleasant smile on my face each time I flicked the switch!"

"resentment is a virtue"

"Noodlers are enigmatic and annoying creatures"

"one must always refrain from trying to stove in someone’s head with a Banjo"

"the "snippet method""

"i’ve only noodled once"

"the chaos caused by guitar and bongo players ‘freaking out’ in between every set?"

"uptight constipated sessions"

"Liar!"

"make love to you wife or something — just chill out… ok?"

"some sort of up-tight snob fest"

"are you telling us that your sessions are basically noodle fests?"

"I’m an ignorant, untraveled hick"

"I look forward to that kind of dialog."

"Oh, I’d never try to out smug the smugmeister."

"Improvised cajun music with gibberish instead of words"

"All my attempts to ask for an explanation are met with escalating negative innuendo."

"This is baseless and insulting."

and, the icing on the (fruit)cake:

"I didn’t fire off one insult."

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I guess some people Will keep pushing the right buttons.
What I would really like is to see Jack and Will at Dow’s session! :)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oh, WILL they ….

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Dow, I’m thinking Monty Python skit. Jack would be in the Socialist New Irtrad Party (SNIP) and Will would be in the Progressive Association of Staunch Traditional Artists (PASTA). There could be an evil eye stand off across the session as one noodles the start of Lucy Campbell and the other snippets the start of the Bucks of Ornamore.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Actually, I’m already a dues-paying member of Loud Obnoxious Musicians Engaged In Noodling (LO MEIN).

Posted .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

If it’s any consolation, Jack, many of the lurking types agree with you, apparently. I know this because later they accost me at sessions and say "Jack’s right", but they don’t join the discussions themselves because they think the whole forum and everyone in it is idiotic.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’m confused. Does UDON mean "Underappreciated Dear Old Noodlers" or "Usually Disembowel Obsessive Noodlers"? Have you ever met a RAMEN (Really Annoying Manic Egotistical Noodler)?

And look what Wikipedia has to say:
Noodling means playing semi-random, usually improvised, music (frequently in the middle of a rehearsal when the conductor is trying to say something important).

(No, I’m not quoting that to support an opinion.)

Anybody else out there go to a session where there’s an incessantly noodling bodhranist? We have one who, fortunately (small blessing), only shows up about once a month. He plays while people are tuning, talking, etc. It’s probably just nervous energy. He probably doesn’t realize he’s doing it. And he stops when asked and apologizes - until the next time. I suspect there are quite a few melody players and accompanists who do this as well - it’s just harder to tell whether it’s serving an arguably useful purpose or just an involuntary habit.

Kerri, why do so many people think you need directions to the Jack’s?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

So: Guernsey Pete.

This this’all answer your question?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

*eats some noodles* Can someone pass the chili sauce?

Ottery, bless your heart, that’s just what I needed! :)

Nope, no anecdotes here, life is so boring here at the mansion starring on a reality show, I could just cry. Thank goodness for thesession.org to keep me entertained!!!!!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Kerri, tell your mates that I’m such an idiot that I don’t know what "agreeing with Jack" really means.

I nominate Ottery for best post in quite some time, even if he only wrote a few words of it himself.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Ottery, you forgot my personal favorite:

"a thread that is about as much fun as a clown at your session….."

Anyway, Noodling is good… It is all the rage these days, in fact, I have been Touched By His Noodly Appendage! (venganza.org for those of you who didn’t understand my last sentence)

Pete

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Well, Jode, in the instance I’m thinking of, it turned out to mean "you shouldn’t play at this session because the hosts play better than you", and "It annoys me when you move your fingers on the neck of your fiddle (silently) during the tunes you don’t know because I can see all your mistakes".

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Ah-ha. I thought I was missing something there.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Well I just returned from the torture chamber (dentist) and it’s very interesting to see all of these responses to what’s gone on here.

Ottery posted a litany of comments from the discussion; a few were from myself. There were two that were insulting, but they weren’t directed at anyone in this forum.

"It’s passive aggressive session domination."

"Noodlers are enigmatic and annoying creatures"

I wasn’t talking about anyone one the board; I was talking about a few individuals I’ve observed at sessions I’ve participated in. Now the reason I point to these is because the following quote from Will underscores the crux of what happened.

“telling us we’re passive aggressive, insecure, and compulsive.”

Will clearly believes that I was directing those comments at him and others in this forum – but I wasn’t. I was talking about a couple of people I’ve observed in the sessions mostly around where I live. None of you are among them, but Will transplanted my statements into this room and claimed them as directed at “us.” This is the root of the misunderstanding. If Will hadn’t taken my comments personally – we wouldn’t be wasting our time with all of this.

Ottery’s final quote was another from yours truly…

"I didn’t fire off one insult."

What I was saying is that I didn’t fire off one insult at anyone in this forum. All I really did was contribute to a between tune noodling thread about a trait I’ve witnessed in a couple of people that no one here knows. I’m still amazed that it got so warped out of proportion and convoluted into a semantic brawl.

Clarification

Oh, and regarding what Will claims I said; I never used the word "insecure" in this thread. As a matter of fact — Will was the only one who used it. Interesting how it was placed in my mouth. :-/

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Dow, you’re amazing; your like a shark that smells blood in the water.

You wrote: "Jack, I’d love to see you in a session with Will. Mind you, I think you’d need to do a bit of practice first if you’re to work your playing up to his standard."

I have no doubt I would enjoy playing tunes with Will, but I have no idea what you’re talking about here. I’ve never heard Will, so I have no idea what "standard" you’re referring to. But the truth is; I don’t play tunes with people based on standards.

Your session must be interesting, Dow — is there a standards test one has to pass before being allowed to join?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

*sighl* Now WHAT in the sentence that I posted said ANYthing about defending Will? Will you STOP?

No, it wasn’t emotion. It’s stupidity. Why Jack and Will bother to get into this at any time at this point can only be stupidity.

And Kerri, by now I’ve heard from people who think that Jack is right, that Will is right, and that neither of them is right ,and that both of them are right. IT DOESN’T MATTER.

iT’S STUPID TO GET INTO THIS. AGAIN.

Sheeeesh.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"*sighl* Now WHAT in the sentence that I posted said ANYthing about defending Will? Will you STOP?"

Oh, you weren’t defending Will.. ok, fair enough… then you just meant to insult me.. right?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Heh, so much for my attempt at lightening the mood :-/

Pete

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Sorry Ottery!
Youre right to pick me up on that point!

I”d lean over to any of those, or other players, and if I knew the tune that I asked them, they’d lead it, EVEN at a Ceili, but generally, to GET the tune, then that would be out of the session.

Brianx

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

To paraphrase the blurb on a book I once read:

Three years after the events of The Twelfth Day Of July, Will and Jack, meeting again by chance, pick up the threads of their old relationship. Older now, their attraction blossoms into romance. But the Troubles are worsening on thesession.org fast. As the barbed wire goes up and the petrol bombs fly, feelings in both communities run higher and higher. Soon their friendship is a danger not only to themselves, but to those who befriend them.

A conventional romance in a very unconventional context. Although the political situation always remains firmly in the background, it still presses in more and more tightly on the young couple. There is a very real feeling that they are battling against the forces of evil, forces which are the same on both sides of the barricades. Nevertheless the pair will not give in and emerge, through their courage and obstinacy, as the real freedom fighters.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Thanks Brian, I wasn’t trying to trip you up, I was just curious what you meant…
Mark

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

To paraphrase a song I once pogoed to:

When Jack walks out of his house one day
Looks up to the deep blue sky
Thinks about his past
And looks to the future
And then the answer sparkles in his eye
Oh yes we’re freedom fighters with mandolins
We’re not here for to noodle away
We’ve got tunes in our hearts
And boxes in our hands
And we’re looking for peace
With Will some fine day

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

lol, conan.

Zina, don’t get yer panties in a twist, love, I’m not "getting into it" I’m just fanning it a little, for those of us with a sense of humour.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Who says this board doesn’t have a real and serious knock-on effect in the real world?
Three of us were sitting having a natter about something inconsequential in a lull at a session last night, when C***s*, the fiddler, (not part of the conversation - and probably wishing we’d play some music or something) started playing a tune. We looked up to see what he was starting and he just stopped and smiled at us and said "Oh, it’s nothing, just a tune that came into my head."
Jerry looked at me and hissed, "Noodling!"
I realised that, for the first time at a session, we had an excuse to really beat someone up. Like really take them outside and bang them about and smash their fiddle and all that. We could give them a total kicking, in the head and goolies and everything. No one would blame us, would they?
But it seemed a bit excessive, as he hadn’t actually done anything that bothered or upset us in the slightest, and we really like C***s.
So we smiled back and went back to our discussion.


*Name withheld to protect the guilty.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’d say I’d like Chris too.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Gosh, stefan, I had my money on "Cletus".

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Now look what you’ve done, stefan!
What’s the point of us protecting C***s and you then you giving out his full name! Now he’s going to have to move a long way away and change his identity and have plastic surgery and everything,

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Kerri, this is England. There’s noone apart from one very bitter and twisted Pagan Lesbian Separatist in Swindon who is called ‘Cletus’
And anyway, Cletus would have 4 asterisks!!!!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"Who says this board doesn’t have a real and serious knock-on effect in the real world?"

Hahahaha… I had a similar experience with this thread and the real world as well last night. It was the session at the Plough last night, (no one there even realizes this website exists,) and my pal, Paddy Egan, a great concertina player from Wicklow, sat down next to me. In between tunes everyone was talking and buying rounds of pints etc. and Paddy and I were discussing the Phantom Button. (not me, but the concertina technique) and we were talking about using it on the F# of the left hand. At one point the only way I could answer his question was to play the opening phrase of a Martin Wynne tune. He said "cool - do that again" and I did. I turned around and noticed that everyone had stopped talking and was wondering what tune it is I’m trying to start. Oops…

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Noodler. You should be taken out and shot.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Screw the anecdotes Jack.
say something contraversial.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

OK hijack time:
Who was the better sidekick to Rosco P. Coltrane in the Dukes of Hazzard?
Enos or Cletus?
I preferred Enos for the way he used to melt whenever Daisy Duke appeared. She had the same effect on me. Feel free to ignore said hijack.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey Conan, have you got a spare wireless router? I need one quick!

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"It was the session at the Plough last night, (no one there even realizes this website exists)"

Christ, that’s a relief.

cjs

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You can say that again
(If you don’t I’m sure someone will)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

cjs, would you mind explaining what you mean?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’ll put five bucks on Chris not explaining what he means.

Nice CD, by the way, Chris - I look forward to inserting all those extra notes I wasn’t aware of into my playing of those tunes.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I’ll take you up on that, Kerri, and I’ll raise you another $5. ;-)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I don’t know much about gambling. What I maen is; I’ll bet $10 he doesn’t.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

This is never going to work with everyone betting on the same side - we need some odds. I’ll put in a fiver for Chris explaining what he means if you’ll give me 20 to 1 on your ten-spot.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oh… I’ve got to put in some time in Las Vegas I guess.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Coward.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey Kerri, why do your odds favor that he won’t?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Basically (gambling 1-0-1) that means I’ll put up $5 FOR the explanation if you’ll put up $200 against. What makes it fair is that I’m certain to lose my five bucks.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Well, generally speaking, tongue-in-cheek humour is rendered utterly un-funny when explained, therefore most proponents of the clever jab will avoid the practice.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"no one there even realizes this website exists"

How could you possibly know that?

Unless you asked them if they knew it exists.

And if you did, then they would know it exists.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Maybe, like some of the folks in my town, they *are* aware it exists, discuss your comments in great detail whenever your back is turned, phone each other up when you say something stupid, and save copies to their hard drives of every post where someone insults you so they can look back and laugh, or share it with their friends verbatim.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Gosh, Kerri. They talk about you in Montreal too, eh?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

What I meant to say..

Gosh, Kerri. They talk about you in *Montreal* too, eh?

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Good point, Grego. The reason I say that is because no one ever talks about it around here. The only time it has come up is when someone from the website visits our session. When that happens whoever happens to be at the session that night usually hasn’t heard of this website. Those that find out about it that night rarely ever seem interested enough to go and look at it.

As far as my feelings about noodling go, local people are aware of it. Also, the local sessions seem to be more tolerant than I would like, but I don’t enforce my preferences on other people. I don’t encourage it, and if the topic comes up I’m an advocate for not noodling etc., but I pretty much just go with the flow. Basically my session preferences are more about my own behavior in a session rather than what I expect from everyone else.

It’s probably so that some locals who prefer to noodle and learn tunes on the fly might avoid sessions I’m hosting, but I also will avoid the ones where this sort of thing is prevalent. I’m still mystified however the way some folks in this forum take my opinions so personal when I’m not talking about them in particular. I’m just a guy who prefers not to noodle. Why can’t I express that without getting a hostile response?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

As a matter of fact they do. I’m famous. Or at the very least, notorious. ;-)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Remember a certain conversation on a certain sidewalk with a certain drunken man who is normally quite tactful, Jack? The answer is: YES. *smirk*

And…

Yes, I’ve had enquiries and comments about Will and Jack and various other regulars from people I’d never met before but who knew who I was from here in London, Montana, San Francisco, LA, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, and Ireland. Oh, and Denver. Maybe, Jack, everyone only always TELLS you they never heard of this site so they don’t have to get into it. ;)

And…

Oh, yeah, and E. Durham, but nobody’s really FROM E. Durham.

And…

btw, aren’t you tired of listening/reading to yourselves talking about this all over again yet?

And…

Oh, and Chicago. I forgot Chicago.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Zina, I think I’m missing your point. Are you saying that I’m wrong about the session regulars here in SF not being aware of this website for the most part, or are you just telling me that you meet people wherever you go that you know from this website?

I don’t know what drunken normally tactfull sidewalk conversation you’re talking about either. :-/

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

At one stage tonight, I was stuck between two noodlers. One guy was farting around a tune on a guitar, a girl was tootling about on a flute & a guy the other end of the session was p*ssing about on a banjo.

Oh for a nice quiet break between tunes to enable folks to relax & have a wee blether, enjoy a bit of banter & then, in the peace & quiet, let some tunes gently appear in the back of your mind. It’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"Oh for a nice quiet break between tunes to enable folks to relax & have a wee blether, enjoy a bit of banter & then, in the peace & quiet, let some tunes gently appear in the back of your mind. It’s not too much to ask for, is it? "

Exacty!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I have been known to embarrass someone by accompanying their noodling and when they stop playing I say "Oh I thought you were starting that reel called….." - not sure what that makes me - an "accoodler"??
I only dislike noodlers because it can interfere with checking if the guitar has gone out of tune.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Good point, Donough. Tuning is very acceptable between tune noodling. :-)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"I only dislike noodlers because it can interfere with checking if the guitar has gone out of tune."

Yes, it certainly causes tuning problems. It’s hard enough trying to tune when some instruments have gone flat and others sharp, without having to contend with noodling - (although, I’d say I have other reasons for disliking noodling).

However, as I said earlier in this thread, there are some sessions where you have to go with the flow - it’s not worth the hastle trying to doing anything about it. Indeed, I’ve even noodled in slow / begginers sessions to pick up tunes on the fly. I’ve also noodled to try to remind myself of a tune before starting a set in the same sort of session.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Can someone, with time, please do a check back to see how many folk on this thread are OK with noodling & how many think that one should only noodle in the privacy of one’s own home or between consenting adults? Then perhaps we could put this baby to bed & get on with something else - although we all know, like Jaws or Rocky it’ll surely come back to haunt at us, in a slightly different guise, when we least expect it!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

De De De De De De De De………….

ARGGGGG! It’s just bitten orf me leg….

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

You’re gonna need a bigger flute

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Cowards & liars & banjoes, oh my! I am just lying here laffing my arse off…. my god this thread is funny. I am just dying… wow! Now this *is* good entertainment…. thanks guys, I needed that serotonin after a long night’s work! :)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey Dick, I doubt you’d be able to tell who’s for and who’s against based on the comments here. We’d have to first come up with a consensus about what exactly noodling is, and then establish the parameters for judging whether or not we’re for or against. We might be surprised to find that people who appeared to defend it are actually opposed and vise-versa. The one thing we know for sure is that noodling is a hot-button issue sure to stir things up in here. I think it’s something we’ve all done at some stage; I know I have.

I think it’s most prevalent with folks who are learning the tunes (for obvious reasons) and ultimately it’s up to our own sensibilities whether we, as learners, decide to do it in sessions. I was not very disciplined when I was learning, so I understand why it happens, but I have seen people with excellent self-control who resist the impulse. In actuality I’m very tolerant of it these days, but when the subject comes up I advocate that it be resisted if possible.

In my case there was two reasons I would noodle. One was because I was learning the tunes, and the other was on account of the fact that I didn’t know very many tunes and felt awkward sitting and doing nothing while taking up valuable real estate. The latter is the reason I’m least proud of; I would noodle out of embarrassment. Once I realized this I tried to come up with other activities to take its place. (Blisster will love this) I took up the bodhran, and smoking rollies. I would play the bodhran as often as it seemed appropriate, and then I’d carefully roll ciggies. I got so good at rolling ciggies that some of the players started asking me to roll theirs as well. This was great because it soaked up huge amounts of time I might otherwise be noodling.

Ok… time for the vultures to come and pick my comments apart – hi fellas.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hi Jack,
What are your views on tuning?
I play with one of these boys constantly attached to my instruments;
http://www.stevesmusiccenter.com/IntellitouchBig.jpg

Between every single set i check my tuning. Alot of the time I can do it through harmonics,so you wont hear it. Though sometimes I’ll have to bang out an open note to hear it for myself. I play with a piper alot and if / when he goes flat/ sharp, I have to check things are good between the two instruments.

Surely its better to noodle urself into tune then to not noodle and play out of tune?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"Ok… time for the vultures to come and pick my comments apart – hi fellas."

Not at all. All seems quite reasonable and understandable to me - though I’m sure the vultures are still circling…..

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

We’re not just vultures, Jack, we’re your friends. We’re you’re friends! We’re your friends to the bitter end (the bitter eeeend). Also, we’re all in a disney film.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hi Stefan, Because I play concertina, I’m often asked for a reference note to tune from. If people have electronic tuners it’s fine because I’m also at 440. Sometimes people will start tunes while others are tuning and I always ask if they would please wait until the tuning is completed. I think every effort should be made to keep everyone in tune… but that’s just me.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Stefan, that wasn’t much of a Hi Jack. We’re still pretty much on topic.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Hey, what’s the record for the longest Noodle thread?

Hey, has anyone got a patent on ‘Noodle Thread’ yet?

Could be the next ‘BIG CRAZE’!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Does anyone know how many times Noodling has been discussed here?

Does anyone care?

Is this one getting stale?

Would someone like to start a new Noodle thread?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I don’t even care anymore about the noodling thing. I just want the noise to stop. No amount of talking at this point is going to change anyone’s mind and the more people talk about it the more they start like candidates for testing for Aspberger’s.

As for my point — lots of people know about this site even if the ones you meet don’t; when I’ve been out and about all over the world, people I’ve never met before find out my name and go, "oh, you must be that girl from that TheSession website! Tell me, is Jack as much of a noddle as he seems to be online?"

As for the sidewalk conversation, Jack, perhaps the people you’ve met HAVE in fact known about this site and you’ve just handily forgotten it, then. :)

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

er…by the way, I was KIDDING with the noddle thing.

They actually usually ask if he really has that much hair on his face.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

We almost made it to needle and threat.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Darn.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I still don’t know how to tell if the noodler is:
1.Trying to start a tune, but everybody is so into their "Peace and quiet and blather…" that they can’t be "asked" to join in.
2. Checking tuning
3. Actually tuning
4. Demonstrating a point to answer a question
5.Trying to hang on to that illusive phase before the moment fades*
6. Performing a snippet
7. Deliberately trying to annoy you
8. Bored mindless by the Reel Races
9. A victim of Childhood Neglect, i.e. Didn’t have no upbringin’:
Which could also be said for the Peace, Quiet ,and Blather Party -Take it outside, we came to play!!!

* I am constantly amazed by people that that don’t bring a tape recorder to sessions. Ask them why and you get "Gee, never though of that". But they come next time and the next , and never bring one. What is that?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

All these macho guys who are shouting for a non stop REEL session, remind me of what women are always complaining about in men (Re: our favourite after session activity) namely, they have simple, one track, minds & are only interested in the ‘main course’!

Slow down guys, smell the flowers, know what I mean! ;-)

Three hour non stop REEL session = ‘wham bam thank you mam’!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and bring a tape recorder next time willya!"

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Sorry Ptarmus, My shifts over, got a gig in a few hours, see you later.

Aw, don’t cry. Somebody’s bound to wake up in an hour or 2.
:-O

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Try this:
:-D

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

SUCCESSSSSS!!!!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and bring a tape recorder next time willya!" Oooooooh Matron! - just a wee bit kinky, don’t you think?

- although it just might be the answer we have been looking for Owl?

Why not take along a tape recorder & just record all the noodling of your session’s worst offender, then give him a copy of the tape!
See how he, or she likes an hour of their own noodling - I guarantee they won’t be able to listen to very much of it!

Who knows, they might even ‘get the message’?

If it works, you can then work your way down the pecking order of noodlers & who knows, you could eventually find yourself with a ‘Noodle Free’ session!

What do you think?

Pity Owl wasn’t here to read this, but then he’s off ……sleeping ;-)

This just in: Noodling is MORE traditional than ITM

Yes ladies and gentlemen, new evidence suggests that a precedent for noodling may in fact pre-date the first irish jigs and reels - by a millennium or two:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4335160.stm

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I saw that story, Q. The Italians aren’t going to be very happy about this.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

"Yes ladies and gentlemen" - Hey Q, are you perhaps suggesting, by that remark, that there are actually some well bred, civilised folks on session.org, as well?

Gordon Bennett - they’re keeping very quiet, aren’t they?

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Oooh! Look! # 200.

Posted by .

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I read every word on this discussion. Laughed out loud through much of it. Thanks!

I am reletively new to sessions. On the surface, sessions seem to be pretty friendly things - strangers get together and share tunes on different instruments - just having a great, informal time. But as time goes on, it seems there is a lot of animosity - lots of undercurrent that the casual observer would miss. Who would ever suspect that a few toots or twangs would be so annoying to someone. Now I wonder - is there a proper way to dress? Do all feet have to be insinq when tapping? Is anyone aggrivated if newbees spend more time (and real estate) in the circle just listening?

I have been in sessions that are great fun -others I have felt I wasted my time. The fun ones seem to lack those great players who go from one reel to another to another (perfectly). I enjoy a great variety. Airs and jigs, fast and slow.,,and I think non-sessioneers in the pub enjoy that too ("how come you guys play the same song all night?" - ever hear that?).

Back to noodling. Maybe I just don’t get it. I wonder why some go to sessions if just natural occurances are so annoying. Beginers, choices of instruments, tunes (I laughed over the "Soldiers joy discussion, too), why do we do it if it is so aggrevating?

It just doesn’t seem as friendly as it appeared at first. Help me here.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Look out! - ‘feardearg’ is going for 300! Anybody going with him? Only another 98 to go! :-D

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

This has been a very long and entertaining thread, but I really need a quick break to remove excess Guiness from the system. Don’t post anything interesting while I’m gone.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

OK, I’m back. Carry on.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Here’s what I find interesting about the whole session etiquette debate thing. Feardearg offers the following.

"Who would ever suspect that a few toots or twangs would be so annoying to someone. Now I wonder - is there a proper way to dress? Do all feet have to be insinq when tapping? Is anyone aggrivated if newbees spend more time (and real estate) in the circle just listening?"

It seems that when any criticism of session behavior is mentioned there are people who will leap to this sort of conclusion. It’s as though any criticism about things like noodling will lead to totalitarian sessions where everyone has to dress correctly and tap their feet in lock-step. Seriously you guys, we’re only talking about good manners and common decency here.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I just wonder what I might be doing unawares that may be driving people up the wall.

Before last night, I thought noodling was putting so much ornamentation into a tune that it is no longer recognizable or just playing any o’ thing if you didn’t know the tune.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

I think the consensus is that "noodling" is what one does when they don’t know the tune but want to play anyway. Often the noodler will claim that they’re just trying to learn the tune, but the result is the same. Between tune noodling is a little different but usually done by folks who are learning tunes. It’s not as bad as the aforementioned sort in my opinion, but it can also be annoying.

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

Being a newbee, sometimes changing rythmns goofs me up. I start a tune thinking I am alright than just can’t get the rythmn.. Then I really get goofed up when the whole circle is staring at me wondering and I panic. After reading the above, I will really panic, knowing that there are hostile thoughts towards me!!!! This used to be so much fun!

Re: What’s wrong with noodling ?

There you go again; "hostile thoughts." Why does any suggestion that doesn’t favor noodling suddenly get pushed to the extreme? I can’t help but wonder; who’s actually having the "hostile thoughts," the person who’s put off by the noodling, or the noodlers themselves?

There are people who are in the process of learning the music who come to our session that have no problem avoiding the impulse to noodle as they’re learning the tunes. When they don’t know the tune, they listen and enjoy being there. They record the tunes we’re playing and become familiar with them hearing them week after week. We enjoy their company and help them however we can. When they do play along they know the tune and add to the session rather than take away. Why this is such a difficult thing to grasp is beyond me. It seems to me that the noodlers might only be interested in their experience at a session rather than the group’s experience as a whole.