What are your most hated tunes?

What are your most hated tunes?

Ok - we all talk about which tunes we like, now I want to know about which tunes you all hate. I’ll get the ball rolling.
The Irish washer woman,
Tam lin,
music for a found harmonium,
the 42 pound float
If someone started any of the above mentioned tunes at a session, I would immediately lose all respect for them. Harsh I know. What do you guys think?

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How about, what can you do with a disliked tune that would make it sound better instead

I think that with a fresh view, these tunes that you hate can be really cool. Have you listened to Paddy Glackin’s version of the Irish Washerwoman? It is a tad unusual, but after hearing it I decided that I would never consider a tune un-beautifiable again and that it was up to me to look for that beauty in each tune and to try bring it out. Hmm, that sounds rather snooty - I don’t mean it that way, but I’d rather not have another discussion of what we hate. Instead, it would be useful if people could talk about settings for these disliked tunes that make them sound exciting again.

Sos

That poor Irish woman with hte dishpan hands…

I like the setting of Irish Washerwoman that’s on the Two Gentlemen of Clare album. And I know that Ed Reavy *hated* the title of that tune, feeling that it was demeaning and pandering to stereotypes — according to his son, he always called it simply The Irish Woman…

Other than that, the only tune I try not to really bring up at a session is My Dead Dog Rover…. πŸ™‚

Dunno. I suppose if I didn’t hear Irish Washerwoman and Tam Lin for about twenty years (we never hear Found Harmonium and 42 Pound Float around here, so I wouldn’t be too irritated by them, I guess) and then heard it again at a session, it might not be so bad, bb. And if a beginner started one of them, I’d probably play along with them to be encouraging.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

fair enough - but for some reason, not everyone, but some people think that if they play tam lin - somehow it wont be good if they dont play it in 5 different keys and get faster and faster till even they cant keep up with themselves. I’ve seen that alot from loads of different people. So maybe it isnt the tunes fault - just the people playing themπŸ˜‰ Zina, lucky for you you havent heard those two tunes, I used to go to a session where when they played 42 pound float everyone would jump up at the same time in a particular part of the tune. Maybe I’ve started hating these tunes through association of bad memories. And lonefiddler, the only way people are going to stop annoying other people in sessions is if they find out what annoys people in the first place. I would play along with a beginer as well, as long as they didnt play it in 5 different keysπŸ˜‰)

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I have two minds on this one - my first thoughts were how Gerdie Commane played the Irish Washerwoman at a Fleadh Nua session some years ago and it sounded like a terrific jig (not too fast with lots of lift) whereas up until then I was only familiar with the Hollywood Oirish orchestral version used in films whenever an Irish theme (leprachauns, etc) came up. I’d therefore be inclined to say that "it’s how the tune is played" should be the criteria.

On the hand I’ve yet to hear a nice version of Tamlin, Peter Street, the Mason’s Apron or any of the other similar exhibition pieces certain musicians launch into at sessions in an attempt to astound the other unfortunate participants with their amazing virtuousity!!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

The said tune actually appears in O’Neills as ‘The Irishwoman’. As it has been popular over the centuries (at least two) throughout the British Isles, and no doubt subject to many a quasi-classical piano arrangement, I suspect that its common title was imposed condescendingly by my fellow countrymen, The English.

Anyway, in this age of political correctness, it should rightly be called simply ‘The Washer’.

Does anyone know what that is in Irish?

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Fair enough bb, anyway you should ignore what I say since I’m still at that dewy-eyed beginner stage where I’m so happy to be at a session that I barely notice any of the downers. Sort like sitting in the stop and go traffic in chicago last night and having *fun*, people watching, listening to music…

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Bannerman, have you heard the setting of Mason’s Apron that Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker, et al play at the BBC’s Virtual Session? It’s a setting of the two part version, and I liked it so much better than most of the other settings I’ve heard, it’s the one I play now. Which means that in every session but our own it takes everyone half the A part to figure out what tune it is I’m playing. πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I didn’t know Mason’s Apron was "an exhibition piece"—I just thought it was a great tune, and when I heard my friend Harold play it at a session, I thought, "that tune really rocks!". I just had to learn it, and so I did. As far as tunes like Irish Washerwoman, I agree that it is the player who makes or breaks the tune. Besides, it’s not like it was specifically written for Hollywood movies.
Andee

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Mason’s Apron comes in two, three, four, five, six, and seven part settings. Since most people only know the first two, what generally ends up happening is either the player who knows the most parts ends up playing it by themselves (and therefore it becomes an exhibition pieces, especially since the third through seventh parts are extremely difficult to play), or to be companionable, the player who knows the parts plays the first part, then the second part, then the first part again, then the third part, then the first part again, then the fourth part (etc.).

Since the third through seventh parts are largely extremely different settings of the second part (I know, that’s a big generalization), it works well enough except that everyone ends up sitting and waiting through the other parts and jumps on the first one when it comes round again — kind of a schizo sort of sound. Personally, I’d just rather hear a good player play the whole thing through themselves as a party piece. πŸ™‚

But personally, I really like Mason’s Apron — as one of the local players said, it just is such a happy sounding tune!

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I like I.W.W. Probably haven’t heard it enough to make me hate it.

As for M.A., i hate it because it’s way too difficult for me to learn all those parts. I think we should only let Matt Molloy play that (and i could listen to him play that all day!).

Tam Lin is a cool tune but it doesn’t work for me, since i’m a flute player. I like my tunes in 1 ro 2 sharps. πŸ™‚

I just got my Matty Molloy and Tommy Potts CD, can’t wait to hear it! Beautiful day here in Chicagoland. Later,

g

Shoot, of course i meant Tommy Peoples.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

The trouble with the Irish Washerwoman is that I now know so many different sets of silly lyrics to the tune that I can’t hear the thing without at least mentally hearing them all! πŸ™‚

Zina

Silly Lyrics

Your fans want to know. Won’t you post a few here?

By the way, i’m listening to Matt Molloy, Tommy Peoples and Paul Brady play Toss the Feathers, and thinking that maybe i should be playing the tuba, after all.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Most of them are too offensive! πŸ™‚

Here’s the only one that’s close to clean enough (and just the chorus):

Do virgins taste better than girls who are not?
Are they saltier, sweeter or juicier, what?
Do you savor them slow or gulp them down on the spot?
Do virgins taste better than girls who are not?

The lyrics have to do with why dragons like to eat virgins, of course. πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

There is a nice 2 part version of ‘The Mason’s Apron"in G that has resurged a bit over here the last year or two, it’s from the whistle playing of Micho Russell- so while it is melodically similar to the very popular fiddle showpiece it suits a different tempo and feel.

I would’nt be gone on the fiddle version- too much meat and not enough bone. Matt Molloy makes an ear opening fist at it on the flute as a solo with The Cheiftains- but the effect in listening to it for me is more one of appreciating the outrageous technicality rather than what I really listen to Irish music for.

Tamlin’s a non runner.
I like the Washer Woman, Ed Reavy had his own setting of it as well.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Mason’s Washerwoman

Harry, you said it beautifully. I love the way he M.M. plays Mason’s Apron, but it’s not the direction i feel led in ITM.

Irish Washerwoman is a cool tune on the flute. I like jigs that have repeated notes like the BGG DGG in the first part and the egg dgg cgg in the second. Easy to do with good effect, and gets the fingers bouncing in a satisfying way.

Mason’s is cool for its own reasons. It’s a big challenging piece, especially if done in the key of A, and it drives relentlessly to that jazzy arpeggiated 5th part. But can you dance to it? πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I think the Irish washerwoman is definatly an English tune. Its structure and phrasing do not sound Irish at all. It sounds very English music hall, probably a parody of an Irish jig. But having said that, it’s not that bad a tune.

I suppose over familliarity is one of the things that make you hate any music. And those three planxty polkers always spring to mind. (Although the middle one is quite good, the one that beninners often miss out)

But the tunes that deserve to be hated however are the boring ones. And by that, I mean the ones that sound like all the rest. And this is Irish Music’s biggest problem

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

If I never had to play, or even hear certain hornpipes again, it would be just fine with me. Boys of Bluehill and Rights of Man are at the top of the list, but amazingly, I love Harvest Home. There are probably jigs and reels that I would not mind letting hibernate for a while, but I just have a hard time ‘hating’ well played tunes.

Whoever spoke about finding the beauty in a tune and bringing it out, is right on the money. Any tune, played thoughtlesly, the same way all the time gets boring after a while. Try to do something to make it interesting and different. Show that you understand the concept of variations. You may not be very good at first, but you learn with the effort, and it makes the playing so much more fun.

The last time such a thread came up, two tunes were mentioned, by different people, that have since become one of my favortie sets. Concertina Reel and Gravel Walk. Both were said to be too repetitive with no substance, or something to that effect. These are great tunes, particularly on my concertina. Unfortunately, no tunes mentioned so far on this thread have had the same effet on me. i do enjoy the IWW, but there is nobody around here who plays it at session, so I just enjoy it occasionally.

Last thought. I knew an old musician, RIP, who had been playing for dancers for more than 50 years. When we would play together I would be bringing out tunes he ‘hadn’t heard in twenty years’. I was getting a lot of my tunes from LP’s from the mid 70’ and earlier recording from 78 compilations. He told me that in the time he was playing a tune would get popular, everyone would play it to death and it would get dropped as being an Old War Horse after a few years. Given a rest of a few years, a new musician would rediscover the tune, introduce it again and the whole cycle would start again. he found it particularly amuzing when this new musician would say look at this new tune I found, when in fact, Tim had played it through one or two such cycles in his life. It was very hard to get a tune Tim didn’t know, but when it didn’t fit well on his button box….

Mike E

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I love that cycle thing. I’m not quite old enough to hve been through one or two such cycles but I’m definately experiencing the coming round of the first. It’s a nice feeling when some talented young buck plays a great tune they are proud of discovering and they are chuffed you know it from way back. It’s a good thing that sparky young players discover the best tunes. And It’s an even better thing that they discard the rubbish ones

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I have to agree that there are players that can make tunes sound great that I can only make sound - ponderous, or something. I was at a Scottish music workshop this weekend (we missed you lonefiddler!) with Muriel Johnstone, the music director for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, and she could play some "boring" tunes - 4 bars, repeat, 4 bars, repeat, then do it again so it’s 32 bars for the dance, and make them the greatest thing to dance to since - who knows. And, at least in Scottish country dancing, Mason’s Apron is a great dance tune - it’s another one we have done and did this weekend - in a set with Lass O’ Patties Mill and Roxburgh Castle.

CJ

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael,
I always thought "Washer Woman" sounded like a relic from Vaudville. It’s ‘stageiness’ is reminiscent of some of the big irish/American bands of the 78 era that would have been strongly influenced by the the minstrel shows. It his piccollo written all over it. I might try to find out about it’s origin and get back to yez.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yes your right
I bet that guy John philip Zousa wrote it

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmmm. Would someone mind transcribing the Micho Russell MA and posting it to the tune archive so we can hear it? Please?

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I have tunes that I just hate, but probably because I have played them so much. I learned tin whistle at a local arts project and then became their tutor and we work from a set repetiore of tunes which I have now been playing for 8 years! My top ones are Egan’s Polka,

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

So why do you have tunes that you hate, probably because you’ve heard them alot. Why have you heard them alot, probably because either they are good tunes or beginers can play them, or both. I think we should all be more sympathetic to each others taste/choice/opinion, if someone wants to play a particular tune, we should respect that and have the manners to join in with them, if it’s a joining in sort of tune and not a solo exibition piece. Mind you, I suppose that we should also respect soneones choice not to like a tune and not to join in. Now where’s that nice warm spot on the fence I was sitting on.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Let’s be objective about this (less of this namby pamby respect for the subjective)
Some tunes just are just rubbish. And this has nothing to do with how easy or hard they are (If easy tunes were rubbish, we wouldn’t be playing diddly music at all would we)

Try and get the people in your session to get some objective common ground, then simply throw out the bad tunes

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I can’t believe nobody mentioned "The Rakes of Mallow." Nothing else so has the power to make me feel like kicking back with a nice warm cup of hemlock than this abomination of a tune.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

bb, how’s the elbow progressing? Know what you mean about the bobbing up to the 42 pound float. There are other tunes where they go "Oi", tap the table, and hop about on one foot!
Michael, I wish you wouldn’t keep insisting that diddly music was easy, as if it is second rate some how. It isn’t and I love it to bits, so It ran-kills - almost as much as a symphony orchestra rendition of the Irish washingmachine, the drowsy marys and the three-sea-comanders. Oooops! Did I just play these tunes all wrong?

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Must be that they’re just too easy!!!

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hi,
just wanted to add my tuppence worth. Can there be such a thing as a ‘bad’ tune? I was thinking that maybe one without any melodic interest would qualify, but there are some tunes that are melodically moribund but work if inserted into the right set simply because they keep the rhythm going in the right manner. People I meet who say ‘I hate such and such a tune’ generally mean one that is over-familiar to them, and as has already been pointed out, maybe this says more about them than the tune, in that they have lost the ability to invest anything in it.
But, casting all logic and reason aside, I hate ‘Music For a Found Harmonium’. It seems to be on half the albums I own, and my heart sinks when someone starts to play it in a session, usually to demonstrate that they can play their instrument in lots of different keys. It’s not Irish, it’s not clever and it doesn’t make any musical sense - Just Say No.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I quite like "The Rakes…", I have been listening to a recording of Coleman playing it with flute player recently, they play a few notes differently from the accepted (or not accepted) norm. Great thing is it is’nt a tune I would have thought of till I heard it in this way, I often find myself drawn back to old tunes if I hear them in a fresh context, with interesting variation or rhythm. It’s one of the great things about the tradition- it’s self renewal and regeneration.

On ITM being easy, I have said it before in other places: the various layers of subtlety involved in ornamentation and variation warrant a lifetimes study- it is easy to play it indifferently or badly as is the case with any genre. Admittedly, looking at some of the clumsy attempts to capture it on paper is hardly inspiring, but scratch a bit deeper and you’ll always find something new to consider.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Clumsy attempt at being funnyπŸ™‚
I for one can’t stop scratching - deeper and DEEPER πŸ™‚

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

BB - I’m curious. Why is it the newcomer’s job to find out what annoys you at a session? Should all newcomers ask every member of a session what they don’t like? Heaven forbid that all the members of the session loose respect for you when you play a tune they don’t like.

You make it rather perilous to Jam with you. Do the think the fix is to tell everyone around you to beware of your list? Will the list change without notice?

No fair picking on you BB. All of us have our annoyances. I believe our sessions would be better if we all try to take the chips off our shoulders and play it as it comes.

Once again - retorts are welcome.
Mark

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Mark — first off, the tradition doesn’t "jam". We session. πŸ™‚ And yes, it’s the newcomer’s job to fit into a session. Would you like it if someone walked into one of your own social circles and tried to take over without finding anything out about the group of you? Neither would I. Because a session is supposed to be more about the crack than it is the music, in lots of ways. there’s graceful ways of fitting into a group when you’re a newcomer, and there’s…not-so graceful ways.

There are lots of reasons why session etiquette is one of the topics we return to time and time again here - and reasons why everyone has tons of stories (and omigosh, Brad’s story of the kid with the banjo is the best/funniest one I’ve heard recently, see if you can get him to tell it to you) about transgressors of that etiquette.

I (along with Dirk) run a session that is for newcomers to the tradition — it’s really hard to run afoul of our "rules" because we’re all about being the place to make your mistakes and getting a correction without embarrassment and without ostrafication (is that a word?) — out in the real world of ITM, getting ostracized for not following your local’s own particular arcane etiquette is the risk you run for not having the manners to find out what that group of people’s Robertsian rules are. Most sessions are pretty forgiving of people with the right attitudes. It’s people who don’t care that get players’ collective goats.

I was recently at a session where a newcomer (a good player, too) played a very familar tune in a different key than the usual. Nothing wrong with that, much, except that this player chose a key that most people couldn’t play because it was out of the range of their instruments. At a session, that’s not a hanging offense, but it’s a little rude. It ended up being a party piece, which was enjoyable, but it gave me the impression that this player was a little inexperienced with sessions. I would have been much more impressed with their ability if that hadn’t happened.

By the way and in general, I think this thread might better and more interestingly become a "what makes a good tune, what defines a so-called bad tune, and isn’t it interesting that two players can genuinely come up with the same tune on opposite lists" thread, but that’s me.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I agree, Zina, about playing in a different key not being a hanging offense. It’s more like a smearing-with-honey-and-leaving-to-be-eaten-by-ants-in-the-desert kind of offense. Hard to do properly, though, if you don’t live in the right geography.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmm. You know, there’s a lot of tunes I know and love that I don’t usually play (the two Paddy Fahy tunes that George taught me, for instance, and Lads of Laois) at sessions around here except as party pieces or when someone wants to learn them from me, because they’re either out of the range of other instruments in attendance or in weird keys that I know most players will have problems with, or whatever.

How many other players regularly learn tunes that don’t get played at your local because of key or range issues, and what are they?

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I was thinking more of people taking a normal tune and playing it in a fancy key (G-flat-minor).

Actually, I don’t generally mind that (much), especially on tunes that everyone knows well enough to transpose on the fly (and might be a little tired of, so a new key gives it a bit of spark), but the key should be one that everyone can play — be within the range of most of the players’ instruments, for instance, or able to be played on a non-keyed flute, etc. etc…. My two cents on that one, anyway.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

well, speaking as a beginner and a sort of newcomer to sessions, there is a dilema here. For many of us, the reason we are new to sessions is that there is limited access to regular ITM players where we live and so we learn tunes from CDs, occasional meets with other musicians, etc. Those tunes may or may not be in the key that is the "regular" key. We work hard to learn by ear, and being the beginners that we are, we don’t *know* that the key we learned the tune in is a fancy key. In fact, we may not even know the key (yes, I know, that is bad, and I am working on it, but music theory is difficult for some of us). So, after a couple of years of playing, mostly in isolation, we get up the nerve to go to a session. There we are, already incredibly nervous, and people ask us to play a tune. We try to demur, but they ask again and we feel like it is worse to continue to refuse than to just play a tune. So, we pick a tune that we know fairly well and play it. Turns out that is a tune that the people at the session hate (because, of course, it is a fairly easy tune and one that lots of people learned as a beginner), and worse it is in a key that is not the usual one. There you are, we are one of those people that the other session members have lost all respect for.

This hasn’t happened so much to me, because, having thesession.org as a resource, and being able to read music, I have looked up the posted versions of some of what I think are common tunes and checked that they are close to what I play (at least that they have the same number of sharps or flats) etc. If they aren’t close, if it seems like they clash, then I am careful not to play that tune at a session. But a lot of beginners don’t know about this site, or worse yet, they don’t have Internet access (of the horror of it all πŸ™‚. So, it seems to me that it might be more reasonable to take the beginner aside, point them to resources, maybe suggest some tunes and keys to learn - or better yet, offer to teach them a tune or so that is played at your session in the common key.

Sos

oh, and I’d also like to point out that some of us beginners on the fiddle don’t realize that other instruments can’t play in all keys. I had no idea until I started the flute last week that an f natural is out on a keyless D flute.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I’m afraid I do have to insist on diddly music being easy. But that in no way should suggest it is second rate. Simple and sublime I say. Quite often it is the hard tunes that are no good.

What about that tune "the acrobat". It owes its entire existence and its continued life to some idiots wanting to show off. Some idiots who have never understood music and never will

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael - hmmm…. it’s great to have someone as helpful as you around here…. *rolls eyes*

As for The Acrobat, Harry Bradley recorded that tune on his first album. Is he one of those idiots you are referring to?

Best,
Chris

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Oooh! fighting words! πŸ™‚

Lonefiddler, the "regular" key is probably something with 1 or 2 sharps (G, D, and their derivatives).

F Natural is very possible on 6 hole Flute

I keep hearing people say "F-Nat’s are impossible without keys" it’s simply untrue. I’ve never heard a flute player that is worth his salt who couldn’t play an F natural on a flute. Even I can do it & I can barely play a flute. D#’s are harder but with practice those can be played on a keyless flute. Practice the "Cook in the Kitchen" (jig) for F naturals, or just practice phrases like D=FAd DE=F etc.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I think it depends on the flute. If you have one that has large holes, you can half-hole it. If you have small holes, then you’re stuck with doing
xxxxox
and "lipping" the note down. It works, but doing it fast isn’t easy. "Irish" flutes are meant to have keys; they’re really keyed flutes that have had their keys taken off, unlike the old Baroque flutes which were meant to be cross-fingered (and even in those, i can say from experience, f-nat and f-sharp are a challenge — the nat. is sharp and the sharp is flat).

(I’ve played different flutes for well over 20 years, and i can’ t do a fast F-nat on my M&E; i can do it ok if it’s a slow air.)

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Back to the original topic. I don’t quite have a full year of session experience under my belt yet, but I was growing weary of the Swallowtail Jig. I decided to add my own unique variations to it and make it more interesting for myself. Now, it’s a lot more fun to play it in the session every week…..just my 2 cents…

Joyce

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

That’s exactly what he’s refering to Chris. See you folks, that’s one more *sshole than I need at the moment.

It’s been fun,

Harry.

Damn, Harry, I wish you wouldn’t go away

I’ve really appreciated your comments here. I like the way you think, and you have the gift for expressing things well. Your comments have always been helpful, and you’re one of the best flute players out there. Michael doesn’t mean bad, it’s just the way he’s wired, i guess. I stopped paying attention to him a while ago.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Well, Michael, the music is "easy" if you don’t care if you play it badly or that you’re making an ass of yourself. Opinions are one thing, but making public judgements about someone’s musical worth or value because someone likes a tune that you don’t or holds different opinions about the music than you do is another. I’ve personally had enough of your careless mouth and your inability to control it. Go away.

Harry, I wish you wouldn’t go, though — I’ve learned quite a bit from your posts and would love the opportunity to continue learning from such a talented player as yourself.

Sos, it’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it? No one expects people to be born knowing all these weird rules, though (although I’ve noted in Ireland, many of the session "rules" are part and parcel with the culture, so they can’t figure out why anyone has trouble with something they think is a non-issue). It’s when people don’t *try* that it gets most players’ goats. However, with all due respect, I somehow have a hard time seeing you as one of the types to wander into a session and do something either in spite of knowing it’s not on or not finding out before you do something. I repeat — it’s the attitude of someone, not so much what it is they do.

Zina

Don’t Go Harry

Oh please don’t go. I also have appreciated your input to thesession.org. I’m just a beginning Irish flute player, but love your music. I was so happy to see your name in the conversations today!

Joyce

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Don’t leave Harry

I agree.. I was really happy when I saw that Harry B. was here at thesession.org, it’d be a shame to loose him… Michaels first post of nothing but offensive dirty words to his last post attacking Harry Bradley (and all the other garbage in between) has contributed nothing but heartburn to thesession.org.

Stick Around Harry

I like your views whether I agree with you or not. I know you need to do what you need to. I just think you NEED to stick around. Think of all those hungry minds you are feeding.

What I particularly like about you is that you don’t throw a bunch of knives up in the air without worrying where they might land. I have had a few land on me, actually a few were aimed.

From what I know about you - I’d session with you any day.

Mark

Harry - stick around bro. One a-hole does not a group of a-holes make.

Harry -
Just in case there was any confusion (and I don’t think there was), I was giving Michael a knock, not you. Like it or not, you’re one of my musical heroes.
Anyways, I would also really appreciate it if you’d stick around. You’ve contributed some really invaluable insight here and it would be sorely missed.
Plus, you’re a damn funny guy.
Best,
Chris

Now I understand!

Well Harry I can understand your taking exception to Michael’s remarks, but I am grateful to him for clearing up a longstanding problem for me.

While I can’t think of any tunes that I hate, some can grate on my nerves, and there are others that I find so dull that I cannot understand why people want to play them (The Longford Collector and especially The Road to Rio fall into this category).

Thanks to Michael I now realize that they are obviously English tunes! Phew! My faith in the tradition is restored.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I love to play the mason’s apron and listen to it because it a really cool tune to play. No matter who you play it to they will get up and do a little dance. Some people think your showing off when your playing it but your not really your just playing it from the heart. The first time I heard it I had to learn it and it is one of my all time favorites.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I didn’t read all the coments on this posting as my computer’s slow and it takes too long! So boing back to bb’s remark, what’s wrong with music for a found harmonium? i like that tune. And tam lin! I’ve been away for a while so it’s going to take a bit to get warmed up in these conversations again! But will make an effort! I Really don’t like it when someone starts playing ‘dirty old town’ or ‘tell me ma’ as a session tune. I’ll be polite and leave it at that…..

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Just thought i’d contribute a bit extra. My flat mate plays with some of the country’s top orchestras. Him and others from said bands (BBC Scottish, SCO etc) have all commented to me (and themselves) how its all very well to sit there and play shostakovich, brahms or mahler all week, but, at the end of the day being a true musician is about the music not the technical difficulty of the piece. Anybody who thinks different can "shove it up their *rse" (his words not mine!!) Enjoy playing, don’t impress people. Especially if you think you’re playing some hot, technically wonderful piece, who knows, you could have 5 or 6 of the top technically profficient (in a classical sense) players in the country sitting next to you. As has happened to me……

They dont give a toss about whether your playing a hard tune, they just appreciate good music!!

Bit of a rant. Have i made my point!

p.s. I dont wnat harry to go either, i’m just starting the flute (well kinda) and appreciate anyone that can give me hints on playing it better (i.e. stories about spitting rice into cups to improve your embouchure - still havn’t mastered this one, and if someones pulling my leg, i’ll be very annoyed!)

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hi Zina, you should catch Seamus Quinn in a session sometime, when he’s in the humour for playing tunes in strange keys. Add to that those mind boggling double stops that he has made his trademark, & all you want to do is sit back & be mesmerized. He can transform any tune, unusual or bog standard, into a work of art.

As you know, a session shouldn’t be about everybody playing every tune, anyway. Good musicians know when to listen, instead of just playing along all the time to every tune, & because they actually listen - they get better.

What’s that got to do with the question I hear you ask! Well, only that I reckon that there are no bad tunes, just bad players, & poor, weak settings of tunes, although that bloody ‘Harmonium’ thingy comes close, doesn’t it?.

The tunes I quickly get bored with are the gimicky ones, so if it were up to me, I’d take that bloody ‘Harmonium’ out & stick it on the first Bonfire I ‘found’, & the music from that bonfire would be music to my ears.

Oh, & while I’m on about it, that modern infatuation with syncopation is going to have me falling on my trusty, rusty sabre before too long - do dah do lally lally.

As for Tamm Lin, a good old Scottish Reel, keep yer hands off it - played properly it’s a grand wee beastie.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I love those Paddy Fahy type tunes too, Zina. They’re probably alright in a fiddle dominated session. They are beautiful unusual tunes - lots of opportunities to take them as deep as you want to go. Whistle players probably hate them to pieces because of all the half holing necessary whatever key whistle you try to play them on, so the trick might be to session them in moderation (a tad like anything deliciously addictive). Savour them on the odd occasion when they come up so they don’t become stale and over dun to the point of a communally expresssed *groan* - *groan*.

As for Irish Washerwoman, Drowsy Maggie and the Three Sea Captains in a session: well, they’re alright for symphony orchestras to, tongue in cheek, zip through at a zillion miles an hour. Gives them a chance, in orchestrated unision, to broadcast their misunderstanding of something they know nothing about.

I thought this site was for expressing opinions, so I admit it. I Can’t stand the *beep* *beep* Sally Gardens or High Reel either. At the same time I recognise anybody’s right to play them if they want to and they get something out of them.

When all is said and dun, the tunes you like (and hate πŸ™‚) are a reflection of your attitudes, memories, experiences, fears and aspirations. These should be as diverse and valuable as humanity itself. - thank goodness we are all different!

Posted by .

PS: I don’t condone Micheal’s attacks though. Not necessary, Michael - stop it!

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Greensleeves Jig

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Spitting rice into cups? Um. Really? I’m glad I’m a fiddler. *Gross*, dude! πŸ™‚

It would have to be a totally fiddle dominated session for me to play some of those Paddy Fahey tunes, Jill — and of fiddlers who I know know those tunes. I personally don’t care to be playing at a session all by myself! I love to play with other players, I get a real kick out of it, and if what they know is Tam Lin and Harvest Home, well, then, let’s have at it!

Of course, I also believe that some new tunes (or at least ones you don’t know) make for a great session too. But (at least in my opinion) it’s really not on to dominate a session with tunes no one else knows for most of the night — sprinkle a few in that are standard to that session, fer cat’s sake, and leave the fancy-pants settings that clash with the standard settings for the performances.

The Three Sea Captains was one of the first non-traditional sets my TCRG learned when she was a kid. She practised them over and over and over. Her father has called it The Three Million Sea Captains ever since then. πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Oh, and welcome back Jamie! We’ve missed you!

zls

Oh, and saying "Gross, dude" to Jamie just reminded me of one of my most treasured memories from a trip to the city of London — sitting around with an Israeli, a couple of Swedes, numerous Aussies, three Swiss, a native Londoner, a German or two, two Scots, and an Irishman in a swanky pub after hours (the Aussies worked the bar there), teaching them how to say "dude" in Yank and all of us laughing ourselves silly. πŸ™‚

*sigh* Lovely time we had!

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

This has become a very het up discussion, I was probably being a bit harsh when I said I’d lose all respect for them. I exaggerate all the time - I’m surprised you all didnt realise that by now πŸ˜‰ And harry - please dont go…….

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

See what you’ve started bb, still, its always nice when someone starts a more controversial thread, the further you go through it the more open people become and the more they express what they really mean… I think sally gardens on the flute is great especially if you whack a wee "e flat" between the d and e at the start of the third bar! Never sounds quite as good on the fiddle, but does start opening up all sorts of possibilities!!!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

1 Jeremy. I’ve never heard of Harry Braddley, and my "attack" was meant to be universal, not personal. However, I don’t retract. The point I was making was to differentiate those who play because they love music and those who play because they want to impress.

2. Zina. Diddly music is easy: Refer to jamaidj posting above.

I am much more satisfied with the posting above this one about recomending good tunes for beginners. This posting, by its very nature, is negative. So what do you all expect other than dissagreement and bitching.

One of my favorite moments in a session (and it happens a lot, everyone will recognise it) is when a beginner comes in and plays the Kesh jig. A sublimely brilliant tune that know one who’s been around a while ever plays because the’re too paranoid about keeping up the’re seasoned facade.
You get to play along with them, quietly, nice and slow, not intrusive, may be a little harmony. Great. Now that’s what I call a session.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael - When you say "diddly music," it just seems so disrespectful, even if you don’t mean it that way. Does anyone else out there feel the same way??

Joyce

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Okay, Michael.

So, you’re saying that your attack was on the tune "The Acrobat" and when you wrote that comment, you had no idea who Harry was, much less that he had recorded that tune.

Hmmm… quite a coincidence.

Still, if you say that’s the case then I guess I have no choice other than to believe you.

However, it would be nice if you apologized to Harry for any offense you may have caused, intentionally or otherwise.

As for the music being easy, here’s the way I look at it:

Michael Gill, a belligerent foul-mouthed troublemaker who thinks that Noel Hill is "boring", claims that "diddly music" is easy.

Harry Bradley, an exceptionally accomplished flute player who would definitely qualify as an expert on this, says it’s not.

I’m afraid it’s no contest πŸ™‚

Sorry, Michael. You are just plain wrong.

"Diddly music" is not easy. QED.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

i don’t seem to remember me saying that traditional music (note that i can’t stand the words "diddly music") is easy???? I find that traditional music is easier than classical music, and thats because i play traditional music more and am better at it than at classical. A classical player would find classical music easy and traditional music hard (well, they would if they were trying to encapsulate the feel of the music as well as just the note). The thing with traditional music is, fair enough it may be easy to play the notes of most of the tunes, especially for a classically trained player, but what stands this kind of music out is a plyers ability to feel what they are playing, not just reading the notes off the music. I teach classical piano, and have studied that to a high level, but i suck at playing traditional music on it ( i can play one tune….) whereas the best thing i did for myself was giving up classical music on the violin when i was younger (still wish i had carried on a wee bit longer as there are some things i regret not being able to do now (like play octave scales on the a and e string - cause thats just cool….)) If i had not stopped the classical, i would be a completely different player than i am now, i can fel the music a lot more because i immersed myself in it from about the age of 15 and havn’t looked back since.

Anyway thats the end of that particular rant, will go and add my 2 cents to another thread somewhere……

ps, its nice to be back zina, and nice to know there’s still the same old faces around!! πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Nobody was suggesting that *you* were saying it was easy.

Read the comment again - it’s aimed squarely at Michael; nobody else.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Who are you calling old, Jamie? :-p

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Oh my ACTUAL goodness, i cnt believe peops have dissed Tam Lin, its a really great tune. Why hasnt anyone scottish mentioned Mrs Macleod of Rassay? Possibly the most irritating tune ever. Some peops need to chill, this is only a chatroom.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Is your ACTUAL goodness different from your standard every-day-run-of-the-mill goodness, Wackadack?

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I find Irish music and Celtic Music much easier to play than Classical music. There are several reasons. I believe the Irish music makes much more sense than classical music. It certainly does for me. Irish music is typically not written to be difficult for the masses. I understand the phrases well. They are like family. When I take a peek at a new irish tune - I typically don’t have to learn a new skill to perform the tune well.

When I first heard a piece of Irish Music played well, I was absolutely astonished. I thought it was fabulously articulated, not only by note, but by bow pressure and slides. I decided that I loved the music but it was far too complicated for me to ever learn.

Consider this: The familiar Path is far easier than the unknown path. I have taken huge steps to make Irish and other Celtic Music easier for me. I cleared my path you might say.

As for the tunes I don’t much care for anymore - I just overplayed them. I was the guy who wanted those tunes. I have decided, thanks to this post, that I don’t have any Irish Traditional music that I hate. I remember playing along with a Boy’s of the Lough album. You bet, they had the Kesh Jig and The Munster Buttermilk strung together. I was playing Irish Music with one of the best in the world.

Our "easy" and overplayed tunes are the vehicles that I used to make progress. I feel slightly foolish for any comments I made that berated those tunes. If it had not been for the easy ones, I could not feel the thrills I do today when I play a more complicated pieces. Quite naturally some of my favorites are the ones I must work particularly hard at to get right.

Those difficult pieces, that others may shy away from because they are too difficult, are great teachers. They teach you new tricks or improve your skill. They teach you that consistent practice is a necessity if you want to maintain those difficult ones. They also measure your progress. One day, perhaps years later, that tricky piece pops out and you have not so much as touched it in years. It sounds glorious from start to finish.

Thanks to everyones opinions in this post and many others, I have learned a valuable lesson. I will not be critical of any of the Irish tunes again. Somebody out there had to like it and that’s good enough for me. (If you don’t mind - I still think RAP and music are two different things. It is a perfect blend of bad poetry and non existant melody.) πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

It’s not *poetry*, Mark — it just rhymes! πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Harry,
I’m sorry.
I’ve never heard the acrobat played on the flute. I hope you surprise me and I can change my mind on it. I’ve only heard it on the fiddle and cringed every time.

Back to the "easy" debate.
I think I’m taken as a beligerant troublemaker because I remind all of you the truth that you all know in your heart of hearts but won’t admit. You all think that what you do is clever. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not. Diddly music (and I genuinely mean no respect) is a little clique of hardened enthusiasts going round and round with the same old repertoir of tunes that all sound the same.

The thing that you lot don’t get about me is that, despite its short comings, I love it. And I love the people who play it. I’m proud to belong to this little unimportant group of crazy obsesives. It’s a great hobby.

Now what you’ll all say is that I must be rubbish at it because bla de bla de bla de bla. But there you go again rating people. All I can say in my defence is "Come to Sandy Bells in Edinburgh (Even if you don’t turn up for twenty years I’ll probably still be there) and use your ears.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

No, Michael — the reason I think you’re a belligerent troublemaker, quite honestly, is that you insist on behaving like a jerk. That’s a rather Freudian slip you’ve got there in that post. I’m glad you’ve apologized to Harry (and I hope that you’ve sent an apology to him directly as I doubt whether he’s visited since), but I at least am tired of apologies from you that never seem to change your behavior afterwards.

Thank you for telling me what I think. You happen to be wrong, besides being presumptuous.

I love the music, AND I respect it, the tradition and players it represents — its importance or non-importance to anyone else is of no moment to me. It is important to me. I think that’s true for the vast majority of people who are members of this site. To flippantly say it’s ‘easy’ is to disrespect both the complicated simpleness of the stuff, and the people who don’t find it easy. If you can’t respect that, I think you should go and never come back.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Just to put in two little bits on the easiness of traditional music…

I’m a classically trained clarinetist. I was immersed in classical music practically from the moment I was born. I started playing the clarinet when I was 10. I’ve played it ever since - I’m now 36.

First: I find classical music *much* easier than ITM. I can play Mozart’s clarinet concerto much more easily than I can play, say, the Banshee reel. With Mozart, I know the piece, and I know how it works, and playing it today is pretty much the same as playing it yesterday. Structurally, it’s a whole lot more complex than traditional music, which is why it’s perceived as harder. But when I play trad music, it varies day by day, moment by moment, depending on who I’m playing with. To do it right, I need to be constantly aware of the subtleties of variable rythym, chord, and embellishment in ways that I don’t need to be when I’m playing with an orchestra.

Second: for all the snobbishness of certain obnoxious musicians, traditional music has recieved respect from the greastest of composers: from Mozart to Brahms to Bartok to Copeland, all have spent time studying traditional music and using bits of it in their own work. Look at some of the great modern performers: Edgar Meyer, quite possibly the greatest master of classical double-bass *ever* spends part of his time playing bluegrass. Yo Yo Ma and Joshua Bell both credit folk fiddlers with teaching them new bow techniques that allowed them to improve the rythmic qualities of thier bow-work.

I

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Sorry to say this Michael, but for all your much vaunted ‘love of Irish music’, you come across as a complete tosser. Yes Irish music, indeed any music is ‘easy’, in the same way that oil painting is easy. Of course, anyone can put paint on a brush and smear it on a canvas. So you must be right!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Music For a Found Harmonium: It’s great taken for what it is - I play it every time I find a harmonium. But how often do you find a harmonium in an Irish session?

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

As with this session, there’s the odd Hormone-ium though.

Sorry for my rude and abrupt departure folks and thanks for the messages, but just that very day I was getting it from a mouthpiece on another list.

Regards all, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Harry!

I’m just happy you’re back, Harry! I hope to learn as much as I can from you — as much as you’re willing to pass on, anyway. Thanks for returning, I look forward to seeing your posts once again.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

It’s a good thing that diddly music is easy, not a bad thing. I respect it all the more for being easy. This is the point I’m making. That great art need not be difficult. That great art can be played by labourers whith sausage fingers who never practice.

Mark. If you’d played diddly music since you were 10 you’d have no problems with it. I think it’s great that all these terrific classical and jazz musicians rate tradditional music and learn from it. Edgar Mayer is one of my favourite musicians. But why does this not happen the other way round? It’s because it’s technically too difficult for our sausage fingers.

The analogy with painting is not perfect, but there is an interesting parralel. It could be said that the abstract expressionists freed painting from the need for technical skill, but this is not quite the case. They identified that there is more to art than accurate reprisentation. Give me Joan Miro any day over Singer Sergent.
But did Miro just "smear paint on a canvas"? Of course he did. But he did it with great artistry

Mark, I’ve just read your posting again and I find it a shame that you play your mozart pretty much the same as you played it yesterday. I think you should try to rediscover the splendid Wolfgang. What fantastic, energetic, vibrant, intelligent music.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael, sorry, I re-read my previous post and it was rather rude to you. The painting analogy was only a way of saying that the value of something like painting or music is not in the technique, but in the expression. Obviously you cannot play Beethoven’s Serenade for flute if all you have previously done is to play Egan’s Polka. You probably wouldn’t even be able to read all the notes!
Yes, technically Classical music is more difficult than Irish music. It involves much more complex division of notes, therefore far more difficulty in counting time (and you wouldn’t get away with tapping your feet hard on the ground in an orchestra or chamber group). It requires far more dynamic complexity, and it requires players to play their instruments over a much greater range of octaves. Someone might try to point out that rolls and cuts and other ornaments are complicated subdivisions, but they are ones we can insert as we wish, so don’t really constitute a discipline as such.
However (deep breath), the technical difficulties of playing an INSTRUMENT which is merely a matter of mechanical ability, are little to do with the expression of MUSIC. Many years ago a violin player friend of mine was very excited at the prospect of going on tour and leading Beethoven’s Violin Romances 1 & 2. I saw the music and said something to the effect that it looked quite simple. She pointed out that precisely because the melody line was simple, and the notes tended to be very long, it was very hard to maintain the ‘line’ of the music, and to create a coherant dynamic over that long period.
Translated to Irish music, I guess that it is easy to learn a line of notes and saw away at a session, but playing from the heart, interpreting your influences and creating something worth playing (and listening to), can’t be classified within the terms ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’.
And I still hate that Harmonium tune….

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Ottery, I agree with everthing you say. And I hate that harmonium tune too. Maybe it’s because a classical musician wrote it?

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael, let me offer you a new word. The word is "simple." I think it might actually be the word you *mean* rather than "easy." Like throwing a light switch starts all sorts of complicated processes that we don’t even think about these days as being complicated, the music is on the surface just a bunch of notes strung together — easy to play and easily played by anyone. At one and the same time, it’s also extremely difficult to play well and with that peculiar pulse that lifts it up out of "a bunch of notes" and into the arena of the possibly sublime.

I think you’ll see less bruises on your tender hide if you try substituting "simple" for "easy" — easy is an insult. Simple is a philosophy. πŸ™‚

As for Music for a Found Harmonium — I think it might be worth pointing out (though I will say that I am tired of the thing too and consider it a bit of a fad tune) that a great many very good musicians recorded it, so it can’t be all *that* bad a tune as we’re all making out. ;)

Zina

Minims&semiquavers

yes,ottery (good name,by the way!) i agree.
anybody with time on their hands will eventually be able to play fast but it’s the minims and the semibrieves that sort out the men from the sheep and the goats from the boys…ahem…
re the easy/simple debate: it may come easy to some people but i’m not one them.
you can bet that those players who make it look and sound easy have done their time. talent alone rarely does it.persistence will.
yours,aquatically,dave

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmmmm, semantics.
All philosophical arguments seem to end in a discussion of semantics. Simple? Easy? They mean more or less the same.

But what I can’t understand is why you all have such a problem with easy/simple. Why do you all feel the need to vociferously stress that this diddly stuff is hard. I make passing reference to something I thought was obvious and every jumps down my throat. What is it about it that you all feel needs defending from me?

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Well, they don’t mean the same thing, Michael, or obviously they wouldn’t be different words. The music isn’t easy, although it can be simple. "Easy" carries with it the connotation of "anyone can do it", and everyone patently cannot play this music well.

But what I can’t understand is why you have such a problem with easy/simple, Michael. Why do you fele the need to vociferously stress that this diddly stuff is easy. We keep telling you we find it offensive and you keep insisting on shoving it in everyone’s face. What is it about it that you feel the need to keep doing so when you keep getting mashed for it?

*grin*

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

i was n’t jumping down your throat,michael.
that was just my own view,that’s all.i find it hard going sometimes but that’s mainly because i come from another tradition and it’s like another language,at times.
what i said about people making it look easy goes for classical music as well…and sport - you seen that australian swimmer,thorpe?
yours,in a semantic sort of way and also aquatically (gill…) - i can see my coat just over ther……..

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Despite all of the frustration/dedication/effort that everyone puts into this music I think I like the idea that the underlying truth is this music is very, very simple stuff.

What if the only complicated part about ITM is that we (the late-comers in the tradtion) are led to believe it’s complicated?

Is it possible that we get a false sense of how this music sounds because we listen to master musicians who are augmented by master sound-engineers who record in multi-million dollar studios?

Could we really be like the teenage girls starving themselves to look like their heros on the front covers of teen magazines? Are we always dissapointed when we come up short of the published expectations?

I have further comments, but I think that get’s the ball rolling.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmm. Tempting, Kev, but I still don’t see it that way — I come up short of the in-person expectations, too, not just the recorded ones. πŸ™‚ No, even though I do earnestly believe that the music is essentially simple, I think it is simple in the same way that anything is simple once you know how to do it.

It’s simple like throwing a light switch to turn a light on. First there’s the wiring, and the electricity, and even the vacuum in the light bulb. It’s simple, but there’s nothing easy about it. It’s simple because you just "connect", but first you have to be able to locate what it is you’re connecting to. It’s simple, but it’s extremely complicated as well.

In short, it’s just like the nature of the Irish culture, if you Irish types out there will forgive me the description — contrary, simple yet extraordinarily complicated, full of holes stuffed with meaning, yet still a cascade of notes.

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

An interesting discussion today!??? I suppose that my comments are somewhat late, but ……

Micheal, as far as the people on the list being unwilling to speak our heart of hearts…. Well, Zina did it for us. She most definitely
said what has been on my mind, as I glimpsed through the comments, except that she said it with a lot more grace than I am capable of finding.

PS Jeremy, this is a great site, but rubbish is starting to pile up in the corners. It is time to take the rubbish out, and I am not referring to "diddly music".

Scott Donaldson

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Pablo Picasso once said (I’m paraphrasing) that it took him a lifetime to learn to paint like a child. Painting (making music) well is simple, but getting there is rarely "easy."

Kevin, I think that most of what we hear from the studios is actually far less complex than what you get from listening to a live musician. The recording is like a spider trapped in amber, easily dissected and not likely to surprise after the first couple of listens. Whereas the live playing is unpredictable, ever changing (at least in the hands of an experienced, enthusiastic player), and ephemeral.

I’ve stayed off this thread in part because the title didn’t make sense to me (in my universe, "hated tunes" is like saying "too much chocolate"), and in part because most of this debate over simple/easy has raged here without anyone bothering to define the terms or set boundaries to at least give the terms some contextual meaning. I think the discussion won’t amount to much unless you can agree on some parameters…easy in terms of musical structure (and which parts: melodic structure, chordal structure, time signatures, timing, variety of ornamentation, overall repertoire of the genre, what?)? Technical skills required to play it? Inter-relatedness of the music to the culture that bore it?

Michael, I’ve been logging onto The Session for close to two years now, and lots of us enjoy the opportunity to make fun of our frustrations of learning to play our instruments, learning tunes, and surviving session life. Some of it is tongue-in-cheek, some of it is real angst. Some people really do find this music difficult to do well. Some have put thousands of hours in just to acheive a basic level of competency.

Others have been playing for decades and our music would be welcome at nearly any session anywhere, but we set high and ever-rising standards for ourselves and so continue to look for musical challenges within the tradition. Either way, I’d wager that most of these people don’t generally think of ITM as "easy," regardless of how uncomplicated the tunes may be or—for the master players among us—how effortless it is to play it.

At 43, I haven’t found anything that’s "easy," not if I attempt it with passion.

And Michael, if you’re tired of people jumping down your throat, consider not opening it so wide πŸ™‚ Perhaps if you were a little less overtly confident of your own opinions (I’m trying to be diplomatic here πŸ˜‰ and more willing to see things from other people’s perspectives, you’d find we’re actually a pretty welcoming, fun-loving bunch.

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My last post got interrupted by a small house fire inside a wall (oh the joys of remodeling!), so I forgot to say another thing that was on my mind.

I don’t think of music as "easy" or "hard" or "simple" or "complicated." Those are just labels applied to the tunes, and they don’t really mean anything in themselves because they’re too subjective and relative. Someone who’s never played music before would think Humours of Tulla was hard to the point of being impossible. Itzahk Perlman or Mark O’Connor on the other hand might consider The Mathematician an amusing little diversion. Besides, it’s not as though tunes have to be measured against some rating system to be acceptable or worthwhile, is it? I mean, this isn’t rock climbing. (I can see it now: "No Bob I won’t play that tune, it’s only a Class 3.75. I only do tunes at Class 5.14 and above, thank you.")

The music is the experience, not some interpretation of experience. And (whether I always acheive this or not) I strive to make my musical experience effortless, enjoyable, and alive. Being able to play to that level has taken me years to learn, so there’s a difference between "effortless playing" and "easy tunes." I prefer to steer clear of the whole easy/hard debate and think in terms of effortless vs. strained. Aim to play effortlessly regardless of whether you find the music technically challenging or simple.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Lovely replies! Fantastic!

I am still enjoying listening/playing to the ‘odd’ Paddy Fahey played by George Keith that was posted by Zina. I think it’s a fantastic example of the ‘simple’ tune that has nearly endless depth.

My theories on this subject are still a bit half-baked so I’m not ready to affirm or deny them just yet.

But speaking personally, I can say that recently, if I take a difficult passage and attempt to demonstrate how difficult it is to play I can often pull it off without a hitch. I suppose it’s because I’m fully expecting to mess it up and so I’m not worryng about it. So, in that light, I’m thinking that if I don’t BELIEVE it’s difficult, maybe it won’t be.

Anyway, I’m very early in on this line of thinking.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yeah, I used to think that playing a tune was like running a river, and the "hard" parts were rapids (which are rated—and the irony against my post above does not escape me—as Class III, IV, V, and VI or unnavigable). It took me a while, but I finally realized that this metaphor was swamping my playing—every time I came up on a rapid, I’d get anxious and fall apart, often before I even hit the real white water. It really is the same effect real river runners get—butterflies and worse before you run serious whitewater. I worked as a guide here in Montana while in college, and we used to laugh about the clients who all came down with the squirts the morning before a nasty piece of river.

So I quit thinking like that and started thinking in longer musical phrases so the "easy" and "hard" parts all flowed together, and then there just weren’t any rapids anymore (though some nights it’s ALL whitewater, heh).

In my experience, two things happen to get the music to click. First, you have to put the hours in to become technically proficient on your instrument. Second, you have to learn to just trust and follow the tune, pulling it out of the air as Kevin Burke says. That second process has been difficult for me, and there are still times where I feel like the most unmusical person in the world. But at least now my playing is punctuated with moments where the music flows. I think this comes from fluency with the "dialect" of the tunes—understanding the basic vocabulary and grammar and syntax of ITM, in this case. And from learning to turn off that inner voice that worries about mistakes and looming rapids.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yes Will , the context, well spotted.
What often makes broad sweeping statements unworkable (and of times, infuriating……. though I think that’s the point) is their lack of proper context in this multi- faceted (almost chaotic!) whole. If such ‘ideas’ can be presented to scrape through on a grain of truth, then they can be just about justified to those who are more willing to look at subtler aspects of the bigger picture.
It has been suggested here that the complexity of Irish music (and by this I mean the whole thing, tone , variation, personalised intonation, regional variation, cross instumental influences etc…) is a part construct of studio technology- but when I think of ITM, the first names that come to mind are the Seamus Ennis’, James Morrisons, Willie Clancys who recorded when the notion of EQ-ing was in its infancy in ITM and editting was completely out of the question. So you see it would be easy to confuse the issue coming from such different points of view.
Talking of Ennis or Clancy, I hear many young pipers playing incredibly intricate, clean playing that is undoubtably more technically accomplished than the old pipers, it’s great music in itself. Do I prefer it to the old piping?……No. Because it has but a trace of the personality, tone, maturity, humour , ingenuity and generosity of the older players. This, of course, can not be learned in a day or a week or a year ,but is part of a life long journey in self expression and is on-going and highly unique and personalised, it’s which every musician undertakes to some degree, but few take to the extent as the ones I’ve mentioned. That’s what I mean when I talk about Irish music, just to clear up the point.

Regards all, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Ah, you mean like, "Lies To Children", Harry — the explanations we get for things like how rainbows are formed, why the sky is blue, all that stuff that turns out later in university to be much more, um, multi-faceted, what a good way to put it, than the way our parents had to explain it to us for us to be able to begin to grasp a concept.

As to the pipers thing, Harry, I’ve a question: I’ve noticed that the recordings I’ve heard of the older pipers, they all seem to drive the beat, whereas a great many of the new pipers lay back on the beat. Where does that come from, is it true largely across the board or just from my small sampling, and what do you think about it? Just curious. πŸ™‚

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I did’nt mean it in any elitest way, Zina(child/parent, teacher/ pupil). Just that broad statements can be a useful tool when in conversation with people who are of like minds, drives and experiences, or they can be a hinderance if the people are of different viewpoints and directions ,or do not wish to approach a wider, more inclusive view (which contains us all and all our little ideas and grievances!).

Re. Piping beats. There was a rhytmic thing prevalent in early recordings of ITM that has all but gone. It was a very strong bouncy sort of back beat and was probably most famously (and brilliantly) displayed by Sligo fiddler James Morrison. A great many of the solo players and groups of the 20’s and 30’s resurgence period used a back beat bounce to some degree. Michael Coleman is seen as the figure who started a movement away from this ‘bounce’. His recordings became hugely influential and definitive as I’m sure you know, and he did not play that way often.

I have heard pipers do it in some of those old recordings, but not to the same degree of fiddlers or box and melodeon players. There seems to be less recordings of pipers from back then though.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

As someone who confesses to not being any kind of expert (particularly a technical expert), just an enthusiast, I think what Harry is talking about cannot be translated into any kind of technical discussion. It is the droiocht that comes from creative interpetation. The soul. The extra dimension. Illusive. Indefineable. Beautiful.

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Whoops, you got in before me. Sorry.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Also, thank you Harry for mentioning *generosity* in the context of playing this music. Now there’s a quality far too often lacking nowadays. Funny, because so many of us play for the love of it, not for fame or money, and that’s not so different from the old timers. We’re lucky to be free to do that. But in this age of celebrity worship, it seems too easy for people who play an instrument to fall into fantasies of what it will bring them, instead of what they can give through it. To me, that’s the whole purpose of a local session—to gather the neighbors and give life to the tunes. It’s about being participants, not performers, and everyone contributing what they can to the circle.

Maybe that’s idealistic. I’ve seen self-centeredness derail an otherwise pleasant evening over pints. But I’ve also seen it work, like a time machine, carrying my friends and neighbors back to a pre-tv, pre-Star Search sense of community and generosity of spirit. And you can hear it in their music.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Jill,
You got it in one. Meas.
H.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Oop, I wasn’t talking elitist either, Harry. I simply meant that sometimes it’s easier, when explaining a concept that can contain any amount of minutae that can bog down or overwhelm someone who needs to learn a more basic concept first (or when discussion doesn’t need to get down to the molecular level), to use what theoretical scientists sometimes call Lies To Children — a simple explanation that may not be entirely complete, but that suffices to either introduce bacon to someone who isn’t ready for the complete hog, or as a kind of shorthand amongst people who already know but don’t want to get into the bits…

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Please…..d…..d….d…d..don’t theorize to me th……th…..th…th..that there IS a big monster under the bed!
:-0 !

Seriously though, I was’nt aware of the term. I have’nt come across it yet in my theoretical field-" Theoretical Olympic Weightlifting".

πŸ™‚)

All the best, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Don’t be silly, Harry. There’s no monsters under anyone’s bed.

They’re in the closet.

zls

Re: joining the dots

Just a further thought on the perceived difficulties or not of ‘folk’ musics in general….
We live in a culture where for centuries music has been written down by it’s creators/composers in the form they would like to hear it, and musicians within this culture have become accustomed to the idea of this manner of recording musical ideas and retrieving them. In the last century or so, archivists of various sorts of music which were previously passed on purely by ear, have attempted to preserve what they have seen as a ‘threatened’ culture. In a sense, the more authentic these transcriptions and recordings become, the more they lead to confusion, stultification, and the creation of an elitist view of whatever music is being recorded.
Back in the days when a classically trained composer/transcriber might tour Ireland, pick up tunes, adjust them into ‘classical key signatures that they don’t quite fit, and set them with grossly unsuitable piano arrangements things were in a sense, much simpler. Your actual musician on the ground could look at the dots, throw up his hands in horror at the massacre of what was obviously once a fine tune, retrieve the bones of the thing, remodalize (is there such a word?) it, and customize it to his regional style of playing by adjusting the rhythm and inserting whatever ornamentation he deemed appropriate. Nowadays, transcribers strive for authenticity, and ‘fix’ that tune as played by xxx in xxx bar in Milton Malbay. It may be wonderful to try and play a tune exactly as your musical hero plays it, but it misses the point of the music, and turns the tune from something you can have fun with into something that must be learned. It makes it difficult. Some years ago (alright, many years ago), I met a man who loved the blues. He infected me with his enthusiasm, and I bought a guitar. I discovered that the blues wasn’t difficult, but I wanted to play like Robert Johnson, so I bought books of music transcribed from the playing of the man himself. Suddenly the blues were horribly difficult! It took a little while and a lot of aching finger joints before the penny dropped. Robert Johnson’s music was basically very simple, if you started with the basic tune and chords, had very long fingers, and had a musical mind that worked like Robert Johnson! Coming in at it from the other end, and trying to mimic this particular man’s style, turned playing blues into a pointless learning-by-number exercise.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

From a negative beginning, this has turned into a really fabulous thread. I love the metaphores of paintings and river rapids and letting the tune flow, and the creative dimension transcending the technical. Musicians giving into that intangible body of music and sharing the group high. Very powerful stuff.
I think that is what is so great about this site. Isn’t it what the old music was about - and still should be? Safety and inclusion, spirit and flow, generosity, friendship, culture and tradition. Wow! Mind blowing. Save me from the reality monster in the closet or under the bed - I’m fly’n!
Cheers

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Robert Johnson

Before you can play like Robert Johnson, you have to stand alone in that crossroads, when the risin’ sun is going down and the darkness and fear start to creep in.

At last I think we’re beginning to understand each other.

Caoimghgin. I think you’ve nailed it

Will. I love the idea of piccasso learning to paint like a child. The analogy here is that we strive to be able to ignore our technique and just concentrate on the art of the music. And this is where the "easy" debatre comes in. With diddly music, you can get to this state quicker. And this is where I have to dissagree with Zina. Anyone CAN do it. And this is what is so brilliant about it. Diddley music is the ultimate democratic art form. Mr sausage fingers can make great art. Fantastic

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael, I suspected that the "painting like a child" thing was what you were trying to get at earlier. But I have to admit it wasn’t easy seeing through all the flak and smoke clouding the discussion. Same now with your persistence in referring to ITM as "diddly music"—you might find a more receptive, friendly audience for your ideas if you try restating them in terms that don’t automatically piss people off.

And I’m not sure I agree that ITM allows us to get there "quicker." There are simple peices of music in almost every genre, even classical and jazz. I would argue that anyone can learn to play whatever form of music incites their passion, and if they *are* passionate about it, they won’t be daunted by the road ahead. I’ve seen Mr. Sausage fingers types playing wonderful Mozart and Mingus, too.

But I agree that the culture of traditional music (not just Irish, but old timey, contra, name-your-trad-ethnicity, etc) tends to *encourage* anyone to join in, while some classical and jazz circles have a more elitist attitude—that the music should be reserved only for the gifted or well-educated. I suppose for a trad music to be accessible to everyone, it helps if the tunes are in a relatively narrow range of keys/modes, within a relatively narrow range of pitches, and fairly consistent in their time signatures and forms, all of which ITM is, at least compared to the breadth of classical and jazz. E.g., you can be a great ITM fiddler and never venture out of first position. Such a limit would be unthinkable for an accomplished classical violinist.

But ultimately, no music is so complex that it can’t be learned by people who want to play it. Divide the tones in an octave however you want, cut up the beat into however many time signatures, and you’ll find that the options for making music are not infinite. Yet within those parameters there is unlimited room to be creative and expressive. In that sense, all of music is very "democratic" and I suppose that’s why there are so many different traditional or folk genres. But I don’t think that makes ITM somehow more accessible than these other musics.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael — yes you’re right, anyone CAN do it — if they put in lots of hard work and effort and learning. After that? Why, it’s… simple. Effortless. Picasso never ignored his technique. He employed all of it — effortlessly. It was never easy. He just made it look easy.

And by the way, many here have told you they don’t like to hear you calling this "diddly" or "diddley" music. Please stop using the term. You’re p*ssing people off just because you can. It’s unproductive, ungraceful and belligerent of you. It’s one of the reasons why people think you’re a jerk.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Well, I’m glad to see that was’nt a complete waste of time.
………………..πŸ™‚))))))))

Sausage fingers,……….’diddley’,………LoL…..

Seriously, I enjoyed that in the end, some good stuff.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

*snort* Harry…you’re evil. Hee.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Michael,

I thought that’s where you were going with all that! I think the playing around got a bit rougher than some people cared for, which sort of drowned out the message.

As to the ‘anybody can do it’ idea. I think you’re right again. On the other hand, I think anybody can do brain surgery, with greater or lesser degrees of success mind you!

Seriously, the most important part of being a brain surgeon is having enough ego to believe you can actually open up somone’s brain and start cutting some parts away. Imagine that!

Now, if we believe we can all actually be ITM musicians (I mean really rock the house with it), then I think we’ve got a chance at it.

To me, country and western is ‘diddly’ music - so easily mastered and performed that it really doesn’t present any challenges to me.

But try telling that to a C&W fan in another part of the world (say China) and I’ll bet they have all sorts of problems trying to pull off an old Hank Williams song.

If it’s ‘easy’ it means it’s internalized. I think most of us are working to get there!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hi,
sorry to be contentious, but what is wrong with calling this music diddley or diddley diddley music? It’s just an onomatopoeic expression (Country Music is not diddley-diddley, it’s Ye-hah Music!). It’s an expression I uses quite a lot if I’m asked by someone who wants to know what I play, and it tends to be generally understood, though not strictly as a synonym for Irish Traditional Music, rather for any traditional British Isles and Irish dance music. The reason I might use it instead of saying Irish music would be if I wanted to avoid the next statement, which would inevitably be,

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I know a great deal of fine exponants of ITM (as short for Irish Traditional Music: bane of cattle everywhere) or D (as short for Diddley…… as in squat) who would take exception to the term, unfortunately their big sausage fingers prevent them typing their veiws and airing them on this list, so Michael’s works of persuasive genius will have to, I’m afraid, go unchallenged.

Regards, Harry.

http://www.strayceol.com

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yes Harry, you are quite right, diddley is a demeaning term really, and I suspect that the reason Michael uses it is because he knows that it will get some peoples backs up. I would not tend to use it in general conversation with someone who knows about music, only as to someone who doesn’t, as a quick descriptive bypass around the "Irish music, what you mean like U2?" type conversation. In general I think it tends to just be called ‘music’ amongst the people I play with (as if there could be any other sort of music). I think actually saying ‘Irish Traditional Music’ sounds a bit too long winded, and I don’t think ‘ITM’ would be understood outside this website. It’s not a term I’ve ever heard anyone use in the ‘real world’, though I stand to be corrected!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

;sonv; s;on’

09uefn fe;oa asdkfa’;Q IAOH SDVP;WU89B

I don’t have ‘sausage fingers’, but I think the above posts may approximate a reply by such an unfortunatly afflicted person! I’d translate, but perhaps it’s better not to!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmm, let me guess… you took the "painting as a child" thing to the next level and started typing like a child, right?

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hmmmm.
I’ve never really thought of why I call it diddley/diddly (it doesn’t matter how you spell it). I’ve just always called it that, together with all my mates. How can an onomatopaic would be demeaning, how can it de-mean?
OK, I can understand people getting upset about me swearing all the time, especially when some words don’t cross culture. And I apologise for that. But Diddley? Come on you lot, get a grip.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Just a wee thought on the business of ‘diddley’ - when I was learning back in the 70’s in Belfast we used to have a great weekly session in Tom Kelly’s 96 Short Strand and the locals called us the ‘diddley dees’, as in ‘Oh f**k her come the diddley dees - suppose the racing will be turned off!’ Accompanied with roars of laughter and friendly banter.

It was (and still is for me) a term of affection for the music and the people who play it and I certainly don’t take offence unless it is intended.

Also on the business of the ease or otherwise of the music. It certainly puts me at my ease when play it or hear it well played by others. I don’t accept Michael’s assertion that it is easy (presumably in comparison to other forms of music) - at least not to do well.

Anything can seem easy when it is played with ease and well. Cathal McConnel’s style on the flute is delicious and sounds ‘easy’ but not too many can replicate it because his playing , phrasing, breathing, intonation, speed, emphasis comes from years of learning from others and playing with many.

I will make a point of calling in to Sandy Bell’s when I am in Ednburgh next [Maybe Michael could let me know what nights it’s on as I’m over there a couple of times a month] to see if the playing there is ‘easy’

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yep Harry, if the two-by-four didn’t work, maybe a toothpick will make the point, eh? Nice touch. πŸ™‚

I’ve been assuming that "diddly" is simply borrowed from lilting, where a singer goes "diddly eidle diddly dum" to ornament the tune as they scat sing. Nothing disrespectful there at all, but my problem with Mikey’s use of it (in combination with his "easy" rant) is that he seems to be implying that this music is somehow unsophisticated, just a bunch of notes strung together in an engaging but not particularly erudite way. And that’s a repellant notion to my way of thinking and talking about tunes I hold in high regard.

Besides, *why* should it matter to anyone whether the tchunes are "easy" or "hard"? Who cares? What’s the point—that the music is accessible? Then say that instead: "Compared to classical, jazz, and biogenetic engineering, I think Irish trad music is accessible to most people." Oy, grand.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Whew. You left this conversation simply because your house was on fire, Will? Wherever are your priorities?

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

As it happens, one of our dancers is a biogenetic engineer and research scientist, Will, for the University of Colorado. Diana thinks the music is really hard, even just to dance to, and she always makes awed faces when I play, which makes me want to giggle. *grin* I’ve visited her lab. There’s one American out of the lot of them, the rest are all scientists and engineers from the rest of the globe, and one is an award-winning Scottish fiddler, which was fun.

The reason that *I* take exception with Mikey’s use of "easy" is that he uses it to slam other people asking questions about the music. As in, "what are you worrying about such a stupid thing for? It’s easy!" Which I think devalues the person’s honest and legitimate question or issue, and seems to be meant to make them feel stupid.

Saying things like "get a grip" is another way of saying, "you’re being stupid and your point of view has no value to all right thinking people."

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Oh! Sorry! Did I forget humour? Boy! Give poor Mikey a break. From a set of old sausage fingers - he alone knows what he de-does-or-de-doesn’t-diddley-de-mean to say.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Jill, I agree with you, we should give mikely a break.

My father was a (here comes some skeletons out of the closet)
an abusive alcoholic, and he needed to argue with someone to justify his drinking (I’ll leave out a long explanation). He used to start arguments with anyone that would argue back, by making outrageous statements, just like Mikely does. Don’t know what Mike’s problem is, but he sounds very much like my father. It is his own form of ‘sport’. I can’t believe that Milky believes his own statements either. He seems to need to be at the center of the storm, and will say anything to get there, whether or not he genuinely believes his statements. I pity the poor soul, but I certainly don’t confuse pity with respect. I don’t believe for a minute that mikedly has difficulties with communication. He is very clear with his messages, and I believe that his comments are producing precisely the effect that he desires.

It is obvious that he is making ‘sport’ of these discussions, is a disruptive element, and his comments are of little value to the session. The rest of us are able to disagree, to express widely divergent points of view, and yet carry on a fruitful discussion with a minumum of offense given and taken.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when the ‘landlord’ must eject an unruly patron, and I think that time is drawing nigh.


Scott

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I think it’s interesting that if someone is contentious, or makes a statement which is largely disagreed with, people can’t just make a counter argument without getting upset and wanting that person chucked off the site.
Reading through the above posts, I can see only one instance in which it might be alleged that Michael has been insulting or rude and that was the ‘Acrobat’ comment, which really just displays a musical blind spot on his part (both about the tune and the existance of harry Bradley).
Other than that his crimes consist of the use of the terms Diddley Diddley, Sausage fingers, and a short, rather innocent expletive which unfortunately has been invested with a different meaning by people in some other countries.
What really seems to get peoples goat is that he won’t withdraw his comments and conform to their world view. ‘His comments are of little value to the session’ is a rather blinkered view considering that they have sparked the liveliest and most varied thread I’ve yet to read on this site.
Long live heated debate!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Breandan, fellow diddler, Please do come to Sandy Bell’s. Tuesday is a good "irish" night, but there is music every night. If you’re lucky, Cathal will turn up with his flute and his plastic carrier bag.

Will: I think diddley music IS unsophistiacated. And that’s why it’s so good. But to say lacks sophistication does not mean that these simple notes are not put together in a erudite (do you mean clever?) way. I think that is the splendid clever thing about diddly music. It takes a bunch of very simple notes (simple key structures, little more than two octaves, simple time signitures, repetative bunches of four, eight and sixteen bars) and makes amazing melody. Add some clever ornamentation and you have great art. Not high art, but I think, even greater for it. Its very unsophistication is its essence.

Scott, Thankyou for pittying my poor soul.

Ottery, I really am sorry about the acrobat comment, we’ve all had our blind spots and I hope I’ve learned something on that one. Just because I think a tune is rubbish doesn’t mean it is.
By the way, I was quoting Ceiliog with the sausage fingers thing. He/she mentioned the fact that diddley music is so easy that an Irish labourer with Fingers like cumberland sasuages who never practices can play it

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Thanks for the clarification, Michael. I can understand how some people might think of the tunes as unsophisticated. I disagree, but no doubt my experience of music is different than yours, so it’s no wonder we wouldn’t see eye to eye on everything. Now I hope we can move on to more interesting conversations and quit using every thread to puzzle over whether ITM is "easy" or not…I certainly intend to.

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Compromise is an integral part of being a member of a community. It is necessary for a large group of disparte people, people with different histories, memories and experiences, to be able to live together in relative peace. One of the many compromises made is to adjust our choice of words to avoid offending others. It is one thing to argue and raise issues that are controversial - that is frequently quite good for the community, keeping it alive and dynamic and exciting. It is an entirely different thing for someone to use a particular slang term that they *know* upsets a bunch of the members of the community. When they continue to use it, and maybe even increase their use of it, what does that say about them? To me it says that they more interested in pushing other people’s buttons than in the reasons the community came together.

Michael,
Because the term diddly (or diddley, etc) clearly means one thing to you and another, hurtful thing, to a fair number of people here, and because it is not necessary to use that term - there are lots and lots and lots of others that you could choose - I can’t quite grasp why you don’t stop using it.

As for whether ITM is ‘easy’ or not, there have been lots of thought provoking, well written comments about the issue. I’d say it is time to drop it and move on. Just in case it isn’t quite clear, ‘dropping it’ means to stop throwing it into conversations that have nothing to do with whether ITM is ‘easy’ or not. Really, it is like a religious debate, I have my beliefs, you have yours, we discuss them in detail, our beliefs remain fundamentally the same, albeit expanded, and at that point, choosing to accept that you believe one thing and I believe another and to *not* throw those beliefs in each others faces, is an indication of the respect and care each has for the other. Choosing to continuing the debate is unlikely to change each other’s beliefs, and frequently turns what was a useful, interesting discussion into a nasty war that destroys all the good stuff. So, what exactly do you hope to acheive by continuing to prod on the ‘easy’ issue? (For clarity, I’m asking that question sincerely, I would like to know why you are pushing the way you are, what your goal is.)

Sos

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Ottery, obviously you haven’t spent much time reading our back history! We’ve had many an interesting debate and lots of vociferous disagreement. And we’ve usually managed to do it in ways that respect each other’s point of view.

There’s only been one other time that we’ve had a member require getting booted, and we spent quite a time trying to help that person get a clue before doing it — even those among us who were most personally affected felt that we’d rather leave The Session rather than ask Jeremy to boot her.

Whether anyone else thinks it’s losing one’s grip on reality or not, you have to realize that many of us have made real friends here at The Session, and realize that there are living, breathing, caring, feeling people on the other ends of those keyboards. I personally consider the time I spend here almost as important as the time I spend (if not more so in some ways) in my regular sessions. I’ve met at least two of the people here in meatspace and will shortly be meeting another.

And my bet is that unless Jeremy, our Benevolent Dictator, and the rest of the regular crew step away from the table for good, we will never ever as a group officially quash someone’s point of view without very good reason. And if we appear to be doing so, I’m sure someone will be happy to enlighten you as to our reasons or to consider that we are indeed doing so.

Am I correct, gang?

Zina

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I think giving anyone the boot is a tad overboard, ‘cause then the site becomes exclusive - not open to all comers. We are all loosers if that happens, just as a session can no longer really be called a session when its a closed shop (I recon anyway). I hate to say this, but if anyone chooses to leave the session, they do it on their own bat. Its their call. It would be very sad, non-the-less. So please don’t!

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Re: What are your most hated tunes?

That’s precisely my point, Jill.

Re: What are your most hated sessioners?

Same happens in a (meatspace) session, though, Jill. The guy who shows up with the tuba and insists on playing his version of Danny Boy every time, will either get booted out, or will eventually become the only player in the session.

I’m the most liberal of persons; i even like Bill Clinton πŸ™‚ and i have to say i don’t think Michael has been treated badly. He got a little abuse, but every time there was someone (often you, Jill, but even Zina! et tu, Zina!) trying to find the good things in his posts, and trying to find reasons why he contributes to our community. I think this group is, if anything, annoyingly receptive and reluctant to take action against anyone.

I have decided that the best way to react to our friend Michael’s provocations is to ignore them. Other people, kinder than me, have been trying to argue with him. I have nothing against him, but he does tend to act like a troll (meaning, he acts like the kind of person that will go to a vegetarians’ meeting just to shout "bacon!" and then make fun of how they react; or the guy who will step on your toes on purpose and then say "oh look at me, here am i stepping on toes again!"). He keeps saying he isn’t one, and i guess, like Jeremy, i need to give him the benefit of the doubt, as long as he doesn’t cause permanent damage. Most of the time, this is just a minor irritation, and i can ignore it easily. It was only when Harry Bradley was carelessly straying away from us, that i got really mad at him.

Anyway, i don’t want Michael to go away. I’d like him to grow up, but he’ll do that on his own time.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Hi Zina,
yes, of course it was hyberbolic of me to suggest that this was one of the best threads on this site, I was really just reacting to what I thought was a rather heavy sounding posting from Scott. But I don’t think it’s a bad thread, a lot of interesting stuff has been discussed along the way. As Jill said earlier on … From a negative beginning, this has turned into a really fabulous thread…

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Glauber, dear, "morituri nolumus mori." πŸ™‚ I actually really do think that Michael could contribute quite valuable information here (and has), but am not willing to see a session that I love go down what I see as the tubes without a fight from me — too many cultures and points of view to allow any one person to offend quite so many people. People who aren’t willing to play nice, don’t get to play, is usually the rule around my students and their families and our school, and I tend to apply it in everyday life, too.

I should make it clear that I doubt very highly whether Jeremy would use his superpowers to boot someone either frivolously or on a whim. As I said, he’s only used them the once, and I’ve never seen a session leader give quite the slack Jeremy is willing to give while at the same time being quite firm.

(This is what you get, Jeremy, for only popping in every now and again. I talk about you like most people talk about God — sort of there, but in a rather absentia fashion. Heh.)

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

He has been likened to an ‘abusive alcoholic’.
He has been called a ‘jerk’.
He has been told to ‘grow up’.
He has been accused of being ‘belligerent and foul-mouthed’.
He has been requested to modify his offensive ITM vocabulary.
It has been said that he is not long for this forum.
And, it has been asked to ‘take the rubbish out’

All this because a person inadvertently insulted a recorded musician because he didn’t like a particular tune -(and questioned the intentions of anyone who did like this tune). Because he insists on using the word ‘diddly’. Because he is of the opinion that this music is ‘easy’ and meant to be played by people whose fingers are less than dexterous. All this because he was expressing his opinions which didn’t match the opinions of anyone else in this forum. All this because he refused to modify his opinions.

Kudo’s go to a scant few session members who didn’t let Michael get under their skin. Please, re-read the posts. This has simply gotten out of control.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Alright, I think we’ve all dumped on Michael enough. From what I see he is turning around. He has been minding his manners, I also have been called everything Michael has. I think that anything has two sides & I agree with Michael on the ‘easy’ point I think he just needs to explain it more & I think others need to listen openly. This music does come from a rural tradition, the people who started out this music were rough hewn farmers & herders not polished recording artists who had nothing else to worry about than their music. It is easy in a way it’s also hard to play well & amass a ready-to-go tune base of 1000 tunes. It’s a catch 22 & I know what he means. I wish he would contribute some more positive input, I’ve yelled at him, online. I also kick myself for it because it’s not my place - I really should have emailed Jeremy & let him know my feelings. This *is* Jeremy Keith’s site, not mine. I don’t have any right to tell one person how they should or shouldn’t behave here, I’ve made those mistakes & I’m trying to get away from that mentality. It’s never a good idea to forget that there is a guy named Michael Gill who’s reading these comments. Out of all the questionable things he’s posted he’s never come out & said, "so&so@thesession.org is a jerk" we’ve done it to him & we’re touting ourselves as better. So let’s just leave Michael alone & give him the chance to re-deem himself. But if you screw up Mike I’m sure everyone will let you know πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Good words, Brad. Peace!
Ceiliog, this has nothing to do with opinions or George W. But Brad is right. Enough already, let’s give the guy another chance, if he wants to stick around.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I’m sorry I ever stuck my big nose into this heady brew of ego and testosterone. That a tune that I recorded in good faith (albeit with tounge in cheek) is now the yard stick in a willy measuring contest is a reminder to me of how this medium can be sadly misused. Ah, what the hell……. we’re only human………. can I pick anybodys nits? Up benevolent nuttiness and to hell with narrow, begrudging substandardry!

Regards, Ungooo Bungoo, Caveman to the disposed crowned heads of Europe, and pains in the ass beyond!

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Its true, michael is being a pain. So what? Each to their own. If we all agreed on everything then we would be a pretty boring bunch! I’d hate for anyone to leave the site thoπŸ˜‰)

Posted by .

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Yay, bb! Having inadvertantly killed, or at least sent, a real live flying session underground myself way back in the dim dark but never to be forgotten past, I feel sensitive to what is happening here. Its time to stop, accept our differences, and get back to what unites us.
Cheers

Posted by .

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I thought I should weigh in with some clarification here.

I’m not about to kick Michael off the site. I made a request to him - to apologize to Harry for any offence caused (either intentionally or otherwise) and Michael complied.

I also gave him a final warning to watch his language. Since I issued that warning, he has complied.

Credit where credit is due, Michael has shown himsef to be willing to adjust his behaviour so as not to cause offence.

Now, he hasn’t adjusted his views. I wouldn’t ask or expect him to do so. He is perfectly free to hold any views he wishes, no matter how much I might disagree with them.

So, unless Michael has a bout of Tourette’s syndrome or actually insults anybody, he stays put.

It’s a crying shame that the result of this may be that Harry Bradley ( who is a superbly talented musician and is someone I’ve known personally for years) chooses to avoid The Session.

It’s a shame but that’s his choice.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

What is my motive? You ask.

To get you yo use your brains

And I think I’m not doing too bad, You’re a brainy enough bunch

Posted .

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

I don’t think there is really any such animal as a "bad" tune; but good tunes can be ruined by an incompetent player, and a good musician can make a delight of material that superficially seems unpromising.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Since my previous posting I’ve been reading through this discussion in some detail (about 20,000 words if you’re interested!) and would like to make one or two points about the "difficulties" of various music genres.
Any kind of music is "difficult" if you put enough thought and effort into it, but there is immense satisfaction in overcoming those difficulties and thus being able to see (or is it "hear"?) things in the music you never suspected existed. Speaking as a classically trained cellist who has now, to his everlasting delight, discovered ITM on the fiddle, I can assure everyone that neither genre is more "easy" or more "difficult" than the other. I’ve been playing the cello for squiggly-odd years and perhaps can make it look "easy" (at least some of the time on a good day), but even now if I don’t concentrate something will go wrong and I’ll misplace a note or whatever.
The classical music I find most demanding to play as a cellist, and conversely which is among the most satisfying, are Mozart’s string quartets. The cello part indeed looks technically "easy" but if something goes wrong - a slip in intonation, dynamic, emphasis, length of note, tone colour, vibrato, etc - then you have nowhere to hide and you spoil it irretrievably for the other players.
On the other hand, I can show you orchestral cello parts in almost anything by Sibelius*, for example, which look, and are, almost impossible to play at the required tempo, but then someone tells you that what Sibelius was after in this instance was no more than a sound effect. So you stop panicking, realise that "all" you have to do is to play a rising line of 18 notes in something well under a second, make a note of the shape of the line, ensure you start and finish in time with the conductor’s baton and don’t worry about whether you’re playing the right notes in between (no-one can possibly hear that amount of detail anyway). The technical term for this technique is "faking". It goes on more than you would think in the classical world, at all levels.
On the other hand (ok, so I have three hands) ITM has its own set of difficulties, both technical and interpretative, and I think the spirit of playing it has a lot more in common with Mozart, Vivaldi and other composers of the 18th century than with more modern composers. ITM players could do worse than to listen occasionally to Vivaldi, Bach and Handel played by a good baroque ensemble who know what they’re doing and play in the style of the period, just as classical musicians can learn more than they would expect from ITM.
*One of the orchestras I’m in is currently rehearsing Sibelius’ 7th symphony. See the last page of the cello score.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Further to the last few lines in my previous posting on this thread, avoid Vivaldi’s "Seasons". It’s among the world’s greatest pieces of music, without a doubt, but it’s been over-recorded by everybody and his dog and it’s probably not all that easy to find a good authentic performance. Anyway, it’s not really typical of the bulk of Vivaldi’s work if you looking for comparisons with ITM, but Vivaldi did write about 600 other concertos! Vivaldi was well-known in his day and his music had influence on people like Carolan. Handel also spent some time in Ireland (the "Messiah" received its first performance in Dublin) so perhaps there was a bit of musical osmosis going on in his case as well.

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

Dannyboy - I can’t stand it. It’s in every commercial songbook, and if you ask any non-folk person to name a traditional Irish tune, you can guarantee more than one person will mention this tune. EUGH!!! πŸ™‚

Re: What are your most hated tunes?

The Kerry Polka really annoys me!