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Thread: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

  1. #101
    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Attachment 204299
    So, on first hearing I thought “ yeah, those are the same”. But applying my hybrid tab system the differences seem immediate and fairly substantial although the number of measures that are the same seem to make the differences stand out less. The version I’m learning has a couple triplets I’m not picking up in your version. Some measures are by and large the same with a few different notes and some measures might be the same except for transposed notes. It does make me wonder how those of you accomplished players know what version is up ( especially when there could be 5 different versions colliding). Speaks to the importance of someone like myself attending a session and really paying attention before attempting to join.
    And thanks for posting stack of rye/ jr crehan’s on your YouTube, Aidan. Maybe it will be the first tune I learn 2 versions of
    Ed

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  3. #102

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Hmmm... there is a lot to pore over in your post, Ed. In fact the issues which you raise lie right at the very hub of "the tunes" and are issues which I've often discussed with friends who play this music. It's about 10:00pm here this evening and I think I wouldn't be able to do justice to a response at this hour. So I'm going to sleep on it for a bit and hopefully come back with a response which is partway satisfactory at some point over the next few days...

    Aidan

  4. #103
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Aidan,

    Your efforts have been very useful, not just that, but inspiring.

    It's just a fact that, since the age of recording started over 100 years ago, and the print distribution of notation and tabs that accelerated with the folk "revival" of the 1950s and 60s, we are now influenced by many more sources than was even possible 50 years ago.

    Most people will find something to celebrate and also somethings to deplore in all that. So what.

    Every tune I play has my own spin on it and is a live project influenced by every person I play with.
    And that's barely half of it - who here can deny they are also influenced by recordings and YouTube etc?

    Here in Aberdeenshire , I have been fortunate to know well and play with fiddlers who can trace an unbroken generational line of tuition from Niel Gow to themselves.
    They are not gods, just talented and dedicated people trying to find their way, and looking on the internet just like we do. And most of them have picked up a mandolin at one time or another.

    maybe I pick up phrasing and other ideas from them, maybe I don't, but we are all trying to express what we find in the traditional sources as best we can with what abilities we can muster.

    And anyway, as well-intended as they are, you know what Brendan Behan said about begrudgers.
    Bren

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  6. #104

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed McGarrigle View Post
    Attachment 204299
    So, on first hearing I thought ď yeah, those are the sameĒ. But applying my hybrid tab system the differences seem immediate and fairly substantial although the number of measures that are the same seem to make the differences stand out less. The version Iím learning has a couple triplets Iím not picking up in your version. Some measures are by and large the same with a few different notes and some measures might be the same except for transposed notes. It does make me wonder how those of you accomplished players know what version is up ( especially when there could be 5 different versions colliding). Speaks to the importance of someone like myself attending a session and really paying attention before attempting to join.
    And thanks for posting stack of rye/ jr crehanís on your YouTube, Aidan. Maybe it will be the first tune I learn 2 versions of
    Ed
    Ed...

    I've been giving your post some thought over a coffee this morning.

    All of these tunes have been around for a long time - even a tune like the Stack Of Rye which was, in the scheme of things, a fairly recent composition by Junior Crehan. They've been around a long time and they've been played by a lot of musicians and along the way the tunes have been adapted to suit individual players' styles (more ornamented versus less ornamented; played straight or played with swing, etc) , to suit particular instruments, to incorporate "zeitgeist" elements (e.g. syncopated phrasing or the substitution of, for example in ABC speak "D2 DD D4" endings for "D2 D2 D4" in hornpipes or the substitution of "AGF GFG" endings for "AGG G3" in jigs...).

    But the tune remains...

    Those of us who have been around this music for a while would tend to take with a large pinch of salt any version of any tune which we have been taught, which we've heard played by this or that player, which we've encountered in a book or which we've stumbled across on the net. Each of those versions is simply a moment in space and time - how in one particular instance the player(s) in question chose to express the the tune. (And bear in mind that often the settings of tunes which we come across written down may have been notated from someone playing a particular instrument - e.g. the pipes - which is very particular to that instrument and which doesn't translate well to other instruments.)

    I have minimal technical musical knowledge. I know A Dorian from A Mixolydian from A Major. That's about as far as my technical knowledge goes. (I read music like a 4 year old reads books, pointing out each note with my finger and virtually having to say them aloud!) And so something has always puzzled me. Since there are so many possibilities for variations in the playing of a tune, where is the tune itself? Where within those pages of squiggles - which can vary wildly from one notated setting to another - does the tune live?

    It's a question I often find myself asking. Particularly when I'm in the company of someone who has got some technical training in music. I'm not sure I've ever had a satisfactory answer...

    So my take on it is pretty much as follows.

    Strip the tune back to its basics. Forget about ornaments. Learn the absolute bare bones. And then, when you're familiar with the tune, listen to your playing and decide for yourself where you would choose to ornament it (if at all). And remain open to the possibility - probability? virtual certainty? - that at some point you'll hear someone else play the tune and there will be a flourish, a substituted phrase, an ending which will catch your ear and which will make you re-think the tune and which you may end up incorporating into your playing.

    I try not to overthink this sort of question nowadays. I'm much more interested at the moment in providing visitors to my website and YouTube channel with fairly plain and accessible versions of tunes in the knowledge that eventually they will ornament them as they see fit. I'm not sure that this necessarily works, but to use a "google maps" analogy I show a possible direct route from A to B but the player makes the journey and they may choose to deviate from the direct route and do a bit of sightseeing along the way...

    Aidan
    Last edited by Aidan Crossey; Nov-19-2022 at 1:58am. Reason: spelling

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  8. #105

    Default Re: Update on "The Irish Mandolin" - and other stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    Aidan,

    Your efforts have been very useful, not just that, but inspiring.

    And anyway, as well-intended as they are, you know what Brendan Behan said about begrudgers.
    Cheers, Bren. To not only have been useful to a player with your pedigree but to have inspired. That's kudos! :-)

    I am indeed, well acquainted with Mr Behan's sage words about begrudgers. A useful mantra. Have they turned it into a fridge magnet or an inspirational poster, I wonder?

    Give us a shout when/if you're next back in London, Bren...

    Aidan

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