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Thread: "Noodling" at Sessions

  1. #51
    Registered User Ed McGarrigle's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    I had thought of “noodling” as the thing the Grateful Dead did during live shows’ extended jams. It wasn’t always necessarily pleasing to the ear, although sometimes it worked. Much of the discussion above seems to revolve around the idea of noodling as part of the learning process and I buy that, but whether it’s appropriate to the session one is at is another matter. I am not proficient enough to play publicly, but when there is sufficient “readiness” I think I will limit myself to a clearly labeled “beginners welcome “ slow session or open mic . Accepting the notion that noodling is part of the learning process and may or may not be appropriate depending on a particular session’s norms raises in my mind the concept of “readiness”. Ready to play a beginners session strikes me as a far cry from ready to play a session of established players. I wouldn’t want to be the guy that drags down the session. I think I read somewhere that when asked when was the time to play in public, the Reverend Gary Davis said “ when you are asked to” or something along those lines.

  2. #52

    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Well, generally, "noodling" is used to refer to what people play when they're warming up and not really thinking about what they're playing. In a group (band, jam, etc.) context, doing that after the session has started is bad form regardless of the skill level: when you're supposed to be playing, you're supposed to be playing and not doing random stuff; when you're supposed to be just listening for whatever reason, you shouldn't be playing.

    The term is also used in the context of practice, and the gist is: don't just noodle and call it practice. So, rather than being an important part of learning, it's an impediment to advancement.

    But sure, most of us do it, especially when warming up: we play stuff our fingers are used to or that we've been working on, without much regard for anything else.

    And of course, only an idiot makes generalizations. So while I say noodling is often an impediment to advancement, I do feel that playing mindlessly now and then is also a good thing. Just don't fool yourself into thinking it's "practice."

    BTW, what the Grateful Dead do during their "space jams" is technically referred to as "unstructured improvisation by geniuses" (according to fans, that is.) Calling it "noodling" could get you into trouble in certain crowds!

  3. #53
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    Sessiuns historically have been a local social activity. Nowadays we'd be lucky to meet the same people again at the same sessiun. Moreover we are in a world where commercial music of all kinds supplies the knowledge of the players.
    Can I quote myself here? Grateful Dead - yea (love them). All kinds of musical backgrounds however. No wonder there is confusion regarding noodling at sessions.

    There is another view aside from seeing Sessiuns as elitist and unfriendly. Our Sessiuns were that as well as the opposite.There was an ebb and flow regarding new personalities and situations over the years.

    The Slow Sessiun started about 7:00 p.m. and the regular Sessiun started around 9:30. The experienced players would come around 11:00 p.m and play till closing time. Some of them would come early and patiently guide the beginners thru some new tunes. They were very supportive and we loved them. We, as beginners certainly welcomed new people and we quickly taught them the 'ropes'.
    This included the idea of putting our instruments away at 9:00. Most of the time, there was (and still is), a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
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  5. #54
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    I'm lucky with sessions of all types in the area on most days, now that covid restrictions are looser, so ITM musicians here can generally find a session that fits their level within driving distance. We certainly have sessions where you're expected to know the tunes or sit them out; one is pretty chill with the less efficient players -- the leader will ask them to play a tune at their pace and stronger musicians will give them support -- the other is more strict about who can sit in since seats these days are limited. I know certainly in the past that people with non-traditional-type instruments or who think the session is a "jam" that caters to soloists or needs a dozen loud guitars are pulled aside, quizzed on their ITM background, and often asked not to return. It's pretty harsh, but those are the rules at that session.

    We do have two "public" sessions that are welcoming but fulfill different niches -- our comhaltas branch is open to any musician in the area at any level although it normally has a professional or local celebrity leading it (John Whelan, Brian Conway, Jerry O'Sullivan) so the pace can get pretty rousing. OTOH, we have no problems with base beginners adding their chaos to the music since most of them belong to our other public session, the beginner/learning session our local Gaelic American Club fronts. That is a true beginner session; if you're just being introduced to the music -- or the instrument -- you get your feet wet with us, learn the tunes, talk session etiquette, meet some of the more experienced players and then when you show up at comhaltas, you get to hear the music played at speed by people you already know.
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  6. #55
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Really enjoying reading the different perspectives here.
    For me I think there needs to be that ability to accept where you're at currently, recognising it's a journey of a lifetime & that no one is in the same bit of the long road as more than a few others at any given time. This perspective is born of humility & self awareness that allows us to be really honest with ourselves about what's built & what's not done yet. We also need the same respect for where the others are on their journey too. There's no stigma in being at the early stages, everyone starts there & you only get further along the road by taking the small steps.

    By going along and participating as a listener (yep that's still taking part in a session) we tune in over time & gain a recognition that playing Irish trad is a bit of a high-wire act at the best of times, and even minor mis-steps can & sometimes do throw the whole crew off the rope, where it all comes crashing down into a shambles. So as we get enough of a sense of where we are at the moment, we also gain a bit of perspective on why it works best if you play at the level you've figured out you've got to. That's not something that sits very easy with some types of character & it has led to some big blow-ups in the past & will again I'm sure.

    This isn't just the case in Irish traditional music, it's common across many traditional rituals. Outsiders see it as a strict pecking order from top to bottom. Those within the tradition see it as everyone being at their right level for the skills and insight they have gained. For iconoclasts it's an absolute nightmare scenario, leaving them feeling suffocated and frustrated at the 'rigid structures' 'imposed' by the 'hide bound' on the gullible. For those who are on the journey within the tradition, they see it as the way things have to be if you're to gain a proper understanding and understand the nuances of the tradition, so you can carry it forward when it's your turn to. This clash of cultures is as old as the hills. In fairness Irish trad has been really open to all sorts of innovations and changes, with it's own fair share of those in a hurry within its ranks. But usually those are the ones who have taken the time to absorb or grown up steeped in the norms of the musical culture.
    Just diving in and thinking there'll be a space because you're you, or you've got some hot chops to offload on everyone, isn't going to get you settled in anywhere soon.

    The early /late session, the sessions done on the QT, the festival classes, are ways people have found for making space to bring people in, bring them on & also a way of making space for themselves to be at the level they're at and push their abilities and understanding further. So as it's a long lifetime's road, these 'elitist', 'exclusive' sessions are often just a safe space for the better players to continue their journey without the danger of tripping over the others.
    So from all that wordiness you'll see there really isn't any room for noodling or twittering. It's just a distraction and filling the air with unnecessary distraction and noise that doesn't get people further along than when they first came in the room.
    In a way for me it's like polluting the space, a bit like pouring something into a river.
    Yes it's liquid, yes it flows along with the water, but it's in the wrong place & it'll possibly poison the life in there & leave the place with less living things able to survive to propagate for the future.

    I reckon it's a privilege if I can go along and participate by listening & learning. I know I never get out to enough good sessions to listen in to.
    Most of my playing is done by organising to get together with friends who I know are keen to develop in a similar way. It just works better for me.
    I'm always really grateful and surprised when people invite us to come and play with them or at their bash.
    I don't quite say "Really? are you sure you've got the right folks?" but it's close.
    Last edited by Beanzy; May-11-2022 at 2:22pm.
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  8. #56
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffLearman View Post
    And of course, only an idiot makes generalizations. So while I say noodling is often an impediment to advancement, I do feel that playing mindlessly now and then is also a good thing. Just don't fool yourself into thinking it's "practice."
    I suppose there is an argument that any time spent doing anything on your instrument is better than time spent doing something else like watching TV. But there is also the opportunity cost in not using that time to learn a new tune.

    BTW, I'm not against a sort of mindless approach in music when it's appropriate for the genre. I used to play lead electric guitar in a Blues band. Once in a while between doing crap solos from recycled riffs, the skies would open, a beam of light would shine down and I'd play something amazing... without knowing where the heck THAT came from! Everyone who improvises will know what I'm talking about. That's the good form of mindless playing when it happens, and when you're in the right genre for it.

    Thing is, there isn't any place for this in Irish/Scottish trad. Improvisation does exist, but it's in the form of micro detail, like where and how you ornament a tune. Of if you're playing solo, in the way you subtly vary each repeat of a tune so it doesn't sound exactly the same each time through. Not a great idea in a session intent on unison melody, but it's a neat high-level skill for stage performance or recording.

    Aside from that, the tradition is to learn tunes. Either a preferred version from a recording or sheet music if you're playing alone, or the versions played locally in sessions you're attending. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive, I do both. There are tunes I love that I know will never be played in a local session, so I just choose the version I like and learn it. If it's what the local session plays, that's what I'll learn.

    Learning repertoire is the core goal in this music. Aimless noodling or mindless playing, whatever we want to call it, doesn't get you there.

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  10. #57

    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    What I am honestly surpised by, but maybe shouldn't be at the stage of the game, is the rules apply to even "learners" or "beginner" sessions. Once again, if you don't know things completely and at full performance speed, just don't play.

    It's why I concentrate on other music forms instead. Might not like what is going on, but will respect it and keep my distance.
    I don't think I read anyone on this thread stating that it is an expectation that no one "noodles" or tries to play along if they don't know a tune at a "learning" session.

    That's what a learning session is for... Nor is this the policy at the one I lead.

    I do want to help beginners learn HOW to have the best experience possible when visiting other, more advanced sessions, however - that's also part of what I understand a "learning" session does... teaches...

    So, maybe the fact that I was intending to TEACH beginners this stuff was heard that I was EXPECTING it at a learning session... and that's not what is happening. Everyone is playing around, trying to figure out how to play the tune, and we are giving space for that. It's a learning session, so... yeah. But having someone teach me the etiquette was HUGE for me in learning HOW to participate more effectively in traditional Irish sessions. That's why I started this discussion.

    Thanks!

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  12. #58

    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Slightly OT, but it sounds like you got good local sessions Ray. My take on this is that if an individual requires that the audience and all fellow performers treat them like a professional, they should go and get a gig and get paid to play (and good luck with getting treated like a professional...). For me, bar sessions should be about fun, not ego, and about a wide range of abilities coming together to play music and (mostly) learn from each other in a fluid and tolerant atmosphere. There's nothing holy about a pub session, and individuals of lesser abillity should be welcomed by the better level players, whether or not they ever improve.

    One thing that bugs me to a small degree though is that if you ask regular sessioneers or a session organiser (here in UK) for a list of tunes and/or tunes sets often played at that session, the answer is 95% 'Sorry, we don't have that'. They're not being unhelpful, it just never occured to them that that's perhaps why new attendees often don't return to sessions. Around the area of Cornwall UK I mostly go to sessions, one plays mostly trad Irish, another lots of English Morris etc, a third lots of modern-ish Scottish/Cape Breton with a slightly trancey feel. Walking into any of them cold, you'd never know what to expect or if you know any of the tunes, and having a starter list might help.

    Worse, occasionally you'll go along to a session and find a small group of 3-4 friends who practise together have arrived who deliberately play tunes rarely heard at sessions that nobody else knows. They then proceed to effectively play a gig with their note perfect and very fast tunes while everyone else at the 'session' sits around like lemons. I've mostly seen this done by non Irish nationals playing Irish music in London, and I once had another fiddler turn his back on me when I happened to know the tune and joined in competently. Maybe others have suffered this in different styles of music? My experience is mostly UK, are US sessions much different?

    Frank Zappa appeared to use the word 'noodling' disparagingly, to mean the kind of soloing that sounds like the player learned alll the scales but missed the lesson where you make them into music - different context though.


    I have had many of these experiences, but I guess I have interpreted it differently.

    For the list of tunes:

    I have made these lists of tunes, now, and it's quite a bit of work. I was basically expecting someone to draw up a list of tunes to hand to random people who may or may not want to commit to being part of the group, as though I'm "assigning" jobs. Whose job is that in addition to practice, work, family and so forth? After having done that now for a while, I just don't feel comfortable holding those kinds of expectations over a group of people just because they choose to play songs together with their friends at a local pub. They have lives, too. Catering to my whimsical desire to play with them may not be high on their priority list!

    Getting "Frozen" Out, even when musically sound:

    So I wandered into this person's intimate group of friends, sat my ass down among them, without asking if it was ok to do so, nor did I ask if it was ok to play along with them. Everyone here may have known everyone else in the group for years and may or may not want newcomers to "jump in." Maybe they all grew up together, and the bar tender lets them play there because they can't play at home.... A "public" pub may still be someone's hometown pub. Everyone in here may very well know everyone else, and well... "not to be rude, mate, but no one in here knows you, nor does anyone here WANT to know you..." (awkward!). It may be a "public" place, but that doesn't mean that every GROUP is a public GROUP!

    So... learning the etiquette has helped me negotiate this territory effectively, so that many of these apparently CLOSED groups have started to open for me. I think it's an important skill set.

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  14. #59

    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    I suppose there is an argument that any time spent doing anything on your instrument is better than time spent doing something else like watching TV. But there is also the opportunity cost in not using that time to learn a new tune.
    Right, exactly.

    BTW, I'm not against a sort of mindless approach in music when it's appropriate for the genre. I used to play lead electric guitar in a Blues band. Once in a while between doing crap solos from recycled riffs, the skies would open, a beam of light would shine down and I'd play something amazing... without knowing where the heck THAT came from! Everyone who improvises will know what I'm talking about. That's the good form of mindless playing when it happens, and when you're in the right genre for it.
    And yeah, that's the flip side. While "mindfulness" seems to be the hot term these days, I do believe that there can be a point to "mindlessness" sometimes. I remember a number of times when just fiddling around, a friend or bandmate would say "wow, that sounds good, do that again" and I'd sort of wake up and say "huh? what?" But, as I said above, that's NOT "practicing." And you're right that it doesn't really belong to genres like trad and classical.

    My experience is only at "jams", not "sessiuns." I'm learning a lot here about that.

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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipeTaylor View Post
    I have had many of these experiences, but I guess I have interpreted it differently.

    Getting "Frozen" Out, even when musically sound:

    ....... It may be a "public" place, but that doesn't mean that every GROUP is a public GROUP!
    That's not what happened at the session I mentioned - 3 or 4 people who didn't normally come to this place had hijacked an existing public session and were trying to turn it into a gig for their group, while giving the rest of us the evil eye if we joined in. I appreciate your point that's not always the way it happens

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    One thing that bugs me to a small degree though is that if you ask regular sessioneers or a session organiser (here in UK) for a list of tunes and/or tunes sets often played at that session, the answer is 95% 'Sorry, we don't have that'. They're not being unhelpful, it just never occurred to them that that's perhaps why new attendees often don't return to sessions.
    In Irish and in Old Time here in the States it seems there is a core set of tunes that everyone knows and plays. For the most part it seems that most regularly meeting jams seem to overlap in tunes to about 30%, sometimes a lot more.

    More and more I am finding that many regularly meeting jams have a website on which is listed either the core of tunes they know, or a list of tunebooks or, more and more, links to tune lists on line, from which they often grab their tunes.

    I travel a lot for work and if I can I look online for jams in the area I am going to, and email ahead to introduce myself, and ask about tunes they play etc.
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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Not quite the same scenario, but this made me think of the last rehearsal scene from "The Boys From County Clare"

    (clip contains a liberal scattering of 'vernacular Irish emphasis' so sound down if you're at work or near the easily flustered)
    Last edited by Beanzy; May-11-2022 at 6:03pm.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    To me ‘noodling’ is being a bit half-hearted while playing.
    It’s when you’ve smoked too much weed, drank a lot of alcohol, are mentally exhausted from work… or you just don’t like the tune that you’re trying to play.

    ‘Noodling’ means a lack of melodic focus at a cerebral level. There’s a poor music-learning structure involved and it often manifests itself by a patient’s over-use of the favourite arpeggio.

    There’s a high incidence of this affliction among freedom-loving, self-taught bouzouki players who are liberated from the melodic constraints of the tune.

    Good news is that it’s easily cured by a couple of lessons with a mandolin counselor.
    Last edited by Simon DS; May-12-2022 at 12:55am.

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  23. #64
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Just wanted to say thank you to all the folks that have been participating in this thread. Have learned a lot.

    And yes, it does appear that sessiuns are a whole different world than what I presently inhabit.

    Also want to give a shout out to DougC for his excellent descriptions of the local gatherings over the years.

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  25. #65
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    I suppose there is an argument that any time spent doing anything on your instrument is better than time spent doing something else like watching TV.

    Learning repertoire is the core goal in this music. Aimless noodling or mindless playing, whatever we want to call it, doesn't get you there.
    When I teach ITM, my main focus is on 'mechanics' or technical ability. People generally are learning the instrument as well as the tunes and most often, they stumble over their own fingers more than the tune itself.
    So to some extent I agree that doing anything on an instrument contributes to becoming better. But there are more effective ways to learn.
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    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Last night at a local pub session, a couple who were leaving the pub came over and put 20 on the table and said thanks.
    Well, the 20 note said "thanks" anyway , I guess. I left before the end but suggested that , since the bar was already comping a round or two of drinks for players, there be a contest for "most skint student" among the players

    Anyway.
    Bearing in mind that this is a mandolin site, the first thing that many mandolinists , no matter how big or small their repertoire , notice when going to a busy session for the first time, is that they can't hear themselves very well, if at all.
    Fiddlers, whistlers, accordionists etc (and banjo) have instruments that either cut through with sheer volume, or are played closer to the players' ears.
    The mandolin is down around your waist somewhere and the sound goes out rather than up.
    Added to that are the sounds of a noisy, happy pub, and electric keyboard, skilfully played but making a boomy, space-filling sound, and a guitar filling any sonic gaps that might remain.

    Maybe the tunes are ones you know and you can play along confidently anyway.
    Playing happily and confidently, you realise the mandolin is actually quite audible in the mix. Somebody standing on the outside might even tell you so.

    Then there are tunes you don't know. You can't even figure out what key they are in since your mandolin is resonating with every frequency and harmonic in the room.
    So you sit them out, sip your drink, tap your foot, look at your phone, chat with your neighbour (yes, I'm afraid everyone does that here).

    Then ... there are the tunes that you think you know but can't quite dredge from memory, or get back into your fingers.
    The box player on your left and the fiddler on your right are in the same boat, but they try a few notes tentatively and it eventually comes to them. You try a few notes tentatively and you can't tell if it's right or wrong. In a quiet session you could get it, maybe.

    Welcome to my world , or last night's session to be precise, Last Night's Fun if you like ... but I still had a good time!
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  29. #67

    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Not quite the same scenario, but this made me think of the last rehearsal scene from "The Boys From County Clare"

    (clip contains a liberal scattering of 'vernacular Irish emphasis' so sound down if you're at work or near the easily flustered)
    Who doesn't love Chief Miles O'Brien?

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Bren, that's a great point about volume being an obstacle to hearing your own instrument in some sessions. I prefer smaller groups for that reason, but sometimes the best sessions are the larger ones and there isn't a choice.

    As it happens, a few days ago I bought a decibel meter app for my iPad because I was curious about the volume difference between my mandolin and my "Irish" flute (wooden, conical bore). I always suspected the flute was a bit louder and wanted to confirm it. I'm sure this iPad app isn't calibrated or super accurate, but probably good enough to show the relative difference in volume.

    I set the iPad three feet away and played the same tune on both instruments. Turns out that the flute is 10db louder, around 75db max compared to 65db max for the mandolin. This mandolin is a good one (Lebeda F5), about as loud as can be expected without being the resonator type.

    And as you say, we're further disadvantaged by having the instrument practically in our laps, away from our ears. A fiddler or fluter has the instrument much closer to the ear. The other "lap" instruments in a session like concertina, box, and of course pipes tend to be louder anyway.

    The one advantage mandolin has in a louder session is the sharp "ping" of the note attack envelope. If you can train yourself to focus on that as a distinct sound amid the din of the session, it's a bit easier not to get lost.

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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Bren, your posting strikes true in so many ways. At my local session last night we had two accordions, three fiddles, small pipes and a bodhran and I had guitar and mandolin. This is a fairly typical lineup of our regular members. I mainly played the guitar as we got through a lot of pipe tunes - look at the instrument lineup - but the mandolin had its place especially on the slower tunes, Gaelic waltzes and such like. There was a good lot of pub regulars there too and a couple of party groups, so the ambient chat level was high. We all had a really good evening and even managed to hear each other quite a lot!
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Yes Bren, I remember a fiddle lesson where the teacher said don’t search for the note. You basically decide where your finger is going to come down for the note you already have in your head rather than put the finger down and then make adjustments. To begin with, it would be having the root fourth and fifths in your mind and their positions on the fretboard.

    An interesting exercise would be to try playing some concertina on the headphones and play mandolin at the same time (a different tune, different tempo!). Then re-learn your repertoire as finger movements.

    One that really worked for me was looking at my fretboard in the mirror while playing tunes. It forced the old brain to open up!

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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    Then ... there are the tunes that you think you know but can't quite dredge from memory, or get back into your fingers.
    The box player on your left and the fiddler on your right are in the same boat, but they try a few notes tentatively and it eventually comes to them. You try a few notes tentatively and you can't tell if it's right or wrong. In a quiet session you could get it, maybe.
    So what did you do then, Bren? Relax back and wait for the next tune? At what point did you give up (if you did)?
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  36. #72
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Hi Sue,

    I don't generally give up at local sessions because I can always take a break and chat to people I know if it's not working for me.
    For better or worse, I'm a weel-kent face at these places

    Even at many strange sessions I (used to, recently resumed) go to around the UK and the world, often if you wait long enough, the dynamic will change over time.

    I go out with the expectation of having a nice night listening to music and enjoying the atmosphere, then if I feel I have something to offer, asking if I can play a tune or two. Or if I can tell from what I've heard that we'd have some repertoire in common, asking if I can sit in. And try to choose a seating (or standing can be good) position that is mandolin friendly - that's a topic for a whole thread in itself.

    I have at least one set of fairly universal "old chestnuts" for starters that I'm comfortable with even if nervous in the company, and can vary a bit if I've just heard someone playing them.
    Say, for reels, St. Anne's Reel - G reel like Banshee or Fr Kelly - Foxhunters in A
    Jigs, easy starters for me are Blarney Pilgrim/Merrily Kissed the Quaker - Banish Misfortune.
    the hotshot players might get bored but the rest will join in happily.

    I've been told off a couple of times - both times for getting carried away and starting too many tunes, once in NYC ("excuse me but we're trying to encourage beginners here") once in Cork ("that's enough Scottish marches").

    I've slunk out of a good few more than that because I didn't feel I would fit.

    I realise it's a lot different when you have to drive for an hour just to get to your one session a month but all you can do is give it a go.
    Bren

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  38. #73
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Folded path:
    I set the iPad three feet away and played the same tune on both instruments. Turns out that the flute is 10db louder, around 75db max compared to 65db max for the mandolin. This mandolin is a good one (Lebeda F5), about as loud as can be expected without being the resonator type.
    I looked it up to remind myself about the exact relationship between dB and perceived volume and found this (my underlining) :
    Each 10 dB increase results in a 10-fold increase in sound intensity which we perceive as a 2-fold increase in sound volume.
    https://hearinglosshelp.com/blog/con...d-intensities/

    It is so hard to relate the volume of an instrument in the shop or at home with how it's going to sound in a session. Only experience can tell, I think.

    Another thing that interests me is signal strength for playing through a pickup.

    In a few weeks I'll be plugging in for my first ceilidh band gig since March 2020, a wedding.

    I normally play my Marshall Dow mandolin through a McIntyre Feather pickup plugged into the band's PA mixer via my Boss GE7, then bandleader mixes it himself.
    Usually getting OK, if not great results . Third-party sound people at some venues have complained my signal is too weak. It gets better playing through a mike but at long dances I can't sit/stand still for long enough due to back issues.

    I acquired an Eastman 815 w/K&K pickup in late 2020. It's not as loud as my Dow in sessions, but still quite audible and more tightly-focussed.
    I won't get a chance to try it plugged-in before the gig, in fact probably the core band will be set-up and sound-checked before the ceremony and dinner, long before the time I and the others arrive during the speeches.

    Is there an app (Android or Apple, either will do) which would be good for comparing signal strength both acoustically and when plugged in?
    Bren

  39. #74
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    Noodling.
    I had no idea there there were this many definitions/interpretations of the term. In the musical social circles I’ve passed through* it’s been almost universal that “noodling” means playing aimlessly, often oblivious to the jam and ignoring the others who are present. It may be just fine to do so, say, among friends; or it may be a real annoyance, as it is when the noodler is filling time while others in the jam are teaching one another about something in the previous tune, choosing the next tune, working out key, tempo, breaks, modulations, counting off, et al. It might also be mid-tune, walking all over somebody else’s break.

    When you go to play in a jam you really ought to learn the etiquette of that jam or that group of people. It was sad, but I have seen good jam players pack up to leave when a full time thoughtless, noodling bull-in-a-china-shop walks in and opens a case.

    * I need to get out more.
    Rookie, but determined to learn!
    Ratliff F-style Country Boy
    Eastman MDO-305 Octave Mandolin

  40. #75
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    Default Re: "Noodling" at Sessions

    I've never seen a person stick their hand down a catfish's throat at a session, but someone's done it, somewhere.

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