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spoons in sessions

GUEST 09 Jan 17 - 12:34 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 08:14 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 08 Jan 17 - 06:20 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 05:58 PM
Tattie Bogle 08 Jan 17 - 04:42 PM
Will Fly 08 Jan 17 - 12:50 PM
Jack Campin 08 Jan 17 - 10:45 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 10:40 AM
Tattie Bogle 08 Jan 17 - 10:17 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 09:56 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 09:24 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 09:15 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 08:57 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 17 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 08 Jan 17 - 05:51 AM
keberoxu 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 07 Jan 17 - 01:07 PM
meself 07 Jan 17 - 12:41 PM
DMcG 07 Jan 17 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Porky 07 Jan 17 - 11:33 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 17 - 09:04 AM
Jack Campin 07 Jan 17 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Jan 17 - 07:48 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 17 - 06:31 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 06:09 AM
GUEST 07 Jan 17 - 05:36 AM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM
The Sandman 23 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM
gnomad 23 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM
Les in Chorlton 21 Jan 12 - 03:29 AM
GUEST,Azoic 20 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM
Tootler 20 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM
Tootler 20 Jan 12 - 12:41 PM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 09:52 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 07:22 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 07:12 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 08:55 PM
Tootler 19 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 02:03 PM
Richard Mellish 19 Jan 12 - 01:28 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM
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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 12:34 PM

knackers to the lot of you


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 08:14 PM

I agree. It was great bones playing but it was a bit relentless. But that leads me on to say that good percussion playing in band arrangements isn't really my beef. It's talentless people turning up to sessions to spend all evening beating their already-dead goat to perdition. Such people are legion, who would deny?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 06:20 PM

Like it will . Nice percussion playing


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 05:58 PM

I can play the bodhran pretty well. Better than most people it's been my misfortune to encounter. Who knows, maybe even better than you! I even went to a masterclass at Sidmouth one year. I have two bodhrans and a tipper made for me by Tony Dixon. I stopped taking my drum to sessions twenty years ago having slowly come to realise that they had no place in sessions and were merely used as an easy and quick way in for untalented people who just wanted to be part of the in-crowd but wanted it without the years of dedication it takes to play an instrument properly. Not saying there are no exceptions but they are rare. If I've offended you, old chap, I can assure you that it was not through ignorance, so keep yer hair on is my advice.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 04:42 PM

Steve Shaw: YES YOU CAN! As Tootler, GSS and I and others have said - you just don't listen, And as you profess to not like (probably not even understand)any form of percussion, WHERE is your authority on this?? NOWHERE! You apparently know absolutely nothing about playing the bodhran from your last comment. No, you might not want to, but please do not put such totally ignorant comments on here.
If your main aim in life is to upset people, then you are doing really well there! Gold medal in the post!
But please accept that your view of life or music is NOT the ONLY one! Please respect others' views.
I hesitated before replying to anything on here, as I knew you were flaming and trolling as usual, but I will defend the corner of the the GOOD percussionist. Over and out. Ta-da!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 12:50 PM

In 2009 I video'd the 20th anniversary concert by the excellent Boat Band, the leader of which is Greg Stephens, a long-standing and respected member of this parish. The concert was at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

This is a clip from that concert, which brought together various ex-members of the band, including Rob the Bones all the way from Ireland. It's a great clip.

The Gypsy Princess


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:45 AM

Percussion instruments vary a lot in the way they contribute to the overall pattern. Some are usually played precisely enough to act as timekeepers - snare drum, cajon, triangle, Middle Eastern drums of all kinds, washboard the way I do it. Others provide fills which never seem to land on a primary beat and can add to the overall texture but don't do a heck of a lot to help keep everybody else together - bones work best for this, spoons or shakers are okay in the right hands. The bodhran (or the washboard in the skiffle style) seems almost completely pointless - it never accents the beat in the way any other player can follow and simply provides a continuous stream of thumps of mainly symbolic significance ("hey, we've got a drum, we must be groovy").

It's handy that some of these instruments have different names depending on how they're played. A bendir and a bodhran are the same thing physically, the difference is that the bendir player is a musician.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:40 AM

You can't interact with a track on a CD. That will teach you nothing at all about playing the bodhran with real live human beings with any degree of sympathy and good timing. And that modern trendy thing of almost playing a tune on the damn thing by varying the hand pressure all the time is just empty cleverness. It sounds like liquid glugging out of a bottle but without the satisfaction of ending up with a glass of beer.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:17 AM

We had a spoons workshop at our festival a few years back: very good player and tutor. She did spend a considerable amount of time speaking about session etiquette, especially in relation to spoons and other percussion, including, "don't feel you have to play along with everything", and "one at a time only". Of course, later that afternoon, the pub session was full of people rattling away in all sorts of random rhythms. Fortunately most have disappeared without trace!

We do have a very good local player, who will sometimes play along with sets of reels or jigs, but only one or 2 sets out of the whole evening.

I confess now: I LOVE DRUMS OF ALL SORTS.(Some people equally hate them all with a vengeance.) But, I agree with those posters above who say it's OK to have SOME percussion, but not all the time, and knowing when not to play (never say never) - all in moderation, and know your tunes and rhythms. And DON'T launch yourself on the sessions until you CAN play in time and up to speed. On this one , I am in total agreement with GSS and Tootler, that it IS extremely useful to play along with CDs of jigs, marches and reels until you are sure you can keep up.
I did orchestral percussion and piano in my youth, which hopefully gave me a very good sense of rhythm, but does not necessarily prepare you for playing bodhran: it is NOT simply a matter of "thumping" (horrible expression), but learning how to control your drum and beater, get your upstroke as good as the downstroke, and use the hand behind the skin to vary the sound and tension.
I did 2 courses of daily workshops for a week each time, a year apart, so over 20 hours' tuition, then a lot of practice playing along with CDs, before I felt anywhere near ready to go into a session, and then, yes, sat in a corner and played quietly. Of course you learn from other musicians, but it's definitely not stage 1 in the learning process.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:56 AM

Well, I am string plucker but am probably alone in thinking the only instrument for accompanying Irish trad is the bouzouki tuned open and not strummed. Tunes need space if they are accompanied at all, and filling all the gaps in between the notes with bangs and twangs suffocates the tunes.

However, people love a thundery, chordy guitar and as these preferences are totally subjective, who am I to say they are wrong?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:24 AM

Couldn't agree more. The best session I ever went to was at Hughes' pub in Dublin in 2006. About twelve melody players without a strummer, thumper or jangler in sight. No string was plucked.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:15 AM

The tune is the key, the only thing that really matters.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 08:57 AM

Shakey eggs, wooden frogs, djembes, those thumpy boxes you sit on... all these and more should be banned from trad sessions, hopefully encouraging the owners to take up a more satisfying instrument to play.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 07:07 AM

its the same with any percussion, ACCOMPANY dont dominate, know the tunes,THE FAULT LIES PARTLY WITH TUTORS WHO CLEARLY DO NOT STRESS THAT POINT.
melody instruments should be louder than percussion or chordal instruments.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 05:51 AM

I was playing my box at an event a pub session during the Wigtown Book Festival, accompanied by my wife, Francie, on the spoons.

It was about four in the afternoon, but some young folk were already heading towards a pretty lively Saturday night. One girl in particular seemed to be enjoying what we did, with regular 'whoop' sounds. During one lively set she came over to us; pushed my shoulder & said-

'quieter you, I cannnae hear the spoons for ye'    nufsed?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 PM

Jangler: the Jangler was killed off in Robin Jarvis's "Dancing Jax" trilogy.
Come to think of it, there were quite a lot of characters killed off in the "Dancing Jax" trilogy.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 03:51 PM

I hate it when I go to a singaround and some well-meaning person brings out a whole basket of percussion instruments for people to use. All of a sudden, we're like a kindergarten rhythm band, and the quality of singing suffers. Luckily, most people tire of the instruments quickly, and they disappear after a few songs.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 01:07 PM

Went to a carol service week before Christmas and during the refreshments after ,someone was demonstrating spoons . He was pretty good , would have liked to have seen it included in the service


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 12:41 PM

Take note: GUESTPorky has spoken.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 12:20 PM

A well known Sppons player from Chichester folk club here


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Porky
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 11:33 AM

The best place for a washboard is in the wash house. Certainly not in a trad. music session.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 09:04 AM

I'm in possession of a very nice washboard that an amazing bloke at Bodmin folk club made for my then small son 25 years ago. My son abandoned it and left it with me, but he now has his own lovely son, 15 months old, who, you never know, may one day become a washboard aficionado. I'll make sure that he's very nifty with it before I let him loose!

Can't remember the bloke's name now. If he's still around he'll be very old.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 08:19 AM

I play the washboard in sessions some of the time (wind instruments more often). Some of you will have heard me do it: I'm a lot more precise than any other washboard player I know of, trying to get the same rhythmic effects as a dance band snare drummer. I use the thing rather selectively, and one reason for inserting it is to provide a metronome-like function - some pubs can be so noisy from ambient babble that it's quite hard for the players to hear each other. So I pick a player who I can hear clearly and who think has got the timing right, and reinforce their beat. There is no mistaking the kind of accentuation I'm putting in (whack on the wood with the thumb on the downbeat, rather complex fills on the metal with the fingers on the offbeats - basically like banjo frailing), and this instantly pulls everyone together. Often the effect will continue if I fade out, and I often will if it seems like a percussionless but still well synchronized texture will sound best at that point.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 07:48 AM

My first reaction was to wonder if people still play spoons these days.

That said, some time last year I saw Tommy Hayes do his party piece with the spoons, nearly forty years I first saw him do a similar routine during a Stockton's Wing concert in Galway's student union. But he's a virtuoso percussionist and he can make a good job of thumping or rattling anything.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 06:31 AM

Ah, nothing like the revival of a good thumper/basher/rattler/shaker/jangler thread!

After five years I feel I haven't mellowed...😈


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 06:09 AM

I took a spoons class at San Francisco's Camp New Harmony last week. It was fun, a dozen people sitting in a circle outside and clicking along merrily together. I reached my level of competence in about half an hour, so I figured I'd better leave. I can't actually clap along in time with a song for very song, so I've long been convinced that I'm not destined for a career in percussion. But it was fun while it lasted.

We used wooden spoons in the class, and they seemed much more polite than the metal ones.

The problem with any sort of percussion instrument, is that it can tend to dominate and regularize the tempo of the music played by the entire session, whether it be a singing or instrumental session. I think this can be especially harmful in a singing session, but maybe that opinion is do to the fact that I'm a singer. But whatever the case and whatever the percussion instrument, I think it is important that the percussionist mix with the other instruments and refrain from leading them.

I remember one day last year when I was about to murder a guy with finger cymbals. It was my turn in a singaround and I was doing a song that was new to me, and the son-of-a-bitch decided he needed to punctuate my song with his fricking finger cymbals. I said nothing at the time. But the next time the #$%^ did it, I made up a song intended to cause him maximum embarrassment.

That still didn't work, so the third time, I did a formal reading of "the rules," in chant. His wife still comes to singarounds, but he doesn't.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 05:36 AM

spoons are actually quite fun, and we can't have that in traditional music- normal non-folkies quite enjoy them


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM

At least the bodhran player was in time . . .

I rather like the idea of using a drum for an acoustic amplification device. I might have to try it sometime.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM

that sounds as if it was rather unfair to the metronome, one might call it metronomist., and what about the dead goat?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: gnomad
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM

In the late '70s a regular at a certain (at the time) hardcore traddy club balanced a bodhran between the two bar stools which constituted the sum of on-stage furniture, placed a metronome on top, started it, and proceeded to sing "My Grandfather's Clock" to a somewhat bemused audience.

He got away with it, but the faces among t'committee were a sight to behold. I have a feeling they were so surprised that the power of speech was briefly lost.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM

Have you ever seen June Tabor rehearse? Have you ever talked to her about the use of metronomes?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 03:29 AM

I once saw, at Whitby Festival 1976 I think, Rod Stradling playing a tune on a melodeon whilst Danny Stradling accompanied him on a triangle which she struck with a large metal screwdriver.

I was struck (!) by the utility of the striker, so to speak

L in C#
Where The Beech Band of probably around 20 members will play accoustically for a Ceilidh at The Irish Club tonight. Our brilliant Caller, Rob Phillips, will call and much fun will be had. And funds will be raised for a womens education and support centre in Bangalore.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Azoic
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM

I have never seen June Tabor play with a metronome.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM

Incidentally, you're wrong about percussion having no place in traditional music.

Thomas Hardy specifically mentions the use of the tambourine in playing for the wedding at the end of Under the Greenwood Tree.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 12:41 PM

Yeah but people are not metronomes nor midi files.

I didn't say they were. I simply said they were a useful tool. That's all. They can help with certain skills and I found it useful at one point.

Your problem, Steve, is you don't read properly what people write. No one said that the metronome or midi tracks were a substitute for playing with other people, simply that they're a useful tool.

However there's no point arguing with someone who won't listen.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM

please stop wasting everyones time with these ill thought out opinions

Then:

A thoroughly unpleasant comment

Hahahaha! It's your thread from now on, Dick. I'm out!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM

stating facts sir is not bragging,
I started recording in 1980, I recorded 5 lps, one with the NMECQ, one with Carthy playing guitar, PLUS 5 CDS, I mentioned it not to brag but to point out that during that time I had on occasion to get used to playing with a click track, in fact I was asked to do so by none other than Bill Leader., my experience of playing with a metronome came in useful on this occasion as it did when I had to play brass band music with the concertina band.
all of this is fact,it is not bragging,THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I THINK EVERY SINGLE TRACK THAT I HAVE DONE IS GREAT it means that I have had a lot of experience of recording, do you understand? and based on that considerable experience it is my opinion that METRONOMES are not uselessit is my opinion that they are useful, althugh Ido not think they are as good as playing along with a recording or playing along with live musicians, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS NOW


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM

"Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw - PM
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM

Anyway, if it works for you, good luck to ye. We've flogged it before and we've flogged it now. Apropos of your recording skills, not to speak of name-dropping, be careful what you brag about."
A thoroughly unpleasant comment


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:52 AM

"Trying to learn with a metronome is like trying to teach a baby to walk by giving it a pair of crutches. One day you'll have to do without it, and then what are you going to do?"
   That is your opinion, it does not make it fact.
Steve it does not mean you have lost, it means you identify the problem, you isolate the phrase that is faulty, you practise that bit over and over till you have it, you then set the metronome to a much slower speed, than you were playing when you had faulty rhythm, then you play again, when you get to a speed[using the metronome all this time to gradually increase your starting speed]when you cannot play the faulty phrase properly., then you are aware at what speed you can play the whole tune successfully, and what speed you cannot, you then continue practising at the speed you can play the whole tune, continuing to isolate the problem phrase and practising that phrase until you can play it faster.
so are you going to tell me that stabilisers are no use for people learning to ride a bike, please stop wasting everyones time with these ill thought out opinions


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM

Anyway, if it works for you, good luck to ye. We've flogged it before and we've flogged it now. Apropos of your recording skills, not to speak of name-dropping, be careful what you brag about.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM

finally this music is dance music, dancers require somebody who can play in time, they require other things too such as lift, now a metronome does not teach you how to play with lift , but it does teach you the other necessary ingredient playing steadily

If you're playing music for dancers, surely you get good rhythm by listening and interacting with other musicians. If you have faulty rhythm you should be able to spot it by listening to yourself recorded. If you need a metronome to tell you that, you've lost. Likewise with speeding up, a common enough fault. You need to identify this by listening to yourself recorded. Trying to learn with a metronome is like trying to teach a baby to walk by giving it a pair of crutches. One day you'll have to do without it, and then what are you going to do?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 07:22 AM

above,see 4 minutes 57, when you are playing parts it has to be right, tempos have to be right, that where metronomes are useful, you listen to a metronome spped and you bloodt well get it right, there is no messing about
now the same thing applies in sessions ,occasionally players start off to fast for them selves , when you are at home it is easily rectified get a metronome speed before you start playing, every time you play the tune at home you get a metronome speed before you start, at a speed that the player can manage all the tune, then gradually notch it up, with an electronic click this can be done very gradually, eventually you get so used to starting at a certain speed , that starting too fast becomes eradicated, thanks to using a metronome properly.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 07:12 AM

Practising with a metronome does not necessarily make the players playing mechanical, the following excerpt is an example, certain parts of this music were supposed to be played at a certain metronome speed.   
So individually we went away and used a metronome as a practice tool to get these details right, however we did practise together once a week.
I am proud of this playing, it required a lot of hard work including using a metronome, I do not think it is mechanicalhttp://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5148


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM

There is no room for "mechanicals" in good music."
once again an over simplification, I agree playing with a metronome is not as good as playing along to a recording of an actual tune, or having a live musician in the same room, however when a musician is not available it can still be useful.
listening to recordings by musicians from your session and playing along is extremely useful, the player whether he is a percussionist or melody player gets to know the tune and it is a very good substitute for having a live musician, when musicians are not available.
finally this music is dance music, dancers require somebody who can play in time, they require other things too such as lift, now a metronome does not teach you how to play with lift , but it does teach you the other necessary ingredient playing steadily, so metronomes [ are not the be all and end all] but they are useful, so mechanical devices can be useful for practising to a certain extent.
I AGREE that the best way to practise for dancers is with the dancers, but sometimes they are not available, that is when the metronome can be useful, it is a practise tool.
Steve, I have had more recording experience than you, I have made numerous cds and lps one of which Martin Carthy played guitar, I have also played as session musician many times, occassionaly it has been necessary to play to a click track, playing with a metronome helps the player acquire this skill.
if you are a serious session musician it is a necessity to be able to play to a click track.
metronomes are useful but not as good as having a live musician in the room , or for players to have recordings of tunes to play along with but.. they are not useless.
Finally you introduced the subject of metronomes.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 08:55 PM

Yeah but people are not metronomes nor midi files. They are human beings who thrive on interaction. You cannot interact with a CD, a metronome or a midi file. Good musicians are people who interact well with other musicians by listening and responding. You'll be responding hundreds of times in little ways in every set. You do not want to get used to playing along with something that is not interacting with you. Not react, interact, is the order of the day. There is a huge area of required skill being neglected if you waste time on these mechanical aids. Once you can ride a bike you don't hone your bike-riding skills by putting the stabilisers back on for a couple of hours a week. You must develop your own internal sense of rhythm, hear when you're losing it (best achieved by listening to recordings of yourself), spot the weaknesses and work on them. Without the "stabilisers." The only skill you learn from playing along with a metronome is that you'll improve your ability to play with the metronome. I'm not dissing CDs as a means of picking up tunes, though it isn't the best way, but if you're "learning" tunes from midi files you're on a loser. I have a clockwork metronome and I've found it useless. It's a hundred times better to pick up on the playing of a good musician in your session, and listen and interact with them. There is no room for "mechanicals" in good music.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM

Steve, I don't think you really have understood what GSS is getting at. His suggestion of playing along to a CD or to a metronome is actually very a sensible one. I agree that it is no substitute for playing with others but it has a place.

Some years ago when I was starting to play with others, I used midi to make arrangements to a range of, mostly, Playford tunes and then recorded them on mini disk leaving out the melody part - or at least one instrumental part. I then used to play them back and fill in the missing part on my recorder. From it I learnt to do three things:

  1. Be able to come in at the right place
  2. Keep playing when I made a mistake and;
  3. Most important, keeping time with the music

Now, midi is like a metronome; mechanical and is very unforgiving so doing this was extremely useful when it came to playing with others as it meant I had already developed some basic skills.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM

I am not saying that... read my posts,
I am saying it is a perfectly valid way of improving, it is sensible to ask a musician the tunes that are popular at your local session ... get a recording of him/her playing them and practise them at home, by practising them at home you learn the melodies of the tunes, I agree it does not end there, but it helps the percussionist to get better before rejoining the session.
Steve, you cannot have it both ways, you complain[as Ido] about bad percussionists, but you have no constructive suggestion, you dont want them at your session, what do you want, do you want them to practise in private with another musician, ok , nothing wrong with that, but if there are no other musicians, practising with a recording of a musican, and learning the melodies of the tunes you are going to be playing is good practice, so do not rubbish it.
I will try to be polite,I find you extremely negative.
Finally it was you that revived the subject of the metronome.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 02:03 PM

Thank you Richard.

There's nothing Dick would like more than to revive that old metronome chestnut, I can see that. But I'm not playing. There is nothing ill thought out about saying you learn by interacting with experienced musicians. It's completely cock-eyed to suggest that playing along with CDs can substitute for the vital dynamic of the musicianly interaction of a bunch of real human beings. It won't do you much harm, but you'd be deluded to think that it could do much to improve your own innate sense of rhythm and of your understanding of the crucial listen/interact process. It could even help to explain why so many bodhran players are so insensitive to other musicians.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 01:28 PM

I'm disappointed that, following revival of this thread, so much of it has degenerated into Steve v. the rest. I agree with most of what Steve has said and with most of what others have said. Yes, there are good and bad players of most instruments. Yes, a bad player of any instrument can foul up a session (unless it's a very quiet instrument). But it's very easy to become a bad percussion player, so there tend to be more of them.

I wouldn't make the same distinction that Steve does between bands and sessions. For my money, both can be enhanced by a really good percussionist. But adding percussion to music is like adding accompaniment to songs: the detrimental effect all too easily exceeds the benefit.

One of the (many) deplorable features of pop music is that it seems to be conventional to start by "laying down" the "rhythm track" and then adding the rest. Music should start with the melody.

Richard


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM

this is a n ill thought out statement from SteveShaw
"You won't learn much about rhythm by playing along with CDs, etc. You learn by interacting with experienced musicians. The guys on the CD can't hear you".
its not about the guys on the cd hearing you, they dont need to hear you they can already play in time, it is about learner bodhran or percussionists learning to listen to competent players, they can do this from listening and playing along with recordings.
The idea is get an experienced player to play some of the popular local session tunes then play along to those tunes, the percussionist then gets to know the feel of the tune, then when he hears the tunes in that SESSION the tunes will be familiar and his/her percussion will have improved because he knows the tunes.
you are wrong about metronomes too, they do help a player to listen , they also train percussionists to keep steady, they are mechanical , that is their nature., which is why they are not as good as playing with recordings or live musicians, however they train the player to listen to the metronome, that is still teaching the player to listen, but they are better than nothing at all .


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