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Beer Tent The general discussion forum, and the place to start a new "beer-tent-like" Piping Related discussion...

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Old 05-01-2019, 03:36 PM   #31
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

One of the long-running pub sessions in Boston, at the Greenbriar, is coming to an end soon after many years, The Monday nightt sessions were in two parts- the early session was for beginners and intermediate players, and sheet music was allowed. The later session was for experienced players- no dots.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:50 AM   #32
CalumII
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Yes. Sometimes it's just more fun to play from sheet music and the folks that object to that can either close their eyes or go somewhere they prefer. Then everyone can have an enjoyable time.

Playing in a session with people who need the sheet music for most of what they play isn't enjoyable. Most of the people playing from music aren't playing well, either because they're not good players and/or because they can't read and listen at the same time (yes, it's possible to do both, but the people who can seem to choose to learn the tunes). Plus, you have to sit around after suggesting a tune while everyone looks it up in their books, negotiates a page number, etc. And when you start playing it's like playing along with the radio, fine, but you can do that at home.





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So in these 'sessions', how is it not a free-for-all? If someone calls a tune and half the group doesn't know it, do they sit out or try and jump in?

You play it if you know it and you listen if you don't. There's a widespread myth/misunderstanding that most people learn a tune having heard it once or twice over. Certainly there are people who can do that - I can do it with pipe tunes, up to a point - but in general once you start regularly attending a session with the same people, you quickly pick up which tunes are standards and which are one-offs, or someone's particular hobby-horse, or whatever. A lot of the rest of ear-learning is simply knowing a lot of the stock phrases, arpeggios, runs, etc, that make up traditional music.



An awful lot of discussion about sessions on the internet is from and by people who don't regularly play in one. The best thing to do is find one or start one, turn up, don't make an idiot of yourself, and *keep turning up*. It is OK to be there mostly to listen. There is also often confusion between Scottish and Irish music; there are a lot of similarities, but they are different bodies of music with different performance practices.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:32 AM   #33
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

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Playing in a session with people who need the sheet music for most of what they play isn't enjoyable FOR ME.

Fixed it for you.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:55 AM   #34
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

Can you give an example of a session with good players that uses sheet music? Just one?
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:47 AM   #35
John McCain
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Can you give an example of a session with good players that uses sheet music? Just one?
You're demanding quality. I'm demanding fun.

You're more than welcome to choose whatever session you wish to attend. Judging other folk's activities says more about yourself than the goodness of the sessions you criticize.

I've been asked to participate in many types of sessions - from klezmer to jazz - and if I had to memorize every tune, I'd would have lost hundreds of hours of fun.

So, you do you. Same for me. And I approve of your sessions...
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:02 PM   #36
CalumII
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You're demanding quality.

No. Competence.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:16 PM   #37
John McCain
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No. Competence.
It's your call, but I've had great evenings with beginners making music. You'd hate it, but I've had a lot a pleasure. Playing music with others, for me, is a privilege which comes without judgement.

And, with my eternal gratitude, others have done this for me. Even when I wasn't competent.
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Old 05-02-2019, 12:55 PM   #38
3D Piper
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

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Can you give an example of a session with good players that uses sheet music? Just one?
Does it have to be Scottish/Irish session style?
Although they are lowly sheet-music-readers, this sounds pretty good to me:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRuM2rk2miQ



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Old 05-02-2019, 01:46 PM   #39
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

I'll play with you John McCain-any day, any time!



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Old 05-02-2019, 03:10 PM   #40
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Default Re: Learning Tunes By Ear

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Yes. Sometimes it's just more fun to play from sheet music and the folks that object to that can either close their eyes or go somewhere they prefer. Then everyone can have an enjoyable time.
Yes, I’m sure that it’s been fun and enjoyable experience for you. I play, on occasion with a group that uses sheet music to play Waltzes, and I enjoy it and it’s fun. But, when I play in a good Irish session, with good players, it’s on a different level.

The example that 3D Piper linked to is a good example, in that these players are professional and understand the dots are only a guide, and they are bringing their experience to the recording beyond the notes on the page.

One of the problems that happens when sheet music is used in an Irish session is that those who use sheet music believe they are playing the “Music”. What they are playing are the dots.

Barthold Kuijken, a pretty famous Early Musician has written a book titled: “The Notation is not the Music” . This is a very important concept. In this book he talks about what it takes to bring the music alive. Playing the dots or the “notation” as it’s written doesn’t make the music live.

One of the best evenings I’ve had was when I was in Helena Mt. for my uncles memorial. In talking to some of the guesses I found out that they also played Irish music. So they put together a small group and we played some tunes. Sure I didn’t know all of the tunes, but I knew enough to have a great evening. One of the players was Will Harmon, it was great to play with him, he’s such a great player. He plays with a certain lift, I think the term is called “nye” in Irish. My playing was taken to a higher level. This is something that just doesn’t translates to or from the written page.

And I believe this is something that many people who rely on sheet music don’t understand, there is more to making “Music” than just playing the dots.

The first quote in Kuijken’s book is by MATSUO BASHO (1644-1694)

Do not try to find the footprints of the ancestors, search for what they were searching for.
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