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Tech: obtrusive session instruments

jargarmani 23 Sep 07 - 06:55 AM
Leadfingers 23 Sep 07 - 07:05 AM
treewind 23 Sep 07 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 23 Sep 07 - 07:44 AM
terrier 23 Sep 07 - 08:00 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM
treewind 23 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Sep 07 - 08:58 AM
Geoff the Duck 23 Sep 07 - 09:03 AM
Mary Humphreys 23 Sep 07 - 09:25 AM
Leadfingers 23 Sep 07 - 10:03 AM
Midchuck 23 Sep 07 - 10:17 AM
terrier 23 Sep 07 - 10:22 AM
Nick 23 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Sep 07 - 01:13 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Sep 07 - 01:48 PM
Valmai Goodyear 23 Sep 07 - 02:53 PM
jonm 23 Sep 07 - 03:25 PM
Brendy 23 Sep 07 - 09:15 PM
Bee 23 Sep 07 - 10:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 23 Sep 07 - 11:58 PM
Celtaddict 24 Sep 07 - 12:25 AM
Dick The Box 24 Sep 07 - 03:38 AM
Geoff the Duck 24 Sep 07 - 03:44 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Sep 07 - 03:45 AM
stallion 24 Sep 07 - 04:09 AM
Catherine Jayne 24 Sep 07 - 05:02 AM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Sep 07 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 24 Sep 07 - 07:37 AM
redsnapper 24 Sep 07 - 08:05 AM
Mr Red 24 Sep 07 - 08:06 AM
Betsy 24 Sep 07 - 10:03 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Sep 07 - 02:52 PM
the button 24 Sep 07 - 02:54 PM
Susan B 24 Sep 07 - 03:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 07 - 04:29 PM
Alba 24 Sep 07 - 04:46 PM
stallion 24 Sep 07 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 24 Sep 07 - 05:42 PM
Greg B 24 Sep 07 - 06:49 PM
the button 24 Sep 07 - 07:01 PM
The Fooles Troupe 24 Sep 07 - 09:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Sep 07 - 12:18 AM
Geoff the Duck 25 Sep 07 - 05:29 AM
the button 25 Sep 07 - 05:47 AM
stallion 25 Sep 07 - 05:53 AM
Geoff the Duck 25 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Sep 07 - 06:21 AM
Betsy 25 Sep 07 - 06:23 AM
Ruston Hornsby 25 Sep 07 - 07:57 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM
Midchuck 25 Sep 07 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,george garside 25 Sep 07 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Redwing 25 Sep 07 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 25 Sep 07 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,mike gott 25 Sep 07 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 26 Sep 07 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 26 Sep 07 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,martin ellison 26 Sep 07 - 07:30 AM
PMB 26 Sep 07 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Jo Loudenfast 26 Sep 07 - 08:37 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Sep 07 - 08:52 AM
The Fooles Troupe 26 Sep 07 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,george garside 26 Sep 07 - 05:15 PM
the button 26 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 26 Sep 07 - 07:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 26 Sep 07 - 07:28 PM
Snuffy 26 Sep 07 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 27 Sep 07 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 27 Sep 07 - 02:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 27 Sep 07 - 03:01 AM
Geoff the Duck 27 Sep 07 - 04:46 AM
Snuffy 27 Sep 07 - 09:10 AM
Paco Rabanne 27 Sep 07 - 09:42 AM
Ernest 27 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM
PMB 28 Sep 07 - 04:01 AM
The Fooles Troupe 28 Sep 07 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 28 Sep 07 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Peter 28 Sep 07 - 05:13 PM
Mark H. 28 Sep 07 - 06:28 PM
Mark H. 28 Sep 07 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 29 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM
Willie-O 29 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM
bubblyrat 30 Sep 07 - 06:04 AM
Geoff the Duck 30 Sep 07 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 01 Oct 07 - 04:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Oct 07 - 08:21 AM
Betsy 01 Oct 07 - 11:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Oct 07 - 10:48 AM
Mr Red 02 Oct 07 - 01:11 PM
Kaleea 02 Oct 07 - 03:42 PM
Melissa 02 Oct 07 - 07:13 PM
Tattie Bogle 02 Oct 07 - 07:54 PM
slowerairs 03 Oct 07 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 04 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM
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Subject: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: jargarmani
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 06:55 AM

Virtually any instrument is acceptable seems acceptable in sessions these days-but a sort of unwritten code applies inasmuch as instruments played are acoustic-has anyone got opinions as to the use of electric instruments,which in my opinion,no matter quietly they are played, completely alter the balance and dynamics of a session. My own pet hate is keyboards(no problem with acoustic pianos, I may hasten to add).I'm sure most folk musicians have suffered the unwanted presence of some twerp who thinks he's Keith Emerson(remember him?)and completly wrecks the session.
I'd be interested to hear any views.
                      JA


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 07:05 AM

The only problem with Electric/Amplified instruments at sessions is if the player decides he wants to be Royal Festival Hall level of sound in a small pub bar !!

But the same goes for banjos said the Banjo player !


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: treewind
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 07:31 AM

I know someone who comes to a session with electric bass, keeps it to a sensible level and is perfectly session friendly. He also plays whistle so the bass isn't being played all the time, but it makes a useful contribution when it is.

I'm not so sure about melody instruments though. They just don't sound right.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 07:44 AM

Get a copy of the 1972 Topic LP "Lancashire Theramin Players" (now deleted). Most of the old boys have been squeezed out of sessions now because of their tendency to knock people's pints over when waving their arms.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: terrier
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 08:00 AM

jargarmani, bands have been playing with a mixture of acoustic and electric instruments since the first pickup was invented so that guitarists wouldn't be redundant in the big bands. What's the difference in a session? Just about any acoustic instrument played badly/too loud,etc, can 'completely alter the balance and dynamics of a session' as you put it. Just as any good musician can lead a session on just about any instrument from flag' to bull fiddle, an insensitive musician can MIS lead a session to distraction. I never play electric in sessions but years ago I yous't to play accordion a lot but got so many 'bad' vibes from other musicians who just saw an accordion in a session and automatically thought 'WRONG', I seldom use it now. Give a dog a bad name,etc! At one of our local sessions, we did have a keyboard player come down for a while and he fitted in with no trouble.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 08:45 AM

There's nothing wrong with electronic keyboards per se. Some of them can mimic the sound of an acoustic piano quite nicely. Or they can be used to provide nice bass lines. The problem with them is that they're capable of creating hundreds of different sounds and most of them just aren't appropriate to a session. If the player realizes that and plays with restraint, a keyboard can fit in just fine. If, as jargarmani said, he thinks he's Keith Emerson, he can ruin everyone's evening.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: treewind
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 08:46 AM

How does a "Lancashire Theramin" differ from a normal Theremin?
(apart from the spelling of course)

A.
:-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 08:58 AM

Yeah terrier...

Far too many people see 'Accordion' and think "bloody loud wanker who can't play!" but they just are "bloody ignorant wankers who can't listen" - and don't give anyone who CAN play, a chance to fit in - they just ASS-U-ME that "all accordion players are loud and can't play"

- sad thing is that they are often right... :-) there ARE so many bad (untrained oom-pah-pah style) players ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 09:03 AM

I believe it came about as a misheard instruction after several pints during a particularly extended session.
The newcomer gingerly approaches the leader of the session, a particularly daunting looking Chorleyite and quietly asked if he could join the players. The reply he got from the thirsty lancastrian was "Yes, if you get them in".
Not being used to the rolling, and by this time, slightly slurred Chorley accent, the timid newcomer misunderstood what was being requested. He went away and returned next week with a Theremin.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 09:25 AM

Ever heard Moor Music in a session? They include an accordion ( Jason Rice) AND an electric piano ( Gareth Kiddier). I dare anyone to say there is an obtrusive sound from either of these instruments.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 10:03 AM

All ANY one at a session needs to dfo is LISTEN ! The EARS are the most important thing if you are playing with other people !


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Midchuck
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 10:17 AM

Very few people have the degree of self-control and acuity of hearing necessary to bring an amplified instrument to and acoustic jam and NOT turn the sound up to where they can hear their own instrument clearly over all the others. That normally means that everyone else hears that instrument as drowning out all the others. Human nature. I'd probably be guilty as anyone else if I brought in an electric something. But it isn't inherent in the instrument, it's inherent in the player. I think.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: terrier
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 10:22 AM

Leadfingers, my ears are long and pointy do you think they would be suitable? 8~)
Listening is one thing but putting what you hear into practice takes, well......lots of practice. Bodhran players come in for a lot of stick (oops, sorry) at sessions but I've played with a few who really improved the music by actually THINKING about what they played as well as listening.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Nick
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM

I play electric bass in our local pub sometimes with acoustic instruments. I think the knack is to set the volume so that people ask you turn it up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 01:13 PM

A small amp can be used effectively enough with a mandolin in a session.
But obviously the volume should be set at a level that matches the other instruments, not tries to drown them.

As for keyboards in a session, I like them best when they are stuck on squeezeboxes with no electrics attached.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 01:48 PM

I play amplified mandolin with Bishop Gundulf Morris, for the simple reason that my biting little mandolin is not loud enough without an amp. I tried a banjo-mandolin, and keeping it in tune was a total nightmare, and I really can't justify spending the money that a resonator mandolin would cost. But it is tricky in that my amp is at me feet, and since my ears are not, it can still be hard for me to hear what I am playing when there are bandos and fiddles and squeezeboxes and drums around me. On the other hand, when I can hear what I am doing as well as what the others are doing, so that I can tell if I'm doing it right, then sometimes the mandolin is too loud across the street. If I took a stepladder, I could put the mandolin amp on that so that it was up by my ears, but that's starting to get a bit like "Double or Drop" from Crackerjack.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 02:53 PM

On the subject of theremins and keyboards: a couple of years ago the fiddler Nick Pynn came to the Royal Oak folk club in Lewes with one of the former. He explained that he had got fed up with lugging a harmonium around and was using the theremin to fulfil a similar function in his band.

This prompted the ace heckle, 'Ah, so it's a harmonium replacement theremin.' (Frank Purcell.)


Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: jonm
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 03:25 PM

Half the time, the problem lies with the amplification itself - if it's pointing at the musician, they are less likely to turn up the volume to hear themselves, bearing in mind that most electric instruments generate little or no acoustic volume.

Apart from that, it's down to the sensitivity of the player, as with banjos, piano accordions, melodeons and bodhrans.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Brendy
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 09:15 PM

"What's that instrument?" said P.J. Canny to a young, enthusiastic, be-dreadlocked, English New Age Traveller, who was giving himself plenty of elbow room as he sat down to join a session in Gary Pepper's Pub in Feakle, Co. Clare, on a hot August night around 15 years ago.

"It's a didgeewwy-do, mate"
(... there followed 5 seconds silence....., then....)

"Well, didgeri-dont", quoth P.J.
....to numerous nods of general approval, I might add.

B.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Bee
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 10:53 PM

Tsk! Sessions around here, you have to hope the piper has some sense of sound level decency...

Just outside the door usually fits in nicely!

In truth, I have been to kitchen parties where along with fiddles, mandolins and guitars, a piper has been known to be a fine contributor. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 23 Sep 07 - 11:58 PM

"All ANY one at a session needs to dfo is LISTEN ! The EARS are the most important thing if you are playing with other people !"

AMEN!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Celtaddict
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 12:25 AM

I was at a session in a very traditional pub in western Ireland a while back and there were a fiddle, a box, an electonic keyboard, and a didgeridoo. It actually worked pretty well until the keyboardist took a cell phone call.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Dick The Box
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 03:38 AM

Another problem with keyboards is the amount of space they take up. As sessions are often in small and crowded venues, a thoughtless keyboard player can not only hog the volume but the room as well. If only they could strap them vertically to their chests and attach some bellows, all would be well. Or would it......


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 03:44 AM

It's not the keyboard itself that's the problem. It's the Automatic Cha-Cha accompaniment that goes along with every jig and reel...
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 03:45 AM

I've seen didgeridoos in sessions, and so long as it's a tunable didge and you sort the key out first (and they stay on the rhythm) no sweat.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: stallion
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:09 AM

We have had a Sousaphone in a session or two, interesting if not a little deafening, the only instrument, other than our voices, that can be heard in the loos during a session! He now brings a mandolin!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 05:02 AM

I used to go to s session in York where someone played an electic bass guitar, the volume was never too loud and he fitted in well giving a wonderful bass line to the session.

I agree with what has been said before, listening is the key!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 06:18 AM

Eh, what?


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:37 AM

Of course it isn't the instrument that's obtrusive - it's the player. Over the years I've found that even a whistle can drag a good session down (not to mention the bloody shakey eggs/bodhran brigade) but can recall having great sessions with saxes, double bass, electric bass, keyboard and any number of brass instruments.
I don't think there are any acoustic instruments which can't be played quietly and tastefully and electric instruments have volume knobs. Unfortunately it's the knobs behind the instrument that can't be controlled.

BTW Anahata - How dare you question my spelling - I have a dictionary right here in front of me and it states quite categorically . . . oh sorry, you're right. And the Lancashire ones are still gas powered (since they closed the coal pits).


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: redsnapper
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 08:05 AM

Great highland bagpipes

RS


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 08:06 AM

Speaking a bodhran player - it all depends on how much they want to dominate. Drums are also cited in this respect and it is usually the inexperienced that over-compensate for their skill with enthusiasm.
I try to work on the principle that if it is your instrument you know the precise moment you are hitting/plucking and mentally you block that out to some extent. As a result it doesn't sound so loud to you. And can you hear the others so well?

I defy anyone to tell Martin Brinsford (Brass Monkey et al) that he is intrusinve with his harmonica - the Pignose Amp is a welcome addition.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Betsy
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 10:03 AM

I used to go to a session where a married couple brought their cheap and nasty portable keyboard. They sounded like a mixture between Sooty and one of those ice cream vans which tour housing estates.
F**king awful.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 02:52 PM

On the other hand there is the friend whose name I forget, nice woman with a limp, of Flora and Andy Green of Bishop Gundulph, who has a proper full-size keyboard and a music degree, and I almost always finish up telling her several times to turn it up and hit it 'cos I can't bloody hear it!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: the button
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 02:54 PM

I think there's nowt worse than the Phil Spector wall of melodeons, myself. All of them slightly out of tune with each other. Like a hive of bees.

And I say this as a melodeon player.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Susan B
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 03:31 PM

There's a great session at London Bridge (French/English) where it is not uncommon to have several hurdy-gurdies, a bagpiper or two, saxes and brass. The pub is old and low ceilinged (the oldest galleried pub in London) and the volume can overpower more delicate instruments such as fiddles. I've even had trouble hearing my Bleasey recorder or my garklein! Those of you who have had the misfortune to be near the garklein will know how loud this must be. An advantage though is that you can feel free to improvise, knowing that you can quickly fade into the background if it isn't working.

Sessions evolve their own styles and what might work well in one might be too much in another. So, it gets back to listening!

Susan B


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:29 PM

This session business - this cuts to the heart of my dislike of traditional music.

Theres always someone who's the top dog - a fiddler or melodeon player.He starts playing s a tune without telling anyone what it is. Before long he very capriciously changes key - without telling anyone the key he's playing in. all the other players are going, 'wossat? whats he doin'? which key?' and they start craning their necks to see if someone knows whats going on. then the DADGAD guitar kicks in with facetious little anticipations of the tune - the top dog doesn't like this and starts plays faster and louder and beats off the challenge, with a triumphant snarl! After fifteen minutes of complex but largely uninteresting melody - the process exhausts itself. the players look round with conspiratorial smugness - shove that up your Streets of London.

About an hour later, everybody's pissed. People who hesitated to take out their tin whistle an hour ago - are now convinced they are natural heirs to Paddy Moloney and Liam Og Flynn - only a different sort of approach - louder and more direct. The man who bought a set of Uilean pipes a week ago has now got them out of the brown cardboard box they came in. People smile encouragingly. Its got to better than the eight year old singing Kumbaya with a the instruction book in front of her.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Alba
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 04:46 PM

Betsy...ROFL. I can see that picture and hear that sound!!

A Saxophone can be a bit overpowering but then I am talking a Sax player at an Irish Trad session in Galway one evening. The afore mentioned Sax player thought it would be artistic to improvise some jazzy Sax breaks into some of the Jigs and Reels he didn't know at all.
After our initial shock wore off it was actually a hilarious session. Made even more hilarious as the guy was deadly serious about his improv playing. Who am I anyway to tell another Musician to shut the feck up ..*smile*
He was passing through Galway on his way to Dingle... lucky Dingle.
J


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: stallion
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 05:03 PM

Catheryne Jayne,
That would be Mike Tavener at "The Maltings" (York), tuesday nights, Mike is such a tallented musician I swear he could get a tune out of his mothers arse!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 05:42 PM

It all depends, someone said....

How many of you out there in the ether have had the experience of hearing a really fine piece of acoustic music, often the early work of the eventually famous? And how often, some time later, when you hear a "greatest hits" or some other named compilation, has the music been "sweetened" with synthesized or overdubbed electronic tracks that drown out the instruments and voices? It's that experience which points out the difficulty of deciding "what to let into the session" most graphically to me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Greg B
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 06:49 PM

You're right button. All the melodeon players except us should
give it a rest.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: the button
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 07:01 PM

Sensible policies for a better Britain.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 24 Sep 07 - 09:43 PM

"sounded like a mixture between Sooty and one of those ice cream vans which tour housing estates."

At least you didnt say "The magic Roundabout"!!!!


"Theres always someone who's the top dog " etc...

ROFL - ya know, I never saw you at those sessions, WLD.... :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 12:18 AM

oh I was (still am...gawd help me!) there! many the time and oft on the rialto......


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 05:29 AM

Wee Little Drummer. I couldn't agree with you more. Too many sessions consist of some selfish git who has bought the loudest (Insert name of instrument here) that then can get hold of, and never shut up. The don't giv ANYONE a chance to start an interesting tune because as soon as they think that the previous tune is about to finish they start up with the next one on their mental list.
There are sessions where, as a capable musician who IS able to play or accompany most types of music that happen in sessions, even when they hit keys such as Bb and F#, I just put the instrument away and think what's the point? It ain't fun!
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: the button
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 05:47 AM

When did all this hardcore keychange thing start, then? I've not played in a session for about (oh, let me think) 10 years, and I don't remember it happening then.

(I blame people being able to play across the rows. Ho ho.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: stallion
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 05:53 AM

Geoff,
Sounds like you've met Ron, he used to sing in obscure keys to stop musos spoiling his songs! Got rid of the Bb but still use F# occasionally! There are some very good accompanists at our sessions, Steve Thompson, Frank Pallister and Damien Fynnes to name three but there are a plethora of good, nay very good, musicians who are not so good at accompanying singers. I have even been told by musicians joining me in one of my songs that I "was singing the wrong melody"! I don't feel confident singing with musicians because they tend to, even if it is only in my head, hi -jack the tempo and spoil the whole rhythm of the thing, the three I mentioned, and there are others, don't "ya-ta-ta-ta-taaa" but drift in and out and around what one is doing, complementing it. So, any musician hi-jacking the tempo and feeling from a song is unwelcome whatever the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 06:01 AM

A lot of it iss the difference between being a musician and just being a player. A musician LISTENS to what other people are doing. A player just plays what they know.
A musician who accompanies usually doesn't play the melody, they fill in bits between, often during the gaps between what is sung. Most importantly, they watch the singer for clues that the singer is happy or otherwise with the accompaniment being added, its speed or appropriateness, and shut up if it isn't right.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 06:21 AM

Know what you mean Geof. I always think with folk music - it's a bit like that scene in Men Behaving Badly.
Leslie Ash asks Caroline Quentin if she's looking forward to getting married, and she replies - I supoose so....I just wish.......I was marrying..... someone better!

You just feel the whole bloody thing could be...... better!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Betsy
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 06:23 AM

I was told a nice story by an Irish friend. At a session there was a lull whilst people went to the bar , toilet, outside for a smoke - an old fashioned beer-break if you like .The Irishmans friend enquired to an assembled "musician" - "And what do you call this thing then ?" - A Didgeridoo cane the reply . Well the says the Irishman "Next time the music starts didgeri-F**king-don't".


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Ruston Hornsby
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 07:57 AM

Spoons. Spoons played by somebody with no natural timing whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:07 AM

As a singer-guitarist (with capos) I do do a number of things in F# and in Gbm and one in C#m which does tend to upset people, but it's always because it sings or plays best there, not out of sabotage.


Oh all right, not usually out of sabotage.

However (and sorry to say this Geoff) the worst hijacker I know is a tenor banjo player, who segues seamlessly from tune to tune, and once in the same evening by dint of noodling or waiting until singer drew breath and then starting full-machine-gun-fire managed to make three singers who were a bit hard to put off each take three goes to start a song.

The three singers were

Me (not that hard)
Barden (normally pretty resolute)
Dave Bryant (! - it normally took more than a banjo to stop Dave with the bit between his teeth....)

He's a dab-hand at G to A to Bm as well...


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Midchuck
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:09 AM

I am fully aware that this thread is about Irish and Celtic sessions.

Even so, I think the Ten Commandments of Bluegrass are directly on point and should be reviewed by all participants.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,george garside
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:22 AM

I agree totally with the point that has been made in several postings that its the player rather than the instrument that plays too loud. Perhaps the over reliance on the 'sound engineer' to balance instrument volume in bands has lead to the idea that you just play flat out and leave the balancing to somebody else!.( a bit like expecting the sound man to make milk chocolate out of shit)

In my view it is up to the individual musicians to be sensitive and adjust the volume so that a harmoneous balance between instruments occurs whether playing in a session or a band.

In a session it should be quite feasable for everybody to quiten down to the degree that if somebody is leaading a tune on a quiet instrument such as a whistle or mouth organ the 'lead instrument' can be heard and followed.

The problem is playing loud is easy - playing quietly takes skill

some may disagree!

george


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Redwing
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 08:25 AM

I think a Mighty Wurlitzer cinema organ would be very intrusive in sessions, particularly the type that rises up out of the floor.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 09:32 AM

George - I like your chocolate/shit analogy. Reminds me of Chris Sherburn asking the the soundman to turn the guitar down in the monitor and then adding "can you tune it from there as well?".

There is a fine line between "leading" a tune and dominating. I have always loved accompanying other musicians - I think this also creates a frisson of excitement for musicians and listeners. I don't believe that good sessions should be behind closed doors (except those oh-so-polite round the room things).

Martin


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,mike gott
Date: 25 Sep 07 - 10:38 AM

Yes, well put, George. It's not really obtrusive types of instruments that are the problem, it's obtrusive musicians. I agree with Martin's point on the sessions behind closed doors as well, I much prefer playing out in the bar with the other people in the pub, the idea of inward looking little cliques behind doors doesn't attract me at all. There are also more plug sockets for the theremin.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 06:26 AM

Yes, I agree with the point about musicians, not instruments. The thing is, a good musician knows when to shut up quieten down. It's people who don't that can ruin a session.

That said, it's impossible to play a bombarde quietly.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 06:51 AM

Mmmm
Quite a quirky discussion.
Not sure of
the point, but it's funny.
A story that some of you may have heard.
Midway through Sidmouth Fest this year, Our residence was invaded by Jon Loomes and partner.
Thursday morning, the two of them were tuning various Gurdies, for a 1000 workshop..(Yes, Yes.....Why???)
It was then that the blinding light of understanding fell upon me.
My Electric Shaver is in the key of......D!
I'm off now to get the complete set...
Me to shop assistant....
"No I don't care that it's got a beard trimming attachment, what key is it in?"
Carry on chaps.
R


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,martin ellison
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:30 AM

Well Ralphie, at least that's one thing you can play in tune.
(ducking to avoid a bulky MacCann duet concertina aimed at head)
Cheers
Martin


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: PMB
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:46 AM

It's the same reason the trees grow tall in the forest. If only they could agree to grow low, think of all the extra seeds they could produce instead of all that useless trunk, that only makes them easier to blow over.

So the box player wants to be heard, so he plays louder than the fiddler, who in turn plays louder, and so on round the band until the whistle player goes home and gets his bombarde.

Then the fiddler tunes up a notch, so the flute player notches up a bit more. So the banjo perpetrator plays the tune faster, so the box player starts leaving out notes and vamping a bit but faster still, so the accordeonist smears the tune out all over the keyboard and the left hand knoweth not what the right hand doth.

In another thousand generations of this, a session will consist of people hurling thermonuclear whizzbangs at each other.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jo Loudenfast
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 08:37 AM

Thermonuclear whizzbang eh?
Can I get one on-line?
Do they come in D & G? Heck,would it matter?


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 08:52 AM

I've made a speciality of playing traditional Irish music on 10-hole blues harps. Most of the time in our session I use a small battery amp. I just might as well not be there otherwise if the session has seven or eight players who are all louder than I am and the background noise is considerable. I ask the others constantly to keep a check on my volume. If the pub's quiet and there aren't too many players I gladly switch off.   I can play with volume and projection but I have to face the fact that I need help in order to be heard sometimes!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 10:53 AM

"it's impossible to play a bombarde quietly."

Ah! but it IS possible to play an accordion quietly - if you are even HALF as good as you think you are.... :-P

;-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,george garside
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 05:15 PM

PMB - sadly you may be right!
Foolestroupe - I agree, not only an accordion but also a bohran . Even a trombone or a medieval drainpipe can be played so it doesn't intrude even though it lowest volume may not be that low - its all a question of making your instrument and you find a way of making your renderings complimentary to what others are doing rather than as PMB suggested all working selfishly against each other on the sort of 'Ive got the biggest' basis

george (keeping his head down in case of flying hurdygurdies or highland pipes)


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: the button
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 05:20 PM

Restricting the length of your session to a couple of hours or so is a good way of thwarting hurdy-gurdists. That way, they don't have time to tune up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:23 PM

I've been told that hurdy-gurdy players spend half the time tuning up-- and the other half playing out of tune.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:28 PM

and some of the time walking round shouting, anyone for a choc ice!

how we laughed!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 07:43 PM

I've been told that hurdy-gurdy players spend half the time tuning up-- and the other half playing out of tune.

And no-one else can tell which half is which.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 01:40 AM

Joke from Humphrey Lyttleton:
Q. If you walk into a room and see a good banjo player, a bad banjo player and a pink elephant, who do you talk to?
A. The bad banjo player - the other two are figments of your imagination.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 02:54 AM

Careful Mr Ellison.
I might just relate a few stories......
Know what I mean?!
Hope you are well.
Need a sound engineer?????
Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 03:01 AM

My favourite Humph-ism....

Air Pilot Announcement: We have just landed at Scunthorpe Airport. For local time, you must set your watches back fifty years........

I love the way everybody's playing the innocent on this thread. And have YOU never dominated a session...?
Has anybody got any techniques for imposing themselves, they would like to share?


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 04:46 AM

The bombarde!
It's in B flat and I haven't learned to play it yet...





Oh, Sorry! You said Dominate, NOT Demolish...


Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Snuffy
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 09:10 AM

Geoff,

It was in B flat when you brought it to Llanstock six years ago. I'm sure we are all grateful for your rate of progress.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 09:42 AM

PMB's post at 7.46am on 26th sept was the funniest, but most accurate thing I've read on mudcat for a long long time.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Ernest
Date: 27 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM

WLD: Does that mean we`d all be fifty years younger at Scunthorpe?

The place must be crowded by young women then..... damn, I am only 47!

;0)

Ernest


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: PMB
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 04:01 AM

If you'd gone to Ockbrook (near Derby) on Wednesday night, you could have danced to (or played alongside) a band comprised of THREE hurdy-gurdies, three melodeons, a bagpipes, a cello, and two point five fiddles (of which I was the 0.5). Sometimes there are more bagpipeses. I took advantage of the situation by tuning one string to each of the hurdy-gurdies, the fourth to the high e(na) of the bagpipes, and playing tunes I don't know with variations.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 10:14 AM

PMB, you got any spare bridges for sale?


:-P


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 03:14 PM

Then there was the drummer joke.
A man walked into a shop and said "I am changing my instrument and would like to purchase a guitar. I want an acoustic guitar, with Thomastic strings, a high action and pearl inlay along the neck".
The shop assistant replied, "You're a drummer aren't you?"
"How did you know".
"This is a fish shop", came the reply.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 05:13 PM

Then there was this musician who died and went to to eternity, "Stand over there" he was told, "There's William Kimber and Scan Tester waiting to play with you"
"Wow!" He said" My kind of heaven"
"Nah, this is the other place, there's an unacommpanied folk singer gonna join you!"
Ho!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Mark H.
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:28 PM


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Mark H.
Date: 28 Sep 07 - 06:29 PM

Don't know what happened to that post. Never mind.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM

For a time here in Ireland you could buy car stickers similar to no-smoking signs (cigarette with red line through it), but with a bodhran instead and the words "no dead goats".
Some years ago at a local music pub a stranger walked in with an enormous, very flashy bodhran, with which he began to nause up the session very loudly.
After a while, he went to the toilet, leaving the offending instrument on his stool.
A local lady (with drink taken) walked in and inadvertently leaned on the bodhran smashing it into a thousand pieces.
The following week she arrived at the session to be greeted by a deputation of locals, one of whom made a congratulatory speech and ceremoniously presented her with a medal and a scroll for her services to traditional music.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Willie-O
Date: 29 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM

"inadvertently leaned on the bodhran smashing it into a thousand pieces."

Why does this action not sound so inadvertent to me? Is it just my suspicious nature? I wonder...this anecdote though goes a long way towards explaining why many bodhranists are exceedingly twitchy about others touching their, um, instruments.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: bubblyrat
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 06:04 AM

A well-played Musical Saw can enliven,add atmosphere to ,even, a well-acted ghost story or horror film, but my heart sinks when a certain person arrives at a session at Sidmouth (and other places ) with his Speare & Jackson No. 7 Logbuster, or whatever it is, and unleashes it from its case. Also , Trombones can be both nauseating and physically intimidating, even in a so-called "English" session ,and should be "spiked" ( I have seen it done most effectively with several dead Mackerel in deepest Cornwall ) whenever possible.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Sep 07 - 08:43 AM

Bill Sables is actually very good on the musical saw, (and not the person you are referring to) but I don't think he would regard it as a "session" instrument.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:40 AM

I suppose everybody knows about Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll's 'The Spoons Murder' (book of texts and CD), where the perpetrator meets his maker at the hands of an irate Raleigh bicycle-wielding musician - moving stuff.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 08:21 AM

Poor bubblyrat! Physically intimidated by a trombone at a major cultural event...

That shows the sort of cavalier disregard for the tradition which is all too prevalent nowadays.

If I had been present, I should have interposed my body in your defence - I am a pacifist by inclination, and a coward from deep inner conviction - but you would not have gone unprotected.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Betsy
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 11:50 AM

What about a Chain Saw ? - that could sort out a few Obtrusive Instruments


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:48 AM

I should imagine a man the size of whale playing a the flight of the bumble bee on sousaphone would be the most disruptive thing you could have.

But you never know, some large people are very dainty in their approach to life.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:11 PM

and the difference between a chain saw and a Hurdy Gurdy is


vibrato



And a musical saw - is that the one you use to disect a banjo?


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Kaleea
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 03:42 PM

Thank you, Ruston--spoons & bones constant & loud are a scourge, nay a pox. Some folks think that they have dinally discovered a real musical instrument which they may use to join in a session to the delight on none, save themselves. I have a recording of a session which would have been terrific, if the accursed personage with the noisemaker had not made the the demon racket loudly & constantly throughout the session.
But then there was that time the guy showed up with the trumpet.
I shall ever hold my head with whilst whistling or tipping forevermore. Ah, if only I could do both simultaneously!


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Melissa
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 07:13 PM

While I'm definitely opposed to Loudness as a drowning technique, I almost prefer it to Blaring Egos and Rudeness.

I might change my SnobFocus if I accidently find myself surrounded by hurdy-gurdy and trombone, but for now, I am more concerned with Manners than Skill.

When I could only play in one key, I was accomodated..figure it's my turn now, no matter how exhausted I am at the end of a particularly rancid evening.

A St Barbara medallion will protect you from being hit by a cannonball. Is there one that will protect us from being bludgeoned by noise masquerading as music?

M


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 07:54 PM

Well for my money, the most intrusive instrument can be.........the human voice!
There are sessions where those who have been coming here for 30 years object to anyone but themselves singing a really well-known song - oh, if you're really good you might just like to join in on the chorus, but woe betide you if you so much as open your mouth during the verses! And if you should happen to sing "my" song, then prepare for the black looks! The same holier-than-thous then go on to talk (or even snigger) all the way thro' your own singing. I have stopped going to said sessions, rather than telling them to shut the f*** up.

Then there are those "mixed" sessions where the instrumentalists talk thro' all the songs, and the singers shout through all the instrumentalists' tunes (sorry, wallpaper music).
And I also echo the complaint re keyboard players who turn sessions into nothing far short of a karaoke lounge.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: slowerairs
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:34 PM

I find that a drummer and full drum kit, is rather

daunting. As a consequence, those among us, prone to headaches,

no longer attend that particular session.


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Subject: RE: Tech: obtrusive session instruments
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

Years ago I attended a lecture on accompaniment. The lecturer described 'Dubliner' Ronnie Drew being accompanied by a plucked mandolin as 'an elephant with fleas'.
Jim Carroll


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