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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: learning tunes...


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tonyelder - Posted - 07/12/2020:  11:28:45


I learn tunes by playing along with a recording that has a particular appeal to me. How is that process different from learning a tune while playing with others at a jam session? Or just doing your best to remember what you heard – somewhere… 



The only thing I can think of is that a recording will always play a tune the exact same way, a jam session or live performance will usually always have (at best) slight variations .



So, what is my goal with using the recording? …to be able to play the tune exactly as it was recorded? Yes and no.



Yes, in that the “thing” that attracted me to the recording of that tune is the focus of my learning attention. I will give my effort to that task. But…



No, in that I know that I will never be able to reproduce anything anyone plays exactly. I not only accept that truth, I embrace it. I would prefer to be able to play endless variations of what I am learning from a source – a source that will never play any variations from what is recorded. I am confident that – given time and effort – I can produce a sound that will be “musically acceptable” as an approximate expression that satisfies the desire I had for learning the tune I heard.



The benefit of learning from a recording?  The jam or live performances - most of the time - will not have the same kind of learning appeal as a favorite recording.  Or - at best - will not be available for study later.



What have I been missing by learning from recordings?

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/12/2020:  12:24:44


quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder

...What have I been missing by learning from recordings?






You're missing the personal interaction, but we don't do that anymore anyway.



Seriously, a lot of players do pride themselves on what they learn directly from other players. I have learned tunes that way. But if it's a tune I want to know well I'll later go through my recordings or online and find a version that I can work from to get the tune down. I just don't revisit the same players over and over often enough to get it all from playing in a jam. I am generally able to learn the basic shape of tunes quickly, so I can play along, but the details need more attention and practice.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 07/12/2020:  13:21:00


As far as I'm concerned it's just fine to figure out a tune simply by listening to a recording. I do it all the time. If you end up making a few "mistakes," you are doing nothing more than carrying on the folk tradition. By the same token, if you somehow find yourself in a situation where you want to play the tune with others, just be loose enough to adapt to their version. How far from each other could the two versions truly be? The only sticking point is if you and the others play the tune in a different key. It's there where your playing chops truly come to the fore.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/12/2020:  14:02:01


Good topic.. I've just spent my weekend listening to maybe ten youtube videos of different fiddlers playing the same tune.. Add to that TWO sheet music versions.. It All helps. In the end you can, should and will play how you like..

I also like learning in jams, BUT I object to people who hear a tune in a jam and Don't go home and learn it, but rather just use the jam session as a practice session and in the meantime, playing loudly and poorly on a tune they are struggling with  figuring that eventually they'll learn it... My rule is if you don't know a tune well, play QUIETLY  until you DO...


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/12/2020 14:03:49

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/12/2020:  14:12:04


Also, I Blame poor hearing for not learning more from recordings.. Poor excuse..I'm just lazy and like sheet music.. One problem that arises is that when jam mates each learn a tune from different musicians, and come together, it is often challenging.. Over time, good musicians learn to work around each other's versions of a tune and then it is NO problem........Whenever someone insists that their version is the 'right' one...things get sticky..

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/12/2020:  14:17:19


Tony. WHat have you been missing from learning from recordings.. GENERALLY...NOTHING......................................but,  SPECIFICALLY.. "Details"..that sheet music can show..


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/12/2020 14:17:43

old cowboy - Posted - 07/12/2020:  14:49:15


I agree with you Tony. When I was first learning guitar tunes I had a book that showed me the chords and a record that had a couple of tunes on it to play along with and that was it. Little brother and I learned everything from recordings and once in a while from another player. It all depends on how much of a desire you have to play. You will only learn however much or little you care to. I can play enough to get by but little brother lives and breathes guitar even to this day. I rank him up there with Larry Sparks and Doc watson. If you don't know who Larry Sparks is, that's because you don't live and breathe bluegrass flat pickin! No offense intended.


Edited by - old cowboy on 07/12/2020 14:55:07

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/12/2020:  14:55:12


Nothing I “learn” while jamming sticks, at least not quite. I keep lists and asterisk the tunes I like and want to look up later. I usually remember the gist of two tunes after a few hundred played at Clifftop. I might note remember the name though laugh



I once sent Lee a recording I made of something that stuck in my brain. He replied, “It’s ‘Tipping Back the Corn’ only you’re playing in G and it is usually played in A.”  



I’ve learned a head full of music from recordings of all genres and on 4 instruments, nothing wrong with that in my world.  I’ve also has in person learning with early OT lessons and at a folk camp I went to a handful of years ago. Many if not most of the lesson tunes have been “relearned” from source recordings. I remember and play two tunes taught at the camp, even though I recorded everything, and picked up two previously unheard parts to Quince Dillion’s High D” from a jam session with Alan Jabbour, which I also recorded.  I didn’t learn the other tunes because they didn’t grab me, even though a few are frequently played when I chance to play with the far flung folks I know.

carlb - Posted - 07/12/2020:  15:18:17


Personally, if I learn a tune at a jam, I will search to find the recording. The electronic age has allowed the "Pass it on" experience, long after the people are gone. I attempt to play so that whatever I come up with blends well with the original recording. Not that I get every note, but that I get the "sense of the tune". It's a fine lesson to learn. You own musical experiences will then color the tune, when you then play it with others, as they will have an effect on the tune, as well.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 07/12/2020:  18:29:55


...What have I been missing by learning from recordings?



That would be difficult to state, it depends on what your goals, philosophy of music are... which likely might be different than mine or others.



I've learned most of all of what I play from just old informal listening and learning process. I guess bit old fashioned... that's just the background of how I learned, developed musically. It included a old cultural attitude toward about music, participating in music. I still find valid, and personally would feel would be missing.



The modern learning from specific recording ideology, seems generally a different learning process, and often has bit different attitude and/or goal about music.



The only thing I can think of is that a recording will always play a tune the exact same way, a jam session or live performance will usually always have (at best) slight variations .



For me, those slight variations, and even great variations; in hearing different possibilities... is part of what I attribute as helping me develop and shape my understanding of some aspects of music, musicality; separating the big picture, framework; from the role and effect of certain details has on feel, expression. Expands creative thought. Besides variation, I think I would attribute the old process as helped shape and develop some other aspects of my music understanding and skills... at least which worked for me, my goals.



I would add, that I think there was something about experiencing the music live in real time, in the moment, in context of the players and surroundings. Those experiences might involve comments about the music, advise, tips. But more tha that... not sure can describe, but included more stimuli; visuals, dancing, overall feel, expression, how it breathed, nuance... a bit of gestalt? which created powerful overall concrete experience to me. Probably helped grasp a tune, but more importantly I think helped me grasp some aspects of the music. IMO would be missing from just a recording.



Not that any of my experience, perspective is better than, or needs to be relevant to anyone else, and their goals.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/12/2020:  19:56:30


There are different kinds of musicians of course...those who preserve the fiddling of great fiddlers who may or may not be with us any longer, and those who play stuff in their own way...at least as far as I can tell that's the categories of old time fiddlers.



I guess I have spent a few hours learning off of somebody's recorded music somewhere, proud I could pick up what parts and pieces I could. But if I wasn't careful, it usually came back to haunt me, because, I'm not really into preserving someone's style, plus, I'm not and never will be good enough to even pretend to go after someone's style. So, what I'm left with is a habitual way of playing some tune or other in the poorly imitated style of some great fiddler of the past...and never feel like it belongs to me or I can just play it.



So yeah...another thing Tony said is that he goes by memory...I prefer that, but I often get things kinda wrong here and there, because my memory doesn't always file it away accurately. But it's my preferred way of learning and/or playing tunes.



One thing I kinda regret...I learned guitar mainly on my own, with input from friends and neighbors who also played across the decades...but mainly just my own way. I learned banjo that way too. Some kid in college told me I played the banjo "wrong," and I was so insecure at the time that I quit playing banjo for about 20 years after that. Finally, I picked it up again and found Dwight Diller about the same time. I studied Dwight's style really hard...I mean listened, watched, practiced so much. Now, if I'm not careful, I can sound something like a cheap imitation of Dwight Diller on the banjo...lol. I mean, it's always a struggle to try not to now. I enjoy playing it so much, but I have to try really hard to think how I wanna play it, not how I wanna be a juke box of Dwight's playing, only corrupted quite a bit.



On the fiddle I never really started down that path too much...there just wasn't any famous fiddler I listened to...mainly it was just a desire to play from having heard fiddle playing around me by amateurs at various points in my life. But how do you learn from vague memories of people who are long gone? So...I have listened to recordings, watched a few lessons on Bluegrassdaddy, a site I paid for...just full of lessons...from him I came to know of famous fiddlers for the first time in my life...his lessons are usually based on a way that some famous fiddler played one tune or another...so it's really pretty educational about what fiddlers played what style...I never heard of any of them because I had only heard various amateurs...really... my life has been lived under a rock...lol. But anyway, as I've studied some of the lessons on BGD, I've also been careful to try to get the gist of the lesson, tune, style, or whatever, then apply something I've learned onto a different tune and make sure I'm not just going for my cheap imitation of one person or another. I haven't used the lessons for a few years now, but I did there for a while...it was helpful, but I didn't wanna get into trying to sound like somebody famous...I'll just never be good enough, plus I just don't wanna imitate, really.



Yet, I do admire some of the people who have studied someone's style and sort of just keep it alive for a while longer, to pass along to others who might learn it, learn something from it, or just enjoy and appreciate it.


Edited by - groundhogpeggy on 07/12/2020 20:01:22

snakefinger - Posted - 07/13/2020:  01:09:22


If you learn a tune from a recording you run the risk of the setting not being compatible with how the group plays it. The trick here is to realize this might be the case, and be prepared to pick up the local variations. The danger of picking up tunes only from sessions is not remembering the tune the next week and having to learn it all over again. You also need to be able to do this unobtrusively or you will be spoiling the jam, even if no one calls you on it. There is little I hate more at a session than trying to lead a tune while the person next to me is hunting around for notes. It's very hard for me to keep a tune together like that.

farmerjones - Posted - 07/13/2020:  05:42:20


I dunno. There's a tune called 100 pipers, i only play it once a year, when i play with a certain friend. It took me years, and i still don't know it well, but he does and that's what counts.
OTOH i've learnt gobs of tunes from recordings. Most i just amuse myself with. Seems like jams play simple, jammable tunes understandably. Probably not a 100 in the list.
OT3rdH Learning Country or Pop stuff for a band, there's not much learning because it's just fills. Catching the key & chords is enough.

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  15:38:52


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder

...What have I been missing by learning from recordings?






You're missing the personal interaction, but we don't do that anymore anyway.



Seriously, a lot of players do pride themselves on what they learn directly from other players. I have learned tunes that way. But if it's a tune I want to know well I'll later go through my recordings or online and find a version that I can work from to get the tune down. I just don't revisit the same players over and over often enough to get it all from playing in a jam. I am generally able to learn the basic shape of tunes quickly, so I can play along, but the details need more attention and practice.






I understand your comments, but 2 things need to be considered...



Even if I prefer to learn from recordings, I can still interact with others at a jam and learn things from them - as you are suggesting. 



And... generally speaking - the quality of playing on recordings will usually be a little better than you would hear at most jam sessions (for obvious reasons).



I do understand the "pride" - I have a silly point of pride that I like to make on occasion: With the exception of one slip up - I have not even picked up an electric guitar in almost 40 years.  What does that mean?  Doesn't make me any better at playing guitar.  But it is bragging rights - I guess. 

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  15:52:34


quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Tony. WHat have you been missing from learning from recordings.. GENERALLY...NOTHING......................................but,  SPECIFICALLY.. "Details"..that sheet music can show..






There are a lot of things that have dissuaded me from really making a serious effort at getting good at reading notation.  You really can't pickup style from simple notation, or phrasing. And the simple melody is not always the same as  most common or popular versions. I don't know that I would trust notation any more than a recording. At least with a recording - I can hear all of what I am trying to learn. 



Is there something else I'm overlooking?

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  15:58:07


quote:

Originally posted by old cowboy

I agree with you Tony. When I was first learning guitar tunes I had a book that showed me the chords and a record that had a couple of tunes on it to play along with and that was it. Little brother and I learned everything from recordings and once in a while from another player. It all depends on how much of a desire you have to play. You will only learn however much or little you care to. I can play enough to get by but little brother lives and breathes guitar even to this day. I rank him up there with Larry Sparks and Doc watson. If you don't know who Larry Sparks is, that's because you don't live and breathe bluegrass flat pickin! No offense intended.






Yeap. I know bluegrass. Played in bands for a little over 10 years.  And that makes me think about something I'll probably bring up in a little while - about traditions.  Thanks.



Sounds like your brother is a fine picker.

soppinthegravy - Posted - 07/13/2020:  16:10:07


In my opinion, with a video recording, you're seeing the performance, but with notation, you're seeing a map of the performance influenced by the transcriber's opinions of which things were intentional and which things were mistakes. Some of them include the perceived mistakes in a relatively unaltered form. Some of them attempt to correct the perceived mistakes, and some of them omit them entirely. Check out this midi version of Allen Sisson's "Katy Hill" for an example of how performance and transcription can differ. 


 


Performance


youtube.com/watch?v=ryVv-88BEYE


Midi Transcription


youtube.com/watch?v=gvzR1Vhjnds


 


quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder

quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Tony. WHat have you been missing from learning from recordings.. GENERALLY...NOTHING......................................but,  SPECIFICALLY.. "Details"..that sheet music can show..






There are a lot of things that have dissuaded me from really making a serious effort at getting good at reading notation.  You really can't pickup style from simple notation, or phrasing. And the simple melody is not always the same as  most common or popular versions. I don't know that I would trust notation any more than a recording. At least with a recording - I can hear all of what I am trying to learn. 



Is there something else I'm overlooking?






 


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 07/13/2020 16:11:32

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  16:11:04


quote:

Originally posted by snakefinger

If you learn a tune from a recording you run the risk of the setting not being compatible with how the group plays it. The trick here is to realize this might be the case, and be prepared to pick up the local variations. The danger of picking up tunes only from sessions is not remembering the tune the next week and having to learn it all over again. You also need to be able to do this unobtrusively or you will be spoiling the jam, even if no one calls you on it. There is little I hate more at a session than trying to lead a tune while the person next to me is hunting around for notes. It's very hard for me to keep a tune together like that.






LOL... yeap.  I moved back to TN after living in Alaska for a number of years - and brought back a lot of tunes with me. One of the tunes I learned up north was Alan Jabbour's recorded version of "John Brown's March".  When I played it at our local jam here, folks looked at me strange when I finished and asked what was that again? I later found out that the more traditional version they play is "a bit slower". And - you know - I like it slower - and now I play it slower.  

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/13/2020:  16:39:04


quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder

quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver

Tony. WHat have you been missing from learning from recordings.. GENERALLY...NOTHING......................................but,  SPECIFICALLY.. "Details"..that sheet music can show..






There are a lot of things that have dissuaded me from really making a serious effort at getting good at reading notation.  You really can't pickup style from simple notation, or phrasing. And the simple melody is not always the same as  most common or popular versions. I don't know that I would trust notation any more than a recording. At least with a recording - I can hear all of what I am trying to learn. 



Is there something else I'm overlooking?






Tony, it is not a case of one or the other.. Both have benefits..Also, experienced OT musicians who read music can hear phrasing on an audio an translate that to the sheet music..so that is not a problem . It all depends on the musician.........


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/13/2020 16:48:13

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/13/2020:  16:53:42


There are a lot of things that have dissuaded me from really making a serious effort at getting good at reading notation.  You really can't pickup style from simple notation, or phrasing. And the simple melody is not always the same as  most common or popular versions.







I disagree. It's not hard to get style and phrasing from sheet music unless it's in a style entirely foreign to you. If you have a feel for old time tunes then seeing one in sheet music shouldn't be a mystery. Or Irish or anything. It's not a good excuse for not learning how to read. But if you just don't want to bother with it, well, that's your excuse.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 07/13/2020:  17:30:57


I took lessons from David Bragger for close to a zillion years, and his insistence on not using standard or any other notation with Old Time has permanently bent my brain in that direction when it comes to that genre. I agree with Bragger that OT is a folk craft. It's meant to be absorbed by listening and, hopefully, watching. Yes, when I have the opportunity to watch a performance, I do observe how the tune is bowed, but I've discovered that bowing can almost always be sussed out simply by listening to somebody like John Salyer do the tune. Just don't forget to start with a down bow! (For his part, Bragger always calls out the bowing when he teaches a tune.)

All this, though, doesn't mean I reject standard notation out of hand. I just love cruising through my McNeill's 1001 Irish Tune book. If a tune catches my eye (usually because I like a phrase or riff), I'll do my best to get it under my bow & fingers. At the piano, I've become a veritable slave to the printed manuscript. I mean, how else can I do justice to Freddy Chopin or Scotty Joplin?

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  19:27:41


quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver





Tony, it is not a case of one or the other.. Both have benefits..Also, experienced OT musicians who read music can hear phrasing on an audio an translate that to the sheet music..so that is not a problem . It all depends on the musician.........






I don't totally disagree with you - but... let me press you a bit on this my friend... Concerning sheet music commercially available - would you say "that" represents the exception - or the rule?



What I have seen in most collections have been fairly straight forward simple scores that cover the melody. And I heard more than one person say - the notation is not the same as they know it.



And I'll add Brian's comments in here - because I sense that they are pointed in the same direction.



Brian Wood - Jul 13, 2020 - 6:53 PM



There are a lot of things that have dissuaded me from really making a serious effort at getting good at reading notation.  You really can't pickup style from simple notation, or phrasing. And the simple melody is not always the same as  most common or popular versions.







I disagree. It's not hard to get style and phrasing from sheet music unless it's in a style entirely foreign to you. If you have a feel for old time tunes then seeing one in sheet music shouldn't be a mystery. Or Irish or anything. It's not a good excuse for not learning how to read. But if you just don't want to bother with it, well, that's your excuse.



---------------------------



I'm not sure I disagree with you Brian.  I understand that a person who is fluent in a particular style or genre - can add all the appropriate interpretation that might be missing from a sheet of music. But there have been discussions here about the methods that might be needed to capture the required elements on sheet music that would reveal the style and accent that defines - not only the genre, but the specifics of a particular tune, or a fiddler.        I understand (agree) that it could be done...      I also understand the layers of complexity that get added, the more information you decide is needed in the score to reach a goal



Let me ask - who would you expect to recognize a musical score written in "the style of Tommy Jarrell" as Tommy Jarrell? And - conversely -how many would recognize Tommy Jarrell's playing if they heard one of his recordings?



In my experience, I am much more proficient at learning what I am working on from listening - much better than I am from reading. Its not that I couldn't eventually master the skills of reading notation with enough effort.  The fact that I don't bother with it is a choice, not an excuse.



For those folks who learn tunes from sheet music... my hat's off to you. You do have a much larger body of work to choose from than I do. I'll never play the tunes that aren't being played by someone else.  My loss. 



I agree with Lee, "It all depends on the musician..."  There isn't a right or wrong here. Just choices.



 

tonyelder - Posted - 07/13/2020:  19:29:22


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I took lessons from David Bragger for close to a zillion years, and his insistence on not using standard or any other notation with Old Time has permanently bent my brain in that direction when it comes to that genre. I agree with Bragger that OT is a folk craft. It's meant to be absorbed by listening and, hopefully, watching. Yes, when I have the opportunity to watch a performance, I do observe how the tune is bowed, but I've discovered that bowing can almost always be sussed out simply by listening to somebody like John Salyer do the tune. Just don't forget to start with a down bow! (For his part, Bragger always calls out the bowing when he teaches a tune.)



All this, though, doesn't mean I reject standard notation out of hand. I just love cruising through my McNeill's 1001 Irish Tune book. If a tune catches my eye (usually because I like a phrase or riff), I'll do my best to get it under my bow & fingers. At the piano, I've become a veritable slave to the printed manuscript. I mean, how else can I do justice to Freddy Chopin or Scotty Joplin?






David Bragger is an amazing fiddler and teacher.

indianajones - Posted - 07/14/2020:  09:56:12


I have been trying to learn a tune from David Bragger from an online video called Old Time Christmas. I appreciate him calling out the bowing direction but it I also found it distracting and difficult but I'm determined. Question; are there any exceptions to starting on a down bow? Is that intended for start of tune or every phrase?

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/14/2020:  10:12:36


David Bragger is great...and so generous to have free lessons on youtube. I learned a few things from watching his videos. However...lol...when somebody's hollering out bow direction I get really confused to the point where I can't tell which way is up or down...so I just can't learn that way.

I think the downbowing idea, in my thinking anyway, got so popular because of Round Peak area fiddlers...if you go toward Eastern KY...the northern river region, they seem to be more concerned with doing things on the upbow...parts of WV seem to do that too, just my own opinion from what I've seen and conversation with various individuals. But I think there upbow people too. Downbow, in my thinking...does seem more intutive than upbow...and Pogo, the directional bowing proponent that used to be here on FHO, used to always say it was so intuitive because of the subtle effects of gravity on our playing. Maybe...don't know...but I think there used to be more people who could go either way, or proponents of either way...but today downbowing is the thing that's really the big thing for fiddlers.

I think, just my humble and maybe totally insignificant opinion, bow direction is a thing everybody approaches in however it works for them. To quote Pogo further...you don't wanna get into "anywhichway" bowing, but you do want to have a sense of direction that is some consistent thing for you that gives you the kind of rhythmic fiddling you want to do. Could be upbowing, could be downbowing, could be following what somebody hollers out, all the ups and downs, one at a time, or could be just learning N. Shuffle and going from there. I don't know...I've gone from one side of the fence to the other since I started fiddling...but I'm at the point now where I think if a person learns N. Shuffle...the long short short, long short short...changing direction with each long stroke and also short strokes...then learns to fit notes into that pattern, then gradually learns to stay true to their rhythm and move away from the monotony of N. Shuffle...although not necessarily abandoning it, just easing off...or even possibly ditching it once you learn how to fit notes into it...because even then I think you'd have developed a sense of direction in handling the bow...I think if person starts there, they find their own way with bowing. Just my opinion...I ain't nobody so take it or leave it...lol...probably much better opinons floating all around us that might be more helpful.

DougD - Posted - 07/14/2020:  10:27:58


Peggy, you've mentioned upbowing in NE KY many times here. Could you name some players like that? I'd like to hear them if possible. Also, on one of his CDs Roger Cooper plays tunes he learned from specific people and I 'd like to see if you'd consider any of them "upbowers."

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/14/2020:  11:20:48


I don't know any famous ones, Doug...the only person who does it that I can hear and is alive today and/or on the net would be Dwight Diller, WV. Is Roger Cooper anywhere on youtube?

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/14/2020:  11:28:49


quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder




 



"Let me ask - who would you expect to recognize a musical score written in "the style of Tommy Jarrell" as Tommy Jarrell? And - conversely -how many would recognize Tommy Jarrell's playing if they heard one of his recordings?"



For my taste and talent I don't find that trying to notate a tune in the style of a particular player worth the effort, other than the actual note choices. I've transcribed lots of Kenny Baker tunes and you can tell they're his versions by his notes. But I don't like to see a page filled up with too many extra details because for me that's hard to read. While I might not recognize a musical score in the style of Tommy Jarrell I would likely recognize Kenny, or at least notice "Kenny-like passages. Maybe others would recognize Tommy Jarrel's notes. I am not as familiar with him.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/14/2020:  11:39:20


Doug...I got curious and looked R.Cooper up on youtube, myself...lol...even though I'm in the middle of making blueberry handpies here for a special occasion today...still...yeah, had to stop and look...by looking the the Indian Hornpipe tune that starts at around 7:26 or so...that looks/sounds like upbowing in my thinking. The first tune on this video had so much of a Georgia Shuffle sound I just couldn't tell what I thought, but I went on to the next tune and yeah...to me, that seems like more of an upbowing thing. Now, back to those pies...they are tricky to make when you're going for gluten free...lol.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/14/2020:  12:29:26


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder




 



"Let me ask - who would you expect to recognize a musical score written in "the style of Tommy Jarrell" as Tommy Jarrell? And - conversely -how many would recognize Tommy Jarrell's playing if they heard one of his recordings?"



For my taste and talent I don't find that trying to notate a tune in the style of a particular player worth the effort, other than the actual note choices. I've transcribed lots of Kenny Baker tunes and you can tell they're his versions by his notes. But I don't like to see a page filled up with too many extra details because for me that's hard to read. While I might not recognize a musical score in the style of Tommy Jarrell I would likely recognize Kenny, or at least notice "Kenny-like passages. Maybe others would recognize Tommy Jarrel's notes. I am not as familiar with him.






Interesting... Last year a friend transcribed one of MY tunes.. it was a tune I made up maybe 15 years ago, called "Sunday Afternoon."  He sent me a copy of his transcription...I couldn't make sense out of it and it was MY tune.. He had put into the transcription every little note that I used to embellish the tune.  When I play tunes I embellish differently each time through.... On paper it was daunting.  So.. I transcribed the 'essence' of the tune and sent the my transcription to him for approval.......Transcriptions can be a blessing, or a curse..  Recently, I've been trying to get a transcription of a tune.. I found TWO... One was so basic that it was virtually useless, the other, so complex that it was virtually useless..However  the word 'virtually' means, "not exactly".. I gained some knowledge from both transcriptions.  One must learn to appreciate transcriptions for what they can supply......



 


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/14/2020 12:44:04

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/14/2020:  13:21:39


quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver...So.. I transcribed the 'essence' of the tune and sent the my transcription to him for approval.......Transcriptions can be a blessing, or a curse..  Recently, I've been trying to get a transcription of a tune.. I found TWO... One was so basic that it was virtually useless, the other, so complex that it was virtually useless..However  the word 'virtually' means, "not exactly".. I gained some knowledge from both transcriptions.  One must learn to appreciate transcriptions for what they can supply......

 






Finding the essence of a notey fiddle tune is a skill, I believe. As you probably know it's a hobby of mine. People who find and use my transcriptions generally are favorable toward them (the ones I hear from). Nobody has ever transcribed one of my own tunes that I'm aware of, but that would indeed be interesting.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/14/2020:  13:25:16


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver...So.. I transcribed the 'essence' of the tune and sent the my transcription to him for approval.......Transcriptions can be a blessing, or a curse..  Recently, I've been trying to get a transcription of a tune.. I found TWO... One was so basic that it was virtually useless, the other, so complex that it was virtually useless..However  the word 'virtually' means, "not exactly".. I gained some knowledge from both transcriptions.  One must learn to appreciate transcriptions for what they can supply......

 






Finding the essence of a notey fiddle tune is a skill, I believe. As you probably know it's a hobby of mine. People who find and use my transcriptions generally are favorable toward them (the ones I hear from). Nobody has ever transcribed one of my own tunes that I'm aware of, but that would indeed be interesting.






It would be fun to ask two or three of us on the Hangout to listen and try to transcribe and then YOU transcribe what you think is your tune... Then, to compare the results..Sounds like a Covid-19  Project.



 


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/14/2020 13:26:25

tonyelder - Posted - 07/14/2020:  17:34:49


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder




 



"Let me ask - who would you expect to recognize a musical score written in "the style of Tommy Jarrell" as Tommy Jarrell? And - conversely -how many would recognize Tommy Jarrell's playing if they heard one of his recordings?"



For my taste and talent I don't find that trying to notate a tune in the style of a particular player worth the effort, other than the actual note choices. I've transcribed lots of Kenny Baker tunes and you can tell they're his versions by his notes. But I don't like to see a page filled up with too many extra details because for me that's hard to read. While I might not recognize a musical score in the style of Tommy Jarrell I would likely recognize Kenny, or at least notice "Kenny-like passages. Maybe others would recognize Tommy Jarrel's notes. I am not as familiar with him.






You missed my point. I will speculate here. The number of folks who would easily be able to recognize the style of fiddler from a recording would be larger than the number of folks who would recognize the style of the same fiddler from reading sheet music. 



And you made my point.  As I said earlier, (and as you said above) the amount of information a manuscript would need to have in order to communicate "style" gets more complex the more you try to capture. 



And this is what I hear you saying - you spend the necessary time listening to a tune (recordings?) - long enough and close enough - to be able to transcribe what you hear accurately. I have a hard time believing that you would then learn how to play the same tune from that transcription. And I have  just as hard of a time believing you only play while sight reading your sheet music. I'm thinking perhaps you learn the tune by ear and then transcribed it for the benefit of others in an attempt to prevent others from having to learn by ear.



Please - this topic was not intended to be an anti-reading music notation topic. Depending on the circumstances - for some - it is a necessity. I would encourage folks to do what they feel they need to do.  If reading works better for you - then you should keep on doing that, if you want to.



My circumstance does not require it.  


Edited by - tonyelder on 07/14/2020 18:27:27

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/14/2020:  18:13:52


Oh gosh I didn't put my link in up there...well...I'm gonna have to find it again later...lol...gotta make phone calls now.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 07/14/2020:  19:07:53


quote:

Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

There are different kinds of musicians of course...those who preserve the fiddling of great fiddlers who may or may not be with us any longer, and those who play stuff in their own way...at least as far as I can tell that's the categories of old time fiddlers.

 






I think it's not a simple dichotomy. Many, perhaps most just don't quite fit either; There are definitely other categories... different motivations and goals, with degree of mix of those, and other aspects.



"Learning a tune", thus can also means different things to different individuals, or even extend to groups. Including as to what results qualify; and might basis of judgemental attitudes sometimes encounter. 



One good example of other category; observed at some of these modern jams. It's clear that their playing, efforts, and comments do not reflect really working on a preservationist ideology (preserve the fiddling of great fiddlers or past). Yet they do not really work on nor embrace much concept of "doing it their own way" (let alone creativity); indeed often might be a bit uncomfortable with that concept. (in their own playing, as well in vetting others).



There are of course various degrees to this category; but might share many those similarities. Conformity. Fairly fixed source model, musical decisions of another as main goal they are trying to conform to... thus probably involves an idea of accurate, "right" and mistakes... but typically also with concept of "good enough" to some degree.



Thought on preservationist. There are also those that, though not "preservationist", many might share some concepts of preservation values. Depends what is actually trying to be preserved? Also has different dimensions, meanings, motivations, goals. Some of which can become a bit paradoxical (that's a different topic).



 



 


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 07/14/2020 19:09:08

alaskafiddler - Posted - 07/14/2020:  19:35:23


As a bit of follow up.



To my thinking to the original question of the how of "learning a tune" seems like you need some criteria of - how do you measure results... or what defines that you  "learned a tune"?



How would you judge others claim "learned a tune"?



------



For some might be memorizing, and replaying sequence note for note, timing? Perhaps bow for bow?



Might include degree of technical detail and technical nuances?



As degree of technical accuracy compared to a source, recording or transcription?



--------



Others might be more the overall essence... conforms to the melodic contour, harmonic progression, phrasing, rhythm.



Might need to include capturing the overall feel, spirit, groove?



Understanding the musicality and perhaps style of the tune?



--------



Sometimes when others say they learned a tune, and from a specific recording... I notice it IMO quite noticeable it doesn't really sound like the supposed source.


Edited by - alaskafiddler on 07/14/2020 19:42:25

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/14/2020:  19:36:21


Here is the link I meant to put up with that other post above about upbowers...well, upbowing is probably not really what they are...actually, maybe just not fitting the description of downbowers...doing things differently...or maybe a different feel to bow orientation. Not sure exactly...what I mean, but downbowing is the popular thing. I myself lean way more toward downbowing...just does feel more intuitive to me. Gosh it's been a crazy day around here, so before I forget again, here's the video I meant to link somewhere up there. youtu.be/8_Nok49b27I

And, yeah, Alaskafiddler...thanks for correcting me on that. I didn't mean to make it sound so black and white...for sure there are always shades of everything in between.

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/14/2020:  19:36:56


quote:

Originally posted by tonyelder



You missed my point. I will speculate here. The number of folks who would easily be able to recognize the style of fiddler from a recording would be larger than the number of folks who would recognize the style of the same fiddler from reading sheet music. 



And you made my point.  As I said earlier, (and as you said above) the amount of information a manuscript would need to have in order to communicate "style" gets more complex the more you try to capture. 



And this is what I hear you saying - you spend the necessary time listening to a tune (recordings?) - long enough and close enough - to be able to transcribe what you hear accurately. I have a hard time believing that you would then learn how to play the same tune from that transcription. And I have  just as hard of a time believing you only play while sight reading your sheet music. I'm thinking perhaps you learn the tune by ear and then transcribed it for the benefit of others in an attempt to prevent others from having to learn by ear.



Please - this topic was not intended to be an anti-reading music notation topic. Depending on the circumstances - for some - it is a necessity. I would encourage folks to do what they feel they need to do.  If reading works better for you - then you should keep on doing that, if you want to.



My circumstance does not require it.  


 




I’m just contributing my perspective.  Don’t know why you feel I’m defending reading music against something you said. In my case I do in fact spend time transcribing tunes and then learning the tunes from the transcript. That’s exactly how I learn tunes. I also share them online for others. I know most of you probably don’t do that. It’s all good, as they say.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 07/14/2020:  21:35:15


I'm a confirmed, unapologetic music nut and my favorite genre has always been classical. Classical music, of course, has traditionally been transmitted via standard musical notation, and it has traditionally been written down as precisely as the composer could manage. The composer doesn't just put the notes onto the manuscript page. The composer calls out for various tempos, moods and forms of expression. The composer's manuscript might call for the performer to perform "con fuoco," with fire, or "dolce," sweet.

The thing is, despite all the detail the composer might put into the manuscript, every performance worth its salt winds up being as much the personal vision of the performer as it is of the composer's intentions. Whether the "mistakes" the performer makes are intentional or unintentional, they don't necessarily detract from the quality or authenticity of the original work. Chances are good that, whether the mistakes are the result of luck or talent, they only enrich it.

In other words, let the devil take the hindmost. Do your best to inhabit the piece of music and don't fret if your performance or your transcription isn't quite a carbon copy. As the old Yellow Pages ad used to say, let your fingers do the walking.

carlb - Posted - 07/15/2020:  05:02:37


Mostly I learn tunes by ear. However, on occasion I have learned a tune from notation where no recording was available. An example is "Cheat River" from "Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife". I just kept playing the notes and trying to make it sound like a tune and pretty much succeeded and past it on to a number of other folks. About seven year later, a friend gave me a recording of some Pennsylvania fiddlers and the player and tune were on it. I found out that I did a pretty good job of resurrecting that tune.

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/15/2020:  05:35:00


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

In my case I do in fact spend time transcribing tunes and then learning the tunes from the transcript. That’s exactly how I learn tunes. I also share them online for others. I know most of you probably don’t do that. It’s all good, as they say.





I would suggest that you learn the tune by ear via transcibing, then commit it and the nuances to memory via the transcription, if memorized is o part of 'knowing the tune' for you. I'd compare it to how I generslly learn the lyrics as I listen repeatedly while writing them out for a song sheet. By the time it's written out, I know most of the lyrics. 



Our member bandsmcnamar gets transcriptions of tunes from a friend. Lots of them and they are pretty good as transcriptions go. They contain a version of the melody only and not the various drones and double stops that might occur in the source recordings. I've played along with some of these and they can miss the mark, sometimes widely miss the mark.



 



Please note, bandsmcnamar, I cannot think of anything other than "Old Horse and Buggy" off the top of my head that does this, but then I disagree with most settings of that tune I have heard.



If anyone would like to take a stab at transcribing this, I would be very interested in the results. 



Old Horse and Buggy

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/15/2020:  07:03:11


quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

 



I would suggest that you learn the tune by ear via transcibing, then commit it and the nuances to memory via the transcription, if memorized is o part of 'knowing the tune' for you.



If anyone would like to take a stab at transcribing this, I would be very interested in the results. 



Old Horse and Buggy






It's a little more mechanical than that. Of course I have heard the tune and appreciated it enough to want to learn it before I start. Then I use a slowing down program and work on transcribing it into the Musescore notation program. I'm performing an intermediate task here. For most tunes I'm pretty fast getting it down. Sure, I've absorbed the tune a little by doing that. When I'm done with the transcription it goes in my collection and I practice from it, memorizing it as written (or some eventually go by the wayside). I get a lot out of it. My transcriptions here: fiddletunes.net/.



I appreciate everyone's own approach to learning, and enjoy the conversation. I'm puzzled that anyone finds my method somehow unauthentic. Learn what you can however it suits you is more my motto.



That's a nice Art Stamper tune. I might get around to transcribing it sometime.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/15/2020:  07:40:40


quote:

Originally posted by Brian Wood

quote:

Originally posted by ChickenMan

 



I would suggest that you learn the tune by ear via transcibing, then commit it and the nuances to memory via the transcription, if memorized is o part of 'knowing the tune' for you.



If anyone would like to take a stab at transcribing this, I would be very interested in the results. 



Old Horse and Buggy






It's a little more mechanical than that. Of course I have heard the tune and appreciated it enough to want to learn it before I start. Then I use a slowing down program and work on transcribing it into the Musescore notation program. I'm performing an intermediate task here. For most tunes I'm pretty fast getting it down. Sure, I've absorbed the tune a little by doing that. When I'm done with the transcription it goes in my collection and I practice from it, memorizing it as written (or some eventually go by the wayside). I get a lot out of it. My transcriptions here: fiddletunes.net/.



I appreciate everyone's own approach to learning, and enjoy the conversation. I'm puzzled that anyone finds my method somehow unauthentic. Learn what you can however it suits you is more my motto.



That's a nice Art Stamper tune. I might get around to transcribing it sometime.






Those transcriptions are great.. 

DougD - Posted - 07/15/2020:  08:14:13


Brian - "In my case I do in fact spend time transcribing tunes and then learning the tunes from the transcript. That’s exactly how I learn tunes." You're not the only one. As I understand it Clare Milliner had difficulty learning tunes in jam sessions, but she found she could notate them and learn them later from her notation. The collection of her transcriptions became the genesis of the M-K Collection.
Although I haven't looked at too many of them I really like your transcriptions. You have paid attention to how your source played it and to me they strike a good balance between the bare bones of the tune and too much detail. I like Samuel Bayard's transcriptions too, and Alan Jabbour's, although Alan was a little more interested in getting down the nuances of Henry Reed's playing. Plus they're handwritten, which makes them a little harder to read.
It seems to me that "Old Horse and Buggy" wouldn't be too hard to transcribe. Seems like its a member of a tune family I can't quite place.


Edited by - DougD on 07/15/2020 08:15:06

RichJ - Posted - 07/15/2020:  10:14:21


Here's a question that came to mind while reading some of these comments. The desire to learn a new tune has been expressed by some folks as beginning when a tune "grabs" them. I sure can understand that because it usually is the thing that makes me want to learn something new. But, just what exactly is that "grab"? Is it the basic melody, or maybe key or mode of the tune or does it boil down to simply the way the tune is played? When I hear something I like I go to YouTube to see what's there. More times than not there are many uploads, sometimes a dozen of more versions of the tune,but only one or two I like well enough to learn from.

Brian Wood - Posted - 07/15/2020:  10:27:06


For ChickenMan. I won't absolutely guarantee this since I just did it and I haven't even tried to play it yet. But I will probably learn it.



 



 


Edited by - Brian Wood on 07/15/2020 10:27:37


TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/15/2020:  11:23:42


quote:

Originally posted by RichJ

Here's a question that came to mind while reading some of these comments. The desire to learn a new tune has been expressed by some folks as beginning when a tune "grabs" them. I sure can understand that because it usually is the thing that makes me want to learn something new. But, just what exactly is that "grab"? Is it the basic melody, or maybe key or mode of the tune or does it boil down to simply the way the tune is played? When I hear something I like I go to YouTube to see what's there. More times than not there are many uploads, sometimes a dozen of more versions of the tune,but only one or two I like well enough to learn from.






A couple of tunes that "grabbed" me were JulieAnne Flannigan (AKA Cotton Baggin) when I heard Hangout member Gapbob play it at CLifftop and  Rhymer's Favorite that I heard Brad Leftwich play at Battleground...The thing is that now when I play those tunes I'm transported back in time to where/when I first heard those them......Context adds a LOT to what tunes I want to learn.


Edited by - TuneWeaver on 07/15/2020 11:24:28

Humbled by this instrument - Posted - 07/15/2020:  12:38:12


I have learned about half of the tunes from the first book I bought, one which came with accompanying CD, but mainly the OT and Celtic tunes. I do read music, so I look at the dots and listen to the tune and go from there.

Yet lately, the last few years, I've been going to MANDOLIN youtube videos to get a basic structure of the tune, and then adding MY bowing and accoutrements from there. Other fiddle youtube videos are often not for me. Case in point. "Swallowtail Jig." This one Classically trained lady was going to the E on the A string and adding-- half note down and up-- vibrato on the B part, as if she were at a recital. I prefer to hammer on or cut that part on the E string. The mandolin video simply had the E note played open, too. I know it's simply a preference for me. Nothing wrong with a ton of vibrato at that part if that's your thing, etc.

RichJ - Posted - 07/15/2020:  14:48:18


quote:

Originally posted by TuneWeaver

quote:

posted by RichJ

... just what exactly is that "grab"? Is it the basic melody, or maybe key or mode of the tune or does it boil down to simply the way the tune is played?






A couple of tunes that "grabbed" me were JulieAnne Flannigan (AKA Cotton Baggin) when I heard Hangout member Gapbob play it at CLifftop and  Rhymer's Favorite that I heard Brad Leftwich play at Battleground...The thing is that now when I play those tunes I'm transported back in time to where/when I first heard those them......Context adds a LOT to what tunes I want to learn.




 


Thanks for that reply Lee, absolutely agree and a good example of how some fiddle tunes become bookmarks in the pages of our life.

alaskafiddler - Posted - 07/15/2020:  14:52:34


quote:

Originally posted by Lonesome Fiddler

I'm a confirmed, unapologetic music nut and my favorite genre has always been classical. Classical music, of course, has traditionally been transmitted via standard musical notation, and it has traditionally been written down as precisely as the composer could manage. The composer doesn't just put the notes onto the manuscript page. The composer calls out for various tempos, moods and forms of expression. The composer's manuscript might call for the performer to perform "con fuoco," with fire, or "dolce," sweet.



The thing is, despite all the detail the composer might put into the manuscript, every performance worth its salt winds up being as much the personal vision of the performer as it is of the composer's intentions. Whether the "mistakes" the performer makes are intentional or unintentional, they don't necessarily detract from the quality or authenticity of the original work. Chances are good that, whether the mistakes are the result of luck or talent, they only enrich it.



In other words, let the devil take the hindmost. Do your best to inhabit the piece of music and don't fret if your performance or your transcription isn't quite a carbon copy. As the old Yellow Pages ad used to say, let your fingers do the walking.






You make valid point, but there is a distinct differences in notation purposes and uses. Somewhat reflects the relationship the musician has to the music, or perceived role. This is where IMO a lot of confusion about notation, and perhaps transcription, comes. 



Certainly there is the classical soloist or artist idea... involves, if not required, input of interpretation aspects (and thus requires other experience). Valued skill. However in classical, probably within fairly constrained accepted parameters; (for example being true to composer, period...)



But point out for many, neither their exposure, background, experience nor training was much that of personal vision, interpretation or adaptation of performer. Rather mostly has been directed with the idea of technician, following the instructions. Not really much leeway. Often it is a bit of carbon copy idea associated, perhaps forms their concept of "right" and "mistakes". I think this forms very common way folks think of music.  Not that this is bad approach, experience, or training. For some that is the only goal they need desire; actually can be quite useful if not important in many contexts.



To the way other side (often in folk view). The source(s), notation (or recording)... are often just for the purpose of  broad idea, for outline, framework of the tune; and/or just possibilities ideas of details or how it could be arranged. Tunes are viewed as very malleable and adaptable, not bound by written, composer intent and such. The player ultimately has great freedom of interpretation, adaptation and choices to keep or change; what parameters, conformity, how close. By and large the is no fixed "right", just different ideas what they think sounds good; and "mistakes" are for most part just simply things that don't sound good or way intended by player.



Of course notation is used for transcription, but I view simply as a way to make a written recording to represent what was played. (bit like old taking dictation, or stenography). Can be used as above; technical following instruction; or just as ideas. 

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