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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Taste?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.fiddlehangout.com/archive/53907

gapbob - Posted - 08/10/2020:  11:10:34


While doing some work I looked for some Irish Fiddle to listen to on youtube and came across this:
youtube.com/watch?v=4W_feaIdTEA
The fellow has some chops but his style/taste (or lack of it) is driving me up the wall!

Whatcha all think about his playing?

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/10/2020:  11:23:33


quote:

Originally posted by gapbob

While doing some work I looked for some Irish Fiddle to listen to on youtube and came across this:

youtube.com/watch?v=4W_feaIdTEA

The fellow has some chops but his style/taste (or lack of it) is driving me up the wall!



Whatcha all think about his playing?






Not sure what you're after. Is it too white bread bland or something? I agree he has some chops.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 08/10/2020:  11:45:39


   Here is another collection of his tunes..: Maybe you'll like this one better? youtube.com/watch?v=q9mi3BT8bnQ

Johnbow - Posted - 08/10/2020:  13:58:41


No doubt a good player of the instrument. It doesn’t move me. This is closer to what I’m looking for -

youtube.com/watch?v=6oKyL0VAkDw

I hope I’ve linked the above correctly.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 08/10/2020:  14:00:14


quote:

Originally posted by Johnbow

No doubt a good player of the instrument. It doesn’t move me. This is closer to what I’m looking for -



youtube.com/watch?v=6oKyL0VAkDw



I hope I’ve linked the above correctly.






WOW.. Hey, that is NOT an anywhichway fiddler!!



 

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/10/2020:  14:34:28


That Kevin Burke clip - I love the fact that he gets a terrible squeal a few seconds into it. There may be hope for me yet ......

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/10/2020:  16:35:59


Yeah, I gotta agree with you guys. Lynch is a little too slick & generic for me. He needs to swagger. He needs to sound less like he's doing music for a TV commercial. Kevin Burke, on the other hand, plays with gusto.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/10/2020:  17:36:44


As someone has said, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Kevin Burke is a wonderful player, but I don't hold that against Brendan P. Lynch and his playing. There's a difference in their playing when we listen to a recording, but we're filtering it through many things, including what someone else has said about it first. Even how it was recorded, EQed and mixed has an affect. So I don't think it's much of a big deal unless gapbob will elaborate. I'm pretty sure he dislikes Lynch's playing but he hasn't said why.

Johnbow - Posted - 08/10/2020:  19:23:12


You didn’t ask me to elaborate Brian but while we’re waiting on gapbob, I might just say that Brendan P. Lynch has probably forgotten more about playing the fiddle than I’ll ever know and same goes for his playing of ITM, which I don’t really do - at least not on the fiddle. He’s definitely a good player, however, his playing seems to me a bit sterile and predictable. In contrast, Mr. Burke’s playing is full of surprises and soul. There are lots of bluesy elements and a certain sensualness. To me it sounds like good OT/ITM as played on the fiddle. I suppose in the end it must be about our preferences as listeners because there must be folks out there who think that B. Lynch is about as good as it gets - they're wrong of course but none the less they're out there :).


Edited by - Johnbow on 08/10/2020 19:35:36

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/10/2020:  19:36:33


quote:

Originally posted by Johnbow

You didn’t ask me to elaborate Brian but while we’re waiting on Gapbob, I might just say that Brendan P. Lynch has probably forgotten more about playing the fiddle than I’ll ever know and same goes for his playing of ITM, which I don’t really do - at least not on the fiddle. He’s definitely a good player, however, his playing seems to me a bit sterile and predictable. In contrast, Mr. Burke’s playing is full of surprises and soul. There’s lots of bluesy elements and a certain sensualness. To me it sounds like good OT ITM played on the fiddle. I suppose in the end it must be about our preferences as listeners.






Yes, I agree. I assume that is what gapbob is alluding to. I have to say though, that when I listened to the example he linked, I listened for quite a while, and it didn't offend me in any way. Nice to have new topics on the forum to discuss though.

Johnbow - Posted - 08/10/2020:  19:44:35


Yes, sir.

Your quote didn’t grab my edits - slightly embarrassing. I’ll have to remember that’s possible in the future when I’m composing and correcting my masterpieces. :)

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/10/2020:  20:41:05


There's lots of very fine fiddling that does nothing much for me - and nobody else thinks much of the fiddling that really does excite me, so ... there ya go ..... Most of the big names leave me cold.
It really is a matter of taste, isn't it?

gapbob - Posted - 08/11/2020:  07:32:20


I was listening to it and it gave me that feeling I get when someone drags their fingernails on a blackboard, bad shivers up my neck.



Not sure exactly what there is about it, perhaps a little of intonation being sharp a bit overall? Tone of the fiddle?



The usage of fast vibrato, placement of ornaments where they sometimes seem to be shoved in any old place, the choppiness of the bowing are the things I can identify about it.


Edited by - gapbob on 08/11/2020 07:33:06

alaskafiddler - Posted - 08/11/2020:  09:09:56


I guess I don't understand the point? or why it would drive someone up a wall??



Is there requirement to listen to that recording???



I figure folks have different tastes...  and consider possibility they have made a conscious choice in how they want to play for their taste, and goals.

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/11/2020:  11:53:46


I'm with Geo, here: a few seconds into a fiddling recording I know if I'm going to like it or not; if I decide in the negative, I stop the recording and move on - life's too short, etc. The exception is when someone else couldn't wait for me to hear some 19-year-old hot-shot in Virginia who they've just discovered on youtube, and then I just grit my teeth and think of England.

boxbow - Posted - 08/11/2020:  14:36:37


I'm in no position to criticize the man's technique. It's kind of like calling a pro ball player a bum.

I didn't care for the way the instrument sounded and that was the fault of the recording or the playback. The instrument sounded numb. There was something of that in the Burke recording as well. In the end, I liked Kevin Burke's playing better than anything I heard on the Lynch ytube. It was equal parts tune choice and inflection in the playing that led me to that conclusion. Stylistic stuff, to be imprecise.

Woodcutter - Posted - 08/11/2020:  15:23:11


You must be awesome fiddlers if you are criticizing Brendan Lynch. Speaking only for myself I wish I had half the "style/taste (or lack of it)" that Lynch has in that video.

Fiddler - Posted - 08/12/2020:  07:27:55


Good grief! I would just about give my right arm to play like Lynch!! (Listening now. Wow! his take on Margaret's Waltz is just incredible!!)

If you are interested in Celtic fiddling, this is very, very good!

If your taste is more to the unrefined playing typical of OT fiddling, then this is probably not your cup of tea.

Please no flames! I used the word "unrefined" as meaning broadly acceptable intonation, timing, bow control and ornamentation. I know that many in the OT community are playing at the level of Lynch and others. Their technique is quite refined!

When I started playing back in the mid 70s, Celtic/Irish music was the rage. I was deep into it (my record collection is evidence of this!), but my poor technique prevented me from playing or even coming close to replicating what I was hearing. When talking about the fiddlers in this tradition, I despairingly referred to them as "frustrated classical violinists who could get an orchestra job."

When I heard a recording of Tommy Jarrell, I found acceptance of that untrained, visceral fiddling of the southern mountains. It resonated with my soul. However, I am still drawn to the driving fiddling of Cape Breton and Maritime provinces much of which is also shared in Missouri fiddling.

Currently, I feel that with the availability of inexpensive chromatic tuners, there is not excuse for poor intonation! My unfortunate lesson is that I should have paid more attention to this during the first 5 years of my playing! Not to mention bowing, especially on 6/8s!

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/12/2020:  08:14:16


@Fiddler

"When I heard a recording of Tommy Jarrell, I found acceptance of that untrained, visceral fiddling of the southern mountains. It resonated with my soul. However, I am still drawn to the driving fiddling of Cape Breton and Maritime provinces much of which is also shared in Missouri fiddling."

In Cape Breton, the Maritimes, and Canada generally, there are what I think of as 'alternative' traditions of 'that untrained, visceral fiddling', although these seem to be gasping their last breaths. There is an assumption that has become widespread that the fiddlers of those traditions played the way they did because they did not have all the modern advantages, but in actuality, most of those fiddlers rejected the sounds and approaches that they did not feel belonged in their tradition. For example, while the New Brunswick fiddler Don Messer became associated with Prince Edward Island, and was widely heard and seen there, few Island fiddlers had any interest in trying to emulate his clean, slick style, quick as they were to acquire tunes from his repertoire and adapt them to their own style.

gapbob - Posted - 08/12/2020:  09:09:21


I recall Buddy disparaging Don Messer's rendering (simplification) of "A Trip to Windsor," where Messer leaves out the cuts, which are the heart of the tune, on the first beats of the measures having them.



I am sorry that the fiddling of Cape Breton is being slick-ified, I don't go there and my exposure to the current fiddling style there is basically nil.  :-(


Edited by - gapbob on 08/12/2020 09:12:58

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/12/2020:  09:44:01


Don Messer didn't record many Cape Breton tunes; I read an interview somewhere in which he says, "I'll leave those to the experts". Most of the CB fiddlers didn't think much of Messer's playing. I'm sure there was some resentment of his success and omnipresence, but it was more than just that .....



There are some (relatively) younger CB players who have some of the old feel, Wendy MacIsaac as an example: youtube.com/watch?v=Z9znnZioUk4

Fiddler - Posted - 08/12/2020:  11:29:35


quote:

Originally posted by Old Scratch

@Fiddler



"When I heard a recording of Tommy Jarrell, I found acceptance of that untrained, visceral fiddling of the southern mountains. It resonated with my soul. However, I am still drawn to the driving fiddling of Cape Breton and Maritime provinces much of which is also shared in Missouri fiddling."



In Cape Breton, the Maritimes, and Canada generally, there are what I think of as 'alternative' traditions of 'that untrained, visceral fiddling', although these seem to be gasping their last breaths. There is an assumption that has become widespread that the fiddlers of those traditions played the way they did because they did not have all the modern advantages, but in actuality, most of those fiddlers rejected the sounds and approaches that they did not feel belonged in their tradition. For example, while the New Brunswick fiddler Don Messer became associated with Prince Edward Island, and was widely heard and seen there, few Island fiddlers had any interest in trying to emulate his clean, slick style, quick as they were to acquire tunes from his repertoire and adapt them to their own style.






Thanks for pointing that out and reminding us that all traditions have this wide intonation acceptance. I have heard some field recordings of Maritime fiddling that would rival any of the crusty fiddlers in the OT tradition. What has made it on commercial recordings tend to be exceptional and shape my view.



I do recognize that those who are fully immersed in a tradition will know what fiddling style represents them. I know that I am only on the surface of Cape Breton /PEI/Maritime style. I don't fully understand the nuances nor do I pretend to know them or even play it that style. All I know is that I like it!

Johnbow - Posted - 08/12/2020:  11:41:28


Fiddler - what do you mean by “wide intonation acceptance”? Are you referring to a certain looseness in placing the 3rds, as part of a given style/genre or in generally being out of tune? I can’t imagine any group of listeners of any style/genre would be particularly enamored of out of tune fiddling.

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/12/2020:  13:24:30


It's one of those things you either get or you don't - I've seen and participated in endless arguments and discussions on intonation in fiddling, and I've never seen anyone budge an inch yet.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/12/2020:  15:38:10


quote:

Originally posted by Johnbow

Fiddler - what do you mean by “wide intonation acceptance”? Are you referring to a certain looseness in placing the 3rds, as part of a given style/genre or in generally being out of tune? I can’t imagine any group of listeners of any style/genre would be particularly enamored of out of tune fiddling.






Don't get me started on 3rds.  My ears and fingers want to put them in probably three different spots, depending if I'm going up the scale, down the scale, or just doing a major triad.  Then there's the Blues Third, where I tend to start at the Minor Third and then choke upward (I mean slide upward, of course) up to the Major and beyond.

dstans - Posted - 08/13/2020:  09:57:27


This seems to be a dangerous topic, but I wanted to add my own personal take on this. To me, the stylistic difference between Burke an Lynch is akin to the differences between OT and bluegrass fiddling. I've been an OT fiddler for 30 years and what initially drew me to it (and keeps me passionate about it still) is its focus on complex/driving rhythms (bowing) and subtle/emotive phrasing - with less concern about melody, tone, and intonation (although I personally strive for good intonation). The more purified/melodic approach of bluegrass simply doesn't move me - it feels like the notes are getting in the way of the music to me. There are plenty of OT fiddle tunes/fiddlers that are quite notey, but I tend to reduce such tunes to a more foundational state, then rephrase them to suite me. I suppose music is in the ear of the beholder.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/13/2020:  16:28:50


Stylistically I enjoy many styles including old time, bluegrass, various Celtic. It's hard for me to be critical of any fiddler who plays well. I may prefer this over that, but seldom does a recording hurt my sense of taste... except I admit a bias against good players in bluegrass branching out into experimental jazzy music. Ho-hum to a lot of that, with some exceptions. In general I far prefer traditional influenced bluegrass. Also, the Dead influenced Jam Grass is tedious to me. Jamming on one or two chords for long periods of time is boring. Period.



A discussion about musical taste is relevant to me when it's about broad forms but not about a particular fiddler that makes my skin crawl. That seems petty.


Edited by - Brian Wood on 08/13/2020 16:29:52

gapbob - Posted - 08/13/2020:  18:45:30


It's a recording to which I listened and I was wanting to get an idea of what y'all thought.

Tonight I had my tuner play a note and I think what is bothering me is that the pitch seems a bit high. I don't think I have perfect pitch, but that is what I think it was that was getting to me.

Brian Wood - Posted - 08/13/2020:  19:10:50


quote:

Originally posted by gapbob

It's a recording to which I listened and I was wanting to get an idea of what y'all thought.



Tonight I had my tuner play a note and I think what is bothering me is that the pitch seems a bit high. I don't think I have perfect pitch, but that is what I think it was that was getting to me.






I was thinking about that when you mentioned it earlier, and I listened again with that in mind. It could be that, but it's subtle to my old ears. I'm not sure how to measure it objectively aside from what you did. Maybe the band is flat!

soppinthegravy - Posted - 08/13/2020:  21:45:52


Fiddle/violin players appear to have a huge problem with anybody who doesn't worry whether other fiddle/violin players think he/she is tasteful vs. cheesy. Other musicians can be that way, too, but fiddle/violin players seem to be the most bothered. Any idea why?


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 08/13/2020 21:47:10

gapbob - Posted - 08/14/2020:  06:10:56


I think that they are playing a little sharp instead of flat.

Regarding fiddlers worrying about how good their playing is:
I think that it takes us so long to get decent, that the thing we learn most along the way is that we aren't decent. Then when we finally find out that we are, then we still have that feeling of inadequacy ingrained in us.

boxbow - Posted - 08/14/2020:  08:53:54


It's not whether we're decent. It's whether we're decent enough.

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/14/2020:  13:27:59


I'll trot out the old cliche once more. Indeedy, the fuddle is the divil's bots.

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/14/2020:  13:41:40


@soppinthegravy I really don't understand the question - any chance you could re-word it?

sbhikes2 - Posted - 08/14/2020:  19:52:18


I can't criticize a player who can play infinitely better than I can. I can't even play a G scale properly.

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