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Jul 14, 2020 - 11:20:48 AM

11216 posts since 9/23/2009

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?

Jul 14, 2020 - 11:28:49 AM
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1786 posts since 8/27/2008

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 11:39:20 AM

11216 posts since 9/23/2009

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 12:29:26 PM
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8685 posts since 3/19/2009

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

Jul 14, 2020 - 1:21:39 PM
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1786 posts since 8/27/2008

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 1:25:16 PM

8685 posts since 3/19/2009

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

Jul 14, 2020 - 5:34:49 PM
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5799 posts since 8/7/2009

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

Jul 14, 2020 - 6:13:52 PM

11216 posts since 9/23/2009

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 7:07:53 PM

2608 posts since 9/13/2009

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

Jul 14, 2020 - 7:35:23 PM

2608 posts since 9/13/2009

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

Jul 14, 2020 - 7:36:21 PM

11216 posts since 9/23/2009

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 7:36:56 PM

1786 posts since 8/27/2008

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.

Jul 14, 2020 - 9:35:15 PM
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1652 posts since 12/11/2008

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.

Jul 15, 2020 - 5:02:37 AM
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Players Union Member

carlb

USA

2252 posts since 2/2/2008

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.

Jul 15, 2020 - 5:35 AM

4823 posts since 9/26/2008

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

Jul 15, 2020 - 7:03:11 AM
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1786 posts since 8/27/2008

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: http://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.

Jul 15, 2020 - 7:40:40 AM

8685 posts since 3/19/2009

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: http://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.. 

Jul 15, 2020 - 8:14:13 AM

DougD

USA

9762 posts since 12/2/2007
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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

Jul 15, 2020 - 10:14:21 AM
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RichJ

USA

343 posts since 8/6/2013

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.

Jul 15, 2020 - 10:27:06 AM
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1786 posts since 8/27/2008

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

Jul 15, 2020 - 11:23:42 AM

8685 posts since 3/19/2009

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

Jul 15, 2020 - 12:38:12 PM

3540 posts since 12/8/2007

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.

Jul 15, 2020 - 2:48:18 PM
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RichJ

USA

343 posts since 8/6/2013

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.
Jul 15, 2020 - 2:52:34 PM
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2608 posts since 9/13/2009

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. 

Jul 15, 2020 - 2:56:08 PM

1652 posts since 12/11/2008

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"?


More often than not, I'm grabbed both by a particular phrase or riff and by the emotion or mood the tune conveys.  I gotta say, too, that emotion and mood don't necessarily mean wistfulness or sadness.  "Big Scioty" is absolutely jubilant.   "Hell Broke Loose in Georgia," "Cluck Old Hen" and "That's My Rabbit My Dog Caught It" are infectiously silly.  "Big Hoedown" and "Buck Hord" sound drunken and a touch psychotic. 

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