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Oct 11, 2022 - 8:07:41 AM
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gapbob

USA

859 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

3. I think several of you should be ashamed of yourselves for the rude things you said about this young musician.

I went through the thread, and nobody said anything "rude" about Tatiana—we have been discussing the style by which she played a tune. She is a great player, just as Mark O'Connor is a great player, but great players tend to play tunes in a way that is different than what we are used to, probably some of that is because they seek to be commercially viable (poor folks, trying to make money by playing fiddle!)

Great fiddlers are, whether they intend it or not, ambassadors of fiddling, and I believe that there is some responsibility there, in terms of presenting what they do as being "traditional."  Perhaps there is a tradition somewhere that was the traditional source for the style of TH's playing, but I have not heard that.  There are other great musicians whose portrayal of their "style" as being traditional has done a disservice to maintaining the traditions.  I suppose there is a secondary tradition, of HOW much alteration to the existing tradition is able to be done without leaving the tradition.  This is a fine point—difficult to be judged, except by those who are well versed in the traditions, and even then they argue, as we are doing here.

Oct 11, 2022 - 8:11:47 AM

10742 posts since 3/19/2009

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob
quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

3. I think several of you should be ashamed of yourselves for the rude things you said about this young musician.

I went through the thread, and nobody said anything "rude" about Tatiana—we have been discussing the style by which she played a tune. She is a great player, just as Mark O'Connor is a great player, but great players tend to play tunes in a way that is different than what we are used to, probably some of that is because they seek to be commercially viable (poor folks, trying to make money by playing fiddle!)

Great fiddlers are, whether they intend it or not, ambassadors of fiddling, and I believe that there is some responsibility there, in terms of presenting what they do as being "traditional."  Perhaps there is a tradition somewhere that was the traditional source for the style of TH's playing, but I have not heard that.  There are other great musicians whose portrayal of their "style" as being traditional has done a disservice to maintaining the traditions.  I suppose there is a secondary tradition, of HOW much alteration to the existing tradition is able to be done without leaving the tradition.  This is a fine point—difficult to be judged, except by those who are well versed in the traditions, and even then they argue, as we are doing here.


I was just thinking about that yesterday, Bob.. While I say I'm an OT fiddler playing traditional tunes, I find that a large number of the tunes I play are either tunes I've made up or tunes that are less than a generation old..Nowadays I just say I play tunes that may not be all that old but are being played in a traditional style...(more or less)

Oct 11, 2022 - 8:53:55 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1091 posts since 6/22/2016

TuneWeaver Anyone who has kids discovers that 'tradition' is a fluid concept: if you do something at a certain time of year, two years in a row, the third year you may well be informed in no uncertain terms that it is a family 'tradition', and be obligated to honour that tradition in perpetuity - or until the kids leave for college.

And then 'traditions' that you yourself never question may not have much more basis - for example, I only relatively recently learned that Christmas trees were innovations in my parents' families within my parents' lifetimes; i.e., when they were kids. I had assumed that Christmas trees were a family tradition that went back to the Druids. Or at least to Queen Victoria.

Relating it to fiddling, specifically: I long assumed that most of the fiddle tunes I got from my mother had evolved through the millennia from the primal ooze through the mists of time till they had luckily survived and somehow made their way into my mother's fingers - now I know that tunes like St. Anne's Reel and Little Burnt Potato were just the latest hits that all the fiddlers were playing when she was a kid (and that after that, she got too busy to keep up with the times).

Not to say that the term 'traditional' is meaningless; just that 'tradition' can be pretty slippery when you try to pin it down ... !

Oct 11, 2022 - 11:34:04 AM

JonD

USA

130 posts since 2/12/2021

I'm still scratching my head trying to understand what it is in TH's playing that dilutes the tradition or is a lousy ambassador of it. Sorry if I'm being dense here. Based on what's been explained above I can't see how it could be down to just choice of bowing patterns, since they are so similar in the tune exemplar. Is it the tone she draws? Long vs short strokes? The dynamics? The intonation? Or something harder to define (I'm guessing this to be the case since it hasn't yet been defined). This is the scrutiny I'm after -- again, I'm anxious to learn.

I'm maybe a bit more familiar with Irish traditional music where there is a thing called 'nyah' which you either have or you don't, and if you do you are truly an exponent of the tradition (spoiler: I'm pretty sure I don't!). And it isn't just parroting the old greats, as I understand it; instead it is somehow related to a certain 'lift' in the music and the spirit that the playing evokes. Pretty hard to pin down, actually. Is it like that in O/T? Is that really what we're dealing with here? And if so, what would be the remedy, if any? Thanks, -Jon

Oct 11, 2022 - 1:01:44 PM
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2150 posts since 12/11/2008

I've probably posted this thought once or twice before, but I spent the majority of my adulthood in the film biz, reading movie scripts, novels, etc. and telling the bosses if they should buy 'em or not. If the material was already bought, I'd suggest ways of making the material either more accessible or just plain higher in quality. In keeping with this, I feel that the quality of an individual performance is preferable to meticulously attempting to reproduce a particular performance from the past. Let the changes happen. It's the emotion and visceral thrill of a performance that counts. Plus, chances are pretty good that this is what the artist of the performance you love did.

Oct 11, 2022 - 1:05:35 PM

10742 posts since 3/19/2009

Scratch, I guess I'm thinking 'traditional' in the context of how OT music was played on the oldest available recordings, or on recordings of people who were old and had heard the music when they were young.. Context is everything!

Oct 11, 2022 - 4:56:23 PM
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gapbob

USA

859 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by JonD

I'm still scratching my head trying to understand what it is in TH's playing that dilutes the tradition or is a lousy ambassador of it. Sorry if I'm being dense here. Based on what's been explained above I can't see how it could be down to just choice of bowing patterns, since they are so similar in the tune exemplar. Is it the tone she draws? Long vs short strokes? The dynamics? The intonation? Or something harder to define (I'm guessing this to be the case since it hasn't yet been defined). This is the scrutiny I'm after -- again, I'm anxious to learn.

I'm maybe a bit more familiar with Irish traditional music where there is a thing called 'nyah' which you either have or you don't, and if you do you are truly an exponent of the tradition (spoiler: I'm pretty sure I don't!). And it isn't just parroting the old greats, as I understand it; instead it is somehow related to a certain 'lift' in the music and the spirit that the playing evokes. Pretty hard to pin down, actually. Is it like that in O/T? Is that really what we're dealing with here? And if so, what would be the remedy, if any? Thanks, -Jon


Years ago there was a recording put out called "in the fiddlers house", which was a klezmer recording that featured some klezmer bands and also had Itzhak Perlman on it. When Perlman played, there was an obvious diminishment in the zest of the music, the undefinable thing that makes it what it is. Yet he is a great player, at the top of his classical tradition, and klezmer music is even a part of his heritage.

Tatiana plays great and has wonderful tone and abilities, plus lots of complex, acrobatic techniques that few fiddlers have.  But if fiddling became that across the board, it would be sad.

There is nothing wrong with her playing, I guess it's more of a complaint that this polyrhythm stuff is a new thing that I don't think belongs in fiddling, but do I am not the judge of that? No, of course not.

Oct 12, 2022 - 7:07:08 AM

971 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob
Years ago there was a recording put out called "in the fiddlers house", which was a klezmer recording that featured some klezmer bands and also had Itzhak Perlman on it. When Perlman played, there was an obvious diminishment in the zest of the music, the undefinable thing that makes it what it is. Yet he is a great player, at the top of his classical tradition, and klezmer music is even a part of his heritage.

Tatiana plays great and has wonderful tone and abilities, plus lots of complex, acrobatic techniques that few fiddlers have.  But if fiddling became that across the board, it would be sad.

There is nothing wrong with her playing, I guess it's more of a complaint that this polyrhythm stuff is a new thing that I don't think belongs in fiddling, but do I am not the judge of that? No, of course not.


You've got it completely wrong. The recording and documentary you mention was a Perlman recording. If you'd watched the documentary it would be clear that it covers the story of Perlman playing with a number of Klezmer groups and traveling to New York and Krakow to perform. He spent his youth in Israel. The film and recording document his journey into what might be called his "roots music" by rehearsing and performing with several different Klezmer groups, from the more traditional to the more modern. The album was a huge success and received great critical acclaim. The Klezmer community was quite pleased with it, and, contrary to your claim, they (and the general audience) made glowing remarks about Perlman's ability to understand and play the music with sincerity. Why do you think his recording of the Schindler's List theme is so highly regarded, if not for his deep understanding of the music? The 16 Grammy awards and Lifetime Achievement Award, not to mention the considerable list of other awards he's earned, must have some meaning.

It's interesting that the album sold better than all the other groups' individual albums combined, and the success of Perlman's album has benefited the other players through the royalties they've received by collaborating with Perlman. The success of that album led Perlman to record another Klezmer album in 2008.

Perlman's playing is hardly a diminishment of the style, and the same is true of Tatiana Hargreaves' playing. If you don't happen to like either, that's fine, but don't denigrate the playing of fine musicians and pass off opinions as facts. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 10/12/2022 07:22:28

Oct 12, 2022 - 8:07:10 AM
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Old Scratch

Canada

1091 posts since 6/22/2016

I think we are all sophisticated enough readers here to understand that Bob was giving his opinions.

Oct 12, 2022 - 8:23:42 AM
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gapbob

USA

859 posts since 4/20/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by gapbob
Years ago there was a recording put out called "in the fiddlers house", which was a klezmer recording that featured some klezmer bands and also had Itzhak Perlman on it. When Perlman played, there was an obvious diminishment in the zest of the music, the undefinable thing that makes it what it is. Yet he is a great player, at the top of his classical tradition, and klezmer music is even a part of his heritage.

Tatiana plays great and has wonderful tone and abilities, plus lots of complex, acrobatic techniques that few fiddlers have.  But if fiddling became that across the board, it would be sad.

There is nothing wrong with her playing, I guess it's more of a complaint that this polyrhythm stuff is a new thing that I don't think belongs in fiddling, but do I am not the judge of that? No, of course not.


You've got it completely wrong. The recording and documentary you mention was a Perlman recording. If you'd watched the documentary it would be clear that it covers the story of Perlman playing with a number of Klezmer groups and traveling to New York and Krakow to perform. He spent his youth in Israel. The film and recording document his journey into what might be called his "roots music" by rehearsing and performing with several different Klezmer groups, from the more traditional to the more modern. The album was a huge success and received great critical acclaim. The Klezmer community was quite pleased with it, and, contrary to your claim, they (and the general audience) made glowing remarks about Perlman's ability to understand and play the music with sincerity. Why do you think his recording of the Schindler's List theme is so highly regarded, if not for his deep understanding of the music? The 16 Grammy awards and Lifetime Achievement Award, not to mention the considerable list of other awards he's earned, must have some meaning.

It's interesting that the album sold better than all the other groups' individual albums combined, and the success of Perlman's album has benefited the other players through the royalties they've received by collaborating with Perlman. The success of that album led Perlman to record another Klezmer album in 2008.

Perlman's playing is hardly a diminishment of the style, and the same is true of Tatiana Hargreaves' playing. If you don't happen to like either, that's fine, but don't denigrate the playing of fine musicians and pass off opinions as facts. 


I understand that this is what you feel, but Pearlman's playing was not as "right" as the other fiddlers on the album (tell me, how would I have this opinion if I hadn't watched the documentary?). He might have played the same, or more difficult notes, as the other fiddlers, but the style of his playing did not meet expectations.  Even one of the fiddlers in the documentary commented about his playing in a measured way, saying it was great to have him participate, but avoided any compliments or effusiveness about his playing, glaring in its omission.

In the film, The Last Klezmer, the klezmer musician who is the focus of the film said that klezmer musicians were all killed off during the holocaust.  (It became a film mostly about the holocaust.).  If this is so, the "roots" emphasis on Pearlman does not work—he did not hear trad klezmer, especially because it was not around to be heard, since the practitioners were all dead.  In addition, he was an immobile youth, dealing with polio, as well as playing violin hours and hours a day.  If I remember correctly from the liner notes and the documentary, Pearlman was happy to be exploring roots that he had not been able to hear previously.

Like any folk music, the notes on a page are a skeletal representation of the music played, so recreations by musicians, who did not grow up listening to this music,  miss the mark.  Unfortunately, there are lots of very capable and talented classical musicians who don't recognize that they don't understand/know the traditional methods, techniques, and ultimately, the sound sought in the folk music, even though the notes on the page are easy.  
 

Similarly, there are an enormous number of traditions in classical music that need to be taught by ear, you can't just pick notes off a page and play them properly—in most cases, they do not apply the folk music, and often hinder proper playing of the music.

Any musician that plays folk music would be ecstatic to have a mainline, top level, commercially successful musician of any sort to play with them—it boosts sales, as you noted, but commercial success means nothing when it comes to the artistic value of the music.  As I said I've been listening to music for a long time—I have opinions and understandings that I think that you might understand if you listen to folk music for another 30 or 40 years, but being that you seem to be strongly embedded in the "I read music so I'm better than all of you" group,  I don't think that's gonna happen.  
 

I do appreciate your insights into violin making.

Oct 12, 2022 - 9:18:56 AM

Old Scratch

Canada

1091 posts since 6/22/2016

Recently heard about the teacher of a famous Canadian fiddler who - the teacher, that is - had come back from WWII with a trove of about 30 violins of exceptional quality that he had been able to buy very cheaply (the famous fiddler had acquired one of them) ....

Oct 12, 2022 - 11:53:29 AM
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DougD

USA

10979 posts since 12/2/2007

I'm no expert on "klezmer" music, and don't know much about Itzhak Perlman, beyond listening to many of his brilliant recordings, but I'm not sure that klezmer music and its players were all destroyed in WWII, just from my own experience.
In high school in the early 1960's, in addition to becoming interested in "folk" music, I also played piano (my first instrument) in a couple little dance combos. In one of these the leader had a "connection" with a social hall in the North end of Hartford, CT. Despite a fancy French name, this space hosted a lot of events for the Jewish community. We played some Bar Mitzvah parties, but most were golden wedding anniversaries, so the attendees were the couple, usually in their 70's, their friends and neighbors, and family, including children, grandchildren and maybe great grandchildren, down to young kids. In addition to our "regular" music we had a book of traditional Jewish dance music - fraillachs, horas, etc. which we played at certain times, and everyone hit the dance floor. I was probably the only goy in the band, although my girlfriend at the time was Jewish.
This was not the same as the musicians in the shtetls of eastern Europe, which did not survive WWII, but many Jews had emigrated to the US before that and brought with them cultural traditions, including music. The guys I was playing with knew what they were doing - it had been handed down in their families. We were playing "klezmer" music before the "revival," and it was a lot of fun (as was my girlfriend).

Edited by - DougD on 10/12/2022 11:57:42

Oct 12, 2022 - 4:22:25 PM

971 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

I understand that this is what you feel, but Pearlman's playing was not as "right" as the other fiddlers on the album (tell me, how would I have this opinion if I hadn't watched the documentary?). He might have played the same, or more difficult notes, as the other fiddlers, but the style of his playing did not meet expectations.  Even one of the fiddlers in the documentary commented about his playing in a measured way, saying it was great to have him participate, but avoided any compliments or effusiveness about his playing, glaring in its omission.

In the film, The Last Klezmer, the klezmer musician who is the focus of the film said that klezmer musicians were all killed off during the holocaust.  (It became a film mostly about the holocaust.).  If this is so, the "roots" emphasis on Pearlman does not work—he did not hear trad klezmer, especially because it was not around to be heard, since the practitioners were all dead.  In addition, he was an immobile youth, dealing with polio, as well as playing violin hours and hours a day.  If I remember correctly from the liner notes and the documentary, Pearlman was happy to be exploring roots that he had not been able to hear previously.

Like any folk music, the notes on a page are a skeletal representation of the music played, so recreations by musicians, who did not grow up listening to this music,  miss the mark.  Unfortunately, there are lots of very capable and talented classical musicians who don't recognize that they don't understand/know the traditional methods, techniques, and ultimately, the sound sought in the folk music, even though the notes on the page are easy.  
 

Similarly, there are an enormous number of traditions in classical music that need to be taught by ear, you can't just pick notes off a page and play them properly—in most cases, they do not apply the folk music, and often hinder proper playing of the music.

Any musician that plays folk music would be ecstatic to have a mainline, top level, commercially successful musician of any sort to play with them—it boosts sales, as you noted, but commercial success means nothing when it comes to the artistic value of the music.  As I said I've been listening to music for a long time—I have opinions and understandings that I think that you might understand if you listen to folk music for another 30 or 40 years, but being that you seem to be strongly embedded in the "I read music so I'm better than all of you" group,  I don't think that's gonna happen.  
 

I do appreciate your insights into violin making.


Again, you're getting the information wrong. Klezmer practitioners did not all die out during the Holocaust. Of course the devastation to the Jewish people was extreme, but it simply isn't true that no one who played the music survived. In fact, the revival that occurred in the 1970s was a product of younger musicians learning from the older musicians who had been famous for decades before. The style may have ceased being popular for a time, but it didn't die out.

Perlman spent his youth in Israel hearing all kinds of Jewish music. He might not have been playing it or seeking it out for regular listening, but it's absurd to say he never heard it, and it's not true. When he made his recording, he spent a lot of time studying old recordings as well as playing with Klezmer players, so it wasn't just reading notes on a page.

I have never claimed any superiority over any other musicians based on the ability to read music. I don't advocate never learning to read, but I don't consider a musician as lesser for not reading music.  

Oct 12, 2022 - 4:37:53 PM

DougD

USA

10979 posts since 12/2/2007

It's certainly true that the klezmer revival was inspired and guided by older musicians like Dave Tarras, just as we were by players like Tommy Jarrell. Interesting that sometimes it was the same youngsters in both camps, and possibly even the mentors. It's said that Tommy Jarrell even helped inspire the klezmer revival.

Oct 15, 2022 - 9:28:20 PM

1551 posts since 7/26/2015
Online Now

I made a mistake. It's only published in two books, to my knowledge: The Milliner-Koken Collection and Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes.
quote:
Originally posted by soppinthegravy

Three things

1.
My Bowing Maps for “Cotton Bonnet”

Estill Bingham
A1 |,,,’,,’’|,’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,’|,’,’,’’’|
A2 |,,,’,,’’|,’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,’|,’,’,’’’|
B1 |,,’’,,,’|’’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,’|,’,’,’’’|
B2 |,,’’,,,’|’’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,’|,’,’,’’’|

Tatiana Hargreaves
(Order is reversed, so her “A” is his “B”, and vice-versa.)
A1 |,,’’,,,’|’’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,,|,’,’,’’’|
A2 |,,’’,,,’|’’,’,’’’|,’,’’’,,|,’,’,’’’|
B1 |,,,’,,’’|,’,’,’’’|,,,’’’,,|,’,’,’’’|
B2 |,,,’,,’’|,’,’,’’’|,,,’’’,,|,’,’,’’’|


2. In case y'all are interested, Bingham's recording of this tune was published in at least three fiddle books, so we can compare/contrast all three.

3. I think several of you should be ashamed of yourselves for the rude things you said about this young musician.


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