kayjayoh: (the meme thing)
[personal profile] kayjayoh
I just got back from the monthly "beginners session" at the Willy St Co-op. It was much smaller than it has been other times I have attended. (I would end up at a small one the first time I actually came to play, wouldn't I?) There were three whistles, three fiddles, a mandolin, and a button accordion. (Huzzah! I just spelled accordion correctly on the first go. Take that, learning curve!) The mandolin and one of the fiddle players were the two girls I'd met at the Brocach this past week. I'm pretty sure I will see them again this Wednesday, so yay for getting to know people!

Unsurprisingly, I was all nerves and fumbles. I couldn't even make it through "Off to California" with any degree of competence, though I managed a passable "Britches Full of Stitches". However, I'm not going to let that scare me away. It's pretty clear that the only way I'm going to get comfortable playing around other people is to continue playing around people, butterfingers and all.

Date: 2008-05-05 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iralith.livejournal.com
Well: from my position a couple rungs down the ladder of musicianship, all I can say is that I'm impressed.

For me, when I try (very haltingly) to play Irish music, I can do OK when I'm just making stuff up. But when I try to play a particular piece (this morning I was having a go at the two you mention above, after digging them up on Youtube), it's murder! The Irish stuff comes so easy to the ear, but somehow it feels harder to translate into finger-->instrument work than other things I've played.

Probably just a matter of what my hands are used to? Or do you have a similar feeling?

Date: 2008-05-05 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kayjayoh.livejournal.com
Besides the nerves, there is also the fact of speed. ITM tends to be played rather fast, which can be technically challenging, even on a simple instrument like tin whistle. I imagine it may be even harder on a box, but I wouldn't know since I don't play that even a little bit. :)

I have an almost impossible time learning ITM by ear, unless it is a song with words like "Mairi's Wedding" or "The Star of the County Down". The tunes are both very simple and very complex, with lots of repeats, near repeats, and other close variations. I find it easy to get lost (where I am in this piece?) and much prefer to have some music I can look at while learning the tune. I've found a good source for both tunes and hints at http://www.thesession.org/

Date: 2008-05-05 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iralith.livejournal.com
>speed

DEAR LORD YES. Totally pwns me, if you'll excuse the expression, when I try to play those pieces at the right tempo.

On the box, I guess, it's harder if you're playing chords to accompany the melody line you're playing. Howeeeeever: as a whistler, you have much technically tricker ornamentation available than I do. (At least it seems trickier to me, based on my hapless attempts on the tin whistle.)

Date: 2008-05-05 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kayjayoh.livejournal.com
Er, yes....ornamentation. <shuffle> Ornamentation... Well, um....

Sixteen years of playing and I still avoid ornamentation when I can. I am, in fact, a mediocre whistler. It is only within the past year, in fact, that I stopped tonguing every note, and I'm still more likely to tongue repeated notes rather than get them with a roll or a strike.

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