There are many different views on what is truly "Traditional" (the Trad Fundamentalist view) and what is "Trad Influenced". I've listened to alot of new music by different artists that some folks say is "Trad sounding" but not really Traditional. How long does it take for a piece of new music to become traditional? What about the effects of intermingling other musical influences (Jazz, Folk, Rock, World, etc.) into Trad Music? Is there a definitive criteria for what is or isn't Trad Music?

Views: 1089

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I realize that the different types of Traditional Irish Music (reels, jigs, hornpipes, aires, etc.) define what is considered to be Trad. But I also know that for some, true Trad stems from the old days of Ceili Bands & Dances. At one time, some instuments (the guitar, bouzouki, banjo, etc.) were looked upon as not being true Trad instruments, yet now have been accepted by most as traditional instruments welcomed in seisiuns. There's also the regimented playing of the music with no room for variations or improvisations ("This isn't a Jam session!!!"). I guess I'd be interested to know how other members define it.

This question is always intriguing for me as someone learning the ITM tradition later in life. I didn't grow up with trad though it was there all around. I didn't embrace ITM until I narrowed my appreciation from music, any music, to folk music, any folk music and especially from folk you rarely hear about... the local folk. But, with the technology of today we can hear from the local folk from around the world quite easily. Beautiful thing it is. Defining Trad has always been elusive as the music has been stated as a "living" entity. One of the best descriptions of Traditional Irish Music I have found, as a starting point reference comes from the ITMA.ie (member here) leaflets: What Is Traditional Irish Music? http://www.itma.ie/images/uploads/leaflet1_2.pdf 

 

Another wonderful source for further understanding Traditional Irish Music is the recently published Companion To Irish Tradtional Music (2nd edition 2011)

http://www.companion.ie/ 

 

Geez, I'm not a salesman, just a student of life.

Also, recently shared thoughts passed along from Paul Keating and friends posting on Facebook concerning musicians and singers in general stated: “Singers and Musicians are some of the most
driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more
day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day,
they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the
disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear
that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility
that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every
note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism
and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people
their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the
family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing
to give their entire lives to a moment - to that melody, that lyric, that
chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Singers and
Musicians are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when
they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that
instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever
be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment
is worth a thousand lifetimes.” - David Ackert, LA Times

 

What Makes Traditional Irish Music?, I don't know if any of this helps, but, the topic is worth discussing and hopefully several other members here will chime in. Thanks for posting. bjk

Hey Bernard. Thanks for your reply, and especially for the links included. I have had the honour to personally be exposed to quite a few different types of "True Traditional Music" from different parts of the world. I especially like your statement that "Defining Trad has always been elusive as the music has been stated as a 'living' entity". I found this to be true for many different indigenous musical expressions. There is a certain "rawness" to traditional music. Although there are certainly many very accomplished musicians, for the most part traditional music is of a "folk'" nature with rural roots. There are many individuals that find it easier to say what is NOT traditional than what is. Sometimes it can get very confusing & frustrating trying to discuss this. With ITM, it can be the same. Are we talking about limited experience and exposure? In a way, yes. For me, the best "True Trad" musicians are usually the ones whose "world" exposure is confined,....pure and innocent, uncorrupted by outside cultural influences. This is not to be confused with simplicity or an inability to be recognized as an accomplished musician. With ITM, the world has shrunk and it's almost impossible not to acknowledge the European influences, as well as other world music that has crept into its sphere. Looking at other discussions posted here at TradConnect (e.g.>The Importance of Tone) it becomes easier to accept.

The introduction of new instruments has altered (and progressed???) what ITM has become today. The use of a DADGAD tuned guitar (kind of replacing the piano from Ceili days), the use of the Banjo as a melody instrument, the use of the Bouzouki (once Greek, now Irish) has had an tremendous impact on the sounds & styles expressed. When I listen to the complex ways and progressions a DADGAD guitar"walks" through a jig, or reel, it's almost Jazzy,...and adds a whole other level of what the music becomes. I guess it's best not to overthink all of this. A "True Trad" musician just might say, "Ach, just a bunch of words, just of load of BULLCRAP!!! Let's just play another tune!!!" (LOL) Cheers,mate,

Danny

It is certainly an interesting discussion here. What is TRAD? Well I for one have to agree that our music is a living entity and is open to change and traditional irish music has went through changes as already outlined. I would worry though about too much change. Remember our music in Ireland is ultimately a dance music. That's why audiences tap their feet, people dance at ceili's and other dances etc.... A lot of contemporary tunes are being composed now but are they truly traditional? Or could you dance to these tunes at a ceili or for a set dance competition? 

I am open to broadening the horizon but I would always stick to the traditions of rhythm and dance. I compose traditional music and thankfully people have commented that my tunes sound traditional. This means that you could dance to them be it jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas etc... When I compose, I always try to think could I play another older traditional tune along with my new composition? Again I am not saying that I am totally against more contemporary compositions with unusual structures but it's important that we remember where the tradition started. 

The tradition is enough for me and I love the way our tunes be it older tunes or newer traditional tunes are open to expression, variation and creativity. 

I too agree where you mention limited experience and exposure, that, "For me, the best "True Trad" musicians are usually the ones whose "world" exposure is confined,....pure and innocent, uncorrupted by outside cultural influences." I love that. However, true trad musicians live in today's world with all its worldly influences and incorporation of various instruments into the music. BTW, I am just as fascinated by the craftsman musicians who devote their lives to making such beautiful instruments throughout history. Yes, true trad musicians whose world is "confined" is what preserves the music regionally, even locally in townships, beautiful as it is in that particular time, that "moment" and that "interpretation", meanwhile the broader living entity of ITM carries on. The longer the local trad musicians play the music a particular way, the style begins (or continues) to become recognizable, and its either adopted or expanded upon by all those individuals who have encountered it. May be a topic for another discussion "style" that is. For me, I enjoy a solo performer or two where I can really listen, listen close to what the instrument (or voice) is really doing as I am still trying to develope an ear. Different strokes for different folks. Cheers, bjk
 
Dhomhnaill A. Lopez said:

Hey Bernard. Thanks for your reply, and especially for the links included. I have had the honour to personally be exposed to quite a few different types of "True Traditional Music" from different parts of the world. I especially like your statement that "Defining Trad has always been elusive as the music has been stated as a 'living' entity". I found this to be true for many different indigenous musical expressions. There is a certain "rawness" to traditional music. Although there are certainly many very accomplished musicians, for the most part traditional music is of a "folk'" nature with rural roots. There are many individuals that find it easier to say what is NOT traditional than what is. Sometimes it can get very confusing & frustrating trying to discuss this. With ITM, it can be the same. Are we talking about limited experience and exposure? In a way, yes. For me, the best "True Trad" musicians are usually the ones whose "world" exposure is confined,....pure and innocent, uncorrupted by outside cultural influences. This is not to be confused with simplicity or an inability to be recognized as an accomplished musician. With ITM, the world has shrunk and it's almost impossible not to acknowledge the European influences, as well as other world music that has crept into its sphere. Looking at other discussions posted here at TradConnect (e.g.>The Importance of Tone) it becomes easier to accept.

The introduction of new instruments has altered (and progressed???) what ITM has become today. The use of a DADGAD tuned guitar (kind of replacing the piano from Ceili days), the use of the Banjo as a melody instrument, the use of the Bouzouki (once Greek, now Irish) has had an tremendous impact on the sounds & styles expressed. When I listen to the complex ways and progressions a DADGAD guitar"walks" through a jig, or reel, it's almost Jazzy,...and adds a whole other level of what the music becomes. I guess it's best not to overthink all of this. A "True Trad" musician just might say, "Ach, just a bunch of words, just of load of BULLCRAP!!! Let's just play another tune!!!" (LOL) Cheers,mate,

Danny

Points well stated Enda about traditional music being "rhythm and dance" music. I seem to forget that.
 
Enda Seery said:

It is certainly an interesting discussion here. What is TRAD? Well I for one have to agree that our music is a living entity and is open to change and traditional irish music has went through changes as already outlined. I would worry though about too much change. Remember our music in Ireland is ultimately a dance music. That's why audiences tap their feet, people dance at ceili's and other dances etc.... A lot of contemporary tunes are being composed now but are they truly traditional? Or could you dance to these tunes at a ceili or for a set dance competition? 

I am open to broadening the horizon but I would always stick to the traditions of rhythm and dance. I compose traditional music and thankfully people have commented that my tunes sound traditional. This means that you could dance to them be it jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas etc... When I compose, I always try to think could I play another older traditional tune along with my new composition? Again I am not saying that I am totally against more contemporary compositions with unusual structures but it's important that we remember where the tradition started. 

The tradition is enough for me and I love the way our tunes be it older tunes or newer traditional tunes are open to expression, variation and creativity. 

Hi all

Enda, you seem to forget that the "traditional" lifestyle did not solely exist out of "rhytm and dancing"....In my (dutch) opinion there's also such a thing as "the songs of the workers". Songs that people sang while working on the field, where there was no time to dance, only time to work your ass off :-) And in the same category, though different, the fishermen's songs, the net hauling songs, and not to forget, the laments. I can't immagine people dancing to a lament :-) All of those not very danceable tunes, but very much traditional in my opinion....Another category altogether, and maybe not to everyone's taste, is millitary music, the marches, many of them played for hundreds of years, and traditional as can be. And this ofcourse does not only imply pipes and drums. 

Anyway, this was just a quick thought that came up while reading the comments, and if I would overthink it a bit longer, I suppose I could come up with more examples, but I think this is sufficient to illustrate my point.

cheers for now, Kees

very true Kees. Songs are a huge part of the tradition!

Hey everyone!!! I am very excited to see this discussion take off as it has. Also, I am glad that Kees (my Dutch Brother from Sean Nos & Trad Singers Group) has brought up other types of Trad music (work songs, fisherman songs, laments, military music...as well the strong and vibrant Rebel Songs, Sailor Songs & Chanties, Immigration/Emigration Songs, Pub & Drinking Songs, etc.). Music has been a very unique yet universal form of expression, easily accessible for & to everyone. The daily lives of the people are expressed and defined in the music. As I've stated in other discussions "Not everyone is a singer, but everyone CAN sing". The love songs sung by men & women also have allowed feelings (of love, of loss) to be shared and related to. I, personally, have a preference for the womens' songs (that's just how I am) and how they express the frustration of living in a "male dominated/patriarchal" society. The "lament" seems stronger when the historical facts are realized. For me, when singing, for a long time I wondered if I should change the "first person expression" in a song from "HE" to "SHE". It was explained to me that the song is acceptable without doing so even though it may be awkward for a man to lament the loss of his "man to the cruel sea" (no intended offense to anyone of Gay/Lesbian persuasion). Triona Ni Dhomhnaill of the Bothy Band singing "The Maid of Coolmore" is a good example of this, as well as many, many other songs. I guess this is also a part of the Traditional expression.

I was also interested in Enda Seery's comment as a composer of Trad Music. As a composer myself, I worry and wonder if any "Trad Sounding" music I may compose either sticks to the accepted guidelines of that music,...or if it sounds too much like something already out there (don't want to be accused of plagierism!!!). I'd be very interested in hearing from other composers and how they deal with this. Cheers everyone. Love where this is going.

Danny

Hi all.

I was also interested in Enda Seery's comment as a composer of Trad Music. As a composer myself, I worry and wonder if any "Trad Sounding" music I may compose either sticks to the accepted guidelines of that music,...or if it sounds too much like something already out there (don't want to be accused of plagierism!!!)


Danny, as you already know I uploaded my own composition "The Quiet Waters"...It was very much my intention to write a traditional song, but I wrote it straight out of my heart, merely on intuition. I have never seen, nor read a book with guidelines for traditional music, although my ideas about that are clear and confined....And plagiarism? Hey, there's plenty of artists that take an existing melody and write their own words to it. I have one example of that on my own page, where I sing "A Bunch of Red Roses", a Dubliners song, based on the much older tune "Ned of the Hill"....I think the main reason for this is that there's hardly any copyright issues in trad-music, because most of the time the composer of a tune has been dead for over 200 years, or is unknown...So, though I have a very strong feeling about what's trad or not, I couldn't even start to explain the rules or guidelines by which trad music is confined....and going to Ireland, I think when you change county , the rules change with it...So, what's trad or not, is yours to decide, and bound by common sense,( I think..... )

cheers Kees

One thing I rarely see here at TC are comments about Scottish Gaeilge & Scottish Trad music. (Last year there was a blog about Julie Fowlis returning to her home island for a music festival.) In checking out the Muireanne Ni Amhlaoibh SOTI interview (on the SOTI website) there was posted a video of a performance with Julie Fowlis & Muireanne singing together and doing a duet on Tinwhistles (worth checking out). After the video ended, a multiple choice screen came up with one being a short film about Julie about 6 minutes long. In it, she talked of Scotttish Gaeilge being used by about 1% of the popualtion, as well as some different types of Scot Trad,....namely "Mouth Music" and "Waulking Songs". I know the Northern Ireland style of Sean Nos is closely tied to the Scot Gaeilge. I'd be interested to hear from other TC members and what they know about this.

In going thru my favorites lists I came across Sabine & Dick Glasgow's "Ancient Music of Ireland" website. Talk about "long term Trad"!!!! Give it a visit. Mr. Glasgow's contributions to TC should be well known to most, if not all, TC members.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Tradconnect Reviews.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

The title of your home page You could put your verification ID in a comment Or, in its own meta tag Or, as one of your keywords Your content is here. The verification ID will NOT be detected if you put it here. .slick-track { display: flex!important; justify-content: center; align-items: center;/* Safari */ display: -webkit-flex!important; -webkit-justify-content:center; -webkit-align-items: center; }