folk rhythms

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henrikhank
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folk rhythms

Post by henrikhank » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:23 pm

Anyone here who have experience with folk rhythms ( playing spoons, hambone and similar stuff)?
I recently tried learning this from a video tutorial. Hambone, I guess, sounds like something from the tv show Hee Haw.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by TomBR » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:20 pm

Hi,
Not sure what you're asking about really. I know a good concertina player who takes to spoons sometimes during a (mainly English music) pub session, and it's a delight, gives the music a real lift. On the other hand I know that many tune and harmony players are very suspicious of percussion, it can so easily be awful, and there can be a suspicion that someone is using it as a quick and easy option to join in.
As someone who is mainly a fiddler, learning accordion, I do enjoy playing bodhran when playing with friends, it's quite a challenge and a learning experience to concentrate on rhythm.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:07 am

Like Tom, I'm not really sure what you are asking.

At our Folk Club, we do get people joining in with those rattle things, but this is little different to foot or finger tapping. Some guitarists will strum along and provide a bass rhythm to the accordion or fiddle.

I have visited other Folk Clubs where the bodhran (or similar) is employed to provide a beat, though I personally disapprove of them in general terms. They are okay when being used with the prior agreement of the principle player, but are all too often a source of annoyance when played inconsiderately.

When I have had my turn, I put my instrument down until my turn comes around again. I would never dream of accompanying anyone unless I was invited to do so.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by george garside » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:06 am

I agree in general terms with Stephen about uninvited joining in in a sing around/play around type of folk club meeting . It does however vary from club to club and in a relatively small gathering of regulars most will know who likes to be joined in with and who doesn't. I have always taken the line of asking people to join in or not to join in depending on whose there aand what i'm playing.

As to rhythm instruments or instruments on which only rhythm is being played good ones can be brilliant and iffy ones bugger things up well and truly! again its up to the 'artist' to ask people to refrain or not.
Sometimes however there can be hidden talent awaiting to burst out. Many years ago for somebodys 'leaving do' at work I was asked to bring the box. A new member of staff , a young Irish girl asked if she could bring her guitar. I couldn't very well say no but was not happy about the idea!

I started playing for some spontaneous ceilidh dancing and she joined in on the guitar----- and her rhythm and timing was absolutely amazing. --- I asked her where she had learned to play like that and she said ' oh I sometimes play with the boys back home' - her brother had one of the top Irish Ceilidh bands . So you never know!!

george

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Anyanka » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:05 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:23 pm
Anyone here who have experience with folk rhythms ( playing spoons, hambone and similar stuff)?
I recently tried learning this from a video tutorial. Hambone, I guess, sounds like something from the tv show Hee Haw.
I've had a go at a range of folk percussion instruments at workshops with the excellent Jo May - not bones though. Hambone, as far as I understand, is just another word for body percussion, which we also did a little bit. I imagine you can learn most of the techniques from YouTube, and you could practice with a metronome or to some recorded music.

It's excellent practice for playing accordion, or any other instruments: rhythm is the heartbeat of music, the most fundamental ingredient. You can make music using rhythm without a tune, but melody without rhythm is usually a mess or a dirge.

www.jomaypercussion.co.uk

As the others have said, percussionists are viewed unfavourably at many sessions, but I don't think they're any worse than many melodeon or guitar players - anyone who plays along without listening is a massive irritant. If you sit in the back and percuss away quietly, you should be fine (not that you were asking about that anyway!)

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by george garside » Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:31 pm

Anyanka wrote:
Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:05 pm
henrikhank wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:23 pm

rhythm is the heartbeat of music, the most fundamental ingredient. You can make music using rhythm without a tune, but melody without rhythm is usually a mess or a dirge.

Absolutely! and its surprising how many box players think the rhythm comes from the bass irespectve of whats happening to the melody/tune. The rhythm must be inherent in the way the tune is played and the bass and bellows pulsing just add extra layers of rhythm.
If this were not entirely true it would be impossible to dance to a fiddle or whisle or any other treble only instrument.

george

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by hais1273 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:37 pm

Just occasionally I use a foot tambourine, A few weeks ago I had the audacity to use it to accompany "Rats Brawl", but just in the A part of the music. From the looks I got from some people, well, you'd think I was committing an act of gross indecency on the stage! The other two musicians thought it was fine, it was some of the dancers who got a bit sniffy... Humph, its something different and it's innovation!

I maintain I was on time and it wasn't loud!

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by george garside » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:15 pm

and it saves a wage!

george :D

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by henrikhank » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:17 am

What is a "folk club"?
I think musician can be Kinda too serious some times. I mean, if the musicians weren't serious at a papal Mass we would have a problem but...there are other time when we must be less serious/strict (even if we still follow the rules of music). Just the other day I saw a band playing a song and they had a woman running playing a tambourine. It wasn't too serious but just what we wanted. Had I been better at the accordion I would have joined the jam session.

I guess it's all about taking what you have and make music. I should probably start a jug band and play jazz standards.

But are there any recordings of a band using "folk rhythms"?

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by george garside » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:42 pm

It can depend on whether the sort of folkclub with performers where individuals , sometimes paid, sometimes club members stand out in front or on a stage if there is one and do their thing. The normal practice is for all to remain silent ,in both gob and instrument, during an individual performance and going in or out of the room for a pee or some more beer is only 'allowed between performances. In my opinion tat is correct behaviour.

In a more spontaneous folk club where people sit in a circle and , if they wish. play when its their turn the 'rules' are/should be much more flexible with others joining in unless specifically asked not to by the person playing.

in a session , which can of course be part of the goings on of a 'folk club' the norm is for somebody to start a tune and others to join in where they can. The joiners in should follow the lead of the person starting the tune and not try to highjack it by playing at a faster speed than the 'starter' or playing it differently. Sadly such smart arse highjacking does sometimes take place and the whole proceedings go out of sink.

and yes, some people do get a bit too seriarse about things whilst others just enjoy whatever is being played and perhaps remember that we all had to start somewhere

personally I like people joining in with what I am playing as it not only provided enjoyment but covers (the rare!) cock ups I make!

george

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Anyanka » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:02 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:17 am
But are there any recordings of a band using "folk rhythms"?
Do you actually mean 'folk rhythms' or do you mean 'folk percussion' - i.e. the actual rhythm or the type of instrument?

Here's a video of Jo May on spoons: https://youtu.be/Wjq9FQ-BcNM

Or you could check out Gigi Bolcati using body percussion (we did this kind of thing with him as a warm-up every morning on a workshop weekend recently): https://youtu.be/uTDkoxPrNYw

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by cat » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:10 pm

Most of my gigging was as a drummer (or bassist) and I've not been able to shed my rhythmic inclination. Although I play/perform mostly solo these days, I use a hammered dulcimer, which is a 'tuned percussion' instrument, to assuage my need to strike things.

I've played many hand drums in many varied folk traditional styles - mid-eastern, south/latin american, etc, but as yet, no spoons.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:56 am

George's description of Folk Clubs is accurate, and no-one really minds a little bit of accompaniment, providing it is discreet and unobtrusive.

Problems arise when inexperienced players are overwhelmed by overly enthusiastic percussionists, who cause the principle player to lose track of the tune he/she is playing. We are fortunate that we have only one occasional visitor who brings an array of rattles, wind/rain devices and hand-held drums.

A few weeks ago, I played "The Wayward Wind" (Tex Ritter/Frank Ifield) and was accompanied, without my consent, by one of these damned wind machines. Though I played the tune accurately and with feeling, I felt that the uninvited and unwanted accompaniment was intrusive.

Quite a few of my friends will strum along with me, which is lovely, but they do so in such a way as to enhance the tune I am playing. Supportive accompaniment is great, though I get annoyed when (very occasionally) we have visitors who want to accompany every tune. One occasional visitor rarely puts his guitar down, obviously believing that no-one else can get through a tune without his assistance. Such conceit attracts an adverse reaction from me, and this guy now puts his guitar down whenever I am playing.

All the points of etiquette that George mentions are alive and well at our Folk Club. People only enter or leave the room between performances, and no-one talks whilst anyone is playing or singing. That is how it should be. Accompaniment is fine ............ just as long as the primary player is comfortable with it.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by StargazerTony » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:42 pm

Hi Stephen,

I agree with you completely. Instruments like the spoons and hambone are quite valuable. In fact, I play the spoons all the time, during meals and my last bout with a hambone was in a nice split pea soup.
Cordially, Tony
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Warning: Only speaks/understands American English

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:02 am

Hi Tony,

Yes, like yourself, I use cutlery for its intended purpose. Spoons, especially, have a single use; to shovel food into our waiting mouths.

I hope I don't sound too sniffy, but I have never quite understood the use of kitchen utensils in music. My profound apologies to any here who play the spoons, but I am not a big fan.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: folk rhythms

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:04 am

To expand just a little on rhythmic accompaniment, I would say that it depends entirely on the situation and the people involved. We all have our own "style" of playing, which can often prove difficult for others to accurately follow, and this fact alone causes a musical mismatch.

In the less formal setting of a Folk Club, unsympathetic accompaniment can detract from the musical intentions of the primary player. There are a few members of our Folk Club who know how to provide a good bass line to a tune. They enhance the tune by their attentiveness to the principle player's style, and are always welcome to join in. Others, less so.

In one extreme case, we had a small group of drunken visitors turn up at a club I used to be a member of. One young woman, who was falling down drunk, decided that she would sing along with a song she obviously did not know the words to. The man who was playing the tune is one of the most talented musicians I know, but this did not prevent our unwanted guest from telling him that he was playing the tune incorrectly. She went on in a drunken attempt to conduct his playing, waving her arms about and stamping her feet throughout the remainder of his performance. At one point, she actually stumbled into him.

The point I am trying to make is that "joining in" is not always welcome, however good the interlopers may think they are. The general rule is that someone should (unless they know you very well) wait until they are invited to join in.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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