learning many instruments

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by henrikhank » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:45 am

Geronimo wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:50 pm
henrikhank wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:26 pm
jozz wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:32 pm
In general, getting into new instruments, meeting people because of it, teachers, musicians opens up all kinds of possibilities, side-projects, learning paths...etc.

So, why not?
Kind of what I'm saying as well!
Because people don't want it. We have this multi-instrumental jazz musician in Germany called Helge Schneider. His career took off when he pretended to be really really bad at everything. People can identify with that.

Must have been frustrating at times.
People want to struggle together with someone. I think a simple singer of country songs is so much more amazing than an opera singer. Peoole like to watch the tv shows with all those sportsmen when they discuss their struggles in life. We have those in Sweden and they are very interesting.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:08 pm

That's very true, George.

I can batter tunes out of various instruments.

I have never really progressed beyond the "fun" stage with any of them, although I did give the method books a good go on trumpet and accordion.

After several years of self taught practice and study, I thought I had made a passable job on the accordion, although falling well short of being anywhere near pro standard. After all, my family and friends, and even one or two fellow players, were full of compliments so it must be true?

I finally plucked up the courage to record myself playing, when the reality dawned. I can certainly play some passages well, but there is a definite lack of consistency, and that has remained the status quo for many years.

After that I realised that I had to be happy just playing for enjoyment, as there was no way I could justifiably call myself an accordionist, any more than I could call myself an astronaut. Houston was in no danger of having any problems with me, and neither were any of the accordion conservatories worldwide.

From a purely personal point of view, the words "accordionist" and "guitarist" convey to me that the person concerned is an accomplished musician, at least to a standard where people might pay to listen to them performing. Some may also claim such entitlement by virtue of having obtained diplomas etc., but I have no real knowledge of the etiquette regarding that. My interest in music only extends to what I can actually listen to.

On the other hand the world is full of people who "can play" the guitar and accordion, or other instrument(s) to whichever standard they like, as nobody but they themselves will really be concerned, unless they happen to be their neighbours!

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:18 pm

I suppose the semantics don't really matter, since we don't depend on words like "accordionist" to convey any precise level of information, but as far as our ambitions go ...

My ideal world is one where
1) music is about public performance, and
2) the level of competence among professional recording musicians is irrelevant.

That's a space that I hope more people will stake out. The people you play with there have a very wide range of talent. Some very good, some you have to wonder what they're thinking - but of course, that's the deal: you don't have to like my playing, but it isn't subject to any specific universal standard of performance. (Maybe the business about one's fellow musicians is less interesting for accordion players, since it isn't by nature so much of a band instrument where you're practically compelled to find other people to play with.)

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:24 am

Hi Donn,

I like your realistic approach to this subject. Many of us probably aspire to mediocrity, but that is fine. In fact, though we do have some excellent musicians at our Folk Club, the majority are happy just to play along and enjoy the abiding sense of community.

Some play multiple instruments badly, while others play multiple instruments very well. Most members fall somewhere between these two categories.

On a personal note, I really enjoy listening to a wide variety of instruments. I love my accordions, but not to the exclusion of other instruments.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by jozz » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:46 am

donn wrote:
Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:18 pm
My ideal world is one where
1) music is about public performance, and
2) the level of competence among professional recording musicians is irrelevant.
As long as the public is matched to the performer I think most of the time the level of competence is irrelevant. If people pay to come see you, you'll probably entertain people. But sometimes you end up in places where things just don't lift off, then high competence can compensate for things. I mean, if it's really good, people will appreciate it sooner even if they are not into the instrument or the music.

So in a way I believe there is a sense of universal musical beauty (not an absolute truth of course but still). More to the lines of, if you play a major chord, it's uplifting, if you play minor, it's sad. And then, if you are shining with your accordion, then switch over to guitar and it's not as good, it's a bummer.

I don't know if this all makes sense :mrgreen:

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:07 pm

When I play minor chords, I'm happy, but that's only quibbling for the sake of it. For sure, level of competence isn't irrelevant at all!

I guess my statement there suffers from a little ambiguity that I missed when I wrote it. Maybe I should have said "the level of competence of professional musicians is irrelevant" - not meaning that it's irrelevant to them, for of course it is, but that it's irrelevant to me. I'm not going to go through my playing career with a cloud hanging over my head because I don't meet the standard of the musicians I might hear on commercial recordings, and I really hate to hear people talk like that. I've performed in public, and I'm convinced that it works: you don't have to be perfect, people get it. But that's not at all saying that it doesn't matter how good you are - it sure does!

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:31 pm

Donn,

An old English teacher at my school told us that the English language was one of the most difficult in the world when it came to expressing our thoughts, as there were just too many ways of saying the same thing.

In Denmark, for instance, there is no direct word for "please", and speech generally tends to be a lot more direct and unambiguous.

So here we are on an English speaking forum, with a host of members speaking their own versions of the language with all its indirectness. On top of that there are a lot of members where English is not their first language.

It's no wonder that we all sometimes end up tying ourselves in knots when trying to make a point, and people often misinterpret what we are trying to say.

I am a dour Scot, who together with like-minded Scots from my part of that country, often tend to appear defeatest and negative when we are trying to express ourselves. It is just a trait among us, which is unfortunately not understood by people from other areas of Scotland, never mind elsewhere. My wife and I are always having a go at each other because I've used an expression from my home area that she doesn't understand, or vice versa, and we were only brought up about 80 miles from each other. To her my constant "pessimism" is annoying, and she just cannot cope with the brand of humour associated with the industrial west of Scotland. Where I'm from bagpipes and tartans are mainly found on cookie jars. I was going to say "biscuit tins", but you probably wouldn't have understood that term.

That said, the only area where I don't seem to agree with you is the bit where you say "music is about public performance". Whilst that is the main thing which compels people to be musicians, hundreds of thousands of us are quite content just to play at home for our own enjoyment, as we simply have no wish to perform in public for a variety of reasons.

As I am definitely one of those in the latter category, I consider myself to be somebody who has an interest in the accordion, and can play a little.

I have listened to accordion music for a very long time and at one stage in my life I had hoped to be able to play to a standard where people would get enjoyment out of listening to me. I never quite reached that stage so what category am I in? I've never been a musician as my day jobs were too precious to risk giving up. So, am I in fact an accordionist?

I think I'll ask a Dane!

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:59 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:31 pm
That said, the only area where I don't seem to agree with you is the bit where you say "music is about public performance".
Here too the misunderstanding is apparently my fault. I was trying to paint a picture of, as I put it, my ideal world, and while people who play only in private aren't part of that ideal - they didn't ask to be part of it! In fact, it seems that they by definition opt out.
I think I'll ask a Dane!
I wouldn't do that! Danish language

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by Geronimo » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:15 pm

donn wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:59 pm
maugein96 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:31 pm
That said, the only area where I don't seem to agree with you is the bit where you say "music is about public performance".
Here too the misunderstanding is apparently my fault. I was trying to paint a picture of, as I put it, my ideal world, and while people who play only in private aren't part of that ideal - they didn't ask to be part of it! In fact, it seems that they by definition opt out.
Your ideal world would not have had the Mass in B minor by J.S.Bach since it was unperformable in the society it was composed in, being unsuitable for either sacred or secular performances.

He was dead for longer than he had been alive when it actually was performed in full for the first time.

Bach was that guy thinking up the greatest musical punch lines when the show was long over. Baroque had closed shop long ago when he came up with new fugues in the old style. And a Great Catholic Mass in old rite?

Clearly his collected afterthoughts are the best of the best but people had moved on. It took centuries for people to discover what a treasure this guy who just could not leave good enough alone had created while being stuck in his routine.

Performances are not always the ultimate metric of music creators. They rule "muzak", the kind of music droning on in shopping centres to stop you from thinking when buying rather than thinking instead of buying. Performances are the ultimate yardstick for the kind of music only written because it pays the bill, not because it served a need of the artist to articulate something important to him rather than others.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:39 pm

OK ... whatever!

Look, let me try again.

Ordinary people are musicians. All kinds of ordinary people can whistle a tune, or sing. If interested, they can learn to play musical instruments, improve their whistling, etc., and many people do indeed seem to be interested.

There's a reason for this: music is a fundamental part of human life.

It's terrible weird and stunted, for music performance to be something that's reserved for children, as it seems to be in our society. Obviously there are exceptions, but they're far too few. There are a number of reasons, I suppose, but there's one remedy: work towards getting out and playing in public. You don't have to, I'll never know anyway, but for heaven's sake, don't hold back because you don't yet meet the standards set by commercial recording artists - that's a dead end.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:34 am

Donn,

Couldn't agree more. I have spent most of Saturday afternoon playing in a local park (for the third time this week), to the delight of hundreds of people who just happened by. Many stopped to listen and applaud my meagre efforts, while some stayed on to chat about music in general and the accordion in particular.

Though I was in pretty good form today, I make no exaggerated claims regarding my musical ability. It is just fun.

Kind Regards,

Stephen.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:37 am

donn wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:59 pm

I wouldn't do that! Danish language
Donn,

I enjoyed that video very much. It looks to be a piss-take by Norwegians concerning the way that Danes speak. About 2.24 in the clip when the guy in the shop grabs the big fellow with the puncture he indicates that he cannot understand a word he is saying and tells him to "f*** off!"

If you didn't know already, and without boring you with too many details, Danish and Norwegian are very close, and can sometimes be identical in the written form. However, the Danish pronounciation bears little resemblance to the written form, to the point where Norwegians have great difficulty in understanding what Danish people are saying. The Danes have what is known as the "glottal stop" which is also found in various English speaking dialects, but most dialects of Norwegian do not have it and the words are pronounced more or less phonetically. Also, Danish speech is more gutteral than Norwegian and they often only pronounce the first part of a word clearly with the end syllable often being dropped or abbreviated. Danes also cannot pronounce the letter "r", whereas all other Scandinavians have a strong trilled "r". Most English Brits have the same issue. We do tend to trill it here in Scotland, but it isn't as strong as it is in either Norwegian or Swedish.

I'm not a native speaker of either Danish or Norwegian, but lived and worked in Norway for a while and I have family who live there. I have also visited Denmark several times and have several Danish friends who now live in the UK. The Swedes have a markedly different written language, but Swedes can usually understand Norwegians, whereas the reverse is not the case.

I won't dwell too much on Finland except to say that there is a Swedish speaking minority there.

To illustrate Danish directness, they'll typically just say, "giv mig en øl" (give me a beer) at a bar. Now, in Scotland we tend to do the same as the Danes, and nobody in either country would likely take offence at that request. There is nothing rude in either Scotland or Denmark about leaving out "please" or any other niceties that apply in other English speaking countries.

FWIW if I go to Sweden or Norway, and try to converse with them in their own languages they automatically think I'm Danish because I speak with a glottal stop and a weak "r".

What has this got to do with accordions? Absolutely nothing, so I'd better stop ranting before I get machine gunned for not talking about "playing the box" (again!).

The accordion is still fairly popular in all of the Scandinavian countries, even although no two countries can decide on the same treble system.

Hopefully the above gobbledegook will serve to illustrate how different users of the same basic language can sometimes turn the most innocent of discussions into total war situations.

Maybe English isn't the best medium for forums on account of that , but "dansk er nok værre" (Danish is possibly worse), as you have suggested.

With regard to playing in public, here in Scotland where there is a strong national tradition of accordion, people expect every accordionist to be able to play the bread and butter Scottish repertoire they are accustomed to. Anybody who cannot deliver such delights is not worthy of listening to, and it really is as simple as that. I used to listen to a very accomplished Scottish professional player, who shared my preference for French musette, and would regularly play in French restaurants in Scotland when he wasn't playing at venues in France. Despite the fact that his renditions of French music were superb, on almost every occasion some drunk would insist that he played a well known Scottish accordion number. His accordion wasn't tuned to play Scottish music, but he would hammer out the requests with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

His reward would typically be "That was OK, but your accordion sounds out of tune". He played a top of the range custom built French instrument that nobody on this earth could have got to sound like a Scottish musette tuned accordion. No wonder that he looked forward to performing in front of appreciative audiences in France. If I had been half as good as he was I might have risked trying to convince a Scottish audience that I was worth listening to. The fact is that I'm not so I play at home.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:12 am

The Scandinavian languages thing is quite interesting, I regularly find out about peculiar stuff that I wouldn't have guessed.
wikipedia wrote:Stød (Danish pronunciation: [sdøð])[1] is a suprasegmental unit of Danish phonology (represented in IPA as ⟨◌ˀ⟩ or as ⟨◌̰⟩), which in its most common form is a kind of creaky voice (laryngealization), but it may also be realized as a glottal stop, especially in emphatic pronunciation.[2] Some dialects of Southern Danish realize stød in a way that is more similar to the tonal word accents of Norwegian and Swedish. In much of Zealand it is regularly realized as something reminiscent of a glottal stop. A probably-unrelated glottal stop, with quite different distribution rules, occurs in Western Jutland and is known as the vestjysk stød ("West Jutland stød"). Because Dania, the phonetic alphabet based on IPA that is designed specifically for Danish, uses the IPA character ⟨ʔ⟩ (intended as a glottal stop) broadly to transcribe stød, it may be mistaken for a consonant, rather than a suprasegmental phonation. The word stød itself does not have a stød
I will try to digest that later.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:09 am

Hi Donn,

Looks like you've come across a throwback to the old days. Icelandic and Faroese still use the fourth letter in the word subject of your example. The capital version of the letter is Ð, and the letter is called "eth". I've never really got into either language as they are a nightmare for non native speakers.

You'd never get to grips with Danish either unless you actually lived there. I can guess a fair bit of it though, and at least they write it in characters I can understand.

Here in Europe, dialects can change every 20 miles or so, and we often have difficulty working out what people in the next town are saying. I have cousins in America and they just cannot handle all of our Scottish dialects. One night we were all sitting talking when Jen, my cousin, asked when "Doug" would be home. We told her that he was lying on the floor in front of the fire. I had asked my wife if she had fed the "dug". The "dug" was our pet dog, Bruno, but Jen assumed we'd been talking about a member of the family she hadn't yet met! On another occasion she asked who "Wayne" was. In my part of Scotland, and in parts of Northern Ireland, a child is a "wean", and I had been talking about our granddaughter. This was made worse by the fact that my wife uses the term "bairn" for a child, and we had been speaking about Paige using two different words.

Gaelic? Not a chance. An estimated 30,000 out of 5 million Scots speak it, and they are welcome to it. It is part of the culture of the so called "Highlands and Islands", and I come from the area of "Coal and Steel", where most of us are at least half Irish, and I have even more Irish blood than most of them. I have enough trouble communicating with my wife in our respective versions of "English", and we've lived together for a very long time.

Enjoy dissecting that text!

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by donn » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:51 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:09 am
Looks like you've come across a throwback to the old days. Icelandic and Faroese still use the fourth letter in the word subject of your example. The capital version of the letter is Ð, and the letter is called "eth".
Well, indeed the character goes quite a ways back, don't know, possibly to rune alphabets. But it's used here in a perfectly modern orthography that I'm confronted with even in the Oxford dictionary installed here on my Mac. E.g., the dictionary entry for "though": though |ðoʊ|

That's the International Phonetic Alphabet, or something quite close to it anyway. A sight better than the Webster type pronunciation guide, in my view, and I have to give them credit for going that route - because it does take some getting used to. And naturally wikipedia uses it too.

I actually spent a little time (very little, really) learning a few words Scottish Gaelic, long ago. I'd have done better to start learning to play the accordion, but at the time that would have struck me as utterly bizarre, compared to learning a dying language spoken on the other side of the world.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by Geronimo » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:20 pm

donn wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:51 pm
maugein96 wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:09 am
Looks like you've come across a throwback to the old days. Icelandic and Faroese still use the fourth letter in the word subject of your example. The capital version of the letter is Ð, and the letter is called "eth".
Well, indeed the character goes quite a ways back, don't know, possibly to rune alphabets.
Well, there is not much of a question around that. It's part of the Old English language rune alphabet that, for example, Beowulf was written in.

While the modern transliteration would be, say,

Gehwearf þa in Francna fæþm feorh cyninges,
breostgewædu ond se beah somod;
wyrsan wigfrecan wæl reafedon
æfter guðsceare, Geata leode,
hreawic heoldon. Heal swege onfeng.

interspersing the occasional runes not in the Latin alphabet with letters in that manner does not appear to render the text more legible. Poor cyning.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:37 pm

donn wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:51 pm

Well, indeed the character goes quite a ways back, don't know, possibly to rune alphabets. But it's used here in a perfectly modern orthography that I'm confronted with even in the Oxford dictionary installed here on my Mac. E.g., the dictionary entry for "though": though |ðoʊ|
Donn,

My experience of language "study" has been confined to what I have been able to teach myself, and I forgot about the orthography used in dictionaries to "aid" pronunciation. Viking runes can be found in Scotland in the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, which were under Norwegian rule at one time. The Vikings and Danes certainly left their mark on Scotland with regard to language, but they never left their genetic tendency to be tall, as we Scots are pretty much a race of the shorter variety.

I'd better not ramble on too much as I'm way off topic, but a lot of the European minority languages are dwindling. Very few Scots know more than a very few gaelic words and most of us can't pronounce them properly in any case. Welsh is still quite widely spoken there, and at a guess there will be a much higher percentage of Irish gaeltacht speakers there compared with the situation in Scotland.

The English as spoken by ordinary people in Scotland has always been fairly distinct from the versions spoken in England.

It probably compares with the situation regarding Flemish and Dutch, but nobody is ever likely to make the case for an official Scots language any time soon.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by Geronimo » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:22 pm

maugein96 wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:37 pm
I'd better not ramble on too much as I'm way off topic, but a lot of the European minority languages are dwindling.
That's the telly's and radio's unifying influence's fault, and it's not like minority music cultures are faring all that much better. Concepts like uncool music and uncool languages require exposure to the mainstream culture.

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by henrikhank » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:23 pm

I just re-visited this thread.
Don't you think learning traditional folk music is easier of you play the accordion? It is only after learning the accordion that I actually started going deeper into this music.
This is an advice I recieved from an expert at Swedish music which happens to be true.
I also find that I come out more and play with others at dances and stuff after stsrting to learn the accordion.
So I guess for learnng certain repertoire on the piano the accordion can be of a great help. Don't you agree?

I feel like I would become better at the piano quicker with only the piano and vocals but I learn much about many aspects of music when playing the accordion that I would not have learned otherwise. I take longer time learning the accordion but I go deeper into the fundemental aspects of music.
I don't really mix up technique (eg depressing accordoon keys like if it was a piano). It happened in the beginning but playing with the bellows is natural to me.
Also I learn a lot avout prqctising when learning borh vocals and accordion.

What do you say about this?

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Re: learning many instruments

Post by maugein96 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:41 pm

henrikhank wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:23 pm
What do you say about this?
I don't have a lot experience of folk music or folk songs, but there is little doubt that if you are able to play more than one instrument you are likely to learn a bit more about whatever music you are playing with every new instrument you learn.

With most of the folk music in Western Europe (I'll include Sweden in that, even although I may not be strictly correct) there may be one or two techniques to learn that are unique to the style concerned, but overall the music tends to be relatively straightforward, and any new instrument should only take a fairly short time to get up to speed on.

In countries like France, accordion students are often taught to sing the scales (solfege) so that they can identify the notes by ear, as well as from the scores. However, quite a few of us have issues with singing and simply don't have the necessary range to handle much more than a single octave. Personally I cannot sing in tune at all, although I am aware of it, so I don't even try.

Don't know if you've ever heard the folk music of The Balkans, but there the music is far more complicated, and learning to play it on the accordion would take a lot longer than say Scottish or Irish folk music. That being the case, learning a new instrument would perhaps not be such a good idea for that particular style, as the study and practice required on each additional instrument would possibly adversely affect progress on the other(s).

There's a French accordionist, named Jo Sony, who has recorded tunes on 47 different instruments in various styles. He is a very accomplished accordionist, but I couldn't really judge how competent he is on any of the other instruments he plays, although he is very adept with brass instruments. I would day he's probably one in a million.

Jazz is a pretty complicated bag of tricks, although even there you sometimes find players who seem to be virtuosi on more than one instrument.

Speaking for myself, although I can "play" quite a few different instruments, the only two I have been able to make any inroads with are guitar and accordion. I find guitar considerably easier than the accordion, as I began playing the guitar very young, maybe about 9 or 10 years old, whereas I never started on accordion until I was 32. What I can tell you is that I am unable to divide my time equally between both instruments. I go through phases where it is all guitar or all accordion.

However I now just play both instruments at home for my own enjoyment, and only made semi-pro with guitar. If I was a member of a band or had any professional commitment, then I would maybe have to force myself to allocate time to both instruments, but the way things are that isn't necessary.

So the answer to your question is that it is really down to the individual. If you think you can manage two or three instruments then try it, but with the passing of time and the associated aging process, I now know where my limits are.

These days I spend more time listening to stuff I wish I could play, rather than actually attempting to play it, but it wasn't always like that.

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