Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Session -- Nuts and Bolts and Memories

Jason Van Steenwyk, a traditional Celtic fiddle player, sends us to a smoky pub to read a musical essay by Gerry McCartney:
Traditional music sessions can be awful strange beasts altogether. To the outsider, what happens inside that tight little circle may never be fully understood or appreciated. For example, is there any formal structure, does anyone lead, how do players communicate?, etc. Nevertheless, as most people have experienced, what comes out of it, i.e., the music, quite definitely has the power to override any of these paradoxes. But as to the dynamics of the session itself, clearly, body language plays a vital role as, obviously, the act of speaking in the course of playing a tune is not easy - especially for flute players! This gives rise to all types of nods, winks and nudges from one player to another and may, on the arrival in the bar of one individual in particular, cause eyes to be raised, knowing glances exchanged and bar-stools to be shuffled together more closely, in a sort of silent circling of imaginary wagons...

A wonderful read on this St. Patrick's Day.

Have a good one!

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