Field Guide to the Irish Music Sessionby Barry Foy, Rob Adams
Far from being a spontaneous free-for-all, the Irish music session is governed by a particular etiquette. Traditional Irish music is very specific: specific tunes and rhythms, played on specific instruments. Being aware of the nuances -- passed from generation to generation through the institution of the session -- allows the player or fan to easily follow the music. This book explains it all and includes a glossary and charming line drawings.
- Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.57(w) x 8.09(h) x 0.91(d)
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As noted in the previous reviews, Mr. Foy has written an acerbic and biting work, detailing his aristocratic perspectives of the Irish Music Session. Fully half of this book is devoted to deriding any musician other than one playing a fiddle or, as unlikely as it seems, a banjo. After reading the book, I had hoped that perhaps the author was writing in a tongue-in-cheek style, poking fun at the sometimes too spontaneous free-for-all that some traditional Irish Sessions become. Unfortunately, after attending several sessions led by the author, it becomes apparent that he is deadly earnest in his musical snobbery. In the opinion of this reviewer, the elitist attitude conveyed in the book is more suited to formal chamber music, not the participatory tradition of the Irish Session. Some excerpts neatly illustrate the style of writing... 'Each player who starts a tune does so with a different feel and speed, and the end product is a fickle mishmash that makes listeners wonder why this seemingly antagonistic group bothered to come together in the first place.' 'Accompaniment: The playing of chords on one instrument to go along with the playing of a melody on another. A recent antitrust suit in the California Supreme Court charged a cartel of guitar and bouzouki manufacturers with promoting the notion that accompaniment is appropriate for Irish Traditional music. The case is still pending.' 'Bodhran (pronounced 'bow-ron'): Ireland's contribution to the world of percussion. A large, single-headed hand drum that no one wants to hear but everyone wants to play.' 'The fact that you are holding a musical instrument in your hands does not automatically entitle you to play it.' In short, attend a good session, listen, learn, and forget about wasting your money on this collection of snide commentary.