strathspey Archive: Specific instruments for dance tunes

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Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35583 · Wouter Joubert · 18 Jun 2003 13:25:50 · Top

A question for the musicians: would it be acceptable to specify which
instrument/s one thinks would be best to play an original dance tune?

To clarify the question - when I compose SCD tunes(not too often), I
usually have a specific sound/instrument in mind but not having
published any dances with music, I don't know if one could or should go
so far.

Wouter Joubert
Pretoria
Suid-Afrika

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35584 · Ozorak · 18 Jun 2003 13:56:19 · Top

One could specify instrumentation, but that would have the potential of
limiting the performance options. For example, some accordion bands do
not have fiddle. Other groups may have just fiddle and piano and no
accordions. Some dances, such as "The Clarsach" may suggest a harpist,
but one would have to find a local harpist willing and able to perform
to SCD standards. In short, most regions around the world are already
limited to the small pocketful of musicians able to play for SCD. A
second issue is that dancers have their preference for specific
instrumentation, regardless of what a devisor might intend or prefer.

That being said, I don't think there would be any harm in "suggesting"
specific instrumentation, just as much as one can suggest specific music
for certain dances.

Etienne Ozorak
Pennsylvania USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Wouter Joubert [mailto:WouterJ@TSHWANE.GOV.ZA]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 6:27 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Specific instruments for dance tunes

A question for the musicians: would it be acceptable to specify which
instrument/s one thinks would be best to play an original dance tune?

To clarify the question - when I compose SCD tunes(not too often), I
usually have a specific sound/instrument in mind but not having
published any dances with music, I don't know if one could or should go
so far.

Wouter Joubert
Pretoria
Suid-Afrika

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35586 · John Chambers · 18 Jun 2003 15:18:48 · Top

Etienne Ozorak writes:
| One could specify instrumentation, but that would have the potential of
| limiting the performance options.

Nah; I don't think it would limit the musicians at all, at least not
any that I regularly play with. You just wouldn't always hear it on
the suggested instrument.

There are a lot of SCD tunes that are universally considered "pipe
tunes". This doesn't deter any musicians from playing them. It does
mean that a lot of people will do what much bagpipe styling they can
manage on their instrument. Thus, if I'm playing accordion and have
piano or drum backup, I'll often play just a drone and no chords for
one round of a pipe tune.

Which does bring to mind an accordion joke:

Q: What's worse than having an accordion or bagpipe in your band?

A: An accordions player pretending to play a bagpipe.

Anyway, there's no harm in suggesting a preferred instrument for a
tune. If it's really a good tune for that instrument, the musicians
may realize this anyway, and will likely give a solo or two to the
instrument.

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35588 · SMiskoe · 18 Jun 2003 19:19:16 · Top

John and Etienne both have good thoughts on your query. Music gets played by
the instruments available. You should have your friends try out the tune.
Many tunes are interchangeable on fiddle and accordion but some are best suited
to one or the other. If you are looking for an accordion sound, make sure
that the tune will lie nicely on the keyboard.
Cheers,
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35590 · Ozorak · 19 Jun 2003 01:05:44 · Top

I think I was misunderstood here.

What I meant is that if a devisor insisted that the tune must be played
on an accordion and the local band doesn't have an accordionist, then it
creates a hardship.

There have been many cases where groups we've played for wanted to have
"Reel of the Royal Scots" played on the bagpipes, but there were no
local pipers able to play for 4 1/2 minutes at SCD speed.

Etienne

-----Original Message-----
From: John Chambers [mailto:jc@trillian.mit.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 9:26 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Specific instruments for dance tunes

Etienne Ozorak writes:
| One could specify instrumentation, but that would have the potential
of
| limiting the performance options.

Nah; I don't think it would limit the musicians at all, at least not
any that I regularly play with. You just wouldn't always hear it on
the suggested instrument.

There are a lot of SCD tunes that are universally considered "pipe
tunes". This doesn't deter any musicians from playing them. It does
mean that a lot of people will do what much bagpipe styling they can
manage on their instrument. Thus, if I'm playing accordion and have
piano or drum backup, I'll often play just a drone and no chords for
one round of a pipe tune.

Which does bring to mind an accordion joke:

Q: What's worse than having an accordion or bagpipe in your band?

A: An accordions player pretending to play a bagpipe.

Anyway, there's no harm in suggesting a preferred instrument for a
tune. If it's really a good tune for that instrument, the musicians
may realize this anyway, and will likely give a solo or two to the
instrument.

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35591 · Helen P. · 19 Jun 2003 09:26:14 · Top

Following Sylvia's thought about fingering, it helps if you choose a key
signature that will bring out the best in the specified instrument.

Also, consider describing the desired sound quality with more general terms,
such as "sprightly", "smoothly", etc. After all, even that one instrument
may be capable of a variety of sound textures.

-- Helen (MD USA)

From: "Wouter Joubert" <WouterJ@TSHWANE.GOV.ZA>
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 7:27 AM

A question for the musicians: would it be acceptable to specify which
instrument/s one thinks would be best to play an original dance tune?

To clarify the question - when I compose SCD tunes(not too often), I
usually have a specific sound/instrument in mind but not having
published any dances with music, I don't know if one could or should go
so far.

Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35592 · Mike Briggs · 19 Jun 2003 15:34:14 · Top

Not sure what you mean by choosing a "key signature that will bring out
the best in the specified instrument." Explain?

Mike
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Specific instruments for dance tunes

Message 35600 · DonaldMackay · 20 Jun 2003 13:06:55 · Top

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