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Subject: Defense of music
From: Edward A Beimborn <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Irish Traditional Music List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 15 Apr 1994 17:18:35 -0500
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I think that this gets a little silly here sometimes- Reading from
sheet music at a session as impolite to the other musicians? Do you
folks think that bands should perform without set lists? Seriously
though- many times in a session you will play along with a tune that
is new-ish to you, that is to say- not the final product of 3 yeasrs
of practice. It is often helpful to speed the learning process to
read along. We do a lot of sheet swapping at our sessions, and I
think it is a great thing because we all learn each other's tunes! it
is the best way I can think of to share your settings with people,
because a] they know that you like the tune because you bothered to
write it out, b] they can answer the question "what do you do in the
b part...", and c] because it is a great way of having notes of what
to learn next!
 
Another premise that I find objectionable is that learning aurally is
better than reading. Clearly, if you just listen to one person, it
has a similar effect to reading the setting. I have found that when
trying to convey a setting of advanced level, the sheet music is
almost a MUST to convey all that you are trying to show. Look at the
settings in _The Northern Fiddler_- they are interesting not because
they are unique tunes (many are standards), but because the music as
written is extremely precise with what the performer did. From this,
it is still quite possible to create a vibrant, vigorous, and
improvisationally ornamented setting.
Whenever I see sheet music in a session, I think to myself "oooh-
someone is going to do something really interesting now". I love to
swap it as well- especially if it is a new setting of a tune I
already play.
 
Dan
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