The Marin Irish Ceili

Thinking About Sessions and Proper Etiquette

It's possible to read about proper etiquette and the cultural aspects of Irish Sessions all day long.  Just use your web browser and type in appropriate phrases...I use Google and "Irish Session Ettiquette" and even with the misspellings find a lot of information. There are some common threads. For me, it boils down to respecting others in the group. Even in a public situation, a session is more private than most realize. It's polite to ask what to do rather than barge in and strut around like you are the new center of Irish music.

A couple of misconceptions that are not discussed in detail are backed by rather solid concepts. About the ONE drum/ONE guitar/chording instrument "rule"...well...let's say that the session leader puts a little swing into the tune and drummer A interprets the swing to be one way and drummer B doesn't hear it the same will then hear rhythmic mud and not that crisp rhythm we all want to create. Similarly, if guitar A uses a different rhythm or a different set of chords than guitar B, both the rhythm as well as the underlying bass line is lost. Most folks think that the one drum rule is about the volume of sound. While volume can be a problem, it's more about the insensitivity that two drums might bring to the music. Two drums can work (and work well), but it's a rare thing and best only tried between friends (not family). Multiple chording instruments can also work, but somebody needs to take charge and lead and the rest need to work with the leader.

Knock yourself some a search on the internet. The best thing you can do is go to your first session or two with a friend and ask questions, watch, listen and stick a quiet toe into the sessional water before skinny dipping.

Penned by Mr. Gilder who presides at the Plough in SF

Where else would you look but Wikipedia?

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Ceoltas in Marin

Wednesdays...7:00 PM, St. Isabella School, 1 Trinity Way, San Rafael (Terra Linda)

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