Thursday, June 29, 2006

Technique: Speed Limit

A good quote from a friend of Brad Hurley, related by Brad on the Chiff and Fipple flute forum:

...playing good tunes too fast is "like roller-skating through the Louvre."

Isn't that the truth? I love Altan, but sometimes they play stuff incredibly fast. For example, I much prefer Matt Molloy's version of Drowsy Maggie to Altan's, mostly because of the more relaxed pace in Malloy's recording. (They play somewhat different versions of the tune, but it's really the pacing which makes the biggest difference to me.)

Some tunes sound really good played quickly, though. I really like Altan's "Tommy Peoples" set on Local Ground. "Harvest Home" and "John Ryan's Polka" also sound good when played really fast, I think.


Anonymous said...

Fast obviously differs for hornpipes, but I prefer Harvest Home at a slow rolling pace. One thing about Molloy is that he makes even fast tunes sound slow; I'm always amazed trying to play along with his Fisherman set how fast he's actually playing. -- Scott

Craig said...

"Brother Steve" calls this tendency for fast players to seem slower than they're actually plaing the "apparent speed paradox." It's true, and you're right that it's probably more important than actual speed in terms of whether or not a tune sounds overly hurried.