Posted by sixwatergrog on Friday, February 10, 2012
Being original does not mean you have to be different from everyone else. In fact, to play with other folk musicians you must be sympathetic to what they are doing and keep your variations and ornamentation within the confines of the tune, rhythm and implied chords. Despite this, most roots music players eventually find their own style. Doing so often requires some kind of personal mission statement - knowing what you want to achieve or attain...and how you're going to get there.
In my case I primarily want to be an old-time jammer and Irish session player and learn the music via osmosis, immersion and exposure to it rather than through reading the dots in the Fiddler's Fakebook, for example. I want to be able to take part in any jam where Irish trad or old time fiddle tunes are played. You can always acquire more physical technique, music theory understanding and fretboard knowledge, but to play traditional music properly you mainly need to listen a lot, learn the subtleties of the style(s), learn the repertoire of the musicians in your area, and train your ear to pick up a tune in the moment. Picking up a tune in the moment can be as basic as playing an approximation of it and/or doing something that complements or lifts the melody.
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