Page 34 - With Pianist Doug MacPhee
ISSUE : Issue 43
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1
Margaret MacPhee today, and accompanying Billy MacPhee at Canadian National Institute for the Blind in 1954 timing, when she'd play a melody with the fiddler. I'll explain it in another way. If you were round dancing with a lady, and she was very musical. Or you skate with someone, and they just flow. They're flow? ing with you, keeping time with you, you know--no matter what you do, they're there. A good dancer. Well, that's the way it is with a good piano accompanist. (So it's not so very new as some people might think, playing the tune on a piano.) Oh, no. In fact, I would say it was more common years ago. Even myself today, I'm not playing as much melody today as I would like. Because you sort of get the message, when you're accompanying a fiddle, the fiddler is the lead man or lady, and you're just an accompanist. Some players don't mind. But then there's other fid? dlers that don't like the melody played at all, so you just don't play it. But see, I came into this sort of an in-be- tween--I'm not with the old-timers and I'm not with the young. The players that I grew up and heard and admired--you know, the top piano players--they all played mel? ody 507o of the time they were playing with fiddlers. So I grew up that way, and I played melody. A lot of it could be, too, today, players are not as particular, I'm just coming right out. A lot of players today are not as particular about note-reading. They'll learn a tune from a tape or off a record. And they might have notes that vary here and there. Speaking for myself, if I leam a tune, I try to keep as accurate as I can. So, maybe this might be a lot of the rea? son they don't want the melody played out-- they're afraid that probably you'd have a few notes here and a few notes there dif? ferent, and would stand out. (Is that a different thing from what we call "variation"?) Yes. It's different be? cause some players were a little careless picking up tunes. They have a very good ear, but sometimes they're out, they're off quite a bit on the melody line, at the end of the tunes and so forth. And to me, that's not a variation--it's wrong. Years ago I was a real sticker on the note. Because that's the way the old-timers were, like Sandy MacLean and Dan J. Campbell and those fellows. Older players. They were very particular how they learned the tune. I'm not knocking today's players. I'm just saying it's different. Some people are not as fussy today--they're more interested in a good swing, in a good lively dance music. And it doesn't matter to them if the tune is right or it's wrong. There's some fiddlers, and piano players too, that have a gift. They can alter a tune without taking away from it. That's a Centre for Intemational Studies UNIVERSFFY COLLEGE OF CAPE BRETON Films and Speakers provided free of charge to Schools - Community Groups - Churches Global Issues! Interested in: Development? Food & Agriculture? TELEPHONE: 539-5300 ext. 277, or 929-2063 Herring Choker Deli "S'f At NYANZA, on Hwy 105 between Whycocomagh & Baddeck '''.llll''i Indian Bay Bakery BretonToyota A Full Line of TOYOTA Products SERVICE PARTS (34) LEASING "Our people make the difference!" New Location: GRAND LAKE ROAD 539-8930
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