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 way...you 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 out...read some
material...do 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.