Abbreviation of "traditional" commonly used in reference to traditional Irish music. Hence "trad band" and "trad session". This knowledge is useful for visitors to Ireland: if somebody invites you to a trad session you should not be concerned that this has anything to do with sex, drugs or illegal activity. However, you should be concerned that it will involve fiddles, bodhráns and even possibly an accordion.

"Trad", as in "traditional", can also be in reference to "trad rock". While the abbreviation refers to the same original word as in ryano's writeup, there is a distinctive difference between trad rock and traditional irish folk music (in addition to some passing similarities).

Kristin Sage Rockermann (her real name? Gods only know) transcribed the following from a conversation she had at a trad convention in a Pitchfork Media review:

"Trad-rock is... well... it's not really Britpop. But you know trad bands... like the Chieftains-- they play traditional music. So, trad-rock is really traditional rock and roll." To clarify, I ask him, "So, you guys are into the Stones and Led Zeppelin?" He laughs a knowing laugh and replies slowly, "Don't you see? We're living in a post-Oasis world."

So, what is trad rock? Perhaps Oasis, Travis, and arguably even Coldplay and the like. In trad you would most commonly hear acoustic or clean guitars and electric bass alongside reverb-soaked percussion (tambourines?) and vocals. It's a loose categorical divison of rock that in many places, the U.S. among them, people have not yet begun to make. Then again, most people in the US have never heard of the Smiths.
When talking about music, trad was, in the UK at least, originally an abbreviation for 'traditional jass'.

Performed by such musicians as Humphrey Lyttleton and Acker Bilk, trad jazz was based around the New Orleans jazz of the 1920s, and much like the trad rock mentioned in Wagstaff's writeup was obsessed with recreating the music of a bygone age, down to original instrumentation.

Despite its obsession with recreating the past however, trad jazz actually paved the way for some of the most groundbreaking music of the 60s. Many of the bands would also perform folk and blues tunes from the same period as the jazz they played, seeing these as kindred forms. Lonnie Donnegan started out performing with these groups before going solo and only performing skiffle - starting the craze that led many young bands, including the Beatles, to form. (The Beatles' producer, George Martin, also worked with both Lyttleton and the Temperance Seven, and Lyttleton's Bad Penny Blues was a big influence on the Beatles).

Simillarly Alexis Korner got his start in Chris Barber's band, before going off to form his own blues band - which in turn featured most of the members of the Rolling Stones in the early stages of their careers.

It now seems ironic that this most regressive of musical forms should have such progressive results, but maybe it's necessary in music to go back to the beginning and strip away all the conventions that have grown up, before advancing again...

Trad (?), obs.

imp. of Tread.



© Webster 1913.

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