What are we all doing then ?

What are we all doing then ?

I last posted something like this a couple of months back, and I know I’ve moved on a lot since then so I am guessing that you have too. I thought therefore that its time we caught up.

What tunes are we all learning? - how’s it going? - any frustrating trixie bits ? - any bits that you thought were going to be a challenge and then breezed through when you actually tried them ?

For my part, I am very low on reels but I just can’t get past learning hornpipes. My current challenge is The Harlequin on whistle. Anyone out there play it on a regular basis? - what do you pair it with ?

I’ve been at it for a few hours over a couple of days now, and its starting to fly - not got it ingrained yet though - still a way to go on that score.

Come on then, lets have it!!! - your newest favourites - what your planning on doing with them, what attracted you to them, anything you feel like sharing with all of us.

Lets have some contributions from you shrinking violets that don’t join the conversation on a regular basis as well please.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

ok, I’m a shrinking violet.
I never found so hard to learn as on a whistle. I wish I had learned a stringed instrument first. Most tune patterns seem to be suited to strings, not whistles, there doesn’t seem to be a "natural" finger pattern movement there. The techos might be able to explain whether there is anything to it. I love learning tunes now by ear on a stringed instrument. Much easier. Cheers.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Myself, i’ve managed to learn tunes in all the more common positions i’ll be playing in. I’ve learned seven sets. I don’t play the reel sets well though, but i’m starting to get better with variations and articulations for my jigs :) In a couple more weeks(1-2) I’ll be moving on to my next sets. I’ll be learning more of the full sets from "The Eavesdropper", and move forward to more of my favorite tunes. —Things have gotten easier also. I’ve become a lot more familiar with the patterns so tunes are becoming a lot easier to learn. The hard part now is playing them well. —I also plan on learning more tunes on piano, since the one i know is terribly fun to play :) So basically, everything is coming along quite great :)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Skull,

I know exactly what you mean, no matter how many tunes I know (which to be honest is not billions), every new one I try to learn seems to ask my fingers to move in completely new and unnatural ways.

But I will not be beaten !

I do think a lot of it is to do with the instrument that the tune was composed on - but I can’t prove that.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

it isn’t provable I think. and it isn’t explainable by people who haven’t played the whistle either it seems. most irish tunes sit well on fiddles, banjos and similar, I think. Kevin Burke seems to tap into that, I’m sure. His best tunes are fairly finger friendly on the GDAE format.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

…then again, there are "pipes" tunes, that sit really well on pipes, flutes and whistles, but they seem to be a different tribe. It is tech stuff. Pipe tunes sound great on pipes, if that makes sense.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Skull,

Perfectly good sense. trouble is, some of the others can sound damned good too - I’ll just have to keep stretching myself. It has made me wonder that, if you were writing a whistle tutor, you should put all the fiddle tunes at the back under "advanced". I may not live long enough to find out the answer to that one !

I must stop answeing my own post ! - but its the nearest we get to a propper "chat" !

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Hey orme, i think it may have to do with the instrument it was composed on also. I figure that most musicians would compose pieces the way they felt was either more convenient for them, or most suitable for the music. I may be slightly biased though because of my piano background. We can conform to anything with ease. But i can’t say the same for the stringed instruments. I gave up guitar because the chords were annoyingly difficult to play. I can’t play basic chord progressions on guitar cause some of the chords are sooooo difficult. Matter of fact, i gave up because of it. But more directly, the songs and pieces i learned and composed on piano were very difficult to learn and play on guitar, cause the way they were written weren’t convenient for guitar.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

it’s more to do with proximity of notes on a stringed instrument, but with the pipes and whistle you seem to have to tune in more to the intervals between the notes. I’m really not qualified to explain this. It is just easier to play tunes on GDAE than on a whistle, for me anyway. cheers.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Oh go on then, one last one, and then I’ll shut up unless asked to give an opinion !

Fiddlelearner,

I’ve been following your progress on here - and you are doing very well with it IMHO. I admire you for tackling reels so early on - I have a mental block with them - and an addiction to hornpipes (which does’nt help!).

Re: What are we all doing then ?

having read what fiddlelearner said, I would agree…guitar is the hardest friggin instrument to learn these tunes on, or anything else for that matter. Just because it is a "contemporary" instrument doesn’t make it easy. I think it is about the same degree of difficulty as the harp or piano to get right.
If you want to play tunes, just stick to a GDAE or a whistle, and stay off the chordal instruments. They weren’t meant for that.. There are whistle and pipes tunes that just roll off the fingers, but are diabolical on stringed GDAE.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

if you have an addition to hornpipes, it is about rhythm, imo. that is the only problem.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I’ve always liked things that bounce :-)

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I think it’s time i’ve worked on hornpipes matter of fact. I mean, from what i’ve heard, their like reels but slower right?

Re: What are we all doing then ?

hornpipes are a different rhythm, that’s all, same timing.
some say hornpipes are english rhythm, reels are….something else.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

hornpipes are very nice, relaxed rhythm. reels are in the drivers seat.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

what does "english rhythm" mean?

Re: What are we all doing then ?

hornpipes have been described as ‘shipboard’ type tunes with an "english" connotation. In my understanding.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Ahhh, ok. What beats are accented?

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I wouldn’t like to define that myself, it’s too techo for me at this stage, but they are very distinct.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Its funny, Ive recently been playing whistle a lot and so many tunes are ‘easy’ on whistle but dont fall under yr fingers on fiddle, like the Galway rambler , boys of ballisodare , willie Colemans… Johny in the fog but on whistle pretty easy.
I play a lot of tune on guitar, no harder really than fiddle or banjo , for me… now on the 4 string bass tunes are a B**ch. :-)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

The difference with hornpipes isn’t which beats are accented, its which beats are stretched a bit. Don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

maybe do a search on the tunes section of this site for hornpipes then look for good versions on a you tube and you’ll hear the difference.
Some tunes "walk" the whistle (and pipes), and others like to walk the stringed instruments. Kevin Burke, imo, plays tunes that are totally fiddle tunes, sound very comprehensive, and the note finger patterns are handy on the GDAE format.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I’m interested in Kevin Burkes reels. It sounds to me like he accents the 2nd and 4th beats rather than the 1st and 3rd…

Re: What are we all doing then ?

that would be right.
(andt spears were never silver, they were galvanised. She knows that.)

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The way you bow a hornpipe is usually different too— though there are different ways to bow a reel, too, as you’ve probably noticed listening to Mr. Burke!
I’m currently relearning ‘Rights of Man,’ which is very well known hornpipe. I was taught a simple version of it by my teacher who never really focused on bowing, so I had a haphazard way of bowing the tune. Then I see a version of it in this book of Scottish Trad fiddle tunes, and the bowing is almost all in the "Newcastle style" where you slur from the short note into the long one. The Scots apparently call it ‘Cross Bowing.’ It’s great practice, IMHO. Being able to slur into the beat is a great tool to have regardless of tune type.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

TSS,

Liked that first cip - never heard An Sean Bhean Bhocht played like that before. Gives it a different life altogether.

Speaking of hornpipes, I always had that one down as a set dance !

Re: What are we all doing then ?

"never heard An Sean Bhean Bhocht played like that before."

It’s the "Little Stack of Wheat" that Andy Irvine and Paul Brady play after "Martinmas Time". I suppose you could sing the words to An Sean Bhean Bhocht to the tune.

http://www.thesession.org/tunes/6145

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Perhaps the playing of Scott Skinner’s pipe march "The Cameron Highlanders" as a hornpipe is a bit more unusual.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

What tunes are we all learning? - how’s it going? - any frustrating trixie bits ? - any bits that you thought were going to be a challenge and then breezed through when you actually tried them ?

My new tune for this week is Joe Burke’s Jig, also posted in the tune section as The Silver Vale. I am a fairly new player, learning fiddle since Dec. of last year. I often go to a couple of sessions in my area to listen and this tune has been played nearly every one I have visted. I love the lower register of the fiddle, and the arpeggiac (ok, maybe my own word creation) bounce of the A C# E GF#E, A C# E GF#E in this tune. Sadly as I begin to learn it from the recordings I have I find that the A to C# spread is demanding for my little hands and newbie coordination….. still love the tune, motivation to keep at it and practice practice practice until it is a more comfortable stretch.

I don’t yet know any reels. But have a love for the hornpipes in particular. Not necessarily when I personally play them, but in themselves how they are.

Also recently learned a couple of slip jigs and loving the accent of those quite a bit.

A couple of tunes I don’t like….. My Darling’s Asleep and Six Penny Money… both jigs and both in D Major….not that I think this mean anything in particular. (Joe Burke’s is also in D Major, so can’t be the keys fault) But these tunes just really don’t do it for me at all.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

"But these tunes just really don’t do it for me at all."
I know how you feel Deanna. I definetly have my favorites and non-favorites. And now that i am developing a taste for this music, i’m learning what i like :)

I didn’t like all of the tunes from the first CD i bought. But i like most of them now :) Matter of fact, i like them enough to want to learn them, which definetly wasn’t the case at first.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

"My Darling’s Asleep and Six Penny Money."

Both good tunes, though. I think you have to hear them played in a way that gets your ear - for me, it was a flute player who always sticks the latter after Tobin’s. Since one of my "reflex sets" ends with Tobin’s, I finally learned Sixpenny Money just from the repeated exposure.

Lately I’ve noticed tunes dropping into my lap - there’s about three or four tunes that my fingers will fly into, none of which I’ve every really learned, and it’s never quite certain whether I’ll have the whole tune in my head. So far, it’s always worked out - if I don’t know it, someone else does and I can pick it up from them along the way - but it’s a weird thing, and I don’t know if it means anything.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Jon- Tunes dropping into your lap? That means a VERY GOOD thing! It means you’ve become so familiar with your instrument, and the music, that your brain doesn’t need to do as much work to learn something new! What a nice place to be! I’m so happy for you! :)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

*cross post* But really, don’t intimidate yourself. Now would be a good time to try all of the tunes that were just too hard before.

I guess it also means that you don’t know how good you really are. If you are picking up tunes in a flash and it surprises you, you’re using skills that you didn’t even know you had. It’s all second-nature now.

It’s not really a bad thing not knowing how good you are, but i say "don’t intimidate yourself" because you may think something is too hard to learn, that you could probably pick up fairly quickly(if not right away.)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Quite a comprehensive discussion on reels / hornpipes here, if you’re interested, Jerone. You may gather that it’s not simple to explain, and a fair amount of tunes cross over in both directions from one to the other and back, depending on who is playing. I think the confusion arises from the way the tunes are written, as when you hear them played or see the dances, the differences are immediately apparent.

http://www.thesession.org/discussions/204/comments#comment2751

There is a more recent discussion as well, if you want to search for it.

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Re: What are we all doing then ?

Jon K,

I recently had a tune fall into place for me - The Three Sea Captains - it took almost no "learning" at all - but not this latest one. Having said that, the "hard" tunes to learn are not as hard as they used to be.

Its a slow process but overall the trend is an improving one. It still takes a long time to get some tunes "combat ready". Some times there are casualties too. The Lark in the Morning never quite came together and fell by the wayside. I think I just stopped liking it as I got more familiar with it. I can always go back to it in time.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Simple o’carolan on the harp and taking it out to its first sessions. I had forgotten how terrifying I find playing it public as I’ve got the singing sussed now and can sing almost anywhere at the drop of a hat. If I lose concentration, the panic sets in and I’ve lost where I am ! So its all practise, practise, practise and eventually I’ll just get used it as there’s lots that I want to play !

J

Re: What are we all doing then ?

jfother,

And you only live just "down the road" from me. When your ready to "go public", come across to Chesterfield - or sling me an email

Re: What are we all doing then ?

< What are we all doing then >

Still trying to figure out how Charlie Lennon can write such Lovely Music - lol
jim,,,

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Hey orme, another update :) For months i’ve been trying to learn "The Victory Reel" and "London Lasses", and they have been too hard. Until these last couple of weeks. For about a month or so i’ve been retrying them every couple of weeks. I finally learned both of them today. They were still too hard in some places so i had to pull out the keyboard and work some things out there. But unlike "The Graf Spey" i didn’t have to learn THE WHOLE TUNE, on piano first. Just little phrases. They are already showing to be quite fun :)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

EXCELLENT Fiddlelearner !!!!

Don’t let the tunes beat you !!

I’m not sure I understand why you need the piano though - but hey, if it works for you, thats fine.

Update from me - The Harlequin is getting better, I can play along with Liam O’Flynn now (on the recording of course!!)

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I use the piano for several reasons. 1: The tune is in a "strange" key on the recording. 2: The music is moving so fast, just listening isn’t enough. 3. I’m doing something wrong on the fiddle, but i don’t know what, so i work it out on piano so i’ll know for sure. 4. I learn faster on piano(a lot faster) so i can learn a tune on piano then "transfer" it over to fiddle. But the piano is rarely ever involved if the tune is in a common key. These were in Ab on the recording.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I learn all new tunes on the whistle, and then transfer them to accordion. The only time I ever learned a tune on the accordion first was at a music camp, in accordion class. Even though I have been working on the accordion for years, I find it more difficult to learn a new tune on the instrument. For me, playing a tune on the whistle requires little thinking, and I can focus on the tune.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I’m working on Dowd’s Favorite, If you search for it in the tunes section there are a couple of new variations based on a Tommy and Siobhan People’s performace Eoin O’Neill shared on Facebook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw0YYdll_rs&feature=share


I’m also getting ready to dive into Paddy Ryan’s Dream after hearing a good version from Tara Breen on Comhaltas. I keep coming across it and am working on transcribing Tara’s playing, which isn’t easy because she get’s really into her variations on this one, she also plays each part twice as long as many other players do so it’s almost a different tune, but it sounds like "the one" to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mkEcUOxHrU


Re: What are we all doing then ?

I learn everything on the fiddle and then usually end up learning them on banjo through osmosis. It’s really not much learning at all at that point but I might change parts of the tune depending on ornamentation and phrasing, it works pretty much like a formula. Rolls get turned into slides, or rhythmic articulations on one or two notes. or I might tend to do more scalewise triplets or quadruplets to connect phrases, which in turn make it into my fiddle playing. An upwards pick direction translates into an up bow for the most part too I’m finding, although I rarely think about it that way until after the fact.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Some tunes seem to say "play me on the flute" and others …
well, you have no choice but fiddle because you can’t do them
justice on a flute. I’m still trying to make something good out
"In Memory of Coleman". It’s a profound tune and deserves a
lot of time.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Well, 3 pages back now, so I guess were winding down.

Thanks for your contributions - interesting stuff.

Good luck with all your plans and projects.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

It appears MacCruiskeen, Jon Kiparsky, and Llig Leachim are on gardening leave, so perhaps they are playing behind the Bush in the Garden.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Wait, what did Michael do this time?

(I know why the other two got sent to the sin bin)

What the gardeners’ doing then ?

I was working yesterday. So I’ve been offline for 24 hours. I can only guess (it’s usually the longwinded one). Jeremy, could you add a police blotter, for those of us who stepped out to buy popcorn & missed the arrest(s)?

Posted .

~

Sorry. Should have read what are the gardeners doing?

Posted .

Wrong again, I should have not bothered. What did the boys do this time? :-D

Posted .

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Was it my fault ? - or this thread ?

I’ll go and hide under the stairs, just in case.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I have no idea what Michael did but the others got into a row on another thread. Have no idea what set them off, to be honest, but they had a vicious knock-down-drag-out before it got deleted.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Cheers, Emily. I suppose the Mustard will muddle on until they are freed.

Posted .

Re: What are we all doing then ?

I like the notion of session.org police blotter.

Re: What are we all doing then ?

Here is another vote for a police blotter! ha ha