favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

I plan to spend the entirety of St Paddy’s day busking street corners, and have just about a week to fill my head with crowd-pleasing tunes.

My repertoire is tunes that must have developed from an interesting bowing idea rather than from a melody, or tunes with some weird fingering thing, or confusing minor-key airs, and generally tunes that don’t repeat in units less than four measures. Whether you have the same sensibility or not (and no offense! it’s just my personal preference), you know the sort of tunes I mean: Basically *not* the ones that shake spare change from San Francisco pedestrians after they’ve heard five seconds.

Any recommendations? Tunes to make the average urban American say "Dude, Celtic music!" Tunes that are easy to understand, bouncy up-beat tunes, probably jigs

Ideas so far… and I’m not sure any of them but the Kesh fit the bill:
The Kesh
Drowsy Maggie
The Banshee
Spootiskerry
Man from Bonduran
Smash the Windows

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Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

You might want to stop calling the tunes dinky, bouncy and repetitive for a start! Melody is everything. The best tunes are because of a good melody. Once the player is comfortable with the melody, then variation and creativity can begin.

Jigs: Saddle the Pony, My Darling Asleep, The Pipers Jig, The Hag with the Money, Rose in the Heather, O’Shaughnessys etc….

Polkas are also lively and bright: Britches Full of Stitches, The Ballydesmond, Kerry Polkas, My Aunt Jane, O Keefe’s, etc…..

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

From what I’ve been told by a busking friend, Jigs good for a reaction and some coin.
Good luck.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

@rob, Thanks for the suggestions! @nik, thanks!

and @rob re: name-calling:
I truly don’t mean anything bad by bouncy and repetitive. "Bouncy" because I’ve been gravitating towards slower tunes in flatted keys, which isn’t what you want on the walk to work; and "repetitive" because when your audience only listens for a moment, you need a clear melodic line in every handful of notes - maybe repetitive isn’t the best way to generalize them but many of the tunes I’m coming up with have a distinctly repetitive feel.

Not sure how to describe what I meant by "dinky", but ITM novices are drawn to a certain type of tune. I went to a concert recently where the encore set was all requests. A friend of the performer called out for a tune that was some hard to play crazy thing, and two beginners called out for Haste To The Wedding ("Let’s see, does that go like this?") and Gary Owen ("Don’t know I’ve ever actually played that one. I know it, but can’t think of it. Can you sing it?"). Aside from the questionably bad history I just read here on Gary Owen, there’s nothing wrong with either tune…

And hey! Guess I can add Haste and Garry Owen to my list!

Anyone know what tunes Flogging Molly’s used in their songs? Those might be good ones to learn, in case a FM fan walks by

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Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Yap, yap, yap

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Haha wow ok. Umm… Back at the grownups’ table, anyone else have recommendations for ITM-busking’s greatest hits?

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Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

If you’re good, it doesn’t matter what you play, people will drop in your case. And if you play this music right, I doubt there’s a tune that won’t get a positive reaction. And why do you want them to think you’re playing celtic music? The crowd loves Irish all on it’s own to my experience. And not all novices are drawn to "dinky" tunes. It’s not our fault they are popular and they are all we hear at first. And "Haste to the Wedding" is a neat tune. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give "Carmel Mahoney Mulhires" a chance(definetly spelled that wrong.)

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

When busking, engaging the listeners with conversation between tunes, or through nonverbal communication while playing, is at least as important as what you play. People tend to drop more money for people who they connect with. I have seen outstanding players earn very little, while mediocre players pull in the dough.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Off She Goes. The dinkiest, bounciest tune in the world.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Al, I can relate to that. I know that i’m just now reaching the mediocre level for fiddle, but i’ve been performing most of my life so i’m pretty good at connecting with listeners. Even if they are just passing by. Sometimes all it takes is eye contact. Some people will stop and request something specific and make it worth your while ;) I also learned that being casual and comfortable are great ways to connect. People approach me more when i’m obviously enjoying myself. People also tend to have an appreciation for certain aspects. Like some people would tell me "You play violin? That’s awesome, I played but I stopped…" or "I play viola so I respect what you’re doing." or "My sister(or other relative) plays violin :)" or "Hey! I play that!" lol.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

The Star Above the Garter

Okay, so it’s a slide not a jig, but it’s still a bunch of bouncy toe-tapping fun.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Good thing about fiddle is that it keeps the mouth free for chatting with passer bys— or spitting at those who need spitting at.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Irish Washer Woman

another vote for Garryowen

Hornpipes, especially Sailors’ and in UK, Trumpet Hornpipe

the common Boys of Blue Hill / Harvest Home combination

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

The happy clappy picture you paint of yourself and your potential clients is at the same time depressing and hillarious.
Do real people actually say ‘Dude’?! Surely only if they are in some ironic spoof film of surfing six string devil bothering hippies in the 70’s!

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

or in a Bill and Ted film…

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Bonnie Dundee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWTRtTq6J1M


Cock o’ the North
Jig Run Rig

Coleraine
Fair Jenny

Bluebell Polka

You’ll play them better and get more response if you actually like them yourself though, and are not just playing down to the ignorant punters.

You might even discover some interesting bowing ideas.

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Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

All tunes are repetitive, and a lot are bouncy. What’s wrong with calling them that? And some are even dinky. If you want one of those, oilman listed the tunes I was thinking of.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Hornpipes, I’ve found.

Ickle kiddies like them, so their yummy mummies stuff their little paws with change to put in your hat.

Grown-ups seem to like them too.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

I mean the hornpipes, not just the yummy mummies.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Don’t forget to have a placard:
$20 for 5 minutes of peace and quiet
(Cash preferred)

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

I do a spot of busking from time to time. I like to use it as an opportunity to play all the tunes I want to play, that wouldn’t necessarily get played in my local session - and sometimes to remind myself of tunes I haven’t played in ages. I always make a point of not playing the same tune twice in the same day, just as I wouldn’t want to play the same tune twice in one session. I don’t know if this is the most lucrative approach, but it keeps me interested - I can’t imagine people would readily give their money to a bored musician.

I once met a fellow mandolin player busking in a London tube station. Having my mandolin with me (I was rarely seen without it in those days), I stopped to play some tunes with him. But, every time a new crowd of people walked by, no matter what tune we were in the middle of, he would break off and launch into The Lark In The Morning - how infuriating is that? I have nothing against the Lark In The Morning - it’s a fun tune to play - but what about all the other tunes? I suppose, to be fair, it was his busking time, so he was entitled to do things his way. But I couldn’t operate that way myself - I ‘d be sectioned before the day was out.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Dingle Regatta ( with choreography ).

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Since the question is more "what tunes will the passersby like" rather than "what tunes do I like" I have to say that over the years our little trad group has noticed that Lark In The Morning gets more attention than any other tune.

Instrumentation is important too. One time a friend and I busked a weekend. He had octave mandolin and bodhran, I had uilleann pipes, bellows-blown Scottish smallpipes, wood flute, and various whistles.

We tried all the various combinations of instruments and we discovered that, by far, we got the most attention (and the most money) when our duet was Scottish smallpipes and bodhran.

For some incomprehensible reason the public was fascinated by the bellows on the Scottish smallpipes but not the bellows on the uilleann pipes! Whenever I played the SSPs people would stop and stare and point out the bellows to each other and even mimick the arm action… but none of this with the uilleann pipes, though in fact I used the same set of bellows for both pipes.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

The Scottish Small Pipes are the ones that point upwards and outwards right? Maybe that’s why?

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

Fr. O’Flynn a la Billy Pigg.

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

@Richard D Cook:

Ah, it’s like this (I suspect):

The Scottish smallpipes sounds - even to a non-muso punter - like a baby Highland bagpipe. A proper bagpipe, in fact. Therefore it is a real bagpipe. It can play Amazing Grace and Mull Of Kintyre fairly like a real bagpipe.

The uilleann pipes can also play Amazing Grace and The Mull Of Kintyre. It’s just that these sound like a flock of mallard in the throes of mating combined with the alarming gurgles of plumbing about to explode. The instrument looks like plumbing that *has* exploded. These factors do not persuade the punter that he is listening to a real bagpipe, or indeed a real anything he can recognise. He avoids eye contact and walks on, shoving the disconcerting apparition to the bottom of his psyche. ;-)

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

@Richard re small v uilleann — — did you have the straps tied around your arm? I can’t of other musicians whose performance involves being bound with leather. Though to be fair, both are worthy of a stare: the first uilleann pipe experience I remember was from a distance, and the impression was twenty pipes reaching ten feet to the side, straight out of HG Wells.

@nicholas and morgan re mummies and kiddies and placards
— — I think we’re on to something. Maybe "$3 for silence, $5 for one of these Angry Birds toys, $20 to tell the guy you’re with he ought to appreciate what he has."

@yhaal dude we’re talkin california.

Working on my Quebecois seated clogging, but that won’t be ready by the 17th. A friend’s been wanting me to learn unicycle, and who wouldn’t pay money for a wheeled fiddler? Wouldn’t be alone: 1,270,000 google results for "unicycle fiddle."

Back on topic: one the first results has a guy playing Tobin’s.

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Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

I always thought the Scottish small pipes sounded like midi files.

*ducks and runs for cover*

Re: favorite dinky bouncy repetetive tunes to get ITM-naive passersby stamping their feet?

"When busking, engaging the listeners with conversation between tunes"

In London this is liable to get your busking licence revoked…