Big Tunes - your favourite?

Big Tunes - your favourite?

We were talking about The Big Tunes - right after we played Trim the Velvet, at the session earlier. Curiously enough, my favourite Big Tune is…erm…Trim the Velvet.
What’s yours?

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

The Foxhunter’s Reel, played in A and tuning the banjo EAEA or played in G tuning DGDG. It’s almost like playing it on an Appalachian dulcimer (only faster!)

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My favorite is The Blackthorn Stick jig. It’s the first tune I play when practicing and I like to call it at our session.

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The Drunken Sailor’s (hornpipe) wears my ar*e out! Love it!

And I agree, The Foxhunter (reel) is BIG tune.

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Does size really matter? Is the ‘The Road to Lisdoonvarna’ any less of a tune than ‘The Gold Ring’ ? I’ve seen this condition before. Tune envy.

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I hear there is a reel called High Road to Viagra to help with that condition Chuneboi….

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Tunes that can open with resonance and repeat into themselves with resonance same is my interpretation of big.

At present I am getting this on Lucy Campbell and The Thrush in the Storm

I’m pretty sure a good player or an insightful tune change could make many tunes sound big

cheers

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Dear Mr Eejit. Thank you for that tip.

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Foxhunter’s Reel in A, crosstuned, is definitely one of the best. Elsewise, the 5-part Lark’s March, which is both beautifully-composed and deliciously…old-sounding.

—DtM

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O’Carolyn wrote Loftus Jones without chemical enhancment (‘cept for alchohol, that is)
…….Always loved Strayaway Child too — is that big enough?

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Cherry flavour!

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Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie

Kitty O’Shea

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Well, well, well, Mr tradpiper. Fancy that. You’ve been playing all these years but still haven’t come across the expression "The Big Tunes". This website really is an education for you now isn’t it? Even though your ego is daily receiving a hiding.
But being a generous kind of guy and I’m just here, as my bio indicates, for a bit of fun, I’ll let you know - what possibly nearly every other player who has played for ten years or more should know.
It first came up on this site a few years ago here:
https://thesession.org/discussions/1794/comments#comment31543
and to quote some of the relevant contributions,

There’s a phrase I’ve heard used by good players "Play some >>Big Tunes"… Big Tunes.. what are they?

- not necessarily tunes with 4 parts or more, like The Bucks of Oranmore, but the Bucks might qualify. So might Christmas Eve, for that matter. Reavey’s reel (the well-known one) also will qualify - so might most Ed Reavey compositions. It’s that indefinable quality of a cracking tune.
Dr. Gilbert’s, Lad O’Beirne’s, JB Reel, Gooseberry Bush, Monaghan Twig are other examples.

me.

In my observation/experience, "big tunes" is a phrase most commonly used by pipers to refer to piping tunes which exploit certain attributes the instrument has in spades: tunes in D mixolydian (C=b7), A dorian (C=b3) and which are pitched so as to allow expressive use of the drones. Seamus Ennis used the phrase a lot in his onstage introductions, particularly in speaking about "The Bucks."

chris smith

I’ve always thought of Big Tunes as being the definitive tunes, the ones that a player can really dig into and tear all the meat off the bones thereof — which often means that a fiddler’s Big Tunes may be a bit different from a piper’s, and so on — tunes that highlight what that instrument does best. Fiddling-wise, Bucks, yes — Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie, being another.

zls

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perhaps you could have a’slag tradpiper. post

Too easy. Boring.

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Lord Gordon
Trim the Velvet
Cherish the Ladies
The Gold Ring
one I don’t know the name of, a four-part jig in G but the last part is in B minor

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>….i will decline from further conversation with you

I’m afraid this is a case of mistaken identity. You are confusing me with someone who gives a shining sh!te what you think. Sorry old bean.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

strayaway child is one of ‘em

and;im kumming round,; two the idea that Aa’slag tradpiper. post mite bee.:worthwhile

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Farewell to Erin
Freize Britches
Kid on The Mountain
Banish Misfortune - especially when everyone really leans into it.

Tony ‘Sully’ Sullivan has also written an A minor tune called King if the Session which I would class as a big tune.

Make ‘em have it!

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Colonel Frazier
Farewell to Erin
Old Bush
Gooseberry Bush
Holly Bush
Gravel Walks
Jug of Punch
O Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick

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Star (not Czar) of Munster
Farewell to Erin
Blue Angel/ King’s Favourite
(that’s not to say I can play it properly)

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Farewell to Erin
Eddie Favourite
Maple Leaf
Ships are Sailling

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This is a great thread, thanks for starting it Key.

The Foxhunter in A is definitely my favourite big tune, and I absolutely hate playing it in G.

Other big tunes I love playing are
Christmas Eve
The Highlander
Jig of Slurs
Gravel Walks

Don’t know if all these qualify as ‘Big Tunes’ to everyone else, maybe just in my little world :)

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Mayor Harrison’s Hat?
That’s sort of big. and a nice flute tune..
But most of my favourites are little tunes that bounce around in your head like a fly in a greenhouseLittle circular tunes like Rolling In The Ryegrass, The Peeler’s Jacket, and The Killavil Fancy.

I think you made a slight error there, Saidhbh, when you included the Jig of Slugs - It’s neither ‘Big’ nor ‘Clever’….
;-)

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I find I can easily carry more small tunes in my pockets than larger ones.

Father O’Flynn’s (aka Top of the Cork Road) always gets my blood pumping, same with the Kerfunken, something about the D octave and the fiddle with both those tunes really makes it sing. That B part of the Kerfunken "just rides, yo" as the hip-hop kids say.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

I love the tunes that put a big fat exclamation point on the end of a set. Especially (for a humble banjor player such as meself) ones where I can pop in some decent triplets. Often times these are high energy two part reels like Glass of Beer, Humors of Tulla, the High reel etc. Or, as mentioned many times above, they are the orgasmic multi-part rockers like Jenny’s Chickens or Farewell to Erin, High Road to Linton or Gravel Walks. Hell it’s ALL good.

I do find it funny that people either loathe or love Jig of Slurs - what is it about that happy little jig that p@sses off so many folks?

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It’s because it’s horrible
:-)

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LOL - I guess it is appropriately named then - it is constantly being Slurred…

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Ah, now, I’ve got him!

Tradpiper claims to be new to the Net, but he’s been posting messages on various sites for at least 5 months. Here’s one from http://www.makingmusiconline.net/index.php?id=13&L=0%3Cbr&view=single_thread&cat_uid=3&conf_uid=4&thread_uid=487.

Note his reply - ‘hi, i may be able to help,new here though so will take a while to get sorted. i play 9 instruments with 35 years exp.accoustic fiddle, guitar percussion,cello,tin whistle, bagpipes/smallpipes,vox….elec bass+ guitar.’

Note the lack of uilleann pipes from that description, but I just love ‘guitar percussion’.

His comments about ‘big tunes’ are equally interesting. ‘On what instrument?’. Sorry, tradpiper, but they’re big tunes no matter what you play them on.

And then there’s his tune choices. ‘Gaelforce wind’? Excuse me, but what’s that? Cathal Coughlan recorded a song with the Fatima Mansions called ‘Gale Force Wind’, but that’s hardly a traditional tune.

‘The Fox Hunters’ in A? Why?

‘The Drunken Sailor’? Jayz, the man must be a fan of Captain Pugwash.

And then he has the nerve to write: ‘Oh and im new here , i dont normally talk that much about music. i prefer playing. so that explains why i havnt come accross this term.any how im off to blast out a few reels and jigs on my pipes.’

So that would be an explanation for more than 200 posts in the last couple of weeks, would it? Presumably, when tradpiper is ‘playing’ he doesn’t converse with anyone else about the music otherwise he wouldn’t come across as the opinionated, self-obsessed arsehole that he obviously is.

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

The Jig Of Slurs is a Highland Bagpipe tune and though I haven’t heard it on the GHB I imagine it sounding better on these than on anything else. As a common-denominator tune in a biggish session it can sag, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who hasn’t properly cracked those triplets in the last part (I realise I’ve never bothered to practise them…).

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LOL Geoff!!
You may well have sussed already that one of the reasons I posted this here thread was to catch him out, and Bingo!

What is a big tune indeed. Still it wasn’t that difficult. Still, he promises he will decline from further conversation with me so I guess I have to be thankful for these small mercies. I’m hoping that means he will desist in posting on any threads I start or post on, cos I just couldn’t be bothered even staring at those posts never mind actually attempting to read them. But I’m thinking the way things are going I may well pull out of here altogether for a while anyway.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Humours of Ballyloughlin
O’Farrels’ Welcome to Limerick
Madame Bonaparte

plus the aforementioned The Gold Ring (there are at least 3 versions to go at)

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

There are lots of wonderful tunes .. At this moment my favorites ones are :
- macarthur road
- craig’s pipe
- enchanged lady
- the cat in the corner:p

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Tradpiper, for someone as remarkably educated as yourself (albeit seemingly self-taught on everything)

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Whoops, I interrupted myself before I’d finished.

Tradpiper, for someone as remarkably educated as yourself (albeit seemingly self-taught on everything), you do seem to have a quasi-canine ability to look at the finger rather than the direction in which its pointing.

That Scottish pipe bands enjoy a melody called ‘Gaelforce wind’ hardly makes it one of ITM’s big tunes.

‘The Drunken Sailor’ is equivalent to ‘The Irish Washerwoman’. You might enjoy the melody, but it’s something not best bragged about in public.

‘The Fox Hunter’ is ‘harder in G’. On which instrument in particular would that be amongst your personal orchestra?

Then there’s this ‘frightening’ gem of a paragraph: ‘you ‘catch’ me and you might get bit. best leave wild animals in there natural environment. saying that though you wanna meet me in a cage? I might be gettin a bit old now but im sure that can be arranged..But i doubt it ,your even older than me!’

So now we know. He’s the Hunter S. Thompson of ITM, sitting there in his trailer in East Clare (or wherever he actually is) surrounded by all the instruments he’s been playing for the last 65 years, with a shotgun pointed at the door, finger itching at the trigger, just waiting for that moment when he can say "OK, accordionist, make my day!"

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

The Groves

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

I try to form mental pictures of posters. The trailer is good but the picture that is created in my mind reading his posts is someone who overpowered the guard that was supposed to be watching him and now he is using the hapless quard’s laptop.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Ooo yeah, the groves gets my vote. I love that tune.

And the fox hunters in G gets my vote. I’ve played it in A for years and wish I hadn’t

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No, feardearg, I think you mean ‘lapdog’!

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I think I’ve seen this movie before too. The angry mob of villagers, armed with pitchforks and torches, marches it’s way towards the dark castle. There, standing defiantly in front of the castle gates, stands the kooky mad scientist who rants "you people will never understand the pure genius of my work!"

*sigh* this scene never ends well for the mad scientist…

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Go Geoff!

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(I just don’t think I’ve been direct enough in my own recent posts.)

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Oh, and how come Danny gets the prize of not being conversed with? I want it too!

Any other vounteers?

(flattens himself against wall to avoid the crush)

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Well I googled tradpiper, but it came up with some wierd results, including this guy. I hope you enjoy this because I think he’s absolutely brilliant….but he’s based in The Canaries so he must have flown there….anyway, just to change the subject, I hope you enjoy….

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Ha ha, ben, being so into myself I missed reading your last post there - I really did LOL.
I suppose we’re all now figuring out the best way to make the "Having Tradpiper On Board Experience" a positive one (Yes I have been to California)….this seems to consist of:

A. Slagging him to bits, cos we’re stuck with him and his unsolicited rants for the time being (assuming of course he is a real person and not just a wind up - but as michael says, why would he spend so much energy just being a wind-up? Dunno Michael, beats me.)

B. Ripping the p!ss out of him, cos we’re stuck with him and his unsolicited rants for the time being …etc, etc.

C. Letting loose uncontrollable online belly laaafffs HA HA HA HA….huuuughhhh (sharp intake of breath).. HA HA HA HA every time he makes an utterance here.

D. or just roll over and let him dominate every thread going with undecipherable heiroglyphics, bad grammar, syntax, spelling and subliminal self-defensive rudeness, oh, and answering every utterance of self expression and your own opinion and experience regarding the music, especially from good young players, with some boorish whitewash, preceded by "I’ve been playing for thirty nine of my forty two years" or some other similar raving.

The choice is yours, dear members.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

OK, trad.
Either:
you are a supreme winder-upperer, in which case I have to admire your animal cunning if not your academic prowess, in claiming to be baffled, etc. Smart bit of the gift the gab, or the e-equivalent.
or this English guy *is* your neighbour, in which case you live in the Canaries, not Clare.

So in all probability you are a wind-up merchant. What a disappointment it would be if you turned out to be Dow…or llig…

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Just about anything from Ed Reavy, Paddy O’Brien, or Sean Ryan might be considered "big tunes"… Some of my favorites:

Hunter’s House
Farrel O’Gara’s
Castle Jig
Ormond Sound
Iniscealtra
Smell of the Bog
The Aughacashel

Pete

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Thanks David. I see it all in a different light now.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

OK. My Big Tunes.

Reels
Trim the Velvet (obviously)
The Shaskeen
Tie the Bonnet
Col. Rodgers/The Happy Days of Youth set
The Dublin Reel
Kiss the Maid Behind the Barrel
The Mountain Top

Jigs
The Battering Ram
Connie O’Connell’s




I’m beginning to wonder if "bigness" means different things to different people. It didn’t used to mean loads of parts. I amn’t sure, but I’m wondering if in this context "Big tunes" is an Ulster (all 9 counties of course) and Scottish term. Is the term used in Connaught at all with the same meaning?

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

"’The Drunken Sailor’? Jayz, the man must be a fan of Captain Pugwash."

&

"’The Drunken Sailor’ is equivalent to ‘The Irish Washerwoman’. You might enjoy the melody, but it’s something not best bragged about in public."

If youse all were referring to the tune I mentioned earlier in the thread you would be mistaken. Here ya go:

The Drunken Sailor’s (hornpipe)

https://thesession.org/tunes/553

Put that one in yer pipe and smoke it 8-)

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

Nah. All the standards aren’t The Big Tunes. Forget the Showstoppers - that’s just the gimmicks. And the canon of The Big Tunes is not the same as the canon of the Big Tunes was in 1957 or 1907 or any century or half century before that. But the canon of The Big Tunes we would assume would comprise of a good few of the tunes which define the whole of the tradition. Or cast their shadow upon that which determines how the tradition is set. Yet they in themselves as tunes have an enduring life within them and a power, some may imbued with mystical, or even in heathen circles, a religious power, to metaphorically make you jump with joy, and fart like an engine, and…whoo-ooo ooo-uummm. Mmmmmm.uhhhhhngn. Time for my tablets again, nurse. Yes that’s it. just a little water if you please, ta.

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Deffo those lovely old pipe tunes - but out of them all, the ones which stand out as the leaders - by most people - those are the Big Tunes. It’s one of those things which as you say, is nebulous, but you’ll know one when you hear it.

It’s like The Big Tunes…. you know, The Big Tunes……erm, yeah The Big Tunes, you know the ones….

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I thought you weren’t talking to Danny?

btw, what happened to the Tribe? They didn’t kick you out did they?

Nights on Hay Bluff, eh? Respect. I’ve cycled over it, if that’s any use …

(Hay Bluff hmmm awfully close to home …)

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Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned ‘The Big Reel of Callightown’ I mean you can’t get bigger than that !
Followed of course by another big tune ‘The Littlle Bag of Spuds’
Feck it …I’m confused now.

Re: Big Tunes - your favourite?

OK, I’ll bite. Here’s my list of big tunes.

Ode To Joy from Beethoven’s ninth.
First subject tune from Rach Two, slow movement.
Woodwinds theme from slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no 22 in E flat.
Lento from Beethoven’s Quartet in F, Op.135.
Lucy Campbell.
Almost any tune from Schumann’s Kreisleriana (preferably played by Martha Argerich).
Blarney Pilgrim.
The slow movement from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings (in fact, I could have included several other Tchaikovsky tunes, such as the 5:4 tune from the Pathetique Symphony).
Little Stack of Wheat.
The aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

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I grew up with a recording of Heifiz playing Bach’s violin concertos…….. Wow!
And all of Beethovan’s 9 concertos with conductor Toscanini…. truly awe inspiring stuff.

But even with all of that behind me, Irish Trad continues to hold me with it’s enchanted, enticingly magical essence.

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Key Maniac, good on yer digger, you’ve produced a bottler of a thread. So multifarious, so full of posing, humour, vitriol and sh*te. Love it.

I’ll just add one more "big" -

CRABS IN THE SKILLET