Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

When I began to play Irish music more seriously I bought a copy of Krassen’s version of O’Neill’s 1001, mistaking it for the original. Intimidated by the notation (I was not good at reading in those days), I put it to one side and got on with learning some tunes by ear and from simpler collections.

Nine years on I’ve revisited Krassen and see it in a new light - as a good guide to where to place ornaments and how (if you like Sligo style) to play them.

Does anyone out there have a view on Krassen’s interpretation of the music?

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

I think that there are a lot decent settings in his book, and many of them are indeed improvements over the original O’Neill’s, which was his goal.

One big annoyance for me…I wish he had not written out the actual notes for the rolls. I would prefer to see a ~ symbol above notes where he thinks a Sligo style player would use a roll. Less clutter that way, and also the basic structure of the tunes remains clear. And it would make his book more easily useful for somebody who is not necessarily trying to be a Sligo style player.

I also think that he does not use short rolls nearly as much as a lot of Sligo style players do. So his claim to have notated to Sligo style settings of these tunes seems perhaps a bit dubious to me. They are reasonable settings, but I would not take them to be authoritative Sligo settings. Whatever that would mean, anyhow…

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Bonus points if you know the genre of Miles Krassen’s 2004 CD. (Hint: it’s traditional … but not Irish.)

http://cdbaby.com/cd/rabbimk

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

As Miles Krassen points out in the introduction ‘some of the results may appear slightly overcrowded with ornamentation’.

I see the ornamentation merely as suggestions. Beware of the thought that you have to play * every * ornamentation * every * time.
Try different things if you don’t want to become another Coleman-clone. There’s lots of other ways to articulate your notes (with thanks to Will Harmon - cheshire puddy tat - for his way of thinking about ornamentation merely as a way to articulate).

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Leo Rowsome’s King of the Pipers book is also "overly written" but it is from the master’s hand so I deal with the notation. Its handy to see where the cuts and the pats are, bit it does get busy.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

I’ve never seen the point of putting O’Neill’s collection into Sligo style. O’Neill came from Tralibane , near Bantry , Co. Cork, and there are quite a few tunes in the collection that from their titles clearly came from West Cork, Bantry lasses, Humours of Ballydehob, Banks of the Ilen, to give just a few examples, what does Sligo style have to do with this?

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

True, there has been some criticism on the standardization of all the tunes into Sligo style Krassen has been making. Some tunes simply don’t work in Sligo style because they clearly have another source (eg Northern tunes).

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

and some of the tunes would not work in O’Neills as they come from Northumberland 🙂

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Thanks very much for your views which are greatly appreciated.

Perhaps I should have said that my principal instruments are box and tenor banjo.

As you may guess, the detail of Krassen’s fiddle rolls are slightly academic when playing banjo - some of the rolls in some of the tunes I’ve tried can be executed cleanly note for note, but it’s never easy.

The box (B/C) can do much better.

So far as I understand there aren’t really regional styles of box playing, rather individual ones (box players being far less numerous than fiddlers therefore more likely working in isolation from one another goes the theory) so I guess that playing Krassen’s interpretations of "Sligo" style might not upset any purists so much on the box as it might on the fiddle.

Thanks again

MYBC

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

I prefer his Old Time books. Never bother with his edition of O’Neill’s, he’d have been better off just transcribing the old records. I think only one of O’Neill’s musicians was from Sligo, btw.

Heard Miles is big into the Kabbalah now, so I’m going to guess klezmer.

Huh. Wouldn’t know what to call that, actually.

Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

I seem to have the Krassen’s O’Neills Music Of Ireland too, unused. Have you ever noticed if he did other changes than just add ornaments?

I have never heard of him before but he seems to have been - or still is - very active writing instructional material for different instruments.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Krassen’s versions don’t all seem to match the ones in the reprint of the original that I’ve got, neither are they all the same tunes. For example there’s a big section of O’Carolan’s tunes at the back of Krassen’s book which isn’t in my version of the original.

One virtue of Krassen is that the scores are clearer than in the reprint, and bigger.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I had just finished transcribing ‘My Love She’s in America’ (Dmix & Dmaj) from Alan Kelly’s accordion playing and the tune is right there in the book, not quite the same but identifiable. Very interesting indeed.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

I wonder if the habit of some commercial transcribers of merely putting a zizz above a note to be ornamented is a way of saving the time (and expense) which must be involved in unravelling some of the more complex structures.

Perhaps Krassen deserves a bit of credit for the level of scholarship in his work.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

"Beware of the thought that you have to play * every * ornamentation * every * time"

The Introduction of the book is very enlightening. He has taken ornaments from different variations and put them in the one setting to save space.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

"For example there’s a big section of O’Carolan’s tunes at the back of Krassen’s book which isn’t in my version of the original."

Then he has taken them from another of O’Neill’s books as he says he didn’t edit them in any way.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Krassen’s notation of rolls really works only for fiddles, and it represents only one approach to rolls. There are few if any short rolls, and even fewer other articulations commonly used by Sligo fiddlers. If you take KRassen’s settings as representative of the style, you won’t be playing Sligo fiddle. Hardly "scholarship."

It is what it is—an edit of O’Neill’s written collection. Value in it for sure, but not "the bible" for this rich tradition as it’s often held up to be.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

"There are few if any short rolls,.."

Take a look how he describes the short roll or graced triplet on page 15. If you mean the same ornament then its widely used in the tunes.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

Risto’s right about the short rolls I think.

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Re: Miles Krassen’s O’Neill’s

O’Neills is still considered ’ The Bible ’ not Krassens.

Dave H

Re: Bibles

There is no bible for this music.