Blakan irish tunes

Blakan irish tunes

I very interested in learning some of the balkan/irish tunes like the ones on Planxty albums. The tunes flow from irish to balkan and sound fantastic. Is there any other bands that do this? Is there a place where I could find such tunes……………….

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Re: Blakan irish tunes

learn them of the records

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Your last piece of advice was ’ stop hanging around geeky website’ and now this great peice of advice………Thanks, if I could learn it from the record, would I ask for help. Your obviously the genius in a session that knows it all, no wonder beginners have such a hard time in a session with ol’ farts like you to help………

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erin, I’m sorry, I wasn’t wanting to be flipant here. Every one was a beginner once, indeed, I reckon everyone will always be a beginner. I know I will always be.

But to be more pactical. I remember when Planxty’s After the Break came out and it having a huge influence on my playing. And I did indeed struggle for years to learn Smeceno Horo, I can just about play it now, though with little finnes, and I still forget the order of the parts. I learn’t it first on the bazooki and found it reletivley straight forward, but on the fiddle I found it harder, the bowing is so alien to standard diddling. I think the point I’m making though is that if you can’t learn it off the record, you’ll have no chance off a sheet of music. The notes are not hard to play in order, there is no fancy cross fingering or difficult jumps, it’s getting the timing into your head that takes a leap of imagination, and you will only be able to do this by listening to it.

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Actually Erin, he’s right - even if he’s brutal.

You really can do it! It may be hard work - but if don’t be put off by hard work……..

A tip: get the tunes on CD, or even repeated over on a cassette so that you can listen over and over and over and over again (play it whenever you are driving for instance - thats what I do). Get the tune so thoroughly fixed in your head that when you try picking it out on an instrument you don’t lose your place in the tune just because you played a wrong note.

I was forced to learn to play without the dots by a two year old girl who had a book of nursery rhymes and wanted me to play the tunes, and I realised that you can only play without the dots if you REALLY know the tune.

Just for the record, the little girl went on to learn piano, whistle, clarinet, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and concertina, in that order. She is now 19 and is studying for a music degree, and is planning to start up a music academy in Santo Domingo, Ecuador.

Good luck with the tunes, I need help with geography - are the blakans anywhere near the balkans?

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Bravo for that reply, Michael. I thought for a moment we were going to have to call you Michael Flatulence from Erin

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Well, Thanks anyway to you all, Michael too! I guess the ears could do with a work out…………………I guess my spelling could do with a work out too.the blakans, indeed!!

Erin

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Erin, there’s plenty of software to slow down your CD’s. I personally think the Amazing Slow Downer is the best thing (for me anyway). I use it all the time to learn tunes off my CD’s. I’m still a beginner and have trouble learning tunes at full speed off my CD’s. So the ASD is invaluable to me.

Here’s the link in case you are interested:
http://www.ronimusic.com/

Joyce

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The exchange of tunes is what keeps traditional Irish music alive. This website is one way of passing on jigs, reels and other dance tunes. (that’s a quotation! guess from where!)

I don’t think that replies like; "learn them of the records " are very constructive and in the spirit of what is written above.
Poor old Paul

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Paul, the only reason the ABC thing works here is because we’re familliar with what diddley music sounds like already. Try writing smeceno horo out in ABC and you wouldn’t have a cat in hells chance.
I’m sorry, but "learn them off the records" is still the second best way to learn tunes. And I am being constructive.

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If anyone is interested this is the tune that is bugging me. It is in 44/16. It even has a video clip, sound and the tune buzzes round my head. If any of you guys with a good ear and far too much time on your hands, I’d appreciate the help…………..I have tried many times. (duo with Gerry of a Macedonian dance tune in 44/16 time.) http://www.massmedia.com/~mikeb/mando/airvine.html

Thanks again to all, Sorry for the ol’ fart comment Michael !!

Erin
erinstrings@yahoo.co.uk

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Erin, try writing Andy for advice. He can be quite nice and it wouldn’t surprise me if he might be able to give you a few tips on getting the feel of that monster time signature. You can contact him at andy @ andyirvine.com (without the spaces).

I’m afraid that while I enjoy listening to others play Balkan tunes, I’ve little to no interest in learning them myself. But you might want to play with the time signature and see how you can subdivide it to find a way of counting it that makes sense to you. (For instance, in 7/8, I usually count 1-2-3, 1234 or vice versa depending on the tune.)

The other thing you might try is to find a real live Balkan musician willing to help you.

Good luck!

Zina

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It’s at times like this I tend to regret not being stronger in my music theory. I can read music, but not with a lot of confidence, so it really helps me that much more to have the tune pretty well ensconced in my head. That said, if I’m dealing with a rhythm or time signature that is pretty unfamiliar to me, having the tune in my head only helps so much.
E.g., I learned the nifty Macedonian tune "Antice" (which is on Andy Irvine’s "East Wind" album — and on Kate Bush’s "The Sensual World," FYI, played with pipes, fiddle and whistle!) after downloading the sheet music off the ‘Net. But I know I don’t quite have the exact 7/8 time down. Nonetheless, it’s still enough for me to play along to the recording and feel some satisfaction.

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Erin, do you know anyone who is familiar with compound time signatures (7/8, 5/8) etc and could demonstrate them to you? It’s amazing how the fog clears if someone shows you how to count it and how to groove it. If it’s a consistent 7/8 then that’s not too hard once you get it - it’s usually either: 2/2/3, like this:
One-two, one-two, one-two-three/ One-two, one-two, one-two-three/…
or
3/2/2, like this:
One-two-three, one-two, one-two/ One-two-three, one-two, one-two/…

Once you’ve established where the twos are and where the threes are, things get much clearer.
Um, don’t know if that helps at all. But if somebody shows you, it should click. The other important thing is that once you get it, stop counting as soon as possible and just feel the groove. While you still have to count it in your head, it won’t be very easy to feel the groove or enjoy it much, for that matter, you’ll be concentrating so hard on the counting…

If you know someone who can dance Balkan dances, even better - once you’ve learned a dance step in seven-time or five-time, it makes perfect sense.
Sorry if none of this is of any immediate help… 🙂

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I don’t know whether this will be any help at all, and it’s not exactly ITM or other folk music. It’s just that listening to Dave Brubeck may help you to get the feel of the more exotic time signatures such as 5/8 and 7/8. Dave Brubeck even achieved the feat in one tune (Blue Rondo a la Turk) of making 9/8 sound completely unlike 9/8 - he did it as 2/8+2/8+2/8+3/8. Brubeck is probably more immediately available than some of the lesser-known eastern european and balkan music, and his music certainly swings.
Btw, 44/16 can be considered as 11/4 with loads of 1/16 notes.
Trevor

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Do the math, as they say in the U.S.A, eh Trev?
Nice one Helen, partly the bit about dancing. I did some Breton dancing when I was in Britanny many many moons ago and there was one that I just couldn’t get the hang of because I was trying to count the beats. As soon as I quit doing that and just went with the groove it just clicked into place. Can’t wait for the next Macedonian Ceili!
Chris

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As Helen suggests, getting into the rhythm is everything. I play along with the tunes on the bodhr

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Oh, and another thing I could add - 11/8 and 13/8 and 44/16 (eh?) and stuff sound scary and mental, but really there are only two components of any rhythm - twos and threes. However complex the final pattern, it all comes down to those basic blocks. All you have to do is identify the pattern and get the feel of it, or the other way round, indeed… In fact if you can get the feel of it without having to analyse it mathematically, then forget about the numbers, you don’t need them! 😉

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I’m afraid I’m lost here. Anyone care to define it?
Balkan irish tunes sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Mike

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Oh, you know, Mike, that whole Andy Irvine thing is what she’s after. If it makes you feel better, pretend there’s an ampersand between Balkan & Irish…

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"Odd" rhythms are not as strange to the British Isles as it may seem. Listen to Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention, Liege and Lief) singing the ballad of Tam Lynn: I think it’s in 13/8. And according to A.L Lloyd, there must have been a lot of songs in rhythms like 7/8 or 9/8. Not sure about dance tunes, though.

I learned 5/8 playing "Mission Impossible" and "Take Five" with my orchestra. Now we are having to clap along to Brubeck’s "Unsquare Dance" which is in 7/8 ( 1 2 -1 2 - 1 2 3).
Doesn’t harm to do these things as a rhythmic exercise just to improve general musical skill.

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well,if it’s irregular but infectious foot-tapping rythms you’re after then may i point you in the general direction of the Kocani Orkestar of macedonia.
i saw them a couple years ago and you could not keep still to save your life

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There is a Andy Irvine songbook, published maybe 20 years ago. If I remember correctely some tunes you are looking for might be found there as dots.

Good exercice for i.e. 7/8
in this case for 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8

clap your left and right hand *alternatively* on a table / bongo…
that’s our eightths
The important stokes are number 1 4 and 6, play them louder and on the inside of the table/bongo

Now feel like the accent is moving from the left to the right hand. It is the same after two bars only.
After some time you can get rid of some of the less important notes like 5 and 7. Be careful not to change to 6/8 or 4/4 then!
That exercice kept me busy a 5 week holyday with a lot of bus riding….

A balcan dancer explaind me "7/8 is very easy to learn, it is almlmost like a waltz, just one step is enlarged by sliding a…."

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Take it easy on Michael! He’s absolutely right, and constructive to boot! Like mentioned above the Amazing Slower Downer software can be a great help to someone trying to learn rather odd tunes at tempo. Another group that plays Balkan tunes is Assembly (previously known as Popcorn Behavior). On their album Strangest Dream the 8th cut is a Balkan song in 7/8 followed by a tune in 7/8 but with the emphasis on different beats than the song. Very cool transition. Good luck!!

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OK. Seven years after the request.
It’s only approximate.

X:16
T:Andy Special
C:44/16 22/16 41/16 35/16
O:Bulgarian
M:44/16
L:1/16
Q:1/2=60
K:G
P:AABBCD
V:1
P:A
M:44/16
||"^9/16""Em" E2 B2 "D"A2 "Em"B3:"^8/16""Em" GA "D"AA B2 A2:"^9/16""Em" G2 F2 E2F G2:"^7/16""D"A2 "G"G2 G2F:"^11/16""Em" E2F2 E2D EFGA||
P:B
M:22/16
||"^13/16""Em" EF GG GF "D"A2 "Em"G2 F2E:"^9/16""G" GA BB BA G2F:"^13/16""Em" EF GG GF "D"A2 "Em"G2 F2E:"^9/16""G" GD "Em" EEE E2 E2||
P:C
M:41/16
||"^7/16" "D" FG A4 "Em" G2F:"^13/16""D" FG AB "A"^cB A2G "D"FG A2:"^10/16""D" FG A4 G3F:"^11/16""D"FG ABA "G"G2 "D"FG A4||
P:D
M:35/16
||"^9/16""D"FG A4 G2F:"^8/16""D" FG AB "G"dG G2|"^7/16""D"A2 G2 F2G:"^11/16""D"ABAG "G" GFG "D"F4||