popular polkas

popular polkas

could anyone suggest a couple of the most popular polkas? i only know one, and would like a few more in my repertoire!

thanks

Re: popular polkas

Yes! Learn locally ~ then consider making your own acquisitions and additions via reputable sources such as workshops by decent players and recordings… Learn locally first, then follow your ears and learn what your heart is drawn to. Listen, listen, listen, listen ~

Here’s a good compilation album to turn too, but reminding you that polkas are not limited to Sliabh Luachra and are played beautifully elsewhere on the island of Ireland, and beyond ~

"The Rushy Mountain: Classic Music From Sliabh Luachra 1952-77"
https://thesession.org/recordings/display/1274

Re: popular polkas

Thanks! I phoned a friend and got a preliminary few to start work on:

Egans
tolka polka
Ballyvourney
Captain Bing
Denis murphys
Glenside
John Ryans

They all seem to be here apart from John Ryan’s :-)

Re: popular polkas

Tolka Polka is AWESOME

And don’t forget "Ohh the Britches, Full of Stitches!"!

Re: popular polkas

Question: Is Tolka Polka is a trendy overwrought monstrosity?

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This may be a futile request, but could we not make the "here’s the list we’ve already compiled" the first response to this sort of request? I’d really like to see what people come up with before dropping the Big List.

In any case, if you want popular polkas, the Ballydesmond set is a good one - lots of people know those, and they know them all as a piece, so your transitions will be easy.

Less well known, but easily learned by your session mates are the two Little Diamond ones, both listed here under that name.
One of them (#604 here) goes nicely before the Glenside, previously mentioned. If you pick up the Britches, it fits after those.

There’s also the great Burke set, the "Three Polkas" off Up Close. I think they’re called Charlie Harris’, the Finnish, and Jessica’s - the last is from Mick Hanly. Jessica’s might be harder for people to pick up (the B part is a little deceptive) but it’s worth knowing.

Re: popular polkas

My personal favorites, in my favorite order:
Galway Belle
Glendside
Maggie in the Woods
Egans
Maids of Ardagh
Britches Full of Stitches
Bill Sullivan’s (the A version)
You will also find that, played in that order, each leads well into the next, so this list also represents some nice possibilities for building some sets.

Re: popular polkas

Maid of Ardagh, that’s the one I was trying to think of. Yeah, that’s a brilliant one - love the key change. Thanks, Al. Goes nicely into Sullivan’s as well.

Re: popular polkas

The Maids is always a great bridge between polkas in D and polkas in A. I learned it from the young man known as Fiddlin Violin on thesession, who used to play it BBAA, and use it as a bridge from an A tune to a D tune in a set he was fond of. So it goes in either direction!

Re: popular polkas

There are some good tunes in the Tunes section. Just don’t go by the titles, or the abcs, or the dots, & only some of the comments.
"Peata Geal Mo Mhathair"
November 12th 2005 by Ptarmigan
https://thesession.org/tunes/5185
"Polca Aine"
October 5th 2008 by gian marco
https://thesession.org/tunes/8981
"The Little Diamond"
March 9th 2005 by Lissagriffin
https://thesession.org/tunes/4296
"John Brosnan’s"
August 6th 2005 by slainte
https://thesession.org/tunes/4824
"Farewell To Whisky"
March 18th 2003 by Davetnova
https://thesession.org/tunes/1529
"Dark Girl Dressed In Blue"
March 20th 2003 by tufbo
https://thesession.org/tunes/1534

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Re: popular polkas

"Just don’t go by the titles, or the abcs, or the dots, & only some of the comments."

Just out of curiosity, what does that leave of the links that you’ve posted?

Re: popular polkas

There’s too many different titles, I did my best to try to find the one’s which work.* abcs & dots are often a mess on this site. The comments is your best hope. That is where there is a bit of discussion about who plays which tunes in which sets, their versions … you either dive right in & see what is there or just stay completely out of it, there are some gems in the comments but that’s not all there is.

*I’m still looking for a set we do which includes the "John Brosnan’s Polka" from the link above. However, we call that tune "Ceili House Polka #2" & it is followed by a tune we call "John Brosnan’s"
We also play "Magic Slipper" which I didn’t link to as it is sometimes referred to as "Little Diamond". They are both good tunes & don’t really need a title.

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For instance, this from "Dark Girl Dressed in Blue"

Dark and Moody it ain’t - D Major

K: Dmaj
|: FA Ad | Bd A>F | GB AF/A/ | BE G/F/E/D/ |
FA Ad | B/c/d/B/ A>F | GB A/B/A/G/ | FD D2 :|
|: FA A/B/d/e/ | f/e/f/d/ e>d | Bd/B/ A/D/F/A/ | BE G/F/E/D/ |
FA A/B/d/e/ | f>d e>d | Bd/B/ A/B/A/G/ | FD D2 :|
May 13th 2005 by ceolachan

Nicely done Ceolachan—finally, a setting that makes sense under the fingers.
May 13th 2005 by Miss Lonelyhearts

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the comments are also a good way to find a link to a recording.

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Re: popular polkas

I was able to find something about one of our polka sets. Ceilidh House Polka #1/Ceilidh House Polka #2/John Brosnan’s.
The best abcs I can find are for the 1 & 2;
"Ceilidh House Polka #1 & #2"
http://www.ceolas.org/pub/tunes/abc.tunes/Book1.abc
{Their X:reference #s are X:13 & X:14}

The best abcs I found for the 3rd polka;
"John Brosnan’s"
November 8th 2004 by slainte
https://thesession.org/tunes/3835

We have alot of fun with this set. Sorry for the confusion.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else plays the G major version of John Brosnan’s which I just linked (display/3835). slainte mentioned, in the comments, it is from Hammy Hamilton’s playing; but I have not been able to track down a recording of him playing this tune. I would really like to know if Mr. Hamilton has a different name for his version. It seems to be quite different from the D major version (read the comments) played by John Brosnan.

Once again I am so sorry. My post with all the tune links has one obvious error. That was the John Brosnan’s polka (display/4296) which I do not know at all.
Cheers

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Re: popular polkas

"This may be a futile request, but could we not make the "here’s the list we’ve already compiled" the first response to this sort of request?" Have to agree. A list of 78 polkas probably was an excellent thing in the context for which it was intended, but it is hardly "a couple of the most popular". Once again (particularly in this context, perhaps not in its original context) it risks encouraging the sad misperception that knowing huge numbers of tunes is automatically a good thing. If you can make 4 polkas go polKA polKA polKA polKA properly, people will want to join you and be happy when you learn 2 more. If you turn out 78 polkas that merely reproduce the notes at a suitable speed, you will get things thrown at your head - hard things, too, not scented knickers.

Re: popular polkas

Believe it or not, my list of polkas (and similar lists of jigs, reels, and hornpipes) was just an attempt to catalogue the most commonly played tunes at sessions. Not meant to be definitive, and I hoped other people would add their tunes so people could get a sense at least of which tunes in each format are widely known and played. Which *does* narrow things down a bit, rather than having a thousand or two polkas to choose from.

Once you can play polKA polKA well, then it’s easier to learn lots more polkas and play them well, too. So you end up playing 78 polkas (and more) with lift and the right feel.

Besides, in his same post, SWFL fiddler gave the best advice—learn the polkas your session mates play. Chances are, they’re on that big list.

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Re: popular polkas

Yes, I do believe it and I also know that it wasn’t you who quoted it here. I have no problem with long lists of tunes - I maintain some myself for the purposes of my own playing.
It’s just that I can sympathise with melodica, who knows *one* polka and, commendably, wants to know a few more. A handful of suggesions would be useful, I think.

One option would be to get hold of Seamus Creagh’s "Tunes for Learning". There are a dozen or so polkas there, plus plenty of other good tunes suitable for learning by ear.

Re: popular polkas

Everybody complaining about a resource? Sheesh. Thanks for nothing, eh Miss L? :-P

It appears melodica had it sorted by the 4th post. Called a friend, got some names, off he/she goes! Well done.

Re: popular polkas

Yeah, it’s not as though posting a link to that list should prevent anyone from listing their favorite polkas here (as people did anyway).

No pleasing some folks….

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Re: popular polkas

Thanks for the list Will. Thanks SWFL for giving the link. & Thank you Jon for your comments. I’m quite pleased all around.

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Re: popular polkas

…and then there are some folks who are easily, randomly pleased. :-D

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Re: popular polkas

Try not to ruin the pleasures of a few polkas. Resist the temptation to put more than two or three in a set. Those mad excesses of 5, 6, 7 or 8 or more on the trot usually lead to a drought, months without a polka being played… :-(

Re: popular polkas

Good point, c, more than a few polkas in a row, and people begin to complain that their arms are going to fall off!

Re: popular polkas

If they’re too weak to take it, they need to toughen up. Polkas are like potato chips - you can’t stop until you go through the whole bag.

Re: popular polkas

Ah, but then you get the dreaded ailment known as ‘Polka Gut’ to show for your gluttony.

I speak from experience. I get up early and play reels, been doing it for years now, trying to work off this spare Polka tire.