Odd instruments in ITM

Odd instruments in ITM

I can’t believe I’m asking this, but I heard a trumpet playing ITM and loved it … .. I played one in junior high, and am thinking of getting back into it. Any advice on a good quality starter trumpet? Used or new?

OH, and to keep it ITM, what are some of the oddest instruments you’ve heard playing ITM, and you liked the music …

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None. It’s traditional music, and I like it played on the traditional instruments. Please don’t try to play traditional Irish music on a trumpet. Play jazz.

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While I would NEVER play trumpet for ITM, I DO play trumpet in addition to the Irish flute… My recommendation for a (re)starter trumpet would be to go to www.trumpetherald.com and do some research. There are a lot of decent horns out there and great advice on the forum (as well as trumpets for sale). Good luck in your quest!

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Bernie he wants to play music he likes on an instrument he likes, don’t ask him simply not to try.

If you want to get back to playing music great Eliot but you will prbabally find the trumpet won’t be suited to playing with others in ITM, but for personal enjoyment why not?

The Saxaphone has been used by some (Tara Breen in the KIlfenora Ceili Band etc) in ITM, it’s not my cup of tea but others like it

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The trumpet is a really great instrument.It will be difficult to work it for the actual tune but if you listen to Quebec band La Bottine Souriante you might be encouraged to use it in a trad band situation.If musicians are understanding of each other and are working to a sound that is to a mutual satisfaction the trumpet will work nicely.

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I’m of the opinion that the Irish music tradition is strong enough to embrace interesting experiments. There was no box or banjo until someone did it et cetera (see endless heated discussion about when, why and ‘is it trad?’ on this very site).
A trumpet could be a nice sound (although not currently traditional) maybe a suitable mute would render the horn appropriate for a progressive session. I imagine D, G, E, and A modes/ keys would be a bit of a nuisance for the standard Bb, perhaps you could get a baroque trumpet up in D.
I’m not a melody player and I have challenged the edges of traditional acceptability at times backing as I do on the baritone ukulele. I have also used, to greater or lesser acclaim (!), my Indian Harmonium, banjolele, glockenspiel and (Note: once only!) a Stylophone.

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At the Racket have an excellent sax player, and I used to gig with a chap who used to play slow airs on his soprano and they were beautiful.

If it’s OK with the other sessioners or your mates then who’s to tell you what to do?

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I was once encouraged to meet up with this jazzer geezer who I was told by a friend of a relation had totally nailed all that matt molloy diddley diddling stuff on his trumpet. I rolled my eyes of course, but being an eternal optimist, I met up with the bloke anyway.

He was a big Matt Molly fan, which is as it should be, and he was a really really good trumpet player. But it just goes to show how much of the meat and potatoes of this music is simply not heard, let alone understood, by so many people … especially from other musical genres.

And it begs the question, of course, how much of this diddley music is simply not heard, let alone understood, by so many members of this website.

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Hold on!
Nail down the hatches!
Put on your tin hat!
Outbreak of a war warning…

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Funny, I was just having this conversation with a top sax player last week. He was interested to learn piobaireachd on sax and I explained why he could only imitate it. Brass are great for range and in improvisation, but in trad the devil is in the detail and most people simply don’t hear it. They can hear when one player is much better than another when they’re seemingly playing the same thing but they don’t understand why. Why is the simple whistle so much better than a trumpet or for trad?

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ARTICULATION.

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There is nothing to understand.Music is a simple pleasure.Individually or mutually.The OP has stated that he heard traditional music on the trumpet and loved it.Llig seems to like Matt Molloy.I dont know what the trumpet player sounded like but I do know that Matt is not what I am looking for in trad music.Whatever you like…is all that counts. Get your trumpet Eliot.

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Yes, I agree, get your trumpet but be realistic with what you do with it for your own and the sanity of others. It can work great with a band like La Bottine Souriante, as mentioned by big_tab, but you’ll make few friends playing through a session with it.

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Instruments get adopted into the tradition for good reasons, it’s not arbitrary. They have to be able to make the right sounds for the music.

If you’re mainly interested in Irish trad, it’s best to pick up an instrument suited to it, like flute or whistle.

If you’re mainly interested in the trumpet, go ahead and play whatever you want on it, but it won’t be a very successful approach for Irish trad. There are lots of other options though, you could join a mariachi band!

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Wow, interesting responses already!

I play Irish Flute, DADGAD guitar, mandolin, banjo and whistle. Why not add trumpet? I already hear the music fairly well in my head — many times when I am walking I will find myself with a tune in my head and my fingers playing it on one of the instruments …

I grew up on Clarinet and Trumpet in Elementary and Middle school. Now, after I heard it, I really believe in the instrument. But, it’s clear that the level of proficiency needed to bring it out in public is far beyond "banjo" level.

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Blimey!
I find I’m agreeing with big_tab now!

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No you re not!

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Fair enough Eliot, but how do you think a roll is going to sound on a trumpet?

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It’s going to sound "marklar" — of course!

For those who don’t know, the word "marklar" stems from an episode of South Park, where an advanced civilization uses the word in place of every adjective.

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"But, it’s clear that the level of proficiency needed to bring it out in public is far beyond "banjo" level."

Sorry but no level of proficiency will make the trumpet anywhere near as suitable for sessions as a well played banjo.

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Marklar.I think everyone would say it is not a great idea to devote your life to playing trad tunes on the trumpet.It could,however,be very tastefully used in a recording studio for putting some lovely sounds under a jig or a reel.

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Well, Eliot, since you already play Irish trad on traditional instruments you know what you’re getting into, go for it if you like but a trombone would be funnier.

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big_tab, sorry I said you might be Will Evans. You definitely are not anyone other than yourself. There is just the odd similarity now & again. Cheers. ;)

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Quote Bogman: "Sorry but no level of proficiency will make the trumpet anywhere near as suitable for sessions as a well played banjo."

"Well played banjo" ???

An oxymoron of the highest order …

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I had to fight very hard to prove to you all here that I am not Jig.I hope the next one who has this dreadful accusation levelled at them gets away lighter.You know Random I very much appreciate that post.Thanks.

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I’m sure that’s a joke Eliot. Otherwise I’d quote Llig "And it begs the question, of course, how much of this diddley music is simply not heard, let alone understood, by so many members of this website."

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The oddest thing I ever heard at a session was synthesizer, which in itself isn’t so odd. But it was being played by someone in an extremely altered state of my. The other odd instrument was one of those tiny electronic bagpipes. It wasn’t played during the session. We played with it after the music was done for the night. Now there’s a thought. Pull out the brass instruments after you’re done making music. Just kidding, Eliot. If you have an itch …

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Listen to Derek Bell’s albums, which are filled with reeds and winds normally found in classical music. It’s very nice music, wish there was more of it.

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What tipped me off was that Jig would go on & on & on & on & on …………………..

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I ‘m only starting!

state of my = state of mind

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Very cool clip Eliot - reminds me of a lot of bayou Zydeco. No all you need to do is round up a bunch of like-minded souls and form a hybrid Lousiana-Irish Trad Gumbo band and I would be first in line to buy your debut CD.

I’b be bummed if you showed up at my session with a trumpet tho - sorry bro.

I’m surpised anybody thought Big_tab was Jig. Tabby fights back like a street brawler. Jig/Evans preferes the more passive-aggressive long-winded epic reply that goes nowhere. The styles are quite different.

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Actually, big_tab, your punctuation made me suspicious that you might be Jig at first (no space after the period). But you write better that he could manage and don’t have his irritating attitude.

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Did you ever get the feeling people are talking about ye? Street brawler.? I think I like that.

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What do you plan on starting with? Polkas or airs?

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Umm..Concert Band instruments are well suited for traditional music

Second Suite in F for Military Band by Gustav Holst

English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughn Williams

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Trumpets in trad ?? come off it, but then again there is that lovely skanky tune on Rubai by Flook with trombones in , that one works really well

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Marklar.A lot of people have been giving me grief about my poor English and bad punctuation.I write the way I speak. I find there are an awful lot of people here(not you) who think they are literary geniuses.Their English might be very correct but they are boring oul bollixes.Saying that ,the discussion on Bobby Caseys tuning was amazing and I didnt understand a word .Fair play to you and the other contributors to that.

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Isn’t that what people are saying? They’re fine for a band or a kind of arranged piece but I sure wouldn’t bring one to a session.

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big_tab, how’d you know who Will Evans is?

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Emily, going from uilleann pipes to trumpet would be trading down. No offense to any trumpet players who might be listening in.

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Big_tab, I wasn’t really meaning to criticize your punctuation, it’s fine, it’s just that Jig has a very unique style of it that tends to give him away.

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Someone I play with went from jazz trumpet to a range of different whistles ~ he recently bought a Low C (I think he told me it’s a Burke). He tried flute, but never developed the embochure. I don’t know if it related to years of playing trumpet or not.

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"What do you plan on starting with? Polkas or airs?"

I can just about imagine a polka on the trumpet actually working. Not sure I’d want to hear it more than once or twice, though.

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I thought the same thing, Bob. Polka bands have loads of brass intruments

but I’ll give him this much, he’s got a hell of a better chance of being heard than I had with my old Clark whistle

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Random, it would certainly make people dread my presence at a session more than they already do. ;)

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I play the trumpet. I can, and have, played slow airs on it, and they work and sound good, if you’re able to get past the unexpectedness of it. However, it is not even worth considering trying to play dance tunes on it, because:
1. although the trumpet doesn’t use quite as much air as the flute, it uses a LOT more pressure from the diaphragm, meaning you have to catch your breath much more often, which isn’t feasible in pause-less music like this.
2. the sound is produced by the vibration of the lips, which means that without frequent breaks, they will quickly go numb and useless to play with.
3. fingering on a trumpet is done by pressing down combinations of three valves, each about an inch high. Each combination produces a variety of notes, decided by the embouchure. Most of the ornaments and articulations in Irish music are just too fast to be done in this way.
4. most Irish music goes too high for most trumpet players anyway.

Of course, a really brilliant trumpet player could get past all of these obstacles. But even then, it would only ever be able to be for a cool gimmick for a one-off performance or recording (Mike McGoldrick’s "Fused" and Karen Tweed’s "May Monday" have very good examples of this). A trumpet, however brilliantly played, could never really participate in a session, because it is simply too loud.

In short, the trumpet is good for:
- Jazz
- Fanfares
- Slow airs

Good luck!
🙂

P.S. Advice on getting a trumpet? Yamahas are good, if kind of unoriginal. They’ll probably get you the best value for money if you’re starting out. If you’re deciding between a used and a new one, I’d say go for the used, as there’ll be less chance of the valves sticking (they’ll have been smoothed by use already).

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The Strangest I saw in ITM was what looked like a wooden piccolo with keys and that isn’t that odd it just look small compared to the rest of the flute player they were playing Blarney Pilgrim btw

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Percy Grainger

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Aye, Joe makes a good point. Years and years ago I played the French horn and the sight of any note higher than a high D brought on waves of terror. You’d have to be a very very good brass player to play those high notes as fast and well articulated as they occur in Irish dance tunes.

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Yeah, I’ve considered switching to the carnyx. Know anyone who makes them?

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They probably have some apps over at iTunes.

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"Fair enough Eliot, but how do you think a roll is going to sound on a trumpet?"

I don’t hear Johnny Connolly playing many rolls on his melodeon. Does that make his playing any less trad?

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Historically, brass and woodwind instruments have played Irish music since the beginning of the last century. As late as the 1950s there were dance bands in the Eastern part of the US playing traditional Irish music especially in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago. (See the Flanagan Bros Band review http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/flanagan.htm)

Bouzouki, banjo, guitar, even Bodhran may have been introduced well after the trumpet was used in Irish Trad. Not to mention Celtic nose flute, harmonica, mandolin, tres cubano (sort of a Cuban three course bouzouki), and electric piano/synthesizer.

I suspect that over the years Irish musicians used what was at hand and whatever they would make money playing music with.

Mike Keyes
http://www.mikekeyes.com

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Cool link Random, I love history & museums, etc. However, whomever is in charge of writing the descriptions would fit in here quite well here based on all the typos. Robert The "Burce?" - on a Scottish museum’s web-site? Pretty funny.

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There’s plenty of minimalist playing where someone does the least amount of articulation. But it’s a fair question to ask how articulations (or not) would be handled on a trumpet. I haven’t heard enough Irish trad trumpet, so I’d be intereted in hearing a low cran. What’s the bottom note?

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To fill the giant dance halls of Boston during the golden age of the 1920s-1950s the Irish musicians would pack their bands with boxes and saxophones to make as much acoustic sound as possible. Fiddles and flutes were basically non-existent on stage and useless when trying to make music for 1,000+ folks doing The Siege of Ennis on a Saturday night at the Hibernian or the Intercolonial in Roxbury.

It also allowed them to play Irish and American tunes. Their brass sections were equally competent in playing jigs and reels as they were playing 40s swing, for example.

In sessions and smaller situations, obviously the ability of the flute and fiddle to articulate properly was still highly valued and preferred overall.

However, for making as much noise as possible (acoustically, in giant, cavernous halls) to amuse the dancing throngs, the box and sax were king and queen, backed up by piano.

http://www.upne.com/1-55553-610-7.html

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…which doesn’t mean you should get a trumpet, you should get a sax instead. 😛

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Has anyone here ever had the chance to belt out loads of Irish or related music - slow, fast, whatever - on a REALLY MONSTROUS church organ?

If so, what was it like?

Mind, I suppose the player would be in the worst place to judge…

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Colin Goldie probably has. NTSU had organs in their rambleshackle practice hall. Small room ~ big instrument.
The main auditorium building had an organ, which I took lessons on. During English class we could always hear whoever was on the organ during that time of day. Don’t remember any Irish music.

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~

I was there in 1972.

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Does Catherine Ennis, Seamus Ennis’ daughter, not occasionally play the organ with Liam O’Flynn on pipes?

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The overture to Blanghzini’s “Tempest in a Tea Pot” opera famously shocked many on its 1913 opening night when the main motif was hammered out by an underwater trio employing three orange gongs. Several ladies fainted (Mrs. Headlington-Farnsworth first among them), straight-jackets were hastily fit over many a gentleman’s dinner jacket, and dozens of patrons—eyes rolled up, their mouths frothing—were force-fed calmative opiate analgesics before they were carted off on police stretchers.

The mayhem spread onto the rainy streets of Prague. Eventually, shiny hemleted cavalrymen—riding in disciplined rows, twenty steeds abreast—imposed order. Happily, few swords needed to be drawn.

I mention this of course as a cautionary tale for anyone foolhardy enough to explore similar notions.

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Yes, you can play Irish music on a trumpet…and I suppose it is also possible to play soccer wearing ice skates. I think airs would be nice, but I play trumpet at school and I just can’t imagine trying to play the Humours of Ennistymon or other session tunes on the trumpet.

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"it is also possible to play soccer wearing ice skates" - nicely put Greg. Not the easiest way to play soccer/football and especially unpleasant for the poor souls you’re playing with.

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Geez, Eliot, If your trumpet playing turns out anywhere as atrocious as your flute playing, the trad world will never recover!

Oh, and don’t think that I didn’t hear that banjo comment! 😛

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"Does Catherine Ennis, Seamus Ennis’ daughter, not occasionally play the organ with Liam O’Flynn on pipes?"

Wow! Euphemism City! :G

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I’m listening as I type, to Jim Cameron and his Scottish Band on an LP of Reels/Jigs/Waltzes/ etc. He plays trumpet on everyone of the tracks. Admittedly he is joining in every eight bars with the Box etc on the Trad stuff, but so far he has quite successfully played the tunes in the keys of D/G and A. I once had an argument with a fellow musician who was adamant that those keys were too hard to play in on a trumpet? Indeed I once gigged with a group where the trumpet player use to play a lovely version of Bonnie Kate as a party piece. As for the mighty church organ…I remember at church on a St Patrick’s morning in London where the organist blasted out the tunes ‘St Patrick’s Day and The Irish Washerwoman and we jigged our way down the aisle. If you live long enough you’ll find there really isn’t anything new as far as Trad is concerned.

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I used to go to the Welly in Boscastle. We had recorders,concert flutes, a sousaphone, an E flat bass, a rain tube, a tea chest bass, a double bassoon, a banjolele, tambourines fastened to feet, a triangle, eggs, spoons and a didgeridoo. Not all at the same time thank Christ. They were all complete sh1te except for the didgeridoo, which happened to be pitched in D and which provided a brilliant drone on occasion. We were still glad when he went out for spliffs though. And how nice to see how tabby has charmed you all.

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Nice one Reverend,

I suppose my banjo comment was a generic joke, not even funny anymore it’s been repeated so many times … but who can resist?

Zen Koan:

Q. What is the sound of one hand playing banjo?

A. A welcome relief.

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I used to play tuba in a 15 piece jazz orchestra (music from the 1920’s and 1930’s). Some of my Irish music friends asked me to bring the horn to a session and play it. I did. I didn’t try to play melody, just some basic back-up oom-pahs. Some people thought it was okay. I thought it was horrible. Only did it once.

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I once had access to a carillon, upon which
I tried playing some folk tunes, including a jig.

Does that count as "Odd"?

(I also pushed my luck a bit with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", which was when the rector finally decided to get himself involved.
Oops.)

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Didn’t I hear a soprano sax being played on stage during a performance of a ‘Gems of Ireland’ tour in 1993?
Yes, I’m sure I did, even if I can’t remember who the musician was. Cracking set of tunes beautifully played.

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There’s a big difference between tunes on a soprano sax and a trumpet.

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I was a bit puzzled by Big Boy’s reference to the euphemism…


…I thought it was called a euphonium.

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Eliot, why not go back to the clarinet? I once enjoyed a day of tunes with a stellar clarinet player who had all the twiddly bits in place. Sounded like a wooden flute on steroids. And then you could more easily slip in all those jazz and Dixie Land musical references you’re so fond of….

😎

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We had a guy came along to our local session with a didgeridoo. It was a surprisingly fine addition. Almost like a pipe drone with the rhythm of a bodhran. I was very skeptical at first, but it was not intrusive. I guess more is about the instrumentalist than about the instrument. A fiddle played badly or unsympathetically to the music can be an abomination no matter how traditional it might be.

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Haven’t seen a berembau (sp?) yet.

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Will,

Jim asked me to bring my flute back to speed for a gig in December, and I thought, well, with all that trouble, might as well learn another instrument along the way …

By the way, Will, I haven’t had a good faux argument with you in a while on the yellow yawn board, any ideas?

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Eliot, I tried to start such an argument just now—accusing you of playing Dixieland jazz in the middle of jigs and reels. Y’know, like your accidental-riddled, overly swingy version of Ormond Sound?

Let’s get off to a good start:

"Eliot, do you still sound like Kenny G now that you have a better flute?"

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Ormond Sound….Paddy O’Brien…..Up Tipperary

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Will,

Unfortunately this thread is already at the bottom of the first page, so it does little good to fake-fight at this point.

As for your ex-gay-lover Kenny G, he sure knows what to do with a wooden flute, wouldn’t you say?

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Eliot, we could take this spat over to the highly promising thread on the absence of nyah in *every* trad band and hijack it. Let’s use our choreographed sword-fighting skills for a noble purpose….

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I have to admit, I concocted this entire thread because a friend of mine asked for recommendations about buying a trumpet, and I wanted to have some excellent musicians give me some pointers to pass on to him. I would have asked this question outright here, but I was sure that Jeremy would delete the thread and send me a rude e-mail. So, I asked the question, then made up some story about playing trumpet in a session, which of course, is totally stupid.

OK, does everybody hate me now?

At least Will still likes me — maybe.

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Not exactly a shocker. Are you that bored?

"the word "marklar" stems from an episode of South Park, where an advanced civilization uses the word in place of every adjective."

It’s nouns by the way, not adjectives 🙂

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Eliot, if you wanted pointers on buying a strumpet, why didn’t you just say so? Sure, there are certain features most of us look for in a good strumpet (a nice mouthpiece, well-proportioned curves, and clean valves), but your choice will also depend on what sort of playing you plan on and your level of experience. I’d suggest trying a few out and eyeballing the inventory before you settle on one. Nothing better than planting your lips on the genuine article before you lay down your cash.

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SS: "Haven’t seen a berembau (sp?) yet."

Actually, I brought mine to a session only once, purely as a curiosity (oldest stringed instrument documented, and all that - but I only have one because i use to do capoeira).

Those present were intrigued, and we all agreed its future in ITM/’STM was rather bleak, unlike the digereedoo, which I now hear with some of the kilt rock bands.

Hmmn.

Uilleann digereedoo?
The next step?

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This has been linked to before in an earlier thread, but nobody has yet mentioned the mighty Dan the Man with the Khaen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asLxqOV0rbQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMgw9xI-OcY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb0CYxMjo2Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA6fEY1Nl3s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erbuxh9lNmY


The sound, to my ear, is somewhere between that of a concertina and a tenor banjo. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it cannot be denied that he has adapted this unlikely instrument admirably to the Irish trad idiom. Also a fine whistle player and a true gentleman, out paths have crossed many times during the festival season in Ireland and I cannot recall an occasion when he was not welcomed into a session.

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I was SO SAD I didn’t get a chance to have a tune with Dan in Miltown this year. :(

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Creadur.Is this real or a wind up? How does he play it? Its a really lovely sound.

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It’s not a wind up, dude. Dan is either real or I need to seriously back off on the hallucinogens.

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Its amazing!

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Eliot, if you need information about buying a trumpet, surf on over to Trumpet Herald (www.trumpetherald.com), a terrific site for trumpet playing and buying. The best places to buy are Dillons Music in New Jersey and Rayburns in Boston, just to name a few.

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Nicholas.

Yes I have played Irish tunes on a pipe organ. You have never truly ‘experienced’ All Praise to St. Patrick until you have heard it and a 32 foot pedal is dropped in at the end.

Mozart, Bach, Edgar Elgar, and John Rutter have all ‘borrowed’ from the Irish tunes. No surprising. True musicality transcends genre.

Is that last phrase awful…. Sounds just like the people I run away from!

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I’ve been known to play ITM tunes on the pedal steel guitar. However, it’s just for fun. I can just about play the notes. All the rest is just way too difficult on the steel. That’s why I also play the fiddle.

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Was Edgar Sir Edward’s younger brother?

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Mike McGoldrick has an awesome trumpet player on his cds, and I think it sounds pretty cool. He is going for more of a jazzy Irish music though. I wouldn’t try bringing a trumpet to the session, that is an unbelievably loud instrument, even when it is muffled.