Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

I’ve spent a lot of time on comhaltas and found a bunch of videos of pianist backing. And the "Eavesdropper" album has a few tracks with piano backing. But i’m looking for more music like this…

http://comhaltas.ie/music/detail/comhaltaslive_258_6_catriona_cullivan/

…the piano not just backing and accompanying, but actually playing the tunes. Anyone know where i can find more like this, or a renowned ITM musician that plays piano?

Mainly because i want to play more tunes on piano, but i don’t know what to do with the bass line. My resources for influence are very limited and i’d like more but don’t know where to look. Thanks in advance 🙂

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

If no one has said anything yet check out Eleanor Kane. She was on a CD entitled From Gaway to Dublin doing Morning Dew and a few other reels. Nice stuff.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Not quite Irish, the young Cape Breton pianist Jason Roach plays tunes, and pretty damn well.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Have you listened to Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill from the Bothy Band? Not a piano and not solo, which of course was your question, but maybe enough Clavinet to give you ideas? Much more than backing, anyhow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Sn-thv4iM

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Might help if you listen to fingerstyle guitar recordings where there is the melody and bass. At least it would give you some ideas.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Then there’s the amazing Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin.

Also moving to the Scottish side there’s Mhairi Hall and James Ross.

For a (slight) jazz tinged view check out Dave Milligan. His book Scottish Music Collection is excellent ( http://www.scotlandsmusic.com/piano-sheet-music.htm). I learned a lot about chords and structure for the left hand from this.

Playing tunes (rather than just accompaniment) on the piano is great fun - enjoy!

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, as mentioned above, even if he does stray off in all sorts of directions! He has a few recordings. Then again, you could head over to University of Limerick, where he teaches still, I think.

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Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Donna Long,piano and Brendan Mulvihill,fiddle in "the Morning Dew". Interesting mixes.Plenty Carolan who tends to be very piano-satisfying to play, with nice bits of baroque.
Very hard to get decent Irish trad. piano sheet music.
You’re better off just harmonising yourself.
Best of luck! With your piano background and more recent fiddle I think you’d find this album worth while.

Backing yourself…

Backing yourself will follow the same ‘rules’ as backing Trad Irish in any situation. Your right hand is the melody player your left will be the backer (not sure which part of the anatomy would be the goatbasher!- Ooh Err Matron!). For an incite you should read all the hundreds of postings about backers, bad six string devil botherers, ‘what chords do I play on my ‘zouk?’and such like.
You’ll have to extemporize a left hand following the ‘rules’ that all good backers do.
Listen to :
ceilidh style piano players
what box players do in the left hand (basses)
regulators/ drones on pipes
all manner of strummy-fings used in this music and what they are doing.

You’ll find that there are two very diverse sides to this music: melody and backing. The two are quite different in their approach and most people specialize in one or the other. You are brave planning to learn the tunes and improvise an ad hoc backing!

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

That’s the great thing about piano…satisfying challenge! And for those brought up on piano it’s second nature to think with two hands/melody and harmony…

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

lucy farr- someone brought up on the joanna but reading dots (or in the ‘classical’ mode) may have trouble busking a left hand, although be happy adapting the dots for the right hand. Someone brought up improvizing/ playing popular music/ jazz or wotteffah may have more of a clue for the left but may be a little more free with the actual tune in the right…

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

lucy farr- So I’m agreeing with you (I just read my post and it read a bit stroppy- that’s not waht I intended!)

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

I think Fiddlelearner is looking for possibilities of solo playing ITM on piano, not just backing which was sort of the main use of the instrument as far as I know. So bit pointless, recommending CD’s of fiddle or flute players with piano backers. Mícheál’s definitely your man for Fiddlelearner, who dabbles in all sorts - https://thesession.org/recordings/1614
but there are others

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Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

You could also check out recordings by the late Beryl Marriot who would sometimes tour with Fairport Convention.

Her repertoire is varied and, of course, she plays a lot of English tunes. However, the "Weave the Mirror" album is mostly Irish with a few Scottish tunes as well.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Your should check out Dennis Botzer’s recording "The House".

Dennis plays beautiful piano lead with minimal accompaniment.

https://thesession.org/recordings/1435

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Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

the wounded hussar- yes! I understood what fiddlelearner is aiming for.
I gather Jerone (?) can already play the 88’s in a reading the dots/ classically trained way, plus he is learning the tunes on a fiddle. If he is any sort of musician he’ll be able to adapt what he does on the fiddle to the pianoforte keyboard i.e. the tunes mainly in the right hand. That leaves him with what to do about his left hand (as said by him in the original posting-‘I don’t know what to do with the bass line’).
That is why I waxed lyrical about backing. He is gonna have to employ the same processes and adapt these to his left hand accompaniament as strummers, box players (basses) and all other manner of backers et cetera etcetera do when accompanying the old ‘ITM’.
Just because it’s piano doesn’t mean it’s any different to backing on anything else, even if you are playing the melody at the same time. It’s all the same notes and chords on any instrument after all.
If one can only read and not busk/ improvize, one has a lot to learn.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Jerone,

There ain’t many solo recordings of Irish musicians playing traditional music on the piano.

Caoimhín Vallely’s already been mentioned, but another to look out for is Padraic O’Reilly’s ‘Highly Strung’.

You should certainly acquire all three of The Bothy Band’s studio albums if you don’t have them already (‘The Bothy Band 1975’, ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ and ‘Out of the Wind Into the Sun’).

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill’s stunning keyboard work can be heard there and also on her solo albums ‘Tríona’ and the much more recent ‘The Key’s Within’ (though that’s entirely made up of her own compositions) - her recordings with Relativity, Touchstone and Nightnoise, plus ‘T with the Maggies’ and ‘Idir an Dá Sholas’ are also highly recommended.

Finally, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Geraldine Cotter’s excellent ‘Piano +’ CD (http://celticgrooves.homestead.com/cg_cotter_geraldine_piano.html) or, if you can get hold of it, Mary McHolland’s ‘Northern Tradition’.

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Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

As always, you all have provided me with everything I was looking for, and then some 🙂 Downloaded the Kevin Taylor and really liking it so far. Read the bio about Eleanor Kane Neary and now i wanna visit Chicago lol. I’ll look for her recordings. Honestly, not really liking some of the Scottish stuff. It sounds fun to play but my ear doesn’t seem too fond of it.

Yhaalhouse, thanks for the ideas about listening to the other instruments that use bass lines(which is really what i’m looking for.) Even though this music is simple, and has it’s little rules here and there, it’s still very open and free, which throws the learning curve a bit farther back(to me). I’ve been trying a lot of things(especially yesterday when one of my friends called me over for a one on one music session). After i played him "The Baltimore Salute" he has become infatuated with this music. I let him borrow my "Eavesdropper" so he could get a feel of what the piano is suppose to sound like, i really like the piano on it. And lately since I’ve been learning those tunes on both instruments now, I think I’m ready for more of it on piano.

What i have been trying out is playing the drone note in the bass line all throughout the tunes and then seeing where i could fit a different note. I got lucky with Andy McGann’s, I’m actually liking how it’s sounding, but there are some progressions I’m doing that i don’t like. When I’m doing my head listening, I try out variations that I think would fit, then i go back to the piano and try them to see how they sound. I must be making some type of progress cause before, i would get completely lost (especially with jigs) and now i can actually move a little bit, even if it is just two notes lol.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

I stumbled across this on iTunes a few years ago and it is solo piano:
J.J. Sheridan - The Complete Works of Turlough O’Carolan

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Dan Sullivan - Nano’s Favorite. Hear it on one of the Wheels of the World CDs, or for free at comhaltasarchive.ie; http://comhaltasarchive.ie/search?tab=tracks&q=Nano Recorded in the 20s or 30s, pretty crazy stuff - sort of a bunch of reels played in the manner of novelty virtuosos of the time like Zez Confrey. Nobody followed in Dan’s footsteps, that’s for sure. Or anybody elses. I futzed around this year with playing tunes on the piano, and it’s more than a bit of a chore. You have the same hazard as with the piano accordion of playing "between the cracks" as they say, i.e., playing two notes at once by mistake. Plus you have to keep the left hand moving around. Tricky stuff for sure.

I like hearing it done a lot, though. Pianos haven’t become the big accompanying instrument in modern times I’d suspect due to their lack of portability, which isn’t an issue any more but was in the 70s when sessions became all the rage; even electric pianos took up a fair bit of room, and the popular groups all had folkie strummers so that became de facto.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Sullivan’s intro to their recording of ‘The Blackbird’ is classic.

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Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Phil Cunningham is known for his piano accordion, but he plays keyboard on a lot of his recordings. His timing is perfect…actually everything is perfect—-his expression, his inventiveness, the tunes he writes, etc.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

No one’s mentioned Cape Bretoner Doug MacPhee, who recorded 3 LPs of solo piano in the 70s or 80s; don’t think that’s on CD yet, I digitized two of them myself. The Rounder anthologies of CB fiddle have a few piano solos; also one on the instrument which preceded it there, the pump organ. Interesting stuff.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

fiddlelearner, I would recommend the playing of Patsy Broderick, among the many other fine players mentioned above. She plays piano accompaniment, but often plays along on the melody as well. She was in the group Arcady, and their CD Many Happy Returns is one of my all time favorites, great versions of many old session favorites (they went out of their way to record some of the old chestnuts) and great singing from Niamh Parsons on that CD as well. Worth looking up.
And Donna Long, in addition to her great work with Cherish the Ladies over the years, has done at least one solo piano album. She has a website that is pretty easy to find through Google.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Was about to mention Donna’s solo album, but you beat me to it Al. FWIW, here’s the link to the album on this site https://thesession.org/recordings/573. I went on a bit of an ITM piano CD kick several months back, and here’s a few more solo recordings that I either purchased or was recommended by OssianUSA:

Padraic O’Reilly "Down the Ivory Stairs" https://thesession.org/recordings/572 (bought it and love it… I know his other CD was mentioned already, but I didn’t see this one)
Josephine Keegan "The Nightingale" https://thesession.org/recordings/2266
Denis Carey "Moving On" https://thesession.org/recordings/3374 (appears to be mostly original compositions with a few other styles blended in… haven’t actually heard it, but I know I’ve seen his name mentioned in various ITM bands/contexts so I would guess that it’s at least rooted in ITM)

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Have you listened to Mac Morin. He plays with Natalie McMaster but i know he has his own CD as well.

Re: Looking for solo piano tune recordings.

Man, these old posts sure come in handy 🙂