How to choose a set ender

How to choose a set ender

Hey all-

I need some advice about putting together sets. My band is more focused on vocals, but I want to do more instrumental stuff. I am looking to put some sets of three tunes together.

I seem to be good at finding what sound to me like middle tunes and reasonably good at finding tunes that sound like good openers, but when it comes to finishing the set I falter and lose all direction and get discouraged.

Here’s some backround on me some of which is in my bio some not. I play a modern silver flute -have for 21 years. I am classically trained. Been playing in the Irish genre for about 4 years. I attend a slow session once a month (we are a couple of local bands and friends hanging out playing tunes and I know this will make some cringe, but we fully condone reading dots at our session as we have almost no tunes in common).

Anyways, I am looking for advice either theory or if you have favorite tunes that you think are show stoppers that you would like to suggest as set enders that would be so cool. The current tune set I am working on is with Brenda Shubert’s Reel and I am looking for companion tunes for it. Any ideas?

~Autumn

Re: How to choose a set ender

I think that you could stick loads of different tunes together as long as there are a few good key changes, maybe some tempo changes, and so long as you can do excellent changes between choons.

How about:
Butterfly or Ships are Sailing
Brenda Stubberts
Jackie Colemans

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Put Dinkies after Brenda Stubble’s, you can’t go wrong (!?)

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I think you’ll find that it’s Brenda Stubbert… not Shubert, heh. *grin* Fun tune, isn’t it?

Generally, if you’re looking for a showstopping ending, if you started off in a minor, look for major tunes that swing no matter how fast you play them. (That’ll be different tunes for everyone, really, so I can’t offer you any specifics for you, only for me.) Switch keys from tune to tune, or keep the second one in the same key as the first and only switch on the third tune.

I also look for something that links the tunes together, but not too closely — perhaps a musical idea or phrase. Every now and again, though, I’ll pair tunes that have nothing to do with each other up, and they’ll work.

If the tune isn’t one of those that seems to be on an endless loop, you can make a show stopping ending out of it. That tends to be the player rather than the tune. You’ll know which tunes are *your* showstoppers by the amount of whooping and reaction you get from listeners.

Some reels that tend to get reaction for almost any decent player are:

Mason’s Apron
Gravel Walk to Grania’s
Silver Spear
Bank of Ireland
Bunker Hill
Christmas Eve
Bucks of Oranmore

But of course your mileage will vary depending on which tunes you play well.

Best advice: listen listen listen to CDs, go to concerts, etc., especially of the best fluters, and discover which tunes hit you in the gut, and then play those as your show stoppers.

P.s.

Oh wait, you’re a fluter — maybe not Gravel Walk, unless you find that fourth part easy enough to wail away on.

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I am in a similar position, making up sets for a band of mainly vocalists. I look for something more "daring" to start with (like a slow reel for two whistles) and finish with a well-known "big" tune that everybody can join in with.
At the moment we are working on
Master Crowley’s/ Cooley’s/ Star of Munster.

Tune changes "upwards" like Dm to Em are handy.

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Re: How to choose a set ender

*Blush* I think my classical was showing.

Thanks for the advice and tune suggestions everyone. Please don’t stop. My to learn list needs some new stuff (its at about 80 and I can play most of it I just don’t *know* them yet). Anyways my listening habits are pretty mainstream as groups go. I listen to Lunasa (and I’ll be seeing them here March 15th), Danu (saw them last fall), Altan, and Solas most often. I like what they do, but I want to come up with sets different from theirs. I recognize I may need some fresh influences it just might be time to raid amazon again.

~Autumn

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Oops. Lunasa will be in Minneapolis on March 16th.

Re: How to choose a set ender

why not try something whacky like a reel into a jig and then into another reel. thats always pretty good. maybe put a real slow phrase in between the jig and final reel with a stomping bass drum/bodhran beat underneath the slowness to show your not finished yet! haha,haha,haha i love it.

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Brenda Stubbert’s goes into G tunes well—you could follow it with Tommy Peoples’ (aka Brenda MacMahon’s, it’s on the first track of Kevin Crawford’s cd In Good Company) or Woman of the House, and then launch into Silver Spear or Speed the Plough (a great flute tune btw) for the finale.

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Autumn, I note your listening list mainly is all the "new" groups. Try some Bothy Band, DeDanaan, and even the older solo recordings as well; one of the classic flute albums is Matt Malloy’s Heathery Breeze. Also try (if you’re into that explosive fluter thing) Conal O’Grada’s Top of Coom. (If you can’t find it for sale anywhere, go directly to the Scoiltrad website and buy it from him directly.)

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i found a new tune the other day, by Eileen Ivers - its the Flowing Tide/Crock of Gold/Julia Delany’s some really clever ideas in there and great choons too. theres some links that just make the hair stand up on the back of your neck - i love it! haha,haha,haha
my apperciation of the music increases day by day as i get older! cannae get enough of that wonderful duff (homer j)

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Don’t know why, but recently I’ve taken a liking to some A tunes like the Reconciliation or Stenson’s (at least I think they’re A tunes) to finish sets on. May just be because I’m a flutist and most of my tunes are G, D or the relative minors, and I like the different sound of A tunes. Anywho, that’s my 2 cents.

~~Jason

Re: How to choose a set ender

Try… Parsley in the Gravy-Devil in the Stovepipe-Monkeys’s on Parade

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I agree with Zina, ending on a major key reel or jig is a good way to go. Our best received set at present is

The Peeler’s Jacket
Old Copperplate
Wild Irishman

and the one we like the most at the moment but don’t use for dancing because of the rhythm change is

Slieve Russel (jig)
The Congress reel
The Bunny Hat

Interesting key changes can be effective too

We do a new set of jigs

Lilting Banshee
Up in the air
Rip the calico

which go really well.


Good luck experimenting

Re: How to choose a set ender

If you’re in a pub, just keep on playing until the landlord throws you out. :>))

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I always think Morrisons Jig is a good finisher - if nothing else, because the plebs can’t think of anything else to follow it with.

Re: How to choose a set ender

how about drowsy maggie? it follows on nicely ๐Ÿ˜€

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Re: How to choose a set ender

All the replies have been really wonderful and helpful. On your listening advice Zina, I have ordered some cd’s (Matt Molloy"s Heathery Breeze, some DeDanaan, and the Conal O’Grada…I like the explosive flute thing) I’m still looking for some Bothy Band. I jotted down the tune suggestions and printed some out and marked pages in books. The theory behind choosing was very helpful. You all are amazing awesome people! I think I’ll hole up in my practice room this weekend armed with all this new knowledge and a six pack of Guinness (light drinker) and experiment my butt off. I let you know if I survive and if I come up with anything neat. Did I mention that you all were awesome?

~Autumn

Re: How to choose a set ender

Autumn, you might also like to get hold of the Wooden Flute Obession cds (one of you fluters, Glauber? Emily? Will? Brad?, what’s the website url?), as that way you can hear a wide assortment of the different flute styles out there in one package.

Something that you might find interesting, Autumn, is to learn a tune off of a recording or from another player, and then go load down or find the music and take a look at the difference between the two and see if they feel different to you from the ones you learned off the dots. You can learn a lot about your own playing from that kind of thing.

Have fun!

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LOL — you are so, Joyce! (More so than Will, I’m betting! *smirk*) And there’s Danny too, and let’s see, who else among the "regulars" is a fluter?

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Zina, lately I’ve been spending time recording myself now that I have a decent laptop & up-to-date software. I’m trying to listen to myself with an open and honest ear to see where I really need to fix up my tunes and improve….ugh……it’s tough, and kinda depressing, but someday I will be a flute player : )

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Sorry, this isn’t a hijack! Please continue………

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Well, y’know Joyce, during the lesson I had with him, George Keith told me at one point to always record myself practising — just put the tape recorder on and let it run, and to listen to it afterwards. When I made a face, he told me that I should give myself the same sort of listening that I’d give to anyone else who has been playing an equivalent amount of time as myself, he said. When I could clearly hear the good things as well as the bad things, I’d be better able to correct what I didn’t like and amplify on the good things.

So there, chick. ;) If I have to, you have to. hehehe

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Thanks for the link…I think I actually started to drool.

Zina, I do find it interesting to learn tunes from recordings and from other players. When comparing the dots and the way I learned some things I usually end up making my own arrangement of said tune. I love it when I can find multiple sources both for listening and reading. The ornimentation is seldom the same and its fun to put my own treatment to the tunes….Then I hand it off to my fiddle player(Very into Natalie McMaster) and guitar player (prefers playing in either finger picking or rag time) and when their done putting their spin on it and my bass player puts down his jazz/funk influenced bass line, its just not quite like anything I’ve ever heard. I know it sounds horrifying but its really quite fun and sounds fab…to us anyway. Our slow session doesn’t stray as much from the norm, but as a band we are trying to carve out our own niche. I think I forgot to mention I am heavily influenced by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull when I do instrumental breaks in many of our upbeat vocal selections.

I hope I haven’t tramatized anyone…too much. If you want a sampling of what my group does we have a website and our mp3’s are here http://www.revedufaun.com/Merchandise.htm. Most of the recordings are a couple of years old and we are getting ready to record some stuff this summer.

~Autumn

Re: How to choose a set ender

Ah — then I think you definitely need to be listening to the older stuff, Autumn! While its only my opinion, I think the "hybrids" that sound the most authoritative and natural (Lunasa, Natalie MacMaster, etc.) are the ones in which the musicians have a very solid grounding in the tradition that they’re hybriding into another sound. Definitely listen to the masters of the flute (wooden especially), both old and new, find old archival recordings, etc. Learn to play well in your chosen style (whether you stick to one sort of "county style" or play a mix of styles) traditionally, it can only make your hybrid stuff sound better. Can’t break the rules well if you don’t know the rules well in the first place… ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, so long as you guys like what you do, who cares what anyone else thinks? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll have a listen at some point soon.

Have fun!

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Zina - I hear George is a very good teacher. I’ll be in Boston this weekend, but don’t think I’ll get to hear him play, oh well, another time…..

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Ooo, he really is, Joyce. If you get the chance to hear him play, do — he’s also on a couple of the tracks from Matt and Shannon’s Dearga cd.

The odd thing is that George and Matt have really similar vocal inflections and similar tenor of voice, and even use some of the same turns of phrase — it was really odd when I was taking a lesson, like taking a lesson from Matt only it wasn’t Matt. Afterwards I said something about it, and George laughed and said that his girlfriend says the same thing.

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I think Matt has had some lessons from Tommy Peoples….yeah, I’ve heard George and Shannon play together at a session in the Burren a while ago and do have Shannon’s new CD. He’s a lovely player! I hope he comes out with a solo CD someday….

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Re: How to choose a set ender

Yeah, somebody talk George into that, will you? Yeah, Matt takes lessons from Tommy — says he’s the nicest man ever!

Re: How to choose a set ender

Back to the original topic, listening to the Ceili Band’s playing helps a lot in my opinion. Nice classic tunes and nice key changes. I always get some ideas of how to construct nice sets.

I recently bought the recording of The Tap Room Trio and found it’s an extremely good flute and fiddle duet album. It’s a recent release but has a bit old-fashioned feel and very exciting playings of nice tunes. Just sample some tracks, and you can’t help buying it: http://www.claddaghrecords.com/www/product.asp?pID=1596&c=271935

It’s a bit late to suggest, but here are my favourite sets.

Spootiskerry
Brenda Stubbert’s
Otter’s Holt or Jenny Dang the Weaver (D major one)

Sally Garden’s
Maude Miller
Rakish Paddy or Abbey Reel

The Rolling Waves (aka Lonesome jig)
The Walls of Liscarroll (Em)
Jim Ward’s

Castletown Connors (aka Condon’t Frolics) in Em is very effective tune to finish the set with. It especially works well after G major jig.


P.S. Actually I have the same problem, though not playing with a band. Thanks all for nice suggestions. And good luck, Autumn!

Re: How to choose a set ender

Thanks for the link Hiroyuki. That’s a wonderful cd - I’ll buy it just for John Blake’s tasteful backup (give a listen to his delicate piano work on the first track - worth the price alone). And Jesse Smith continues to improve and mature as a player - I first heard him 5 years ago, and he was just fledging out from under Brendan Mulvihill’s wing. But when is Harry Bradley gonna quit tinkering and finally learn to play flute?! (*heavy sarcasm* :-| )
Great stuff all around!

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