Andy Irvine Chords

Andy Irvine Chords

Hi folks,
I guessing some of you bouzouki players have been keeping an eye on Andy while he’s singing and playing some of those nice zouk chords. Have any of you got any of his unusual chords or progressions he uses to share with us?

It may be hard to describe the chords, so best to use the numbering eg. D chord would be 2000, G chord would be 0020. X would be a string that wouldn’t be played etc…

Re: Andy Irvine Chords

I have seen Andy play cricket, he had quite a good cover drive, and I saw him bowl a maiden over, I am sorry cannot help you with the chords though

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So you’re in GDAD, then?

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Yes GDAD

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Thank you, John. Yes, his Sobell guizouki with the willow fingerboard was a joy to behold, as he hit those balls to cover point.
( Non-English readers will need a lot of explanation )……………

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Care to give us some explaination? :D

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Ive seen andy a few times and i dont think he uses many ‘unusual’ chords in the strict sense. I do find he uses them alot more to suggest melody than when he was younger. I suppose the hands arnt as quick. Looking through his song book,fairly standard chords. His skill is weaving little lines here and there. Im nowhere near as good a player as most on this site, but i do pay close attention to the players when im around them. Back to the op, he uses alot of 1 and 2 finger chords (like myself) but thats because im not very talented!

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The one and two finger chords leave the other fingers free to weave those melodic lines.

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so is it a case of say playing a d chord, 2000, and at the same time using other fingers to run melody? im afraid im still at the strumming/rolls stage. i tend to play it like my 5 string, alternate rolls. what would be the best dvd to learn that type of playing from? asumming Andy doesn’t give lessons haha!

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Have you thought of making it up yourself, developing a personal style of your own. you could try chords with added bass runs based on certain notes of the scale other than 135 of the chord, you could listen to other bouzouki players as well as Andy, and try and mix styles to produce something of your own.
"weaving the little lines here and there" can be obtained by having a knowledge of the modes and of harmony, it can also be achieved by experimentation, a bit like learning to swim by jumping in the deep end, eventually you get it by trial and error.

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It’s a very personal style of playing and probably no-one will ever get it exactly as Andy does. I used to explain it by telling people “Andy sings one tune and plays another, totally different one…” Easy enough in the studio (where you can overdub) but amazingly difficult on stage… which is where he does it so well…
It’s a case of keeping the basic chord for the tune but elaborating by harmonising / complementing the melody and filling in all sorts of little embellishments. They say military helicopter pilots have to be trained to use both sides of their brains, one for flying and one for aiming etc - I think Andy does the same while performing… 🙂

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"It’s a case of keeping the basic chord for the tune but elaborating by harmonising / complementing the melody and filling in all sorts of little embellishments.,"
This is also what swarbrick does on the fiddle.
it can be learned but first you have to listen and understand folk harmony, Sometimes its a question of using an octave melody note instead of harmony, immerse yourself in the music and gradually it will reveal itself, there is no quick fix, there are certain other notes of the scale that sound appropriate on occasions as passing notes.

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i read somewhere, maybe here, that bouzouki players can get away with using random notes, and/or random rolls when playing in between the chords. any views on that?

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Only if you want to sound like sh*t

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thats a fair enough point. i did read it here though, i will have to try find the discussion where it is mentioned

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Random notes? Definitely not Llig.

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@zoukibanjo:
"i read somewhere, maybe here, that bouzouki players can get away with using random notes, and/or random rolls when playing in between the chords. any views on that?"

I don’t agree with that statement, although I’ve heard people say something along those lines (when we were discussing clueless guitar players), smth like "too bad he didn’t play bouzouki - everything sounds better on one".

I fail to see how somebody who hasn’t got a clue could get away with switching instruments, although there’s a lot more opportunities to let the strings ring (but again, that suggests that the player has a suitable tuning and/or has put the capo on an appropriate fret…).

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So what is an approriate way to counter melody?

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I had a long conversation with Andy when he played in Chico, CA about a book. He is interested in putting one together, not sure how motivated as it is a lot of work, but he is one of the masters of bouzouki playing. I think the guy has two brains, one for his hands and one for his voice, I don’t know how he does it. In any event I will encourage him to put together the book!

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I didn’t say you can get away with playing random notes/strings, I’m paraphrasing. Im still learning so merely trying to seek a best way to achieve a similar style, not copy.

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Random notes and rolls don’t produce a countermelody, they produce an "anti-melody!" 😉

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counter melodies are usually built on conscious or unconscious knowledge of harmony, Dave Swarbrick accompanying songs is worth serious listening, he excels at it, if you work on the logic that songs are no different from tunes but just notes of a musical scale, that analysis should take you a long way to working out guidelines to accompanying tunes with different chord stuctures

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I have issues with the word" Random " 🙂

David

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by that then you mean rolls shouldn’t be used in music if they produce ‘anti-melodies’?

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zoukibanjo, I have no objection to notes and rolls being used in accompaniment, but they can’t be random. You have to know something about chord structures, or have a feel for how they should sound, to produce a countermelody that sounds pleasing to the ear. I know that you probably didn’t mean totally random when you used the word random, but I took the opportunity to tease you a little. Sorry if you took what I was saying seriously. I thought the little smiley face would let you know it was a joke.
Best of luck with your endeavors. Andy Irvine is certainly a good role model for accompanists!

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Al ,not at all. Just interested in discusing the style of play. Im still developing my own style so i absorbe all players. if i was ever mentioned in the same breath asAndy it would be blasphemy!

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Analyse Andy Irvine’s playing style, that’s a pretty tall order! I think Andy’s playing is at the opposite end of the scale to random. I think there’s a difference in the thought process involved in backing tunes, as against backing songs. The former is normally more fluid, reacting to the melody, the latter mostly pre arranged, and fixed. Andy’s style is unique in a lot of ways, and the arrangements he puts on songs are always recognisable as his work. There’s lots of video to study for chords and stuff, and I know Andy is still touring constantly, so get yourself a front seat and start from there.

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i have had several front seats. amazing to behold