Irish Session Guitar Playing

Irish Session Guitar Playing

I love playing guitar in sessions, though I don’t get to very much, and not enough to stay in practice. I thought I’d put together a few rules of thumb for other guitarists who may be learning.

1.) If you have to guess the key, DON’T PLAY.

2.) The great baseball player Ted Williams nearly always took the first pitch he saw of the night from a pitcher, without swinging. He wanted to see what the ball was doing, verify assumptions about velocity, timing, etc. He became one of the greatest hitters the world has ever seen doing that. If you haven’t heard the tune before, don’t play. Let it go by once or twice, at least, until you know where it’s going.

3.) Learn as much as you can about the New Orleans "Second Line March" beat (you need this in lots of other styles, anyway.

4.) Jigs are in two time signatures AT THE SAME TIME. (So are reels, sometimes.) If you can’t hear the 3 against 2 timing with jigs as well as the 6/8, at the same time, lay out. Don’t play until you hear it.

5.) Ok, go to the V. But only when absolutely necessary.

6.) Ok, go to the b7 major chord. If you must.

7.) Alternating bass is good. I like to alternate bass with guiness. What? We’re not talking about beers? Ok. Then musically, leave the alternating bass for the bluegrass and folkie jams across town.

8.) Learn to flatpick as many Irish melodies as you can. Dow’s List is the 2nd best place to start with, the best place being the tunes actually played regularly in your local.

9.) Learn as much O’Carolan for solo guitar as you can.

10.) While you’re at it, learn as much Bach for guitar as your technique will allow.

11.) Learn a few cool turnarounds for Irish music. Like I-vi-IV-V at the end of a major key reel. Then hardly ever play it.

12.) Learn how the iii chord works.

13.) Understand the difference between the dorian and aolian sounds, and play appropriately, most of the time. (i.e., be careful with playing, say, a Cmaj7 in an Em tune. Chances are good in Irish music the melody will go to a C# and not a C, if it goes there. Ditto with playing Bb maj7 in a Dm tune, Fmaj 7 in an Am tune, etc. I don’t say NEVER do it, because it can sound nice if you know what you’re doing. But know what it is you’re doing.

14.) Keep it simple.

15.) There is only one John Doyle. Just like there’s only one YOU.

16.) There’s only one John Doyle, and there sure as heck was only one Bo Diddley!

17.) Take direction, particularly if you’re new. Don’t be thin-skinned or egotistical. Occasionally you’ll get conflicting advice, because different people like different things from a backer.

18.) Listen to great Irish playing, all the time. Especially not guitar players.

19.) Keep it to one guitarist at a time at the beginning.

20.) Use your ears, not your eyes. Different keys have different idioms that you can recognize with enough playing, and you won’t have to ask "what key was that in?"

21.) Do your homework. Nearly everyone on a melody instrument has put in many hours of work on their instrument outside the session, learning repertoire, timing and technique. The guitar requires as much work, in its own way.

22.) Don’t be the knucklehead who’s always speeding up. (That’s the fiddle player’s job!)

23.) If you’re a bluegrass flatpicker in transition, go get some lighter picks.

24.) This isn’t jazz. There’s no stigma associated with capos here.

25.) Use different ideas, even within a set. Dynamic changes are your friend.

26.) There’s amazing musical power in laying out for a time through the tune, or through the tune. Or the set. Or for, like, an hour. Or a month. Whatever. Ommmmmm.

27.) If you’re playing guitar to impress chicks, you’re doing it wrong.

28.) If it’s stupid but it sounds good, it isn’t stupid.

29.) Less is probably more.

30.) Constantly ask yourself, "What would Arty McGlynn do, here?" Or Michael O Domnhaill. Or Tim Edey. Or Steve Cooney. Or Tony McManus. Or Daithi Sproule. Or Denis Cahill. Or Jim Murray. Or whoever else. Pick your favorite! And then change that favorite up every once in a while until you have your own sound and approach… or multiple approaches to any given tune and setting, but all sound built on solid foundations, respect and mastery of the idioms (even if you go in a different direction, yourself).

31.) The most important element in your playing is.


Talk amongst yourselves.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

32.) review #29

;-)

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There is one rule: learn the tunes.

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I love this list. Especially love number 5! Oh, & lol at 22.

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31. (con’t.) … timing!

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"There is one rule: learn the tunes."

…unless you intend to play backing, in which case you’ll need to learn some chords too.

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So, there are only 2 rules?
Not that I’m keeping score. :-P

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As long as I’ve been reading thesession.org, "Learn the tunes" has always included knowing what chords to play, if you’re a backer. Can’t have one without the other.

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re @3 What the heck is a Second Line March beat?

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re @3 I was wondering about Second Line too.

I looked up some YouTube vids on it, and came across mostly drum instruction. While the patterns were cool, they had so much swing and syncopation that I can’t imagine how it ties into backer strumming (and I’m a sometime backer strummer, although focused more on mandolin and flute melody these days).

Re: Irish Session Guitar Chords?

re @8 Does anyone have chords to go w/Dow’s list?

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The second line concept originated in New Orleans Marching bands. Were they all funereal? The first line was the marching band musicians. The second line were the people who followed
and / or danced alongside.

Then, I assume because in order to teach music in universities it has to be made more complex, the term has become connected to a form of syncopated rhythm. I’d be interested to hear the opinion of someone who spells his name backwards regarding such rhythms in ITM.

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First of all, as a guitar player, let me say that you need to come to terms with whatever that other guitar player did to you that made you get yourself so worked up.

You shouldn’t just hate a whole race of guitar playing men simply because one guitar player asked you what key you were in. I mean, "key" is a common term musicians use. He was just trying to be friendly in the customs of his people. You need to try to be more tolerant and inclusive of the diversity of instruments in today’s modern society.

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Nate: What are you referring to?

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I see you’re in denial. Some guitar player somewhere must have really cheesed you off. Now you can’t remember. Its what I think they call "repression". So what did he do? Play a #11 chord in Out on the Ocean?

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@Nate: Guitarists cheese me off all the time - I don’t deny it. I even get cheesed off by my own guitar playing, which is why I don’t play guitar that often (In fact, my own attempts at guitar backing make me more sympathetic to other guitarists, since I am reminded that what is simple in theory is not always easy in practice.) But I think, if all guitar backers at least attempted to follow half of JVS’s rules, I would be cheesed off consierably less often.

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Nate: Again, what are you referring to? I mean, other than your own pop psychology fevered imaginings?

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CMO, I can understand that. I play guitar as my native tongue, so on a Monday morning after breaking my coffee pot down at the office, the last thing I wanted to hear was somebody slagging guitar players.

and I know Jason is a guitar player. That’s why I’m screwing around with him.

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Hmmm… I don’t think I was "slagging" anybody except fiddle players with this thread (and no jury would convict me!)

I’d rather hear slagging of guitarists any day than hear another clueless guitarist fumble through a sesh… even if that guitarist is quite good in other contexts. My aim is to help create BETTER guitar players for this type of music.

Anyway, if you don’t want to read slagging on guitar players, you’re probably on the wrong board!

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No, there is one rule: learn the tunes.

If you know the tunes you will have an idea of the chords that might work. You won’t get caught up in trying inversions or playing double time because you will be listening to the tune being played, as you play it.
The main role of a guitarist at a session is to accompany, not to lead, not to make a nice setting. It is to play in time and stay out of the road. It is never a lead instrument, it isn’t loud enough.

Yes and you could do what Tony McManus does : learn the tunes and play solo guitar.

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Well, see number 8. But that doesn’t quite get you there, either. Lots of people learn lots of tunes, and know the notes in the melody line, yet can’t play them or back them. There’s more to it.

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That’s what I do, I play solo guitar

and this won’t go down well, but the fact is that you can never know all the tunes, and since you can’t just stop playing in the middle of a set, then yes you will play tunes you don’t know

this isn’t hard if you have ears and know what you are doing

and this is why JVS’s list of rules offends. It just doesn’t apply to any competent player.

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Nate: Try the decaf.

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Lightbulb moment Nate?
If you don’t know the tune you can stop playing. That’s what the melody players do!

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Nate - the competent guitar players aren’t the problem.

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See Rule #2.

The more tunes you know the less you’ll have to lay out just to hear the tune and any harmonic twists and turns, and once you’ve learned a bunch of them, it will be relatively easy to hear the changes and any harmonic curve balls after one or two passes (while you’re executing Rule #2 and/or Rule #26!)

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Meanwhile, see Rule 17: "Don’t be thin-skinned."

All is proceeding as the Prophecy has foretold.

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Great thread! I am very satisfied with my choice of instrument

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Jason, as someone who has played guitar for over fifty years, can I suggest, as others have, that you learn to play the tunes. It’s most rewarding, less intrusive and far more difficult than playing the same tunes on fiddle or mandolin and more difficult than playing chords.

Different people can hear different harmonies in a tune. By playing the ones you hear you may well be contradicting what other players are imagining.

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32. Could I submit that in the case of a tune with complex tonality / modulation, where it’s difficult to put chords to, you stick to 4ths, 5ths and octaves. Jason?

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Ronald: See Rule 8.

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Hi, Jim!

I suspect that would work better with tunes with very simply harmony and modulation, rather than complex. Say, where the tonality is ambiguous (gapped scales) or where it switches back and forth between two sounds (i.e, the Collier’s Reel, which goes between a D major and a D mix sound)

Sticking to the 4ths and 5ths and octaves is a matter of taste and style. But if the modulation is complicated, or you don’t quite grasp the harmony, I would say discretion is the better part of valor and that’s one of the times you don’t play.

If you DO grasp the harmony and modulation of a complex tune, grasping it quickly by ear, than you probably don’t need to worry about "rules of thumb" like these!

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Hi folks.
I have listened to many very good, brilliant Guitarists and some right Klonkers in sessions over the years and a couple of things strike me reading this thread……
There is a great difference between a musician and a copier/ bandsmen but only one of them plays his own interpretation and the other one does what he is told. It seems we forget that much of what we play comes from a time when all recording devices were human beings and we needed someone to copy others composition etc.
Subsequently there is still confusion between players about what a musician really is. If we are not all to be condemned to be note following historians rather than musicians, perhaps we should all strive to use our imaginations when playing and recognise that, The Dots and rules about playing, need to be relaxed in the informal arena of a session to allow this to happen. However, Like most others I get fed up with Guitar Plonkers who week after week, year after year seem to learn nothing and never practice. As long as players are making progress I try to include and join with them. If you are too good to tolerate this it may be that you need another type of venue where you can display your masterly guitar playing and be praised by an audience.

Secondly informal sessions will always meet with some ones disapproval. It may be that we all need to chill a bit. Learn to stop when we are not enhancing the tune and make sure we are not being "Pre, Madonna’s" and we keep working towards a more proficient contribution. After 50 years of session playing I hope you wont mind my opinion.

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Great post Derek Robson. Well said!

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The only one I really disagree with is rule 5.

And rule 30 seems to contradict rules 15 and 16.

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Hi, Pipers’ grip!

The intended audience is supposed to be novices. So rule 30 was just written to get their feet on the ground and listening to a variety of players. The more people they listen to, the faster (hopefully) they’ll evolve past the 3 chord trick. And then they graduate from this list of ‘rules of thumb’ to maybe not needing anything anymore.

Rule number 5, of course, was written kind of tongue in cheek. The dominant chord I think is one best used sparingly in this music, to retain its force, but no, I wouldn’t say be afraid of it! I’ve noticed a lot of new guitarists/ backers, etc., from other genres are prone to go to the wrong V… for instance, grabbing an E7 chord in an A dorian tune, because they’re used to a harmonic minor sound rather than a dorian. Or they grab the V when the IV chord or the ii chord is appropriate, simply because they perceive a change, and are flailing about or guessing what the harmony is.

Now the best, most experienced ITM guitarists don’t have this issue. They’ve already internalized most or all of it.

But those aren’t the people I’m addressing!

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A good guitarist, whether versed in ITM or not, plays the chords that the melody suggests, so there shouldn’t be any problem finding the G in Ador, the F in Gmix, the C in Dmix, etc. As simple as that. If they can’t do it, they aren’t "good guitarists".

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I’m always left with the odd feeling that I’ve wandered into an alternative reality whenever I read through a discussion on this site about guitarists and guitar playing.
It’s just another stringed instrument. Learn the tunes and play them. Learning the tunes means learning the chords as well as the melody of course, and as they are simple tunes it’s barely possible to do one without the other, most tunes being built on chords. If you are classically trained and don’t use a pick (yuk ppf ppf ! ‘scuse me) then you’ll find you can play both ( chords and melody) on some tunes. Particularly effective with slower tunes and airs.
On other tunes you may just need to provide a bit of background rhythm. This is Irish traditional music we’re talking about. There are no great surprises or strange modulations, most of them are harmonically quite simple, built around simple triads.
(Oh and stay away from Major 7ths and other ‘jazz’ chords).

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I love Jazz chords!

Then again - I love the music’s versatility and I love the creation of something new - opposed to the imitation of the old.

This may not be appropriate for some groups.

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I love jazz chords too, but they are entirely the wrong sound for Irish trad music

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22.) Don’t be the knucklehead who’s always speeding up. (That’s the fiddle player’s job!)

ahem…I resemble that remark…

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In other words - jazz chords or wild progressions work fine if the melody suggests it (I can think of a number of tunes where a simple two or three chord trick just won’t do, Golden Eagle immediately springs to mind).

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@jeff_lindqvist
Personally I’ve never heard anyone play an altered chord on a traditional Irish tune. They don’t work.
The melodies were never built for them or around them. Are you refering to a tune we can find on here called ‘The Golden Eagle’ - a Hornpipe ?
I don’t know the tune but I had a look and the version I looked at seems to be built mainly around the chords G , D and a bit of B(7) eminor(ish) oh and A , just on a quick look :) . I don’t know if it’s the tune you’re refering to but you certainly don’t need any jazz chords in there.

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I think Jeff just meant that ‘Golden Eagle’ needed more than three (common) chords.

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Well from his comment it looks like he’s saying it’s a tune where we could use Altered ‘jazz’ chords. There’s nothing unusual or ‘tricky’ about the chords needed for Golden Eagle. If a guitarist can’t work out the chords he needs from the tune, and play them then he needs to go away and do a lot of practice and studying.
Maybe that’s why there are so many complaints on here about guitarists; perhaps the majority of the guitarists that turn up on sessions are rubbish. That might sound in some way arrogant, I don’t mean it to, but really, maybe that’s the problem. No reasonable guitarist should be phased in the slightest by the chords in that tune. I have always thought that the more important aspect of accompanying the music is to get the rhythm right.

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It’s about familiarity with the idioms. You can be an outstanding guitarist in other contexts and be totally clueless about Irish session playing, and vice versa. Nothing wrong with it. You have to learn the idioms.

You can say "learn the chords," but then you have another question: "Well, what are the chords?" And it’s not that simple.

Take a tune like "The Earl’s Chair," as an example. You can start that tune off with a Bm, and you’re off to the races. It’s easy for a guitar player with a little experience and familiarity with the melody already to suss out the Bm chords off the top of his head.

But then you can start the same tune with a G major chord - equally correctly, and I actually prefer it now - and you’re off to a very different set of races!

There are a lot of times where you can hang out on the IV rather than resolve to a i minor, to build tension and to set up for the resolution that comes when you begin the NEXT tune. But you might not do that all the time, etc.

Learning the melodic outline of the tune by itself gets you within grenade range, but it doesn’t get you all the way there. Though I agree, guitarists interested in ITM session playing should learn as many tune melodies as they can. In doing that, a player will gain many chordal insights.

I don’t agree with ‘stay away from Maj 7th chords and Min 7th chords. They can sound quite nice in their place, but that’s the key: IN THEIR PLACE.

We use sus 9s and sus 4s all the time. DADGAD playing is just full of them! I can’t think of a place for the #11 chord in ordinary contexts but I can easily imagine grabbing a 9th chord in some hornpipes, for example, where you have an unwinding cycle of fifths. They’d just function as 7th chords as the V or the V of V.

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There’s a tune called "Old Town" on Ciaran Tourish’s solo album where the guitar player (Paul Brady?) uses altered 5ths… just that chromatically descending line from an Am chord that most folks know from Stairway to Heaven. It’s very cool for that tune.

It’s not a particularly traditional tune. I’ve never heard it outside the context of that album. But there’s a context for altered chords, right there!

Everything in its place.

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"It’s not a particularly traditional tune". That’s your answer. I’m talking about Traditional Irish music.
You over think it way too much. Putting maj7th chords or dom7th#9 chords etc on a simple irish trad tune is like putting a sardine on your apple pie and custard. I’ve never heard it. ( I don’t regard sus4 chords as particularly jazz chords).
"Learning the melodic outline of the tune by itself gets you within grenade range, but it doesn’t get you all the way there." I did not say guitarists should only learn the melody. In fact I specifically said they need to learn both melody (obviously) and chords. So I don’t know why you are saying this to me.
As for which chords ; the chords that fit. If there’s a choice then that’s up to each guitarist ( or guitarist and people he’s playing with) to use the chords they feel they like best, and best suits the melody.
. There will never be much of a choice (usually Em instead of G, that sort of thing)

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Well the earls chair is in Em , Dorian I think is the technical term. Theoretically maybe a backer could play G or Bm but why? When the tune is in Em ? Why throw off the tune players? Surely
the idea is to support them, back them up, give them something solid and reliable that they can use to improvise within the bounderies of the tradition? Until the backer has a grasp of the fundamentals like key and rhythm isn’t it best to figure out these things in privacy ? I think so anyway.
Of course no one is perfect , we all slip up here or there on the occasional new tune so it’s best to be open to the advice of the tune player. As a backer we can add a lot to a session but conversely we can also drag the life out of one, which is why guitar players get slagged so often: wrong chords, or wrong rhythm. Don’t be that person. Cheers

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"There are no great surprises or strange modulations"

Generally true, but there are exceptions that will throw a guitar player who doesn’t actually know the tune. Like the shift in tonal centers for tunes like The Gravel Walks and Kid on the Mountain. Or Knocknagow, which is a great tune if you want to intentionally throw off a guitar player. :)

On the subject of extended chords, Maj 7th and Min 7th would invoke some stink eye from the melody players I know. It’s not always the case, I’m sure, but I think when guitar players sneak in jazz chords, it can be the result of being bored with their subordinate role in the session, and aiming for a bit of self-expression instead of just supporting the melody.

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If a guitarist doesn’t know the tune then he shouldn’t be trying to play it. Goes for any other instrument too.

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You’ve never heard a Maj 7th? I bet you have. But the comper knows what he’s doing, and it fit in well, so it didn’t stick out at you as being out of place.

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Nope. They aren’t used. (I’m not talking about dropping a G to f# or playing a G bass over Bmin as a brief passing note.) You’d notice all right it would sound glaringly out of place.

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Will: "Well the earls chair is in Em , Dorian I think is the technical term. Theoretically maybe a backer could play G or Bm but why? When the tune is in Em ? Why throw off the tune players?"

I think Jason is right here, Will. Both G and Bm sound right accompanying the opening phrase of The Earls Chair and there is no reason why either would throw the tune players off. As regards key/mode, you can call it E Dorian if you like but, in the end, it’s just one of those awkward tunes that defies categorisation. To me, it resolves onto a D chord, so it’s in D as far as I’m concerned (although *starting* on a D chord would sound wrong). If you listen to the opening phrase played on the pipes, with a strong D drone, you have the notes D and B together, which are part of a Bm chord and a G chord. If the piper were to play the regulators at that point, they would most likely play a G chord. You could back that phrase with an Em chord (assuming there are no regulators being played), and it would make for a nice variation, but it iseems the less obvious choice to me.

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"They aren’t used."

LOL!

Enjoy trying to prove that negative!

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…and I’d like to add to my last paragraph that the melodic figure B A F# A , in the opening phrase of The Earl’s Chair, hints strongly at Bm, owing to the B and F# on the strong beats.

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well maybe with you yanks. Who knows what you’d do?

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Not what Old Worlders try to tell us to do. :D

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CMO yes on a purely visual approach I agree that it looks like Bm . But speaking as someone who plays the tune it’s neither, it’s Em. The key is E Dorian, it’s clearly a minor tune . With a typical I , VII progression.
I don’t mind the F# as a double stop with the B , it’s quite nice as a variation but as a fiddler it clashes with the obvious E above and below the B , part 2 is also Em. It’s not a complicated tune , and IMO fits firmly within the tradition.
For sake of the discussion If it were Bm what would the next chord be in the 3rd bar ? It’s D ,can you think of any tune that has a similar progression? Normally with a tune like this it’s I VII , what tune has VI to VII in D or I ,III if it’s Bm Doesn’t make sense , it would be I VII as normal which is Bm-A
I play it in Em as a fiddler and as a guitar player I back it in Em . Just as I would any standard E Dorian reel which IMO it is .
The bottom line is , what does the tune player feel? If I’m playing it in Em , I’m hardly going to welcome a Bm chord am I!? If the fiddler is double stopping with an F# then that is what the guitar should do
but it makes no sense musically. We have the push and pull of the I chord against the D drone resolving to the VII chord that matches the drone. Such a typical device that it hardly seems worth discussing were it not for, as you say , the obvious visual Bm when looking at the dots. That’s why just looking at the dots is not good enough, it has to be considered within the greater context of the genre . And it has to sound right to a player immersed in that genre. Ok a fancy substitution might be acceptable to some players . Up to them, but as far as I’m concerned I like to keep things simple and relevant.

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As previously stated, you need to know the tunes.
Consider the Lilting Fisherman, how does a guitarist who doesn’t know the tune guess it?

Also, not all tunes start on the root chord.

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The jig Allan? , well it’s a typical key change , G to D , I catch that sort of thing all the time without knowing the individual tunes at all. it’s why I can sit in with say Seamus Begley and keep up with him all night . I can assure you that’s no mean feat. In fact Ive even astonished him at times . smug git , yes I know . :-) but hey that’s something I’m proud of, wouldn’t you be?

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Will Evans: "yes on a purely visual approach I agree that it looks like Bm. But speaking as someone who plays the tune it’s neither, it’s Em"

I’m only using a ‘visual’ approach to explain what I hear. I would never choose chords based on how he dots look. We just hear different things - and that’s fine.

"It’s not a complicated tune, and IMO fits firmly within the tradition."

I never said otherwise.

"If it were Bm what would the next chord be in the 3rd bar ? It’s D ,can you think of any tune that has a similar progression?"

Not off the top of my head but, in theoretical terms, it’s minor to relative major, so there’s ‘logic’ to it. The fact that it is an unusual progression (and that there are alternative chord options) just exemplifies the fact that trad tunes are not built aroun chord progression, but that the chords have to fit around the melody.

"I play it in Em as a fiddler…"

What do you mean? You play the tune the way the tune goes. It only becomes Em when you add an Em chord progresssion to it. Perhaps you hear the Em chord in your head as you play the tune, whilst I might G chord in my head. The chances are, we could play the tune together without any problem

"The bottom line is , what does the tune player feel?"

Personally (I am predominantly a tune player) I like the fact that there is the choice of G, Bm ad Em to accompany that opening phrase and I would appreciate backing that uses all three of them appropriately and tastefully.

"If the fiddler is double stopping with an F# then that is what the guitar should do
but it makes no sense musically."

"We have the push and pull of the I chord against the D drone resolving to the VII chord that matches the drone. Such a typical device that it hardly seems worth discussing"

Yes, that is very typical. But this tune isn’t typical. It simply doesn’t fit that mould - at least, its an awkward fit.

"just looking at the dots is not good enough, it has to be considered within the greater context of the genre."

Agreed - 100%

"And it has to sound right to a player immersed in that genre."

..and that too.

"Ok a fancy substitution might be acceptable to some players."

I don’t call this ‘fancy substitution’ - it’s just different chords that sound right.

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I’m not hearing the "Earl’s Chair" in Em, though certainly it it has that key signature. I think of things in terms of tonal centers, and I could mentally wrap the Earl’s Chair around a Bm tonal or a D major (which is the rabbit hole I go down if I start the tune on the IV, or a G, and follow the logic from there).

I don’t think it’s an E dorian, tune, but people have certainly surprised me before with things I wouldn’t have thought of that sound cool.

Are there any recordings of it played in one sharp with backing of some sort in Em?

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Hmmmm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHRfff93zok


Sounds like a lot of V-I cadences using minor 7ths and 9th chords to me, straight out of the Django Reinhardt and Freddie Green playbook among others, connected with some diminished passing chords as he pushes the bass note around chromatically.

Good stuff.

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The key signature is D

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"The key signature is D"

The key signature is *two sharps* - which, in the context of Irish trad, could mean D, Bm, E dorian or A mixolydian.
In the case of The Earl’s Chair, the one it most definitely *does not* mean is A mixolydian.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Yes I know it could be in those modes but ‘key signature’ is what is written at the beginning. This key signature is D.
To find out what it’s actually in needs a little more examination of the tune, obviously.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Yep, you’re right, two sharps.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I’ve played Earl’s Chair on the fiddle about eleventy million times, and I’m pretty sure most guitar players — I know, in fact, were playing it in Bm, although some did switch to a G chord every now and then.

But I’d be fine if there were no agreed-upon key for that tune. If a guitar player wants to come in some night and play it in Em, I’d enjoy hearing it. But the player has to be good, and that means good rhythmically, which I think is more important that any given chord structure. And the player has to be comfortable with whatever chords he or she is choosing to play. I welcome the ideas.

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

When I say I play it in Em I mean that I don’t just play the notes as per the written out. The rough frame, a Simplified version. I use double stops , and my understanding as a Bass player turned guitar player to vary the tune, ie rather than play just B I would also play the E underneath or the E on top as well. I would likely pedal between the low E and the B or drone the high E say.
As regards ’ most ’ guitar players, well that’s hardly a recomendation is it ? :-)
As regards key signature , it has two sharps. That simply does not mean it’s in D , many different keys share those two sharps as pointed out above correctly by CMO.
I’d be happy to acknowledge the first part as being in Bm if it would make sense to me musically. What key or Keys is it then in ? What note feels like a resolution if you finish on that note? Obviously it’s not designed to be played as an independent unit, just like most tunes. It’s designed to either go back into part 1 , or into another tune or to resolve to a finishing note.
In fact I quite like the Bm , it’s just that the second chord makes no sense within the context of the tradition.
IMO it’s a typical Em reel , no more no less. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for a tune to start on the 5th . For example the first bar could be Em//D Or Em DEmD or Em//Bm ,Em DEmBm , etc just remember the chords regularily change a number of times per bar and relate wholly to what is actually being played. Playing 1 chord over a harmonic progression such as this can work ok , but it’s not the only way…..

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"IMO it’s a typical Em reel , no more no less."

In that case, let’s agree to differ. Should we ever meet in person and play this tune together, I’ll be listening out for those dissonances. Tension and resolution is what it’s all about, anyway ;-)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

No No. Earl’s Chair is in D major. It hits the root in bar three, where all the notes are from the root chord. It’s not unusual for a tune to start on a chord that is not the root. Of the three suggested chords for bar one, both Bm and G have two notes in the bar and Em has only one. G, as the IV chord is strongest, Bm, as the vi, has more melancholy than strength and Em has little more than the elegance of a fart in a gale.

A point I made, perhaps in another thread, is that when you put the chord of your choice in you will probably be playing the wrong chord for some one else. Better not to play any chords ever, just play the tune. That way everyone can have the ‘right’ chord in their head.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"As regards key signature , it has two sharps. That simply does not mean it’s in D , many different keys share those two sharps as pointed out above correctly by CMO."

The key SIGNATURE of a piece is shown by the sharps or flats written at the beginning of the music on the bar.
The key signature of this piece is D .
As I said "To find out what it’s actually in needs a little more examination of the tune, obviously". Different modes share that key signature not different keys.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

LOL this thread goes to show why so often guitar players are unwelcome. D major?! Bm? Oh dear oh dear . Well that explains why 2 guitar backers at one time can be impossible.
I do find though that box players have a much better understanding of chords than guitar players and suggest to novice players that they listen to players like Jackie Daly for good and relevant chord choices if they want to be accepted and welcomed into trad sessions.
Same goes for Seamus Begley, he plays the right chords no doubt… So if your in doubt go to the source. I hope we can agree on that .
CMO , if your in Miltown Malbay come on over for tunes, I find face to face demonstrations far more convincing that words on an Internet site. Cheers
Ps knowing the mode is the first key to getting into trad. D Ionian shares the same notes as E Dorian but they are different modes and different keys.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"Ps knowing the mode is the first key to getting into trad. D Ionian shares the same notes as E Dorian but they are different modes and different keys."

I am FULLY conversant with the modes and what they are. I am by no means a novice player nor am I "getting into trad" . Dorian and Ionian are different modes BUT they are not different keys. I’ll explain for the last time; the key SIGNATURE is written at the beginning of the piece. That’s what is meant by the key SIGNATURE. In this case it is D.
That is just a fact. calling it "the key of two sharps" is just baby talk.
The actual tune may not be in D it may be in another mode , as I have already said.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

E Dorian and D Ionian are both "two sharps" but they are ‘NOT’ the same key. They don’t even have the same notes.

(Throws some more chum in the water)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Will,

Your first link is to an article that says, at the start of the second paragraph,

In music “key” is short for “key signature"

Very unsafe information. A key signature is a list of notes to sharpen or flatten when reading a score. Not all that relevant to a predominantly aural tradition. The key is the root note. Very important in any form of music.

The second link takes a whole page to say "a list of notes to sharpen or flatten when reading a score" and the third is a thread started by someone who is confused by modal concepts and elicits a series of answers that clarify everything into a whirling cloud of super complexity.

I am enjoying this thread.

32 rules on how to play the most untraditional instrument in traditional music! Can this ever be enough?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

This is interesting - it’s not the first the Earl’s Chair has been brought up in a thread about chords, but labeling it as en Em reel (even a typical Em reel) is new to me. I’m used to all kinds of chord substitutions (as long as they’re "likely"), and imagining an Em in the opening bar gives me the same feeling as using an Em chord in say, Musical Priest, Sweeney’s Buttermilk or any of the other typical reels - in B minor. Em in this tune is simply the typical subdominant minor relative, but maybe that’s just me (and everybody else in thread disagreeing with Will).

By the way, I’d pair it up with Virginia Reel as "tunes with two sharps where the opening bar is open for suggestion - G or Bm - and where the rest of the tune in D".

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

It looks like G shifting to Em , another typical trad tune .no Bm involved. It’s not the chords so much as the key.
As regards will vs the guitar players on session dot org . No worries I’ve held my own as a backer with the best players in Ireland for decades , a few internet warriors wouldnt particularly bother me now would they?
The earls chair is not in Bm or D major. They both have very specific feels to them just as does Em . Musical priest is in 2 keys ,Bm and D. Bm tunes such as sleepy Maggie or Maggies pancakes are standard , just as is the earls chair, a standard Em reel. Try it….

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

The key opens the door. Until you can open the door you will never get inside the room. It’s not just a technical term in music , it’s a fundamental concept.
Modes are not built from the major scale, though I teach them through that vehicle, they predate major and minor.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

The reason I say Earls chair is in D is the ending notes. The first part ends on a long D note and the second part ends on a D arpeggio.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Aye Ronald but this is trad, it’s not designed to end rather to go into another tune. It resolves on E, try it. Try it with B , try resolving on any note you like.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Is that a resolution or just a memory of former repeats?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

From the Wiki article YOU quoted
"In musical notation, a key signature is a set of sharp or flat symbols placed together on the staff. Key signatures are generally written immediately after the clef at the beginning of a line of musical notation, although they can appear in other parts of a score, notably after a double barline."

The key SIGNATURE of that piece is D

"Modes are not built from the major scale" AND " they predate major and minor."
The major scale IS a mode. It’s the Ionian mode and the aolian mode, built on the 6th degree is the natural minor scale.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

The key is E Dorian, which shares the same notes as D Ionian . Not the same thing. Same sharps and flats,different key. The key is where the melody resolves to.
The key of Em Dorian is not derived from D Ionian though I find it helpful to relate them , rather it is a separate independent mode that happens to share notes in ET.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

E Dorian and D Ionian are both "two sharps" but they are ‘NOT’ the same key. They don’t even have the same notes.

Which notes do they not share?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Hi khasab

This is one of those areas where the differences between KEY and KEY SIGNATURE are important.
The key signature for D is the same as the key signature for Bm. Their scales contain the same notes but they start and stop in different places.

No one is suggesting they are the same key. In as much as you are saying they are not the same key, you are right. Also Will is right, and guess what, so am I. Isn’t it lovely?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"Em Dorian is not derived from D Ionian" yes it is. That’s what a Dorian mode is; a scale built on the second degree of the Ionian scale.

(by the way it’s not referred to as Em Dorian; just E Dorian)

Also you consistently ignore what I am saying about the key SIGNATURE of a piece even after I’ve quoted to you your own reference from wikipedia. I have NEVER said that a piece with a key SIGNATURE of say, D has to be in D, as you will see if you read my other comments. However
E Dorian and D maor (Ionian) share the same key SIGNATURE.
You seem to be determined to deny that simple fact.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Ronald I think you’re confusing the issue . I’m not talking about D versus Bm

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"Which notes do they not share?"

All but one. <drops mic> :-)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

<<Dorian and Ionian are different modes BUT they are not different keys>>
The key signature is the same, the key is different. 2 sharps is the key signature of D and E Dorian etc etc
Possible the confusion arises from the term ’ key signature’ It’s merely an indication of which notes are sharp and flat, nothing in it indicates a key as such. The idea has been postulated that it’s simply a poor translation from the French.
Regarding the difference in notes between Em Dorian and D major, Ionian . In Et they are the same, in JI they are different .here is Hans’s explanation:


<<E Dorian is a mode in the key of D only if you assume equal temperament with (logarithmically) equal spaced semi-tones. In ET you can say that the tones in a mode are derived from a progression of single and double semi-tone intervals, starting from the tonic of the mode:
Ionian major: 2-2-1-2-2-2-1
Dorian minor: 2-1-2-2-2-1-2
Lydian minor: 1-2-2-2-1-2-2
Mixolydian major: 2-2-1-2-2-1-2
Aeolian minor: 2-1-2-2-1-2-2

But if the notes of those modes should be in just intonation, then simple ratios for their frequency intervals are used, and the progression of equal semi-tones goes out the window. you could just keep it for reference to show approximately the interval. But the ET model is not valid, and need to be replaced with a series of frequency ratios, in order to construct a correct just intoned mode from a reference base tone.>>

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Which is to say, the keys D major and E dorian both contain a B note, for example.

But it is not the same note.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

No one was talking about temperament.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

""Which notes do they not share?"

All but one."

can you be more specific. You’re saying they don’t share all of them but one, right?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Precisely. Only one note is the same in both scales.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"Precisely. Only one note is the same in both scales." care to explain?

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I’m a bit reluctant to enter this discussion, not being much of a music theorist, but I have mentioned "The Earl’s Chair" as a total session-wrecker* in previous discussions, - see the disagreements detailed above - , where accompanists seem to be unable to agree which chords to play to accompany the tune.
It might help if the main protagonists in this discussion would post the chord sequences they personally would use to accompany "The Earl’s Chair" so that we melody players might be able to voice an opinion as to which we prefer.
You could also do it for "The Virginia" reel as well, as that’s another tune I’ve almost totally given up on starting* for the same reasons.
[ * at least, in Scotland ].

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I think khasab is correct when he says the key signature is D. The key signature of two sharps is called D. That’s not the same as the key of D. Key and key signature have different meanings. Pedantic, perhaps, but true.

For "The Earl’s Chair" John Doyle plays something like:

|:Em|G|D|D|Em|G|D G|A D:|
|:A D|A D|A D|D|Em|G|D |A7sus:|

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

That was from a recording with Liz Carroll.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I move we put the Earl’s Chair-specific discussion under the tune heading rather than here.

It might help somebody out!

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

John Doyle’s playing on that Liz Carroll set is a good example of what I’m getting at when I brought up the term "second line march."

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

[*The key signature of two sharps is called D. That’s not the same as the key of D. Key and key signature have different meanings.*]

Sorry, but the key signature and the key are one and the same. D major has 2 sharps, a C# and an F#.

If a tune is listed as being in D major, it’s in the key of D major (2 sharps, a C# and an F#).
If a tune is listed as being in E Dorian (mode), it’s still in the key of D major (2 sharps, a C# and an F#).

It’s just the arrangement of the notes that’s different, and what makes the tune "different" from an accompaniment aspect.

D major scale : D E F# G A B C# D
E dorian (mode) : E F# G A B C# D E

Same notes, just a different starting point.

"E Dorian = E F# G A B C# D E, which is a D major scale started from E (second degree of the D major scale)"

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Fair enough. Jason - go for it. That’s what I’m hoping for.

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

So, Jim, if a tune is listed as being in B Aeolian (mode), it’s still in the key of D major (?)

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

This isn’t Jim, but NO. If anything is in B minor it can’t be in D major. They’ll both have two sharps if you notate them, but they have different tonics. Two sharps is NOT the same as D major. D major (Ionian), E Dorian, G Lydian, A Mixolydian, and B minor will all use the same key signature - two sharps - but it would be most incorrect to describe all those as somehow also being D major. Keys are mutually exclusive.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

[*So, Jim, if a tune is listed as being in B Aeolian (mode), it’s still in the key of D major (?)*]

Yes.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

A discussion of Earl’s Chair is not out of place here since we are talking about different approaches to accompaniment. The big decision is accompanying Earl’s Chair is that A part. The melody tends to center around the B, and while many people play it with B minor chords predominating, some will play it with a G chord predominating. When you get both approaches played at once, you have that F# in the Bm chord clashing with that G, which sounds quite hideous.
From the chords listed above, John Doyle chose the G road when accompanying Liz Carroll. As I remember from a session many years ago, Bill Black, who is considered a musical authority in the NE USA, was adamant that the Bm approach was the correct one. But both approaches work, although not simultaneously.
Earl’s Chair is one of those tunes that has been discussed many times when folks bring up tunes with ambiguous modes, or different options in accompanying.
And I have found that, when talking about Irish music, the more you talk about modes, and the less you talk about keys, the easier it is to describe what is going on. I have run into lots of musicians who associate a certain number of sharps or flats with a particular key, but because in Irish music, so many modes share a common number of sharps and flats, but use those notes in such different manners, it makes much more sense to talk about the mode, which really snaps things into proper focus.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

If any chunk of music - tune, jazz, symphony - is in B minor, than it is not in D major, since it’s in B minor. Not D major. Suggesting otherwise is failing to understand how music theory works, and is spreading misinformation.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Ditto!

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Arghhhh! Indeed, I am wrong.

You guys caught me in a Golden Pride moment with my wires crossed. Sorry aboot that.

I think much of the confusion arises when you assign a name to a key signature (like I did above), forgetting that ‘major’ is itself a mode, and modes represent (among other things) the intervals between the notes of the mode, as well as many modes sharing the same key signature.

I think this link kind of explains it all (scroll down to the bottom):

http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/sfo/musicinfo/rodsmodeguide.htm

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Set out clearly there Jim, thanks, but the author commits a similar ‘sin’: "A tune could be written in each of these modes in turn and in each case, it would appear as if the tune were in C (no sharps or flats) "

Round here if someone says "two sharps" it usually means *not* D major, for which they would say "D". I have also heard (from a melody player) "are the Cs in that sharp or natural ?"

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I’m certain that that’s the very first time I started an argument online and the other fellow just said ‘oops, I was wrong.’ Hats off to Jim Dorans!

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

@tdrury - thanks for that. Thing is, if you’re wrong, and you know you’re wrong, then you’re definitely wrong, and no amount of arguing can make it right. So you might as well just admit you’re wrong! (like I was).

Golden Pride is lovely, but it don’t right wrongs :)

fyi, that is a very tasty and very strong English beer …

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

I have never heard of Golden Pride. I’m not sure if it’s available in Indiana but I’ll try and get hold of some.

Re:Golden Pride’s Mode

Cheers, Jim! Well at least you enjoy your drink. It was only a minor mistake.
;-)

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Virginia reel is simply G major in part 1 D major in part 2, a standard change.
Earls chair is simply Em in both parts. I can see how both parts might confuse a backer. The second part somehow feels like a key change when it moves but infact its still Em. Humours of kiltyclogher was also raised as a tune that confuses backers. IMO its simply D mix with the minorV chord in part 2 .While we are on the subject what other tunes cause problems for backers? Cheers

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

"Earls chair is simply Em in both parts. " - that’s just plain wrong.

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Earl’s Chair in Em? I’ve heard people back the first part either as Bm or as G. I *much* prefer the G approach though.

If you get a backer who doesn’t know their stuff, the Dublin reel is a dangerous one to play. The last part of the Fair Wind sometimes seems to confuse them too, and I never thought it was a tricky one but at a festival session recently a backer made a total horse’s ar$e of The Killavil Fancy.

If you’re playing with a pretty clueless backer, it’s also a bad idea to launch into a set of slip jigs without specifying that they are in fact slip jigs. I’ve seen that get very unpleasant very quickly!

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Why do you say that Kenny? Can you offer any explanation? After all we are all entitled to our opinions.I do suggest you try it out before leaping to conclusions But of course if youve already done so then we best agree to differ.
Im quite used to seeing guitar players frail around in desperation to find the right chords to greater or lesser success , see video above .But remember im talking about keys/ modes the mode in both parts is E dorian .
Chord wise
To simplyify id suggest
Em ///D///Em///D//Em.
EmDEmD EmD Bm DEm/D/Em/D/

Please feel free to offer your suggestions Kenny as to how youd back it or how you would like it to be backed and anyone else for that matter.
As a fiddler this chord pattern would allow me to play the tune as i do , with double stops etc without being thrown off by a guitar player.
I would point out that despite it being able to be played with a standard tuning in First position people might like to find inversions that rest on the 5th of the Em For the first part.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Which dublin reel?
Third part of fair winds is in BDorian other two in A maj .
killavel is in E dorian, there are no Cs and here its written in the wrong key:G maj. If you run up to the D you will find the only C to work is # unless your Patsy Touhey in which case carry on :-)

Oops thats the killavel jig, my mistake, the reel you mean
g
G /D /Em /C /G/D/Em/ Em /
G or Em /D /Em /C /G/DEm///
Part 2
G///D///G///D/Em/
G///////D /GDEmD ——
The last bar moves too rapidly to write without going back and doubling it all up as i did already to fit the penultimate bar in.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

The standard three-part Dublin Reel that Seamus Ennis, among others, played:
https://thesession.org/tunes/384

The Killavil Fancy has a definite ‘major feel’ to it - it’s this tune here:
https://thesession.org/tunes/576

To me the first two parts of the Fair Wind are in G. Darn fiddlers and their love of playing everything in A… :-D

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Ok if you play fair winds in G last part is Am Dorian.
Dublin is key wise D maj 2nd part is A mix third part returns to D though saying that its one of those tunes that leans in an Amix direction but could still be D maj. You could say the first bars of part 2 shift to A but back again rapidly to the D

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

So to clarify back to the K fancy, A G major reel generally uses GCD , no substitutions. Once Em comes in clearly through the melody then its best treated as E dorian though of course some parts of it might still be G maj , like the Dublin Reel it defies immediate classification in any particular mode, you could say its in both G maj and E m . It also of course depends very much on how the tune player treats in, box players left hand, fiddlers double stops , pipers regs all can come into play . This is essential to understand as a backer, we are there to support the tune as played in the moment , not as written on a piece of paper…..if the fiddler indicates Em we play Em not superimpose a preconceived idea .

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Yeah Jeff i thought he meant the jig, my mistake, which i corrected above.
Re the virginia there are so many settings wed be better to pick a particular one. IMO its G maj , last bar rests on Em before shifting to D maj for 2nd part. It has a strong G maj feel and a clear key change to D IMO .this is typical of the tunes played by Seamus Bugler for example, this constant shifting between G and D .and its important as a backer to identify this key change IMO.

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Earl’s Chair, both parts are Em? Generally speaking, not sure about that, but I have to say it would depend on which setting you are playing. Look at all the possibilities, even just on here :

https://thesession.org/tunes/221

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

That could be another rule of thumb for "Irish Session Guitar Playing" ~
33.) Chords/key depend on which setting is played.

note to Will Evans: A dorian is sufficient, really no need to write Am dorian.

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

@jimDorans "Sorry, but the key signature and the key are one and the same."
No that’s absolutely not the case.
As I tried to explain to another person, the Key SIGNATURE is what is written at the beginning of a piece of music , the number of sharps or flats. A key SIGNATURE of two sharps is the key SIGNATURE of D, but what mode the piece is actually in has to be determined by looking at the music, it may be in D Ionian, E Dorian or B minor or A mixolydian or some other mode, but they all share the same key signature. DonaldK understands the difference.

Re:A question of music theory vs Golden Pride

That’s double jeopardy you’re playing, khasab. Mr.Dorans has addressed his earlier response which you are now challenging. Do you want to rub his nose in the matter again?

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

No , I didn’t see any other response. I was simply answering a comment. (not ‘challenging’ it)
If you think it’s been resolved already I’d be happy to remove my comment (except I can’t, but consider it null and void)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Note to Ab steen, i tend to just say Am or Em , but technically its A dorian or E dorian. These are minor modes, So rather than just use Am or Em which is my preference, I’m clarifying that its a specific minor mode rather than general minor modes . Pretty much every minor tune is in this mode bar the odd one like coleraine , tam lin and on a trad site it seems hardly necessary to have to point out if its dorian rather than harmonic or melodic . In future i will just use Am or Em and presume everyone understands that common usage means that this is shorthand for dorian. How about that?
Jim there are 2 facets in backing: the key and the chords. The key of earls chair is Em . As it happens as is standard , the chords are basically Em too. Yes in theory other chords could be used, some players actually use other chords, but hopefully not in sessions where Im playing .
Rather no guitar than the wrong chords , some tune players just ignore the backer and often enough to the unsophisticated ear they can get away with it but im very much aware of what other players are doing, especially the backer!

Re:Keys/modes w/a flat 3rd

Will, if you’re using modes that’s fine. But Am isn’t exclusive to A dorian; it may also apply to A aeolian.
True?

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Re:

What was the OP, again?

"Irish Session Guitar Playing"

I don’t understand why this lot thinks they have something *new* to say everytime I go back & read archival posts by Iris Nevins & other guitarists who have contributed their vital experiences a few years before.

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Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Let the record show that AB Steen has nearly 10,000 comments on this board. :-)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

@khasab - no problem. I noticed my error when I re-read the my post the next day. I concur with what you say on the difference between key signature and mode (and how different modes can share the same key sig as well. No worries. :)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

Just a little note (Bb, anyone?) :) to anyone who is interested - on fiddle I play in different genres, and many tunes require double stops, triple stops, arpeggios etc.

By listening to a tune (not every tune in every genre, but a large amount of them) I can work out exactly what notes I would play on guitar for accompaniment, just from playing that tune on fiddle.

Sometimes the guitar chord may only be 2 or 3 notes, eg root+4th, root+5th, root+octave, root+4th+octave or maybe root+5th+octave .

Depending on the tune (and I suppose its ‘austerity’ for want of a better word, or if the sound ambiguously implies either major or minor accomp), I would stick to these combos.

If the tune is a bit more lively and happy, I might flesh things out a bit by adding a major 3rd.

I think my guitar accompaniment is just about OK, but I rarely play it these days. Why be just average when you’re often surrounded by brilliance? :)

Re: Irish Session Guitar Playing

@Jim Dorans Thanks Jim. As I said to AB Steen I wouldn’t have bothered writing if I’d seen your other comment, sorry about that. I agree with the idea of sometimes leaving out the third on chords, I think that can work very well. It leaves the sound ‘open’ and ambiguous with it’s own particular colour.